“Name?” the woman on the other side of the glass said, her voice distorted by the sound system. She was wearing full protective gear, though Sherman knew that wouldn’t help one bit. The woman and the room she sat in were blurred by the thirty centimeters of water between the two glass barriers in front of him.
“Sherman Moore,” he said. He scratched his upper right arm were the skin had peeled away to reveal the crystalline structure beneath. Small flakes of glittering skin fluttered to the floor. The woman moved her hand to the big red button on the table in front of her. Sherman looked up. Some days he wished they would push that goddamn button and the whole thing would end in fire. There were twenty nozzles in the ceiling. The very air of the room would burst into flame if the woman pushed the button. The shock wave would shatter the glass and kill her instantly.
Nothing happened. The skin flakes settled on the ceramic floor and didn’t crawl away. No fire descended from the ceiling to end his misery.
“And you worked in R&D, correct?” the woman said, her hand moving away from the button.
“You know I did,” Sherman replied. “You’re looking at the file.”
“Special Projects team, correct?”
Sherman sighed. Scratched his arm. Looked up at the nozzles. Sometimes he thought he could smell the fuel in the tank above, but the room really never smelled of anything except disinfectant and his own stale sweat.
“Special Projects team?” the woman repeated.
“Yes, Special Projects.”
The woman tapped the answers into a small tablet on her lap. Sherman knew there was no wifi down here, or LAN ports either. As far as he knew they still hadn’t figured out how the virus could hide itself in TCP/IP packets.
“Your manager was Natalie Bauer,” the woman said.
“Is that a question?”
The woman looked up from the file.
“I’m sorry?” she said.
“A question. You made a statement.”
“Answer the question please, mister Moore.”
“What’s the point of all this?”
“Answer the question.”