“What kind of device is this? The manufacturing process seems to be excellent,” Howard remarked, his expertise as one of the most outstanding manufacturers among scientists allowing him to recognize the superb craftsmanship of the iPhone.
He picked up the phone, assessed its weight, and began to manipulate it, experimenting with different gestures.
“I call it a ‘Phone’,” Kyle said with a faint smile on his face, taking on the role of a salesman. “Don’t let its small size deceive you. In reality, it’s a device that incorporates hundreds of functions. It has features like fingerprint and facial recognition, basic voice control, photography and video recording capabilities, storage and decompression, messaging, alarm clock, calculator, voice recording, games, music, call services, and even a search engine, among many others.”
“A small device like this actually possesses such advanced practical functions?” Howard exclaimed in amazement as he thoroughly began to examine the phone.
Kyle smirked inwardly, finding it amusing that the brilliant manufacturing genius of this Earth was marveling at a mere phone. He almost couldn’t contain his laughter.
This phone was just an Item Card of common White Quality that he had acquired during Card Tributing, and Kyle had initially thought it had little use in the context of World War II. However, after encountering Howard on the plane during their travel, a sudden idea occurred to him.
For him, the phone was currently useless, but for Howard, it was an entirely different story.
Regardless, in the 1943 setting, this phone had indeed leaped over half a century of advanced technological progress, even if it had become a commonplace item in the 21st century.
As Howard operated the phone, observing the screen light up, his eyes grew even brighter. His fingers swiftly executed various commands.
Kyle was astounded by this sight. He hadn’t even explained the basic operations of the phone to Howard, yet Howard, relying on his keen sense for technological products, quickly grasped how to operate it on his first try.
Truly, he was the father of the man who would create Artificial Intelligence and the Iron Man suit. Howard possessed the passive card ability of “Technological Adaptation.”
Kyle let Howard continue using the phone, having already deleted most of the software and changed the time records. Even if Howard were to discover any secrets within it, Kyle wasn’t concerned.
This trial lasted a full ten minutes.
As Kyle poured himself a fourth drink, Howard finally turned off the phone’s screen.
He stroked his chin thoughtfully and then looked at Kyle with seriousness in his eyes as he spoke. “Colorful high-resolution display, precise touch control, and various practical software features that are currently unattainable. This device called a ‘Phone’, comes from a technological level far beyond our planet or perhaps from the future world.”
“Forgive me for not disclosing too much about its origin. However, I can guarantee a few things,” Kyle replied, addressing Howard’s doubts. He smiled and raised three fingers, saying:
“One, its origin is absolutely secure.
Two, there is no second phone like this in the world right now.
Three, it will only bring benefits to you, without any drawbacks. As long as you fully comprehend the advanced technology and techniques of this device, Stark Industries will have enough capital and expertise to venture into the top-tier technology manufacturing industry after the end of World War II.”
“I understand,” Howard said, once again lost in thought.
Kyle remained patient and began to observe the gentlemen and elegant ladies dancing gracefully around him while savoring the unique taste of the vintage wine in his glass.
“Sir, would you like to dance with me?” Several young ladies and noble women took the opportunity to approach Kyle, as he appeared young, handsome, and exuded charm with his perfect physique in his tailored suit and shirt.
“I’m sorry, I have some matters to discuss with my friend,” Kyle politely declined, disappointing many of the young women, although a few determined ones handed him their contact cards before leaving.
After a while, Howard cautiously asked, “If you invest this phone in my company, how much stake in Stark Industries are you aiming for?”
With those words spoken, the conversation could continue and Kyle also secretly breathed out a sigh of relief, realizing that he wasn’t as calm as he appeared on the surface.
Although he had great confidence in the phone, this was still the Marvel World. With the existence of new energy weapons, anti-gravity devices, laser tanks, and even automated fighter planes, the realm of advanced technology was vast and unpredictable. Kyle couldn’t be sure if he could truly impress Howard with a Phone.
“I want 40%,” Kyle said, opening the negotiation.
“40?” Howard, who had just taken a sip of his drink, was caught off guard and coughed out the sip he had just taken. He coughed repeatedly and said, “Your asking price is too high!”
“Since it’s a collaboration, I’m not just investing in this one phone,” Kyle replied calmly, revealing his second hidden card. “The phone I brought today is just a bargaining chip for our initial discussion. I have something even better than this.”
“Can you give me a rough idea of what that item does?” Howard’s interest was piqued once again. The surprises Kyle had brought him tonight were already significant enough.
“I can only say that the item is an entry point into the field of Artificial Intelligence,” Kyle said and as soon as he finished speaking, Howard trembled all over. He placed his glass unsteadily on the bar counter, spilling the drink on the table.
In an era where computers were still under development and systems were in their infancy, what did Artificial Intelligence represent?
It represented the future!
“If what you’re saying is true, then what you’re investing in truly is the future,” Howard exclaimed, his body shaking with excitement.
Kyle smiled and asked, “Under these circumstances, do you think 40% ownership of Stark Industries is too high of a price?”
“Not high. Not high at all. Even if you want 50%, I’ll give it to you!” Howard’s previous hesitation had disappeared completely as he had no reason to refuse.
Money, fame, power, and beautiful women— Howard enjoyed them all, but when it came to inventions, they were nothing compared to them!
“I only need 40%. You will still be the founder and the primary shareholder of Stark Industries,” Kyle said with a smile. Only when Stark Industries was completely under Howard’s control could it develop into a top-tier industrial powerhouse in accordance with the timeline.
His investment was a surefire way for him to reap massive profits, it’s like owning a chicken that laid golden eggs. He wouldn’t have to worry about money in the future.
“That’s settled then. You will invest with the phone and the other item, and in return, I’ll give you 40% ownership of Stark Industries,” Howard laughed heartily before he called the bartender over and ordered another drink, raising his glass high in the air. “Here’s to a fruitful deal!”
“A fruitful deal indeed,” Kyle responded, raising his own glass.
The two clinked their glasses once again, then both tilted their heads back and finished their drinks.
No one knew that the largest share transaction in the history of Stark Industries, the future’s top enterprise, had been agreed upon at the bar counter of this underground ball.
(End of this chapter)