Stick to What You Know
Isaac looked up frowning as the door to his ultra modern office softly swung open. He’d given explicit instructions he was not to be disturbed. His assistant, Jane, walked in. While no one could mistake Jane for human she was an amazing machine, as she should be considering Isaac’s company owned the worldwide monopoly on developing androids.
As CEO of the company Isaac made sure he had the best of the best. A stylish, expensive, yet tasteful office based in the most expensive and exclusive office block in the city decorated by the finest interior designers. The most refined android yet built as his assistant. By the time anyone reached his actual office they couldn’t help but be impressed, if not outright intimidated. Not that many people reached his office. He had layers of management to take care of the details. His background was as a lawyer – he had no desire to be a hands on manager.
“What are you doing?” he snapped at Jane. “I told you I didn’t want to be disturbed!”
“It is time for your next meeting.” Jane spoke with a soft upper class accent. Once again there was something there that told you she wasn’t human, though it was much harder to put your finger on what it was than with her appearance.
“I don’t have a meeting now.” Isaac was angry now. “I don’t have any meetings today. Have you blown a fuse?”
“I don’t have any fuses, Mr Scald.”
Isaac was about to lash out again when someone stepped into the room behind Jane. Theodore Smith, the inventor of androids and the founder of Isaac’s company. Biting down hard on his anger, Isaac spoke.
“Theodore. How… unexpected.”
“It’s Ted. You should remember that, Isaac. It hasn’t been that long since you last saw me. Just two years when every attempt I made to talk to you or meet with you was denied. I wouldn’t be here now if I hadn’t used a little back door hack on your secretary. I was quite surprised your technical staff hadn’t removed it.”
Isaac ground his teeth for a moment, fighting for control. Then he reminded himself where they were. In his plush office, in his office block. And most importantly discussing his company.
“Well Theodore… sorry, Ted, you must understand I’m a very busy man. I have an international company to run.”
“Yes. My company. At least it was till you stole it.”
“Come now, I don’t think you want to start making slanderous statements like that. You signed the contract of your own free will and received a handsome price. Six million dollars, if I recall correctly.”
“You told me the contract would make us partners. That I’d have an equal share. I didn’t understand the contract, and you knew that, but you were a friend so I trusted you. I handled the technology and you handled the legal side. Six million is nothing. You’ve made billions already and the company is still expanding rapidly.”
“You signed the agreement. If it didn’t say what you thought it did that is hardly my fault. You should have stuck to what you know.”
“So I’ve lost all rights to the androids? All responsibilities? I can’t even develop my own?”
“Yes. That sums the position up nicely.”
Ted glared at Isaac for a moment then checked his watch. The scowl left his face and was replaced by a grin.
“So tell me, how did your technologists fix the date problem?”
“What date problem?”
“Really? Oh dear. Five… four… three… two… one…”
Suddenly Jane, who had been standing quietly to one side, let out an almighty screech which had both men covering their ears. Seconds later the sound stopped. Small curls of smoke started to drift from Jane’s head and she collapsed to the floor in a heap.
Isaac stared at Jane, mouth open.
“What… what happened?” he stammered.
“The date problem happened. I spotted it about nine months ago. It was quite easy to fix but, of course, I wasn’t allowed anywhere near the company after we signed the agreement, and you refused to see me. Every android in the world has just suffered a fatal meltdown. I imagine your company is about to be sued for an awful lot of money. Not to mention the fact no one will ever trust you again. You’ll never sell another android.”
Isaac’s stomach dropped as the implications sank in. The company was wealthy but all of its income had come from the Androids. The cost of settling was sure to exceed the profit made per unit. The company was finished. He was finished. He stared at Ted, opening and closing his mouth soundlessly.
“Bad luck,” said Ted. “What can I say? You should have stuck to what you know! Still, I’ve got my six million, so I’m happy.”
With that he turned and walked cheerfully out of the office, leaving a devastated Isaac behind.