2020-05-15

Turbolifts

I was in charge of maintaining a fleet of lift cars capable of taking passengers to any part of some kind of shopping mall. These weren't like elevators, with only a lifetime of vertical movement within a single shaft - these were more like Star Trek's turbolifts, and they moved around within the mall, essentially travelling like monorail cars along a ceiling track from which the cars were suspended.

My job was to maintain the fleet. The problem was, the cars had been hacked. The contractor had done a cheapass job, and the control panels could be accessed by microUSB ports covered with tiny rubber caps, and even via Bluetooth. Nobody told anyone that the panels had Bluetooth, and that all of them were on all the time.

Some schoolkid had hacked the entire fleet, and half of the cars were sending members of the public to random locations, particularly if the passengers in the cars were kids whom the hacker didn't like.

The fleet comprised forty cars. 27 of them were in service, ten were undergoing maintenance, and three had vanished. It turns out that the kid had discovered three ghost stations on the turbolift network, opening onto underground areas of the mall which had never been opened but which had been reserved for times of national emergency. The hacker had sent three of his worst enemies on a neverending trip cycling between these dark, half-forgotten stations, traumatised.

I got up at 5am. As far as I can tell, those poor kids are still down there.


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