Chapter 6: A Game of Prestige [6]

----- This translation belongs to konila.com -----

----- THIS TRANSLATION BELONGS TO konila.com -----

----- This translation belongs to konila.com -----

----- This translation belongs to konila.com -----

Chen Yang could never have believed that the droid, which he had always taken as a mere figment of cinematic special effects, would appear right before his eyes.

Those sleek curves and flamboyant, fiery-red overlay of the droid’s torso, coupled with the Ark Reactor embedded on its chest were enough proof that this was one and the same as Patriot One he saw in Hope’s videos.

But how is this possible?!

That was CGI! Wait! Surely everything here is not just a huge special effects display!?

Chen Yang was flabbergasted and his teammates who were blabbering about their imminent victory with such confidence just moments ago, fell silent as well.

What is that thing!? Did it just land from the sky?! It could fly?!

From the moment Patriot One descended on the stage, every other competing team in the competition knew that victory had slipped past their fingers.

Even the host of the event could barely speak at the sight of it, but his impeccable training enabled him to recover quickly. Offering a few words of praises, he quickly stood aside to let the stranger in suit and tie present his droid and its functions.

The sudden and flashy entrance of Patriot One had captivated everyone around, that no one had noticed the stranger in suit and tie coming up on stage. It wasn’t until the host gestured at and introduced him did anyone realize who the mild-mannered stranger, donning a simple suit and tie and a pair of golden-rimmed glasses, was.

It was the creator of Patriot One, Qi Wang.

Hardly bad-looking himself, Qi Wang’s extraordinary presence was enough to indicate that he was no ordinary person. Yet, despite his well-kept youth, it needed no debate that he too was not impervious to the fraying of time.

That amazing droid is his invention?!

The same thought rang in everyone’s mind.

Meanwhile, the online spectators watching the live broadcast stared at Patriot One descending on the stage as if they had just seen a unicorn.

Wait. Where’s Hope? What about the CGI we’re supposed to see? Where’s the green screen? And what about that little Smurf Lovely?

T-t-that droid… Is that the one we’ve been seeing?! The very same one that Hope’s been building right before our eyes, while we’ve been dismissing it as visual effects?!

There was not one fan who could properly control his or her composure.

Some among the audience online did not know about Hope’s exploits online, but when they saw him on the stage, they could not help feeling that he looked oddly familiar.

They seemed to have seen him before, although no one could tell where or when.

Qi Wang paid no heed to what everyone was thinking about. Calmly, he began the presentation on his droid.

“This, ladies and gentlemen, is Patriot One. It’s a security droid with flying capabilities…”

Flatly, Qi Wang instructed, “Patriot One, initiate flight systems.”

The unmoving droid took off, shooting into the air like a blazing firework, circling overhead the sports complex, before finally landing back in front of Qi Wang.

The brief demonstration left the host and every member of the audience speechless.

“At full battery, Patriot One can reach the speed of a fighter plane. But on normal occasions, you can set it to as low as 120 yards per hour.”

“Patriot One is also equipped with weapon systems.”

As if it was listening, Patriot One’s weapon system triggered on command with racks of little missiles popping out of a bomb bay hidden in its shoulder, aiming at the contestants below the stage.

“W-w-what the—!” the contestants yelped with fright.

It was all the host could do from fainting, who could never have expected a Mexican standoff in the midst of the competition. He screamed frantically, “Easy now, Mr. Qi!”

Surely he’s not a terrorist of sorts!? Imagine the carnage if all Hell breaks loose now!

Qi Wang cast an amused glance at the host and noticed the beads of sweat rolling down his chin. Blinking blankly at him, he was hardly amused by the histrionics of the emcee, muttering, “Those are only dummy missiles. The firearm laws of our country prohibit the ownership, as well as the use of heavy firearms by civilians.”

With that, he ordered Patriot One to shut down its weapons systems.

The host wiped off his sweat, his legs now as soft as marshmallow.

God in Heaven, why in the world did you have to make the dummy munitions so real?!

Down below the stage, the audience and contestants reeled with mixed bewilderment and relief.

They have been frightened out of their wits only to hear that the missiles were only dummies. Talk about a deadly joke.

Just when everyone thought that was the end of Qi Wang’s demonstration of Patriot One, he walked suddenly to the front of the droid and held up his arms side-ways.

Then spectators began to realize that Patriot One looked almost identical to his size and height.

But what is he doing? Is this a gesture of showing-off?

“As I mentioned,” Qi Wang announced, “Patriot One is a security droid. Hence, self-protection is its greatest purpose.”

“Patriot One, activate self-protection systems.”

A litany of mechanical whirls and clicks clamored at Qi Wang’s command. Patriot One burst open like a Venus flytrap that engulfed Qi Wang whole, deploying and assembling itself all around him, and finally back into the same Patriot One with him inside.

Everyone fell silent, awestruck by a spectacle that would have seemed more ordinary in a science fiction movie than in real life, so much so leaving hardly any sound all over the sports complex.

The silence broke suddenly, shattered by Qi Wang’s voice amplified from inside Patriot One.

“Once the self-protection systems activate, you’ll have access to both the flight and weapon systems. The present power levels of Patriot One allows a flight speed of 250 meters per second for ten minutes. These features shall be sufficient for anyone surrounded by dangers to make it to safety.”

“Or, if the user of Patriot One wishes to take a stand against the enemies, Patriot One can easily bowl over a speeding sports car and take zero damage. Unless your enemy is armed with something as deadly as a fighter plane, there’s no way anyone protected by Patriot One will see any harm.”

“In other words, you can stand here all day and nothing will harm you. You can choose to fight your ground or even restrain your enemy until the police arrive. But due to the droid’s overly-great strength, I do not suggest taking initiative on hostilities on your own accord. It’s to prevent losses and damages.”

Everyone understood every word, but the words strung together hardly made sense at all! It felt as if their minds were having a breakdown. Why else would they fail to understand what Qi Wang was trying to convey?

How can this be a security droid? It looks more like a machine for war!

As the crowd recovered gradually, they began to ponder what Qi Wang said. A speed of 250 meters per second?! That’s almost the speed of fighter jets! How could the human body endure that kind of force under such conditions?!

The audience below began to stir with doubt. Everyone thought that Qi Wang was over exaggerating.

Besides, no one could believe that current technology would be able to support Qi Wang’s claims of what Patriot One could do. That’s just impossible, some were saying. Qi Wang must be overselling!

But Qi Wang seemed to guess their thoughts, for in the blink of an eye, Patriot One was gone.

A few seconds later, everyone could hear the whine of its repulsors. Before they could even look up, Patriot One shot down from the sky like a comet, landing on the stage again.

A deep hush pervaded the audience and other contestants below.

Patriot One could really function as a flying conveyance.

To demonstrate Patriot One’s toughness, Qi Wang had even brought a car. The self-driving vehicle rammed into Patriot One with Qi Wang still inside.

The car turned into a wreck of mangled steel, but Patriot One suffered not even one scratch.

This experiment validated Qi Wang’s assertion.

He had proven that he was not lying; Patriot One was indeed built with ungodly endurance, and by the estimates of some contestants, it could very well be stronger than Qi Wang described it to be.

They did not miss the fact that when the car barreled into Patriot One at full speed, the droid hardly even moved an inch despite being struck at by such a huge force. One might argue that Patriot One shared the robustness of a tank.

With his demonstration at its conclusion, Patriot One reopened with another series of mechanical jangles and Qi Wang stepped out of it.

He looked completely fine; not even a strand of hair of his was out of place. He hardly resembled a person who had just flown very close to the speed of Mach 1 and experienced a car crash.

“This is Patriot One, a security droid. Thank you very much.”

With a bow as the finale of his presentation, Qi Wang stepped down the stage with Patriot One following dutifully behind.

Qi Wang’s turn was done and now it was the others’.

At the lead of ushers, Qi Wang brought Patriot One to the expo area.

Members of the public could purchase tickets to visit the sports complex after the competition, and see the droid expo where they could take pictures with any droid they liked.

The telecast of the competition earlier left scores of local fans unable to rein in their excitement and they immediately thronged the sports complex to get a first-hand look at Patriot One.

Hope’s the real deal! Everything he has been saying in his videos was true!

The degree of respect, admiration, and awe for Qi Wang were utterly a stark contrast from before. The fans have watched each one of Qi Wang’s videos and had witnessed the birth of Patriot One until its completion, but never did they believe that it was real until now. The shocking revelation that Patriot was the real deal made them burst with frenzy.

But even those who did not follow Hope’s videos online flocked to the sports complex to catch a glimpse of Patriot One. The live telecast of Qi Wang’s demonstration had thrilled them so greatly that they just needed to look at the droid up close.

By the time Chen Yang and his team were finished with the presentation of their droid, a veritable horde of excited fans had already mobbed Patriot One’s exhibition at the expo area.

Invariably, Patriot One was the star of this year’s competition. None of the other droids could ever hope to compare to Patriot One; they seemed like children’s toys compared to it.

There was hardly anyone who did not rush to crowd around Patriot One at the expo area. Even members of other competing teams joined in the crowd, eager to have a close look at Qi Wang’s invention.

They might not be able to construct a droid as advanced as Patriot One, perhaps not even in another ten years. Still, these were all elite students of science and robotics, and they were interested in gleaning whatever they could by examining the Patriot One up close.

They could never hope to surpass Qi Wang in his talents and finesse, but they would certainly want to learn from him.

“Mr. Qi, I’ve become a fan of yours. Do you think I can touch Patriot One?”

“Wow, Mr. Qi, I’m really enthralled by your display earlier. Can I shake your hand?”

“Mr. Qi, Mr. Qi!”

The mob grew rowdy and unruly with everyone clambering desperately to see Qi Wang.

But a sudden voice, shrill but sonorous, pierced through the riotous hubbub.

“Ah?! Aren’t you Qi Wang, the former President of the Qi Group?!”


Author’s Notes:

Thank you all for your support! I’d be sure to keep on going!

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----- This translation belongs to konila.com -----

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