I don't usually make a habit of taunting people on their deathbeds, you know. That distinction is reserved for you alone. Even at the end, you see something new for the first time. That probably makes you feel better, right? If you were merely an arms manufacturer and grandfather of the Great Nina Einstein, I'd set my hate at the door.

...

Ha! No, that's right. If the hate were checked the door, I wouldn't have come into the room, because I have nothing else to bring in. So, again, you are unique among men and you're seeing new things for the first time! Even at the end, I imagine that's probably some comfort to you? It'd be comforting to me, I imagine. Hard to say for certain. I'm not dying.

...

Ah! Well, that may have been a touch tactless of me. My error, as ever.

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No, heavens, no, I don't blame you for my career struggles. I knew what I was getting into - or, more accurately, we both had the same idea of what I was getting into, and and we were both wrong. You tried convincing me that it was a mistake. I failed because I didn't expect Eagle Dairy would have the ear of a Duke who would dispatch Britannian troops to lay waste to my plant and my suppliers' cows. I became radioactive at that point. I can hardly blame the farmers for not wanting to work with a plant and a proprietor blacklisted by the Duke of St. Louis. We knew I would make enemies, and your critique was based strictly on the legal loopholes - and you were wrong. I won the legal battle. I won that, you were wrong, and I'll take that to my grave. No, I did win the legal battle, but I was wrong: wrong because I thought that mattered.

So that was 6 years down the drain and three terribly upset investors, even if I ended up as part of Eagle anyway. They're rational enough. They recognized a threat to their business, took action, and subjugated their enemy. No one ever accused me of being brave, did they? Good news is that Eagle saw it that way. My family were hostages, basically - they can get away with whatever crime to property they'd like, but actual murder - the Duke's indulgence only goes so far for a territorial dairy company.

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You love that line, don't you? Your deflections are well-designed to make things as sloppy and stupid as possible. If you wanted to be literal, you're correct: I too was compromised. I too had to compromise my morality - I overlooked a threat to my family to shelter them. Did they die because of the work I did? That's the difference.

...

The act of compromise itself is not the problem, Jacob. Are you still a twenty-three-year-old, making the same arguments you were making then? If we need to go through the same exhausting conversation we had a decade ago, we could do that. The problem is that your work killed thousands. I said as much in 2010, I said as much when I left in 1972, and I'll say the same now.

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Regardless, Jacob, no - I'm not here to rehash your stupidity of the last 45 years. You don't have time for that, do you? Oh, sorry about that - no, no, I just wanted to let you know how your granddaughter was doing.

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Oh, yes, I'm aware. You've never been very private about the fact that you disowned her. The prestige of the Einstein family disowning her will surely haunt her to her dying day, with all you've done with that name, with all that a name means after the demon's brief rule.

I know you don't want to hear about her. She's doing well. She was very capable in atomic and sub-atomic physics and was a very adept engineer. She's no longer working in arms. She's done some very impressive work in low-energy water purification. Nothing nearly as hard as difficult as the work on the F.L.E.I.J.A., but good, virtuous work.

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She did? Nina? SHE killed 25 million people? The granddaughter of Jacob Einstein? I've no words to describe my - when? When did this happen? Unless you're referring to the F.L.E.I.J.A. project that I mentioned that killed 25 million people.

I've no interest in whether her atonement is enough. She created a weapon that killed 25 million people. And she was a child, Jacob, one whose family held up arms dealing as an acceptable occupation.

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No, I don't think you have any right to call your granddaughter 'wayward,' not at all. If there was ever a 'path' to deviate from, let me remind you: she followed that path. Do not run from that fact, Jacob, not now, not when you have so little time left. Look at me, Jacob: This 'wayward' nature of hers - she was smarter than you, more lucid about what she was actually doing, and more passionate. She was your stock, through and through. If anything, she lived up to the depraved the expectations of the Einstein line. And though you disowned her, she was the first Einstein in generations - preceding you, Jacob, you know your father's work was as violent as yours - the first in generations to try to redeem the line.

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Yes, she and I have talked, as have your son and I. Your son is fond of me, even if I, for the life of me, can't figure out why, given that most of the time I left your estate, you were furious. I can't see how Jackson enjoyed or trusted me when he grew into an adult. But: yes, I've spoken with both of them. I knew that Zero and Promethea were the catalyst for her losing her mind, but I can't hate a teenager for feeling like their world was over when their love was murdered. Nina's problem was this: she actually COULD end the world. Demonstrably: she was smart enough to destroy the world if given the resources to do so. She was terribly unlucky: to have the one-in-a-billion genius to direct the F.L.E.I.J.A. project as a teenager, the terrible misfortune of being found out by Schneizel, and to have seen and fallen in love with Promethea who was killed later by the violent, divisive leader of the hated Elevens.

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Oh, no, I know the name. How on earth could I forget Euphemia li Britannia? How could I forget one of the three names that drove your daughter mad? No, Promethea is what Jackson and I have taken to called her. You remember how quiet Nina was as a child. You remember how Nina couldn't talk until she was 6? She was brilliant but we were never sure how Nina would live in a society. While Euphemia was alive, she triggered aa transformation in Nina. Nina was brilliant without a purpose before Euphemia, and Euphemia breathed life into her.

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No, there's no more depth to it than that. Terribly sorry for disappointing you. Did you know that about Nina, though? Sure, you knew she was quiet. Did you know that she became alive when she met Euphemia? Did you ever know that? No one ever accused you of being a good grandfather, but-

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I will not leave, Jacob. Fully apart from whether you could force me to leave - because I have the buzzer, and you are not strong enough to wrest it back - I refuse to leave before saying what I came to say. We fought Jacob, and I don't think I can forgive you for forty years of immorality - you worked for the Ashfords when they created the early knightmares, and you supported every knightmare after that point. You are responsible for very nearly all the bloodshed in every Britannian war, and you stayed ther even after it became apparent that without either of us, the whole operation would have fallen apart. We had the ideas - Ruben certainly wouldn't have known what to have done without us - and we could have stopped or at the very least greatly delayed the bloodshed.

...

No, Jacob, I don't expect an apology. I don't expect to change your mind on that. I told you, if you were merely an arms manufacturer and Nina's grandfather, I'd have nothing to say to you. But you saved my life. You were a friend of mine, Jacob, and I while I have nothing but contempt for the ethics you've demonstrated in the last forty years, I would not be alive today if you were a less compassionate soul. I can't ever repay that, Jacob, and you've never cut ties with me in spite of my badgering. You gave me reason, even to now, to believe I could save you.

I know that I can't win you over now, Jacob. I won't try. But you have a granddaughter who cares a great deal for you.

...

Yes, she does. It matters to her a great deal whether you care for her. She may not have responded much as a child, but she remembers you fondly. Forgive her, Jacob. I know that forgiveness isn't yours to give, Jacob, but Nina seems to believe that if she collects enough forgiveness from the world, her debt will be paid off. She has tried, Jacob. She has worked as diligently and cleverly as anyone in this world to try to fix it. If there is anyone in this world who deserves to be deceived, who deserves to believe that she can atone, it's Nina, Jacob. It's your granddaughter. She cares for you, and your words hurt her more than you can know. For whatever goddamn reason, forgiveness would mean a great deal to her. She is your better in every way, but you hurt her, and you can help her.

You are my friend, Jacob, and I know what doesn't work with you. I can't guilt you. I can't make ethical arguments with you. I can scarcely even make appeals to your family. So, here we are, at the end, Jacob, just as we were where we met. The only way I can do this is to beg, Jacob. You've responded to pitiful people in the past. I know of at least one that you've saved. And who is more pitiful than the tormenter who is taunting a man on his deathbed? Whose soul is more wretched than his?

Please, Jacob. You mean a great deal to Nina. She has made mistakes. So have I. Imagine it's 1960 again. You have one last chance to make the world better by helping someone believe they're worth something.

Here's the button, Jacob. I'll let you be. I want you to forgive her. I don't think I can really say anything else at this point. I know the exit. I hate you, Jacob, and I love you. You'll do as you please. You always have.

Once more: I dunno.

Some edits to physical spacing. The text needed a little bit of physical breathing space to clarify what was going on.