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The knowledge of certain and timely discovery through the use of the
ACIP was by far the strongest deterrent. So powerful, in fact, that without
any other changes in the law, criminal activity in the United States had
diminished by an average of at least 97 percent since its introduction.
20
Legislators hoped that the Amnesty Laws would wipe out the remaining three
percent.
The Laws provided that anyone who confessed before January 1, 2032, for crimes
committed prior to March 1, 2031, would receive less severe punishment, often
no punishment at all. Nobody who so confessed would ever be subject to the
death penalty. But anyone whose crime was discovered after this deadline would
receive a much more severe sentence, including a mandatory death penalty for
attempted murder, kidnapping, or murder. Perceived profit in such criminal
activity was now virtually eliminated. It was easy to calculate, based
20
This measurement is based on reported crimes, so 97 percent may be a
significant understatement. However, a large part of that reduction was due to
the ACIP s contribution to timely discovery and treatment of mental illness,
not just deterrence of criminal activity.
THE TRUTH MACHINE
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207
on thousands of ACIP debriefings of convicted criminals, that mandatory
capital punishment, if enforced against attempted murderers, kidnappers, or
first-time murderers, would save more money and lives than it cost. After the
bill was enacted, serious crime, for all practical purposes, became a thing of
the past.
Pete thought about discussing his situation with an attorney. Attorneys and
priests could still maintain confidentiality in such matters. But retaining
David or Diana would be tricky. First of all, as President and First Lady of
the United
States, they were concerned with matters far more crucial to society than
Pete s personal dilemma. Also, as ATI shareholders, they had been direct
beneficiaries of some of Pete s crimes. No, he would definitely not burden
either of his friends with his predicament.
He d also read of instances where attorneys (and priests for that matter)
had let their clients confidentially confessed transgressions slip out. Such
inadvertent disclosures were rare, but did occur. He decided, There s no need
to risk involving another person; I m well aware of all the laws. I can advise
myself.
Pete weighed the pluses and minuses of turning himself in by year s end.
On the plus side was the inescapable numerical logic of the situation. At only
41, FutureHealth had predicted that with his genetics, he could expect to live
another 52 years. His goal for the remainder of his life was to work toward
the halting and eventual reversal of the aging process. Pete believed he could
speed the discovery curve by at least the number of years he contributed to
the endeavor.
If I don t turn myself in
, he reasoned, ATI will have a monopoly on the
Truth Machine for the 19 years left on our special patent. After that,
there ll be competing Truth Machines I won t be able to fool and my crime will
be discovered on my first non-ACIP scip. In 19 years, my life will probably be
over.
A 12-year prison term would leave him 40 years of freedom, give or take,
before death or cryonic suspension. Therefore he could at least double his
non-
incarcerated lifespan by turning himself in. That didn t count the 12 years in
prison during which he could still do good work.
Finally, once he neared the end of his natural life, he could be cryonically
frozen to await the eventual success of aging reversal to which he d have
contributed.
At worst, I d be trading no more than 12 years of freedom for about 30
extra years of life and an opportunity for immortality.
But if I surrender, I ll go to jail now and possibly lose control of ATI.
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On the minus side were his vanity and some wishful thinking. His
reputation would be destroyed, his enemies overjoyed at the revelation. Worse
yet, he would disappoint his friends and colleagues. He thought about David
and
Diana and Tilly.
How could I ever face them again?
His mind jumped to Jennifer Finley, now married and expecting her first child.
He had watched proudly as her career had continued to blossom and took
bittersweet solace in the fact that she did indeed seem better off without
him.
How would she feel after learning she wasted almost two years of her life with
a criminal?
Worst of all, what would he tell his parents? Ed and Liza Armstrong were both
in their early eighties and healthy. Their medical profiles suggested they
should both wait at least another 10 years before considering cryonic
suspension.
Only last May, he had finally convinced them to move to Dallas.
I couldn t possibly tell them I m a murderer.
On top of all that, during the 19 remaining years of ATI s Truth Machine
monopoly, a lot of things could happen. There could be a new government. Or
the
Amnesty Laws could change again. Or ATI s monopoly might be extended. Or he
might figure out how to fool a new, non-ATI Truth Machine.
The horse talk.
might
THE TRUTH MACHINE
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