JERRY STRINGER

The wailing noise of the alarm was steadily bouncing off the walls of the room I was in and into my ears, causing me to panick more and more with every passing second. Meanwhile, directly above me and with a distance of couple hundreds of meters. In the monitor room of the fourth security floor, Greg and Mathew panicked as well.

 

"What's going on Greg, what's that alarm for?-- What did you do?!" Mathew asked as he stood up abrasively,  pushing his entire weight on the dashboard as he supported himself with his hands which were placed around the blinking alarm light.

 

"Tsk" Greg smacked his tongue.

Mathew's accusing words caused Greg to become distracted from his previous panicking state. They had both forgotten their Workers handbook at home. As a fact, Mathew had asked Greg to pack his for him before they came to work today, but Greg, not really seeing the value in the handbook because there hasn't been a need for it until now, willfully left them at home.

 

"Typical Mathew, here we go again. You always find a way in any situation to blame me as the cause. It must really be a talent of yours, while you forget that you're just as messed up as you make me out to be. Although in different ways" Greg retorted, rolling his eyes at his partner.

 

"!!" Mathew didn't utter a single word in return but glared back at Greg with stern and commanding eyes.

 

"Ahh!" Greg exhaled in annoyance "I knew that this might happen which is why I was hesitant in agreeing to taking this job with you. Well, whatever I guess. What's done is done" he mumbled, lowering his head a bit to sniff sharply and then continued out loud as he raised his head back up.

 

"The heck would I know about what caused that alarm to go off. You were the one who got me this gig remember? And amongst the both of us, only one has actually read that stupid handbook so if there's anyone who should know what's going on here, then it should be you" Greg frowned.

Mathew took a quick pause without making any movement for five seconds before slowly turning his head to Greg once more. "Let's call the chief again, he might have an idea about this too" Mathew suggested, taking his eyes from the alarm and looked at Greg then finally back at the monitor 

 

"Call the chief to do what exactly?" Said someone from behind the both of them, who was standing by the now opened door.

 

"Sir!"

"CHIEF!" 

Both Mathew and Greg cried out in unison after turning around to see who had just spoken with Greg's voice climbing over Mathew's, who then went on to say more but by himself this time "Thank God you're here"

 

"Yes I'm here, so what's all this I'm hearing about the cameras being faulty?" The man said as he walked in.

 

Jerry Stringer, the Chief Security Officer in charge of all things GHA security related. While taking his first step into the room, he felt something buzzing inside his trouser pocket which he brought out and it was revealed to be his communicator designed like a pen.

 

The alarm light continued to flash on. The wailing usually stops after the first couple seconds of being activated but the flashing usually continues.

"What the— This can't be!" Jerry said then rushed to the dashboard, pushing Greg and Mathew to the sides "Move it you two!"

 

"The Blackroom!" he exclaimed.

 

""The black room?"" Both Mathew and Greg whispered, looking at each other in pure confusion.

 

Meanwhile, Jerry who had his focus planted on what was on the monitor pressed a couple of buttons on the keyboard and twisted a couple of knobs which then changed the current displaying feed to feeds from the sub level floor.

 

This spectacle made Greg to whisper "What type of James Bond level shit was that?"

 

"Hmm, I don't get it. The alarms are going off but nothing appears to be wrong on the monitors"  said Jerry with a sceptical look on his face.

This statement prompted Mathew to reply based on previous discovery "That's why we called you here for assistance Sir. It seems that we are watching old camera footage and we wanted you to check it out"

 

"Old camera footage? What makes you say that and with what evidence?" Jerry spoke out with stern voice

 

Greg netted his fingers together and replied corkily "Well chief, for one thing if you squint your eyes very very well, it appears that you are just coming out of the bathroom and what is that?" He leaned in closer to the monitor "You seem to have toilet paper stuck to the bottom of your very expensive leather boots"

 

When Jerry changed the view of the feed from the normal perimeter camera feeds to the feed from the sub level floor, the perimeter feed just minimized in scale and adjusted themselves to the sides and corners of the monitor while the sublevel feed was placed in the middle.

 

*SCOFF*

Greg let out a little laugh but Mathew on the other hand frowned, thinking that Greg was being disrespectful and acting inappropriate for what was happening.

 

"What the—" Muttered Jerry when he saw himself on the monitor too.

 

Meanwhile, more vibrations coming from Jerry's communicator, which he still had in hand, caused the tension felt due to the urgency of the situation which had gone down to rise back up again.

 

"Don't be stupid and use your heads. Out of the two of you, did anyone ever think of rebooting the system?"  Jerry quickly turned around, moving both his head, and sight in conjuncture, between the two of them who were behind him but at the opposite sides of his body.

 

"Hmm!"; Greg shrugged and mumbled the words "I don't know" then he looked at Mathew for confirmation.

 

"Well no Sir, but I thought rebooting the system would wipe the storage cells data which would be bad, right?" Mathew replied then looked at Greg who just sat down, looking back with an expression denoting his oblivion as to what was being talked about.

 

"Tsk" Mathew smacked his tongue distastefully at his younger brother of one year.

 

"We're in an emergency situation like this and you two are worrying about data? Move it, I will do it myself" Jerry frowned then reached out, placing his hand on an inserted key at the top of the dashboard, next to the blinking alarm light.

 

"You were given security measures with the rules and procedures in the handbook for reasons like these. If you had studied properly then you would have known that rebooting the system automatically sends any data in the data boxes to the cloud for storage and for watch back while also clearing the stored ones to be filled anew"

 

"Huh! Did you know that Mathew?" Greg murmured

 

"!!" Mathew replied by scowl aimed at this brother.

 

"Fools!" Jerry said and then he twisted the key, causing a metallic cage which was covering a big red button next to the key to flip up and then he pressed that button too. Switching off the entire system. 

 

They all waited five seconds before he twisted the key once more and switched the system on again, The camera feeds started coming back on one after the other until it got to the last three, first was the Blackroom camera feed and then room before that and last was the white room security feed which all showed the lights flickering red.

 

"I knew it!" Jerry shouted as he took out his flip cell phone from his jacket pocket and called someone.

"Hey! What's going on? Who do you think he's calling?" Greg asked, looking to Mathew for the answer while pointing at Jerry making the call from behind, but unfortunately all Mathew could do was shrug.

While the call was just made and before it started ringing, Jerry whispered to himself while peering intensely into the camera feed  "Why can't I see anyone on the monitor? Did they hide after the alarm went off?"

 

"Well, maybe you're— sorry, I mean we're overreacting and there actually isn't any Intruders in the building. Maybe, and I know I might sound crazy here but maybe, just maybe, the cameras glitched and that's what caused the umm— well the glitch" Greg retorted in a condescending manner but the only person paying attention to what he was saying was Mathew, because Jerry was fully emersed in trying to find an intruder and also waiting on the call to connect.

Finally it connected and someone answered after the first two rings "Yes?

 

"Sir, it's the Blackroom, the alarms went off and it appears there might be an intruder in the building"

 

"An intruder?"

"Yes sir, it would also seem that they tampered with the camera footage in order to conceal their activities" Said Jerry

 

The replies of the person on the other side of the call was audible to only Jerry while Greg and Mathew were left to fill in what the replies were, taking account of what Jerry was saying. Greg making out his responses in a comical way.

"I need permission to go over there and check it out and I also wanted to ask if I'm permitted to bring two others with me as back up"

Jerry looked over his shoulders and gazed at Mathew and Greg then he turned back to the monitor "Yes them"

 

There weren't any responses from the person on the other line for close to fifteen seconds after Jerry asked this question and Mathew, as well as Greg, knew that there was silence after the question on permission was asked, because, even if they weren't able to hear what the complete conversation was before, they could at least hear mumbles and muffled noises coming through the phone.

After the person on the other line finally gave his response which was an approval, there were a couple more back and forths with the unknown figure until Jerry finally ended the call and asked Mathew and Greg to follow him down.

"Shouldn't we check the cloud stored feed first to see if we can find this intruder you are talking about Chief?" Mathew asked, feeling like he had to compensate for the type of nonchalant attitude his brother had been giving.

 

*CLINK*

Jerry pulled out the key from the dashboard and pocketed it.

"We should check the cloud stored feed data huh? Don't be stupid! If they went to the trouble of altering the camera feed then of course you won't be able to get anything on them from it. It most likely was an inside job or someone who blended in perfectly"

 

"One of the workers? Or maybe one of the children even? I've watch some pretty cool spy movies about smart spy kids being the main characters in them so maybe one of these little brats that were casually brought in to the company today could have been the inside man or woman. Boy or girl since they're kids. I mean who knows" Greg said then shrugged, but at this point, nothing he does or says was going to surprise Jerry nor Mathew anymore or were they going to take him seriously.

"Stop being an idiot and let's move... Quickly!"

*STEP*

Jerry took the lead, walking out first then followed by Mathew who walked passed Greg in shame at what he's brother is willing to say in situations like these. Out of everyone, Greg was the least convinced that there was an intruder in the building and the more the others took the notion seriously, the more he felt like he had to clown them for it.

"These guys can't be serious with this" Greg chuckled then he also went out and then they all left the monitor room, with all three heading for the elevator.

.

.

.

*STEP*

"Where exactly is that camera feed coming from Sir? The video quality even looked different from the other feeds" Mathew inquired as they got into the elevator and started heading for the first floor and the last word that was mentioned in the fourth floor as the elevator door closed was Jerry Springer saying the words "The Blackroom"

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