For All Nails #4: The Traitorous Eight
By Dan McDonald
Richard Kennedy, head of Kramer Security, was on the telephone. His right-hand, Taichung Complex security chief Raúl San Martin, sitting in front of Kennedy's desk, listened in on the conversation.
"Yes, Mr. Salazar. Eight men have left the country . . . yes, eight from Taichung."
"San Martin is here. He found a letter among what was left. Shall I read it to you?"
Another, longer pause.
"Okay. I'll also have Liz telecopy it to you after we finish here."
He began reading:
- To the Kramer Associates:
- For 10 years we have worked on making Kramer business run more efficiently. The tools we have developed have allowed the company to reduce paperwork, costs, and turnaround time for analyses.
- Several times we have proposed turning our work into a potentially profitable arm of the company. Several times we were refused, citing "Company Confidentiality" and "World Security".
- We weren't talking about publishing plans to the Bomb, we were talking about automation of information flow. Our projects - primarily the Benedict System and its follow-on projects - are not usable as tools to aid Vincent Mercator in claiming his vengance on the company.
- Ever since the Bomb, this company has become less an profit-driven enterprise and more an armed camp. Police everywhere, people living not where they choose, but where the company chooses - even in a country such as Taiwan, where there's company locations everywhere.
- We cannot sit idly by and fall victim to oppression that Garcia, Mercator, and Dominguez have foisted back in our home. We therefore are severing our ties with the Kramer Associates, and hope that we can find ourselves in a place that allows men to build their ideas however they see fit.
Kennedy didn't need to continue with the names.
A small pause.
"No sir, the sentence about 'however they see fit' indicates to me that they wouldn't go back."
Another small pause.
"To be honest, San Martin tells me it wasn't all that different from the evacuation of '51. They had chartered one of the airmobiles, presumably for a retreat, then just vanished."
A longer pause, with much volume.
"Our man was drugged and left behind. Finding him led us to this in the first place."
The longest pause. Then Kennedy sighed.
"Yes sir. We'll look into it. San Martin believes they have no financial information, nor anything beyond Project Benedict and its follow-ons."
Kennedy hung up the phone.
"Raúl - gather up every shred you can find. We're burying this and burying it deep. Hopefully they'll just fade into nothingness in," he grasped for a province name, "Vandalia, or something like that."
"Salazar ultimately didn't think it was a great loss. He was far more worried about the bomb, and he figured if their ventures were successful, Kramer could just replicate the business model and jump into any forming market."
"Yes, in hindsight the mistake was not listening to the 'Traitorous Eight' as he called them later."
- --Stanley Tulin, as interviewed in the New York Journal for the piece "General Computing Turns 10, Keeps Turning the World", December 16, 1979.
Proceed to FAN #5: Out of Uniform.
Proceed to 16 August 1967 (Calculating Machines): Burlington Home Radio Society.
Return to For All Nails.