Sunday, April 19, 2009

"Continuity Core," CTC, pt. 8, 416 words

Mudry’s cutting torch sputtered out to silence. He rolled back on his heels and kicked back upright. “Open sesame,” he called out just before planting a heavy kick right in the middle of the door. The door, now a powerless slab of reinforced steel, crashed down into the next room with a titanic crash that echoed up and down the hall.

Beyond stood another security checkpoint, much like the one they had been locked into once entering the building. The security screen flickered and wavered, and an alarm chirped urgently for attention. The three ignored it as they crossed the checkpoint, and found the door wide open. It led into another hall, identical to the one they had just left and running parallel to it.

“Damn it all,” Mudry muttered. “Not again.”

Mike spoke up, “Analysis: the layout of the building seems to nominally resemble a grid of connecting halls with rooms in the center of each square. However, most of the concentric layers of the grid are unconnected but for a few passages that run perpendicular – the security checkpoints, in other words. The building looks initially to have a standard office construction, but in actuality resembles a keep enclosed by multiple curtain walls. This construction greatly limits mobility from layer to layer within the building.”

Shaking his head, Mudry said, “Only an idiot or a paranoid would make a floor plan like that in an office. The inefficiency is staggering, for anyone needing to get deeper in or farther out.”

“Public statements suggest that the design may have been implemented for security purposes,” Mike responded. “The previous director of Corridor Traffic Control, at the groundbreaking ceremony for this building, talked openly of the department’s importance in the upkeep of modern society and the need for heightened security in the installation to protect against the terrorist actions that had plagued the department’s previous facility.”

“No,” Rijn said. “Josh is right. If you want to stop a gunman or a bomber, you put metal detectors and chemical sniffers at the entrances, and a few well-trained guards. What we saw at the outer layer. Maybe one more layer of security around the DI. Not this repetition of checkpoints and choke points between each layer of the facility. It’d be like building a skyscraper that stopped the elevators at every other floor for a security sweep. You just don’t do something like that if you want to maintain even a semblance of human efficiency.

“This place is a fortress.”

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