Within the President’s Office: Episode III-2

At the city gates, Mr. President steps out of a limo parked right next to the Commander’s Ford Mustang. He quickly admires the Commander’s car and then turns his attention to the Commander arguing with a familiar face, “Joshua?”

Joshua stops mid-sentence and looks at the president, “Oh, good.” He nods and looks back to the Commander, “Mr. President can clear this up.”

The Commander sighs and closes his index finger and his thumb so that the bridge of his nose rests in between. Afterward, he raises his hand to instruct his team of beastlike security guards to stand down.

Mr. President’s view is then widened to include all of his surroundings which includes the commander’s teams of security guards as well as a team of robotic elite soldiers that stand tall behind Joshua.

Joshua approaches the president and firmly shakes his hand while offering a sincere smile, “Mr. President, great to see you.”

The president looks starstruck, “Likewise.” He examines Joshua from head to toe, “Joshua, I have to say, you look fantastic!”

The commander scoffs as his patience runs thin. He crosses his arms and looks up to the right. He locks his left knee before looking back to the disgustingly warm exchange.

Joshua snaps his finger and points to the president with a smile, “Ah, that’s all because of you Mr. President!” He reaches for the president’s left shoulder with his right hand and motions to the tall industrial buildings at the center of the city with his left, “The work you’ve done with this company since we left Sector 7 has truly inspired me to bulk up and work out, study, eat healthier,” he lowers his left arm and looks back at the president, “all that jazz.”

“Gah!” the Commander exhausted as he turned toward the gate’s locking mechanism only to be met with Joshua’s elite force guarding the lock. He looked away as if to look inconspicuous.

Joshua continued, “and rest assured that Chrianty does not hold anything against you for that, ahem, slight distraction in late-May to mid-June.”

“Oh, come on!” The Commander shoves Joshua away from the president with his left hand and pleads with the president, “Prez, listen, would you tell this- this- this—” he breathes in, “Chrianty-crazed canine that he’s preventing—”

“Ah, yes!” The loyal Chrianty representative snaps his fingers as he remembers why he was sent to the city gates, “Mr. President, my presence here today was requested specifically by Mr. Chrianty to inform you that shutting the gates is not in this company’s best interest.”

“Really?” Mr. President looks to the commander further to his left and sarcastically adds, “I had no idea.” The president looks back at Joshua to encourage him to continue, only after the commander dismisses his look of disapproval by looking away to the right.

Joshua raises his left index finger, “No. Rather,” he then uses both hands to illustrate the society and slowly separates them to express his thought, “Mr. Chrianty advises that it would be far better to for the society to expand, so that—”

The Commander gestures to Joshua with his right hand and looks back at the president while he talks over Joshua to cut him off, “Mr. President, really, are you hearing this?”

Mr. President, interested in Joshua’s suggestion, reluctantly looks back at the commander to simultaneously listen to the Commander and express disapproval.

Joshua, looking to hold back anger, patiently looks at the source of the interruption.

The Commander turns his head from the president to Josh and looks at him as if he was insane, “Who is this ‘Josh’ guy anyway and how do you know he has ties to Mr. Chrianty?”

Joshua, just about fed up with the Commander’s interruptions, reaches into the left pocket of his white dress coat with his right hand without breaking eye contact with the Commander and offers it to the president, “I’m sorry, I suppose I haven’t properly introduced myself.”

The Commander locks his left knee again and crosses his arms, “Oh, this should be good.”

Mr. President accepts the offer and inspects the business card, examining the official brand name and logo, almost surprised that Chrianty would send an official representative to prevent the Commander from locking the gates, especially since the gates were essentially locked in Sector 6.

“My name is Joshua E. Skapes, one of many representatives from Chrianty sent to certain corporations, just like this one, in order to provide sound council and proper advice on how to best lead societies in the best way possible in accordance with Chrianty’s HoBi division.”

The Commander scoffs and rolls his head to the left.

“And would you mind telling me who you are, Mr. Victor Antonio?”

The Commander’s drops his jaw as he looks back to scold Josh’s use of his actual name.

Mr. President looks up at Josh with a slight nod of admiration, surprised to hear someone confident enough to dust off the Commander’s name. This guy is good, he mentally notes before looking to the Commander in anticipation of his sheepish response.

The Commander’s eyes shoot darts as he tries to suffice a response, “I… am not at liber—”

Mr. President looked back to Joshua, impressed that the Commander was finally at a loss for words.

Joshua shakes his head gradually to the left with his eyes closed and waves his right hand toward the Commander in dismissal, “Oh, well, that’s okay then because I already know all about you.” He then turns his head right to look at the president, “After all, who wouldn’t know about the president’s ‘chief architect’ and his crimes against Chrianty?”

The Commander, who stands with his jaw still open in complete shock and his eyebrows lowered with anger, foolishly follows Josh’s gaze of accusation as if he should expect to be defended by the president. Much to his surprise, however, the president instead returned Josh’s gaze with an expression, not of hope, but of defense.

Mr. President jerks his head back in wonder as to whether Joshua was still accusing the Commander or the Company as a whole.

“Y’know, Mr. President, I think your company needs to start going in a different direction,” Joshua notes, “especially if we’re not planning our return to Sector 7.”

Mr. President releases his stare of defense and looks to the right to look ambitiously at the industrial building in the center of the city, “I would but…”

Joshua clicks his tongue from the top of his mouth, winks his right eye and points to himself with both thumbs, “that’s why I’m here.”

Mr. President looks back to Joshua, eager to learn more about Joshua’s purpose in travelling back from Sector 7, where he worked as a mere janitor.

“See, I know that, in Sector 7, we had our differences. You wanted to run this company by yourself and that’s fine, but I heard that when you made it to Sector 8, you wanted to come back to Sector 7 and that’s when I took interest in your work. I was the one that kept emailing you back in May.”

The Commander, angry about Josh’s presence in Sector 8 at all, looked down and coughed into his hand, “khhhhexposition!”

Mr. President, fed up with the Commander’s interruptions, shoots eye darts at him, instructing him to cut himself out.

Joshua continues, “When we heard you weren’t making it back, I was honored to be the one sent to you as a, sort of, Chrianty advocate, if you will, instructed to always offer my best advice to you.”

Mr. President raises his eyebrows in hope as he looks to face Joshua, “…as Chrianty would desire the company to be run?”

Joshua presents a victorious smile and a slight nod. He reached around the president’s shoulder with his right hand and pulls him in close, “Although, Mr. President, I understand there is a,” he gestured his head behind them toward the frustrated Commander as he whispered to the President, “separate entity you have working with this corporation that has a separate agenda that does not equate with that of Chrianty’s.”

As the president was considering the Commander’s end goal for the company and comparing it with what he’s learned would be Chrianty’s end goal, his consideration is cut short when he hears an exclamation from the Commander.

“Wait, what are you–!?” The commander was being lowered to his knees by Joshua’s elites before the president looked over at them. As the elites rose his arms behind his head, the commander looked up to the president with fury in his eyes.

The president released himself from Joshua’s embrace and turns toward the society’s gates to observe the Commander’s cry. For the first time in a long while it seemed, he stares down to the commander, finally having the upper hand, duly noted: with the help of Joshua.

Finally, Joshua assures, “Of course, it’s all up to you, Mr. President.”

Mr. President looked over to Joshua with a curious expression.

You, after all, are the president of this company. I can command my elites to apprehend the Commander and escort him to a safe facility where his access to your office, where we can collaborate on how to best lead this company and move the society forward in the best interest of Chrianty, will be severely limited…”

The Commander responds to this first choice with a grunt, acknowledged by the president, met with succeeding restrictive force offered from Josh’s elites.

“…or, my elites can release the Commander and we can return to our own section of the company’s building, where we will remain idle until called upon, and leave you and the commander to lead this company as you two see fit.”

The president considered this decision while tapping his fingertips across his lips, as he usually does in deep thought. After a moment, he lowers his hand and looks to the Commander, on his knees before Joshua’s Elites, “Commander?”

The Commander furiously looks up at the president as he grits his teeth hidden behind his lips.

“You are under arrest,” the president dictates.

“Get him out of here,” Joshua commanded as the elites began to escort the Commander to the company’s prison. Joshua warmly placed his right hand on the president’s shoulder. Joshua smiled and moved his hand to the center of the president’s back and issued for them to make way toward the president’s office.

Later, the commander is escorted into his prison cell, wearing a full bright orange jumpsuit. The commander turns toward the gate after it closes to have his handcuffs removed. He is greeted, not by an elite, but by Joshua, sporting a large grin, with the president standing not too far behind him, emotionally unmoved.

Joshua bounces his upper body and head in a dance of approval as he unlocks his handcuffs and hands them off to an elite standing to his right and compliments the commander, “You look good in orange.”

The Commander, unhappy with his situation, snarls at Joshua as he mouths the words, I know.

Joshua’s grin dissipates. He takes a deep breath and advises the president behind him, “we should go.”

The president stares the commander dead in the eye and approves with a triumphant “Hmph.”

As the Commander lowers himself to the bed behind him, the two on the other side of the jail cell leave the confinement facility.

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