“Zen! Zen! Zen!” chanted the crowd as a man in orange sneakers took to the stage.
“That’s Tobias Zen,” said Grace, “he runs the company.”
I watched as Tobias strode on with perfect posture. He wore a grey suit, which had an orange zigzapped shape on the side, which was similar to the dual lines on the side of his tower. His hair was short and grey but perfectly symmetrical on all sides. The most striking feature of all was his orange trainers. It seemed wrong for a businessman to be wearing something so casual and visually striking.
The way he walked around the stage with a cocky swagger and took in the applause meant I could tell he was a man who liked to show off. The reason why was clear, the crowd loved him.
“Thank you, you are far too kind,” said Tobias “Today is a fantastic day for TethTech, for our soldiers and for the future of this country. Today I bring you a single, simple promise.”
The previously ecstatic crowd fell silent in anticipation.
“No solider left to die. Ever.”
The crowd cheered. As I surveyed their reactions I spotted the very same words on several campaign powers around the dome. Those six words were clearly very important to Tobias Zen and his fans.
“That’s a promise,” he continued. “As long as I have life in this body, as long as my company runs, I will never allow a soldier that uses my technology to be left behind on the battlefield.”
I could see why his promise was so appealing. What mother or father wouldn’t want to be reassured that their children would survive any war? With economic divides being formed it was clear in many people’s minds that war was an inevitable reality to rebalance the scales of life.
I remained sceptical. “What’s he selling, magic potions?” I said to Grace who laughed.
“But first, we have a remarkable new product,” said Tobias. “The connective powers of Tethers have been well documented and I have spent the last twenty five years examining why bonds are formed between our brothers and sisters and how those bonds can be used to build a safer world.”
“Everyone in this room has experienced it,” he explained. “That moment when your twin has a feeling of high emotion and you lose control. You are overwhelmed by their feelings and get to experience their life as if it was your own. It’s fantastic and every time one of us experiences such a feeling is a moment to be shared forever.”
“Now you can do just that, with a DualCam,” he said, “a camera that records those moments that you and your Tether share. Those moments of intense feeling can now be shared forever with this never before seen invention.”
I looked at the camera and felt smug to have owned one a year ago thanks to Will. The crowd clearly liked it, with more whoops and cheers than the man deserved. It should have been Will on the stage getting this glory, not Tobias. Will invented the device. Was that why he was killed? So Tobias would get all of the money from the DualCam invention? I wondered.
Before I could examine that thought Tobias continued. “I’ll tell you a secret. We invented the DualCam over a year ago but didn’t want to release it until today as the technology helped us to discover something quite wonderful. Something we couldn’t share until today.”
“The DualCam was just a means to an end,” he explained “It allowed us to monitor exchanges between twins so that we could understand how such a bond is formed. As you’ve experienced, in moments of high emotion you lose all control and have to simply watch as your twin experiences the moment. We wanted to change that and allow people to take control from the other side.”
A highly decorated soldier walked onto the stage in a slow methodical fashion. He focused on every footstep with precision. He was dressed in a dark green army uniform which had badges and medals above the front left pocket. He wore a green hat with an orange band around the rim. Beneath the hat his face was slightly hidden with his ginger handlebar moustache by far the most noticeable characteristic.
“So how can this save lives? How can this ensure our brilliant boys and girls that fight for us are kept safe?” said Tobias. “Well, let me introduce you to General Kull.”
The crowd cheered and General Kull stood firm on the spot. In true British army fashion he didn’t move or get overwhelmed by the applause. He simply stood firm and gave off the slightest smile.
“So, can you juggle General?” asked Tobias.
“No sir,” he replied.
“Prove it,” Tobias tossed him three juggling balls, which the General attempted to juggle very badly for several minutes. The crowd found this hilarious, especially as it was quite silly to see a senior officer attempting something like this. I just wondered where it was all going.
“As you can see the General is a terrible juggler. General, if you could lie down on the table over there for me please. Ok and go camera number two,” The General obliged and placed his hat on the floor.
A large screen behind Tobias buzzed to life showing a man sat in a chair. The screen was a bit fuzzy but I could make out that the man was also dressed in an army uniform but he had white camouflage patches mixed in with the green pattern of his suit. He had no hat on which revealed his short ginger hair and a very thin face.
What was most shocking was not the man but the harness on his chest that held him to his seat. Then there were the wires that disappeared from the harness to the dark corners of the room. I recognised the setting instantly.
“And this is Colonel Kull. Not quite as good a rank as your brother?” taunted Tobias.
“No sir,” replied Colonel Kull.
“Is everyone ready for an experiment?” Teased Tobias and the faces of the crowd lit up. “This is a world first. What you are about to see is unbelievable but it is no trick.”
Tobias walked over to the General and placed an orange cloth over his face.
Two stunningly attractive nurses then walked on to the stage, their breasts practically popping out of their far too tight and bright orange nurses’ uniforms. One of them pushed a heart monitor and the other held a hypodermic needle which she showed to the crowd as if it was some wonderful prize. The crowd loved every bit of the showmanship.
Tobias took the needle. “This injection contains Phenzolum, a compound that stops heart function within 60 seconds. It is more lethal than any poison.”
He walked towards the General and once again held the needle up to the crowd. This time there were less cheers and an air of suspense filled the room.
“Is he going to kill that man? Shouldn’t we stop him?” I asked Grace.
“It’ll be a trick,” she replied, her face seeming to tell a different story.
“Ladies and gentleman, I will now inject this compound into the General. You will see his heart stop but I promise you, the results will be very worth it,” said Tobias.
With that he lent over the General and injected the needle into him. His heart beat began to slow and then the beat of the heart machine stopped altogether.
The crowd’s voices fell to silence as they realised their hero had deliberately killed a man live on stage.