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Byweimiaow

Abomination, he heard Haggon saying. It was

Abomination, he heard Haggon saying. It was almost as if he were here, in this very room. “She is just some ugly spearwife,” Varamyr told him. “I am a great man. I am

Varamyr, the warg, the skinchanger, it is not right that she should live and I should die.” No one answered. There was no one there. Thistle was gone. She had abandoned him, the same as all the rest.

His own mother had abandoned him as well. She cried for Bump, but she never cried for me. The morning his father pulled him out of bed to deliver him to Haggon,

she would not even look at him. He had shrieked and kicked as he was dragged into the woods, until his father slapped him and told him to be quiet. “You belong with

your own kind,” was all he said when he flung him down at Haggon’s feet.

He was not wrong, Varamyr thought, shivering. Haggon taught me much and more. He taught me how to hunt and fish, how to butcher a carcass and bone a fish, how to

off to sleep at once and it was late when she awakened. To her amazement she heard voices in the vicinity of the hangar, but when she hopped out of bed, she saw

 

find my way through the woods. And he taught me the way of the warg and the secrets of the skinchanger, though my gift was stronger than his own.

decided to lighten things up a bit in the vicinity of the beloved airplane and its owner. In spite of the excitement and terror, the girl was so weary that she dropped

off to sleep at once and it was late when she awakened. To her amazement she heard voices in the vicinity of the hangar, but when she hopped out of bed, she saw

it was her Dad

there with

the village

electrician.

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Byweimiaow

Her chin was pointed and her nose flat, and she

Her chin was pointed and her nose flat, and she had a mole on one cheek with four dark hairs growing from it. An ugly face, and hard, yet he would have given much to

glimpse it in the door of the hut. I should have taken her before she left. How long had she been gone? Two days? Three? Varamyr was uncertain. It was dark inside the

hut, and he had been drifting in and out of sleep, never quite sure if it was day or night outside. “Wait,” she’d said. “I will be back with food.” So like a fool he’d waited,

dreaming of Haggon and Bump and all the wrongs he had done in his long life, but days and nights had passed and Thistle had not returned. She won’t be coming back.

Varamyr wondered if he had given himself away. Could she tell what he was thinking just from looking at him, or had he muttered in his fever dream?

“Say it with flowers,” the lad chuckled. “Come along. As long as I live I may never get another chance to have a sheriff in the saddle behind me. How I wish a cop would try to stop me on this trip.”

The pair went off amid the reports of the motorcycle, and then the neighbors, assured that the Langwells were unhurt and in no further danger, departed. Before

she went to bed Roberta took another look at the old barn-hangar where Nike and the Falcon were still resting securely. With a sigh of relief she glanced toward the

sky, which was mighty dark, but she caught the faint outline

“Good morning, dear, I thought I heard you moving about.”

“Morning, Mummy. What are they doing out there?”

of the moon

shining

through as if s

he had49

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Byweimiaow

That was when he noticed that his fire had gone

That was when he noticed that his fire had gone out.

Only a grey-and-black tangle of charred wood remained, with a few embers glowing in the ashes. There’s still smoke, it just needs wood. Gritting his teeth against the

pain, Varamyr crept to the pile of broken branches Thistle had gathered before she went off hunting, and tossed a few sticks onto the ashes. “Catch,” he croaked. “Burn.”

He blew upon the embers and said a wordless prayer to the nameless gods of wood and hill and field.

The gods gave no answer. After a while, the smoke ceased to rise as well. Already the little hut was growing colder. Varamyr had no flint, no tinder, no dry kindling. He

would never get the fire burning again, not by himself. “Thistle,” he called out, his voice hoarse and edged with pain. “Thistle!”

“Thanks. I’ll get home as fast as I can and start things humming on the telephone. Spread this number over the country through the broadcasting stations and find out who owns that car.”

“Ought not to be hard finding the would-be thieves,” the boy grinned.

“Looks as if it

might be easy,

thanks to your

good sense.”

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Byweimiaow

“Wonder what her game is anyway? I’m going to tell

“Wonder what her game is anyway? I’m going to tell Trowbridge to have some—”

“I say, Kingsley.” Someone called the president’s son, and with a nod to his companion, he strode off to see what was wanted.

Roberta proceeded, but as she went she wished she had not spoken to Phil of her nervousness. Probably it was just silly and she certainly didn’t want to be

relieved of the responsibility because she was afraid. After all, there wasn’t a thing in the world to be afraid of, nothing but a collection of wild guesses. It

was unlike the time the “old man” had tried to appropriate the Moth, for then the country was filled with horrible stories of “Blue Air-pirates,” but now everything was as it should be. In fact, life was a bit dull except24 for the

unending joy of racing into the sky. By that time she reached Mr. Trowbridge’s office, but as she opened the door she heard Mr. Wallace saying

angrily, “Well, I’ll be darned if I see it. Oh, oh, hello Miss Langwell.” With that he rushed out of the room and banged the door so hard that it jarred the place.

“Oh, er, oh,” Mr. Trowbridge glanced at her, then began to fumble with some papers on his desk. “Wallace is a bit upset, you’ll have to excuse him.”

unending joy of racing into the sky. By that time she reached Mr. Trowbridge’s office, but as she opened the door she heard Mr. Wallace saying

angrily, “Well, I’ll be darned if I see it. Oh, oh, hello Miss Langwell.” With that he rushed out of the room and banged the door so hard that it jarred the place.

“Sorry if I interrupted—”

“It was a pool the gods would have delighted to swim in.
Molitor had the best competitive swimming club in Paris. Therewere two

pools, an indoor and an outdoor. Both were as bigas small oceans. The indoor pool always had two

lanesreserved

for swimmers

who wanted

to do lengths.

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Byweimiaow

That pain is like an axe that chops at my heart.The doctors

That pain is like an axe that chops at my heart.
The doctors and nurses at the hospital in Mexico wereincredibly kind to me. And the patients, too. Victims of canceror car accidents, once they heard my

story, they hobbled andwheeled over to see me, they and their families, though noneof them spoke English and I spoke no Spanish. They smiled atme,

shook my hand, patted me on the head, left gifts of foodand clothing on my bed. They moved me to uncontrollable fitsof laughing and crying.

“Anything special?” she asked when greetings were exchanged.

“Only Mrs. Pollzoff. She ought to be here any minute,” Mr. Trowbridge replied.

“Howe is coming in this morning,” Mr. Wallace added.

16 “Phil told me—”

“Yes, and here I am,” Mr. Howe announced himself as he entered. “They told me you were all in here, so I took the liberty of coming in without knocking; I can go out the same way if you like.”

“You can stay here, without knocking,” Mr. Trowbridge hastened to assure him. “I’m thinking Miss Langwell is glad to see you.”

“She has been handling a job that is dull as ditch-water,” Wallace put in quickly.

“She will not find my work dull, but it will be cold, for it may take her to the Bering Sea,” Mr. Howe informed them. “I expect to be ready for her soon.”

“It sounds no end exciting,” Roberta said and her eyes sparkled. A job that would take her to the Bering Sea appeared to have endless possibilities and she was keenly interested. Just then the phone rang and Mr. Trowbridge

“Or rides the air,” Harvey laughed.

“Are you children riding in with me?” Mr. Langwell asked. “The time is getting short.”

“I am, Dad, thanks. If you will take me as far as the subway in Jamaica, I’ll land just in time for class,” Harvey answered.

“Phil will be here to pick me up, thank you,” Roberta replied, so, as the meal was finished, and the last pancake had disappeared, they left the table to start on the day’s occupations. Harvey raced up

the stairs, three at a jump, while his sister gave her mother a hand straightening the dining room as she waited for Phil Fisher to take her to the flying field.

answered it.

“Your passenger

has arrived,”

he told Roberta.

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Byweimiaow

He had told Larry Ellison that his return strategy was to

He had told Larry Ellison that his return strategy was to sell NeXT to Apple, get appointed to the board, and be there ready when CEO Gil Amelio stumbled. Ellison may have been baffled when Jobs insisted that he was not

motivated by money, but it was partly true. He had neither Ellison’s conspicuous consumption needs nor Gates’s philanthropic impulses nor the competitive urge to see how high on the Forbes list he could get. Instead his

ego needs and personal drives led him to seek fulfillment by creating a legacy that would awe people. A dual legacy, actually: building innovative products and building a lasting company. He wanted to be in the pantheon with, indeed

a notch above, people like Edwin Land, Bill Hewlett, and David Packard. And the best way to achieve all this was to return to Apple and reclaim his kingdom.

And yet when the cup of power neared his lips, he became strangely hesitant, reluctant, perhaps coy.

He returned to Apple officially in January 1997 as a part-time advisor, as he had told Amelio he would. He began to assert himself in some personnel areas, especially in protecting his people who had made the transition from

NeXT. But in most other ways he was unusually passive. The decision not to ask him to join the board offended him, and he felt demeaned by the

suggestion that he run the company’s operating system division. Amelio was thus able to create a situation in which Jobs was both inside the tent and

outside the tent, which was not a prescription for tranquillity. Jobs later recalled:

Gil didn’t want me around. And I thought he was a bozo. I knew that before I sold him the company. I thought I was just going to be trotted out now and

then for events like Macworld, mainly for show. That was fine, because I was working at Pixar. I rented an office in downtown Palo Alto where I could work

a few days a week, and I drove up to Pixar for one or two days.

It was a nice life.

I could slow down,

spend time

with my family.

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Byweimiaow

The event ended on a more upbeat note, literally.Jobs brought

The event ended on a more upbeat note, literally. Jobs brought onstage a violinist from the San Francisco Symphony who played Bach’s A Minor Violin Concerto in a duet with the NeXT computer onstage. People erupted in

 

jubilant applause. The price and the delayed release were forgotten in the frenzy. When one reporter asked him immediately afterward why the machine was going to be so late, Jobs replied, “It’s not late. It’s five years ahead of its time.”

As would become his standard practice, Jobs offered to provide “exclusive” interviews to anointed publications in return for their promising to put the

story on the cover. This time he went one “exclusive” too far, though it didn’t really hurt. He agreed to a request from Business Week’s Katie Hafner for

exclusive access to him before the launch, but he also made a similar deal with Newsweek and then with Fortune. What he didn’t consider was that one of Fortune’s top editors, Susan Fraker, was married to Newsweek’s editor

Maynard Parker. At the Fortune story conference, when they were talking excitedly about their exclusive, Fraker mentioned that she happened to know that Newsweek had also been promised an exclusive, and it would be coming

out a few days before Fortune. So Jobs ended up that week on only two magazine covers. Newsweek used the cover line “Mr. Chips” and showed him leaning on a beautiful NeXT, which it proclaimed to be “the most exciting

machine in years.” Business Week showed him looking angelic in a dark suit, fingertips pressed together like a preacher or professor. But Hafner pointedly

reported on the manipulation that surrounded her exclusive. “NeXT carefully parceled out interviews with its staff and suppliers, monitoring them with a

censor’s eye,” she wrote. “That strategy worked, but at a price: Such maneuvering—self-serving and relentless—displayed the side of Steve Jobs that so hurt him at Apple. The

trait that most

stands out is

Jobs’s need to

control events.”

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Byweimiaow

At times he could be amusingly aware of his own foibles, and he

At times he could be amusingly aware of his own foibles, and he used the electronic book demonstration to poke fun at himself. “A word that’s

sometimes used to describe me is ‘mercurial,’” he said, then paused. The audience laughed knowingly, especially those in the front rows, which were

filled with NeXT employees and former members of the Macintosh team. Then he pulled up the word in the computer’s dictionary and read the first definition: “Of or relating to, or born under the planet Mercury.”

change the face of computing.” The NeXT software and hardware were designed, he said, after three years of consulting with

universities across the country. “What we realized was that higher ed wants a personal mainframe.”

As usual there were superlatives. The product was “incredible,” he said, “the best thing we could have imagined.” He praised the beauty of even the parts

unseen. Balancing on his fingertips the foot-square circuit board that would be nestled in the foot-cube box, he enthused, “I hope you get a chance to look

at this a little later. It’s the most beautiful printed circuit board I’ve ever seen in my life.” He then showed how the computer could play speeches—he

featured King’s “I Have a Dream” and Kennedy’s “Ask Not”—and send email with audio attachments. He leaned into the microphone on the computer to

record one of his own. “Hi, this is Steve, sending a message on a pretty historic day.” Then he asked those in the audience to add “a round of applause” to the message, and they did.

One of Jobs’s management philosophies was that it is crucial, every now and then, to roll the dice and “bet the company” on some new idea or technology.

At the NeXT launch, he boasted of an example that, as it turned out, would not be a wise gamble: having a high-capacity (but slow) optical read/write

disk and no floppy disk as a backup. “Two years ago we made a decision,” he said. “We saw some new technology and we made a decision to risk our company.”

Then he turned to a feature that would prove more prescient. “What we’ve done is made the first real digital books,” he said, noting the inclusion of the

Oxford edition of Shakespeare and other tomes. “There has not been an advancement in

the state of the

art of printed

book technology

since Gutenberg.”

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Byweimiaow

The negotiations lasted into 1988, with Jobs becoming prickly

“If we scroll down the thesaurus, though, we see that the antonym is ‘saturnine.’ Well what’s that? By simply double-clicking on it, we immediately

look that up in the dictionary, and here it is: ‘Cold and steady in moods. Slow to act or change. Of a gloomy or surly disposition.’” A little smile came across his face as he waited for the ripple of laughter.

host for a mediating session at his Dallas headquarters, and a deal was struck: IBM would license the current version of the NeXTSTEP software, and if the managers liked it, they would use it on some of their workstations. IBM sent

to Palo Alto a 125-page contract. Jobs tossed it down without reading it. “You don’t get it,” he said as he walked out of the room. He demanded a simpler contract of only a few pages, which he got within a week.

Jobs wanted to keep the arrangement secret from Bill Gates until the big unveiling of the NeXT computer, scheduled for October. But IBM insisted on

being forthcoming. Gates was furious. He realized this could wean IBM off its dependence on Microsoft operating systems. “NeXTSTEP isn’t compatible with anything,” he raged to IBM executives.

At first Jobs seemed to have pulled off Gates’s worst nightmare. Other computer makers that were beholden to Microsoft’s operating systems, most notably Compaq and Dell, came to ask Jobs for the right to clone NeXT and

license NeXTSTEP. There were even offers to pay a lot more if NeXT would get out of the hardware business altogether.

That was too much for Jobs, at least for the time being. He cut off the clone discussions. And he began to cool toward IBM. The chill became reciprocal.

When the person who made the deal at IBM moved on, Jobs went to Armonk to meet his replacement, Jim Cannavino. They cleared the room and talked one-on-one. Jobs demanded more money to keep the relationship going and

to license newer versions of NeXTSTEP to IBM. Cannavino made no commitments, and he subsequently stopped returning Jobs’s phone calls. The deal lapsed. NeXT got a bit of money

 

for a licensing fee,

but it never

got the chance to

change the world.

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Byweimiaow

After the settlement Jobs continued to court Esslinger until

After the settlement Jobs continued to court Esslinger until the designer decided to wind down his contract with Apple. That allowed frogdesign to work with NeXT at the end of 1986. Esslinger insisted on having free rein, just

as Paul Rand had. “Sometimes you have to use a big stick with Steve,” he said. Like Rand, Esslinger was an artist, so Jobs was willing to grant him indulgences he denied other mortals.

Jobs decreed that the computer should be an absolutely perfect cube, with each side exactly a foot long and every angle precisely 90 degrees. He liked cubes. They had gravitas but also the slight whiff of a toy. But the NeXT cube

was a Jobsian example of design desires trumping engineering considerations. The circuit boards, which fitted nicely into the traditional pizza-box shape, had to be reconfigured and stacked in order to nestle into a cube.

Even worse, the perfection of the cube made it hard to manufacture. Most parts that are cast in molds have angles that are slightly greater than pure 90 degrees, so that it’s easier to get them out of the mold (just as it is easier to get

a cake out of a pan that has angles slightly greater than 90 degrees). But Esslinger dictated, and Jobs enthusiastically agreed, that there would be no such “draft angles” that would ruin the purity and perfection of the cube. So

the sides had to be produced separately, using molds that cost $650,000, at a specialty machine shop in Chicago. Jobs’s passion for perfection was out of control. When he noticed a tiny line in the chassis caused by the molds,

something that any other computer maker would accept as unavoidable, he flew to Chicago and convinced the die caster to start over and do it perfectly. “Not a lot of die casters expect a celebrity to fly in,” noted one of the

engineers. Jobs also had the company buy a $150,000 sanding machine to remove all lines where the mold faces met and insisted that the magnesium

case be a matte black,

which made it

more susceptible to

showing blemishes.

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