The Keepers

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Chapter 59

Tuesday was one of the days he was scheduled to work at Win Tech. He only had a few more days left before his internship ended and his full-time employment began. Most days when he arrived at the office, he was mostly ignored, save for the few people that he had struck up friendships with along the way. But today while he was making his way to his cubicle, he noticed people staring at him and smiling or nodding their head in approval. He had the feeling that it had something to do with the acquisition by SandCorp, but he still wasn’t sure what his role would be. When he reached his cubicle he was shocked to find that someone was already there waiting for him.

“It’s about time you showed up”, James jokingly said as he looked at his watch. “I’ve been waiting here for almost an hour.”

“James, I wasn’t expecting you. Is there something I can do for you?”

Standing up, James continued, “Not here. I reserved a small conference room for us to discuss a few things. Follow me.”

Sebastian did just that. As he did, he noticed everyone in the office clearing a path for the two men. He could sense the respect that the people in the room showed for James and he had the feeling that Glen Cooper had sent instructions to roll out the red carpet for his guest today. They finally made their way to a conference room that Sebastian had never been in before, but which he had seen used several times, and always with the doors closed. As they entered the room James closed the door behind him and the public persona that he was using while walking the hallways disappeared and the more personal side of him began to emerge.

“You can relax now. Nobody is going to bother us here. As far as anyone here is concerned our little meeting here is strictly about the new acquisition. I’m going to announce in a few days that you’re going to be the liaison between SandCorp and Win Tech on this project. After all, you are the programmer that developed it right?”

Sebastian was anything but relaxed at this point. Is this why James and ‘The Keepers’ were recruiting him? Surely not. He hadn’t told more than a handful of people about his anti-surveillance software and even they didn’t truly know all the details about it. He was mostly ignored when he mentioned it to anyone and for good reason. There were billion dollar projects going on here, and his was basically a side project that only he was working on. Now, here he was with one of the most influential men in the industry sitting across from him. All of that combined with his and James’ other business and things were adding up to more than just a coincidence.

“If you’re talking about my anti-surveillance project, then yes, I am the one that developed that. But how could you know about that? Is that really the reason behind this takeover?”

James laughed as he tried to explain. “Not exactly. Look, I’ll admit, your little project is interesting, but this division has several promising projects in the works. This is strictly a business decision. Making you the liaison just provides a good cover for our outside business, if you know what I mean. We’ll be able to communicate without things looking too suspicious.”

Sebastian began to feel a little foolish in thinking that his project was the reason behind the merger. He should have known that a company like SandCorp had bigger goals in mind.

“I guess that makes more sense. I was confused for a second”, Sebastian said sheepishly.

“Now, don’t sell yourself short. I haven’t seen too many details on your project, but it sounds promising as well. Remember, you will continue with your day to day work as we continue working on the other thing, so I encourage you to keep developing your software. You never know, it might turn into something.”

James stood up to leave and shook Sebastian’s hand before continuing. “I’ll be in touch in the next few days. Either here or outside. If you ever need anything, don’t hesitate to reach out. About this or the other thing. We’re in this together.”

Sebastian felt a wave of relief after James left and he made his way back to his cubicle. He tried to ignore the newfound attention he was receiving and sat back down at his desk. He unlocked his desk and grabbed an external hard drive that he saved a lot of his work on and headed down to one of the available labs. This particular room was always empty, so it was perfect for him to do his work and not be interrupted.

He fired up one of the computers and plugged in the hard drive to pick up where he left off the week before. He had been through so much since the last time he logged on, that it was a welcome relief to go through his morning rituals.

One of these rituals was testing his anti-surveillance software. Since he didn’t want to share this with anyone, the only person he could perform tests on was himself. The software was designed to not only prevent unauthorized people from viewing anything he was working on, but to also detect any attempts that were made to surveil him.

There were always a few hits when he logged on, but it was the usual suspects such as spam, cookies and just general advertising tracking. But this morning was different. He was getting an error message that usually meant that there had been a failed log-on attempt on his computer. After double checking he was convinced that he was now totally secure. The software was also able to detect any surveillance equipment that was located outside of his computer as well. He had never encountered this of course, but now he was starting to get nervous. He opened up the detection screen on his software’s app to see what was causing the error message to appear. What he saw on the screen was impossible to believe.

According to the app, not only had someone attempted to sign into his computer, but there was also hidden surveillance equipment at this desk. It took him a few minutes to find, but he eventually found what appeared to be an almost microscopic device attached to the monitor, and another attached under the desk. After sweeping the area one more time, he had another thought. He unplugged his hard drive, threw the new devices in his bag and headed for his cubicle. After performing the same drill at his desk as he did in the lab, he wasn’t surprised to find the same devices at his cubicle as well.

He spent the next hour making sure that whoever planted these devices didn’t gain access to his files. He was relieved to find that his software actually worked, and that the person or persons responsible didn’t find what they were looking for.

He sat at his desk deciding what his next move should be, alternating between fear and anger. Someone was trying to spy on him. Not just him, but they were trying to get a look at the software that he had spent two years developing. Had James lied to him? Were ‘The Keepers’ more interested in his project than he was letting on? He had to find out the truth.

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