With some careful observation, Harriet had Julius’ schedule down to a fine science. On top of that, she knew most of the blind spots in the building. All the cameras worked off motion sensors, making it easy to tell when it picked up activity.
It was fair to assume Julius didn’t set up the system himself. Such a system worked well for a retail location, but for someone monitoring the place alone, it had too many flaws.
Julius kept closer watch of the outside, probably to keep watch for potential visitors. He must have known the instant they arrived, thus setting a trap for Jeff. This allowed him to focus on keeping the place running. To that effect, he was a regular miracle worker.
By her estimations, he worked roughly sixteen hours a day. He never slept for more than two hours, not at one time at least. The same motion sensors kept her from sneaking up on him, prodding him awake at her approach—a little hacking into the security room told her that much.
While his work schedule was static, his sleep schedule never was. He caught sleep when he would usually work. Sometimes he’d nod off at the fast food back room, while prepping food. Other times he’d sleep during ‘inventory’ of the gift shop.
Julius was so devoted to his ‘job’ he even accomplished things as he slept. That’s some deeply wrapped neurosis right there.
In the late afternoon, she got her chance to enter the security office. Julius stood at the counter of the burger place, sleeping while standing up. She found it unsettling how well he could do it.
She kept an eye on the monitor and checked the motion sensor algorithms. She just needed an hour to get into the generator room, and patched in a recorded loop of her sleeping on the bench of the employee break room.
He checks on it a few minutes before that. I just need to let him see me in person to set the trap.
As she worked, she stumbled on the logs. It looked like the security woman that ran the place put it in—the real one. She had different user credentials than the ones Julius used. There were some video files linked as well.
Harriet let one play while she worked.
The log recounted the early days of the outbreak. It started with some orders sent from the corporate office, and devolved into a ‘mutiny’ of sorts. A handful of workers with names Harriet found familiar, decided to keep the place running as a shelter from the horrors outside.
One of them had other plans.
As Harriet pushed on with the logs, she paid less and less attention to the algorithm. It pulled her in like a bad soap opera, namely the affair between the guard and the gift shop worker, Frank. According to her second to last entry, he died when someone tried looting the building.
That must have been when Julius cracked.
The rest of the logs came from a different guard. Julius and Gary—again the real one— tried to set up rules. This led to a disagreement between the two. Harriet could only assume it was bad, considering Julius’ unstable mental state.
The door opened right on schedule. Harriet lay still and feigned snoring. Julius walked inside the room, quieting his steps. She could feel them more than hear them. He stopped behind her, she could tell from the displacement of air around her.
A long uncomfortable moment passed and she felt a hand on her hip. He gave her a gentle shake.
Harriet ignored him. She had to be in this room for the plan to work.
The hand vanished and he stepped away. Harriet’s heart raced. For a moment she feared he’d suspected her. Or worse, that he planned to kill her.
All right, plan B. Jump up and kick his ass.
She clenched her hand into a fist, getting a good feel of where he was, but something big and light landed on her shoulders– a blanket.
Tension left Harriet’s shoulders. Julius smoothed down the blanket and tucked it closer to her body. Then he turned and left the room, closing the door with a quiet click.
She waited for a moment and sat up flinging the blanket away. I didn’t have a blanket over me in the loop. The plan’s gone to hell.
Harriet hurried to the door and pressed her ear against it. She heard no sign of Julius. According to his schedule he’d go to the security room in ten minutes, everything would be ruined. She had to double back.
She peeked out into the hallway and kept to the winding path of blind spots through the building. She crept into the security room praying Jeff had the sense not to look at her. He was stone asleep, tied to the chair as he tended to be.
The security room only had one camera, pointed directly at Jeff. Only one side of the panel was covered when the camera panned all the way to the left.
Harriet hurried over to the panel and worked her magic, she had to risk using a short loop… she only had a minute or so of herself covered with a blanket.
Jeff stirred behind her, muttering in his sleep. “Five more… minutes…”
She winced, If he woke up Julius would find out what she was up to on his review. HE was extra careful about Jeff.
With a little tweak of the algorithm, she put the loop in place and poised to leave.
“Harriet?” Jeff said.
She turned to him and raised a finger to shush him, but he kept his head hanging low. He feigned being asleep. The system had no audio– he knew that. “Jeff. Something’s gone wrong. He put a blanket on me when I set the trap.”
“Yeah, I know. Right after he touched your butt.”
“It wasn’t my butt. It was my hip. My hip.”
“Anyway, just do what you need to do. I have an idea. I’m gonna give you an alibi.”
Harriet took a good look at Jeff, the rope binding him sagged low on the chair. He was free. “What are you doing? You’ll ruin everything!”
“Just got a little ansty. Sitting in a damn chair for three days does that. I know the plan. Let me help.”
Harriet looked over the panel and noticed one of the monitors read ‘no feed’, specifically the outside one. It hit her all at once how good of an idea it could be. He’d come in here see that and assume something happened outside. That would give her time to get to the security office and take control of the building after the power cycle.
A chime sounded from the panel. He looked up and smiled. “No way I could do this stuff alone, but I can handle a simple copy and paste.
She glanced back spotting the feed watching Jeff, On the monitor, he was bound tight and alert. “Wait how did you…?”
“He’s not the only one that can use motion sensors, you know.” Jeff pulled out a pistol from his belt. “Also, he’s really bad at hiding guns.”