Episode 9: The Scandal

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"You ready, son?" Dad leans against the frame of my open door. "You sure you want to go? You don't have to."

"She's my best friend. I want to be there for her."

Dad forces a sad smile. "You're a good brother."

Today is Molly's misconduct hearing. The day of my fight with Dominick, Phoebe, Henry's wife, showed up at our door and spoke to my Mom. She explained that Henry had confessed to having an affair with Molly for the past three months, and that she would be reporting this to the tribunal. According to Mom, Phoebe was completely calm - polite, even.Two days later, Molly received an email with a hearing date, only a week away. If she doesn't show up, she'll be automatically deported and completely banned from the station. If she shows up and admits guilt, she'll still be allowed to visit the tourist side of Tenacity.

From the little I understand, there isn't really a criminal justice system here. If a panel of judges decides what you've done disrupts the community, you get kicked off the station.

Molly was appointed the equivalent of a public defender. He says there's no chance of her being allowed to stay. Henry already confessed and Molly says she's going to as well.

I'm trying to hold it together and not make this about me, but my sister really couldn't have picked a worse time to get kicked off the station. I could be expelled from my TPEF class for mouthing off to Officer Nash. Ebony and the others avoid me like the plague since the fight. The only person I could trust on this glorified space prison was my sister. For the first time in my life, she won't be around, and I have to stay here, where everyone hates me.

"I really wish I knew more about these proceedings," Dad whispers to Mom as we enter the courtroom. I feel eyes on me and look towards the other side of the aisle. There's a middle aged couple glaring at us. Phoebe is sitting near them, chatting happily, it appears, to the person in front of her. The couple must be her parents. I'm tempted to give them the middle finger.

"We're not sitting near them," I hear a woman behind us say. I turn around in my seat and see Henry, with an older couple I assume are his parents, and an even older couple, who must be his grandparents. Henry gives me such a sad and apologetic look, I almost feel sorry for him.

"Ignore them, Ben," Mom whispers to me. I turn back around and she pats my knee. A tense murmur fills the room as we wait for the hearing to begin. Thankfully, there aren't really that many people here. The hearing isn't public, but it's not really private either. According to Molly's counsel, high ranking officials are encouraged to attend. Besides them, only the parties involved are given the location and time of the hearing, but they can invite whomever they want.

"ALL RISE FOR THE HONORABLE JUDGES"

Three men and three women in formal attire make their way to the bench. Although they vary greatly in physical appearance, they have all managed to have identical somber expressions.

Molly is immediately called to testify. She barely manages to repeat the oath of honesty she's given, as she tries to keep from crying. I'm starting to wish I hadn't come.

"Mr. Sadler," one of the female judges says to Molly's counsel, "Does your client have an admission prepared or would she like to be questioned?"

"She has an admission prepared, Your Honor." Mr. Sadler nods at Molly. She stares down at her speech for several seconds, unable to speak. She leans towards Mr. Sadler and whispers something in his ear. With her head turned, I can see tears running down her face.

Mr. Sadler nods and takes the tablet from Molly's hands. "Judges, I will be reading the admission for my client."

"I, Molly Westley, admit to participating in an extramarital relationship with Henry Vontep. I was fully aware that he was married throughout this relationship. I accept the consequences of my actions."

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