Interlude Summary

Far away, in a conference room at a hotel, about a hundred men gather for some kind of “private function.” A sign announces this fact, but it does not include any other information about the group that is gathered there.

Passersby who happen to look into the room cannot figure out who belongs to this group or what they do. It is possible to see that the people inside the room are all men and that they are all wearing black suits. Otherwise they look and sound nothing alike. They have every skin color, every color of hair, every kind of face. They speak English, but their accents reveal that they come from every continent of the world.

At the front of the room, a man lists off accomplishments the men have supposedly achieved. He says they have sent poor children on vacation and purchased a bus for transporting disadvantaged people to places they need to go. The other men sit at round tables, clapping politely whenever he names another such work. But this does not seem to be the reason the men are gathered.

At the front table, the man Jack sits waiting for coffee. A man with silver hair criticizes him:

You failed, Jack. You were meant to take care of them all. That included the baby. Especially the baby.

As the silver-haired man talks, the other men at the table pretend to ignore the conversation. They keep their eyes on the front of the room, where the speaker goes on talking. They clap at appropriate moments, but something about their manner makes it seem they are listening to Jack and the silver-haired man.

The silver-haired man says that ten years have passed, and he asks what will happen when the boy grows up. Jack says that he still has time and that he has clues to follow. He says he is convinced that a certain incident that happened in San Francisco four years ago is connected to the boy. The silver-haired man asks if Jack has brought this up with the secretary, the man at the front of the room, who is currently announcing the purchase of three kidney machines. Jack says the secretary does not care about anything but results. Hearing this, the silver-haired man dismisses the suspicion as well. He says they no longer have time on their side, and the other men at the table appear to agree. They all want to get rid of that boy.