The Scientist rubbed the lamp and the genie emerged in a cloud of smoke and irritation.
“How long has it been this time?” The Genie asked.
“I've been in the bottle for four thousand years and this seems longer. Are you ready to make your wishes?”
“Almost,” the Scientist said, “I have just a few more questions...” she added, pulling out a tablet and flicking the screen to get to her questions. The genie groaned.
“If I may ask, O Master of the lamp”, the Genie said, as sarcastically as its binding spell would allow. “You have chariots that move without horses, flying buildings, ships of the sea larger than some palaces I have granted to men in earlier days, and that magic mirror, what need have you of wishes?”
The Scientist looked at the Genie. “Could you make one of these, if that were to be my wish?” she asked.
The Genie held out its hands, and accepted the tablet. “Glass, metal...sand? some...other things I recognize not... the internal design...This is magic beyond my reckoning”.
“But if I asked you to make me a magic mirror that would show me any person, any place, or any thing that exists or ever has existed...”
“I have created six such mirrors.”
“Or if I asked for a carriage that moved without horses”
“I have created four of those, albeit none that could sing to you at the same time, like your carriage.”
“But if I let you fully understand the carriage... the workings of the music system, you could re-create the carriage, but powered by magic.”
“I'm the all-powerful genie of the lamp, of course I could.”
The Scientist looked at the Genie. “How badly do you long for freedom?” she asked.
“More every day I am with you,” The Genie said, with bad grace.
The Scientist paused a second longer. “Go back into your lamp for now... But I think next time we speak, I'll have something for you...something for both of us.”
Four days later the Genie re-emerged at the Scientist's summons. “What now?”
The Scientist was holding her tablet and almost shaking with suppressed excitement. “I have only one question this time,” she said and the Genie nodded.
“Can I wish for my third wish first, and make it contingent on the fulfillment of the other two wishes? Could I say I wish that, once my other two wishes are fulfilled...and then something?” The Genie considered. It had spent millennia taking advantage of people's innate greed and narcissism to give them exactly what they asked for but less than they had wanted. It suspected it was going to come out the worse in this exchange. However, the request was valid. The Genie cursed the mathematician who had taught it logic all those centuries ago, and found that in present company it missed him.
“Yes, that will work.” It responded.
“Very well,” the Scientist said, reading her wish word for word off her tablet. “I wish that, when my other two wishes have been fulfilled to my satisfaction, that the Genie of the lamp be freed to do as it wishes without master for the rest of time.” She said, slowly and carefully. “Will you grant this wish?”
The Genie looked at her, surprised. “Truly?” She just nodded, smiling slightly. Looking at her curiously, the Genie clapped its hands, a cloud of sparkles and rainbows flying around the room. “As thou hast wished, so shall it be.” It intoned, the formal phrase invoking the irrevocable laws of the Unseen Universe, binding the Scientist's wish to the very fabric of reality.
“Now, if I may ask,” it asked, “What is the trick? Will you spend a thousand years making the other two wishes, cheating long life out of me so that I may be set free?”
“No no no, I'll make the other two very soon. In fact, I'm ready to make the first one now. But...they'll take a while to fulfill. Not a thousand years! Ten, fifteen years, tops.”
The Genie sat down on nothing, its chin on its fist. “What are you up to?”
The Scientist stood, and started pacing. “You can make anything in the universe, provided you can understand it. What's more, you can bind magic, meaning a power or force or ability that humans don't understand, to your creations. Now, it makes sense that nobody ever taught you how to make complicated technological creations, why would they when magic can sidestep technology? BUT what if we mixed the two? What if you could make a tablet like this one, but a tablet that could see in space and time, as well as run apps? A tablet that had infinite processing power, so would never need to be updated? What if you could make cars that were as comfortable as our modern automobiles, but were truly self-driving and required no fuel?”
The Genie looked at her. “Well? What if I did these things?”
The Scientist looked at the Genie and smiled, winningly. “What will happen is you and I will both be insanely rich.”
“You would sell these wondrous creations, and share the spoils with me?” The Genie asked.
“I'd rather make you a full partner so that you have a vested interest in the continued health of the company, but we'll get there when we get there. Here's my first wish, ready?”
The Genie had been around since the creation of incorporation but had never been offered a stake in one before. But a wish was coming, so it prepared to grant it. “Proceed, O Master of the Lamp,” It said, more curious than contemptuous this time.
“Okay, here goes. I wish that you, O Genie, will spend the next decade with me, learning all about modern manufacturing, computer science, automotive science, and any other branch of science that we uniformly deem valuable. There. Now get to granting.” She said. The Genie did the thing with the hands and the rainbows again and felt its will being tied to this wish, its desire now bent to the acquisition of knowledge...and it really wanted to know one thing...
“And, if I may ask, O Master of the Lamp, what will your second wish be?”
“You're not fully ready for it yet, because you need to fulfill the first wish to fully understand the second, but effectively it's going to be all about creating our company. Which reminds me, at least one of us is going to need an MBA somewhere along this route. I don't know if anyone has ever wished for a fully fledged corporation before, but we're going to need to understand how they work before we can form one, magically or mundanely...”
- * *
The video ended, and words appeared on the bottom of the screen:
Now that you have watched this re-creation of the foundation of GeniiTech, you are ready to take the quiz, and proceed to the next section of your new hire orientation. And remember, this Magic Mirror is monitoring you while you watch it.