Two weeks later, ‘Cameron’ called Ricardo Davis.
“Hello?” Davis said on his cellphone.
“Hi, Ricardo,” Thea said in her gravelly voice. “This is Cameron. Mark wanted me to tell you that from now on, he’ll want you to discuss all your business with me instead of with him. I’ll relay all your messages to him from now on.”
“Really?” Ricardo said. “That’s quite a change. Why’s this?”
“Because with the growing success of Capitol, he’s finding himself much too busy with other aspects of the business, and he wants all his dealings with you allocated to me; so whenever you have new Commodities recruited, tell me about them, and I’ll tell Mark about it in our weekly meetings.”
“OK, if that’s what Mark wants,” Ricardo said.
Later that day, ‘Cameron’ sent Ken Maynard an e-mail telling him the same thing ‘he’ had told Ricardo. Maynard replied, saying he agreed with the whole idea, as he found himself busier and busier with his work for Capitol in New York. Thea smiled when she read that.
The next day, Thea was talking with Mark in his office.
“There’s a message I need to relay to you from both Mr. Davis and Mr. Maynard,” she said, remembering her hoarse vocal fry.
“Oh?” Mark said. “And what’s that?”
“They were hoping that I would mediate between them and you, instead of you talking with them directly,” ‘Cameron’ said. “They’re getting busier and busier with their work, Ken especially—he told me himself, so they won’t be able to come over to discuss bringing the new Commodities directly; they asked me to do all that for them. Only on the rarest of exceptions will they come here, the same with your going over there to talk to them. I can handle it, and they insist on it. I hope that’ll be OK with you.”
“Yeah, I guess you can act as middle man for us,” Mark said. “You’ve learned enough about the job, and I find that I can trust you just fine.”
“I’m happy to hear that, Mark.”
Later that day, Guy was about to leave the Regulating Room, when, with the door just open ajar, he noticed Dino and Leo talking with Mark in the hall a few doors down.
“I can’t wait for our next monthly bit of fun in the VIP Rooms on the 17th,” Dino said.
“Shut up, stupid!” Mark snapped at him. “I don’t want any of the staff to know about that. Anyone in a nearby room could’ve heard you.”
Guy smirked and closed the door.
That night, Thea and Guy were talking in their house.
“Well, I’ve managed to minimize any contact between Mark on one side, and Ricardo and Maynard on the other,” she said.
“Good,” Guy said. “Now we just have to make sure the three of them aren’t chatting with each other on the day we spring the Creeps on all the staff.”
“We won’t be able to guarantee that, of course,” she said, “but I’ll do what I can to keep them from contacting each other, and figuring out what we’re up to. Shall we decide on a target day, when the shit will hit the fan?”
“Let’s use around…say…the middle of this month to set things up and minimize anything getting screwed up. How about on…the 17th?”
“That sounds all right. Mark usually goes to pay off the police and Ministry of Labour around that day. He typically leaves the office to do that in the early afternoon, so we can get all the staff in the staff room for the meeting then, without him getting in the way. He’ll be busy with the payoffs, which he likes doing in person, so that should minimize any risk of him chatting with Ricardo or Maynard. We’ll have plenty of time to fill up any holes by then. If there are any problems, we can add a few days to fix things, and maybe I can get him to delay the payoffs till then.”
“Sounds good. Up until the 17th, we must do all we can to keep those three from chatting.”