Anatol’s brief message clarifies all. Dean had reviewed their term sheet and emailed his decline. Had he signed on with Anderson even before reading their alternative offer? Well, whatever happened, he’s got his capital and he’s still got control of his company. Case closed. Sam wonders whether she should give notice today.
“Sam. let me introduce Evan.”
Sam looks up from her smartphone and smiles at Mary and the tall blonde guy standing next to her. He’s early twenties and dressed in polo shirt and slacks — a little preppier than most hackers.
“Can you get him settled in?” Mary asks, trying to disengage herself from this responsibility.
“Absolutely! Welcome, Evan.” Why am I being so accommodating when I’m about to leave, she wonders to herself.
Evan smiles at Sam, but not with his eyes.
Mary nods at Evan, then turns and walks away.
Sam realizes at once that Evan is not an easy study, his temperament is opaque to her. Tiny warning tendrils sprout at the edges of her thought as she leads him to his new office. As they walk past Gil’s office, Sam decides to introduce the programmers to each other right away. Gil is feeling bypassed by Dean, and being introduced to his new rival sooner rather than later is probably the best course.
She introduces Evan to Gil, then enlightens Evan to Gil’s credentials as the first person hired by BubbleTrendz, emphasizing Gil’s extensive programming accomplishments that include the app suite for their Fortune 500 customer, Star Rock Financial Group. Gil remains in his chair and Evan doesn’t approach him to shake hands.
Mary is suddenly standing in the doorway. “Sam, the UPS guy is here with a box. Can you take care of it?”
The super-duper computer for Evan has arrived. Gil knows this, too, but he manages a short “welcome to Bubblez” directed at Evan, before turning sullenly back to his screenful of Python code.
Sam signs for the box and shows Evan to his office. Mary has already given him the authorization passcodes to access remote client site data repositories, and he doesn’t need Sam’s help to unpack and set up his computer, so she leaves him with a red BubbleTrendz coffee mug and a red BubbleTrendz T-shirt, size large, and tells him to feel free to drop by her desk if he has any questions.
Mary has left paperwork on Sam’s desk to be filed. It includes Evan’s contract and the job specifications for the internships. Sam learns Evan’s full name, Evan Blood, and has a private smile at life’s little ironies. The young man appears physically fit, but he has a sour smell to Sam’s keen vampiric nose, and it’s a turn-off for wanting to draw off him. Still, if she weakened him a little, it might help Gil in some way. Startled by her own train of thought, she realizes she is feeling considerable resentment toward Dean. Would she feel entirely differently about Evan, if Dean had agreed to her own term sheet?
Two hours later, Sam passes by to check on Evan; he’s sitting at his desk typing rapidly at his keyboard, his face remote and focused on the screen in front of him. Sam has been checking Dean’s office regularly, wanting to find a moment to tell him she’s quitting, but he’s been on the phone all day with the door closed. She’d like to take an afternoon train back to Salem, aware that she’s left Sandor alone for most of the time since he arrived in Boston. She needs to call Ambrus and order more cases of blood. If she and Sandor travel, will they be able to make do with packaged product, or will she need to hunt? Will he let her teach him to hunt? Or will he try to stop her altogether? Any journey she’s about to take him on will require some careful planning.
Getting up from her desk yet again, Sam walks past Gil’s office and glances in quickly. He’s got his hands to his head, face staring at the screen unhappily, puzzled. “What’s going on?” he says, thinking aloud.
“Got a problem?” Sam asks, a bit curious now.
He turns to look at her. “I haven’t been able to access the Star directories for the past twenty minutes. This never happens, they have Godzilla-sized servers and backups.” He suddenly asks her, “Can you try accessing their home page? From your machine?”
He follows Sam to her desk and she enters the Star Rock Financial Group url. After moments the same message that Gil was getting appears — server is currently unavailable. She looks at him questioningly.
“I think it’s a denial of service attack,” he says quietly. They look at each other, then walk down the hall to Evan’s office.
— to be continued —