"You have got to be freaking kidding me."
Susan glanced up from her workstation. "They don't," she said, "and they aren't."
"We won't be able to get in or out without biometrics and, a, a... what the hell is a 'recorded gesture', anyhow?" Tabitha glanced around to make sure none of their co-workers were in sight, then made a series of rude hand signs. "Like that?"
Susan shook her head. "You have to read on to the next paragraph. It's like the swipe key on your phone. You draw a pattern, connecting the dots in a certain way."
Tabitha's face cleared. "So I can just do a straight line down the middle," she said. "Like flipping the scanner the bird every time I go through the door."
"Read on," said Susan. "It has to be a continuous line that touches at least three dots in each column, and no basic zigzags allowed."
"Half the office is going to either lock themselves out, or in."
"Yup." Susan sipped her coffee and touched the Hammer of Thor pendant hanging from the silver necklace she always wore.
"You acting all nonchalant about it is really pissing me off, you know."
"If it mattered what we thought about it, they would have asked us first."
"It figures they'd announce it on a Friday."
"Oh come on." Susan leaned over to Tabitha's cubicle and patted her arm. "Free coffee and doughnuts on Monday. It's not all bad."
Monday morning they stood in a queue in the elevator lobby while two managers presided over the recording of the biometric data and the gesture. An administrative assistant walked up and down the line, doling out coffee, doughnuts, and jokes as people fidgeted.
The staff had been told to show up no earlier than eight-thirty. Most people had arrived at eight forty-five, trying to beat the rush, but not be first in line either.
It was now nine-thirty, and only three people had completed the recording. The queue lined the entire circumference of the elevator lobby, ending ourobouros-like right beside the scanner. Several people had had to leave and re-join the line as their bladders succumbed to the effects of the coffee.
The admin assistant nervously handed her best work friend some money and begged her to go get more coffee and doughnuts. One of the managers had left the scanner and was polling staff, asking who had meetings first so they could get inside and attend them.
Tabitha made a lot of faces at Susan, but didn't dare say anything with the rest of the office within earshot.
Martin, the next person in front of them, finally recorded a gesture he could execute twice in a row. The door clicked open, and he scurried in.
Susan went next, after a quick nudge in the ribs from Tabitha. She smiled and held her head perfectly still as lasers scanned first one retina, then the other. The lasers left her seeing spots, but she cheerfully blinked them away and quickly repeated the gesture she'd planned, twice.
"That's the way it's done!" said the manager, beaming. "I hope everyone else goes this quickly."
"I got to learn from the people ahead of me in line," Susan said, with a modest glance downwards as she slipped through the door.
She unlocked her desk drawer, retrieved her laptop, and fingered her Thor pendant as she waited for the computer to boot up. Down the corridor, the door clicked open and let Tabitha into the office.
"It's going faster now," she announced as she sat down at her desk. Susan just smiled and nodded a reply.
She'd worked all weekend on the particular set of runes she'd used for her gesture. If the company was going to introduce new rituals to the office, so was she.