Chapter 9 Summary

Despite his longing for Maria, Leonard finds his attention taken back to his increasingly detailed work responsibilities. Soon after Maria’s departure, the team at the warehouse is ready to install the taps. In the cramped, humid vertical tunnel leading up to the cables, Leonard watches the initial stages of the tapping along with MacNamee, several technicians, and an unidentified American. MacNamee oversees the operation, knowing that this is the most delicate part of their plan. Throughout the procedure, MacNamee stays on a phone line that connects to agents posted on the roof, whose responsibility is to monitor the street beneath which the tunnel has been dug. Throughout the entire tunneling process, these agents have periodically brought work to a halt if police or other officials are too close to the site. Leonard understands the concern. The cables are no more than six feet beneath the street.

As the cable is opened, the men all suck on hard candies or sip liquid to combat the mounting pressure in the room. The wires inside the cable casing are carefully washed and dried before being stripped. The placing of the taps is very delicate because the Germans regularly monitor their lines for any break in the connection (which a tap could potentially cause). When the long, drawn-out procedure is finally done, Leonard tries to enjoy the success of their efforts, but finds his thoughts drawn back to Maria.

Leonard sat outside her door for two nights without seeing her, bringing chocolates and flowers as a means of apology. In the present moment, Leonard cannot fathom why he thought his actions were not only acceptable but something that Maria would secretly want. This guilt is compounded when Glass takes him aside to ask him about his romance with Maria. Several other workers have spotted him with her, and initially Glass congratulates him on his sexual gamesmanship. Leonard quickly realizes that Glass wants to know whether Leonard leaked any information to her; he tells Leonard that it is suspicious that a German woman initiated a romance with a British operative only to dump him and vanish just as the project is coming to fruition. Leonard is incensed and voices his displeasure loudly. Glass warns him that other workers and higher-ups are listening to them, and he advises Leonard not to make himself conspicuous. To ameliorate the situation, Glass tells Leonard to act as if they were joking together, and the two retreat to Glass’s office fake-laughing to shake off the attention of the onlookers. When Glass offers Leonard a drink, Leonard accepts, and Glass heads out for ice, leaving Leonard alone in the room.