302 - New Tomorrow

Thunderously dramatic music opens the commercial.

Exterior. A long shot of a beautiful city from the air. The camera dives through a layer of clouds. Cut to an orbiting shot of downtown renovation, with the TYRAN ENTERPRISES logo and name prominently displayed on construction equipment.

New Tomorrow City! Shining beacon of progress!

Exterior. Montage of battle damage from the Invisible Invasion, focusing on buildings such as hospitals and homes instead of office buildings or warehouses - anything that focuses the viewer’s fear on their own safety.

Halcyon days are behind us - the world of the future is ahead of us!

Exterior, downtown construction site. Wide shot of a group of smiling construction workers on break, eating and talking with each other. They are surrounded by expensive-looking high-tech equipment, but are eating staples of the American diet such as apple pie, coffee, and sandwiches out of old-fashioned lunchboxes.

Rising from the ashes of last year’s cowardly attack, New Tomorrow City promises jobs - prosperity - safety - and community!

Interior, recruiting office. Cut to a shot of young people, all eagerly and curiously approaching a welcoming TYRAN ENTERPRISES recruiter, flanked by experts holding clipboards who will presumably take an interest in them.

Tyran Enterprises leads the way! Sign up today, for a good wage, benefits, and security for you and yours!

Rex Tyran, teeth visible in a smile, standing beside a waving American flag, in foreground. In background, a shot of a future version of the city, gleaming and majestic.

Keep America free - we need you, today!

The hearings were shocking to some, darkly inevitable to others, and dull to most people.

During the Invisible Invasion, the Atlanteans had freed a large number of supervillains from AEGIS custody. Some had been world-class threats. Others had been minor menaces who, for whatever reason, were being held as part of some larger investigation - major masterminds recruiting flunkies, that sort of thing.

A subcommittee had been empaneled. Its members had received lavish campaign donations and other benefits from a dizzying array of companies. All of these companies and their funds could be traced back, if one were skilled at the task, to well-heeled newcomer Tyran Enterprises.

Anyone who said as much was shouted down for spreading conspiracy theories, of course. The usual army of bot accounts helped with this. Sure, they could be traced back to the far east in most cases, but not all.

Director Costigan, former American war hero Sergeant Stronghold and now a meaty senior management type, chewed vigorously on a cigar between barked responses to committee questions. His aides were called to speak about their programs as well.

Was there any truth to the story that a member of Doctor Achilles Chin’s family was now a member of AEGIS? “Not to the best of my knowledge” sounded like an evasion to the skeptical, but either “yes” or “no” could mean a perjury conviction, depending on whose evidence the subcommittee listened to.

Was AEGIS being too strict in how it treated supervillain apprehensions? The agency had statistics on this, showing supervillain activity down, but there’s lies, damned lies, and statistics, aren’t there. Numbers can be made to say anything.

On the other hand, had they been too lax in their confinement procedures? Wasn’t there something about a supervillain jailbreak a couple of years ago, along with that army of robots created by Rossum, the Minion Maker? Whose fault was that?

To your average viewer, it was no different than the CIA covering up whatever new nefarious business they were doing. Sure, it kept the country safe. But all those Federal agencies were scumbags, and if some dirty business got exposed and somebody did some time for it, didn’t that mean the system worked? Besides, if supervillains showed up, a superhero would stop them. That’s how things worked.

It was easier not to give it too much thought. There were enough problems for people to worry about.

Tasha Starr, reliable television workhorse that she is, interviewed the new hero team the day of its debut.

“Yes, we’re a corporate-sponsored team,” said Ray Blaze. “Tyran Enterprises is funding us, the way the Quill Foundation funded the Quill Qids and later the popular and successful ASIST program. Mr. Tyran understands the importance of security in New Tomorrow City, and recruited us.”

The question of accountability came up. Doug Pitt covered it. “It’s important to know who your heroes really are, and what they’re really up to. You know, us, all of us, have the greatest respect for the members of the Halcyon Heroes League. But who was really welcome to listen in on their meetings? Who had a say in how things would happen? I think a lot of people were asking themselves that question, after Vyortovia.”

What about the team’s mission? “To get the job done,” said Max Armstrong with conviction. “Whatever the job is, helping whoever needs a hand up, saving whoever’s in trouble. We bring a lot of skills to the table and we’re ready to use them for the good of everyone in New Tomorrow City.”

How do people reach out to the group? Kara Lott answered this. “We’ve partnered with ASIST. You can call our hotline, or email or message us - can we have those contact points on screen? Thank you. But you can also request aid through the app, and ASIST members can escalate to us if they get in over their heads.”

Ellie Dee contributed further to the answer. “New Tomorrow City has safety cameras around the city, positioned to spot attacks on vital places of business and anywhere people are together. If there’s a car accident, a villain attack, a fire, or anything else that demands our attention, we get notified. We can intervene immediately, and call on support from emergency services if necessary. Nobody needs to live in fear of a surprise attack where the heroes are too busy to help. We’re watching out for you, and we’ll help you the moment you need us.”

Finally, what about supervillain attacks? Never-Miss had this handled. “One of the important things Tyran Enterprises is offering us is villain containment technology. I’m sure you know that there’s a proliferation of corporate super-control technology on the black market. For that reason, Mr. Tyran is being very cautious about who can use what his company has developed. Nobody wants heroes being shut down. So we’re ready to take responsibility for containing supervillains, and we don’t intend to let any get out in a jailbreak, accidental or otherwise.”

The interview ended with the team posing as a group, interspersed with footage from their first trailer. The video was a demonstration of both their abilities and their teamwork.

Ray Blaze could fire beams from his eyes, with startling accuracy. Doug Pitt was a geokinetic, able to raise barriers out of the earth or pull teammates down into a subterranean place of safety - even travel far beneath the surface, avoiding detection. Max Armstrong was super-strong and super-tough, able to dish out and take colossal damage in equal measure. Ellie Dee was the mistress of technology, broadcasts, and all things electric, even able to teleport through zones of heavy radio activity. Never-Miss was a perfect shot with her twin pistols, and packed a variety of non-lethal ammo types. And Kara Lott wielded never-before-seen biotech miracles, able to heal the wounded or augment her teammates and allies.

The team as a whole was clearly slick, polished, and professional. They could coordinate with each other without even a word, seemingly having a perfect rapport with each other.

Public opinion was positive. Many people didn’t like the idea of corporations paying heroes, but what was there to do? If they could do the job, wasn’t that enough? Besides, Jason Quill was already doing it, and if a rich kid can pay heroes, why can’t a technology entrepreneur like Rex Tyran?

Ominous music plays

A shadowy gang of ne’er-do-wells, rendered as action figures, threaten a city block playset. Articulated plastic citizens are menaced.

Look out! The Architects of Evil threaten New Tomorrow.

The JASON QUILL cartoon character, along with supporting cast, can be seen ordering a team into action. We see action figures of RAY BLAZE, DOUG PITT, MAX ARMSTRONG, ELLIE DEE, NEVER-MISS, and KARA LOTT springing into action, along with nameplates identifying each action figure.

Time to get the job done! It’s the STELLAR SIX!

Elements of the playset are activated, such as a pop-up fire and battle damage. The ARCHITECTS launch plastic projectiles at the heroes.

Oh no! Watch out, heroes!

The music surges. We see clips from the UPCOMING ANIMATED SHOW where Never-Miss shoots projectiles out of the air. We then see a television, on which the show is playing, with KIDS in front of the television mimicking the movements with their action figures.

On the show, other members of the STELLAR SIX contribute to the battle. ELLIE DEE remotely deactivates the villains’ weapons, leaving them BAFFLED. DOUG PITT puts out fires by dumping dirt and sand. RAY BLAZE corrals villains together with his optic blasts, and MAX ARMSTRONG confines them by wrapping lamp poles around them. Wounded citizens express appropriate gratitude to KARA LOTT as she attends to them.

Not so fast, evildoers!

The villains are defeated and the day is saved. Our children cheer at each other. A QR code appears on the screen, along with details on where to download apps.

Your STELLAR SIX action figures can take part in the STELLAR POWER HOUR, Saturdays at 9! Download our app for details!

A series of LEGAL DISCLAIMERS fly past at speeds too fast for anyone but parents to read.

The man in the suit is smiling. His teeth are always, always visible.

Hello friends. I’m Rex Tyran. President and CEO of Tyran Enterprises.

The future is uncertain for a lot of us. It’s time we fixed that, together.

In the last three months, the Stellar Six have cut crime in our fair city. We’re providing homes for everyone who suffered during the invasion. We’re feeding the needy. We’re building a better, stronger future.

I’ve made public safety my mission and my passion. You can help me. Join your local Neighborhood Safety group. Download the app. Then, simply carry your phone with you. You’ll help make New Tomorrow City a safer, healthier, happier place to live.

We all deserve to feel secure. Help me to get the job done.

Details of the app flash across the screen.

Cut to Vox Pop, man-on-the-street interviews

Citizen 1: Neighborhood Safety has made me feel safer. If I need help, I can just yell, and it’ll respond. But I haven’t. You know, those men who sometimes came around my neighborhood don’t come around any longer. I think it’s the security robots.

Citizen 2: I’m tellin’ ya it’s a con job. They got us downloadin’ this app that’ll just Hoover up all of our data, everything we do, our location, who we talk to, alla that stuff. You can’t trust it!

Interviewer: What do you think they would want it for?

Citizen 2: Just, y’know, to be in control of everything! Read my post on Wavelength for details!

Citizen 3: I don’t think we can just entrust all our data to corporations, but we can’t trust governments either. The hearings on Atlantean infiltrators are still going on. I think the security checkpoints are onerous. But at the same time, I can’t deny that attacks feel like they’re at an all-time low. What price peace, and all that.

Cut to an interview between Harshad Subramanyam, senior anchor, and Rex Tyran, head of Tyran Enterprises. Both men are comfortably seated in a studio, facing each other.

HS: Mr. Tyran, over the last four months, public opinion about your Neighborhood Safety program has been mixed, to say the least. Do you have anything you’d like to say about it?

RT: (chuckling) I have so much. Safety and trust are something I think about constantly.

RT: But to be brief, I think people are right to ask questions like this, and have doubts. Not because we’re doing anything nefarious, but because safety is everyone’s concern. That’s the premise of Neighborhood Safety, in fact. Everyone contributes to keeping everyone safe by sharing data.

HS: But sharing with who, seems to be a popular question.

RT: Quite right. We learned that our governments were, well, I don’t want to say riddled with Atlantean informants and moles. But I will say that some were shockingly high placed. We hear stories about corporate malfeasance every week on television. So who can you trust? I think the answer is “yourself”. And beyond that, I think you can trust groups who have every reason to disagree, and agree anyway on something. So I want to introduce you, and the world, to FORESIGHT.

A clip plays, showing a colossal spherical machine, built at the bottom of a pool filled with water. Cables connect it to the walls of the pool, and the whole machine glows with an unearthly radiance. Operators move around the edges of the pool, monitoring incidental equipment stationed nearby, or commenting to each other and occasionally gesturing at the machine itself.

HS: Okay. What is FORESIGHT?

RT: FORESIGHT is the megacomputer built by our research arm, Tyran Tech. It is, haha, bear with me, a heptaquark linear waveguide paraquantum computer. That’s a mouthful. It’s unique - there’s only one like it in the whole world.

HS: What does FORESIGHT do, and if I may ask, looking at this thing, do you expect the sight of this machine to put the public’s mind at ease?

RT: I absolutely agree with your point, Mr. Subramanyam. FORESIGHT is the beating heart of New Tomorrow City. It is where all our data goes - everything, from Neighborhood Safety reports to the safety camera feeds to weather to police blotters. The output of the machine is a set of instructions, along with a chain of evidence for those instructions. These are relayed to fire, police, EMS, the Stellar Six, and even our corporate communications network. A human auditor can review the chain of evidence and override FORESIGHT if necessary. We also retain its generated records for thirteen months to comply with government auditing regulations.

HS: So this machine is effectively a huge database on everything and everyone?

RT: Not a database, the way we’d use that word. An operator can’t ask FORESIGHT to locate his ex-girlfriend, or spy on an old employer, or anything of the sort. Data that goes into FORESIGHT is transformed in a way that makes it impossible to reverse.

HS: To be blunt, sir, how can we believe a claim like this?

RT: I don’t expect you to believe me. But going back to our question of trust, I would hope that the public would believe the seventeen independent audits that have been performed on FORESIGHT. We’ve had the EU’s toughest regulators, top computer scientists, machine learning experts, security and penetration testers, and more all take a swing at FORESIGHT. We asked that independent organizations pay for these audits, then publish them, with money from us in escrow to recoup their costs regardless of the results of the audits, to avoid any appearance of impropriety or influence.

HS: I see.

RT: So we’ve absorbed the costs of applying the world’s scrutiny to our most important product. And I think this is important, because it would be easy for us to be short-sighted and assume we’d solved this amazingly complex problem. I want the world’s eyes on us, because that’s how we can assure ourselves that our creation is as secure as we need it to be.

HS: Does FORESIGHT also operate your security robots currently patrolling the city?

RT: No. Tyran Tech has a hand in their coding, but we’ve contracted out to veteran roboticists and security specialists. We’re combining our revolutionary hardware with their battle-tested, thoroughly vetted software. Data from those robots still flows into FORESIGHT, of course.

HS: You’ve also secured government contracts, I believe?

RT: To a very limited extent. We’re not interested in building a new robot army for the military - unless there’s another invasion, of course, at which point I believe it’s all hands on deck. No, what we’re doing is coordinating on the Atlantean Sonar Frontier, or ASF, which is the front-line defense for future attacks from underwater. Data from the ASF can signal to FORESIGHT that large-scale emergency services might need to be mobilized.

HS: And the security stations and checkpoints as well? I believe some citizens have complained that they’re given priority if they install your Neighborhood Safety app, while people who don’t comply are held back or delayed for “further processing”.

RT: I’m glad you asked about that. Neighborhood Safety includes a cryptographically signed package of the user’s identity, letting checkpoint operators verify someone immediately. For other people, there’s an unavoidable delay in contacting city, state, and federal databases to verify records such as a driver’s license or fingerprints. Contrary to belief, we don’t mandate the security checkpoints - the city does. We’ve been contracted to operate them. I recommend that citizens concerned about the checkpoints make their voices heard at City Hall. Of course we’ll do whatever the city council decides.

HS: And you didn’t lobby the city to install the checkpoints in the first place?

RT: Oh, we were asked, especially after a string of robberies targeting Tyran Tech. And certainly we indicated that if the city’s budget could be better applied to security, it would be a benefit to everybody. But I don’t know any business owner who didn’t feel the same way.

HS: How would you respond to people who say that you’re incredibly philanthropic toward the city - literally, as in it’s not credible that you’d be this generous? What do you gain from all this work and expense?

RT: (chuckling) Well, I live here! And so do our employees, for the most part. We like to hire locally, to get employees who will care. We understand the benefits and importance of remote work, and we absolutely support it for any employee who requests it. But at the end of the day, we care about our home for the same reason anyone does, and we want to both give back to it, and to build it up, into something better.

HS: How would you respond to someone who said “we don’t want Tyran here”, someone who for whatever reason objected to your activities in the city and elsewhere?

RT: (laughing) Getting rid of us is really quite easy. Stop buying our products.

HS: I see. Thank you, Mr. Rex Tyran, for your time and for this conversation.

RT: Thank you, Mr. Subramanyam, it’s been a pleasure.

Exciting music plays.

The commercial opens with an exterior shot of a large exhibition hall.

The first annual Tyran Techspo is coming!

Shots of flying cars, glowing clothing, self-balancing one-wheeled chairs, and other futuristic gadgets appear in quick montage.

See the future before it happens!

More quick cuts to people in lab coats performing chemical research, along with patients being treated with advanced medicine.

Learn the hope that’s in store from our biotech division!

Groups of people are seen exploring a shared holographic space.

Explore virtual spaces, whether you’re fighting to save the princess - or to save your company’s bottom line!

Shots of space launches, and satellites deploying.

The next generation in communic–

The broadcast is interrupted.








Rex Tyran and Tyran Enterprises try to use their illegally obtained leverage over the city to create a New Tomorrow. He certainly sounds very reasonable, at least…? And he’s sponsoring a superhero team, the Stellar Six, so how bad can he be?

Are we off to a good start?

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Amazingly so. I hate the new regime so much already. :laughing:

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