‘Andrea Swan, you have been found guilty of making a false declaration of the birthplace of your offspring with the aim of securing for him a future place in a select educational establishment,’ the Judge said sternly.  ‘Have you anything more to say before I pass sentence upon you?’

Andrea stood in the dock of Courtroom Three of the city’s central courthouse.  A custody officer stood guard over her in the back of the dock.  She wore only a sleeveless orange prison tunic, loose trousers and slippers.  Her hands were confined before her by a rigid cuff bar that was chained to the front railing of the dock.  Her crime might be relatively minor but she was still a criminal. 

Andrea was thirty-three.  She had a strong intelligent face with bold eyebrows, a firm nose and a thick mass of brunette hair.  Her figure was womanly with wide hips, a tight waist and a full bust.  She had worked hard to recover her figure after the birth of Jonathan.  Perhaps it had been pride in her appearance that had motivated her, or had she been unconsciously preparing for this moment?  The process of the law had given her the time, of course.  The state was not barbaric but it did demand that she pay for what she had done as an example to others.  Not through a prison term, of course.  Hardly anybody was locked up nowadays if they could be made to pay from their crimes in the community in some appropriate manner, where their suffering not only acted as a warning to others but and also made a profit for the state.  What she faced now was carefully calculated public shame and indignity. 

‘I only lied about where Jonathon was born to qualify him for an alpha zone educational catchment area,’ Amanda said.  ‘If he hadn’t arrived early I would have been resident and qualified.  It was only a matter of a few hours!  But somebody informed on me.’

‘They were just doing their civic duty,’ the Judge said.  ‘I see you make no residency claim in your partner’s name.’

‘I have no partner.  Jonathon’s was conceived from an anonymous donor.  I wanted to bring him up without interference.  I still will.  I don’t regret what I did. The law is unfair and unjust!’

There were murmurs of agreement from the public gallery where her family and friends set. 

‘It is not the function of this court to make the law,’ the Judge said.  ‘We are here only to apply the law as it stands.  Whether you agree with it or not, as a teacher you should have shown proper respect for the law.  You have set a bad example to your former pupils and so you must pay for your crime in a fitting manner.  Test her to see if she suitable for mechanical lactation,’ he told Andrea’s guard.

The guard took hold of the sleeves of Andrea’s prison tunic and pulled. 

The tunic had hook and loop fastening strips sewn into it which allowed it to split open along the seams. It came apart with a dramatic ripping sound leaving her naked to the waist.  As Andrea bit her lip and lowered her eyes and her friends and family turned their heads aside in dismay, the rest of the court enjoyed the first stage of her humiliation. 

Andrea’s breasts were pale and plump, capped by prominent dark russet nipples.  Even though Jonathon had been weaned, they still stood out proudly from her chest; heavy with milk and ready to be suckled.  This readiness would now be used to punish her.

Her guard held a small graduated plastic beaker, the rim of which he pressed to her breasts in turn, as he squeezed her globes.   Andrea whimpered as milk spurted freely from her nipples in tiny jets, filling the bottom of the beaker.  When he was done, the guard held the sample of expelled milk up for the judge to see.

‘That is satisfactory,’ the Judge declared.  ‘Andrea Swan, you are hereby sentenced to serve a community public degradation sentence in an approved milk bar for the period of three months.  During this period your normal bodily rights and freedoms are suspended.’

There were groans from her family and friends but Andrea knew it could have been far worse.  Being away from Jonathan would be the hardest thing, but then she had tried to do the best for him and this was the price of failure.  Her mother would take care of him and at that age he would hardly miss her, she knew that.  She would be the one who suffered, but then that was part of her punishment.  Now she must try to put him out of her mind (as if that was possible!) and concentrate on her own survival.

‘Put the stocks on her and take her away,’ the Judge said.

The stocks were a rectangular transparent plastic slab hung with a webbing strap, and with a pair of saucer-sized chamfer-edged holes cut out of its centre.  The slab was divided in half through the centres of these holes, held together by channel strips running down each side.  Her guard slid the halves of the slab apart and placed it on her chest so that her breasts slid through the holes.  Then it was closed about their roots and the strap was hung about her neck.  Her full breasts now bulged out from the slab like pink mushroom heads.  Although the strap about her neck supported most of its weight, the stock slab was uncomfortable and deeply shameful to wear.  But then that was exactly the idea.  Etched into the top panel of the stocks in bold red letters was the word: CRIMINAL.