“Mentel, I want you to meet some of my business partners.” Skott said with a smile as he gestured to the men around him in the cubicle.
“It’s a pleasure to finally meet you Mr. Creek, Skott speaks highly of you and of your son.” A man with a neatly shaved goatee asked with a friendly expression.
“Is it true that he has been entered into tonight’s event?” Another man asked eagerly.
Mentel’s voice caught momentarily at the mention of Osiris, “Yes, he’s here… It will be interesting to see what he comes up with, he wouldn’t even show me the designs he made up. I’m sorry, I don’t think I got your name?” The mechanic finished apologetically.
Speaking first, was the man with the goatee, who extended his arm. “Edgar Dalthon. I’m sure you’ve heard the name.”
Mentel’s smile remained fixed on his face as he shook the man’s hand. “Skott mentioned the acquisition of his company.”
Another man however was the one to speak, “We prefer the term, Joint-venture.”
Mentel’s smile grew wider, “So you’re saying you don’t have complete control over Gryffon Tech? And that you’re working for a mutual gain… a new type of laser technology?”
Dalthon laughed as the man’s face withdrew into a scowl, “You’ll have to excuse my consultant, Victor generally speaks before he thinks. Also, this is Edmund, my brother and unfortunately my business partner.”
Edmund winked slyly as he reclined in his chair, “Still trying to kill me off and take the company?”
Dalthon grinned straight back at him, “As if I would tell you.”
Mentel relaxed after a few moments, the conversation wasn’t nearly as bad as he had anticipated. Looking over the side of the platform, Mentel gasped and pulled himself back into the seat. Dalthon was the first to notice.
“I take it that you’re not too fond of heights?” he asked as he got to his feet and walked to the edge of the platform. Mentel looked at him as though he was crazy, “How can you be so relaxed?”
Dalthon raised his knuckle and tapped the air in front of him causing a ripple of light to emanate from the invisible wall. “Its amazing the amount of things that we take for granted these days, isn’t it?” Edmund said wistfully as he too got to his feet. “The walls are reinforced so that even if a building fell on them, they would still stand strong. Also, if you’re wondering about the motors, there are various back-ups that can be used on command.”
Mentel tried to smile, but he sent a panicked look towards Skott and asked, “Motors?”
“In that case, the worst part is yet to come.” Victor answered with a grin as he looked towards the stairs that had led to the platform.
“Soon, we’ll be relying on hover motors completely. First we’re raised into the air, which you’ve already seen. Then the walls turn transparent so we can see everything on the stage. Then finally we will be given navigation control so we can get closer if necessary.”
“Just the basics of forward, back, left and right. The platform wont let another platform come too close to it, so it is actually quite safe, you can come up and have a look for yourself if you want?” Edmund interjected reassuringly, “Besides, I want to know more about this boy of yours, what did you say his name was, Osiris?”
“It’s been quite a number of years since we came here, isn’t it darling?” Alistar asked his wife as they took their seats on the platform. The woman winked at him, “There was a time when you couldn’t afford the VIP platforms.”
Alistar laughed, “Its that knowledge that gives me drive to do better, you know that.”
Cierra rolled her eyes at her parents and walked forward to the edge of the platform, pressing her hands against the cool transparent walls. “Dad, how long before it starts?” She asked casually.
Alistar pressed a button on the arm of his chair and a notice appeared towards the top right hand corner of the wall. “Hmm, it looks like there is a bit of a delay, but it should be starting soon. Cierra, sit down so we can start the elevation.”
“Alistar, you know we cant leave without Shanna!” His wife said as she touched his elbow. Cierra sighed as her father laughed, “Right you are, where is she by the way?”
Before anyone else could speak, a brown haired girl stumbled onto the platform… pausing briefly to reach back to take her coat from one of the men at the entrance. “Sor…Sorry I’m late.” Shanna panted, “They didn’t believe I was a Grove.”
Alistar smiled to his wife, “See, I told her about wearing those damn gloves over her chip.” Cierra groaned and hit the elevate button before anyone could say another word. Shanna stumbled slightly as the platform jarred to life at the unexpected manual prompt. “Cierra!” Alistar shouted, “Don’t do that without warning!”
“Honey, you know she just doesn’t want to miss the start, her little friend is in it. The mechanic boy…” Cierra’s mother said in a hushed voice. Cierra whoever whirled around to face her family again, “His name is Osiris! Stop calling him a mechanic boy.”
“So I take it that your surprise for him didn’t work out to well, did it?” Shanna asked politely, “I don’t you he wouldn’t want to see that again.”
Cierra launched herself at her sister, but her mothers hand grabbed her wrist and pulled her aside, “We do not fight each other, we are civilised people, you know that Cierra! Whatever it is that has gotten into you over the last week, I don’t want to see it again, is that clear?”
Cierra glared at her sister before turning back to her mother, “Yes, mother.”
Alistar readjusted himself in the seat and looked around himself, “Cierra, this was your birthday present, you wanted us to take you here to see this show. Please behave yourself and be grateful that your older sister took the time to come tonight. It’s not often that she comes out with us.”
Shanna smiled warmly at her father as she sat on the side of the chair. Cierra waited for the platform to reach its full height, her hands started to shake as she looked to the floor below.
Thousands upon thousands sat and stood alike in a huge circle shape. The centre of the doughnut was the stage upon which each mechanic would complete their given assignment. But at the edge of the crowd in the huge dome were the VIP area platforms which were equipped with walls that were able to receive detailed information on each candidate.
“Dad, why do the VIP’s sit so far away?” Shanna asked as she looked at one platform moving slowly in their direction. Alistar broke out of his reverie for a moment and considered the question, “Most of the time, the VIP areas are withheld for important business people such as myself. Yet there are instances where representatives come to scout new talent. It would not be uncommon for me to give my reserved platform to my research and development team so they could find potential recruits.”
Shanna just looked around her, “But is it really necessary for them to be so distanced?”
Cierra turned around and looked at Shanna, “Companies don’t want each other to know who they want. For example, if a laser technician was recruited by a laser company, nobody would care… but if a nuclear physicist was recruited by an arms dealer, that would generate a few more questions I think.”
“Cierra, don’t speak like that!” Her mother said disapprovingly. “It sounds so morbid.”
Alistar however smiled inwardly, “She’s one hundred percent right though. That is exactly why we keep to our own devices, but today is pleasure and not business. So sit down and relax. We’re going to hit the top soon.”
As the words left his mouth, the platform came to a stop which in turn caused a voice to speak. “All VIP members at their stations, there shall be no further delays. Please enjoy the display.”
Alistar Grove pulled at the tie around his neck as he looked nervously at his wife, “I’m sure it was somebody else that was late, and not us… yeah, that’s it.”
Shanna laughed for a moment with her father, but stopped as she looked out to the left. “Dad, that platform is getting really close…”
“Request to Dock. Platform 26.” a hollow voice sounded out from the hand of the chair. “Voice clip attached.”
Alistar smiled, “Play voice clip.”
“Grove, It’s Dalthon, I want a merger.”
Alistar was in complete shock, “He’s my biggest competitor, what the hell would he want a merger for. This is outrageous… who does he think he is?”
Cierra smiled at her father, “Dad, he meant the platforms. He requested a merger.”
Feeling his skin grow bright red, Alistar stared at his youngest daughter before he laughed aloud. “I cant make any mistakes with you three women in my life, can I?”
Alistar pushed the button on the arm chair, “Request Accepted.”
Cierra walked to the opposite side of the platform and sat on the floor. Reaching out to the wall she started to pull all the information available on Osiris towards her. His academic records were all that were attached to his name. But from all reports by the media, he wasn’t in with a chance of making it past practical session.
“Reduce levels.” Tweak said instantly. Osiris looked at him quizzically, “What levels?”
Tweak whirred for a moment, processing the question. “The emotional levels. Your hands are moving from your emotion and it will decrease your productivity by six percent. Please explain if I am wrong.”
Osiris laughed, “You’re not wrong, Tweak. But you’re making me realise that if I can make you, this should be easy.”
Tweak paused for a moment, its answer snapping back quicker this time. “Melding daxons to a hovering voice unit with some memory isn’t an achievement.”
Osiris turned around, “So I should take you apart and try again?”
Tweak paused, “Wait until you’re a good mechanic.”
Osiris smiled as he clicked the off switch behind one of the lower daxons, catching the device easily and tucking it under his arm. The hours below the stage had been highly stressful for Osiris, many of the mechanics there were reciting formulas that he had never heard of, some were practicing on circuit boards and others were holding wires and entangling them in different patterns. It all seemed so serious in there and everyone was in their own little world. Osiris couldn’t wait to see what their equipment would look like. What made it worse was the cheering of the crowd above since nobody knew who was being accepted and who wasn’t.
“You okay there boy? Where is your father?” One voice called out, an elderly man with a thick chain coiled around his wrist. Osiris couldn’t find the words, his eyes were just drawn to the chain. Chuckling to himself, the old man smiled at the teenager. “Don’t worry about this. It’s just an old training method my father showed me. Just adding a little extra weight to the body and releasing it before the final test… these old bones of mine might just have a sharper edge to them when the time comes.”
“You think you’ll make it to the final test?” Osiris asked instantly, forgetting himself.
“Of course, It would take an idiot to fail the first four.” The old man laughed. “Ah, I’m being cruel… I’m sorry, you’re dad will be fine. He’ll probably get through the first two rounds if this is his first time here. That is if he has any common sense to him.”
Osiris was very confused, “What do you mean about common sense?”
The old man smiled, “I mean, the judges out there see the same crap every day, over and over again. You have to make something that works, but if they give you an item that can be done by the average mechanic, you’d have to do something extraordinary to fly into their radar.”
Osiris stared at him, “But they would never give something too simple, it’s the Thunderist exam.”
The old man smiled weakly, “You’re an innocent one, I can tell that much. I really hope I’m not destroying your idols here, but the Thunderist Academy has a quota of five applicants a year. Every few years there is an exam, which means that there are more applicants or more exceptional people than there are spaces… meaning that?”
Osiris looked down to the floor, “That there is a waiting list to get in.”
“What is your name, boy?” the older man asked as he adjusted the chain on his arm.
Osiris however was so lost in thought that he didn’t answer the man, he just stared at the floor, his dreams of becoming a Thunderist started to fade.
“Don’t think on it too much, here, think of it this way. Your dad might impress them in there, and you never know. Maybe in about five or ten years he’ll be accepted into their ranks. You just have to believe.” The elderly man said reassuringly. Ruffling Osiris’ hair, the older man retreated back to his assigned workbench. As the cheering echoed through to the mechanics, everyone knew that another round had been completed. Moving back to the safety of their benches, the mechanics watched as the stage from above opened to allow the projects to lower into storage. After the stage was clean for reuse, it started to elevate back to its original position. Osiris had been transfixed by the procedure, but at this stage he was used to it. The only thing he really listened for now was what followed.
The room went silent as the voice emanated around the room. Five names were called out just as the doorway to the elevators unlocked. Osiris sighed as the names flooded the room. “Just use Common sense?” the young boy thought to himself as he watched five men leave the room. One of which was the elderly man with the chain around his arm. Osiris waved at him for good luck, and the man winked at him in return before the elevator door closed around him. Lying back on the bench, the young boy wondered when it would be his turn. “I wonder if Cierra will come?” Osiris murmured softly.
“Probably not after what you said.” Tweak said instantly.
Osiris groaned, “I cant even turn you off! I know I was eight, but still…”
After a few moments of silence, Osiris smiled, “I really have to remake you.”
Tweak whirred silently, but didn’t give an answer. Osiris grinned as he added, “I’ll let you keep your memory… For a second there, I almost thought you had a personality, Tweak.”
“In time, Sir.” Tweak replied before going back into hibernation.
Cierra scanned the stage as the new contestants arrived, yet Osiris wasn’t among them. Mentel smiled as the girl collapsed back to the platform. “You’re waiting for someone in particular?”
The teenage girl just sighed as she put her arms behind her head and stared at the roof of the platform cube. “It’s really complicated.”
Alistar grinned, “She means that when she says it, I’m sorry for about that… once I start talking business, its impossible to drag me away.”
Mentel smiled at the heavyset man, “That’s no problem at all Mr. Grove, I can appreciate how rare of an opportunity it is that you would get a conversation with a competitor without having it recorded and such.”
Alistar faltered for a moment, “You’re a shrewd one, I seem to be getting surprised by people left right and centre today. What is your name may I ask, and would I be right in saying that you work for the Dalthon group here?”
Mentel smiled awkwardly and quelled his instantaneous answer which was to scream the word no. Instead he just spread his hands out in front of him, “I wouldn’t be so advanced as these people, I’m just a mechanic that deals mainly in repairs. Oh and sorry, where are my manners, my name is Mentel Creek. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
Instantly getting to her feet, Mrs. Grove was touching his shoulder. “You’re the boy’s father I take it, or some relation?” Mentel grinned, and his face lit up momentarily at the mention of Osiris. Cierra turned and regarded the man, but upon seeing his smile she instantly saw the resemblance to Osiris.
“Yes, he’s my son. I’m just wondering how long it’s going to take before he’s sent out to the stage. It’s actually funny that you should remember him, he befriended your youngest daughter I think, Cierra?”
Cierra went bright red as she froze on the spot, “I’m Cierra, Mr. Creek.”
Mentel turned and smiled, “Call me Mentel… wait, what? You’re Cierra?”
Before Cierra could respond, Dalthon took a step forward and rested his hand on Mentel’s shoulder. “I don’t mean to interrupt, but I need your help verifying something.”
Mentel turned to see the Dalthon brothers squinting out at the stage. “His name is coming up on the records as Quentin, X. But I have no recollection of that name, yet the face looks quite familiar.”
Mentel grinned, “Xavier Quentin, Xentin Motors… you’ve probably heard of them from when it was a contender for Byrne Racing?”
Edgar was the first to realise, “Yes, yes, he was one of the original mechanics for the formula engine. The one that Byrne raced in the Light Prix all those years ago?”
“Yes, that’s him.” Mentel said with a slight smile. Skott however was just staring at the screen. “Which one is it?” Mentel turned to him and pointed out at the stage, “Him there, the elderly man with the chain wrapped around his arm. He used to wear that to work every day in the garage.”
Alistar raised an eyebrow, “And how would you know that, Mr. Creek?”
Mentel laughed aloud, “I really should learn how to hold my tongue one of these days, but back to your question, I was apprenticed to him after I was kicked out from Expenditech University.”
Cierra however was the one to pipe up, “You were kicked out?”
Mentel took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes, “I really shouldn’t be allowed in public.” he finished with a smile. “Why is he competing in something like this?” Dalthon asked, with Edmund behind him nodding as if to ask the question also.
“He used to take this test for fun, just a personal challenge to himself to see if he was as good as the mechanics around him. It was first an advertising front for his business, the motor industry. Yet when he was offered a position as a Thunderist. Well, that’s when he told them that he didn’t feel the time was right. So its almost been a ritual for him to come and compete with everyone else here.”
Edmund whistled at the remark, “He must have been quite the genius. Being able to keep up with everyone in today’s day and age… especially with the amount of technological leaps that we take every number of years.”
Mentel walked closer to the screen and looked first at the small image of his mentor moving furiously on the stage, and then to the zoomed image of his face. The perpetual delight that lit up his features brought Mentel back to the days when he learned how to construct motors back in the garage.
Osiris’ father grinned for a moment and turned to everyone, “He’s someone that you’ll want to watch if you’ve never seen this happen before.”
Alistar nodded, “He’s a good worker? Is that what you mean?”
Mentel laughed, “Oh no, remember I told you that he originally did this stunt to market his company?” Everyone around the platform nodded, allowing Mentel to continue, “I failed to mention that he also did it to market his products. He’s one of the only mechanics to use his own equipment and apparatus.”
As the timer started to click above the contestants, many of the men nodded their appreciation towards the judging panel as though to earn favour. Yet Xavier merely winked at them as he unravelled the chain on his arm. The people in the audience that were situated close to the stage gasped at what they saw next. The chain that was resting limp on the floor started to coil upwards like a snake before darting forward and wrapping around the large metal container marked number ‘Four’. Lifting it with ease and placing it next to the one of the other boxes where other mechanics were struggling with mechanical arm controls to try and carry their cases to their workbenches.
Xavier wiggled his fingers in a complex pattern before outstretching the fingers in different directions. The crowd roared their approval as the chain enweaved itself and split into four separate strands of chain. Each chain was now hovering still in the air as Xavier walked to inspect the contents of a crate.
“A formula motor, with a few misplaced parts? You must really have too many applicants?” Quentin smirked as he looked behind him to where the clock ticked away. Looking to either side of him, he saw some mechanics sweating profusely as they repeated rehearsed indexes and procedures. Others were pulling parts apart that shouldn’t be removed. Xavier sighed to himself as he raised his right arm, his fingers closing slightly causing the chains to narrow. “After all of these years, this baby is like a stronger and faster arm. Maybe we can set a new record?”
In the flash of an eye, the chain was darting forward, all of Xavier’s fingers were darting in intricate patterns, pulling and pushing forward rapidly before rotating slightly and then flicking out. If his hand was difficult to follow, the chain was impossible to see. Most of the audience got to their feet to watch as the motor was basically stripped of all its materials.
“Ta Dah!” Xavier muttered to himself as he walked back to the work bench to get the materials for repairs.
“How is it possible? How could someone have learned off the complexities of such a device, the control, with just one hand… its an astonishing ability. Why has nobody recruited him?” Edmund asked aloud as he watched the display in wonder. Mentel smiled at him, “He will say at the end of the day that he is not interested in working for anybody other than himself. But this is one of his older inventions, he used to use it back when I was learning from him, so the years of practice are obviously showing.”
Cierra just stared open mouthed at the man. It was mere minutes before he raised his hand and slammed it down on the workbench, signalling that he was finished.
Dalthon cleared his throat before he spoke, “This is pure publicity, he didn’t try in the slightest. Thunderist’s want flair and creativity. Yet he did the basic requirement with a flashy show and he knows it.”
“Do you think your boy will understand what it is they’re looking for?” Victor asked from his seat beside Skott’s. Mentel took his eyes from the screen to answer him, but it was Cierra’s voice that carried through the room, “He’ll show them all.”
Shanna however, snorted at the words, “You really are living in dream land. You’re sixteen! He’s two years younger than you… and so what, he has good grades, that doesn’t mean he can be a mechanic! Studying in absence of a social life can only get you so far, Cierra. This will be a wake up call for him.”
Mrs. Grove sat a little straighter, waiting for Cierra to explode at the words, yet to her surprise, her youngest daughter merely laughed. “Shanna, I’ll be standing over here when you take your words back.”
The crowds cheers were deafening and continued even until the next line of contestants arrived on the stage. Xavier turned around to see Osiris standing near one of the workbenches, the young boy’s eyes were locked on the chains. “Remember what I said, boy, show them some flair! Looks like you weren’t here for your dad. Give them something to remember.”
Osiris just stared numbly at the device, his throat going dry with nervousness as he looked to the two boxes he had brought with him. Osiris unconsciously took a step back as his voice was announced to the crowd.
“It’s now or never…” Osiris said as he swallowed and looked over the crowd. The sheer volume of people was enough for him to instantly break eye contact with them. Moments later, all the names had been called out and the audience plunged into darkness. All that was illuminated was the stage itself and the crate in front of each mechanic. “I’m number two… right, nobody’s watching, it’s fine, nobody’s watching.” Osiris repeated to himself.
Opening the two boxes, Osiris first withdrew Tweak which he switched on and threw into the air. The young teenager didn’t hear the gasps from the crowd as the little machine whirred to life and hovered behind his shoulder. Next out of the box was a pair of silver gloves which had wires extending from them into a huge metal case. Osiris pulled the gloves onto his hands and neatly placed the Gravity Manipulator on the workbench. Curious glances from the other mechanics were shot in his direction.
The excited muttering of the audience started to turn into a chattering of laughter followed by light jeering. The four other mechanics now had their case unloaded and placed on the bench, some were already analysing the parts of their machines. Yet Osiris stood at his workbench, flicking switches on boards and adjusting dials, his crate lay completely unopened. The young prodigy smiled as all the lights started to illuminate on his apparatus. Going back to his boxes, Osiris lifted what resembled a metal brace and started to fit it around his upper torso and arms.
The laughing and jeering started to become louder now, so much so that it could be heard on the stage. Osiris bowed his head slightly as he registered the comments being thrown at him. Yet in his heart he knew that he had to keep trying. Reaching forward towards the crate, one of the judges raised his voice, his laugh could be heard as he spoke, “You see the big machines over there? Yes, with the big arm on it? Yes, that one, that’s what you’re supposed to use!”
Osiris stared at the man, “I’m really sorry, I thought I could just do this?” Without another word, Osiris easily lifted the huge crate up and placed it aside. The atmosphere changed instantly, no longer could jeers be heard. Just gasps of astonishment. “Did he just lift that crate?” and “Impossible!” Echoed throughout the building. Causing Osiris to smile briefly as he regarded the machine in front of him. “Tweak, start analysing this motor.”
“How would you like the results processed?” Tweak asked loudly, causing Osiris to grin. “Don’t act up because there is a crowd, process them as normal.”
One of the mechanics at the other bench stopped working at the sound of the voice. Throwing his tools on the table, he turned to the judges, “This boy is clearly being instructed by an outside source!”
The judge that had previously been embarrassed got to his feet and issued a voice command. “System, Analyse the hovering machine for any irregularities or cheating methods.”
The clock stopped and the mechanics took the time to observe their machines more carefully whilst Osiris stood and waited for the verdict. “System process complete, blueprints of construction, component index added to user database for consideration. No irregularities found.”
“Objection dismissed, resume the clock!” The judge said as he took his seat. Some of the judges started to look at the blueprints in awe.
“I’m telling you, someone is doing this!” The mechanic raged as Tweak reported all it’s findings on the engine. Placing his two arms on the side of his work bench, the mechanic lost his composure and flung all his tools and loose parts across the table and into the air beside him. What happened just next caused the audience to silence once more in shock. Each and every part that had been discarded from the table now suspended in mid-air. Osiris sighed as he went and picked every item from the bubble. Before he could stop him, Osiris saw the mechanic reach for one of his tools with surprise written all over his face. The audience gasped as the man was now unable to move, he was suspended in mid air.
As confusion struck the crowd, Osiris raised his voice. “I’m really sorry, the machine is supposed to make the zero gravity operate for the gloves easily, but at the moment they’re only making me immune to the effects. Everything else is affected.” Osiris flicked the switch up and down, causing the man to fall to the ground along with a few other screws and shards of metal.
This time another judge raised her voice, “Please continue. We’d like to see how your findings on the motor.”
Osiris nodded his head and looked behind to where the clock was slowly ticking away. “Lots of time.”
Mentel was smiling, “I never imagined that he’d try to do something like this! It’s beyond my own comprehension. I knew he was gifted, but invention. I never thought he’d go down that path. This is fantastic… anti-gravity?”
Dalthon was staring at the mechanic intently, “You really had nothing to do with this? You don’t have to lie to us, we appreciate work… and this is extraordinary. You don’t need to mask it through your son.”
Mentel laughed, “I wish that stuff was mine, but no, it’s all his own invention. I did help him meld the daxons onto Tweak, the little device, but that was about six years ago.”
Edmund interjected, “He made that when he was ten?!”
Skott smiled, “No, actually he was eight when he made that one, I remember him showing it to me. He was babbling like an idiot about a girl that was nice to him.”
Mentel grinned, “That would be the young girl over there.” he said as he gestured to where Cierra was blushing furiously. “I can vouch for Tweak, he was making it when I first met him.”
Alistar was just flabbergasted, “Your son is able to do all of this? And… you, you’re just… I cant think of the words to describe this. He’s astounding!”
Shanna walked up beside Cierra and winked at her, “I’ll take my words back the day he becomes a Thunderist.” Cierra smiled as she gently nudged her older sister with her shoulder. Shanna however smirked down at Cierra, “You do know the publicity from this will make him quite popular with all the girls. Don’t you?”
Cierra bowed her head slightly, “It will be good for him. I’ll just have to make sure that they’re good enough for him.” Shanna looked at the false smile on her sister’s face. “Don’t let him hurt you. If he does, I’ll kill him with my bare hands.”
Cierra laughed and embraced her sister tightly, causing Shanna to jolt back in shock.
Alistar stared at his daughters, “Today is providing quite a number of surprises. But I am afraid I cannot let such an opportunity pass, Mr. Creek. I am willing to offer your son a contract with Grove technologies.”
Dalthon smiled over at Alistar, “You never change.” He then turned his attention to the astonished mechanic, “I would like to make a counter offer, it would be well to consider the advantages that the Dalthon group have that Grove Technologies seem to lack.”
Mentel smiled at both men, “You’re negotiating with the wrong Creek. The boy you want to be talking to is down there, the choice is his own for what he would like to do. I would prefer to keep him from this sort of environment for a number of years, until he is of age to understand it completely. Yet after this display, a simple life may be too complicated to pursue.”
“You really need to see this!” Skott said hurriedly as he gestured at the screen. Everybody turned around to see four mechanics struggling to fit some pieces of their machines back together. Yet Osiris had his hand raised over the red button about to finish the assessment. “This was way too easy, there was no challenge, it’s like what that old guy said… I didn’t use any flair and I have thirty minutes left.”
“Excuse me, but can I have four more of the same engines please?” Osiris called down to the judging panel. After a moment of hesitation, four similar engines were brought up to the stage. Osiris ran over to his case and withdrew the red visor which he secured under his unruly black hair and just over his ear.
Closing his free eye, Osiris opened the eye which was now flooded with red quarts. “Tweak Upload blueprints of the one we just finished. I want you to measure their compatibility and start working out a time estimate on a merger.”
Osiris accepted the transfer to his visor and watched as the blueprints shot up to life on the inside of the screen. “Break Down.” Each component separated from the model of the engine on the apparatus on the visor. Osiris looked at each part and started to brainstorm on how it would be possible to combine their powers. “Estimation at full capacity is twenty-seven minutes.”
Osiris looked at the clock which read twenty-four minutes behind him, before looking back to Tweak. “Start Upload.”
Osiris was a blur of movement, with the gravity gloves working on full power and his hands were moving like lightening in and out of the motor. Originally it didn’t look like he was doing much until all four replacement engines started roaring to life. It took the audience a few moments to realise that a fourteen year old boy had completed the task set for 5 mechanics with five separate engines within eleven minutes. However what really caught their attention was that he didn’t stop there, he continued to transform the engines into something more incredible. In the final minutes, Osiris reached over and heaved the giant machine onto the workbench that seemed to almost buckle under the weight. Exhausts were fitted to either side of the monstrosity and separate aspects to the five engines could be seen mirrored on it. “Fuel line, leakage… second engine. Intercooler disrupted, third engine.” Tweak continued to shout out all the different problems that the monstrosity suffered from. And as each one was thrown at Osiris he had it repaired in time to hear the next. His hands blurred as he started to adjust the turbines, “What else?” Osiris called out as he wiped the oil from his head. “Processing!” Tweak said urgently, its lights shifted over the entire surface of the beast. “Gearbox, misaligned by four centimetres.” Tweak called out.
Osiris had to lift the machine up with his gloves so that he could access the gears. Just as he started to reach for the ignition, he saw a trickle of oil seep across the table. “Tweak where is that coming from?” Osiris asked quickly, looking back to see the timer reach its final minute.
Osiris dug his head inside the machine, looking for the source, trying to find where it was coming from… but he couldn’t see it. “There should be no oil near the combustion line!” Osiris said in a panic. Reaching into to feel if the gear box was correctly fitted, Osiris withdrew his hand to find it covered completely in oil. Tweak finished processing and said the words that cut through Osiris, “Two out of forty-seven laser melds didn’t hold, they were in the fuel line.”
Osiris looked at the oil in his hand as he heard the final sound signalling that the assessment was over. “But I didn’t hit the button.” Osiris looked at the oil on his hands, “I failed…”
The judges took a moment to explain that they didn’t complete the task given to them in the allotted time therefore they were no longer deemed applicants to the Thunderist academy. Osiris looked down to the man that he had embarrassed, “Better luck next time.”
Osiris bowed his head and looked at the huge machine that loomed there beside him. Looking around he saw the others leaving the stage, their heads turned away from the crowd. Osiris reached his hand forward and hit the ignition.
The roar thundered through the building and caused the entire stage to vibrate. Oil spewed across the table and the engine used the remaining four oil supplies to struggle on. Holding onto the machine with his gravity gloves, Osiris pulled the motor back to its perch and turned it off. The sound it made powering down sounded like an aircraft coming in to land. Osiris looked down at the judge and said simply, “Sorry you didn’t get to see it at full power, but who knows? Maybe next time.”