The “Arena”, a large multi-functional hall for concerts and sport events with the vast capacity of thousand seats, was really radiant and lively. It was just before eight in the evening, and all places were taken already. There was a lot of noise between seats, and everybody was full of expectations.
The podium in front was still empty. There was just a very large TV screen, where a screensaver of the Corporation was running, and a small table, but empty.
Then, Caroline entered the stage with enthusiastic smile, wearing a gala dress from Dior. She was simply beautiful! She literally danced in front of the crowd! Her shining smile attracted everybody, so first massive wave of applause started.
“Hallo, are we all here?” she smiled. “Can we start?”
Instead of answer, yet stronger clapping vibrated the hall, and the people in the first rows started to get up, to show their respect and devotion to the Corporation!
“I think that this will be a great evening!” Caroline commented the general enthusiasm.
When the crowd became silent again, Caroline got serious. “Thank you all for coming here today! Except you, colleagues from the Corporation, three heads of states are present here and over twenty diplomatic deputies of another countries. We are very pleased, even honored, that you accepted our invitation! And believe me, that your countries will have strong commercial benefit from this declaration of respect!” Caroline made a joke.
Instead of answer, another wave of applause started.
“She is really good,” Franz mentioned, sitting in a surveillance van of Military Counterintelligence with two another colleagues, parking in front of the building, but thanks to advanced technology, they could watch everything lively.
“She is too good, and that is the reason why I have to sit here this evening and to listen to this corporate nonsense, although a good football is in the television,” another operative Carl complained.
“Man, you should be glad to be here! They said that they have a really serious announcement prepared for today! I suppose they will report their amazing economic results of this fiscal year with pride, and then, they will go to have a lot of well deserved drinks! And we will be able to enjoy this fame too, at least in the distance.”
“Cut the chat and adjust camera five, please! There is a distortion in the picture,” Carl replied. “It is complete nonsense! We could wait for the press release tomorrow, but they sent us here to become stale!”
“They participated in some special projects for the Military, or what. And you know, I like to listen to her, she is so inspiring. And she is pretty!” Franz confessed.
“But completely out of your league, friend! Moreover, everybody knows that she hunts even on the other side of the river! She is a real predator in female body!”
“I would go to date her anyway,” Franz confided. “I will listen to her for a while longer, and tomorrow, I will apply for a position in this mysterious Corporation myself!”
“You are completely lost, mate,” Carl laughed. “You should rather stick to your cameras and microphones, they won’t betray you! This heavy-weight asset would just suck your weaknesses and discard you, and your current promising career in the Military Counterintelligence ranks would be ruined forever!”
Caroline was depicted on several monitors, and closely. Her dignified face was lowered to the floor, as if she collected all her powers to that big announcement. She indicated, that she fully realizes the importance of this moment not only for the history of the Corporation, but the whole country, and the world too.
“We gathered today, to give something to our country, to the world. That project we worked on so hard. Many of you, sitting here, realized its critical parts. In the beginning, there was just an idea, to achieve something, to give it the best of us… and today? We are here, enjoying the moment, and we all know, that this is the day, when everything is changing! We, and the whole world too!
I think that everybody of us will remember this day and this evening to the end of our days! We met here, and it means, that we succeeded! Thank you for your great effort, team!” Caroline finished and the crowd reacted with massive whistles and clapping.
“Well, this evening, we will announce everything to the world, and to many of you, because very little number of people were fully briefed about the real nature of our special project. You see, we waited until successful finish, not to be embarrassed, if we possibly failed,” Caroline joked.
“Listen, Franz, this could be really something big! How many teams do we have on the spot?” Carl interrupted her presentation in the distance.
“As far as I know, one team is directly inside the building and another at the exit. Fifteen people altogether. This will be some party! And you were so pessimistic, man!”
“I am asking you, are you ready for the future?” Caroline shouted and provoked the hungry crowd.
“I can’t hear you!”
“Yes, or no?”
The noise was incredible!
“If we are ready, and if we are willing to accept the related responsibility, then perhaps I should call our dear colleague Rudolph! Many of you know him. He is in charge of special projects of our Corporation. Rudolph? Could you join us, please?”
“Hello, Caroline! Hello, team!” Rudolph greeted everybody with wide smile.
“Great to have you here! So, what do you have for us? Everybody is eager here, so make it quick, or the team will pull down this building!”
“Well, Caroline… I should make a confession! To be exact, two confessions! One is good, and one is, let’s say, a little bit worse. What do you want to hear first?”
“Try the good one!” Caroline asked him decisively.
“So, I had always a crush on you… I think that you are really cute, plus highly qualified and efficient manager and leader, of course!”
“Uh… are you sure that this belongs here, Rudolph?”
“I just wanted to prepare you for the bad part, to melt you a little…”
“I am happily married anyway, as my CV clearly states! So, let’s move on!”
“OK… look, I forget that paper in my office. You know, a busy day, it happens all the time…”
“You can’t be serious, Rudolph! You forgot the most important piece of paper in human history, that we ordered to press in Paris, with special, gold ornamented decoration with a graphite texture? It cost our Corporation more, than your one year’s salary! And the whole world is waiting for it, three presidents, famous journalists… unbelievable!”
“It happened already. I am sorry! You can punish me. I deserve it, Caroline!”
“I agree with that! I should definitely punish you. So, here is your punishment. Your work contract is terminated with extreme prejudice!”
The crowd booed!
“OK team… so do you say, that I should forgive Rudolph this time? Moreover, he confessed to deep emotions to me, and that is always valuable… But what to do now? Without that paper, we are lost, and we can dissolve this meeting and go home with empty hands!”
“If I may suggest,” Rudolph tried to save the situation, “we could send a messenger to collect it, and deliver here. Good idea, isn’t it?”
“Sorry? The most precious piece of paper in the world, and a messenger boy on a bike should transport it? No way!”
The crowd booed yet stronger!
“Fine! The people insist, as we can hear! So arrange it, Rudolph, immediately! But no mistakes this time, please! And in the meantime, let’s hear some great music! The famous singer Magdalena Novakova is coming! Please, welcome this well known, everlasting star of our pop music!”
“Hello, madame manager!” the singer, middle-aged woman, was very polite.
“You can call me Caroline! No formalities, please!”
“Well if I would lose my voice tomorrow, what to do next? I could try your famous Corporation, and contacts are always good…”
The crowd laughed.
“Should we intercept the package?” Franz asked.
“Forget it. Don’t you hear them? They are joking, anyway. They would be never so careless…”
But they were so bold, and that was the reason, why they were so successful!
A young, distracted boy occured in the stage lights. He had this yellow messenger uniform, a bicycle helmet and a bag on his back.
“Come here, young man!” Caroline called him.
“I have a package for Mrs. Caroline Rubesova,” the boy reported.
“That is me! Here… a signature… thank you very much! You are a savior!”
“Now, let’s choose a person, honored with opening and reading the package! We have a small lottery here. Magdalena, could you draw a ticket, please?
“It’s my pleasure, Caroline!”
“OK… so… who is the lucky number… yes, we have a winner! Number 153? Is a person with ticket number 153 present here, please?”
Everybody turned their heads, and then, the stage lights found a woman in her thirties, sitting next to her husband. She was a little bit shy and caught off guard, but she got up and she went to the podium.
“Hello, team member! What is your name, please?” Caroline was interested.
“Greetings! My name is Luisa. I work in the IT-security department.”
“Great to have you here, Luisa! Are you willing to become a part of history?”
“I would be delighted!” Luisa replied.
“Then, it is yours! The sealed envelope is on the table. Do it, Luisa!”
Luisa obeyed, and with almost religious respect, she opened the envelope with her shaking, sweaty hands. Her eyes watched the sentence written inside. The crowd couldn’t see it, but the military operators outside the building could.
“Watch it, Carl! This must be something heavy! And I don’t think she is just pretending it!”
They were right! Luisa, a randomly selected employee of the Corporation, lost her voice, and her eyes indicated complete shock.
“Well, Luisa? The world is waiting…” Caroline reminded her of the task.
“I… This can’t be…” Luisa was completely unable to talk.
“Thank you, Luisa! You tried, but as an employee of our Corporation, you know the basic rule: you have to trust us, you have to be with us, you have to agree with us. And you failed, I am afraid! We can’t afford such uncertain, doubtful and indecisive people in our team. Sorry, but your employment is terminated with immediate validity!”
Caroline called the security team with a gesture. They secured Luisa, so she couldn’t use the information received before the official release.
“Everybody of us fails sometimes,” Caroline commented previous event coldly. “But let’s hope that we have somebody in our team, who will not fail! But don’t force me to promise you a promotion for reading a piece of paper, people!” Caroline relaxed the tense atmosphere of expectations.
“Magdalena, another round, please! You are in no time rush, I hope?” she smiled.
“You have me prepaid till midnight! To draw a ticket is much easier work than singing, believe me, my dear! And here is the next ticket!”
“Thank you! And our next person is… number 894! Are you here, lucky number?”
Another woman stood up, and went to the podium without hesitation. She seemed like a good choice, determined and balanced.
“Your name, friend?”
“Jane! Business development department.”
“Can we count on you, Jane? Always?”
“Definitely! I live for the Corporation! I will do it. I would do anything for this great company. It gave me the possibility to be somebody, to fulfill my wildest dreams…”
“Great! Your turn! Don’t hesitate!”
Jane repeated the process. She also froze, but just for a second.
There was only one short sentence on the paper! But such a strong message!
“The international scientific team of our Corporation announces,” Jane started decisively, “that we successfully engineered and built the first…”
“Stop, Jane!” Caroline halted her loudly. “Let’s make this yet interesting!”
The crowd was completely wild! Shouting, crying, begging, booing! Eager to receive the news!
The presidential tables were full of chatter, telephones in hands. Some felt already, what is going to happen, and tried to get an advantage, to pass the news!
But it was useless. The cellular networks were switched off in the whole building!
The crowd, including diplomats, they fully understood in that fateful moment, how strong is the Corporation! That they are so small and weak in comparison!
It was a moment of complete decline.
“Continue, Jane. Now!” Caroline finally released the tension.
“We have a functional… time displacement machine,” Jane said with unexpected calmess.
What…? It is not possible… or is it???
The whole world population lost their breath!
The Military Counterintelliegence operators outside of the building gained consciousness first.
“Sierra Oscar Whiskey, this is Recon one! Code Red! Repeat, code Red!”
They announced to the high military command, that something really big just happened, and all security forces should be on full alert!
Yes, everything changed in that moment!
But the evening was not over yet. There was another news.
Caroline pointed at the big TV behind her. The screen started to glow.
“Now watch attentively, please!” she asked the world.
And the world stared… breathless!