That tends to be the first thing on just about anyone’s mind the second they stepped onto the lush, bright, deserted island situated in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean, which teemed with life everywhere one looks. From the fish lurking in the coral of the magnificent, dazzling cerulean waters, to the rich plant life on the land, spread from the water lapped coast to the impressive, extinct volcano in the center of the small island, life is everywhere to be seen. On this island, sits absolutely nothing, save one rather impressive compound, looking rather....odd. While most assuredly far from plain or Spartan, it almost seems underwhelming, given its status as the home of one of the richest individuals in the history of mankind – to say nothing of this person’s company. Even so, one cannot be anything but in awe of the home, right away. A visitor to the home, as one particular gentleman in a dapper suit is at this moment, is immediately struck by the sheer beauty as one pulls into the private miniature harbor. The dock was filled with an almost inappropriate amount of landscaping, which rather then shoe horning in a completely different sense of style onto the island instead blended seamlessly with the tropical location’s natural flora. Birds of Paradise, banana trees, kana lilies, amongst others, greeted all, as the small ship pulls into the bay.
Even before reaching this point, it’s obvious great care was taken to not disturb the natural life pointlessly – the breakers off shore that kept the waves from ravaging the island were placed strategically as to not bother the natural coral reefs and wildlife, and the waters were still notably clear and almost perfect, an oddity for surrounding an inhabited island. This is made even clearer as one exits the boat he or she arrives on, as immediately it’s evident that all waste is taken care of right then and there, as harm free as possible. All solid waste is either shipped off elsewhere, or better yet, turned into compost for the landscaping, and all water waste is cleaned and refined in the owner’s personal water treatment and desalinization plant. That in itself was a feat of technology, to have been miniaturized as such, and most can assume this is at least part of why the individual is so wealthy.
Whatever the case, the visitor will then find himself walking up a gentle, but fairly long, flight of stairs cut into the lush cliff side, narrow enough to make it clear it’s private, but wide enough as so several people can ascend or descend without feeling cramped. Friendly, quaint lamps scatter around the path, lighting up the trail at night at a comfortable level, as one’s feet step on the finest stone and mortar one can imagine, eventually leading to the house itself. A marvel of modern engineering with a contemporary style, the terra cotta roofed two story house is surrounded by a similar style of landscaping as the dock below, accenting the many large, unobstructed windows, used to let the bright tropical sun into the home. Off to the side of the house is a seemingly pointless five car garage, and even further off to the side is a more practical helicopter pad, currently occupied by the individual’s personal and, assumedly, most used ride. As for the home itself, again, while it was most assuredly a plush, loaded, comfortable home, it almost felt rather simple, despite all the amenities it had. The decorating style was fairly simple, and the vast, wide rooms managed to look full, without feeling cramped or with the air of a museum, where one would be afraid to touch anything. For all intents an purposes, it actually looked like a regular human being lived here, from the rather massive flat screen television hanging on the wall surrounded by some of the most cutting edge home theater equipment in the living room, to the opened box of simplistic cereal lazily left on a counter in the ultramodern, stainless steel kitchen.
This is where the man now finds himself, walking through the house at the bequest of one of the few servants on hand in order to meet the master of this island. Carrying a black briefcase and eying the rather comfortable home, the man swallows hard, nervous – despite having worked for the A-8 Group for nearly his entire professional career, working his way up from a lowly mail clerk, he had never even seen the corporation’s owner and president. Not that that was odd, as only a select few have ever even spoken with the person despite the size of the company. Even fewer were asked to visit the owner face-to-face in board meetings at any of the major companies that made up the massive group.
And it was a damned miracle to meet the individual on the private island.
While he was there to give the owner a final update on the progress on of the “personal project” that the A-8 Group had been running for the last month, he was still a little surprised at being asked to personally come and present it to the man himself. It had been a major gamble, this “Stroke of Death” tournament, but thus far, it had been a huge success – major profits had been made from the 8 venues across the world, from the broadcasts on the major networks alone, and the true tournament had yet to even begin. This final update was to assure the owner that the larger, nearby island merely minutes away by boat – also owned by this man, naturally – was ready for the tournament.
Ah, the other island – that was a different beast then this island. Alongside the massive 40,000 seat arena built for the sole purpose of holding the semi finals and finals of this massive tournament, a huge resort complex was also built alongside, with enough rooms to populate a town and every conceivable amenity possible for guests – for a price. Event hen, the lower tier, affordable rooms weren’t shabby, and had items that would make some of the other high class hotels in the world jealous. A town center-esque shopping complex was built as well, with an odd mixture of some of the most high class brands about, and rather...pedestrian stores as well. Heck, there was a restaurant with a 5-star chef personally hired by the master across the street from a fast food burger joint, after all. Everything anyone would want in their hometown, much less a vacation destination, regardless of financial situations or personal preferences.
Along with these, however, the island also had something more. While only so much can be done given the natural tropical conditions, sections of the island were terraformed into vastly differentiating environments – a bamboo forest, a desert, a crowded Southeast Asian market, a North American prairie – maybe a dozen or more. Hidden within these deceptively deserted sections of transformed land were areas for ticket holder to watch – each section was carefully crafted to be a completely different environment for each fight to take place. While certainly, anyone could watch the fight from the many theatres and other gathering spots across the island, or even from their own hotel rooms, watching it live, in front of one’s eyes were the most coveted spots for viewing. Certainly, all seemingly extravagant beyond reason, but the owner had insisted – besides it was “his money” so it could be spent however he pleased.
As such, the visitor was a little surprised by the rather...normal look of the house, albeit one in the higher range of normalcy. Stepping back out into the sunlight as he exits the open glass door leading to the house’s pool area, he’s taken aback by the sight. Another similarly manicured and landscaped garden area spilling out into a cliff side overlooking the blue ocean below, with the larger, yet unnamed island in the near distance. The focal point of this backyard of sorts was the large – but once again, surprisingly not huge – pool, with the elevated Jacuzzi area having a natural looking waterfall of sorts falling into the less then naturalistic pool itself, surrounded by the finest pavement and stones, kidney shaped and surrounded by a few fancy, outdoorsy chairs and tables, not to mention a few lounging recliners.
It is on one of these lounging recliners, facing away from the man and towards the ocean view sits a figure, to its side a low table with umbrella holding a laptop of sorts, as the individual seems to be holding a conference call with some of the higher ups in the company. Indeed, it was him.
...or rather, her. Dressed in a modest two piece bathing suit that still managed to accent her unfairly natural physical gifts, the light streaked brown haired woman speaks into a wireless headset sitting atop her left ear, with an impressively authoritative and very much in charge tone as her eyes, hidden beneath some fairly reflective sunglasses, barely leave the horizon of the view.
“I would have believed that by now that the profit we’ve already made in the preliminaries would have been convincing enough to ease any worries away about the financial risks of my little project, she assuredly states, “...but very well. Come and visit the island tomorrow, I’ll have the company jets scramble and be ready to pick all of you up tomorrow at 7 AM sharp. By then, I’m sure that the tour of the facilities will prove that even beyond this tournament, this resort island and its stadium will easily be an on-going source of profit. Until then...” Ignoring the multiple faces on the screen ready to speak up and interrupt her, she purposely presses a key on the keyboard daintily, enough so the web cam picked it up, and ended the meeting. Without missing a beat, she adds,
“You know, normally people are rather shocked and taken aback when they find out the powerful owner and leader of the A8 Group is a woman.” Realizing she was referring to him, the visitor is the one taken aback, but clears his throat and replies,
“Uh...erm, I used to read a lot of books and watch a lot of movies as a kid – half the time, the big corporation or empire is run by a woman, much to the characters’ surprise.” With a genuine enough smile, the owner stands, tossing a light, open, white button up shirt over her swimsuit, and nods,
“Yes, but in most of those stories, said corporation or empire is the evil force trying to take over the world, correct?”
“Oh! No, I didn’t mean to...”
”Don’t worry Mr. Firavaugh, I was merely joking.” Grabbing the still confounded man’s hand, she shakes it, properly introducing herself to her own employee, “Nice to finally meet you, and while this will sound a little presumptuous, you’re probably at least a little curious to finally know the name of your employer, are you not?”
“The thought has crossed my mind...”
”It’s Sol, Sol Alcott. Now, I believe you have something to report...?
Solidad “Sol” Alcott was as much an anomaly as the A8 Group. While the company itself seemed to completely and utterly purposely work against all the stereotypes of being a huge, massive corporation, Sol, too, destroyed the stereotype of a child born with a platinum spoon in her mouth. As a child, she was raised by her grandfather, the founder of the A8 Group, and he saw fit to ensure that his granddaughter would grow up knowing the true value of money and have the responsibility to not only be the heir to his company, but have the integrity to be a good human being. As she was enrolled in some of the most prestigious schools in the world, she also traveled in the summers, learning the ways of many, from monks in the temples to the volunteers at a soup kitchen. As a result, she grew up to be an extremely compassionate, caring, and almost sickeningly moral person.
However, as the conspirators to try and steal the company away from her when her grandfather eventually passed on would find, the times she spent in school served her just as well. Needless to say, those chair people are...unemployed, as she rightfully took control of the company, and ran it with an almost eerie, intuitive knowledge. Whatever the case, she was a shoe in, with her eyes dead set on goals and keeping her grandfather’s company’s good name above all outer influences – despite what her advisors warned, it always turned out for the best.
As a result, this tournament idea came. While her reasoning is unknown to anyone but herself, Sol saw fit to hold it, waving it past her investors and such with the guise that it would make an enormous amount of profit – and in fact, it has. Sipping a soda – yet another thing that somewhat surprised Mr. Firavaugh – out of a tall, icy glass, she nods as he finishes, exclaiming,
“Great, things will be ready for my inspection tomorrow, and the tournament’s final stages next week?”
”Yes indeed ma’am, all our crews, security, and service people – everyone’s ready. I have to admit, even I’m getting caught up in all the excitement over this.” With a smile, she stands from the wooden chair and faces away from her visitor, slowly walking towards the wrought iron fence that separated the “yard” from the shrubbery and plunging cliff face below. Taking off her shades, she smirks at the island across the bay, her sapphire eyes twinkling with.....something somewhat unsettling if thought about in the proper context, replying.
”Yes, well, I’m looking forward to this much more then any of you can possibly imagine...”
Soon, she thinks, adding to herself, Soon...
Edited by DarkJuno, 05 October 2007 - 03:55 PM.