The conference room held 40 men of importance and various other subordinate types of whose purpose was really only to make a show that the important men could afford subordinate types. Unsaid battles for dominance were being fought across the table tops in harsh glances and muffled curses in several languages disguised as coughs. All of the room's occupants were too busy with their staring contests and puffed up shows of grandeur to notice the man who brought them all together step out from the back corner where he had been waiting. Mr. Jacob Lawless smiled at his audience, all of the world's politically and financially well off had turned out to answer his invite and behaving just as expected, things were looking good. In a deliberate manner he cleared his throat and brought the diplomats' attention to the center of the room, now all he had to do was keep it. As he began to speak his voice was cool and collected, "Now I am sure that you are all wondering why Television Corps International has called you all here and I would like to assure you that I, as the figure head of TCI, will be willing and able to answer this question as well as any other questions you might have," he paused to smile coldly out at the men who rule the world, "at the end of my presentation.
"The future of warfare does not lie in those laboratories you all desperately try to keep hidden from each other nor will those men of arms protect you from those very weapons you create. Of course this is not some desperate cry for peace or any of that new age crap because war is in the future thanks to you wonderful gentlemen right here. Far from it, I am only telling you this so that I might show you the future of war." Without a second's delay, flashy holographic displays lit up in front of each of the audience's stunned faces before they could react to the accusations and demoralizing insults Lawless had just flung at them. TCI spared no bell or whistle on the displays, they needed to convince the world of the future by any means necessary. The entire room was silent either from awe or confusion, it didn't really matter which. Lawless took in the sight of the room captivated with a sense on deep satisfaction; he knew that he had them. "this my dear fellows is the future, the war dome, a glorified one-on-one, no holding back, winner takes all war that cost a standard fee of 300 dollars to watch. I know what you are thinking, 'what does this man think war is? A game!' but lets not kid ourselves: War is a game. It always has been, all I am suggesting is that now it is just more obvious and the spectators have to pay admission.
"It really is quite remarkable the revenue generated by the war domes as well as the efficiency diplomatic affaires can now be worked out. Why bother with troops and bombs or even conferences that drag on for months, when you can stick two men in a cage and let them duke it out. The crowds love it. Politics at its finest. There are no causalities, no waiting, and no unresolved issues. The rules of each fight are laid out before hand and to the victor go the spoils, well the victor and us. If you were to invest in these war domes, the profits from just the ticket sales alone would be exuberant to say the least, and that's not even taking the tribute money into account." Money, that was the lure, he had them all hooked and ready to be reeled in and gutted.
The men shuffled in anticipation, what would this Lawless character lay at their feet next? What was his scam? His angle? Could they out angle him? Lawless knew their thoughts before they even thought them. He wanted them to think that way. He could never make them trust him, these were not men of trust, but he could make them believe he trusted them. Here he was handing them the world (well the world's money but to them the two were one in the same) and trusting them to not abuse this new power, they would take him as a fool for only fools would trust anybody these days. They saw him as a mere man before them, making deals with gods in sheeps' clothing, they could trick him so easily, make him their pawn. As they sat in their plans, Lawless smiled for while all these men were playing chess, he was playing war.
The local news room was a buzz with fact checkers and reporters gasping as the latest news on political affairs came pouring in from sources from around the globe. One such anonymous report read: In a conference room of an undisclosed location, after much debating and deliberating, a consensus of 40 elite officials from around the world signed a new treaty of regulated peace with the freebody organization, Television Corps International, to stop war on a broad scale. The new treaty lets countries instead fight in regulated matches of one on one combat. These fights will soon become the future of warfare as we know it. Tomorrow you can check with your local television provider to catch when these "new wars" will be aired.
a/n: This was written to set the stage for the other stories in this collection as it occurs a decade before the others.