Paranoia (095 of 170)

—of —
by Joseph Finder
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Macmillan: Paranoia

Paranoia by Joseph Finder. Copyright 2004 by Joseph Finder.
All Rights Reserved. Sharing not permitted.

Part Five: 50 (Cont'd)

In my workbag I'd brought a couple of tools, including a Mag-Lite flashlight. I immediately drew the Venetian blinds, closed the door, then switched on the powerful beam.

Camilletti's office was as devoid of personality as everyone else's—the generic collection of framed family photos, the plaques and awards, the same old lineup of business books they all pretended to read. Actually, this office was pretty disappointing. This wasn't a corner office, didn't have floor-to-ceiling windows like at Wyatt Telecom. There was no view at all. I wondered whether Camilletti disliked having important guests visit such a humble office. This might be Goddard's style, but it sure didn't seem to be Camilletti's. Cheapskate or no, he seemed grandiose. I'd heard that there was a fancy visitors' reception suite on the penthouse of the executive building, A Wing, but no one I knew had ever seen it. Maybe that's where Camilletti received bigwigs.

His computer had been left on, but when I clicked the space bar on the modernistic black keyboard, and the monitor lit up, I could see the ENTER PASSWORD screen, the cursor blinking. Without his password, of course, I couldn't get into his computer files.

If he'd written down his password somewhere, I sure as hell couldn't find it—in drawers, under the keyboard, taped to the back of the big flat-panel monitor. Nowhere. Just for kicks I entered his user name ( and then the same password, PCamilletti.

Nope. He was more cautious than that, and after a few attempts I gave up.

I'd have to get his password the old-fashioned way: by stealth. I figured he probably wouldn't notice if I swapped out the cable between his keyboard and CPU with a KeyGhost. So I did.

I admit I was even more nervous being inside Camilletti's office than I'd been inside Nora's. You'd think by now I'd be an old pro about breaking into offices, but I wasn't, and there was a vibe in Camilletti's office that scared the shit out of me. The guy himself was terrifying, and the consequences of being caught didn't bear thinking about. Plus I had to assume that the security precautions in the executive-level offices were more elaborate than in the rest of Trion. They had to be. Sure, I'd been trained to defeat most standard security measures. But there were always invisible detection systems that didn't set off any alarm bells or lights. That possibility scared me most of all.

I looked around, groping for inspiration. For some reason the office seemed somehow neater, more spacious than others I'd been in at Trion. Then I realized why: there were no filing cabinets in here. That's why it seemed so uncluttered. Well, so where were all his files?

When I finally figured out where they had to be, I felt like an idiot. Of course. They weren't in here, because there wasn't any room, and they weren't in his admin's area, because that was too open to the public, not secure enough.

They had to be in the back room. Like Goddard, every top-level Trion executive had a double office, a back conference room the same size as the front. That was the way Trion got around the equality-of-office-space problem. Hey, everyone's office is the same size; the top guys just get two of them.

The door to the conference room was unlocked. I shined the Mag-Lite around the room, saw a small copying machine, noticed that each wall was lined with mahogany file cabinets. In the middle was a round table, like Goddard's but smaller. Each drawer was meticulously labeled in what looked like an architect's hand. Most of them seemed to contain financial and accounting records, which probably had good stuff in them if only I knew where to look.

But when I saw the drawers labeled TRION CORPORATE DEVELOPMENT, I lost all interest in anything else. Corporate development is just a biz buzzword for mergers and acquisitions. Trion was known for gobbling up startups or small and midsize companies. More in the go-go years of the late nineteen-nineties than now, but they still acquired several companies a year. I guessed that the files were here because Camilletti oversaw acquisitions, focusing mainly on cost issues, how good an investment, all that.

And if Wyatt was right that Project AURORA was made up of a bunch of companies Trion had secretly acquired, then the solution to the mystery of AURORA had to be here.

These cabinets were unlocked, too, another stroke of luck. I guess the idea was that if you couldn't get into Camilletti's back office, you weren't going to even get near the file cabinets, so to lock them would be a pointless annoyance.

There were a bunch of files here, on companies Trion had either acquired outright or bought a chunk of or looked at closely and decided not to get involved. Some of the company names I recognized, but most I didn't. I dipped into a folder on each company to try to figure out what it did. This was pretty slow work, and I didn't even know what I was looking for, really. How the hell was I supposed to know if some small startup was part of AURORA, when I didn't even know what AURORA was? It seemed totally impossible.

But then my problems were solved.

One of the corporate development drawers was labeled PROJECT AURORA.

And there it was. Simple as that.

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