Breaking Protocol

“Thank you all for gathering on short notice.” Harry sat in his chair with the light of his monitor reflecting off his glasses. “I know these are hard times, but I’m glad we can still gather quickly as the need arises.”

Harry focused his eyes on his webcam, doing what that guide to video conferencing had told him to give the illusion of eye contact to the people on the call. It was tricky to maintain, but he’d had a lot of practice.

“I know you’re all tired since it’s the end of a long day, but I want you all to know that I appreciate your effort. It isn’t easy, working in an environment like this.” Unable to look away, Harry wasn’t sure if this reassurance was landing or not. He plunged ahead anyway.

“I know you’re all wondering why Rob was disciplined, and I wanted to snip any rumors in the bud.” Harry sighed. “Rob broke isolation protocol. It is imperative–mission critical, even–that we keep everyone isolated for now. It won’t be forever, remember, just until this nasty business has run its course.

“To remind you all how critical this is, we’ll watch the video. Again.” Harry clicked the Broadcast button on his call window and muted his microphone. The video stream replaced his webcam feed and he relaxed. He let his eyes drift down to watch his prisoners recoil in horror as they once again watched the video of what he’d done when Rob tried to escape during his daily feeding.

Harry hummed tonelessly as half the group slumped in their chairs while the other half tried to hide in the corners of their cells. The things he had to do in order to maintain discipline in the only remaining prison after the end of the world…

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