Here I was wondering what manner of madness had pushed me to sign up for the annual Game Of Drones competition.
I had never cared much for it, during the past three years it’s been run, but my experience last fall had sparked a budding interest in Drones. I had Micheal Jones and Paula Skye to thank for that. Or blame. I wasn’t quite sure yet.
My fascination with Drones had always been there, but when I’d seen how Mike had exposed Queen Bee, Daphne Payne with it, it had grown threefold. Since then, I’d done every research, watched every video, read every article I could get my hands on about Drones.
War drones, surveillance drones, film drones, every kind of drone there was. I had even roped Paula into giving me a tour of Skye Tech. Talk about being in the right place at the right time.
While we were there, the Skye team had unveiled the newest addition to their Drones. A freaking race drone! How cool was that?
And that wasn’t all; I had gotten wind of how the next edition of the annual Game of Drones competition will be better thanks to this new race drone.
So I had entered into the competition, and Paula had volunteered to help me practice since then so I could win. I don’t know how, but she’d also managed to rope in her friend Layla Asher, Mike and surprisingly Sekani Jones too.
So yeah, I had myself a team, and I hoped to God that I wouldn’t let them down.
“Dude, are you hiding in the bathroom again?” Mike called out, an instant before walking in. Sekani was behind him.
“I’m not hiding. I’m just, you know, preparing.”
“Tell me what about this place says I’m so revved for this competition,” Sekani countered.
I stutter, gaze around and fix Mike with a frustrated look. “Does he have to be here?”
Mike shrugs and Sekani chuckles.
“Come on bro; you got this. You’ve been practicing for weeks, and believe me when I say I think you can pull this off.”
I was intrigued. Genius Sekani believed I could pull it off. That was music to my ears.
“Besides, I don’t think you want to pass up the opportunity to ask Layla out,” Mike said sweetly.
“Which you can only do, once you either win this competition or do your damn best not to embarrass us,” Sekani finished.
“I hate you guys.” I was glaring at them, but truth be told, they were right.
I had planned to ask Layla out, after winning the contest. Girls like winners. Popular hot winners.
“Ok. I’m ready.”
“Atta boy!” Mike cheered.
I walk out of the bathroom, my friends trailing behind me.
“So Mike, you think he can win?” Sekani whispered.
“Bro, you don’t want me to answer that.”
City Hall was packed. I couldn’t believe the turnout. The contest was being held in the magnificent wide yard of the building. There were six contestants, two of whom I knew. One was a former Game Of Drones champion; the other was a rising star in filmmaking.
She’d shot several short films using a drone, and surprisingly they were good. The rest, like me, were teens hoping to make a breakthrough with this. I mean, what could be cooler than a seventeen-year-old winning fifty thousand dollars on a sunny February afternoon.
The C.E.O of Skye Tech, Dr. Manuel Skye was hosting the ceremony. He gave a speech, laid out the rules, and at the last minute, revealed the plot twist.
We weren’t going to race the drones. We were going to be drones!
They had connected the drones to some sort of VR platform. All we had to do was sit in the chair, put the VR glasses on and fly away.
“Ok Kyle, you got this.”
I look at the crowd to see my friends. Paula looked surprised; she too hadn’t expected this. Mike had his game face on; I couldn’t tell what he was thinking. Sekani gave me a thumbs up, and Layla smiled at me.
I was ready.
I take my seat, put the goggles on and as soon as I hear the whistle blow, I begin.
The drones besides each contestant suddenly lurched up and away, with the crowd cheering on.
Each drone had a specific color, the same color as the chair we were seated on. And it would seem that there were surveillance drones all over the city, broadcasting the race’s feed.
I didn’t think. I didn’t let myself think. I was a drone now, and my goal was to get to the other side of the city, as fast as I possibly could.
It was mind-blowing. The twist, the turns, the smooth maneuvers. I was enjoying this.
I didn’t hear myself cheer and hoot when I avoided the collision of two drones in the air. They exploded, and I knew we were down to four.
One of the drones got flagged and disqualified for trying to take a shortcut, an unauthorized route, and we were but three.
Green, Black, and Blue. Racing side by side in the air. The drone by my left, the black one from what I could tell barreled into me, shoving me by the side.
I felt the impact and shook from it. It gave me an idea. I got back in position and shoved the Blue drone by my right slightly. I did the same to the black one and sped onward.
We were still flying at the same pace and almost at the finish line. On cue, the drones stretched farther to the side, while still on the same line, and barreled in, their goal, to shove me to oblivion.
I lifted myself and floated above them an instant before they collided into each other. I felt, rather than hear the explosion as I sped forward and crossed the finished line.
The simulation ended. The crowd cheered. I take off the glasses and open my eyes. I stand on wobbly legs as I still feel woozy from my recent flight.
Dr. Skye congratulates me and offers me the huge cheque. I exchange pleasantries with my fellow contestants and my friends run onto the stage to congratulate me.
“You owe me ten bucks,” Sekani says to Mike.
“Oh my God. You guys made a bet!” I exclaim.
They shrug, and we all laugh.
I was the new Game Of Drones champion, and I was super ecstatic about it. And yeah, I also got the girl. Layla said yes!
If that was before or after I puked on her shoes, I really can’t tell.
But I was certain of one thing though.
I would never forget this day.