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The Orthogonal Galaxy

By Michael Lewis All Rights Reserved ©

Scifi / Adventure

Chapter 1

In a quiet alcove of the federal courthouse in Atlanta, Georgia, a middle-aged man stared out of a rain-splattered window. His dark hair was betrayed by streaks of gray on either side of his head. Although a model of physical fitness, he leaned against the wall for support while watching the heavy rain that splashed down on the sidewalk five stories below. He watched as cars drove by purposefully and pedestrians with umbrellas dashed along trying to avoid the streams of water that rushed off into the street. Occasionally, his focus was directed to the window as beads of water raced erratically down the glass pane.

While he stood in this motionless position, he envied every car, bus, taxi, pedestrian, and—yes, even the lone bicyclist—in their ability to travel to their intended destinations. How he would have traded positions with any one of them. Even the bicycle was a symbol of freedom that he currently was not able to enjoy. How much longer that privilege would escape him was up to a jury of seven men and six women who had just settled into the courtroom not far away.

“Paol?” a soft voice from behind him blended smoothly with the subtle sound of rain splashing against the window. It was so soft that the distracted man completely missed it.

The sound of heels clicking on the polished tile floor grew louder as they approached the man, but even this noise did nothing to arouse him from his thoughts. Only when a gentle hand was placed on his shoulder did he turn with a start.

“It’s time, Sweetheart.” The gentle words were warm and encouraging in spite of the façade. Paol knew that his wife was agonizing ever so much as he was, and while he was grateful for her strength, he ached to know that she had to carry this burden so gracefully.

As his bloodshot eyes gazed into her smiling face, a corner of his mouth turned up sadly. With a deep breath, he held out his arm. She received it happily and turned towards a man that had been waiting at the back of the room.

“We’ll beat this, Paol! I’m confident that if there are any on the jury who are yet unconvinced, they will be on our side before the end of the day.”

Wearing a dark pin-striped suit, well-pressed white shirt, and cobalt blue tie, the lawyer was dressed as confidently as he sounded. Spinning around, he walked with deliberate poise down the hall. Following his lead, the couple pursued the man and disappeared into courtroom number 523.

As he crossed the threshold, he contracted some of the encouragement of his defender. After all, Paol Joonter knew that he was innocent of the charges filed against him. Surely, the best judicial system in the world could not make the wrong decision.

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