The Omni

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


See the eye of the Omni.

Chapter 2 (v.1) - Welcome To Omni Industries

Submitted: September 07, 2019

Reads: 6

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Submitted: September 07, 2019

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“Welcome to Omni Industries. My name is Karen and I am going to be your virtual tour guide for today.”

A strong bustle of children made their way around the marble main lobby of the huge corporation, looking frantically from right to left and trying to get in front to see the hologramatic lady in front of them.

“Before we start the tour, I would like to take some time to tell you a little bit about the founder of Omni Industries. This man is THE revolutionary thinker of our time, Daniel Calvus Quinlan Ward. Described by Forbes Magazine as “the modern amalgamation of Trump, Branson, Musk and Jobs”, in 2016 when he was listed as the third richest man in the world in the Forbes Billionaires List, earning a net worth of 88.5 billion dollars. Mr Ward took the concept of Omni Industries as a small transport company, operating only a small handful of buses in his hometown of Detroit, Michigan in 1995. He soon shot into financial fame after buying stocks in Apple and Facebook, two companies which rose to great financial heights in the early 2000s. From here, he built his empire, creating contracts with SpaceX, Virgin, Amazon, Disney-Pixar and Starbucks!”

“Don’t forget Ford as well. Like I say, if it exists, it’s Omni”, a deep and calming voice said behind the group. All the children followed the voice and saw a tall, rather muscular framed black man in a grey suit. He was quite bald but some silver hairs could be seen on his head where the hair used to be. However, his chin was most certainly not the same as his head as he had a full but extremely well-groomed beard, mostly black in hair colour but with clear silver setting in. He didn’t seem to mind it and it did give him the rather handsome, yet rugged, silver fox look. 

 

“Hello kids, my name is Daniel Ward. I hope you’ll have fun here at Omni Industries Headquarters! We have plenty of facilities for you to see that are open to the public, only things off limits are the chemical and some scientific departments and some of our IT suites. But other than that, feel free to look around anywhere. Anyone have any questions for me?”, he asked with a smile. All eager hands went up and he laughed as he pointed at one girl with a phone held up constantly.

“Hi Mr Ward, I’m recording for my YouTube channel and I wanted to ask, is it true that you are going to buy and takeover Netflix?”, she asked. Mr Ward laughed a little and said, “Well, that’s a very interesting idea, miss. Although, to quell the internet chatter, no we aren’t buying Netflix. They’re still remaining their own independent company, however, we are working with Netflix to join up with Disney-Pixar and hopefully get more Marvel films on their platform as the people keep demanding. I, personally, love watching Captain America and I wanna see all those films on Netflix so I have good binge material when I’m home.” The kids laughed and another boy raised his hand and jumped forward in front of Mr Ward to ask his question.

“When I’m older, could I work with you as a scientist?”, he said eagerly with a wide smile showing his braces. Mr Ward beamed as he looked down at the little boy and glanced at the teacher who rolled her eyes but looked at him in a proud way.

“Son, when you’re older, I won’t even need your resume, just show me the diploma you get at the end of university and I promise you a place in my team! We need enthusiastic people like you who will demand something when he wants it. That’s the mantra that Omni Industries was founded upon after all!”, he explained as he gave the kid a high five.

“Alright, one more question before I go to my office”, he said, looking over the crowd.



 

“What was life like when you were our age?”, one child shouted from the back. This question caused a silence across the entire main hall as Mr Ward stopped smiling. All the employees were glancing from their work at him and he just stared into space, not even in the general direction of the questioner. His head was spinning as he tried to recount the events of his early childhood and formulate an answer to the question. There was some combination of words that could be put together to describe it, but what were they? And how could he deliver it? Especially to a group of children. Mr Ward easily got a picture of the scenario and it bore great similarity to the cover of Inferno by Dante Alighieri. The teacher steadily, and cautiously, approached him and snapped in his face with her fingers.

“Mr Ward? Are you alright?”, she asked. Blinking, Mr Ward came back to earth and smiled.

“Oh yes, well, it was fairly regular. I studied Osborn High School, moved on to college and then earned my degree in Business Management in the UK. My life was fairly normal, to be honest, until my stocks went sky high”, he laughed again, though this time his laughter seemed off. Rather forced.

 

“Anyway, that’s enough for now. Have fun all of you and I hope to see some of you working with me in the future!”, he announced as he gave a nod to the braced boy and retreated to the elevators, giving the group a friendly wave as the doors closed. The elevator seemed to be going upwards for eternity as Mr Ward travelled to the 66th floor in complete silence. The elevator music didn’t help the atmosphere in that small, air-conditioned box and eventually, he pressed the emergency stop button. Mr Ward’s finger lingered ever so slightly over the button for a few seconds after pressing it, whilst he stared into the blank gold of the frame of the elevator that outlined the classical wooden doors. He saw his reflection in the gold on the right and saw the successful powerhouse he’d become today. But the other side was haunting. On the other side he saw his younger self. The small, lanky boy with brittle bones and an ever-present scared look in his eyes. He saw the bruising on the boy’s face and arms and the break in the glass of his glasses. The torn shorts and blooded knees spoke volumes to Mr Ward and yet the clear absence of tears only made this picture of torment all the worse. Mr Ward kept maintaining eye contact until he suddenly punched the wall. He punched it with all of his might and will and continued to do so until the gold was bent and his hand was bloodied and possibly broken. Crouching down a little and bending his back, he kept his body up with his other hand, panting heavily and looking down at the floor where a small ball of sweat slowly fell from his face and splashed down to the floor. He looked at it for a while, still getting his breath, and then took a deep inhale. Standing up straight, clearing his throat and fixing his suit, he pressed the button again and the elevator continued to go upwards. He only looked at the door for the rest of the journey but not the golden frame. The one time he did, he only saw himself. His face in the exact spot that he assaulted and looking back at him with a twisted look of disgust, and yet, the bent metal made him look like he was smiling. The loathing was certainly in the reflection’s eyes. 

 

The elevator dinged and Mr Ward exited the elevator.

“Miss Albrecht, could send maintenance to the elevator, please? Also, send up the first aid kit”, he said to the old, skinny woman sat at her desk, typing away on a tiny laptop. She looked up and adjusted her glasses at Mr Ward and gasped.

“Honestly, Daniel! You need to get yourself someone to talk to! Or a woman in your life! This has been going on for years now!”, she said as she placed her hands on her hips and frowned at him. Mr Ward smiled and chuckled a bit, opening the door to his enormous office and looking around.

“If I wasn’t so busy, then perhaps, but you know me. I am married to my work. I am ensuri-”, he began.

“Ensuring a better world and a better future, yes, yes, I have heard that excuse for as many years as I have known you now. Will you at least, one day, consider going out into this world you’re constantly saving and meet some of the people who live in it? You never know who you might meet”, she said sternly as she handed him the first aid kit. Mr Ward smiled warmly at her and sat down in his office. His long, cherry wood desk had been recently polished and gleamed in the sunlight coming from the open window. Wrapping up his hand in the bandages, Mr Ward looked at his computer and contemplated taking up Miss Albrecht’s idea. Admittedly, he never really went out in the world that often, but a man like him needed to hide in plain sight. Being the big business overlord that is never seen outside his main building did seem shadier than usual. Getting up, he went to his coffee machine and made himself his usual, a simple black coffee. While he waited, the phone rang.

 

“Ward”, he said.

“Get out of that office before I come in there and slap you outta the window!”, the old, female voice said.

“Miss Albrecht, I love you dearly, but I am a very busy man!”, Mr Ward laughed.

“Oh yeah, that coffee keeps you real busy, don’t it?”, she replied as Mr Ward turned around to see his secretary glowering at him. Mr Ward sighed and shook his head before he hung up the phone and looked out the window at the world below him. The world seemed to be passing by as he always saw it and he could faintly see his transportation brand passing by, causing him to fail at holding back a smile. It was a funny thought, the idea that buying a taxi and driving people to their destinations himself, was how he became this. Back then he was running his own cab business down in Harlem, NY and constantly looking up at the skyscrapers at the big executives who were likely looking down on him as he did now. Every day, Daniel Ward would look up those huge buildings and think to himself, one day. One day, he would be the big business owner and he would be looking down on the people in the cabs, taking obnoxious tourists and drunken hooligans to their destinations just to make enough to pay for their one-floor studio apartment. All it took were some wise choices on the stock market and building on his finances from there. Building OmniTransit and turning that transport company into a worldwide dominator of almost every market possible. There was nothing that didn’t have the mark of the Omni brand on it somewhere and Mr Ward spent each day looking down at the world he’d slowly brought his influence into. It was quite a thought journey but his reminiscing was interrupted when the phone rang once again.

 

“Ward”, he answered again.

“Well, since badgering you into becoming slightly social hasn’t worked, I’ll tell you that you have Mr Shuzo Sumi on the line”, Miss Albrecht said as she passed the line over.

“Mr Sumi, thank you for answering my call request”, Mr Ward said happily.

“I assume you wish for me to say no to you personally then?”, Mr Sumi said in his thick Japanese accent.

“On the contrary, sir, I am hoping for you to accept the contract I have set. We take the tiniest percentage from your video game market and, in return, you get to enjoy the help of our expanding technology department. Trust me, your games will be the only thing that the gamers of today will want”, Ward said as he paced back and forth in his office.

“Our games are the only thing that the gamers of today will want. Spiderman, Shadow of the Colossus, God of War. These have gained extreme fame and we only plan on making them better, so I still don’t see why we need Omni’s help”, Mr Sumi replied in his consistently unimpressed tone.

“I have seen that, my cousin’s son loves Spiderman. But may I remind you of some of your projects such as Alekhine’s Gun, Skylight Freerange 2 or even the ever famous, My Name Is Mayo. The famous flops of Sony, I call them. With Omni, you won’t see the likes of these kinds of market failures again. Besides, you could use a good contract after the whole Marvel… unpleasantness”, Ward replied, trying to hold back a chuckle. There was silence on the phone for a while and, though he knew he’d taken a bit of a misstep with that last comment, Mr Ward knew fairly well that he was taking steps in the right direction for this conversation. 

“A representative from Sony will be coming to your headquarters to discuss terms. The contract you’ve offered is extreme, to me. But, as businessmen, I’m sure we can reach an agreement”, Mr Sumi said quietly. This ability. This unique ability was Mr Ward’s superpower. Getting people to do things, even if every fibre of their being told them that they didn't want to. Mr Ward possessed an unparalleled ability for negotiation and making people make decisions that he wanted them to make. ‘The Warding’, as Miss Albrecht so nicely put it.

“Well, it has been a pleasure, Mr Sumi. I am sure our negotiations will go very smoothly, you have a good day now…”, Mr Ward said as he gently put the phone down and picked up his coffee, taking a deep sip as he looked out of the window again.

“And welcome to Omni Industries…”


© Copyright 2019 J.J. Matthews. All rights reserved.

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