Gregory Davyduke had been working with Cornelius Corp as lead project development manager for four years, and had been working with Ochotech as a corporate spy for six. Cornelius Corp was a relatively unguarded nest, focused on hatching more than keeping weasels away. All it took was Greg strolling in, complimenting their humble assortment of tech offerings, and handing them the resume his false identity had been supplied with. The alias's brilliance was vetted by some of Ochotech's most secluded shell corporations, all of which were run out of a single office building in Akron, Ohio. In four years he'd been attentively noting, jotting, suggesting, reprimanding, and shaping the flow of Cornelius's progress. A well-timed setback here, a misjudgment of the market there, and the company was perpetually behind their competitors despite churning out an exceptional amount of valuable R&D. Greg performed astoundingly well, and it was not unusual for those working late and even the janitorial staff to overhear whispered conversations blunted by the soundproof glass of his office. Tonight, though, there was the staccato firing of piercing insults and profanity. He slammed the phone down onto his desk in the thoroughly unsatisfying way cellphones filled that task. Ocho was buying Cornelius. Greg tried to trace the patterns of reason that upper management would've followed to reach this action. Were they not satisfied with the steady flow of leaked data? Did Greg not suppress Cornelius's market share enough? He'd done his job exactly as asked, he was certain. There was nothing that Cornelius's scientists dreamed of that wasn't faxed immediately to Ochotech's board. The whole skin lesion debacle caused by the proprietary plastic microstructure of Cornelius-branded milk bottles wasn't merely caused by Greg putting the gag on R&D's warnings, but the fire was fanned when he encouraged the CEO to double down on "User Error" as the culprit. He was good at what he did. If he was in the military, he'd be decorated. He sat, picking up his phone and dropping it, waiting for that perfectly intimidating sound to end this train of thought. Was he too good? He had headhunted the best technicians and researchers he could, solely to keep them from straying into uncontrolled pastures. Keeping high value targets in Ochotech's sights was part of his mission, after all. He'd turned Cornelius into a holding cell for some of the brightest young material engineers around. And now they were cutting him out. Greg had always known he was enough of a bastard to turn these situations in his favor. He'd landed his gig at Ochotech solely by being their window washer, courier and pest exterminator for a single week. He'd had everything he needed to burn the building to the ground, physically and in the eyes of the shareholders. And that was just on the first day. The next six were for making small talk with the secretaries, poking through the mail room, and making friends with the security chief. He'd compiled a list of every password, secret project and off-the-books affair both romantic and financial. He was the most dangerous window washer on Earth, and he'd taped his resume and references to the Ochotech CEO's penthouse view. He slammed his palm down onto his phone, pulling his blow at the last second, fearing he'd pulverize some dust off of the Cornelius-branded case and risk damaging his lungs. What were his options? Would he beg to be re-assigned? Could he extract some last minute value out of Cornlius for himself? He'd spent so many years focusing on the presice value of each next step that he never built himself a gold plated escape hatch. He damned his short-sightedness. This wasn't just unfair, it was totally fair. He understood that their optimum move was to take parts of Cornelius that he'd lovingly cultivated. He should've been proud, and not just for spiteful reasons. Could he allow Ochotech to pull him out of Cornelius like a weed? He knew that his position as a wholly deniable entity would not give him the required leverage to warn Cornelius. They wouldn't be able to withstand a takeover with that sort of warning anyways. He opened up a text editor, and glared at the white hot emptiness of the page. He hated doing this, it went against everything he'd dedicated himself to. It was long term thinking, which meant he would forego his turn and hope to be dealt a better hand at some undefined time. He knew that, given enough time, he could stack the deck. But he hated the idea of leaving his hands idle for so long. He typed up a form resignation. He printed out two copies. He signed one as Gregory Davyduke and one as his Cornelius alter-ego. He folded them into their respective envelopes. He dropped them into the mail tube, and as he finally heard a pneumatic thunk pleasing enough to signal the end of this turmoil, he sighed. He was now a free agent. He'd enjoy the time while he could. It was far below his level of skill as a corporate spy to derive pleasure from simply using Cornelius Corp's computer for a few hours before he left that night, but he had resumes to print and applications to fill out. Three months later, an office building in Akron, Ohio would hire a groundskeeper, receptionist, and someone who could finally patch up all those holes in the roof.