Home > Disclosure(14)

Author: Michael Crichton

Lewyn said, "On the other hand, maybe she hates you. All my old girlfriends hate me."

"With good reason, I hear," Cherry said, laughing.

Sanders said, "Let's get back to the agenda, shall we?"

"What agenda?"


There were groans around the table. "Not again."

"Goddamn Twinkle."

"How bad is it?" Cherry said.

"They still can't get the seek times down, and they can't solve the hinge problems. The line's running at twenty-nine percent."

Lewyn said, "They better send us some units."

"We should have them today."

"Okay. Table it till then?"

"It's okay with me." Sanders looked around the table. "Anybody else have a problem? Mary Anne?"

"No, we're fine. We still expect prototype card-phones off our test line within two months."

The new generation of cellular telephones were not much larger than a credit card. They folded open for use. "How's the weight?"

"The weight's now four ounces, which is not great, but okay. The problem is power. The batteries only run 180 minutes in talk mode. And the keypad sticks when you dial. But that's Mark's headache. We're on schedule with the line."

"Good." He turned to Don Cherry. "And how's the Corridor?"

Cherry sat back in his chair, beaming. He crossed his hands over his belly. "I am pleased to report," he said, "that as of half an hour ago, the Corridor is fan-fuckingtastic."


"That's great news."

"Nobody's throwing up?"

"Please. Ancient history."

Mark Lewyn said, "Wait a minute. Somebody threw up?"

"A vile rumor. That was then. This is now. We got the last delay bug out half an hour ago, and all functions are now fully implemented. We can take any database and convert it into a 3-D z4-bit color environment that you can navigate in real time. You can walk through any database in the world." "And it's stable?" "It's a rock." "You've tried it with naive users?" "Bulletproof." "So you're ready to demo for Conley?" "We'll blow 'em away," Cherry said. "They won't fucking believe their eyes."

Coming out of the conference room, Sanders ran into a group of Conley-White executives being taken on a tour by Bob Garvin.

Robert T. Garvin looked the way every CEO wanted to look in the pages of Fortune magazine. He was fifty-nine years old and handsome, with a craggy face and salt-and-pepper hair that always looked windblown, as if he'd just come in from a fly-fishing trip in Montana, or a weekend sailing in the San Juans. In the old days, like everyone else, he had worn jeans and denim work shirts in the office. But in recent years, he favored dark blue Caracem suits. It was one of the many changes that people in the company had noticed since the death of his daughter, three years before.

Brusque and profane in private, Garvin was all charm in public. Leading the Conley-White executives, he said, "Here on the third floor, you have our tech divisions and advanced product laboratories. Oh, Tom. Good." He threw his arm around Sanders. "Meet Tom Sanders, our division manager for advanced products. One of the brilliant young men who's made our company what it is. Tom, say hello to Ed Nichols, the CFO for Conley-White . . ."

A thin, hawk-faced man in his late fifties, Nichols carried his head tilted back, so that he seemed to be pulling away from everything, as if there were a bad smell. He looked down his nose through half-frame glasses at Sanders, regarding him with a vaguely disapproving air, and shook hands formally.

"Mr. Sanders. How do you do."

"Mr. Nichols."

". . . and John Conley, nephew of the founder, and vice president of the firm . . ."

Sanders turned to a stocky, athletic man in his late twenties. Wireframe spectacles. Armani suit. Firm handshake. Serious expression. Sanders had the impression of a wealthy and very determined man.

"Hi there, Tom."

"Hi, John."

". . . and Jim Daly, from Goldman, Sachs . . ."

A balding, thin, storklike man in a pinstripe suit. Daly seemed distracted, befuddled, and shook hands with a brief nod.

``. . . and of course, Meredith Johnson, from Cupertino."

She was more beautiful than he had remembered. And different in some subtle way. Older, of course, crow's-feet at the corners of her eyes, and faint creases in her forehead. But she stood straighter now, and she had a vibrancy, a confidence, that he associated with power. Dark blue suit, blond hair, large eyes. Those incredibly long eyelashes. He had forgotten.

"Hello, Tom, nice to see you again." A warm smile. Her perfume.

"Meredith, nice to see you."

She released his hand, and the group swept on, as Garvin led them down the hall. "Now, just ahead is the VIE Unit. You'll be seeing that work tomorrow."

Mark Lewyn came out of the conference room and said, "You met the rogues' gallery?"

"I guess so."

Lewyn watched them go. "Hard to believe those guys are going to be running this company," he said. "I did a briefing this morning, and let me tell you, they don't know anything. It's scary."

As the group reached the end of the hallway, Meredith Johnson looked back over her shoulder at Sanders. She mouthed, "I'll call you." And she smiled radiantly. Then she was gone.

Lewyn sighed. "I'd say," he said, "that you have an in with top management there, Tom."

"Maybe so."

"I just wish I knew why Garvin thinks she's so great."

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