Early mornings were his favorite. He could look out at the city unfolding before him, not corrupted by humans trudging to work or school or whatever boring and useless activity they did every single day. He would get up when it was still dark, head to the state of the art gym located in his penthouse in the clouds for a workout, and then stand in front of the wall to wall windows with a steaming cup of black coffee in his hands as the sun rose, glinting off of the glass and steel of Corver City. On this Monday morning, Sebastian watched the sky turn from black to blue to pink, and he thought about all the powerful men throughout history who had commanded armies and reigned over kingdoms. Is that what it felt like to be a king? To stand with the rest of the world at your feet? To have the power in your hands to crush anyone, no matter how rich or powerful they were? To be able to do whatever you wanted on a whim, just for the fun of it, and not have to answer to anyone? He laughed out loud, even though there was no one around to hear him.
Sebastian lived alone in a penthouse big enough for ten families. He had no wife, no girlfriend, no children. Hell, if one of his dates spent the night it was a miracle for her and an oversight for him. People who see you everyday, who know your habits, who care about you enough to pick up on the smallest change in your demeanor or routine, that was dangerous. Sebastian had always heard that you should keep your friends close, and your enemies closer, but it was his personal belief that it was better to not be close to anyone. All those powerful men who had created empires, they had all met their downfall when they trusted the wrong person. He would never make that same mistake. Besides, did he really need to be close to anyone when he knew everything about everyone? All compiled and cataloged neatly, thanks to a little thing called technology. Sebastian had built the beginnings of his own empire thanks to the tech he had brought with him to Corver City. He was best known for the Zone Drones, an idea he had sold to the government for a small fortune. The general public were told that the drones were there to help, to watch for crime and to keep everyone safe from the violent offenders who prowled the streets. They were told that no one was actually watching the footage recorded by the drones, that they were operated by artificial intelligence and the recordings would only be flagged for human review if the drones spotted red flags. But what was considered a “red flag” was pretty arbitrary, Sebastian had worked with a team of lawyers to make sure of that. What the general public did not know was that he had also ensured that the government were not the only ones who had access to what the drones collected. Sebastian himself could tap into any drone at any time, and he had at his fingertips thousands of hours of recorded footage that he could review whenever the impulse struck. He had heard that at night the drones looked like tiny lightning bugs through the windows of a home; hovering, blinking, watching, “protecting”. He wouldn’t personally know, considering he had set up an electronic barrier around Heathrow Heights, the 160 story building that housed his personal apartment and his company, Bash Industries. And even though the entire building was designed with floor to ceiling windows, Sebastian had made sure those windows were made of two way mirrors, so that he could see out, but no one could ever see in. The drones couldn’t get within one hundred feet of his building, and even if they did, they would never be able to see inside. Yes, Sebastian was proud of the Zone Drones, and he was thankful for all the information they provided him, information he was able to use to accomplish anything, but the drones were not his greatest achievement, or his biggest moneymaker.
Bash Industries best known and most coveted product was called The Memory Maker, an alternate reality experience. The marketing was specific and targeted, announcing to the world that no experience was out of their reach. If skydiving seemed too dangerous in real life, the Memory Maker would solve that problem, by physically implanting a memory of free falling from a flying plane into the brain of anyone who had enough money to pay for it. Since he had introduced this tech a year ago, thousands of high profile celebrities, public figures and politicians had flocked to Corver City to try it for themselves, and they had gone back out into the world raving about it. Sebastian was everyone’s favorite person, and his desire to be private and detached only added to his allure. Everyone loved a mysterious man, who was also devastatingly attractive and looked good in a three piece suit. Between the Zone Drones and the Memory Maker, Sebastian was in the possession of so much money and so much power, he was basically untouchable, and no one even understood his influence fully.
Sebastian wanted to laugh into the silence again, a really good movie villain kind of chuckle, but he felt it would be a bit predictable and basic, and Sebastian would never be either of those things, not if he could help it. Instead, he spoke to the rising sun.
“Good morning, Corver City. You don’t know it yet, but I am your king”
He drained the last remnants from his coffee cup and then walked away from the wall of windows as the people below began emerging from their crowded apartment buildings to make their way to their low paying jobs. He had work to do.