Some weeks later, Anna is in her office, typing. "Good news. Sam just emailed me that the initial responses from big resellers on the new product version are quite positive. The first actual reviews in blogs and the press are expected in a week or two. The first impression reports are all good."

She adjusts her sitting position. "Sam invites us all to a celebration of the product launch tomorrow and also a retrospective discussion of the project. I need to go, but it's optional for everyone else. Who wants to join? Let me know by tomorrow lunch time, and I'll let Sam know who're coming."

Anna keyboard away, and stands up. Robin knocks on her door jamb. "How're things?"

"Did you see what I said on IRC just now?" Anna takes her big tea mug from her desk and starts walking towards the door. Robin takes a step back.

"Yeah. I guess I'm. Hopefully it won't be another ambush."

Anna shakes her head as they walk together to the kitchen. "No reason why it would be. But if it is, that'll be the end of our relationship with SH."

"Yeah. I don't think we can take another crisis. Not even if the last several weeks have been smooth."

Anna fills the kettle with fresh, cold water. "Exactly. Our bruises are still visible. But we can have some bubbly and some cake, if nothing else."

The open kitchen and lounge area of the Smart Home office is crowded. People are talking, not loudly, but enough that the general impression is a cacophony. People are standing in groups of a few people, holding champagne flutes and small paper plates with cake, trying to drink, eat, talk, and not drop anything.

Sam hits his glass with a metal spoon. "Hear me, hear me! It time for a speech." Soon the hubbub quiets down. Sam moves to the side of the room with a projector screen that everyone can see.

"We're here to celebrate a successful product launch. Does everyone have something to drink? Go ahead and get something, I'm going to propose a toast in a moment."

Several people shuffle to the kitchen counter, where a couple of bottles of champagne are standing next to a half-eaten cake. Sam continues talking.

"This is an unusually important product launch for us. You all know that. Even though a year ago we were reluctant to admit it, we were in deep trouble. The version of our product back then was not in great shape. If the launch of this week had not gone well, we would not be celebrating. I've spoken with our primary venture capital investors earlier today, and they said they were ready to pull the plug if this launch didn't go well. But it did! They're not pulling the plug on us. In fact, they're talking about wanting us to do another round of investment so that we can grow fast again. Cheers!" Sam raises his glass and takes a sip.

Everyone applauds, raises their glass, and takes a sip.

"I am not ashamed to admit that we could not have done it without the Team! Despite some friction, we all worked together to build a great product. To the Team!" Sam raises his glass again and takes a sip.

There's a short hesitation, but then applause and glasses raises and champagne is sipped.

Anna walks next to Sam and looks at the crowd. "On behalf of the Team, I also wish to make a toast. Like Sam said, we worked together, and we built something. Hopefully we can work again in the future. To the Smart Home 3000 system!" She raises her glass and takes a sip. There's applause and glasses are emptied.

Sam raises his hand. The noise abates. "In other news. There's news about Antero as well. The police have finished the investigation and the public prosecutor has indicted Antero for fraud. The police say there is hard evidence for fraud. It seems Antero has been lining his own pockets for years at several companies and would have done that at Smart Home as well, but did not have time for that. As it stands, the prosecutor is asking for five years in prison."

Someone claps a few times, but then goes silent. It's an embarrassed silence.

"The police have also concluded that there was no breach of Smart Home office network and that either Antero accidentally printed out all the incriminating documents or there was a freak malfunction somewhere."

A shout is heard. "Yeah! That's what I've been saying all the time." It's the head office IT person. "There's no way our office network could be breached. We have good security. I set up the firewall myself."

The Team has gathered in the kitchen in their own office. Robin sits in a chair and has her feet on the kitchen table. Other people are sitting or standing. Everyone has a tumbler with some brown liquid. There's a bottle of expensive whiskey on the table.

"RUDE WORD I'm glad to be rid of that bunch." Robin takes a gulp and makes a grimace, then coughs. "My, that's a bit strong."

Anna leans backwards against the wall. "I'm glad the project is over. I hope we don't need to work with them again, I do, but I tried to leave that bridge intact. No point in destroying it in case we desperately need a client again."