A satire of dysfunctional government and economic inequality.
Chapter III: Day/Page 19 CONTINUED FROM YESTERDAY. . . . Even with the supporting pendulum, though, the upper-most floors of the building exhibit a pronounced degree of sway which many find discomforting; so that perambulating from office to office requires a bit of practice, not unlike that of a novice seafarer getting accustomed to the rolling deck of a ship. On the 170th storey is an observation deck where the offices have been removed from the building’s perimeter and a crystalline platform added to the tower’s open core, offering visitors panoramic views out over the great city of Helm, with its thirty-million souls, as well as the half-mile down to the lobby floor. As one journalist put it when the building first opened, “The observation deck of the LAAC headquarters building offers views from the rarefied heavens of Helm to the depths of Hade’s abode.”
Though commanding views from these lofty heights are exciting to some, particularly the young schoolchildren of Gâia who frequent the building on field trips, they often precipitate debilitating bouts of vertigo for visiting dignitaries from other worlds who are unaccustomed to such ascendant elevations. One particularly embarrassing episode involved the king of a world whose people thought him divine, and who, accordingly, had from birth never let his bare skin touch the ground. But when the resplendent king stepped out from the elevator on the 170th floor, and faltered forward a few paces to gaze at the half-mile of empty space looming below, he fell to his noble hands and knees, clutching at what he could on the ground, until alarmed members of his entourage pried his regal fingers free, scooped him up, and unceremoniously rushed him back into the lift. Like Icarus grasping for the sun, even those who believe themselves divine may be brought low from lofty heights when reaching too high for too much.
After that, members of LAAC tended to hold meetings with foreign dignitaries on the lower floors.
Professor Hawkeye’s office, however, was up high in the building where there was less traffic and more calm. It was here that he found Sofia waiting when he returned from the meeting with the Academy’s President, the IPA Minister, the Admiral, and others.
“Please sit down, Sofia,” says the Professor, a tall, lanky Eagle, over a century old, with tousled grey feathers, a gentle smile, and thread-bare tweed jacket. “I heard you were also here yesterday—I’m sorry I missed you. I’m not sure if you have heard or not, but we are planning to send a team to your planet, and I’ve been asked to coordinate the mission.”
Sofia’s heart leaps. (He said it—‘Your’ planet. Mine.)
“So, what can I do for you?” he says . . .
TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW. . . .
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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2013 by Gregory James
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