Something dangerous happened the day they met.
When she stepped into his office that first time - shyly hiding naked hope, so earnest it hurt to see – and for the first time someone looked at him like he was a king.
And she said all the buzzwords, the “Future of Tomorrow,” all the crap he trotted out for investors and ads, but they rang on her lips in a way he’d never heard before, not outside his own head.
They rang with belief.
Something addictive laced through his system in that moment, something he always knew he wanted but never knew he craved, and having it suddenly lit a fire in his belly he could never live without again.
Really and truly, with all her heart, she believed in him.
He hired her, of course. She had to be special to have such good judgement – and boy, special she is. She makes his life run a million times smoother. She turned his business into an elegant machine. And she herself, precise and efficient as any automaton, ready with an answer before he even knows to ask.
But no computer has that smile.
No computer beams the way she does when watching a successful test, no mere employee shows such joy at science well done, no other person on earth makes his selling-point speeches feel real and true and brings his lofty dreams close enough to taste.
He looks at her and sees bright golden vistas spread out before them, a glorious Future of Tomorrow with her at his side to make it happen.
He sees Aperture in her eyes.
(She wonders if he sees her at all.)
(She wonders if there’s anything else to see.)