The sound of the gavel echoed around the courtroom like a gunshot.
Very apt, he smiled, there was nothing other than the firing squad awaiting him now, all his cards had been played.
He took a deep death and stood as requested.
"Alexander Gordon McDonald, you have been found guilty on all seven charges against you. The act of Treason has only one penalty, you are therefore immediately sentenced to death'.
The Supreme Court erupted into a frenzy of cheers, gasps and camera clicks.
'Silence in Court! I will not tolerate any further outbursts, is that clear?'
The room fell silent, unwilling to risk charges of Contempt.
'Mr McDonald, as I was saying, Treason is punishable by death, that much is obvious, however, the Court has decided that, given the multiple nature of your crimes against Society, you should face the full consequences of your actions'.
The courtroom murmurs were stifled with a lowering of the Judge's brows.
'You will be taken from this court to a place of lawful multi-execution, and there be subjected to seven consecutive deaths. May God have mercy on your souls!'
McDonald sat in the chair. Arms and legs strapped, head and neck clamped, as the headpiece was lowered.
Alongside him, a body lay on a gurney: his body, seemingly in a peaceful sleep, an identical helmet in its\his head.
Jeez, how much money had these clowns wasted on all the tech involved, just to kill him again?
What a waste of a clone!
McDonald had just enough time to watch himself stir as 50,000 volts consumed his first body.
McDonald awoke screaming, clutching at his chest, as the memory of death filled his mind.
Scorching pain and then the terror of eternal blackness.
He looked across the room. His body lay, peacefully sleeping, some twelve feet away.
He registered the weight of on his head as they secured an identical helmet onto his clone.
The itch of the rope around his neck, McDonald shouted curses and abuse at the guards.
The trapdoor was opened beneath his feet and any further curses were trapped in his bursting lungs.
McDonald thrashed around as he woke, clawing at his neck, gasping for breath, seared lungs gulping in the stale air.
Through his tears he saw himself, seemingly in peaceful sleep, a few yards away.
The twin helmets reminding him of the waiting death.
No curses or abuse this time.
McDonald pleaded for his life. Begged for forgiveness, promised he'd be good.
Childish pleas. Ignored pleas.
He was tied to a post and was still weeping as the six bullets took his life.
McDonald threw himself backwards as he awoke, desperately trying to escape the metal rounds that tore into his flesh.
Hands checking his miraculously unharmed body.
Threats spewed from his mouth.
A torrent of promises of vengeance on the guards, the judges and their families.
He would find a way to make each and every one of them pay, give them a taste of the deaths he'd suffered.
McDonald never noticed himself across the room, kicking and spitting, it took six guards to hold him down, helmet hissing slightly as he was submerged in the icy water.
Long, long minutes later he was still, thoughts of vengeance drowned out of his mind.
Again, gasping for breath, lungs bursting, coughing out water that didn't exist. Mind feeling with panic.
To any God who may take pity on him, repented all his sins, pleaded for life everlasting, implored the gods to have mercy upon his body and soul.
Looking across the room, he prayed for the soul of his future self.
Pity and empathy, new emotions.
He was genuinely sorry, please God have mercy…..
The guillotine severed the prayers short, a quick, almost painless ending.
McDonald awoke. Feeling his neck.
He had made his peace, there was nothing more they could do to him.
They had won.
He looked across at his sleeping self.
'One more day, McDonald, live it well!'
He smiled as the helmet was lowered and the needles pierced his veins.
The cocktail of chemicals numbed any pain as his life ended, wishing himself a similar fate tomorrow.
Strangely optimistic for the day.
This was it, the final punishment. No more days would follow, only peace.
For the first time in his life, McDonald was not scared of death, not worried about his own mortality.
He simply wanted it to end.
He was given the chance to record some final words.
For over an hour, McDonald spoke into the recorder, heartfelt words.
Imploring anyone who would listen to live decent, peaceful, law abiding lives.
He begged that the world would see sense, acts of violence and terrorism were no answer.
We should all just use our lives to our best potentials.
Live, love, be kind, be happy. Be bloody good to each other and ourselves!
He'd squandered his life (lives?) on petty hatreds and vendettas.
For all his crimes, he was truly sorry.
It had taken six deaths for him to realize the beauty of existence, he would give anything to live the seventh as a good man, enjoy life to the full.
McDonald pressed the stop button and turned to the guards.
No seventh helmet this time, no sleeping seventh other self.
This seventh time he would not wake up.
He was determined, however, to enjoy every minute, every breath, of his final seven minutes.