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Author's Note: For honestlysweet's prompt "It was [Becker's] rule: Remain professional at work, so why is it he is the one who keeps breaking it?"
Official ARC Policy Regarding The Servicing and Maintenance of Security Equipment (Addendum)
It had taken time for the pattern to be noticed.
At first, it was assumed that it was a glitch in the ARC security system related to the damage done by the insect incursion. They'd only just got the ARC's systems back up around 80% when the future predators had attacked. So in the weeks and months after Phillip Burton's untimely death, most of the ARC staff had simply done the best with that they had, since Prospero's seemingly limitless funds had dried up pending investigation of Burton's New Dawn facility.
The timestamp glitches were sporadic at best—ten minutes here, an hour there.
They weren't even all in the same place. Sometimes it would be the armoury, other times, the women's toilets on the second floor, or the temporary crew quarters in corridor five, or the server room just off the Hub. One nearly three hour period had been blanked from the cameras that covered the Hub and Lester's office during a lockdown when only authorised personnel had access to the Hub.
The cameras always came back online, and no-one gave it any thought until Miss Shelby noted a downed camera in the panic room while she was covering the ADD during Jess' lunch break one day. It was another week until Shelby and Sayid had a chance to do a full audit of the security footage stored on the racks of harddrives, at Lester's request, and according to their findings, there was only one thing the occurrences had in common.
So it was with reluctance that Lester called Miss Parker and Captain Becker into his office early one Tuesday morning, and handed each of them a computer printout.
"Would either of you care to tell me what you see here?"
"Um... security log data?" Jess asked, her brows knitted together in a frown.
"Very good, Parker! Top of the class. Does anything stand out, to you, about the locations and times?"
"Just that they seem..." she began, and then stopped, her cheeks draining of all colour, only to bloom in a full blush when she reached the bottom of the page. "Oh," she said, her gaze darting to Becker's.
"As head of security, I thought it was important that Captain Becker be aware that our field co-ordinator was disabling ARC security cameras. After all, the security of this facility is his highest concern, after looking after the core team in the field, of course."
"Lester, I don't think—"
"You'll have you chance in a moment, Captain. Now, Parker, would you care to tell me why, for example, you disabled the system in an empty lab on the first floor yesterday afternoon?"
"There was, erm... a problem with the camera's transmitter. And it was only for a few minutes."
"Actually, as you can see from the timestamp, it was forty-seven minutes. That's an awfully long time to fix one little transmitter. Especially as you'd serviced that same camera, oh, let me look..." Lester glanced down at his identical printout, "three times in the last month. Goodness. Terribly shoddy maintenance record for what I have been told is very expensive, state-of-the-art equipment."
"Sir, I don't—" Becker began again, and Lester actually shushed him, holding up a hand for silence.
"Well? What do you have to say for yourself, Parker?"
"It won't happen again, sir?" Jess said, her blue eyes wide, and voice faltering as she struggled to maintain her calm.
"Sir, it wasn't Jess' fault," Becker finally burst out.
"And you would know this because...?" Lester asked, folding his arms across his chest.
"I was there," Becker ground out between gritted teeth.
"In all these places, at all these times."
"Really. So you've taken to spot checks of the ARC's internal security system as well?"
"Not exactly. Look, Jess disabled the cameras, but it was at my request. If you're going to sack anyone, it ought to be me."
"Why on Earth do you think I would sack her? It would be a huge nuisance to try and find a proper replacement. Not to mention she's the only person who actually understands how Temple's system works."
Becker blinked. "I don't understand."
"Oh, I think you do. Let me put it this way—turning off the cameras is all well and good, but it helps if you also remember to turn off your black box. Those things, after all, do record absolutely everything."
Lester pressed a button on his computer, and the tinny speakers came alive with the unmistakable sounds of a passionate encounter, complete with moans, the wet slapping of flesh against flesh, and Becker's voice urging his partner to take it that's it sweetheart oh God you're so tight fuck I'm going to— Lester quickly muted the speakers, as Jess had gone beet red, and Becker's cheeks were flushed beneath his usual day's growth of stubble.
"Good God, man, the server room? Really? Isn't it a bit nippy in there for those sorts of activities?" Becker opened his mouth to reply, and Lester continued, "For Christ's sake, don't tell me! It was a rhetorical question."
Lester gave them both his sternest headmaster glare, and Becker's posture screamed his discomfort in every line of his body, while Jess looked as if she wished an anomaly would open up right there and swallow her.
"I would, of course, prefer it if ARC personnel would keep their private lives private. Particularly as there is not enough Dettol in the world right now to make me actually want to touch my desk." Lester used a pen to move the file on his desk to the side. "This is a research facility—not your own personal love shack. Now, I trust this little incident will not be repeated?"
Jess shook her head, and Becker replied "No, sir."
"Excellent! Now, if only Mr Anderson, Lady Merchant, and the Maitlands would be half so discreet. There are things which, once seen, sadly cannot be unseen." Lester closed his eyes with a pained expression. "Now, please go out there and do your jobs with a minimum of pornographic evidence which I then have to wipe from the servers so the Minister doesn't think we have serious breeches of security. You have no idea how difficult it can be to explain that no, we do not have an office full of corporate spies, but in fact simply grown men and women acting like horny teenagers at inopportune times."
Becker simply gawped at him, and Jess looked slightly less mortified, and in fact on the verge of giggling.
"Dismissed!" Lester barked, making a shooing motion with his hands. Jess leapt up from her chair, and Becker followed her out, one hand at the small of her back, apparently unaware that that particular gesture practically screamed Why yes, we are shagging like minks to any and all who cared to notice.
Lester used his pen to hit a button on his phone, leaning close to the speaker. "Caroline, can you please send Abby and Connor in? Also, schedule the cleaning service for extra shifts and ask them to please take time to wipe down every horizontal surface in my office this week-end. Twice."