Conference Room

“I don’t fucking care if Scott Spencer is begging for an audience to show off his fucking contact lenses. We’re not getting involved with those douchebags, even on a superficial level.” Jacob isn’t exactly yelling at June, but she looks distraught. She’s obviously been pushing the meeting for the last few minutes.

Eric and I have just entered the conference room.

“Oh, that reminds me,” I say to Eric, “in Bangkok, I found Scott Spencer and told him how fantastic you are. Dan and I had a nice little exchange with him.”

“Did he run off and pout?”

“Yeah, right after he called you a dumbass.”

“Awesome. I influence people.”

June’s job is to keep up the Onyx charade. It’s her job to make sure everyone still believes that Onyx is doing technology research. She does this in a variety of ways, one of which is setting up meetings to have a back and forth with competitors in the field. Our knowledge bank and network connections are extensive enough that June has original data to present whenever she needs it. She also goes to conferences and meet-ups in the field and talks to people about projects that don’t exist. She is still trying to convince Jacob that if Onyx is to maintain its public image, they need to show interest in the augmented reality research Scott Spencer’s company is doing.

“InterVision has taken steps beyond what the other players are doing. Everyone is clamoring to get into that meeting, and Scott Spencer called me personally to invite representatives from Onyx.”

“Why did he call you?” Dan asks.

“Well, um, we had a drink together at last years OSCON. He likes me.”

“He likes your…” Dan cuts himself off, and I laugh.

“What!? Go ahead, say it! See if I don’t slap you!” Despite her fascination with her own reflection, June isn’t a stupid person. She’s manipulative, confident, and intelligent. If she wasn’t such a bitch, we could be friends. June has, however, reserved judgement on everyone in the office except for Jacob and Eric. Her flirtatious attitude around them is a signal of her utmost respect and her desire to get either one of them into a more horizontal position.

“Alright children,” Jacob chimes in. “Here’s the deal: June, you can go to the meeting at InterVision that ‘everyone is clamoring to get into’, but that’s it. No press releases, no on-the-record comments about how Onyx is interested in InterVision’s solutions. I don’t want to see anything more than ‘A representative from Onyx was in attendance’ in any paper, periodical, blog, website, magazine, or other form of communication. Got it?”

“Yes, but one article with…”

“No damnit! No articles, don’t be overly public. I don’t want Onyx associated with InterVision’s research in a few months when Scott Spencer and his board of cronies screw the pooch and announce that their fucking contact lenses burn holes in your eyes. Stay away from them, we don’t need that cover.”

June slinks out of the conference room and into her office. She’ll follow orders, she’s part of Onyx, but I can see that she doesn’t agree with Jacob’s assessment of the future.

“I like sparring with June, but I’m fucking sick and tired of talking about Scott ‘Douchebag’ Spencer,” Jacob says to us. “So what’s the plan?” He whispers the question.

“Oh, we can talk in front of Dan,” I say, and Dan looks up from his rubberband ball. “I asked him for help first.”

“I totally told her that I am a useless sack of shit and that she had to come to you guys.”

Eric and Jacob smile, and the four of us sit down. Dan shoves the InterVision research onto the floor, and Jacob pats him on the back for it.

“We’re going to head over to Chestnut Avenue and talk to a Ms. Bethany Fordson. She’s a janitor at Harron. I’m taking a cashbox. I will pay her whatever she wants.”

“How do we know her? And why aren’t you asking me permission to ‘pay her what she wants’?” Jacob is still smiling.

“She’s been catalogued as SA, and I don’t need your permission to do my job,” Eric has never taken Jacob’s shit. His arrogance is intoxicating, but also rightly placed. He knows that he’s good, and he let’s other people know it too. It’s one of the things I like about him.

“Can I come?” Dan asks.

“No.” Eric and I say in unison.

“Fine, fuck you guys then,” Dan feigns hurt, but he doesn’t really care.

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