Title: Paradigm Shift
Author: Harper Kingsley
Genre: mm sci-fi
Stroking the spines of books that had been carefully maintained, protected from fading and age, he wondered if this had been how people had experienced books years ago. Not a luxury, but a freedom, able to walk around giant rooms and trace their eyes over titles with the thought that they could open one at any time.
History had taught him about life just before the Last War. Information had been strictly regulated and the Masses had purposely been kept undereducated to keep them malleable. The realization of what had been done to them as a people had been one of the main causes of the War –civilians were tired of the abuses and had risen up in rebellion.
He remembered his mother's impromptu history lessons. She had been so passionate, her face lit up in a way it usually wasn't. He'd been too young to understand why she had been so driven, but he remembered the sound of her voice as she would say "Mama's off to do her great work. You be a good boy until I get back." And he had always tried to be good, right up until the day she didn't come back and he'd been forced to grow up.
He was eight, nearly nine years old the last time he saw his mother. He hadn't let himself be a child since then. He'd accepted her Cause as his.
He wondered what would happen if he told Park about the things he'd done, the people he'd associated with. He wanted to believe Park liked him and would cut him slack, but Park was a Magister, just a few steps below a Judge. The Law was literally in his blood, little nanomachines watching and recording everything.
The thought that Park would betray him–even if he didn't want to–it was a wake up call. With his hormones going all wonky, some part of him wanted to insist that once he gave himself to the Family, Park would remain loyal. But he'd tasted of reality and it was bitter.
Magisters and Judges were only loyal to the Law. It was probably the reason why Park wasn't the Family Heir. They couldn't trust that he would be able to put the Family's concerns first.
Though there were times he might regret it, Dylan Park was an Officer of the Law. He was bound body and soul, and though Gregor had begun to look at him as a possibility, it would never work.
For once in his life, Gregor wanted to be first in someone's consideration. He was tired of being the afterthought, the last regret when the story was already over.
He found himself almost glaring at the books in front of him and his legs were feeling a bit shaky. There was a dull throb between his legs, letting him know he needed the next dose of painkillers or he was going to start feeling like he was being torn in half. He hated this weakness and hoped his body adapted soon.
Gregor reached out and grabbed a book off the shelf and it was easy once he was committed. It fit perfectly in his hand as he carried it to the Librarian.
"Ah, The Dawning Tree, that's a really good book," the Librarian said. "It's full of symbolism and life lessons as well as a great adventure story."
"Yeah, thanks," Gregor said absently. He felt as though someone had punched him hard in the gut and he was just starting to get his breath back.
He had just grabbed a book randomly off the shelves, but maybe there was more to it than he knew. How else could he have ended up with a copy of his mother's most famous book?