The Living Daylights
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June 18th, 1991
NeXT Computer Headquarters
Somewhere Resembling California

Don Valentine, ninth-dimensional space admiral and venture capitalist, admired the ultraviolet mural emblazoned on the side of NeXT's stylized corporate campus building.

Beside Don stood Steve Jobs, CEO and Chairman of both the company and a vast dimension of collective consciousness. "Yeah, we're the only company in the valley- and this is still the valley, technically- that offers same-sex couples equal benefits to the heterosexuals."

"Ah, that's nifty. But I'm sure the insurance paperwork must be a nightmare."

Steve threw his hands into the air. "Oh, Don, Don, you have no idea. Let me take you inside to meet the gang."

As they walked in, one of Don's floating eyes lingered its gaze on the image for a few moments. "But why is it ultraviolet?"

The first thing a visitor would notice was that the space inside the building was far larger than that outside. Steve and Don knew the way, as they walked and talked a few new managers floated in the endless void below, struggling to get a grip.

"Well, honestly it was at the request of our community members. They didn't really want to advertise their presence to… the wider culture, so to speak, but we didn't want that to mean we couldn't show off how insanely brave and great they are, that we are proud of them."

"Always a sucker for a counter-culture, you haven't changed a lick, have you Steve?"

"You know me, Don. Always thinking different, often thinking broke, but thinking better all the time all the same."

They were approaching a tanned surfer sitting at a desk. Soldering a circuit board, they hardly even glanced up as Steve and Don approached. "Must I suffer another heckler's veto already, Steve?"

"Not yet, Buster. I got someone I want you to meet. Don Valentine, this is Keaton Bicknell, one of our top engineers and a damned good dancer." Steve clasped his hand on Keaton's shoulder, almost making them flick their iron's wick.

"I wish you would stop saying that." Glancing up, Keaton nodded at Don before returning to their work. "A pleasure. Now, Steve, if you want me to have something to show you today you're gonna have to let me get back to it."

"So we shall!" Steve was already halfway out where the door would have been if there were any offices (other than his own) to speak of anywhere. Hustling to keep up, Don left a protoplasmic trail behind which, luckily for the night crew, evaporates with almost no lingering odor.

"Neeeext up, we've got a lovely little lady down from a little ol' state called Louisiana, give it up foooor…"

Stopping on a dime, Steve slammed a hand over his mouth. Pearl Higgins was on the phone, and even he knew better than to interrupt her. Mouthing 'another time', he tiptoed out of range before backpedaling back into a near sprint. "Okay, looks like everyone's busy today… who… might, be… free…"

Striding at full pace, Steve ducked between NeXT's community members, but all were otherwise occupied. It's almost like we're here during business hours. Steve chuckled.

Don was gasping for Don's proverbial breath. "Alright, Steve. Give me a second to rest, do you ever not go a mile a minute?"

"Not on your life pal. Can we talk investment in the down time?"

Don shuddered ambivalently. "You've got a nice building, and seem like you're taking care of your people, but what's the endgame here?"

"We want to put a ding in the universe."

Sighing, Valentine manifested a checkbook in Don's gaseous manifold. "I suppose we have had good times. Anybody have a pair of hands I could borrow to make out a check?"

Steve smiled, and held up a pen. "That'll do, Don. That'll do."

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