Ashley got a phone call and read the name on the display, it was Eric Fox, the president of the company that owned the prison. She slid her finger over the keypad and answered the phone, “Hello?”
“This is Eric Fox, we need you in the prison as soon as possible, and there has been a security breach on the computer system.”
“What does that mean?” Ashley asked.
“Someone logged onto the computer in the maintenance department. It’s either a staff that’s still alive or a vampire, we don’t know and we have to find out before they blow up the building.”
“Blow up the building? What are you talking about?”
“There’s a self-destruct mechanism that can take down the entire prison. The computer that was compromised has accesses to that prompt.”
“Isn’t there an access code or other safety precautions in place to stop that? Can’t you take down the system from the corporate headquarters?”
“No, it’s on an internal network, it’s not internet based.”
“Can you cut the power to the prison?”
“Yes, but the backup generator will kick in immediately. The only way to deny access to the prompt is to take out the terminal, and that’s what I need you to do,” Eric said.
“What about the codes? Who would have access to them?”
“They’re emailed to maintenance once a week,” Eric replied.
“Would a vampire have access to the email? Doesn’t that take a password as well?”
“Yes, but we don’t know what’s going on. There may be a maintenance person down there who’s being forced to log on, if that’s the case, they may also be forcing him access to the pass codes. We don’t know what’s going on exactly, just that the terminal was logged onto and someone is poking around. We need you and your team to go into the prison, and secure that terminal.”
“If they have access, we could be blown to bits,” Ashley replied. “Ten thousand a day won’t do much when you make my kids motherless.”
“If you don’t want the job we’ll find someone who will, just tell me now so I can start looking.”
Ashley thought for a second. “I have to ask the rest of my team first.”
“I’m going to start looking elsewhere while you piss my time away. If you decide you want the job, call me back.” With that, Eric hung up.
“What was that all about?” Jesse Scott asked. He was the second member of the V Control LLC team.
“They want us to go into the prison and secure a computer terminal.”
“What was that I heard about blowing up the prison?”
“He said someone accessed a computer terminal in the maintenance department. And that terminal has access to a self-destruct mechanism.”
“Why the fuck would they install a self-destruct mechanism in a prison?” Jesse asked.
“I suppose in case the vampires ever took over.”
“Well shit, blow the place up. If that’s what it’s for, use it.”
“I’m guessing it’s a last ditch sort of thing. They think there are still staff alive in the prison, and maybe some tourists. Until we find out, they won’t use it.”
“So we get to go in and risk our lives to find out?”
“If we don’t, he’ll hire someone else,” Ashley replied.
“Fuck, let him. I came here to exterminate vampires, I have no computer expertise. They can call Best Buy and have them take care of it.”
“From the sounds of it, all we have to do is cut the cord to the screen. Just make sure they don’t have access to the prompt.”
“So a pair of bolt cutters would take care of it?” Jesse asked.
“Probably,” Ashley replied.
“Did you get any details on this self-destruct mechanism?”
“No, and it doesn’t matter, I’m sure it can kill us either way.”
Ashley spoke with Arthur Hansen and together, all three members of the team agreed to go ahead and enter the prison. They gathered their gear and coordinated with the guards at the front gate to allow them access through the front door. There was a rear entrance, but they figured there was nothing to be gained by going that route. The maintenance department was at the north side of the rectangular shaped prison, and there was just as much a chance of running into vampires from either entrance.
When the team was ready, Ashley called the guard at the gate and signaled she and the others were prepared to go. The guard buzzed them in the main gate and allowed them to enter the prison grounds. Once inside, the guard remotely unlocked the front door and let them enter. When they were no longer in view, the guard locked the door and the team was on their own.
Following the map they were provided, the team moved down the long hall to the locked door at the end. Ashley used the keys she was provided and gained access to the stairwell leading down to the maintenance department. At no time did she see any staff, tourists or vampires. But the air smelled like rotting death and was warm and muggy.
As the team stepped down to the basement, they entered another hallway, walked to the maintenance department and unlocked the door. The mission was easy, almost too easy. Ashley called on her radio to tell of her progress and slowly entered the maintenance department with gun drawn. She was followed by Jesse and Arthur. From her vantage point all she could see was a huge room, filled with shelves of tools, parts and scrap. The room buzzed with the sounds of the central air and boilers and smelled of grease and dust.
What she didn’t see were any people or vampires. Looking around, she quickly found the control panel and the computer they were looking for. She scanned the room again and took off to the work station followed by her team. When she arrived at the terminal, she looked at the screen and saw a diagram of the first floor. No prompt for a bomb.
“What’s that?” Jesse asked.
“Looks like a blueprint,” Ashley replied. “Of the basement floor from what it says.”
“Cut the cable,” Jesse said.
“Hold on, I want to look at this,” Ashley replied.
“They’re paying us to cut the cable, then we can leave.”
“There’s no one here, you can wait a minute. I want to see what they were looking at.”
“What does it matter? They’re not paying us to look at their computer shit.”
“Go look around, see if you can find anyone alive, or any vampires!” Ashley snapped. “I’m leading this team and I’ll tell you when we cut the cable.”
“Fine,” Jesse barked back. He took off followed by Arthur.
“What are you doing?” a voice called out. It was Bohdan stepping out from between two shelving units.
Ashley jumped when she heard the sound of Bohdan’s voice and spun around to face him.
“Who the fuck are you?” Ashley asked. She pulled a pistol and pointed it at the vampire who was now in her view.
“I thought everyone knew who I was,” Bohdan replied. “I’m Bohdan, the Vampire Ripper.”
“Never heard of you,” Ashley replied.
“I’ve never heard of you either,” Bohdan said. “What are you doing here?”
“None of your fucking business,” Ashley replied.
“From what I can see, it looks like you’re interested in that computer.”
“Are there more of you?”
“Yes,” Bohdan replied.
“Are there any humans alive that you know of?”
“I only know of one.”
“She’s looking for a flashlight, I don’t know exactly where she is.”
“Are there any other vampires?”
“A couple,” Bohdan replied.
“Where are they?”
“Breaking into the door to the tunnel. If you listen you can hear the drill over the sound of the boiler.”
Ashley listened and heard the faint sound of a drill.
“I’m assuming you’re not alone,” Bohdan said.
“Of course not, I have a full team with me.”
Then the sound of a shot rang out. And the drill stopped and all was silent.
“Sounds like your team has just met my vampires,” Bohdan said.
Another shot rang out and then another. Then all was silent.
“Are you here to stop us from leaving?” Bohdan asked.
“I had no idea you were leaving,” Ashley replied. “I’m here to stop you from blowing this place up.”
“Oh, the self-destruct, that makes sense. I’m afraid you’re a bit too late to stop that now, we entered the code a half hour ago. The self-destruct will occur in less than twenty minutes. And unless you have the codes to stop it, you will die with the vampires who remain.”
Ashley looked at the screen again, all she saw was the diagram for the prison. “You’re lying, you don’t have access to the codes.”
Bohdan stepped forward and picked up a clipboard off the desk. He tossed it closer to Ashley so she could read what was printed on the top sheet. It said in bold letters, “Self-destruct access codes,” and was dated for that week. “Looks like the maintenance department were a bunch of dumbasses leaving that out for anyone. They printed out the codes every week and posted them on that clipboard for anyone to see.”
Ashley was shocked at how easy it was for anyone to set off the self-destruct. “Are the reset codes on there too?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” Bohdan replied. He stepped closer to the computer as if he was going to look at the clipboard, but instead grabbed the monitor to the computer and tore it from the tower. He dropped the dead monitor on the floor and kicked it towards Ashley. “You do realize that a bullet won’t kill me,” Bohdan said. “And you have less than twenty minutes to get out of the prison.”
Ashley looked around to see if Jesse and Arthur were coming back, they weren’t.
“You’re other option would be to join us in the tunnel, but I don’t think that would be a good idea, so you better get going.”
“Where does the tunnel lead?” Ashley asked.
“Topeka, and to safety. We’ll survive when this place goes up.”
“I don’t know what’s going on with my team, we won’t make it out in twenty minutes.”
“Make that fifteen, you’re wasting time,” Bohdan said. “I’m heading for the tunnel, you can join me if you like.”
Ashley holstered her gun and watched Bohdan walk past her down the long path to the tunnel. On his way, he was met up with a woman, the woman who was looking for a flashlight. She turned and looked at Ashley as Bohdan told her what just happened. Looking at her watch, Ashley knew her time was limited, she could either take off back out into the hall and up the stairs or follow the vampire she just met. Her instincts kicked in and she took off after Bohdan.
“Hold up!” Ashley yelled as she ran down the hall. When she met up with Bohdan, she saw Arthur lying on the floor in a pool of blood and an open door surrounded by spools of wire fencing.
“What happened to Arthur?” Ashley asked.
“I don’t know, I was standing with you when the shots rang out,” Bohdan replied. “This is Cara, she’s my nurse. The only human I know left alive.”
Ashley looked at Cara and Cara returned a blank look. Cara didn’t care for another woman in her presence. “Where’s Jesse?” Ashley asked.
“In the tunnel bitch,” Cara snapped back. “You better follow before this place blows.”
Ashley followed Bohdan and Cara into the tunnel, Cara turned on her flashlight and Ashley pulled her’s from her tool belt. Then she stumbled over something on the floor. As she stood up, she saw that Jesse was lying face down, not moving. Blood surrounded his head and he looked dead. Now she was the only other human left alive.