The elevator doors on the far side of the lobby outside the President’s Office slowly open to reveal the Commander wearing a smile of confidence. He steps outside and strides over to the desk in front of the stairs that lead up to the President’s Office with a large grin. Upon arrival, he rests his right arm on the desk with his left arm lifting his black morning coat over his left hip. He wears a flirtatious smile as he speaks to the secretary, “Ah, Catherine, isn’t it a terrific day?”
Catherine moves her eyes from the computer screen to look at the Commander and rests her right arm on the armrest, pushing her right shoulder toward him. Her left hand reaches for her left knee as it crosses above her right leg and slides down to her shin. She returns his affectionate smile and replies, “Not to be confused with ‘terrible’,” she sighed and shifted her view to the left and turned in her chair to look up at the doors to the president’s office, “not unlike the president’s attitude today.”
“Ah, but that’s why it’s such a wonderful day, Catherine.”
She looks back at him, “Commander, do you know what’s wrong with him?”
The Commander sighs, “I might.” He spins on his right foot so that his back is facing Catherine but is partially hidden behind her computer and crosses his arms so as to appear in deep thought, lifting his right hand to his lips to complete the look. After a slight moment, he breathes in, closes his eyes and lifts his head to the right so that his right cheek faces Catherine, “Oh! If only I could just speak to the president and console his thoughts on whatever may be nagging at his brain…” As his eyes open, he looks to his right, toward Catherine.
Distracted by his appeal, she forgets the Commander’s comment as to why it’s such a wonderful day and looks to lower left, “Well, he is a bit downtrodden and I suppose that, because you two are so familiar with each other…”
The commander flashes a sly smirk behind his shoulder and turns to face Catherine with hopeful eyes, “Catherine…?” He folds his hands and rests them in front of her.
She lifts her left hand to spread below her throat as she looks back to the Commander, “I mean,” she removes her left hand to move it in a circular motion in front of her to illustrate her thought process and closed her eyes as she spoke, “all I’m saying is that I don’t think Mr. President would mind…”
The Commander gives Catherine a small smile and lifts his eyebrows to show his appreciation.
She opens her eyes to witness the Commander’s attractive smile. She returns a similar smile as she lowers her left hand to the middle of the desk, “I think I can allow you access to the president’s office today, just to make sure he has company to talk to.”
“Not just any company, Catherine,” he squints his eyes as he reassures, “but someone close.”
She offers a look of approval, “then who better than you?”
“My thoughts exactly,” he reaches for her hand and lifts it from the desk so that it sat in his right and rests his left hand on top and looked into her small blue eyes, “Caththerine, thank you.”
Catherine takes a deep breath and tightens her left grip, “of course.”
The Commander lifts the muscles under his eyes before pulling away and moves around her desk.
Catherine watches him as he climbs the stairs and approaches the doorway to the president’s office. Before entry, he looks at her one last time as if to say, “thanks, again” and closes his eyes to look straight ahead before he reaches for the doorknob.
Finally, the Commander steps into a darkened room. His thankful expression quickly turns to a loathsome glare as the door shuts. He opens his eyes to see the windows dimmed behind the president, who sleeps with his face planted on his desk in remorse. He exhales deeply with anger, “Oh, Mr. President.”
He shakes his head and steps forward. “I thought you’d be happier.” He moves to the left of the lounge chairs and coffee table that sit in front of the president’s desk and slides his fingers across the desk to the right of the president’s as he passes. While passing between the desk corners, his fingers reach the end of the desk and he examines the dust at his fingertips. He shakes his head in disapproval, “After all, you know what today is, right?”
Mr. President moans in remorse.
The Commander looks up from the dust on his fingertips and smiles, “Oh,” he moves behind the president. He slams his right arm on the desk and lifts Mr. President’s head up from the desk by his hair with his right.
The president grunts in pain as his relatively short hair is yanked backward.
The Commander screams, “is it because you’ve finally realized that we should forget about Sector 7 because it’s an old wasteland we can never return to?” He throws the president’s head onto the desk and turns to the window, “C’mon, Mr. President, time to wake up.”
As the president slowly awakes from his slumber at the desk and rubs his head, he looks to the commander.
The Commander moves to the edge of the window and puts his hand on the glass to pull up the control panel. He raises the “dim light” feature to allow the morning daylight in.
Mr. President moans in disapproval.
The Commander turns his head right to see the president’s sorry state and scowls. He walks over to the president as he sits up, “The gates aren’t going to lock themselves, Prez. So, Where are the keys?”
Mr. President shoots an angry look to the Commander, “What gates?”
The Commander starts to look through the drawers, “The gates to Sector 8, Mr. President.”
Mr. President leans back in his chair and crosses his arms, “…and why do you think we’d shut them, huh?”
The Commander rises from the drawers with closed eyes and sighs in disbelief, “Seriously?” he looks at the president with a stern face, “…because Sector 7 was a mistake; we never should have even opened the gates.”
Mr. President looks up at the Commander and reflects his angered expression, “No, Secto—”
“Yes,” the Commander pushes Mr. President in his chair so that it rolls back and slams against the window, “it was. We were content with life in Sector 6—”
“No, we weren’t. It was about to fail, Sector 7 was—”
The Commander backhanded Mr. President with his right hand, “Don’t interrupt!” The commander turns to look at the wall and exhales. “Honestly, Mr. President,” he turns his head to the left to speak to the president over his shoulder without actually making eye contact, “where are your manners?”
“Same place as yours, Commander.”
The Commander chuckles at this childish response and turns to the president, “that’s cute,” his smile faded, “but there are more important things.” He turns and moves toward the president, resting his arms on the chair’s armrests so as to intimidate the president, “Now, where are the keys?”
The president looked to the right to avoid the Commander’s breath, “I’m not locking any gates today, Commander.”
The Commander grits his teeth to silently express his anger at the president’s cockiness. As he looks down in dismissal, he sees a glimmer next to the president’s left pocket: the keys.
Mr. President knows the keys are hooked to his left belt loop but decides not to protect them so as to not draw attention to where they are. Instead, he gazes out the window and recalls memories from Sector 7.
The commander looks up at the president to ensure he’s not paying attention and looks back at the keys, “Fine,” he quickly grabs the keys and rips them through the belt loop they’re hooked to, “then I’ll do it.”
As the commander begins to walk to the door, Mr. President stands in attempts to retrieve the keys, “No, Commander!”
“Yes, Mr. President,” he commander quickly turns around and slams his fist on the president’s head, “this is for the greater good of the company!”
Mr. President stumbles back against the window and falls to a sitting position as he begins to lose consciousness.
The commander walks to the door and screams to the president, “Don’t worry, Mr. President. I was right about your failed attempts at returning to Sector 7 and I’m right about this.” With the president most likely unconscious, he essentially grumbles to himself, “Locking the gates means less company to satisfy,” he walks outside of the president’s office and down the steps, “less company means less disappointment.”
As the Commander walks by, Catherine speaks on the phone to the gatekeeper, “What do you mean, ‘from Sector 7’?”
The Commander steps into the elevator and hits the Ground Floor option. As the elevator doors shut, he predicts, “especially when Suzi runs this company into the grou—” The elevator doors shut before he could finish.
Catherine softly slaps Mr. President’s right cheek in attempts to wake him from his apparent slumber, “Mr. President,” she softly whispers.
Mr. President’s eyes slowly open as he tries to recollect what happened. Suddenly, he remembers that the Commander left to lock the gates to the city.
As he quickly stands to his feet, Catherine tries to inform him of the argument at the city gates, but he quickly rushes out the door before he can understand her.