Chapter 6

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Barton sat at his small desk, preparing data packages and reviewing his boss's schedule. Even after over a year, it still felt strange being there at an office where he only had to raise his head to view the vast Capital Square. I'm not that scared little boy I used to be anymore Barton had to remind himself again. I'm the chancellor's aide!

There were a lot of things to take care of for the boss. The chancellor was a very busy man, after all. Every day was full of meetings, scheduled or otherwise. Today, he had already met with representatives from the mining guild, the construction & development minister, and his top advisors. All this and it was still morning. At the moment, the chancellor sat with Akoya's governor. Barton guessed they were discussing the upcoming Quincentennial anniversary. Akoya as the capital cloud would have a big role to play in the ceremonies and celebrations.

A priority notification flashed in front of his eyes. Notifications from his boss were always set to high priority. It instructed him to step in. Barton filed the data package about mining production levels he was busy compiling for the boss. The chancellor had asked him to prepare it after the morning's meeting, discussing the recent dip in Iridium and Ruthenium mining volumes. These were vital for the composites used in the construction of just about everything man-made.

Barton entered the large office through the side door. Chancellor Hao was alone; Akoya's governor had already left. The semi-oval desk the man sat at was a beautiful piece of furniture, combining transparent and shining metallic surfaces without a straight line to be found. There were six large white chairs lined in front of the desk, all empty.

Behind the desk, the wall was almost entirely transparent, with a slight angle outward to enhance the expansive view of the square below. The room's theme was currently azure, which the man preferred most of the time. Barton felt he could tell his boss's mood by the wall color he chose, most often than not.

"Yes, Sir?" Barton said after a few seconds. His boss was gazing, not seeing. It was obvious he was busy with something, not registering Barton was there. It took him a few more seconds before he looked over and beckoned for him to approach.

Chancellor Hao was a tall man with metallic gray hair and a short beard that was mostly gray. His skin was well-tanned, in a white loose shirt from very thin and light fabric. Its long sleeves had thin silvery stripes, which were the latest fashion amongst the aristocrats. His appearance was in complete contrast to Barton's old-fashioned golden tunic, slim black pants, and pale complexion. Barton often found himself envious of that aura of charisma his boss radiated, knowing he could never possess such an appeal.

"Ah, Barton, my man, come over. We need to take care of a few things. First, get Ayana to work on my speech for the Quincentennial ceremony. Light, it's only fifteen weeks from now, and there's so much to prepare." Barton ran a quick check. "Yes, sir. 148 days, to be exact." Hao glowered. "What did I do to get stuck with this celebration headache in the middle of my term?! I should have just retired." He said, leaning back in his chair, exhaling heavily. Barton didn't know what to say, so he just stood in his place, quietly. "Come on man, sit down already."

Barton took a seat in the chair closest to his side entrance, always ready to leave quickly in case the Chancellor dismissed him, or someone important arrived. "How's it going with that package on the mining materials? That asshole Jeffries is all worked up." Hao looked intently at Barton, which made him feel uncomfortable. "I'll have it ready shortly sir, I received all of the expert materials, you'll have it within the hour." Barton tried not to blurt out the words too quickly. "Good, good. Now, I just finished speaking with the Governor. We have a lot to do. First thing we'll need is to start a joint task-force between this office and the Governor's..."

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