Was it just another surveillance job - Episode 50
I'm back home
and this story has been sitting on a back burner for a few months, waiting for
some more to be written.
The trouble is, there are also other stories to write, and I'm not very good at prioritizing.
But, here we
are, a few minutes opened up and it didn't take long to get back into the
Just because you have a security card with your name on it doesn’t mean you are cleared. Yesterday, maybe, but today? Anything can happen in 24 hours, much like the political landscape.
I walked into the front entrance and up to the scanning gate, I was just another
employee coming into work. I ran my card
through the scanning device, and the light turned red.
the time it took for me to scan it a second time, a security guard had arrived
from the front desk, and a soldier, armed and ready was standing behind me.
didn’t doubt for one minute he would shoot me if I tried to run.
seems to be the problem?” The security
guard was polite but firm.
card that scanned the last time and worked, doesn’t seem to work now.”
could read his expression, ‘You just got fired, and are trying to get back in.”
gave him the card, he looked at it, no doubt to see if there was any damage, then
you any other means of identification?”
here’s the thing. This was the office
full of spies and support staff all of whom could be using assumed names,
different guises, or just plain secretive with their private information. Luckily, I had a driver’s licence with the name
on the card, but not much else.
thought about telling him about the place he was guarding, but I doubted he
looked at both, then handed back the licences.
with me over to the counter and we’ll see if we can sort this out.”
was not a request, nor was I unaccompanied.
I had a soldier permanently attached to me.
we all arrived at the desk, he joined another guard behind.
is your immediate superior?”
was a toss-up between Dobbin and Monica.
Since Dobbin spent a lot of time in his car or appeared to, I said it
watched him search slowly through the phone list until he found her number, then
had his back to me when they spoke, but it wasn’t for long; after a minute,
perhaps two, he replaced the receiver and turned back.
Shrive will be down in about five minutes.”
He pointed to a row of chairs against the wall, remnants from the last
world war. “If you would like to wait
over there, sir.”
didn’t hand back my card.
wait was more like a half hour, but I had become engrossed in an old copy of
Country Life, and an article that made me consider retiring to the country in an
old thatch cottage beside a babbling brook somewhere in the Cotswolds.
I read the price.
arrival of Monica came at a fortuitous moment.
Coming to the desk.
I was hoping you would drop by sooner rather than later.”
card doesn’t work.”
that’s because we revoked it.” She held
out another in her hand. “We’ve replaced
it with one with better access, or as we say jokingly, you’ve moved up in the
pay grade scale.”
took the card and went to put it in my pocket.
need to register your presence, so I’m afraid you’ll have to go out and come
back in again.”
did as she asked, this time greeted by the friendly green light. The soldier seemed disappointed that I was now
free of his attention. The security
guard on the desk had already forgotten I existed.
followed Monica to the antiquated elevator, we stepped in, closed the door and
she pressed a button for the third and fourth floors. It seemed creakier than usual this time.
assuming you have come in to use the computer resources?”
thing then we upgraded your access level.”
is there someone who manages access to CCTV footage?”
“Yes. Same floor, four. Her name is Amelia Enders. Tell her what you need, and she’ll find
it. I assume it will have something to do
with the surveillance exercise of yours.”
could she guess, or had she been already investigating?”
and see me when you’re finished. I live
on the third floor. Literally.”
elevator stopped on the third floor with a creak and a thump.
smile, and she headed off down the passage.
I wasn’t mistaken, she had that cat who ate the canary look, and it worried me.