“This has got to stop,” Saunders said. “The janitor found your shoe on top of the incubator last night. I don’t need to tell you what a serious violation of our safety policies that is.”

Meredith looked on defiantly. “Then Noreen and I won’t fool around at work anymore,” she said. “Happy?”

“No, I’m not,” said Saunders. “I’m not sure what I need to do, Meredith, to persuade you of the seriousness of the situation. You are our senior microbiologist on this project, and you are letting your personal feelings intrude upon your work.”

“On the contrary,” Meredith said. “Since Noreen joined the team, you’ll find I’ve never been more productive.”

“Look, I know what you’re going through,” Sanders said. “I met my ex-wife in the lab. But I’m not just a bystander here! This project is international in scope and this vaccine could save millions and be worth billions if we get it to trial. It could take this company to new heights! You just need to keep the bedroom in the bedroom and the lab in the lab Please?”

Meredith made a noncommittal noise before walking out, the click of her heels audible long after she had faded from view. Saunders picked up his desk telephone–landlines were easier to tap, but less prone to fail. He had the number memorized.

“It’s Saunders,” he said. “Yes. Meredith has no idea what a trench she’d dug herself down into. Did you get anything on Noreen? Anything she might have preferred to stay hidden?”

A pause. “Oh my God,” said Saunders. “No, no, that’s all right. I’ll try to handle it from here. But if it’s an inside job, if those payments have been coming from where they seem to be…”

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