Security System Scare
exploring anyplace that is not totally and completely abandoned
for the first time, we are very, very alert for magnetic door
alarms, motion sensors, security cameras, and other devices
that could lead to our incarceration. Our first trip into
the telephone tunnel system was also our first trip into the
Labyrinth, so we were really on guard.
initial crew consisted of Dag, Muse, and myself. As we neared
the major tunnel intersection beneath Wabasha and 5th Street
for the first time, we went back on alert, faced with the
glowing exit signs, double stairwells, and snarl of cables.
One of the this is where the two largest tunnels of the system
cross; the southern Wabasha branch to the south leads straight
to the phone company's general offices. This means that ALL
the lines for the entire underground telephone line network
run down that stretch of tunnel, which is unsurprisingly the
largest in the system.
seemed like a likely point for some sort of security, and
we moved slowly, probing for trouble amidst the cables, splices,
railings, and the like with the beams from our headlamps.
Then, I saw it; a plastic box with a cord running from it,
draped over some transformer boxes.
move!" I whispered harshly, pointing at the suspect device.
looked like the kind of half-assed installation familiar from
the University steam tunnels: not attached to anything, the
bright new cord looped over equipment that predated the installation
of the rudimentary security system.
it did not look like any motion sensor I'd seen before, it
was roughly similar. In the middle of the box, facing across
the tunnel, was a sensor eye of some sort.
to do? We sure did not want to get busted, but at the same
time, there was no way I was going to just walk away from
the rest of the system without a fight.
some deliberation, we settled on a plan of action. While the
rest of the crew waiting back in the tunnel a little ways,
preparing to sprint, I would run up to the motion sensor,
grab it, stick it behind the metal box it hung next to, and
then we'd all run like hell.
the time anyone came to check things out, we'd be long, long
gone. Three things could come of this: either no one would
come check it out, or someone would come and move the sensor
back to where it could monitor the tunnel, or someone would
come but fail to return the sensor to its position. When we
returned the next time, we'd check the sensor. If it was behind
the metal box, we'd be able to explore beyond that point without
setting it off again, and know that security was pretty lax.
If it was back out on the wall, or, worse, mounted more professionally,
we'd know what we were up against.
prepared myself to deliberately set off a possibly piercing
alarm. I decided as I moved forward that I'd run ahead a little
after moving the sensor to make sure that the system didn't
just end or something ridiculous just out of sight.
moved along the wall, trying to get as close as possible without
triggering the alarm. My headlamp's power was low; the yellowish
light gleamed dully off the sensor's eye as I drew nearer,
my heart picking up the pace admirably in anticipation of
steps to go.
a fucking minute.
just one fucking minute here.
not a sensor eye. It's a goddamned screw head.
grab that stupid hollow plastic box (hearing Dag and Muse
shifting as they move into position to start sprinting) turn
and see, on the other side, the jack for
a telephone to plug into. Not a security sensor; an unused
phone line outlet.
and embarrassment fought for dominance, and I had a hell of
a time explaining myself to the others through my laughter.