It's A Deal

In a quiet, well furnished room, there were three people sitting before an expensive looking desk. It was the kind of desk that simply screamed 'Look at me, look at how impressive I am! Whoever sits behind me must be an awfully powerful guy!' The kind of large desk that, at least in Seth's mind, was an indicator of an equally large ego.

A theory that he was only growing more confident in the longer he had to sit across from the lawyer. His distrust for the man grew by the second, and Seth wasn't exactly trying to hide it. However, both his mother and father's attention, as well as that of the lawyer himself, was focused on the sheet of paper that had been placed on the desk.

Seth had been listening to them discuss his fate with a curiously detached feeling. Like all of this was happening to someone else, and he was merely a spectator observing from afar.

From what he had gathered, this lawyer wasn't exactly fighting tooth and nail to prove Seth's innocence. Though, Seth had to admit, perhaps that was for the better. After all, he hadn't been accused of anything he hadn't actually done, and feigning innocence would only make them come down harder on him.

They were accusing him of multiple counts of online piracy, and the last he'd heard the count was staggering; Eighteen games, well over a hundred songs, and various other miscellaneous software titles.

He'd hoped that since he'd been able to wipe his hard drive before it'd been seized that it would take care of most of the evidence, but they had all of the logs on the website where he'd downloaded everything. To say the least, things were looking bleak. And all because one cracker had been arrested, leading them to target certain people who'd downloaded the software he'd posted online.

Seth had to wonder how things might've been different if he hadn't become a regular on the site's forums. Maybe he wouldn't have caught their attention, like the thousands or tens of thousands of others that had downloaded from that site but hadn't been targeted. As it was, him and several other forum regulars had been taken in, all facing similar charges. The uploaders were an exception, they were in for much worse.

Seth's one remaining hope was the fact that he was only seventeen, still technically a minor. But even still, he was finding it difficult to even imagine what might be in store for him.

Seth watched as the lawyer removed the cap from a pen, an expensive looking one as could be expected, and placed it beside the paper on the desk.

"It really is the best way out," the lawyer was saying. "We're not going to get another offer like this."

The man who sat before them now hadn't always been their lawyer. In the beginning they'd had a state appointed lawyer, though he hadn't done such a great a job of arguing Seth's innocence. If anything, Seth had to think that the man had made his case worse. However, his family didn't have the kind of money that a lawyer demanded, so it was the best they could do.

Until, three days ago, this guy showed up saying that he'd take on their case at a greatly reduced cost. He'd given some half-assed reason, like disliking the companies suing him or something similar, but Seth hadn't paid it much attention.

The man was pretty transparent about the fact that he had alternative motives even if he didn't just come out and say it, and the very fact that he wouldn't admit to them seemed extraordinarily shady. Whether his parents hadn't noticed or simply didn't care, they'd jumped at the chance to have this guy take on the case, shady or not.

Seth's father had been staring at the pen like it was some particularly revolting piece of trash he'd found on the side of the road, but finally resolved himself to pick it up. The paper set before them was but one page of a long agreement, this one differing from all of the others in that instead of the small, complicated text, it was adorned by little more than a dotted line.

It was a document that would excuse Seth from a large number of his crimes. But in exchange, he would be sent to what had only ever been described as a new experimental juvenile detention center. Besides that, the details were scarce. About all he knew was that he would have to stay there for six months, and during that time he wouldn't be permitted any contact with the outside world, let alone visitors.

With a monumental force of will, Seth's father brought the tip of the pen down to the dotted line, hovering just above it.

"It's the right thing to do," the lawyer urged on.

With that last push, he signed away Seth's freedom.

The End

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