On the table were printed sheets with calculations of a preliminary business plan, which Ilya prepared, not yet being sure that everyone he had scheduled for the team would agree to take their places in it. He printed five copies, with difficulty concealing the overwhelming joy that was overwhelming him. I printed it right in front of everyone, explaining the desire to see their calculations on paper and not on the screens of their tablets, with a banal desire to observe how they would make notes, draw and tick in places that they would not understand or with which they would disagree.
Two days they brought pizza, sushi and wok noodles to Zimmer. Initially, they smoked, running out into the street, then, sparing time, they hung a smoke screen inside. Sheets with corrected and reworked numbers and formulations have already been reprinted three times, updating and redrawing with color felt-tip pens. As a result, what remained was the basis of their activity for the next two years: five plus ten freelancers - each of the five had such guys in mind in seven directions:
- sequence of models, orderliness,
- field of application
- plots of games
The last question, oddly enough, passed without controversy. All five were wealthy gentlemen. But it was necessary to abandon a career a lot and move to a risky financial condition with the investment of all its resources into the unknown. According to calculations, it will take two years and two million euros before the release of the demo version. With these costs decided to cope on their own, without resorting to loans. But then the numbers lined up in such order that they all began to say at once: twenty-five million - the amount that needs to be found from sponsors.
- We signed up for a couple of millions, and for us this is money, compared to serious corporations, huge. And we are not amateurs! If this idea captured us in such a way that we, the five advanced specialists, took a risk on everyone, then why people, who didn’t eat a dog during the promotion of projects of such level, would feel the same thing?
- Igor is right! - Sasha stressed the next paragraph in the printout. - If the Swedish calculations are justified by at least half: the first year is three hundred thousand subscribers, the second is five hundred thousand, and the third we reach one million, given that the player spends about fifty dollars a year on average, we will pay for everything by that time and maybe even earn.
- And this is just what concerns the game itself! And yet, after all, revenue from advertising, accessories, sweepstakes, without which the game of gangsters and cops will not do. And we do not present now what opportunities in the financial sense can bring training programs and what can be used by the tourist business.
Smolkin dipped his cigar into whiskey:
- What is this? We will be multi - or whatever - millions ...
“You haven't smoked cigars before?” - Ilya smiled. - Already preparing to become this multi ...? We still need a white silk scarf, a dark blue hat and a suit, and a white shirt.
- Is that what you're hinting at? After all, we decided to do business, high-tech, and not a mafia design!
- Enter the image, Sasha! You will have to write stories about those who smoke cigars, dipping them into whiskey.
Igor moved Smolkin ashtray:
- You're not down to the punks from the gateway? To describe the stories easier will have to hire copywriters from Eastern Europe.
They spent the evening in the same Americanized restaurant, because, firstly, it was located closest to their house with a garden, and secondly, because the fish that was served there was incomparable, and thirdly, they caught in the atmosphere of the “western” that was filled with this restaurant filled with the sounds of Negro music, in the interior with a stylized jokes in front of the entrance and wide cowboy hats of waiters, the spirit of the primary entrepreneurship that originated in the Wild West. However, after mixing different types of alcoholic drinks, the spirit of entrepreneurship would penetrate into their heated heads and into some kind of ordinary falafel.
“Well, okay,” Danik slashed his hand, summing up the long-term discussions of the impressions of the fantastic prospects of the work they had begun. - And what is our super goal? We are intellectuals, we must feel, putting our brains, souls and hearts, something that is beyond money, fame and what else is there?
“And there is nothing else,” Sergei raised a mug of mulled wine, “then only god, in the sense of the divine, is next.
- In the sense of something noble, you mean? - Smolkin got involved in a complex topic. - You're talking about morality? Right now, we will begin to suffer from the intelligentsia: why do we need money, but let's better go to the mountain and live there in a hut on the mountain, and Tanya or Jeanne - he was ready to list the names of the wives of all those present, but lost, forgetting the next name , - in general, they will bring us a cup of rice a day, and we will be spiritualized there and ... The toilet will still have to be built, and the romance with meditation will immediately evaporate. Do not shit on the mountain! As I understand it, she is supposed to be a saint.
Ilya wanted to extinguish Sashny's attempts to get on the slippery slope, not to let him get bogged down in moralizations, but Danik interrupted them:
- No, really, what else besides the above, are we interested in this game topic? Ilya, do you have a few words to encourage us?
- "Crossroads" - in this word the whole meaning. The one who in ordinary life does not dare to act bad or good, especially the one who, by his nature, wants to do something terrible that goes beyond the civilizational order, he will be able to experience and decide for himself: who is he really? And I am sure that the overwhelming majority of such people who are in a borderline state, having survived something from their sick fantasies, are not real, but in this game, they will leave the line of dangerous approach to a catastrophe.
- That is, we literally begin to heal humanity? - Smolkin snapped again, grabbing Ilya by the sleeve.
- Why not? To some extent, in some quantities. And then, it does not have to be a criminal experience. For example, we can organize a series of “rescue” stories in a broad sense. We know about many tragedies in which innocent people died, especially children, and here in our game you have a chance to get into the past and save a person, a child, in some terrible, tragic situation. After all, we cannot invent a time machine, but we can make people feel what they could experience while saving. These are strong feelings, and yes, Sasha, a person, I believe in this, is able to change after he gets the opportunity to experience such emotions.
All quieted down.
“I cannot forget the episode of the black-and-white newsreel,” Igor moved to the table, put his elbows on the edge and quietly continued: “The picture is this: somewhere in Ukraine, during the war, on the edge of a small town, Germans and policemen drive local for sending to the camp or to work in Germany, and a healthy fellow, with a white bandage on his sleeve, tears the little boy completely away from his mother distraught with horror. The kid is trying to run after his mother, and the shutsman throws him away with his boot, and the mother hits the rifle butt, forcing him to join the unfortunate German trucks. I agree with you, Ilyukha, for a chance at least to virtually dunk the police officer and give the mother and the little to escape ... Yes, Ilyukha, you are a giant, and I'm with you in this business forever, and Beller dropped his head on a white tablecloth.
- Everything, stop drinking, we leave, - Sergey called the waiter.
On the way, my friends calmed down a bit. Igor lowered the glass and put his face to the fresh evening wind. A small pool near their house came in handy. Igor, trying to rehabilitate himself (on the way he expressed satisfaction with the fact that there was no salad on the table, which, according to tradition, such a drunkard should get into his face), went to make coffee. Putting a tray with the Turks on the edge of the pool, he also sank into the water. In such a water-relaxed state, enjoying a strong soft drink, the friends continued the conversation.
- So we are co-founders? - Sergey approached an important topic. - Cohen, how do you see it?
- Five equal shares.
All approvingly clapped with wet palms:
- So it's time to come up with a name and game.
- Let there be a “Crossroads”, - everyone applauded again.
- And notice, I did not say that, - Ilya gratefully acknowledged the authorship of the name for Igor.
- Well, we will earn crazy money - and what to do with it? - did not let up Smolkin. “After all, we have everything: houses, cars, the opportunity to travel, and so on,” he twisted his hand in the air. - No, really, yachts, airplanes and villas, for example, I don’t need the fuck, only a confusion.
- This is he Scrooge remembered! - Ilya laughed. - I know for sure what I want to spend money on, and I am talking, of course, about big, very big money.
- Stop! - Igor raised his hand. - Before such a revelation is necessary to drink.
No one objected. Beller brought a bottle of brandy and poured into small cups.
Sergey gave one filled with Ilya:
- Speak! Have a drink after.
- Here Igor told about one episode of the last war ... I, too, can not forget the shots of the military chronicles, only not the Second World War, but the recent Middle Eastern one. There, my mother walked with her daughter, a girl of about five: apparently, they arrived at a safe place after they got out of the hot spot. Mom in a black scarf, Lebanese or Syrian, and the girl is a real doll, with black curls, bouncing like springs at every step, eyes in half face ... And one of her hands - in my mother's palm, and the second to the elbow is not. All the time she ran ahead to her mother, looked into her face and asked: “Mommy, will my pen grow when I grow up?” - and in her voice there is hope, and fear, and tears, because, of course, she hopes that her pen would grow, but at the same time she was frightened by doubts - and all this was on her face, in her eyes, in the stroke of this crippled little pen.
- Well, you, Ilya, give! Horror - such a listen! And what can you do here? Grow this girl's hand?
- Not just this girl. I want to build a clinic and a scientific center for limb regeneration, such a narrow specialization, such a special children's rehabilitation center.
- Bad idea.
Everyone turned to Smolkin in surprise.
“You'll help hundreds of kids, and thousands will be cripples.” How will you choose them, by what signs? This selection is a bad word.
Ilya suddenly pulled Sasha to his neck and said with white lips:
- Repeat your thought.
Smolkin shivered dumbfounded, freeing himself from Ilyushkin's tenacious grip:
- I mean the injustice that was originally laid in such an idea.
- That is, do you think that because I can’t help a thousand children, I don’t have to cure, say, a hundred of them?
Sasha passed back:
- Yes, no, I generally, in a broad sense ... And why did you start? All right, we must all help, to whom we will reach.
And once again looking into the blackened eyes of a friend, he developed a thought, already going over to his side:
- No, this is of course cool, technology, if they arise, then it can be spread around the world.
Ilya turned to the others, calmed down and reached for a glass of water.
Igor passed the water to Ilya and poured himself.
- You are so wound up - apparently, went deep into the topic? Do you really think that this can happen with children?
- I? Yes, I'm in the subject, as far as possible. Guys, this is so important that there is simply nothing to compare with. In childhood, the idea of regenerating limbs has very real chances. Have you ever heard that there is such a p21 gene and p53 associated with it? They are just responsible for the regeneration at the cellular level, just need to learn how to "turn off" and "turn on" so that tumors and cancers do not form. It is difficult, not here and not to talk about it now, but what shocks ...
Everyone huddled around Cohen. There was so much energy in his voice that he seemed to be able to glow the metal filament of a light bulb.
- Back in the seventies of the last century, there were cases when small children of four or five years had phalanges of fingers growing, cut off in accidents; they grew all over the form: with bone, muscles, nails and skin with its characteristic pattern. A sensational report appeared back in 1972: after a guillotine amputation, the Australian pediatric surgeon received a regeneration of the nail phalanxes of the fingers after a guillotine amputation. Two years later in England, Dr. Illingworth confirmed these results, the same data was obtained in Germany, the USA and other countries, in Russia - Professor Doletsky came to the same conclusion: finger regeneration can be obtained in children under five or six years old. This suggests that our body, albeit at such an early age, is capable of it, with certain efforts of specialists. Our task is to learn to revive, to wake up these forces, and I will do it. All that can be earned, I will put in this dream, and rest assured, if this is not enough, I will turn my contribution into a fuse, and it will become the wick that will help expand the entire Forbes list to this task. No one can resist a crippled five-year-old child. We will start with “Crossroads” and end with all-consuming love. Love for children is a universal thing, around this deep feeling one can change a lot of things in the human community!
Illya laughed, calming the heat of passion. All relieved breathed.
- Here you are, Swedish, whale to drive us into a trance! You would make a good preacher.
- No, I'm not a preacher! We are programmers, guys, we should not preach, but tasks should be solved, and this is also a problem for children. You know better than others that everything depends on the score. We must learn to quickly count: all earth problems will be solved by supercomputers, and we must program them.
Sasha added Ilya:
“Let's wait for the quantum ones — they will manage without us,” everyone laughed again.
So ended the evening, so they laid the foundation for a cause that would far exceed their expectations and stretch for many years, becoming the main thing in the lives of these five men.
Error, inaccuracy pursues humanity throughout its development.
Euclid did not leave a chance in trying to build an absolutely regular geometrically isosceles triangle. The goal to eliminate the point between the two others, which tends to an infinitely small value, is absolutely unattainable. It destroys the concept of "absolutely."
Only God can do without errors. A man in pursuit of an absolute value, devoid of error, involuntarily tries to take a place on the divine throne, and repeatedly throws him from this height into unpredictability.
Holmes Caleb, sergeant of the Special Section of the Trafalgar Group, brewed tea in a thin-walled round glass inserted into a silver glass holder. Only he alone used such in their division, consisting of four constables, two of whom, like him, were "guys in blue." This meant that they belonged to the metropolitan police service number 1, where the base color of the uniform is very dark blue, almost black. Such were his trousers, shirt, and a woolen sweater worn over it, and even a mandatory tie made of dark blue Chinese silk. And there was another “special constable,” an employee who worked part-time at the police and who turned out that evening when a guy with a pigtail was brought to the station, the closest to the scene of the incident in their area of responsibility.
A coaster with a chasing in the form of a hunter aiming at its prey was given to Holmz by his wife thirty years ago, when they had just gotten married, and he shook it, over time giving this silver object the meaning of a talisman, an amulet, which was not superfluous in his service. The department specialized in investigating crimes involving the use of firearms. Caleb had already retired the thirty-five years necessary to receive a pension, and by his fifty-five years he could receive a full pension without waiting for his departure from service at sixty, but the thought that he would have to leave this modest office, take off his dark blue uniform and lose the environment of these guys, his colleagues, and even this silver cup holder, made him depressed. He could not imagine this glass in silver in his homely cozy kitchen, in what he thought was the hopeless longing of the sad life of a pensioner.
He loved his wife very much, but it was one thing when he came from the service as a constable, a man in the prime of his life, burdened with important problems that he, as a rule, successfully coped with, and evidence of this was lying in a chest of drawers in beautiful boxes tied with a ribbon, medals "For Long Service", handed to him to the thirty-year service anniversary and the fifty-year anniversary by age. Another thing is when he flashes in front of her in his pajamas with a watering can to irrigate stunted bushes in their small courtyard near a two-story cottage in the suburbs.
But this is still far away, and Caleb was driving these thoughts away from him. He unwrapped a sandwich cooked by his wife Aranka, an Englishwoman of Hungarian origin, who bore the name Varg before marriage. She was making grandma's sandwiches according to the recipe, and Holmz considered them to be a masterpiece of Hungarian cuisine for everyday use. Two pieces of black bread were smeared with a layer of goose fat, on top of which were laid roasted until golden brown, curdled with shell of goose skin grease. It was incredibly tasty and equally satisfying, it allowed the corrosive workaholic sergeant Holmzu Kaleb not to waste time going to the cafe next to the site where his colleagues went, as soon as they managed to cut out thirty or forty minutes for that.
Tea had already reached the temperature at which it did not burn the larynx, and Caleb prepared to bite off a piece of a sandwich with two cracklings lodged on its edge. At this most dramatic moment, one of them slipped away, dropping directly into the center of the immaculate dark brown drink surface, having muted this sacred tea surface with a rainbow of grease.
- Damn it! “Caleb was a little superstitious, and the silver amulet holder was, in a sense, a confirmation of this. Fat broke the harmony of the order created by the sergeant’s view of the world around him, and Caleb decided that he shouldn’t just pull it out of the tea and just put it back on the sandwich or send it straight into his mouth.He saw in this some kind of message, a voice, a way to solve a certain question for himself, and the fallen crackling was supposed to be the key to this decision.The solution is: if I pull it out the first time and put it on bread again without new incidents, then these guys are telling the truth, and I will listen to them again, and if this naughty roasted goose-skin falls down again and finally ruin my tea and transfer the case of the injury of the girl to the senior inspector.Next chapter