} The Oracularity you are about to read is true. Only the names have
} been changed to protect the incarnation.
} D R A G N E T : 1 9 9 8
} Tuesday, February 3rd. A cool and cloudy day in Los Angeles. But
} we were in Bloomington, Indiana. We were working the night watch out
} of Network Systems. My partner is Frank Gannon. My name is Oracle.
} Sgt. Joe Oracle. I carry a badge.
} We had just finished up the paperwork on our previous case, in which
} we had finally nabbed the Midnight Queue Drainer.
} "It's too bad he had to be released on a technicality like that."
} "That's right. When are they going to make draining the queue
} illegal?" "Someday, Frank, someday."
} Capt. Kinzler came by our desk with a thick file folder. "We've
} been getting all sorts of complaints about plagiarism on the part of
} Oracular incarnations. You name it, if it's copyrighted, they've
} quoted from it. Everything from science fiction television shows
} to...well, to half-hour televised dramatizations of actual police
} I took the top sheet of paper out of the folder. It was a Top Ten
} list. "They're even plagiarizing late-night talk show hosts! There
} are some sick people out there. Frank, let's roll."
} The intelligence unit suggested we start at the offices of the Juno
} e-mail service, which had been acquiring a bad reputation recently.
} They were located in the warehouse district on the east side of town.
} We spoke to the receptionist. "Ma'am, you wouldn't know anything
} about any plagiarism going on here?"
} "I'm afraid I don't know what you're talking about."
} "Oh? Tell me, what's behind that door?"
} "Absolutely nothing."
} "Can you show us?"
} "I'm afraid I can't do that."
} "Let's put it this way. We can do it the easy way, and you show us
} now, or we can do it the hard way, and you show us later, when we come
} back with a search warrant."
} At that moment, a deliveryman from Indiana Vending came out with
} several empty cases of pop. Frank took advantage of the situation to
} stick his foot in the door, preventing it from closing and allowing me
} to look inside.
} "Sitting at little computer terminals, Joe!"
} "There must be a thousand of them, Frank!"
} The receptionist broke down in tears. "That's right! We're trying
} to see if a thousand monkeys sitting at a thousand computer terminals
} can eventually write a coherent e-mail! That's all Juno is, I swear!"
} I picked up a hard copy of their output. "zot! you owe the oracle
} xeop skflu," it read.
} "Well, most of these letters are used in the latest John Grisham
} novel, but that's kind of a tenuous case for plagiarism. But Frank,
} take her name and phone number in case we need to talk to her later.
} Ma'am, don't leave the county for 30 days."
} We also had reason to suspect the Hotmail e-mail service. They were
} located in the warehouse district on the west side of the country.
} I nudged Frank as we entered the lobby. There was a sign hanging up
} that read, "Hotmail...Now a Proud Microsoft Affiliate!"
} "May I help you?" asked the receptionist.
} "No, ma'am, never mind. Nobody associated with Microsoft could be
} doing anything illegal."
} It was getting late. Frank suggested we stop for coffee. I agreed.
} Frank pulled into the parking lot of a bookstore.
} "This isn't a coffee shop."
} "My son told me about this place. They have coffee."
} "A bookstore with coffee? What will they think of next?"
} We went to the counter of the coffee section and ordered coffee.
} The young man behind the counter looked at us suspiciously.
} "It's been a long time since anyone's ordered a plain, black coffee.
} Are you sure you don't want mocha, or cappucino, or something like
} "We'll ask the questions around here, mister!"
} "Geez, sorry!"
} As he prepared our coffees, Frank and I stood at the counter and
} looked around the store.
} "Say, that video section over there," Frank asked. "What are your
} biggest sellers?"
} "Oh, probably the 'Star Trek' TV episodes."
} Frank and I exchanged a meaningful, eyebrow-raised glance.
} "And the music section," I asked. "What are your biggest sellers?"
} "The Beatles CD's, I think. Here's your coffees."
} "We'll drink them on the way down to the station with you. Frank,
} cuff him."
} "You're under arrest for being an accessory to plagiarism. You have
} the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used
} against you in a court of law. You have the right to have an attorney
} present during questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will
} be provided for you at no charge. Do you understand your rights as I
} have told them to you?"
} "I didn't do nothing!"
} "Do you understand your rights?!"
} "Yes, yes, I understand my rights! Mr. Scott, can you cover the
} counter for me for a while?"
} Frank and I exchanged another meaningful, eyebrow-raised glance.
} "The name 'Mr. Scott' is the property of Paramount Pictures,
} "What? My manager's name is Mr. Scott! Mr. Leonard
} Scott!" "And the name 'Leonard' is the property of Mr. Bill Cosby!
} Just because a movie doesn't do well at the box office doesn't mean you
} can just quote from it as you please! You need to pay Mr. Cosby a
} royalty if you're going to do that again!"
} "What are you talking about?"
} "You'd better stop talking, young man. You're in a heap of trouble
} Later, Capt. Kinzler came by to congratulate us. "Congratulations,
} gentlemen. You found out the what, where, and how of all this
} plagiarism that's been going on."
} "That's right," I said. "Now that the ringleader is in jail and the
} plagiarism threat is ended, we'll have a renaissance of original
} thought in the Oracularities Digests, the likes of which hasn't been
} seen since...dare I say it? Digest Number 1."
} Capt. Kinzler nodded. "And this is the right time for it, with the
} numbers about to hit 1000."
} The three of us exchanged a meaningful, eyebrow-raised glance.
} On April 13th, trial was held in State of Indiana Superior Court, in
} and for the county of Monroe. In a moment, the results of that trial.
} Jason Morris was convicted of being an accessory to plagiarism
} across a computer network. He was remanded to the custody of Leonard
} Scott, his manager at Borders.