Read Edge of Tomorrow Online

Authors: Wolf Wootan

Tags: #thriller, #assassin, #murder, #international, #assassinations, #high tech, #spy adventure

Edge of Tomorrow (9 page)

“My, my, Bob. Very strange indeed. By the
way, do you have my voice print yet?” asked the President.

“Oh, yes, quite a good one. One other
security point. In the very unlikely case where you are being
forced to talk to me by someone else, which means your voice print
would pass, simply say ‘Robert’ instead of ‘Bob’ somewhere in the
conversation. That will let me know about the situation. I can then
take the appropriate measures,” Bob responded seriously.

“I suppose if that happened you would notify
the Secret Service,” stated the President.

“If I thought it appropriate, but probably
not. At that point I would not know who was holding you hostage. It
could be a rogue Secret Service individual, or group. Just suffice
it to say that I would do everything in my power to secure your
safe release,” Bob answered.

“You have a devious mind, sir.”

“I said such an event was highly unlikely. I
just wanted an override code for the voice print, just in case.
I’ve never been burned by being too cautious. I will leave you now.
Mr. West will complete your briefing, and then it is up to you. You
may decide to never call me. That’s your decision. Nice talking to
you, Mr. President.”

The line went dead. The President looked at
the strange-looking phone, then put it on the desk. He looked at
Mr. West.

“Just who is this Bob? You guys are big on
deniability. This isn’t a CIA thing is it?” he asked.

“Definitely not CIA. I don’t know who Bob is,
sir. Of course, I could not tell you if I knew. I was hired to
deliver this message and the phone. Two last things,” replied West.
He took a small device out of his briefcase and handed it to the
President. “This is a silent pager. You can wear it all the time,
or only when you have an expectation that Bob may want to get in
touch with you. Or you may choose to never wear it. The last point
is this: when you leave the office of the Presidency, you
personally should pass these devices on to your successor, and give
him or her this briefing. Then you should call Bob and arrange for
a new voice print to be established. Well, I thank you for your
attention. I’ll be leaving now. You will never see me again. Any
questions should be directed to Bob.”

After the strange Mr. West had gone, the man
in the Oval Office sat and thought for awhile. Then he took out his
key ring and opened a bottom drawer of his desk. He put the phone
and pager in the drawer, then locked it again. He had a meeting
with the DDI that afternoon, but decided he should not mention what
took place in this meeting, just in case it was all real. On the
other hand, if the DDI was playing a joke on him, he didn’t want to
give him an opening to rub it in, either. He didn’t like the little
prick anyway. He went back to reading the documents in front of
him.

 

Chapter 9

 

Triple Eye Headquarters, Langley,
Virginia

Friday, July 27, 2001

4:40 P.M.

 

Jane Forbeson leaned back in the tall, brown
leather executive desk chair, spun it 360 degrees, then leaned
forward and put her elbows on the large, polished mahogany desk. In
twenty minutes this would be her chair, her desk, her office. The
current owner of the office and all that it signified, Van Lincoln,
sat in a comfortable visitor’s chair on the other side of the
desk.

“You look good there, Jane,” Hatch said with
a wry smile. “How’s it feel?”

“I can’t describe it! It’s close to an
orgasm! Are you sure about this, Hatch? You still have time to
change your mind,” she replied, breathless, beaming.

• • •

Downstairs, in the Triple Eye auditorium, the
press was in force, the caterers had done their thing, and all the
other Triple Eye division presidents nervously fingered glasses of
champagne, all awaiting the arrival of Van Lincoln.

George Granger, Executive Vice President of
the Marketing Division turned to the man next to him—Allan Dexter,
President of Operations—and whispered, “Where’s Jane?”


Probably upstairs giving him a quick
blow job,” Dexter snickered.


That’s uncalled for, Dexter!” Granger
spat back. “In twenty minutes she’ll have the power to fire your
sorry ass! I hope she does!”

Granger would be taking over as President of
the Marketing Division, replacing Jane Forbeson. He was one of her
staunchest supporters.

At 5:00 P.M., Lincoln would announce that he
was stepping down as CEO of Triple Eye—retaining his Chairman of
the Board title—and his successor would be Jane Forbeson. Her new
annual salary would be in excess of $2,000,000 and her possible
bonuses could double that. Her perks would become unbelievable:
control of the company Gulf Stream IV; several choppers at her beck
and call; her own limo and personal driver; paid memberships in
numerous clubs, spas, and most anything else she might need to keep
her relaxed so she could handle the stress of running a
multi-billion dollar company. It was a job Dexter coveted, but had
not gotten.

• • •

Two crystal flutes half-filled with Dom
Perignon champagne sat on cork coasters in front of Jane and
Hatch.

“Actually, I’ve already told the division
presidents, and of course Granger. I didn’t want them to be
surprised in front of the press. I want them to show complete
support for you when I make the announcement.”

“And will they?” she mused. “Voluntarily, I
mean.”

“Yes. They’re all very happy with my
decision, except for Dexter. I don’t know how he will act. He
wanted this job badly, but he still has the largest division and a
hefty salary,” answered Hatch as he sipped his champagne.

“I know how you hate these very visible press
things. You could have done this by memo, but I appreciate you
doing this for me this way.”

Jane clasped her hands behind her head and
leaned back into the soft leather as she considered Hatch’s comment
about Dexter. This action pushed her breasts against the thin
material of her pale green silk blouse. He could clearly see the
outline of a very lacy white camisole underneath, her nipples
prominently trying to escape their confinement. Her red hair was
cut short and had been coiffed that very afternoon. Her makeup was
impeccable, covering most of the light freckles on her oval face.
Her green eyes sparkled. Hatch marveled at what a voluptuous,
beautiful woman she had become, remembering the skinny, red-headed
Tech Writer he had hired in 1984 when he started Triple Eye. She
saw him admiring her chest.

“What?” she asked, then noticed her nipples
were making themselves known. “After all these years, I still have
a hard time reading you, Hatch. Do you think the see-through and
the lace is inappropriate for the meeting, or are you just admiring
my breasts?”

She giggled nervously, took her arms
down and leaned her elbows on the desk again. Then she continued
before he could answer, “I’ll have my suit coat on down there, for
Chrissake! I will look quite CEOish; but Fortune, People, and
several other magazines are down there and if they print any
pictures of me, I want everyone to know that I’m a woman. A
real
woman! That’s important to me,
Hatch.”

“Calm down, sweetie. I’m just glad you didn’t
get into that bra-burning feminism crap when you were younger. It
would have hampered your progress towards that chair. Don’t start
now.”

Jane laughed and said, “I didn’t have a bra
to burn back then, if you remember! I didn’t start to grow boobs
until I got pregnant! Don’t worry about me going freakish on you,
Hatch. I just want to look pretty for the cameras. There’s nothing
wrong with that, is there?”

“You look gorgeous, and I
was
just looking at your boobs.
Don’t read a lot into that. I’m just very proud of you.”

• • •

Jane had married Jeremy Crow, a long
haul trucker, in 1990, and they had a nine year old daughter and a
seven year old son. He gave up trucking to stay home and raise
their children while Jane climbed the corporate ladder. It was a
relationship that suited them both. She had been a 23-year-old
woman with a degree in English and very little experience looking
for a place to land when Hatch had hired her. He had liked the way
she handled the interview and took a chance on her. She was going
to be 40 on Sunday, July 29
th
.
This was his birthday present to her. He had been planning this
step-down for some time, but he decided to do it now so it would
coincide with another big day in her life.

• • •

“Dexter—and many others—think I slept my way
into this chair, you know,” she said, looking him straight in the
eye.

“They all know the policy. Why would they
think you and I broke the rules?” he wondered.

“Jesus, Hatch! You
are
gone too much! Nobody gives a shit about
your No-fuck Rule. The people in the ranks have been screwing like
rabbits! Dexter has been fucking his secretary for two years!” she
laughed, sipping her drink.

This took Hatch aback. Could he have been
paying so little attention to the people and what they were doing?
Obviously, he had been spending too much time at Lincoln R & D.
He should have handed Triple Eye over to Jane earlier than this. He
was glad he was finally doing it.

“Maybe that’s why Dexter isn’t looking
forward to you getting this job. You know what’s going on better
than I do,” he grumbled, and emptied his glass.

“Well, Hatch. If we’re going to have the
name, why not have the game? As I remember, there are a bed and a
shower behind that door over there,” she giggled.

“Jane! You’re happily married with two kids
now! What are you thinking?” he blurted, surprised at her blatant
offer.

“Yeah. Yeah. I know. But you could have had
me for the asking anytime you wanted to. I want you to know that.
We could have missed a good thing.”

“Would you trade
this
job for a roll in the hay with
anyone
?”

“Of course not. It’s just that I’ve always
had a crush on you. No, I made the right choices.”

“At least,
you
know you didn’t sleep your way to the top,
no matter what they think. You’re the best qualified for the job;
that’s why you have it. If it will make you feel any better,
there’s been many times when I wanted to rip your clothes off and
…”

He stopped and refilled his glass and took a
sip of champagne, remembering long nights when just the two of them
were burning the midnight oil over some document or business plan,
even before she grew her current voluptuous body.

“Back in the olden days, there wasn’t much of
me to grab on to.”

“You always exuded sensuality, even then.
Enough of that. Are you scared?”

“No. Should I be? I’ve been preparing for
this job for sixteen years,” she shrugged. “I’ll do a good job for
you, Hatch, you know that!”

“If I had any doubts, you wouldn’t be
in that chair. I should have done this sooner, but I was saving it
for your 40
th
birthday. Happy
birthday, Jane,” he said raising his glass in toast, still
wondering how she would have been in bed. After her first child,
she put on some weight, grew some breasts, and put some flesh on
her ass. She kept her body firm and tight now with three visits per
week to the gym. She tended to gain weight now if she did not keep
after it.

She raised her flute and touched it to his,
saying, “Thanks, Hatch. I can never thank you enough for what
you’ve done for me. You even remembered my birthday!”

“I always have.”

“What should I do about Dexter?” she asked,
changing the subject.

“He’s a good Operations President, but you’re
the boss now. Do whatever it takes to get the job done. If you want
to tell him to zip up his pants and try and work with him, go for
it. You don’t have to take any sexist shit from him though. There
are people standing in line for his job, too.”

“Thanks, Hatch. I’ll handle it. Should I
check with you on major decisions like firing division
presidents?”

“You can give me a heads-up, but as long as
you follow the policy book, you don’t have to get my permission. I
want you to meet with your presidents and create your own budget.
I’ll meet with you guys sometime in August and go over it with you.
Once it is approved, you’ll have pretty smooth sailing for a year.
But remember, I’m always only a phone call away if you need to
talk.”

“One other thing. What about Sara Smith?” she
asked, her brow furrowed. “On paper she runs the Triple Eye Data
Collection Center in Florida. But unlike other Collection Center
Managers, she has always reported directly to you, the CEO. I know,
having been down there a couple of times, that that place shares
space with Lincoln R and D, but her paycheck comes out of Triple
Eye and we both know she spends 95% of her time doing stuff for
you. Are you ready to tell me what that is all about?”

“You know I like to keep my companies
separate and share information only on a need-to-know basis. You
know we have severe security requirements from our clients. You’ll
have your hands full running Triple Eye, so you shouldn’t distract
yourself with Sara’s other activities. If it will make you feel
better, you can drop her from the Triple Eye payroll and I’ll pick
her up somewhere else. I had things set up this way for a reason,
but I can work around it,” smiled Hatch.

“You secretive bastard! I guess you just told
me to butt out. Shit, Hatch, I know no matter who has what title,
this is still your company and I’ll run it the way you want me to.
Can you at least tell me why you set things up this way?” she
asked, giving him the big throaty laugh he liked to hear.

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