Walker Incorporated; the international, multi-billionaire company owned by Robert Walker. It was a hub for inventors and potential, rich businessmen. Put simply, Walker Inc is a design and manufacture corporation that sells its cutting edge invention's rights to the highest bidder whilst taking a little bit of royalty for each sale. It was the building that Ray hated the most.

Over a decade of isolated training in the Japanese mountains had caused him to miss several technological jumps which gave him the view of computers that few shared. Computers are pointless;  computers are dangerous, stop trying to make me learn e-mailing!

The circular driveway, with a giant fountain island in the centre, led to a glass fronted building, and way up high near the tower's roof were several screens flashing videos of various new inventions.

A large glass door slid aside to admit him. The floor was white marble, the walls white too and very well lit so that it almost felt clinical. From these wall, water gurgled into small pools which fed, at the very heart of the room, a large pond that water geysered up from periodically. Inside flitted all manner of fish that Ray knew to be mechanical, though you couldn't tell, even if you touched them.

At the far end of the room however, a steel grey counter, lit with changeable neon lights, housed a recptionist engrossed in typing on her little computer. Ray approached her, showed his badge and muttered his name. She never even turned away from the screen but nodded, typing with one hand and pressing a button with the other.

A Panel in the counter slipped aside to admit him and the door on the back wall opened.

She didn't even look away. I could have been anyone in disguise. She should at least be asking security questions or a code or something, Ray thought, I'll have to tell Rob ab0ut this.

Once inside, businessmen in crisp starch suits, scientists in lab coats and engineers wearing visors scurried around. It was crowded which left Ray feeling nervous and very uncomfortable. All too soon he was shepherded to a lift with a plexiglass door, small and  cylindrical. He couldn't breathe, nausea rose as bile to his throat and he felt like lashing out. Ray supposed he'd have to appreciate the irony of him being in a cramped piece of technology later. Claustrophobia and technology were his two deepest peeves.

He'd already pressed the button that took him to below the basement and into the foundations.

It was a huge room. The Walker Inc Superhuman Hideout they called it, or WISH.

The lift left you on an iron-lattice platform that overlooked the central computer, a giant monstrosity of wires trapped in a tube that looked like blue pieces of data that zipped up and down. There were monitors two meters up, all around the cylinder, and keyboards one meter up. There were more computers and monitors about the centre island which was slightly raised from the lower floor and railed off. Outside the centre island were all manner of amenities: Fridges, couches, sinks even hammocks. Ray made his way around the iron platform to the other side of the room were the steps brought you to the lower floor.

Standing at the computer, Rob, also known as  Phase, tapped away.

He'd heard Ray coming and immediately threw something at him. It was a small savoury cake, like a scone.

"Go on," he muttered, not turning away like the receptionist. "Let me have it."

"You need to provide another entrance, I'd rather walk up and down a thousand steps than take that damn elevator. And provide more walking space for the staff, it's like an anthill up there." Ray nibbled at the food and his stomach immediately started to feel better. All those years of training and here he was, feeling like a weak kid. "Oh and that receptionist, I swear she didn't even look at me, you need to tighten security--"

"--don't worry about that, she's actually a robot with an in built scanner and designed to act like a real receptionist. The fish had already scanned you, she just needed to admit you. I may be lax about menial things like lifts and corridors but never about security. Feel better now?"

There was no arguing with that. He grunted in reply.

For a moment, Ray thought something was odd. It took a minute to realise somebody was missing.

"Where is Shift?"

"He was out on patrol. He muttered something about a theft and return, took the appearance of a police officer and left--"

"Why..." a voice came from the platform above "...did you miss me, Ray-Ray?"

The End

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