Part IV: USA
New relationships, Old Friends
Head office was different! Val was recognized for his efforts to improve the design and testing of the processors, and the head office in the States soon took notice as well. He was transferred to the head office lab.
Here was that “new job trauma” again. The management, however, had taken pains to give him detailed enough projects to alleviate some of the consternation.
Management did, however, seem a bit jittery. As Val stopped to get a coffee on the way into work, within himself celebrating his one month anniversary, he was soon to know why.
The tension could almost be cut with a knife as he found his way to his cubical. A general assembly was called for 10:00 AM. Rumors ran rampant. The rumor most suspected was a merger.
Merger turned out to be accurate. Intel and AMD were amalgamating to form “Colossus,” a company that would control nearly 100% of the processor market.
Changes were coming; all were sure of that. Of course, at first very little changed, but the tension grew again as a “mega-meeting” was announced with great fanfare.
As the plan was laid out, it became clear office space would be reduced, and staff merged into the remaining space. The question then became whose office, and whose lab would survive.
In the end, Val was moved to the Intel location. While he knew Ron had gotten a job with Intel in Canada, he had not known Ron had schmoozed his way into the head office in the States.
He also had not heard that a lack-luster performance in architecture and design had ended with him being put into management. His social skills were better used there anyway.
His brilliance was legendary, but his inconsistency was a cause for concern. The shock was to find out he would be Val’s manager!
The inevitable came to pass. The headcount needed to be reduced. The day came, and some folks were quietly called to a general assembly.
The remainder were left wondering about the empty desks around them until they were called to their personal exit interview.
They were given their severance package information and escorted out of the building.
Val returned to his desk with relief. Ron returned home in a rage!
Lost and Found
It seemed a shame, the timing. Tim had been chosen to open an office in the States and had just taken up residence near Val and Ron.
To celebrate, they had planned a camping trip together. All attempts to contact Ron were futile. His only communication was to let them know he would not be camping with them.
They hoped this would be temporary, and he would come to grips with the situation. They were very happy to be together again and decided to continue with the camping trip.
They had a long weekend to enjoy, then back to work. They worked during the day, at their place of employment, then at night, they worked together to get Tim’s place ready for the family.
It struck Val strange Tim had changed from the familiar “Irene and I” to “my family,” but not for long. They were grabbing some food before starting work on Tim’s house when Tim “spilled the beans.”
He was going to be a daddy! He could not have kept it a secret much longer anyway since the plans he would be revealing at the house included a nursery. Irene was to meet Tim at the new house in a month.
Val hoped he and Tim could finish the house makeover by then.
Found the lost
After Ron’s initial rage subsided he moved into his more natural mode of “don’t get mad, get even.”
He had spent over a year in the states but decided to return to Canada. Shortly after his arrival, he ran into Walter, and they reconnected. Walter was even able to get Ron employment. Ron hoped this job would be just for the short term. Walter turned out to be a little wilder than Ron remembered. All that time ago Ron had complained of Val and Tim’s shutting him out when it was actually him withdrawing.
Now he was back complaining again, and again mentioning their names. Walter gave that wry smile that usually spelled trouble, and said: “would you like to get a little revenge?”
He confessed he had stolen the module after the previous complaints, and not knowing what to do with it, just hid it. “So Ron, I think we can come up with a way to cause them some grief,” Walter said.
Ron tried to think of a good plot, but the more he thought about it, the more he realized Val and Tim really were not who he wanted to trouble.
He felt their companies, however, had treated him poorly. Tim’s module company, hearing of Val and Tim’s success with the AMD chip had moved testing to the AMD chip from Intel.
Colossus had laid him off. He needed to embarrass them, and maybe make some money in the process. Walter may have just given him a method.
One of Tim’s first needs was a local Tech. Hot-shot. Someone that could find their way around Hardware, but was maybe a little stronger in the Software realm.
After some failed attempts, he found Elaine. He hesitated a bit thinking of Irene; Elaine was a knockout! He was stuck, however since his need was immediate. All the others he knew of fell short of his requirements, and she excelled them. Besides, his involvement would consist more of supervising her than working with her. And so the deal was done.
The New Chip
For Val, the beta tests were coming to a close, and all looked good for the new processor. This processor was advanced in power efficiency and weight It also was much enhanced in functionality. The versatility of the “back door” test mode continued to demonstrate its usefulness.