Paradigm Shift 06

Gregor shook his head. "They always looked the same and the bottles never looked like they were tampered with or anything. My father was known to have a dangerous temper. I don't think there's anyone that wants to mess with him."

"We will be running a thorough physical on you," the doctor said. He pulled his com out of his pocket. "I'll make all the arrangements."

It was a battle for Gregor to control his need to roll his eyes. The last thing he wanted was a big exam, but he wasn't going to be given a choice. The usage of the suppressants had assured him a serious check up including complete blood work and body scans.

"The use of suppressants displays a frightening lack of care for yourself," Park said. "You must understand from the announcements just how important you are as a Third. You are one of the hopes for the survival of the human race." He looked at Gregor with a disappointed expression. "Why would you continue to use the suppressants after the Plague? You must have realized that there would be no way you would face any serious repercussions?"

Gregor licked his lips. Perhaps there was a need for him to show a bit of truth. "I don't want want to be bred like an animal. I don't want my children taken from me to be raised by someone else." He drew in a shuddery breath. "I want to love and be loved, and I don't want my biology to decide things for me."

Park examined Gregor's expression closely, then finally a faint smile turned up his lips. "That is an explanation I can better understand." He turned to one of his men. "Track down the supplier," he ordered. "We can't have this kind of willful disregard for the Laws. Someone must be punished."

Gregor felt a twinge of pity for his black market dealer, but there was nothing he could do about it. He hadn't given up any names or anything, had made sure not to know any in case he was ever discovered. Still, he knew the dealers were going to be facing the full might of the State, and it wasn't going to be nice.

"What's going to happen to me?" he asked.

There was a modicum of sympathy in Park's gaze. "By the will of the State you will have to reproduce, there's no getting around that. A powerful Family has already displayed interest in having your Choice and had put in a Claim."

A Claim meant the Family had already declared his membership into their ranks. There would be a chance for him to reject them or for them to reject him, but he would have to spend thirty contiguous days in their Household. They would ensure he was comfortable and cared for, but he wouldn't be able to leave them.

"What Family?" he asked.

Park's eyes were serious. "The Duadenora."

Gregor's breath caught in his throat. The Duadenora Family was one of the Seven Great Families. If they took him in... there would be no getting out.