There was smoke in the hallway. TJ ran out from behind the reception desk to locate its source. Why had no smoke alarms been activated? Were their sensors faulty?

He saw that the smoke was coming from the machine room. He punched its door code and entered. Juno shuffled into a corner, not sure whether to act naturally or try to hide. She managed neither, and just looked scared and guilty.

“I was just checking some readings,” she said, with smoke rising from a red glow beside her foot. She had tried to extinguish her cigarette, but in haste missed it. “What are you doing here?”

He said, “Juno, you know that smoking is forbidden in the Lucerne Valley Hotel. You can do it outside if you want, but not inside, and never in the machine room. Are you crazy? What were you thinking? I will have to report this in my duty notes.”

Juno looked even guiltier, though less scared. She took a step forward and said to him defiantly, “Smoking is my choice; it gives me pleasure. Anyway, you come in here to drink. I’ve seen the microbrewery settings.”

TJ was taken aback. It was true, he sneaked in most nights, but how could she know that? She didn’t have any access codes, or at least she shouldn’t. Denial was worth a try though, so he said, “No I don’t. Don’t try to shift the blame. You’re the one smoking, not me.”

She took another step forward and said, “But I’m not the one drinking, am I? And it’s not just the microbrewery; you’ve also played around with the MoonshineTM machine.”

She’d also got him here. Twice a week he indulged himself, distilling drinks on the hotels’ multispirit machine – usually fine vodkas and botanical gins, but also rare whiskies, sometimes fifty years old. That’s why he didn’t mind graveyard shifts, sipping away the night.

“Okay,” he said. “Let’s forget about the smoking. But don’t do it again, and especially not here. How did you manage anyway? No alarms went off.” She indicated a piece of duct tape across a sensor. He said, “Ahh,”” and then, “Come on, let’s go.”

She didn’t move, and said, “What are the codes to the servers?”

He said he couldn’t tell her.

“Why not? You better!”

“Look, I can’t tell you. I’d get into a big heap of trouble.”

She raised her eyebrows and said, “Not as much as you would for drinking on the job. The mixing dates will show up on the MoonshineTM machine. There’s no records of my smoking though. I win.”

He gave her the codes. He wasn’t the only one who had them, and could say that it was someone else.  Juno logged in and explored staff profiles, starting with their android mix.

“You liar TJ! You said you were thirty percent android. You’re only twenty!” She examined management salaries. “What? You earn ten grand more than me? What for?” Then she looked up guest records – who had enjoyed what in the holographic rooms. “That Mr Jewell! That’s disgusting! A man of his age!” She studied the robo-chef menus. “What kind of food do you like? Japanese? Sushi? Okay, let’s break all the rules! I’m choosing forbidden foods. We’re having whale blubber starter, dolphin main, and jellyfish dessert.”

TJ said that he didn’t feel hungry. She said, “Come on; let your human side live a little!”


One Response to “Servers”

  1. Nice story. You are very creative.

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