Monday, August 14, 2006

Chapter 4.0 "Elements of Foundation"

Martin rubbed the back of his neck, but the stubborn stiffness remained from sleeping on the couch. Jennifer had not stirred from the moment he placed her on the bed nearly two weeks ago, her suspended animation betrayed only by the shallow breath of his Lady Lazarus.

Sighing as he entered the office tower, Martin checked his watch with the dread of having to meet with the Beldar twins. Humphreys had insisted on bringing them in to work on Ito's business plan, and he had no doubt they would be a huge pain in the ass for the entire process.

The lobby was forgivingly empty when he stepped off the elevator. Too early for the receptionist he thought. The twins always insisted on starting their meetings at 7:00 in the morning.

He found his mug and grumbled to himself about the task at hand. The least they could do was make the freaking coffee for what we're paying them.

The twins were of course at their places already. Coffee in hand, Martin entered the conference room and sat down at the head of the table without a word. Here it comes.

"Morning, Martin."

"You look a little droopy, old boy."

"I hope you're ready, because..."

"...We honestly have a lot of questions for you on this one."

"Look," said Martin. "We're going to do this debriefing in sequence. I'm going to talk and you two are going to shut up and take notes, alright?"

"We have names you know," replied the Baldar on his left. "I'm Reed and he's Ryan."

"Bullshit!" Martin countered. "You're Ryan and he's Reed."

"And you're no fun anymore."

"Whatever. Just keep in mind we need a draft of this prospectus by Tuesday at the latest."

"In that case, how about you let us start with our Q&A?"

Martin relented. He knew they'd never let him get through his first slide otherwise.

"OK, what are we calling this startup?" Reed asked.

"NLF: New Life Foundation."

"Oh that's cute. And who is your target market?"

"Dead people."

"All dead people?" Reed asked.

"Certainly not," replied Martin. "In this case, the dead fall into two categories."

"Of course!" said Ryan. "Either you want them to stay dead or you want them back, right?"

"Not precisely, guys," Martin said. "The number we can bring back is small and the cost is correspondingly high." He paused for effect. "We all could think of people we would want to bring back, but how many would be worth the price tag of $100 million dollars?"