Her captor glowered and slapped her hard across the face. “Don’t you fuckin’ use that name you ungrateful shit.”
Corra recovered from the blow quickly, shaking off the blood from her mouth and looking up at him. “I’m sorry. I’ll tell you,” she said, her voice dropping to barely above a whisper. “I hid it. I hid it in–” She mumbled something unintelligible and his face twisted in annoyance.
“Louder, kroppie, where is it?” he growled, but leaned in anyway.
“I hid it–” she mumbled again and this time he leaned closer. Just enough.
“ — Up your ass,” she finished shortly and, before he could react, she rocked back and forward again, slamming her head into his.
The man reeled backwards, clutching his head as Corra shifted forward, landing her feet square on the ground and lifting the chair she was still attached to behind her back. As the other man’s shock wore off and he came at her, she spun around and swung the legs of the chair right into his torso. He flew into the wall with a thud as she spun again, knocking the first man off his feet.
“Thanks, I got all I need,” she told them cheerfully before jumping as high as she could manage and letting herself (and her chair) fall on top of the one below her. The wood splintered and snapped apart on impact and she easily slipped out of the wreckage. The knife the man had been using glittered enticingly on the ground and she used it to slice away the ropes they had binding her while her captors groaned in pain, immobile for the time being.
Her bones protested as she headed for the door before that changed and her body felt the beginning stages of bruising, but there was no time to worry about her aches and pains. She had to get back to her ship and fast.
An agent of the Conduit had lent Corra the Spirit a few years ago for a single mission to a nearby planet. The ship was just big enough to carry her and just small enough to be hidden easily. Her dull grey exterior which blended in to practically any environment certainly helped. She’d often suspected the agent had wanted the Spirit back, but Corra had fallen in love with the tiny vessel the moment she first laid her hands on its controls. And conveniently, she had just happened to never run into that particular agent again…
Currently, she was parked amongst a heap of retired service shuttles in the city’s ancillary shipyard. No one noticed the small woman as Corra silently vaulted over the fence and made her way across the yard, finding easy cover amongst its residents.
She couldn’t get aboard the Spirit soon enough. She needed ice for her bruises, bandages for her cuts and more than anything, she needed to find that–that thing.
When she stumbled aboard into the small brightly-lit chamber of the ship, however, after the long run across the entire city, her first desire was to collapse on the cold metal ground in relief. She was safe, she’d made it, everything would be okay. But she forced herself onward to the storage area where she began digging through the cabinets.
When she’d taken care of Callahan and his men a few weeks ago, she had an urge to take something with her after the fact. She’d felt she deserved it, after all he’d done. After the hunt he’d lead her on. The ear was satisfying, she thought, as she found the jar she’d stored it in and pushed it aside. A little grim, but satisfying. Though not satisfying enough. There had been something else in that room that had caught her attention.
It had sat on his desk, glimmering at her enticingly. A deep red cylinder encased in some kind of golden cage, no bigger than her fist. It looked old. Perhaps even ancient. And honestly, it was just shiny. She’d figured she could sell the thing somewhere along the road when her credits ran dry.
But after tonight, she was convinced the thing was more than just the trinket she’d taken it for. Those men had certainly reacted when she’d said Callahan’s name, he definitely fit their description and this, she thought as she wrapped her fingers around the object and pulled it out of the cabinet into the light, was the only thing she’d taken from him.
The Transmission? She turned it over in her hand. What did that even mean?
Taking the object with her, she returned to the front of the ship and fell heavily into the pilot’s seat. Surely someone knew about this. Surely there was a trail here she could follow. A path to figure out what, exactly, she’d been storing on her ship unknowingly.
She tapped a command into her console and looked up at the screen that projected before her. Admittedly, it wasn’t the greatest search term. She scrolled through the results, finding nothing of interest before trying something else.
Well, those men had known what it was.
And sure enough, it didn’t take long to find the bounty on her. Corra whistled at the price. Whoever wanted this thing wanted it bad. But any mention of the ‘object’ that needed ‘retrieval’ was vague and unhelpful. She didn’t want to risk reaching out herself to find out more, but maybe someone else could. Maybe someone amongst her network could uncover more information. Maybe someone already knew, maybe–
And suddenly, a face came to her. A face surrounded by smoke and fire and ship debris, looking up at her with desperation, fear, concern.
At once, it made sense. That was why he’d been there. He knew about the bounty. He’d come to the ship preview to warn her. And that meant…
She lifted the mysterious red tube to her eyes. He might know something about the Transmission too.
It was settled then. She wouldn’t be able to go back to Lars’ estate anyway, not like this. A beat-up ally would raise far too many questions. She’d put in a call to Raisa and have them expedite a rescue without her. It’d be more challenging and a lot more expensive, but she had faith that the work she’d done there and the information she’d gathered would lead it to be successful and her latest family would be free before the night ended.
So instead, she hit the switch to fire up the Spirit’s practically silent engines and tapped a few keys to make a call. “Hey,” she greeted when the line connected, “Sorry for the late hour, but I need to find someone.”