The study was dark polished wood. Or, at least looked that way to most who were used to offices of acrylic and glass. Most of it was actually fairly cheap and just heavily lacquered to hide the tool marks and other signs of amateur workmanship. Reverend Luther Powell had been many things, but professional carpenter was not one of them. To his credit though, he did try to make everything himself, and aside from the electrical wiring, most of the renovations in the house were done with his own hands. The bookshelves were straight and workman like, the desktop surface level if you left the plate glass centered, and the chairs - were bought at a shop after one of the power tools broke.
Most of the other decorations in the room were of more passable quality. Brass lamps picked out by wife Mary, and artwork gifts from friends and parishioners lined the walls.
Duncan Moses Powel, was nigh perfect in every way the furniture was not. An imposing - if young - presence, tall, strong, and and built to last through seasons of football and water-polo. But most people didn't see him as a demigod figure, instead noticing the priests vestments he tended to wear, or else simple overalls and shirts. Lacking the army command expense of Luther, Duncan tried for the role of village priest and man of the people instead.
He was opposite in almost every way to opponent in the Texas arcology. But there were some unfortunate similarities- the burdens of leadership.
Electricity and Safety, the two demons that bedeviled the good state. Keeping the people content with the ways of the city state required providing them amenities and illumination - but the local production facilities were not increasing output to match the populace of the towns. Even with every adult male trained in the use of a weapon, there was always the threat of those ungodly creatures. Rare was the day that less than a dozen congregated outside the gates of the ABERHAM research campus, and there always seemed to be a steady stream of them from the concrete islands of New Orleans, the ruins of Mobile, swarms from the crater that was the original Birmingham - scouts had tracked one group all the way back to the CDC campus in Georgia.
And then there were the heretics. Duncan was willing to soften his father's language to just the lazy - but then mother would chime in that sloth is a deadly sin. Whatever name was attached, the problem was, people just weren't willing to empty their hands of the old ways and grab onto the rope of right conduct. Perhaps women had shown themselves equals in the past, but now a steady home environment and division of labor was required. Certain devious lifestyles had been allowed, but now that the time had come to rebuild civilization, the obligation was to do so correctly and by the book.
It was always a bit vexing that the population could at once be growing too fast for the services, and yet not fast enough as outsiders were reluctant to join the church.
Nothing would take him from his father's shadow, but he hoped to shine a bit of light on his own. Duncan had never wanted to be a senator or president, but now he was in charge of both the physical functioning and spiritual security of over a dozen villages held together by his father's dream.
He removed the interface glasses and rubbed his temples, then swiveled the chair to look out the window. A few taps on the suit's arm turned down the air conditioning another two degrees. Rank had its privileges.