Author : Ryan Somma
Kheen stared out the window of his top-floor corner office, completely oblivious to the hustle and bustle of his city stretching off into the horizon below. Planes, spacecraft, gliders, unicorns, and more were cruising right past his window, citizens enjoying the nightlife of which he was architect, but he was still chained to work.
There was a flash and the tinkling sound of chimes from behind him, and Kheen turned around slowly. This was his personal assistant, Uui, teleporting into the office. Her face was always expressionless, matching her strictly business attitude. So the mere fact of her presence was like a lead weight on his heart.
“New directive from corporate,” Uui said and directed Kheen’s attention to the flat screen always floating at her shoulder. “They want the Xybercorp building inducted into the city by the end of the week.”
“Okay,” Kheen replied with measured patience. “And..?”
“They want residence in the Atomlight district.”
“There are no plots left in the Atomlight district.”
Kheen savored the uncertainty in Uui’s otherwise monotonous dialogue a moment longer before answering, “So we’ll boot a lesser client out. Xybercorp is a big name, and we can shuffle some buildings to accommodate them.”
“Everyone in Atomlight is a major client sir–”
“Which means whoever we kick out of there must have their building moved into a district of almost equal prestige, which will require moving a second-tier client out of that district, and a third-tier client out of the district we move the second-tier into, and etcetera and etcetera and etcetera,” Kheen turned his back on Uui. “It will mean overtime for everyone. Make it happen.”
“Yes sir,” Uui vanished in a tinkling of chimes.
Kheen set his world settings to nighttime. The daylight outside his window fell under a canopy of darkness and flowing light streams. Then he turned off the windows completely, substituting the best view in the city with a moonlit nature scene instead.
He thought about lunch breaks, water coolers, and sleep, all the living necessities of which this place was devoid. He thought about his body, in an isolation chamber in some corporate warehouse, aging away.
He thought about his retirement. With the exchange rate the way it was, he might afford it by the time his physical body was in its 80s. Then he could buy his way out of this place, live in a homeless shelter somewhere cold in the winter, hot in the summer, and dirty all the time. This made him smile.
It was going to be wonderful.