>Chapter 7: Business Affairs
Lieutenant Guarini sat in Maddox Felton’s office, admiring the way the sunlight lit up dust particles floating through the air. Without the light, you’d never know they existed. Maddox crashed into his chair, the wheels squeaking as he pulled up to the desktop. Guarini observed that Felton had no photos, no memorabilia, no awards. Just the desk, a wall-sized book shelf, and two chairs for guests. It was modern and stylish, but hardly the plush CEO office Guarini expected. Maddox apologized for the wait, and they got down to business.
“David was an efficient project manager,” Maddox said, folding his hands on his desk. “And well-liked, near as I could tell.”
“Did you like him?” Guarini admired Felton’s tone-on-tone shirt and tie and thought he should try that look sometime himself.
Maddox tilted his head quizzically but his chiseled features stayed neutral. “Of course. I wouldn’t say we were friends, but we got along just fine.”
Guarini nodded. “Did you know David had some financial problems?” Guarini watched him, but if any recognition crossed his eyes, he’d missed it.
“No.” Maddox laughed quietly. “I can’t imagine he would have told me.”
“They had incurred some major debts after building a new home. David had taken on a second job to keep them afloat.”
“I had no idea.”
“It seems to me this kind of financial desperation could lead to other activities.”
“You mean illegal activities.”
“If not illegal then let’s say unethical. What would an unethical business practice be to you, Mr. Felton?”
Maddox kept his eyes on the Lieutenant while he processed his question. Guarini admired his unflinching stance, but really just wanted into his mind. “I would have to say using others to get ahead.”
“Good answer. But I’m thinking along the lines of selling company secrets.”
Maddox’ eyes flickered. “That would qualify,” he said calmly. “Are you suggesting David was involved in something like that?”
Guarini shrugged. “I can’t really say. I’m just looking at the evidence and David’s life and your company and thinking corporate espionage for some reason.”
Maddox smiled. “Sounds glamorous.”
“And expensive. You go to a lot of trouble to keep your employees quiet.”
“Containing what we develop is a non-stop project in and of itself. But I take care of my employees and I trust them not to share what they know with our rivals.”
“Do you?” Guarini checked his notes. “I guess that’s why you have everyone sign multiple confidentiality agreements.”
Maddox laughed. “It’s still a business.”
“Very well. Business for me is questioning every one of your employees.”
Maddox nodded and stood up. “Then I’ll let you get to it.”
Pick up Decode from the beginning here.