September 12, 2031, 10:00 AM.
Don Jin did not want to make the trip but he had to see Larry Tzu, CEO of Wakima. He could not talk about what he found except in person.
That Friday morning, Tzu was dedicating a new research facility just off the highway to Beijing. Don was not crazy about all the media and camera crews in the parking lot. He drove around to the loading dock and went in the back door. He slowly approached the front lobby and saw Tzu at the podium addressing the crowd.
“Wakima is committed to innovation. This building is a sign of that commitment. Thank you.” Tzu’s bodyguards guided him back to the hallway. He waved to Don and gestured to a door. “In here.”
The walls were not painted yet. The floor was bare concrete. The ceiling did not have tiles.
Don looked around the room. “Back to basics?”
Tzu smiled. “Fewer places to hide bugs. I only have a few minutes. What can you tell me?”
“An American lawyer named Daniel Freid was shot with 22 caliber pistol after midnight in his apartment. Nothing was taken. It was a professional hit. His computer is being examined. Phone records showed his last call was to you. What was he working on?”
Don knew the answer would be a lie.
Tzu held his breath, giving himself away. “A legal matter.”
Don raised his eyebrows. “Pluribus?”
Tau’s pursed his lips. “We bought an American company for its assets. Mr. Freid worked for them many years ago. He was to find and secure our rights to all assets. One of them is something called Pluribus. He called and sounded crazy. He said Pluribus was not a secured asset of the company and we should not proceed with the deal.”
Don prodded. “Did he say anything else?”
Tzu looked around the empty room. “Yes. He said Pluribus was coming after him. Pluribus was coming after everybody.”
Copyright 2006 DJ Cline. All rights reserved.