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Mr. Jounouchi Will See You Now.

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“Mr. Jounouchi will see you now.”

Kaiba had been waiting almost three hours for an audience with the CEO.  He had all but paced a hole in the carpet, and it was a wonder he hadn’t broken the prototype duel disk with all the nervous fiddling he had been doing. 

Not that he was nervous.  Even though he had never stepped foot in a high rise before today, and the wall of glass showed that he was dizzyingly high up.  And Mr. Jounouchi’s office was so big, and so majestic.  The shelves were stacked with framed pictures of the CEO smiling with his friends in exotic locations.  Seto quickly identified San Francisco and Egypt.  In other photos, Mr. Jounouchi was smiling in front of a helicopter with his almost-as-famous sister.  Shizuka was a successful idol, but it would always be hard to compete with the runner-up king of games himself.

Seto followed all of the tournament-winning duels and was sure he could keep up—if only he had the resources.  For now, he would have to be satisfied gazing at the Red Eyes Black Dragon statue next to a tall stack of contract papers.

For his part, Mr. Jounouchi was almost as patient as he was handsome. “Welcome to my office, Mr. Kaiba,” he made a thinking face, furrowing his brow a little.  “Well, that’s kinda formal.  We’re both seventeen, right?”

Kaiba nodded, almost bowing.  His long brown bangs snapped against his forehead as he straightened up.  “You may address me however you prefer.”

“Ha! You’re so serious…”  Jounouchi snuck a glance at his Outlook calendar, “Seto!  Now, whatcha got there?”

Kaiba stepped forward and presented the thick first generation Duel Disk.  It looked like a frisbee that had a very bad time.  Kaiba had done his utmost to hide the duct tape that held the card readers to the red surface.  “This is a Duel Disk.  Your company already makes perfectly adequate holographic projectors but is limited to the stadium setting.  With this advance, customers can duel anywhere without losing the benefit of the thrilling holograms.” His finger traced the big black “K” he’d so carefully written in electric tape.  “If you buy it, of course, we can change that to a ‘J.’”

Jounouchi took it out of his hands and inspected it carefully.  “Well it looks cool! And that’s something that we’d totally do… if it works.  And uhhh,” Jounouchi poked at the cryptic design, the five face-up card readers on the circle and the adjustable wire, “How does it work, exactly?”

Kaiba huffed and took back the disk. “You place a card on one of the readers, and…”  Kaiba stepped back, closer to the door, and launched the disk across the plush carpeting.  Saggi, the dark clown, appeared in a series of sparkles.

“Wow!”  Jounouchi walked over to where the disk had landed and inspected the projectors.  “How’d you get the holographic projectors so small?  Part of the stadium design is tied to the large infrastructure needed for that kinda power output!”

Kaiba tapped a button and the wire retracted the disk back into his hand.  He had practiced recalling the disk for hours—a few times the recall was too strong and the bruises on his nose were still healing.  This time he caught it with a practiced grace. 

“I’d be able to tell you if you presented me with a contract.”

Jounouchi shrugged.  “I’m not impressed with the design, I can tell this thing’s gonna be a pain in the ass to try and actually play with.”

Kaiba’s eyes flared at the insult.

“But, the novel use of the holotech is too cool to ignore.  How much are we talking?”

“Three million yen.”  Kaiba stated with a steadfast focus.  Not much would be left over after paying for his brother’s eye surgery, but he would solve that problem in due course.

Jounouchi shrugged.  “That sounds like a fair advance.  But how’d you like to work here?”