Chapter 2

“You understand the implications of a repeat offence?”

            Tavon nodded. “I do.”

            The young judge staring down at him scrolled through a list of charges, simultaneously projected onto the screen in front of Tavon. 

            “I’m surprised you’re still in the city,” said the judge, running a hand through his neatly coifed hair. “But then I see Minister Dresden has intervened on multiple occasions.” His voice dripped with acrimony as he said the older man’s name. “But I don’t see him here today,” he added as he looked around the courtroom.

            Tavon lowered his head. “He’s busy.”

            “Very well, let’s get this over with. As I see it, you’ve had multiple space violations. And you’ve been fairly warned about the consequences of any further offences. I have no choice but to evict you from the city.”

            Tavon nodded but said nothing.

            “Immediately,” added the judge.

            “But Your Honour?”

            The young judge looked surprised by the reaction. “No buts Mr. Dresden. You were fairly warned. Take him away.”

            Tavon’s body stiffened but relinquished as the officer gripped his bicep. Until now, the ramifications of being evicted from the city had eluded Tavon. He’d been able to count on his father’s interventions and wrote off the seriousness of being an outcast. The wilderness was a foreign concept to him and he ignored the stories.

            But as the officer led him out of the courthouse, the weight of his situation caused him to falter.

            Looking around, the lack of a familiar face scared Tavon, but at the last moment he recognized the eyes, suspended under the black fedora hidden at the back of the packed courtroom.

            “Father,” he called out.

            Suddenly the fedora seemed to disappear, reemerging then vanishing again toward the courtroom’s main entrance.

            “Father.” Tavon mouthed the word. For the first time in his life, a sense of panic overtook him and he felt his body go limp.

            Thrusting his hand into Tavon’s armpit, the officer lifted him and pushed him along the corridor toward the waiting shuttle.