2306: And So I Watch You From Afar

Posted: April 27, 2012 by Kelly in league, the world

Young wasn’t a man that was easily impressed, especially not where it came to promo material and video editing. He had multiple degrees under his belt, but the psychological and sociological ones were the ones he utilised the most in his day-to-day work in the Corporation. He knew (intimately) what riled up the masses, what enthused or moved them. With that in mind, it was pretty easy to create a promo that would work. It was just a matter of making sure you had the right material. And with creative editing, you could tell your own stories. Young had never been too shabby in that regard, but these days he fancied himself a master of the trade. Sometimes he would scourge the media for promos. Most of the time it was just to see what the world was saying about his work. He had set up an extensive amount of queries that would alert him which League promos and videos were the ones that were watched the most often, and which one stirred the most debates from the viewers. Of his own work, he was always able to predict how the world would respond. He made a sport out of predicting how often videos were viewed, just for kicks.
And sometimes, just sometimes, he found a video that was not his that had a lot of views and comments. Sometimes he would inspire himself that way and pick up new techniques. He wasn’t the only person who knew how to work the masses. He wasn’t the only talented PR person out there. He had his favourites, people on his to-watch-list. Some of them were working for him by now.

And now there was this one. Out of nowhere, a video had gone viral. It generated buzz, viewership, comments, acknowledgments. Everyone was talking about it. The video was a montage of one of the Rookie League competitors. A young woman with hair dyed a brilliant shade of red and a quick, disarming grin. “I don’t know what it is with her,” the voiceover said. He recognized the voice as belonging to one of the Rookie league commenters. “It’s just that when the smoke clears, she’s always one of the last people standing. I can see her go far.” Shots of the girl – she was just a girl, really. Early twenties? – jumping over smoking rubble, dodging bullets. Ducking behind a corner, shooting someone at point-blank range. His eyes rolled upwards and she darted off, a satisfied smirk on her face. Red hair plastered to her face with sweat. “I think I’m just lucky,” said a female voice, probably belonging to the contestant. She chuckled. “Which is nice, for once.”

Her name was Lannie Williams and Young watched her in the Arena, in home videos. Interviews. Background montage – drop-out from university, extreme sports, kissing her boyfriend sloppily on the cheek and exclaiming “Happy birthday Walter, I love you!” to the camera, and then information about their financial situation. The betting station where the couple lost their fortune. Boyfriend Walter in the Arena of the actual League, with links to footage from his participation.

Young paused Lannie’s video and clicked on the link. He remembered this- didn’t he? When he saw the Fortress starkly outlined against the brilliant blue sky and saw the guy trying to dodge a rocket launcher and having his knee shot to shit he remembered. Walter Lane. The Corporation’d paid for his initial hospital bill, but Young was pretty sure the guy would have a limp forever. The only thing that could have fixed that knee was a regen treatment. The guy was lucky he got to keep his leg at all. Shame, he’d been decent enough as a Competitor.

He leaned back in his chair. So now the girlfriend was in the Rookie League. No wonder they were in the Rookie league now, they must have gotten quite the scare of Walter’s near-death experience. He went back to Lannie’s video and was bombarded with images of the two of them in the hospital, Lannie’s pale and drawn face on her social media of that time. She lost weight during that time, but all footage showed her trying to be brave. “We will get through this,” she told the camera. “We will make our own luck and we’ll turn this thing around, just you wait.”

Back to more Arena footage. Lannie’s vitals and stats, improving every time she participated in a Game. The semi-finals of the Fortress, and the overwhelming victory. Her hopeful grin in the camera as she lifted her guns in the air. The epic choir in the background. “Onwards to the finals,” she said. “And then the Euroleague!”

An interview afterwards. “Do you think you have a chance?” Someone asked, off-screen.

The sunlight in Lannie’s clear blue eyes. They sparkled. “Chance? Yes. I make my own damn luck.”

The finals would be tomorrow, Young knew. And this promo… this promo had come just in time. It was a great promo; it had immediately made Lannie a favourite for the finals, the one to beat. If she would get through this, she’d probably be a favourite for the Euroleague as well. /Damn/. Young found himself rooting for her and immediately smirked at his instincts. That had been one clever promo. The girl had been set up as incredibly sympathetic, overcoming the odds and changing her luck. A child of the new world, gambling debts and all, an invalid boyfriend, and the world at her feet. And then that grin, that unguarded way she handled herself – yes, the video editor had done a great job. Young wanted him.

It didn’t take long for him to find out who had created the video, and what the context was. The creator was a twenty-year-old ginger-haired guy named Rory Jones. His photo grinned at Young. A student in PR and telecommunication, about to graduate. This video had been a project that had been assigned to him. /Take a Rookie League contest, make him/her yours, make him/her famous/, had the assignment demanded. Young idly checked out the other project videos from Jones’ classmates, but none were even close to his level. Needless to say Jones passed his assignment with flying colours, and Lannie Williams was profiting immensely from his efforts.

He immediately contacted his recruiters. “Rory Jones. I want him to work for me. I don’t care what you have to offer him; I want him on my team.” And, as an afterthought, he scheduled a pod ride to the Compound. Tomorrow night was the finale of the Compound local Rookie league. He wanted to see Lannie Williams in action. If she was satisfactory, he would propose the idea that was hatching in his mind to Stender.
Stender would like it, he was sure of it.

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