So my manager brings us all into a conference room for an unscheduled meeting. This guy has only been at the company as long as I have, but he's one of those "people" people who likes to manage. I don't really care for those kinds of managers. I prefer those who manage because they have to, not because they want to.
Anyways, Tom is looking really perturbed. Naturally I begin to sweat again. I can feel things shifting as I look as his face.
"Hey guys. I know we just started this project, and you were all looking forward to working on this feature. But I just got word that we need to change direction. I had no warning about this. There's a new high-priority project, and they've asked my team to be a part of it."
My teammates begin groaning, and I become even more apprehensive.
"I want to introduce you to your new lead. I'll still be your manager on paper but she will be taking over the day-to-day operation of this team, and be giving you your new tasks and assignment."
He opens the door and motions down the hall. In pops Carrie. She glances at me quickly and then nods to the room.
"This is Carrie Park. I'm going to step out now. If you have any questions, I'll be available later in the day." Tom leaves, but I can see a trace of bitterness on his face. He obviously didn't approve of this, and probably has been shut out of the project.
"Hi everyone," said Carrie. "I'm sorry about how this unfolded. Let me tell you one thing off the bat. This is a highly important and super secret project. Not only can you not talk to anyone outside the company, you cannot talk to anyone inside the company about this either, including Tom. If anyone feels any kind of hesitation about this, say something now and I'll have you reassigned. If you do leak any of this, I assure you Infinitae will pursue you in a most un-'infinitely good' way that goes far beyond termination. This is your last chance. Once I start describing the project, you are bound to secrecy until we explicitly release you. You will also not be allowed to leave this project, so anyone thinking about moving should go now."
Now if this had been any other person, I would have been jumping and screaming at this point.
Perry, one of the oldest and longest-tenured members of our team speaks up. "What's our incentive to work on this project? I mean, if we have to abide by all these rules, what's in it for us?"
Carrie doesn't hesitate. "First off, you get to work with me. I assure that I make every member of my team look good, and we're always ahead of the grading curve when it comes to review time. This should also figure nicely into your bonuses. Second, you'll have access to some of the most interesting technology on the planet, most of it experimental. Third, if we succeed in this project, we could be the pioneers of the new internet. Is everyone aboard?"
I look around the room. Everyone looks uncomfortable but interested.
"Good. Let me throw up some slides."
Carrie does a quick presentation. It mostly involves web usage analysis, nothing earthshaking. "If we can identify the fingerprint of each computer," she concludes, "we can customize output for every device on the planet, without cookies or anything. But that's just the beginning. I'll tell you more as the project progresses. I need to run, but I'll set up a meeting for later in the day. Which one of you is Alex Ross? I need to speak to you for a moment."
I wave my hand. The rest of my team departs.
"What's going on?" I ask. "How did you steal my team?"
"I went to Seth Norwood, our VP, and basically complained that my work wasn't impactful, and I needed something I could sink my teeth into. I asked him what the biggest challenges we have. He gave me a couple tasks. I dug a little deeper, feeling he was holding out. He finally gave up this project, but then he went into the whole secrecy thing. I think this might be part of a Building Four project. I bet they've gotten stuck and need some input. He gave me access to a bunch of projects where all the developers have code names. I bet this is one of the secret projects you have access so. Anyways I convinced him we would work on it. If we actually make progress, we might be able to get into B4. There's one more thing. If we can get this to work, we might be able to locate the servers that generate all the fake traffic. If we have those, we might have some proof about this plot. That's what I want us to work on together, figuring out the money trail."
We agree to meet after work to look for Prof. Benson's computer files. I dread telling Ellie that I won't be home for dinner again...