“—late last night police discovered what looked like the clothing of a male left in a lying down pose including shoes, trousers, shirt and baseball cap with the wallet still intact. In a bizarre turn of events, during the early hours of this morning, grieving wife Crystal Summers, reported her husband missing, the identity of whom matched that of the clothing and wallet left on the floor. An insider source informed this network that this is not the first occurrence with the same happening just a few months back. Police are—“
Ray was hardly listening to the TV as he stirred the noodles bubbling in their pot. He had thought himself lucky that Rob had managed to grab him an apartment so close to the Tower. He later found out that Rob had in fact bought this whole block under a different name for his other worldly friends to inhabit when he needed them.
They were modest suites, varying in grandeur. His was one befitting a security guard’s pay. Rob and he had spent a lot of time sorting out Ray’s identity here. Rob had simply stated that Ray could happily use his real name in this Universe but Ray had argued that it was possible the alternate him may still be around or wanted. His real name would always carry with it danger. Therefore he’d decided he would keep his false identity Raymond Giordano (He’d never be able to change the fact that he still looked somewhat Italian so they kept that as his origin) whilst adopting his “superhero” name Ryuu, still. But so far, he had done very little in the superhero department. It was Robs wish that they all kept a low profile, at least until a few months had passed and they would not be suspected so easily. Ray was happy to follow orders and did what he could to keep them on track when the others strayed. After all they weren’t here to be regular heroes right now, they had a mission.
Ray placed his hand on his chest, feeling the metal against his heart and the soft pulsing.
He must have been daydreaming. When he looked down he saw the noodles had stuck to the pan. Great, that will take a while to clean.He slipped the noodles into a sieve, flung the pan into the sink then dunked the noodles into a bowl. Once he had them, he sat down on the chair to watch the news. A mousy-haired reporter stood outside of Walker Tower itself, microphone in hand. It was night time, the area flooded with car headlights, the lights from the tower itself and the giant neon advertisement screen. Today it flashed Prepare to be dazzled, 71:55: 17
“Thank you Allie. This is Elizabeth Pain reporting on what we can expect to be quite a show. Last minute preparations are being made as Walker Inc gets ready for its third annual showcase extravaganza, which scientists, businessmen and even celebrities will come from across the world to attend. In just a few days the event will take place once more in Walker Stadium situated right in front of the iconic tower we’ve come to know. Last year we all remember the entertainment and big reveals such as the Enhanced Workstation Interface that allowed for easy to use holographic-monitor-touchscreen working at amazing speeds, as well as many more such items. But also last year, Walker Inc founder and owner Robert Walker claimed to revolutionize what we use to turn on our light switches. Well this year, he sets the stage to deliver this promise in what he claims will be, 'a dazzling marvel in energy advancement that could save the damage that traditional energy usage has done to our planet'. There has been much scepticism about such a statement, at the forefront of which is Doctor Taylor who I happen to have with me today. Doctor, just what do you have to say?”
“There are just so many things wrong with this Miss Pain. I mean scientists, genuine, hard working scientists have tried for decades to find an alternate means of energy and have never come close—“
“—so you’re saying you don’t think that Mr.Walker can make good on his claim?”
“In short, no. Walker is nothing more than a glorified salesman who can put on a good show, and he does put on a good show I’ll give him that. But to achieve such a goal would require technology far greater than what we currently possess in this day and age. It just isn’t feasible—“
Ray wasn’t listening any more. Half eaten chunks of noodle hung from his mouth. There’s going to be a show?
“'omm, Wober Wal’er.” When there was no response he frowned, then realised the food was still filling his mouth. He quickly swallowed and repeated “Comm, Robert Walker”.
Immediately, several images appeared in his window. Letters reading “Home”, “Office”, “Parent’s” and “Other”. He called out “Other” and after a couple of minutes, a video image appeared. It was a full, translucent image of WISH with the cylindrical core of the computer in the middle and standing before it, typing away, stood Rob.
As well as buying out this block, Rob had made several amendments to every suite including changing the simple windows for a Comm system he’d been using for many years. Originally the Comm system had been a handheld device but he’d managed to integrate it into several other types of hardware. In the corner of this so-called “window” was what looked like a sticker with the name of the glass company but which was actually a motherboard.
Rob turned around and leant forward against the rail. He laced his fingers together, he looked haggard.
“Ray, how may I help you?”
“I just saw the news—“
“I know, I know right, can you believe the gall of that Taylor? He’s trouble in several universes but in this one, he’s just a regular jerk. ‘glorified salesman’? Who the hell does he think he is--?”
“Rob!” Ray snapped, instantly catching his attention. “You never told me there was going to be a show!”
“I didn’t?” Rob raised his eyebrows and wiped his face with a hand, “so sorry about that, I’ve been a little overworked lately. It’s important too since I was going to have you as the presenter,” he paused for a moment. Ray dropped the bowl onto his knees which sure hurt a little but he didn’t care. A presenter...all those people. “Relax,” Rob held out his hands, “I was just kidding,” although he wasn’t laughing. “Although, I do need you there, Ray. I want you to be the security, just in case. What with all these thefts going on, I need somebody I can trust to make sure that things go smoothly.” Then he ran his hands through his hair, “besides, I’m going to be the presenter, I always am and I’m good at it.” That he would not argue with. Rob was a genius, he was charismatic when he needed to be too but when it was needed, which was most of the time; he was all business, which was the side that Ray saw the most.
Ray thought for a moment, “hm, where is Shift, what’ll he be doing?”
“Hey Ray-Ray,” a voice came from nowhere, and then suddenly, a person appeared. “I’ll be playing your superior,” he was grinning so much it creeped Ray out. “This is going to be a great night!”