story by Alex Grosset, Arts and Entertainment
10/6-I sit in a darkened coliseum, surrounded by pillars of the Imperial community from all walks of life; military personnel, industrial leaders, respected authors, famous inventors. It’s 1200, and we’ve all been up since five this morning. We’ve been sitting here for three hours, packed in like sardines. It’s hotter than a boiler room in here, and I’m sweating through my note pad. The smell is nigh unbearable.
We’re hoping for a glimpse at the next “New Big Thing”, whatever that is. The presenters would have you believe it’s whatever they’ve come to show us, and there are a lot of presenters. I’m going to be in this seat for twelve more hours, listening to corporate vagaries trying to make out commercial endeavours to be some life changing thing. Right now, I’d settle with someone, anyone, inventing a machine that can keep a coliseum like the one I’m in at a decent temperature. Climate control…do you hear that, inventors of the Triumvirate? Get on that.
The first presentation is from a company called Velcom Technologies. These guys were little more than a start up last year, relegated to a small booth outside the fair ground. Now they’re opening the main stage. They show off plans for a new type of offensive explosive device that is activated by pulling a pin, which initiates a three second fuse. The Crowndonians in the room go nuts. The demonstration is less smooth, as the presenter blows off his own arm on stage. He’s rushed out of the coliseum, which is now filled with smoke.
“Perhaps Velcom should think about increasing the fuse to five seconds,” the host jokes nervously. Thankfully, no one laughs.
The presentations for the next two hours aren’t anything impressive–mild variations and improvements on items we saw last year, or the year before last. At 1300, we’re served rations of gruel. Again, I’d just be grateful if someone announced some sort of complete meal in a convenient bar that I can carry in my jacket pocket.
Finally, we get to the presser that everyone’s been waiting for: Rinkenbach Research and Development.
A group of fifteen women appear on stage, dancers by the look of them. They begin dancing and singing a song about the horizon, laced with lazy sexual innuendos. Rigel Rinkenbach himself appears on stage in grand fashion, lowered from up above by wires. He joins in on the song and dance routine, which culminates in an impressively garish pyrotechnics display. Sparks fall on the ground, but luckily none of them catch, like last year.
The dancers shuffle off stage, leaving Rinkenbach by himself to give the presentation. He looks winded, but other wise he’s as energetic as ever.
So what’s he unveiling? The world’s first commercial Planar Wing Aircraft.
When the plans are unveiled, I hear a loud curse from backstage. Ivan Klankenvroot is the next presenter, and with the recent enmities between him and Rinkenbach, it’s a given what Klankenvroot was planning to unveil. Sure enough, that’s exactly what it is: his own plans for a PWA aircraft. Half of the audience is snoring before the presentation is over.
The final presentation is given by a company I’ve never heard of: Foundation Inc. Their presenter tells us that he has nothing to show, but something to demonstrate, something that will change interior venues the world over.
I hear a clunking sound over head, and rattling coming from strange metal tubes lining the ceiling. After a moment, I’m beginning to wonder if something is wrong. Then I feel it…cold air, descending from the rafters like a refreshing blanket. There it is. That’s it. That’s what I’ve been waiting for.
Then I realize that Foundation could have given its presentation at the BEGINNING of the day.
Alex Grosset is an alum of the Empress University. Born and raised in Oeil de Fleur, he likes nothing more than enjoying a play by night, and ripping it apart by day. He was the first staff member hired by the Blackwood Gazette’s Nor Eastern offices.