by Max Barry

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by The Dominion of Supreme Authority. . 297 reads.


All subjects are guilty. PERIOD. Otherwise they wouldn't be subjects, would they?
- Attributed to Senior Castigator A49B16CF, "Stormtroopers" Battalion

Supreme Authority has no need of judges, juries, or courts - all subjects must obey their superiors without fail, or risk severe punishment. According to the Dominion defector Charles Aspen (formerly C7A855D4), sentences are usually handed down arbitrarily. However, Dominion propaganda claims a 0% wrongful conviction rate, and this author most likely has no need to remind one of the consequences of free thought.

Punishments range from public flogging to torture, mutilation and summary execution. The sick art of torture has been refined to the level of the Winnowing, in which the victim is slowly shredded to death while being kept artificially alive and conscious for as long as possible. Public buildings are commonly adorned by the severed heads of "traitors" and "capitalist pig-dogs", and major streets may be lined with crucified men, women and children. The countryside is dotted with massive labor camps, with the average inmate survival rumored to be less than a year. Although Supreme Authority's sentencing and punishment practices at one time provoked significant world outrage, most of the world media has since become inured to the continual string of atrocities inflicted upon Supreme Authority's many victims.

One particularly notable punishment is known simply as The Gag. The victim is strapped to a chair, and a specialized stereotactic frame is screwed into his skull. This frame contains a small probe, as well as a stereoscopic camera system. When activated, it drills into the left side of the victim's skull just anterior to the pterion (while avoiding the superficial temporal and middle meningeal arteries), until it reaches the Broca's area (Brodmann's 44, 45) of the brain. The victim is then briefly anesthetized with thiopental (to prevent a fatal seizure, not out of mercy). The probe then delivers a dose of kainic acid, which selectively and effectively ablates this part of his or her brain. This process renders the victim permanently unable to speak, but still capable of comprehending orders and working in a menial capacity.

Thieves and drug dealers are sometimes sentenced to the Wasting. In this procedure, the victim's mouth is sewed shut with heavy-duty sutures, and a central line is placed. The naked victim is then bolted to a display piece, preventing him or her from moving and collecting waste fluids. Finally, the display is placed in a public location, for the victim to slowly starve to death as an example to others. IV hydration is supplied to prolong his or her suffering, ensuring that the cause of death is malnutrition.

However, by far the most feared punishment of Supreme Authority is the Abyss. Reserved for only the most heinous crimes, such as sedition and blasphemy of the Overseer, the Abyss ranks among the most horrific punishments ever devised by the most twisted human minds. The condemned's brain is surgically extracted from his skull, implanted with a pain-stimulating device, and kept artificially alive in a jar. The end result is the victim becomes cut off from any and all sensory input except pure, all-encompassing pain, and is entrapped forevermore in the prison of his or her thoughts. Prisoners have been known to languish for years in this state before finally expiring.