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Incident at Narita

Jed was about to tell Angela they were carrying the Spinner technology to their meetings in Taiwan. He wanted to ask her how best to safeguard it when he looked over at the other table. The two Japanese had pointed a small tubular electronic device toward them and were fiddling with it. One kept touching his ear. “What are they doing with that thing?” he asked Angela.

“It is probably a laser microphone attached to a digital audio recorder. They will listen to our conversation to see if we have IP they can steal. We should now change the subject of our conversation.”

“This makes me very unhappy,” said Rick. David and Jed looked at Angela. Rick gave the other table a sidelong glance. “Very, very unhappy,” he said. He got up and went to the drinks bar. A few minutes later he started back carrying four to-go cups of coffee on a tray, taking a rather circuitous route through the tables. As he approached the two information worms, he pretended to stumble. The tray flew forward, followed by the cups. Coffee splashed on the men’s suits, table, gadgets. They jumped to their feet, screaming in Japanese. The one wearing heavy black-framed glasses glanced at Angela, then flashed furiously back at Rick. The other began spewing a string of loud, guttural, unintelligible sounds, sounding very much like Toshiro Mifune in a samurai movie. The first man barked at his partner, who began stuffing the recording gear into a briefcase. The two hurried away.

A hostess rushed over. The lounge had fallen silent but was easing back into relieved conversation. Rick stood by the now-abandoned table, coffee running off its edges in rivulets, grinning at his mates, who grinned back. Suzie raised her hands and silently applauded. Angela looked very worried.