A story from Flash Fiction Month 2018, using the standard prompt from Ag-Cat: Her teammates were well educated and intelligent people. Probably. This was also published in The Ruminations of a Multiheaded Monster.
A loud clatter echoed in the hallway behind the corner. The guards jumped and pointed their weapons towards the corner.
“Who’s there?” the first guard asked.
“Just me. Sorry about the startle. My mop fell to the floor,” came a familiar voice. It was the janitor. He came to the guards’ view, holding the fallen mop while pushing his cart with his other hand. “Clearance 669A, wasn’t it?”
“Indeed,” the other guard told, nodding. “Right on time, as always.”
“Of course. One can’t clean a building like this without a plan and a timetable,” the janitor told. He put the mop back into the cart. “May I go in?”
“Yes, all the scientists have left,” the first guard told. As the janitor passed the guards by, he was scanned for anything suspicious – as always, there was nothing like that, but the guards knew that in a place like this, they had to be extremely careful. Even the simple, dutiful janitor who was only best at what he did could be replaced by an impostor willing to steal their secrets.
Once the laboratory door was closed, the janitor sighed and started mopping, just like he always did. While he worked, he checked out what difference the scientist team had made on sample X07, a strange substance made of components they could not identify. As far as they had managed to conclude, finding a way to utilize and replicate it would revolutionize the fuel industry – unless it proved to cause toxic wastes worse than what they currently used did, of course.
Today, it had been a day of discussing via notes. One of the scientists was convinced that the unknown blue substance had to be Energon from Transformers or at least should be named that – no matter whether it could be a copyright infringement or not – while others were more skeptical about the origin of this unearthly sample they had managed to recover in the deep icy depths of the South Pole. Well, at least this scientist’s team members were well-educated and intelligent people. Probably. At least their CVs had told so.
The janitor chuckled at the note discussion. If the group only knew that their boss was checking up on their work every evening in the disguise of a janitor… That would cause them to censor the discussion quite a lot, that the janitor was certain about.
But they did not know and thus the boss could play the janitor for a reason, get everywhere and see everything without anything hidden from his eyes. What a fantastic idea it had been to do this and fool everyone – even his vigilant guards who were the best in their league!