OOC can be found here.
Inside of the large, rounded stadium seating more than one hundred thousand, spotlights bounced around. The crowd buzzed with excitement and anticipation, as the finalists were about to be revealed. The overhead lights went out with a thud, and the people who had gathered went into a frenzy. The atmosphere was electric, as only two spotlights aimed at the large stage in the center of the stadium. There was a hissing, as fog now billowed out of the center stage, as the music played. The crowd cheered, as the center of the stage split apart, and a large platinum platform began to rise. On the platform, eight finalists peered through the black cloaks on their heads. Until now, they had never met their opponents, nor seen their faces. But that was about to change.
As the preliminary rounds had gone off without a hitch, and many battles took place far and wide across the world, these eight contestants were about to meet for the first time as finalists.
The platform came to a stop, and the roar of the crowd continued to grow. With some slight feedback, the announcer's voice boomed into the stadium.
"Ladies and gentlemen! Please welcome--from this world and beyond--your Secret Cup Finalists!"
One by one they removed their cloaks, the tension in the air growing, and making them stiff. They looked to one another, some smiling, some jeering, some paying no attention at all. They looked around the stadium, seeing just how far they had come. From the bottom of more than five thousands contestants, the eight that stood on this stage today were the strongest among them all. And the crowd knew it. Their very applause rocked the stadium to its core, a reverberating, deafening joy that sent chills down their collective spines. They had made it to the top of the food chain.
There were still a number of surprises in store for the remaining contestants, and the first of them was about to be revealed. Throughout the tournament, the host had never met the contestants in person, yet he knew everything about them. Entering on a much smaller platform from below the stage, Sergei Nikolaev spread his arms wide, as the crowd continued to cheer. He encouraged them, clapping his hands as he looked to the crowd. Slowly he turned around, raising his hands up and down to encourage the stadium's occupants to keep going. He was as excited as they were.
He turned back around once more, tapping into a small microphone in his ear. and extending the mouth piece to his face. "Are you excited!?" he asked with a heavy Russian accent.
The crowd cheered back at Sergei, who couldn't help but be pleased. Turning to the contestants, he repeated the question. "Are you excited!?" But the contestants answers would be drowned out by the crowd still. He faced his people once more, raising a hand to ask for silence.
"Thank you, thank you all. Clearly, you are ready to see an incredible battle. But--"
The crowd exploded again, and Sergei quickly soothed them, with a smile and a wave.
"But, we must do these things properly. In order to have good, clean, and safe fun, we will lay down a few rules. We'll discuss the rules once, and no more throughout the tournament. Everyone okay with that?" The crowd cheered, though not as loudly as before, confirming Sergei's inquiry. "Very good. First and foremost, no business will take place on hotel grounds. This is a safety measure for all of us. This means no contestant or guest may engage in any form of combat while on hotel property. Second," Sergei said turning to the contestants. "Contestants, this only applies to you. Stepping outside of the designated barrier of an arena is an immediate disqualification. You will know the boundaries of the arena by the large red electric netting that stretches around the arena's chosen borders. And finally, contestants, this is a rule you should be aware of already. That is, you are not required to spare the lives of your opponents. This means, during a battle, you may execute your opponent. Of course, You may render your opponent unconscious, or your opponent may also choose to kneel before you in surrender. These are the winning conditions of any and all bouts."
Sergei turned back to the crowd, pacing back and forth across the stage. "Those are the only rules, ladies and gentlemen. And keeping them in mind, I will hold you no longer. But before you go, let us give our contestants another round of applause."
The crowd erupted one last time, as the stage was once more engulfed in fog, as the platforms sank below. The lights above disappeared, and the contestants were once again covered in darkness. The urge not to attack their opponents now was like a bad itch, but they maintained their composure as a light behind them caused the contestants to turn their heads and journey back down a long, damp, concrete tunnel.
The contestants entered one by one, cautiously walking around the elongated, wooden conference table. There were enough seats to go around, and even a few extras; they were all cushy and luxurious, as per the wealth of the world's richest man. The contestants took their seats (for those able), as Sergei walked in behind them, and closed the twelve foot doors behind him.
He stood at the head of the table, an excited smile on his face. "Thank you all so much for your patience with me. It is a pleasure to finally meet you. I am Sergei Nikolaev, owner and host of the tournament."
He was an older man, standing about six feet and two inches tall, balding except for the pony tail at the back of his head. He sported a nearly trimmed goatee, that complimented his chiseled chin. His eyes were wide with excitement, their silver color shining in the light of the conference room. He wore a black vest, white oxford shirt and black tie. His sleeves were rolled up, and a visible tattoo in red script reading "Margaret" was upon his right forearm. He was a fairly well built gentleman, in his early forties and living the prime of his life. He also wore black slacks, with a pocket watch attached to his belt loop, beside a mobile phone casing attached to his waist. He completed the ensemble with square toed black dress shoes with golden buckles and black socks.
"I can imagine you are all fatigued after such a long day. And of course, meeting your competition for the first time can only make you more anxious." His accent was heavily Russian, but his English was more than fair. "So, I'll try not to keep you for too long. I thought it best that I introduce you to my staff as soon as possible, so that you have answers whenever you may need them."
Sergei walked over to the giant and the pretty boy, and stood between them. The child took a seat at the foot of the table, and the security guard remained silent and still.
"Let me start with my head of research and development, monster specialist, coordinator, and controller, and senior scientist and engineer, Miss Rachel Charles. You may better know her as RC."
The younger girl looked up from an electronic tablet in her hand, and waved to the contestants. "Hi," she said with a squeaky but cheery voice.
"Don't let her age fool you. Miss Charles may only be thirteen, but I can assure you there is no person this side of the planet who is as intelligent as she. Why, the very technology advancements and the design of the barrier was her doing."
Rachel gave a cheeky smile. "I do alright for myself." She went back to her tablet right away, swiping away at the screen.
"The man behind her is my head of security and personnel, Mr. Geno Olsen. You may refer to him as Ghost."
He was busy tossing a ball up and down in his hands, and it seemed to be alive with electricity dancing inside of it. He caught the ball, and politely stuffed it into his breast pocket on his uniform, as he bid the contestants with a wave. Geno was tall, about six feet and three inches. Brown hair was barely visible beneath his old Navy Seal's helmet. He wore a solid blue metal visor over his eyes, and a gruff voice spoke through the mask hiding his face. "Pleasure to meet you all."
"Geno's work is the reason the tournament has been so well contained. We've not had an incident on hotel property since he was hired. It's been ten years!" Sergei said excitedly. "And now, to introduce you to the man I'm sure you're most curious about. This man, despite his size, is indeed human. This, is Theodore Astrange. You may know him as Tiny. My architect and designer. And of course, you know now why all of the entrances are so large. Tiny is a large fellow."
Tiny sat his enormous hammer on the floor at his feet, and slowly bowed. He was a monster of a man, standing at just over ten feet tall. "I apologize for my appearance. There was a convention today, and my daughter asked me to partake. I would normally be wearing my business attire," he said with a hearty chuckle.
Sergei patted Tiny on the back. "His daughter is the cutest thing. I hope you can meet her soon. Ah, yes! But last and not least, the man standing to my right--my right hand man--is Bradley Austin. He goes by Ace. He has many titles! But the reason I chose him to be a part of my staff is because of his past as a counselor. Ace is a great humanist, with a big heart. Coupled with his medical practice and his Ace in the Hole, Children's Foundation, he's also my best friend. Ace is the reason the tournament is still going. In times when I have been unsure or doubtful, his voice has been one of security, Because if there is a problem none of my other staff can solve, he can without a doubt bring the case to a close."
Bradley nodded politely, flashing a smile to the contestants. "I'm only human. I can only do so much. But it's a pleasure to make your acquaintance."
Sergei clapped his hands once, gesturing to the contestants. "And there you have it. These are my heads of staff, and can always, always reach them. In fact, RC is working on a new communication device that conveniently attaches to your wrist like a bracelet. I haven't heard much about it, but she should have it nearing completion."
Rachel nodded. "It's almost done! It's got a map, a two way comm system, an mp5 player, and all kinds of stuff! I could tell you all about it now, but it would take a while," she said with a shy smile.
"Now then, contestants, I must attend to some important matters regarding the tournament bracket and the arenas. However, I will be available all night for any and all questions you may have for me. The same goes for my staff. There is no question off limits. In addition, I've had some VIP passes created for you all, giving you access to each facility and room on hotel property."
Ghost folded his arms. "I'm still not sure about that, boss."
Sergei waved an arm at Geno. "Nonsense. There are no secrets here. Other than the name of the tournament, everything is available to our contestants. I want the to be assured that we are all here to have a good time. This was put together for the entertainment factor after all. And contestants, all of your--"
"Dad!" came a calling outside of the conference room.
"Miss Nikolaev! There's a very important meeting going--" a male voice began outside of the conference room doors behind Tiny.
"I know that! And I'm friggin' missing it! DAD!" she screamed, snatching back the doors.
"Matilda! I thought you were away," Sergei said, spreading his arms for the girl who entered the room.
Matilda Nikolaev hugged her father, then proceeded to bop him over the head with the butt of her palm. "That was yesterday. Why didn't you tell me this was the meet day for the finalists?"
Sergei shrugged, letting Matilda go. "So sorry my dear. Oh, let me introduce you. These are our contestants. Everyone, this is my daughter, Matilda."
She politely waved to the contestants. "Sorry I'm late. I didn't know you guys had gathered until one of RC's bots came zooming down the hall cheering for someone named Angelica. And now, I've got to get moving. Dad, you too. We have to schedule their rides for tomorrow." Her voice was American, unlike her father's. She was possibly from the Midwest, as she did have a very slight accent.
Sergei sighed, nodding to Matilda. "Well, we have to prepare your travel for tomorrow. However, I've left identification cards for each of you with RC. This will cover your food, fun, and any amenities on hotel property. Please use them at your discretion, and enjoy your stay."
"Nice meeting you all!" Matilda called back, tugging Sergei by the arm.
"Tiny, Ace, will you be joining us?" Sergei asked, turning around to the large doors that towered even above Tiny.
"Are we going to get dinner?" Theodore asked, picking up his hammer and exiting the room first.
"You have some ideas?" Sergei asked, following behind Tiny.
Bradley piped up. "I know a great Mongolian place."
Sergei turned to him excitedly. "Mongolian! That sounds wonderful!" Their voices began to trail off as the doors behind them were shut. Ghost was leaning on the wall beside RC, but stood up straight. He took the ball from his pockets, as he prepared to bid the contestants good night.
"It was good to meet you all. I'll be up for a while longer, but if you have any questions for me, I'll be on the rooftops of the North Tower. Those badges you'll get should get you through security. But if any of my men give you shit, just let me know. I'll handle it."
Turning to face the wall, Geno threw up a hand, and began tossing the ball up and down once more. He proceeded to become completely intangible, until he was no longer visible, and walked through the wall. His voice could still be heard, as he tossed the electric orange ball up and down in his hands. Just outside the conference room, he called for someone, with a rhythmic whistle. "Here boy. Where are ya?" His voice too trailed off in the distance.
RC sat with a grin, but shot right up and began passing out the ID cards that had been made for the contestants. "These were made with you in mind. All access passes man! That even includes the theme park after dark. Even I can't go to the park after dark." Rachel was obviously very happy about being apart of Sergei's team, and even more so to be meeting the contestants. "I'm actually going to go back to my room for the night. I should go to bed, but some friends are planning a raid in about an hour, and I wanna get in on some sweet loot. But just in case," RC said, picking up her tablet and pressing a button. "I've got Hugo and Roy available to reach me. Just call for one of them, and those bots will be around faster than you can say 'Mad King Pol with no healers'!"
RC waved good night to the contestants, and exited through the large oak doors that Tiny, Sergei, and Ace had used earlier. The contestants were left to their vices, free to explore the hotel in all of its aspects from underground to rooftops. Their rooms and room numbers were printed on their badges so they had an idea of where they would be staying. Four contestants in the East Tower. Four contestants in the West Tower. of course they could not engage in combat now, lest they be immediately disqualified. However, the hotel, as large as it was, was their oyster. And the night was young.
7:15 PM, First Night's Stay
Edited by Hi I'm Dad, 23 June 2017 - 02:00 PM.