"Little Bird" by Corry Vrecken

Fiction Home - More by Corry Vrecken - More in Miscellaneous - More Spring Challenge 2009 entries

Coruscant, 180 years before present day

"Control to Feringa. Be advised, you have less than eight minutes remaining."

Corry chuckled at the rather nervous voice which issued from her earpiece, the only human sound in the silent, darkened room. Behind her, the liquid glint of floor to ceiling transparisteel windows gave a spectacular view of Coruscant at night, a million points of light shining and moving in the darkness, but they too were soundless. The wealthy could cut themselves off from any distractions, and often did.

Corry used her foot to slide an expensive executive armchair further to one side and resumed her work. 'Control' was a nice enough guy, but he tended to get worked up during the last stage of a retrieval. This time was no exception, and his insistence on giving her a code name which was the name of a small flightless bird - that amused her to no end.

"Copy Control," she said primly, keeping all traces of laughter from her voice. She wouldn't hurt Control's feelings for the world. "But I think you're worried about nothing. I saw Ilexa buy tickets for the Joruvean Opera this morning, and I saw a new dress in her closet."

Corry grimaced into the darkness as she spoke. She had been kneeling in front of the data safe for long enough that her knees were beginning to hurt and she was longing to stand and stretch. "Those things go on for hours. She'll keep High-Muckity-Muck-Admiral Fel busy until..."

"The mission parameters state extraction at a quarter past the stroke, Feringa. You know that." Control cut her off with finality.

She couldn't argue with that. The mission parameters always took precedence. Carefully, she slipped the electroprobe past two more junctions and let out the breath that she hadn't known she'd been holding. "Almost there, Control."

Two more locks released. It wouldn't be long now. As soon as she made it past the next security wall, the Admiral's data safe would be wide open, ready for her to download every bit of information on the new hyperdrive that his squadron had been testing in supposed secret. A secret that certain parties would pay well to hear about. Very well indeed.

"Feringa! Did you just do that?"

"Sorry Control, I don't follow."

Control's voice dropped low as if he were suddenly whispering into his comm pickup. The fact that he was a half a kilometer away in the night, sitting safely in the darkened skyscraper across the street, didn't make him sound any less scared. She glanced out the floor-to-ceiling, blue tinted transparisteel windows of the office that she crouched in and tried to locate his tiny green spotter light in the maze of lightless windows in his building.

"Say again, Control. Do what?"

"The lights just came on three floors below you, Feringa. There's someone there."

Corry froze, then turned back to her work. "I'm almost done, Control. Just because someone is working late..."

"I don't think so. I think they're coming for you."

Corry looked out the window again, and this time the spotter light was easy to see. It was painting a dot of green light right over her heart.

"Stop that, Control. I'll be done in no time and we'll be away with no one the wiser."

She purposefully turned to her work, to reassure Control. But her hands moved more quickly than she knew was prudent. Control's voice had her spooked, and she knew that his spotter light was bright on the curve of her back.

Bypassing the security wall in record time, she inserted the datapump and started extracting information.

"They're one floor below you now, Feringa! Leave now, or I'll have no choice."

"Control!" She switched tactics and dropped the impersonal code names. "Bermaj, it's me, Corry. Remember? Just maintain your stance. I'm extracting now."

"Feringa, I'm sorry, I have to do it." Control's voice was almost a sob now.

"Bermaj!" she gritted out. "Just hold on. I'm shutting down now." She hadn't gotten a fraction of the data yet, but that no longer seemed to be an option. The light went on in the next room and the brilliance spilled across the floor toward where she crouched in front of the data safe.

"Forgive me, Feringa."

The door to the office burst open at the same moment that the laser cut through the tinted wall of windows and seared a fist sized hole in her back.