Across the city, at the time Levon had come out from the altered, Akio Tsutsumi sat at his desk high up in the 101 building. The skyscraper on the south side of the city looked off over to the port where, if he was looking, he would see the ferries leaving the docks and making their way out to the ocean. Akio wasn’t looking out at the view, high up on the 101st floor, he was finalising a document with a smile. The final flourish of his signature completed the task and he set his pen to the side and sat back in his chair. Akio Tsutsumi was impeccably dressed, he had to be; he was at work. His business, his building, his empire here on earth. Or at least the headquarters of an empire that stretched far across the globe. The problem with empires, and to those that want after them, is that they are never enough. There is always more to conquer, more to have, and more to consume.
This notion of greed had plagued Akio since he was a child. Growing up in conditions he would let no-one privy to now, he had been incensed by his circumstance. He had watched as others had excelled, moved on and up with all the niceties that a life could offer. While he had remained, reduced down to an allotted placement and allowance in the order of things. But Akio would dig himself out of the circumstance, he would bloom like a flower out of the mud of life and never forget where he had started. For many, this would have led to an understanding of the unbalance, perhaps even campaign to end the wrongful ways the world was turning in. But for Akio, he had been damaged and maligned. Broken and used by both sides of the system. He removed any shame that might stick to his cells along with the S.I.N, and in its place he filled it with anger and contempt. Not entirely however. Akio’s secret could indeed be his undoing; a fact that he was well aware of. And he took great care to protect and hide this, whatever it took.
A further step in this direction was what was contained in the documents, now signed, sitting on his desk.
Akio pushed back form the large wooden desk before him and stood up. He straightened his smart expensive suit, a suit that cost more than his assistant Stefan earned in a year, and called him into his office. Stefan looked agitated as he entered, uncertain perhaps of what was happening. Akio usually set very strict routines, ones you could set your overpriced watch by, and today’s activity so far had changed many of them.
“Yes sir?” Stefan asked, lingering in the door area of the huge office space.
Akio had now turned away, looking out of the window. He watched the boats out to sea, the huge ferries passing the smaller ones seemingly not to notice them bob frantically as they passed. He remained staring off out the window.
“How long have you worked for me Stefan?” Akio asked, pleasantly.
“Almost a year sir.” Stefan replied. He loosed the top button to his Oxford shirt.
“And in that time, have I asked you to do anything for me that goes against your, shall we say, moral compass?”
Stefan paused for moment before answering, he reached inside his own mind both looking for a truthful reply and balancing it off with the correct one.
“No, not to my knowledge. I find you to be a very honourable person, and if I might add; someone to aspire to be like.” Stefan said sincerely. And it was true, many of the others would trade places with him in a heartbeat. Akio was the epitome of success and class.
“You’re very kind Stefan. You’ve always spoken honestly, which is why I trust you.” Akio turned now to face him, offering him a smile. “I trust then you feel the same as I with the west side.”
Stefan looked at him, unsure.
“How the west side of the city is a blot on our greatness. A pebble in the shoe of our progress. A blight, a cancerous tumour in all we wish this city to be.” Akio said. He stood proudly, hands folded down in front of him as if posing for a magazine cover.
“Well, yes the area there is very dilapidated. It could all use some gentrification in my opinion. Some nice suburbs and a change of clientele.” Stefan said.
“Exactly, a change in clientele. That’s what is needed.” Akio said.
“But it’s been proposed for years, and nothing ever came of it. The sinners have legal protection for their ghettos and housing projects. We’d never be able to have them removed.” Stefan offered.
“No, I agree. They will never leave. They are stuck to that area like a barnacle on a ship.” His voice was soft, devoid of any emotion. “But then, accidents happen all the time. Don’t they?”
Stefan stared at him. He shuffled his own expensive shoes nervously.
“All the time.” Stefan replied, his own hatred massaged by unfolding suggestions. A hatred which he was free now to express, with the privilege of position.
“Accidents and calamities. Acts of God.” Akio added, pulling the cuff to his suit down, straighten it.