Confined. The convicted criminal lies in a clear tube awaiting his fate, wearing only a waterproof black singlet. He is a good looking middle aged man with dark hair, a neatly trimmed beard, and a slightly muscular build; he has been sentenced to death for writing and disseminating subversive literature critical of the Plutocracy. The cameras recording this public execution reveal the terror on his face as well as the gills on his neck, indicating that he has been given The Operation so he can survive underwater and thus suffer to a greater degree. I stand on one of the lower viewing platforms along with some of my co-workers, and I look up to see the super wealthy citizens gathered at the prime viewing areas. The super wealthy barely look human anymore due to their extreme and almost obligatory use of plastic surgery, as they give disapproving glances at each other's fashion choices while waiting for the entertainment to begin.
The condemned man gets shot out of the tube at a moderate pace like a human torpedo, only more slowly, and he streams through the water into the threshold of submerged ruins from a city once known as Charlotte. His progress slows and, like most of the condemned during these executions, he frantically tries to swim away from the area. It is hopeless, but his fear causes him to try anyway. There are a few moments of stillness as the man swims through the water while the crowd is silent in anticipation... until the genetically engineered sharks start to slowly emerge from the ruins. First one appears, and then another, until the water around the man is teeming with them. They look like ordinary sharks, but they have been genetically designed for these executions here in our underwater "paradise". The sharks slowly, ominously circle around the man in the water with those dispassionate black eyes. He frantically tries to swim away from them but like always it is no use, and a vicious looking great white suddenly grabs him by the leg and pulls him down deeper into the circling mass of fins and razor sharp teeth with a trail of blood leaking from the bite wound. The man will not drown, and the genetic programmers assigned the sharks to wound and hurt while avoiding immediately lethal attacks. The terrified victim gets pulled and tugged around and everyone can see the bubbles coming out of his mouth from screaming. The sharks start nibbling at the man's body like a family sharing funnel cake at a carnival. By this point he has been gashed and torn open in multiple places, and a large shark streaks in and grabs his right arm between its powerful jaws. The shark wrenches its head a few times with the man's arm in its mouth, loosening his arm part way with sinews visibly tearing out, and after a particularly strong tug the shark RIPS the man's arm from his body, causing the severed limb to spin in the water like a derelict spacecraft while blood streams from his socket. Several sharks race in to fight over the limb, tearing it to pieces and feasting until there are nothing left but tiny particles of flesh and tissue. The man's face is a mask of pure horror at what is happening to him, and bubbles rise from his screaming mouth like the blood streaming from countless wounds all over his body. Other sharks go after the man's left arm and eventually rip it from his body with the sick rending of thews, as still others go after the man's legs. Eventually the sharks chew off the man's legs and feast on them, leaving the man to just slowly rotate as nothing but a torso and a head floating in a cloud of his own blood - and from the expression on his face it is clear that he is now irrevocably insane.
The sharks continue to peck at his body for a while until the convicted criminal mercifully bleeds to death, and when he is dead the genetic programming of the sharks allows them to finally go in and feast at will - an intense feeding frenzy akin to the grand finale of a fireworks display, until there is nothing left except blood and a few floating shreds of the man's singlet. The crowd around me seems pleased as this was a particularly exciting execution, but I'm starting to get a little sick to the stomach about this barbaric ritual. I was curious about the man's literature so, at great risk to myself and my career, I decided to acquire some of it from my friend Ray in the sordid smart chip buffer zone of our underwater dome city. The writer, the now deceased Dr. Kelvin Gregory, did have some valid (and sometimes humorous) criticisms of the Plutocracy that I seem to agree with more and more over time. Of course, I have to keep those thoughts to myself or I will end up out there with the sharks just like him.