Mr King stared at the screen, the bright green numbers taunting him. “It can’t be,”. He looked at the numbers over and over and there was no denying it. TethTech was showing a 400% increase in share price, which showed no sign of stopping its improvement.
This was the worst day of his life. When he’d seen the share price fall he had panicked and wiped out 10% of the entire net worth of his company to stop any more losses and now it seemed if he had stuck with the shares he would have increased them in value by 400%.
He wondered how he would explain this to the board of directors. They were unaware he’d sold the shares and their emails were starting to arrive in one by one.
“We’re rich!” said one. “Just bought a new boat,” said another. None of them knew of Mr King’s deception and when they found out what he had done they would have the power to remove him from his own company.
He sank back in his chair. Tobias had defeated him. The latest daily company accounts would be sent to the board in a few hours. Very soon they would then know the truth and Mr King would be out of a job and on the street. His personal wealth would be stripped away from him and he would have nothing.
He picked up the phone and hit the ‘redial’ key.
“Hello, Jarvis accounting,” said the assistant.
“Barbara, how are you?” said Mr King, trying his best to sound calm and polite. Two characteristics that felt unusual to him.
“I’m very well, thank you. May I ask who is calling?” she said.
“It’s Mr King,” he replied.
“Ah, sorry I didn’t recognise you,” she’d never heard Mr King speak this nicely to anyone. “I’ll just put you through.”
Barbara called through to Leo who let out a large laugh. Leo had just made millions thanks to the shares he’d purchased from Mr King and he had no intention of helping him anymore. “Barbara, can you please tell Mr King that unfortunately we are dropping him as a client. His accounts will be sent to him within seven days for him to seek a new accountant.”
Barbara laughed too. This was a victory for both of them. For too long Mr King had filled their lives with abuse. Today they were free. “Right away sir.”
The words hit Mr King hard. He’d dropped hundreds of suppliers from his business before but had never been on the receiving end. He started to verbally throw swear word after swear word at them down the phone but they had hung up long ago.
He was in a desperate situation. His career, money and life were all about to be destroyed. He had less than a day to save himself and he knew now the only man who could help him was Tobias Zen.
We stopped on the 27th floor and March asked me to step off the platform. This room was nothing like the one before. Gone was the open-plan format, replaced by a sequence of tight corridors that were framed with angular white metal structures that held large pink coloured pipes to the walls either side of us. I could feel the heat from the pipes as we walked through the hallway and March assured me it was perfectly safe.
As we worked our way around the tight corners the heat started to make me feel dizzy and I wondered how anyone could work in these conditions. I started to feel sweat forming on my brow and I brushed it away for fear that it would ruin my disguise. I looked at the two pink lines that ran on the floor in front of us and told myself if I could just keep walking that I’d be safe.
“We’re almost there,” said March. The heat didn’t seem to bother him but his face showed a concern for me that encouraged me to keep walking. We reached a steel door and finally the pipes around us veered to either side where they went off to destinations unknown. The door was marked ‘Broadcast room’ and a red panel was positioned above the door, which read ‘On Air’ and was currently turned off.
March motioned for me to look away which I pretended to do, quickly turning around when his back was turned. I saw him retrieve a keycard from his pocket which he swiped on a grey panel next to the door. As the door opened I turned around again hoping he would have been unaware I was watching him.
We entered the room and I saw a recognisable face; Colonel Kull. His slim face and ginger hair making him an easy man to identify; especially given he was still held in place with a harness like device. There was no denying this was the same man the world had just seen take over his brother’s dead body like a twisted marionette.
An orange eyed man.
Except now his eyes had returned to a neutral blue colour. He appeared completely normal as the scientists around him removed the various wires that were connected into him.
As I looked around the room, which was now no longer covered in darkness but was basking in the glow of overhead fluorescent lighting, I tried to take in as many details as possible. What struck me instantly was how similar its design was to the room I had seen earlier on my DualCam. The pipes on the ceiling, the harness around the man’s chest and the wires that snaked around him, they were all the same, yet this was not the same room. The one I had seen appeared more primitive and rushed together. This room was pristine and every piece of technology looked brand new.
The man was also different from the one I had seen recorded. There was no way he was the same man who had his jaw dislodged in the DualCam footage. Neither was he the same as the men who attacked Will.
“Just how many people have orange eyes?” I wondered to myself and I hoped I hadn’t stumbled upon something much, much bigger than myself and Will.
“Hi I’m Frazier,” said the man in the chair, jolting me back to reality.
“I’m Jessica,” I said as I shook his hand. He continued to sit, despite now being free from the vice. I was unsure if he chose to sit or had been ordered to do so.
“Jessica is a reporter for BBC News,” said March. “We wanted her to see the technology that allowed you to put on today’s demonstration and to meet you so she could tell the world that what it saw today was no trick.”
“Oh, I can assure you it wasn’t,” said Frazier. “I controlled my brother and it felt amazing! For every other Tether moment of my life I have had to sit back and feel him experience something amazing but now I got to take control and it was unbelievable.”
“I don’t understand,” I said.
“It’s complicated,” he explained. “Everything my brother saw I could see too. I saw him get injected, I saw him die and then I saw his arms as I juggled and fired his gun. I felt everything he did, but I also had complete control. That’s why he could suddenly juggle; despite the fact in real life he’s awful!”
“So it was as if you were him?”
“In a way. I still had all of my own thoughts but I could move him with my mind. Those arm movements you saw when I aimed the gun they were just for show. Tobias sure does love a good piece of drama.”
March stepped forward and I sensed that Frazier had said something he shouldn’t. “Don’t write that in your article,” he said in a stern voice. “Although Frazier moved his arms during the demonstration this was purely to increase the sense of spectacle of the event,” March explained. “In truth, our technology allows someone to control their twin simply by the power of thought. We added the arms in, in order to confuse any of our competitors who wanted to mimic our technology.”
I had to admit that was a pretty clever double bluff. Anyone who wanted to try and build the same thing would waste years trying to understand how the arm movements allowed them to control each other.
“However,” he continued. “I must reiterate that you cannot write that in your article and that you sign this,” he walked me towards a document in the corner of the room called a ‘Non-Disclosure Agreement’. The wooden bench it sat on didn’t fit in with any of the other furnishings in the room. It seemed like the desk had been quickly added to the room in preparation for my visit.
“By signing this, you agree that we can approve any content that you write about TethTech before it is published. It ensures that only the right aspects of today’s technology are revealed to the public,” he explained. “If we give away too much, then anyone will be able to copy us and we lose our competitive advantage.”
I really didn’t care about the document and had no problem signing it. After all, it’s not like there was anywhere I could write about them and with a fake identity it would be hard to do so.
As I finished signing my fake signature I realised I now had the upper hand for the first time today. A real chance for answers. I was excited at what else they may reveal to me now they trusted me fully.
“Thank you Ms Young. Now you have signed the document I can allow you to meet with Tobias. He is waiting for you on the top floor of the building,” said March.
Suddenly the upper hand didn’t feel like it was worth having.