8 Causing Alarm

After some coaching from Des, Spec’s full, public apology to Kathleen was fumbling and inarticulate. But, to his credit—or maybe because he was smart enough to know he was really boxed in—he tried his best to be sincere, and Kathleen accepted it, quickly and graciously. While Spec was apologizing, Des noticed that James Soong and the other engineers were so surprised by what Spec was doing that he was convinced he could have knocked them all over with a feather.


Three weeks later, as promised, Kathleen had brought on board two hot-shot engineers, one of whom Spec knew from their time together as graduate students at Stanford. Although their salaries and signing bonuses ate up a very substantial portion of Des’s salary, he was convinced that hiring them was his only option. He’d also discussed it with Laura, who gulped hard when she heard the idea. But she told him that if he felt it was the right thing to do she would support him.

The two engineers set to work immediately on the Emperor prototype, and after a week, for the first time in a long time, Spec reported that they had started to make some, albeit slow, progress.

Unfortunately, as a result of Janet’s resignation and threatened lawsuit and the plodding pace of R&D, Chuck went back on his promise to let Des turn the company around on his own. Despite Des’s strong objections, Chuck insisted on daily update ...

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