My Father The Commodore Part II - For The Masses, Not The Classes
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Growing up, Sam Tramiel mostly remembered seeing his father over lunch. Business meant the senior Tramiel could only make time for ham sandwiches and cola. Sam talking was out of the question. Abhorring the sight of chewed food meant sitting in silence. Passing condiments was their substitute for father-son bonding time, with Jack spending the rest of their time together lecturing Sam on business.

That tactile feeling of stale bread and ham was lingering in Sam's mind on the elevator ride to his father's office. Sam's footsteps wouldn't stop echoing in the marble halls, only adding to his dread to recall father despising 'heavy footed-fools'. Suddenly embraced by surprise from behind, the fear turned to relief that no protocol was worth worrying over today.

"Sam! What the hell are you doing skulking around here like that? Goddamn! I've got us some sandwiches in my office."

Nodding silently, Sam and father synchronized their marching into the gaming empire's executive maze. Navigating effortlessly to his office door, Jack's fiddling with the lock lets Sam study said door. Father's name looks so handsome in the oak.

Jack Tramiel, CEO

The door swings open. Inside, two ham sandwiches are sitting in their deli wrapping atop a wooden picnic table.

The rest of Jack's office is the picture of executive imperium, every wall's splendor outdoing the others. Photographs of Jack shaking hands with Presidents, Roman columns in each corner, and a bejeweled sword hanging in a polished glass case behind a mahogany desk.

In betwixt this magnificence, Sam Tramiel was sitting with his father at a quaint picnic table, as if Yogi Bear would come at any moment asking for a pic-a-nic basket.

The two Tramiel's sit in silence throughout the meal. Jack was soon licking his lips, leaning back and looking at his son like a prize fish. "Son, son, I can't tell you how happy it makes me to have you come to the family business. It's not the family business I wanted to pass on, but the one you deserve."

Sam made movements somewhere between nodding, gulping, and smiling.

"You're not going to eat that pickle, right?" Before Sam can answer, his father picks and chews it in one fell swoop. "Anyways, as I was saying, Atari isn't your everyday company. We've got… some trade secrets."

Nodding, Sam recalls a nugget of father's wisdom. If you don't cheat, you don't win.

"It's not what you're thinking of. You haven't been to a church lately, right?"

"Ughmm-" Sam's eyes narrow in the search for meaning. "Well, not since Gram-"

"Good! That's the only thing I needed to know, recency." Leaning forward, Jack takes his son's hand. "Now Sam, listen here. You're going to catch a lot of flak leading this company. They'll find a derogatory nickname for you ten times worse than 'Jackintosh' or 'Attila' or 'that bastard' and you know why? They're going to try and make you into me. But you can be your own man. That's what I need."

"I'm ready for it, Father."

"No, you're ready for them. You're not ready for… our trade secret. At least not yet."

Sam stood, crossing his arms. "Look, either tell me what you're talking about or stop beating around the bush. It's not like you."

At that, Jack burst out laughing. "That's my boy! Alright, as you wish. No more time to waste!" Leaping to his desk and reaching into a drawer, an unseen switch is made active. The glass case's polished glass retracts to free shining steel. Swinging swiftly and plunging into the ground, the ground around the sword rises to reveal an elevator from beneath their feet.

"Father, I have questions."

Jack's already stepping inside, "This is the fancy one, you’ll get to using it when needed. The gremlins clock in downstairs. Come along, we'll get your answers."

Crossing the elevator's threshold was like flipping a switch. Sam cannot see the walls, the floor, himself or his father. A hot wind whipping and howling all around them as a feeling of free-fall commences, surrounding and pounding the walls, everything disappearing into lost engineering with nothing else steering their way.

Sam, falling alone, felt his father's hand clamping over his mouth to stop his screaming. Jack's fingers are curling back and burning. Sam is merely expending kindling, until even ashes were going bankrupt.

Blinking, Sam's realizing he yet lived was a pleasant surprise. Gingerly picking himself up, Sam waits for his eyes to grow used to the darkness was in vain. It is pitch black all the way down.

It is dark, you are likely to be eaten by a grue.

Jack's firm hand grabbing him again almost gave Sam heart palpitations. A voice both distinctly and unrecognizable in belonging to his father began gurgling softly. "My boy, this is where the breaking of Commodore began. I've used them sparingly, to their chagrin, but used them all the same."

"Father… why?" Sam looks around, he sees a menagerie of obsolete electronics pulsating in the darkness. Outlines of light dancing down fatty piles pockmarked with cartridge ports and memory sticks.

"A sweetheart deal with darkness. These men, not men, these creatures, they sold their souls for power. So focused on their great and terrible power they lost sight of worldly affairs. I have made Tramiel's master of the dark without tainting our souls."

"I don't want this. Let me out. Please. Father, this isn't what I thought you wanted to pass on to me. It's not right!"

"Right? What's right is your birthright, your father's creation passing on to you. Samuel, you are my eldest blood. Finish the fight. The corruption of your birthright must be destroyed for their crimes against our family."

"This is against everything I thought you were teaching me."

Flashing before Sam's eyes are images of circuit boards dripping with blood. Joysticks twisting and unnaturally bending. A computer monitor activating to the sound of static forever. The floppy discs were crying. Even they didn't know why.

Sam's throat wouldn't stop screaming for water. Croaking, his eyes wishing for tears, Sam's turning revealed Sam’s lone form was standing in the office. All evidence of their lunch gone. Shaking, his eyes wildly searching the room, falling on the eye-catching desk placard:

Sam Tramiel, President and CEO

Master of the Arcadians

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