Writing future science fiction horror is haaaaaaaard. Whine whine whine…

I gave the room another look. It was nice enough, if you liked plants and antique furniture; but there were only three desks, and two had had their chairs stacked upside-down on them. Bill had flipped one to give me a place to sit. “Just how many people are in this office, Bill?”

“In the office? Two.” He grinned at me. “That’s including you, at least for the next month. The Department of Commerce pays for two more staffers, but they both work remotely. Ruth and Anna come in maybe once a quarter.”

That was surprising. “Remotely? That’s an option? I thought…”

“…this was some kind of primitive hamlet, on the back of beyond?” The grin didn’t waver. “Well, you’d be right. That’s why you’re here, ain’t ya? But we can manage a local network. It can’t handshake with Outside all that great, but it’s fine for local stuff. That reminds me.” He rummaged in a box, tossed me a smartphone. I was so startled, I almost dropped it. “Use that for calling me, or anybody else you’re trying to reach here. It can’t take Outside calls, but neither can your button.”