Four years earlier, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, a balding, stocky man in suit chomping on a cigar practised his smile as he prepared to meet patrons who would love his Commodore 64 computers no end.This was it! Make or break!The beige machine connected to a monitor, tape deck and 1541 disk drive, was ready to dazzle. While the show hadn’t started yet, an old man with white, bushy eyebrows, glasses, and wisps of hair over his ears, approached him. He was dressed in a white lab coat. “Hello, Jack,” he said in a harsh voice. “I’m from the future. You’ve come a long way, not necessarily in the right direction, from those calculators you used to peddle.” “Really? Cause you look like you’re from the past,” Jack managed, thrusting out his chin. “The Neolithic period, perhaps? The show hasn’t opened yet. Beat it.” The man looked the computer up and down, stroked the function keys on the right and smiled. “Not bad.” “Over your head, old man?” Jack said, having a puff on his cigar. “No,” the man replied, looking him in the eyes. “I don’t think you got it quite right until you combined the KERNAL and BASIC ROMS into U4 and went down to 2 RAM chips, U9 and U10. However, it’s a reasonable start.” Jack puffed smoke and laughed. “I could care less about the technical details! I hired young engineers because they thought outside the box! And because they were cheap!” “U18, the SID chip, is my favourite of the integrated circuits. My speech will go down in history because of it. I’m, err, Vin-Le, just another visitor. Thanks to you, millions of little runts will try and raid my lair. However, I’ll let them, if you grant me one wish.” Jack looked the peculiar character up and down. “Is that your real name?” Somehow he appeared to be more of a cartoon oddity than flesh and blood. “It’s near enough. I prefer to run in incognito mode.” “You’re not from Texas Instruments are you?” he checked, rubbing at his nose. “If so, business is war and this baby is going to take me to the top of the pile and sink you!” Vin-Le chortled evilly. “Hardly! I’m here to ask a favour of you. Let me taint one of your units so it can trap the users inside, forever!” Jack laughed. “Do I need to call the white truck for you or what?” Vin-Le snarled, his nostrils flaring. “Just say you agree!” Jack squared off against the old man. “Now, listen, you schmuck! Scram and let me get ready to do my job!” “Just say ‘yes’,” Vin-Le implored him, suddenly contrite. “Just one unit. If the person touches the power light three times, they go into the computer. Then, they’re trapped forever!” Jack looked him up and down. He looked over to one of his sales people, a young man in a neat suit sporting a goatee. The man shrugged his shoulders and twirled his finger next to his ear, making circles, then pointed at Vin-Le. Jack unexpectedly guffawed then nodded. “Sure, but give them a chance to escape, right? If they beat, I don’t know, say a dozen games, they’re free? Sound fair? Great. I knew it would. Have a lovely day.” Vin-Le snarled and marched away. “Very well! That will have to serve!” “And you can only pick some flunky that keeps returning games when there’s nothing wrong with them!” he added. “I’ve been told that could be a problem!” The old man turned back and barked at him. “No, no, nnooo!” “Yes! And that’ll be twenty bucks for my time!” Jack said after him, watching him turn and shuffle away. It was immediately apparent he wasn’t getting paid for his concession. “Don’t fall down the stairs or anything, will you?” An official approached Jack, watching after Vin-Le for a moment. “Hi Jack. I’m Kevin Kieller. From Accounts Receivable.” “So?” Jack said. He looked over to the young sales person. “John Traynor, get your sorry arse over here!” “We haven’t received payment for Commodore’s stand yet.” Jack looked him up and down. “The cheque’s in the mail! Now scram, I’ve got things to do!” “You can’t smoke in here, either!” Kevin said, trying to sound scolding but feeling a little intimidated by the burly character before him. “Can’t I? Watch me!” Jack said, waving the man away. Kevin walked off, frowning. This wouldn’t do at all. The young sales person, John, approached his boss. “You OK, boss? He wasn’t playing with a full deck!” Jack frowned. “You’re supposed to stop crackpots from bothering me!” “I didn’t see him coming!” John said, shrinking back. “You’re fired!” Jack said, blasting him. John’s jaw dropped. The frown on his boss’ façade made it clear he wasn’t joking. His shoulders drooped. Jack took in a deep breath and pressed his lips together as he chugged on his cigar.