Tokugen Numataka stared out his window and paced like a caged animal. He had not yet heard from his contact, North Dakota. Damn Americans! No sense of punctuality!
He would have called North Dakota himself, but he didn’t have a phone number for him. Numataka hated doing business this way‑with someone else in control.
The thought had crossed Numataka’s mind from the beginning that the calls from North Dakota could be a hoax‑a Japanese competitor playing him for the fool. Now the old doubts were coming back. Numataka decided he needed more information.
He burst from his office and took a left down Numatech’s main hallway. His employees bowed reverently as he stormed past. Numataka knew better than to believe they actually loved him‑bowing was a courtesy Japanese employees offered even the most ruthless of bosses.
Numataka went directly to the company’s main switchboard. All calls were handled by a single operator on a Corenco 2000, twelve‑line switchboard terminal. The woman was busy but stood and bowed as Numataka entered.
“Sit down,” he snapped.
“I received a call at four forty‑five on my personal line today. Can you tell me where it came from?” Numataka kicked himself for not having done this earlier.
The operator swallowed nervously. “We don’t have caller identification on this machine, sir. But I can contact the phone company. I’m sure they can help.”
Numataka had no doubt the phone company could help. In this digital age, privacy had become a thing of the past; there was a record of everything. Phone companies could tell you exactly who had called you and how long you’d spoken.
“Do it,” he commanded. “Let me know what you find out.”