Paranoia (110 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 Six: 59 (Cont'd)

I got up unsteadily, light-headed, shocked. At the doorway I stopped, turned back. "I want to apologize," I said hoarsely. "I thought I was helping out. I'll—I'll go clear out my office."

"Oh, for Christ's sake, sit back down." The storm seemed to have passed. "You don't have time to clear out your office. I've got far too much for you to do." His voice was now gentler. "I understand you were trying to protect me. I get it, Adam, and I appreciate it. And I won't deny I'm flabbergasted about Paul. But there's a right way and a wrong way to do things, and I prefer the right way. You start monitoring e-mails and phone records and then you find yourself tapping phones, and next thing you know you've got yourself a police state, not a corporation. And a company can't function that way. I don't know how they did things at Wyatt, but we don't do 'em that way here."

I nodded. "I understand. I'm sorry."

He put up his palms. "It never happened. Forget about it. And I'll tell you something else—at the end of the day, no company ever failed because one of its executives mouthed off to the press. For whatever unfathomable reason. Now, I'll figure out some way of handling it. My way."

He pressed his palms together as if signifying the talk was over. "I don't need any kind of unpleasantness right now. We've got something far more important going on. Now, I'm going to need your input on a matter of the utmost secrecy." He settled himself behind his desk, put on his reading glasses, and took out his worn little black leather address book. He looked at me sternly over his reading glasses. "Don't ever tell anyone that the founder and chief executive officer of Trion Systems can't remember his own computer passwords. And certainly don't tell anyone about the specific type of handheld device I use to store them." Looking closely at the little black book, he tapped at his keyboard.

In a minute his printer hummed to life and spit out a few pages. He reached over, removed the pages, and handed them to me. "We're in the final stages of a major, major acquisition," he said. "Probably the most costly acquisition in Trion history. But it's probably also going to be the best investment we've ever made. I can't give you the details just yet, but assuming Paul's negotiations continue successfully, we should have a deal ready to announce by the end of next week."

I nodded.

"I want everything to go perfectly smoothly. These are the basic specs on the new company—number of employees, space requirements, and so on. It's going to be integrated into Trion immediately, and located right here in this building. Obviously that means that something here has to go. Some existing division's going to have to be moved out of headquarters and onto our Yarborough campus, or Research Triangle. I need you to figure out which division, or divisions, can be moved with the least disruption, to make room for ... for the new acquisition. Okay? Look over these pages, and when you're done, please shred them. And let me know your thoughts as soon as possible."


"Adam, I know I'm dumping a whole lot on you, but it can't be helped. I need you to call it as you see it. I'm counting on your strategic savvy." He reached over and gave me a reassuring shoulder squeeze. "And your honesty."

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