[WP]In the distant future, a general who committed war crimes commits suicide while in jail, though he has a clone, you are the clone. The question is whether you should be held responsible for your original self's action.

"The problem is," the man says, pacing back and forth in the judge's chambers. "the problem is, well. Uh. It's really not the chap's fault, is it? He wasn't even around when the crimes were committed. He was only created after. For the general's mind." He's nervous, stammering. He rolls over the creases in his pants with his hands once, twice, thrice. His hands in constant movement. Outside the door, the clone of General Jesus Garcia sits, handcuffed, chains around his ankles.

A woman sits nearby in the room. Composed. Her clothes are well ironed, her hair carefully pulled away from her face. Her ankles crossed. She smiles at the judge, straight white teeth and shimmering eyes.

"Your honor, the people need justice," she says calmly. "That man out there has almost the exact genetic code as that of the General. The same cell structure. From the very skin of the General himself. Her voice lilts in a playful way. She could be discussing the news, or sports. "We have no choice, your honor. It's why our constitution works. People are punished for the crimes they commit."

"Yes, but...he wasn't there! He didn't make those choices," the man says.

"Under article 36 of the new constitution, clones that share more than 87% of their originals genetic code are considered, for all intents and purposes, equivalent."

"Under the clone protection act, clones cannot be tried for their original's crimes," the man says, running his fingers through his hair. "Your honor, this is ridiculous. We shouldn't even be considering..."

"The General was found guilty of war crimes," the woman pipes up. "The people want to see him sentenced as he originally was. It's a matter of principle."

"This isn't legal!" The man exclaims. He's new at this, and he's losing his patience. He hadn't any idea what they were going to ask him to defend when he was called to the secret court. "The general is dead!"

"The people don't know that!" The woman snips. "And this way they never have to. Your honor. Everything is prepared. Everything is already underway."

The man opens his mouth again, but behind his desk the judge raises his hand. His mouth is creased, lines running through his skin. "Julia, what do you propose if the people ever find out?"

"They never have to find out, your honor. They simply have to see the general face his sentence. The longer we wait, the more suspicious the people will become. We can't let them know that the general ever killed himself. Not now. Not when we're so close."

The judge nods. "Very well then. We go forward."

The man's face is red. He stands in the chambers, looking from the woman to the man. He twists his hands. He starts to say a sentence, then stops. "Your honor, the constitution--"

"The constitution has no place in this court," the woman says calmly. "Especially for crimes such as those of the general."

The woman gets up and leaves. The man can hear her speaking to the guards outside. He looks to the judge.

"You're executing an innocent man," he says after a pregnant pause.

"No," the judge says. "We are executing a general convicted of war crimes. The people need justice."

/r/WritingPrompts Thread