It was dark by the time all the guests had gathered in the stadium. It was a giant building, built like a football stadium but instead of a field was a huge podium with a 360 degree audience and a roof that could be opened to let the sky be visible. Meanwhile spotlights dotted the iron supports that followed the curved, oval structure of the building and roof. Underneath and above the stands were several conference rooms which was where the real in depth scientific discussion would take place after the initial show as well as where the rich people who wanted to instantly buy the rights of one of the products they had seen, would later be. Recent modifications however had been made to the building just for this one night. Throughout the evening live bands had been keeping the audience satisfied alongside vendors selling refreshments. It was rock music, some from the 80s which suited him perfectly, that was one of few things that Rob and Ray shared in common. Not only this, as well as famous, modern bands he’d hired to play, there were also some of the original bands.
Conference Room A, the biggest one, had also been opened up for the evening. The room was soundproofed therefore none of the noise blasted around the stands could be heard. As a result, this was where they had more classical music playing. Conference Room A happened to be a ballroom, with a large dance floor surrounded by tables covered in lacy white sheets, large bouquets of flowers and on each, a crystal decanter filled with a rich red liquid and glasses. Finally at opposite ends of the room were a bar and a buffet table. It was an elaborate, ornate place designed to make an impression.
The final room to be opened was the showroom. Another large room not too far from the Conference Room and this housed several contraptions. Some of the smaller stuff that was albeit impressive but not big enough to make a show of. Walker Inc scientists kept to this room whilst people browsed, ready to explain each item and give quick demonstrations. Visitors could touch and even try these items out if they weren’t too dangerous. One of the most popular gizmos this year was the robot. It was only small but could easily perform basic tasks and was surprisingly strong and durable, not to mention flexible. Its ability to dance made it an instant hit and the thing was very courteous and friendly. Ray hated it.
Most curiously, when Ray had made his last round, he’d noticed a series of amulets that looked curiously like his own. At this he’d touched his chest. That had made him suspicious, and he would have instantly taken it up with Rob had he been able to find him, but Rob was nowhere to be found and Ray didn’t have time to ask the scientist what it was all about.
He passed through the conference room, which was packed with mostly celebrities and rich types with the fur coats and such. It was all a little too much for him, here. Ray had to leave quickly as his breathing sped up. He took the “staff only” doorway that was level with the conference room and led to a walkway suspended in air, rather than the stairway down to the stands.
This walkway led to the announcer’s box which had a pretty good view of everything happening in the stadium. Ray tapped the tune against his leg with one hand as he leant against a railing with the other listening to Back in Black. It was a long way down, but heights didn’t bother Ray, they couldn’t bother you when you had the ability to fly like he did.
All day, Ray had been subtly charging his amulet. It worked in an odd way, it could be charged at will by sort of calling on the power that the ring held. He knew that if there were trouble he might need a lot of power however, so he had to charge it slowly in order to gradually heighten his body and mind to cope with the strain. If he powered up too much too fast, he could end up in a coma or even dead. But now he would be able to fly for at least a day, protect himself from attacks as long as he needed to, heighten his strength so much he could lift anything that earth held or shoot out blasts that could level America, amongst other things. He could also do a mixture, though that would cost him more energy. But Ray had spent a decade with his master, being taught how to handle the strain, how to meditate and perform tai chi to burn up excess power and heal his mind after using it. Most importantly, he learned how to control it. Most of the time he knew exactly how much energy to use for anything that came at him and he also knew how to rein in the parts of human nature that would relish the power so much, it could kill you. But the most important things he’d learned, had been the mental training that had made him mature, and mentally able to handle anything. Of course he’d also done a tonne of physical training in his own time.
Ray was ready today. Ready for anything.
After taking in the air for a few minutes, which was much colder up here, he entered the announcer’s box. He’d just finished introducing the next band who had come onto the stage.
“—good with you? Good, keep the lights on them, ready to turn them off when I start the countdown. Camera 2 you’re looking a little off centre, 4 you’re gold. Whoah, whoah, whoah sound get a hold of those speakers, what did you do throw crackers in there—?”
“—hold on,” for a second Ray thought he meant him, till he put his finger on his mic and turned around to me, “yeah?”
“Everything good on the cameras?”
“Oh yeah, no problems at all. Might wanna find a good spot to enjoy the spectacle though, the real show’s starting in a few minutes, hold – yeah give me the Conference Room A Speakers first, takes longer to pry rich people from their champagne than nerds from their toys. Good, ready?” There was a seconds pause before he spoke up again, “Attention Conference Room A, five minutes until the showcase, I repeat 5 minutes, please be making your way to the stands. Thankyou.” Then he turned around to me, hand covering the mic again. “Anything else?” I shook my head, “good, get ready to play the usher too in case it gets nasty.” Ray wondered how moving along rich people could ever get nasty. “Alright Showroom floor speakers. Attention Showroom floor, showcase will begin in 5 minutes, I repeat 5 minutes, please be making your way to the stands, this room shall be locked and remain inaccessible throughout the duration of the event and we would not want to lock you in. Thankyou.”
He’d heard Shift had posted guards outside the room and one inside to ensure that no thefts had occurred. So far, this Snake Eyes he was worried about had committed no acts of violence which they assumed meant that it was outside their behavioural pattern. A pretty big assumption, all the same.
Ray went outside and left the door open. Up here, he had a very good view of everything that was going on. And it would all be a surprise to him too. Ray hated this day.
As the band finished up and cleared the stage, all the lights went out.