1252 words, 1 hour.
Sif ran through the coridor, dodging the random government peons who went about their business. Despite the black-clad female runing through the corridor and the deafening claxon sounding throughout the building, the handful of low-level civil servants seemed to be taking things in stride. Some detatched part of Sif’s mind wondered if they were simply too worn down by the drudgery of their jobs to notice her, or if global security breaches were so commonplace that there just wasn’t any point in getting excited. Maybe some combination of both?
She didn’t stop to pnder, though, because of the obvious: the detachment of elite security forces chasing her throughout the complex. And as she rounded yet another corner (at a running speed clearly prohibited by workplace policy), she found a reason to not ponder the security forces behind her.
That reason was the completely unexpected squad of elite security forces directly in front of her. As it turned out, this new group of soldiers wasn’t expecting her to run into them either. They were in formation, but it was clear they were there to serve as a checkpoint, assessing staff that passed, rather than as a track-and-engage squad. So, rather fortunately for Sif, their weapons weren’t drawn.
And in the split second it took for them to register Sif as a threat, specifically the threat the alarms were clanging for, and then begin to react, Sif had already reacted. She had slammed her foot down and thrown back her torso, twisting around at the same time. Her traaining, more than her experience, also had her unclip a grenade with the hand that wasnt being used as a counterbalance.
Which was also fortunate for her, because as she turned back around the corner she had just come from, she was met by the first contingent of troops. This was definitely not the way this mission was supposed to have gone.
Throwing herself to the ground using the momentum from her turn to drop onto her shoulder in a roll, Sif removed the pin from the grenade and threw it towards the side of the corridor: not towards the guards, because their high-tech body armor would easily absorb the blast, but rather towards the window. The low-tech safety window would stop casual attempts at shattering, and even some fairly high-caliber ammuntion. But it wouldn’t withstand a high-energy grenade.
Sif forced herself to lay on the ground for a full two seconds. Shw knew the other set of guards would run after her, which they did. She hoped that one or the other set of security forces would instinctively register their opposite as a threat associated with Sif and start firing at each other. Which they also did. She prayed that either they would recognize the other group and disengage from friendly fire, or that they would slaughter each other and save Sif a lot of trouble. The guard’s training was first-rate, and rather than kill each other, they disengaged. Sif watched them raise their weapons slightly as they stopped shooting, but they only hesitated a brief moment before both groups aimed their weapons at Sif.
Then the grenade exploded.
Which Sif had expected, but that the security forces hadn’t. Sif sprang up, praying for the second time that day. This time she prayed that the guards would be distracted just long enough for her to make the newly formed hole in the wall.
The guards were not quite distracted that long; these were the well-trained group. But recovering quickly and aiming quickly are not the same thing. Only three of thr rounds hit Sif before she jumped into oblivion. She took one round in her left thigh and two in her right shoulder.
As she plunged into the open seventy five stories above ground, a lorry driver with remarkable reaction timing for a civilian swerved up just enough to avoid hitting her. He managed to perform this feat while simultaneously sounding his horn and beginning a stream of epithets aimed at Sif.
Sif ignored the lorry, ignored the bitter cold, and ignored the ground coming at her exceedingly fast. Instead of focusing on these things, Sif focused on a special comm-link. that brought her own vehicle towards her at remarkable speed and triggered a pre-programmed path for after what she hoped would be an interception.
While gravity accelerated herever closer towards terminal velovity, the car raised rapidly towards her — and this was no small feat, rapid vertical acceleration while the vehicle remained more-or-less horizontal was a non-trivial engineering accomplishment.
The effect of this was that she impacted the roof of the car at very near the same rate as she would have hit the ground.
Just befor the impact, Sif had three thoughts. First, that this was going to hurt very much. Second, that when her car’s path took her to the less-than-legitimate medical facilities she frequented, the bill was going to hurt more, but that the money wouldn’t matter very soon. And third, that this was not the way the mission should have gone.
Two days later, when she woke in a less than sanitary med bay fully healed, she idly wondered if one of her contacts she had used to set up the operation had betrayed her.
One week and one day later, Sif casually strode down a winding path in a nature preserve not quite in the center of the city. Sif had always loved nature, rare though it was. Which was why she had chosen the “park” as the mmeeting point. She sat down on a bench in a secluded part of the path. Her contact, a representative of the Chatari, materialized next to her a moment later. The effect was still creepy to Sif.
“We monitored your little escapade,” the vaguely insect-looking agent said, “we weren’t sure you would be able to meet us today. Long fall from window. Many bones to break, and no exoskeleton like Chitari.” He laughed, an unrecognizable series of noiseless convulsions running through his carapice. “But now to business. You have package?”
Sif glared at him.
“Yeah,” she said after a moment, “I have it.” She extended her arm, and torned over her fist, opening up her palm to reveal a tiny data chip.
The Chitarian quickly snatched it from her.
“So,” he said, with an expression that was almost a smile. “You betray your race, and for price of contract, you get to live and Chitari give you interstellar craft.”
“Yeah,” Sif said again. Another glare at him. “That was the deal. You get Earth’s security codes & protocols so you can wipe out the species with your little war. I get to avoid shuffling off the mortal coil.” The Chitari’s translation matrix had trouble with the last part. Idioms were always tough.
“No.” Said the creature. “We change deal. We have data, no need to keep you. Maybe you betray us and humans change defense codes? No take chance.”
A pistol had materialized in his pincer-like hand.
As Sif lay on the ground dying, though she couldn’t feel the wound from the blast, her last thought was of her final betrayal. She’d had a friend alter the codes on the chip. In the end, she just couldnt do it. The Chitari fleet would be flying into a fully-defended solar system. They would still be a match for the humans, and would decimate both the Sol Defense Forces and the human population, but at least the humans had a fighting chance now.