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Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Birdhouse

It's been awhile, but I've finally done a bit more work on Amy. In case you've forgotten where we left off, the rest of this story can be found here.


Amy hesitated, and then said, “I haven’t decided yet.”

“Annieka — ” Brenner stopped and faced his daughter. “Annieka, allow me to observe something that seems, to me, patently obvious.” He tucked his hands into his wide sleeves and looked down at her. “You do not have a plan. Moreover, even if you did have a plan, you do not have the followers you would need to execute it. I recognise I raised both you and Cam to be independent, but I believe I also raised you to formulate a strategy and have methods of adapting as the situation changed.”

“Still lecturing after all these years, Dad?” Amy asked, her voice flat, as they stepped out of the military compound and back into the echoing halls of the Parliament building. “I suppose I shouldn’t be surprise. We never were good enough for you.”

Brenner let out a small huff of air. “That is your interpretation of the matter, Annieka, not mine. When did you become so narrow-minded?”

“When did your mind become so broad?” Amy retorted.

“If you wish to leave C-Prime,” Brenner said, “I would suggest that the most favourable option at the moment is to acquisition a short-range hunter and swap it for another bird once you’re out of the system. If you change idents at the same time you’ll drop off the Commission’s radar again.” He paused. “I assume you have multiple idents for the purpose.”

Amy gave him a brittle smile. “I am my father’s daughter.”

“Indeed.” He gestured to the left. “This way. We will need to take a transport to the Birdhouse.”

“This isn’t my first time on C-Prime, Dad.”

“No. Of course not.” He stepped back. “After you, then.”

The Birdhouse, C-Prime’s primary housing facility for military ships and groundcraft, was located approximately twenty kilometres from Parliament, on the grounds of the massive Stanton Air Base. The Parliamentary transport dropped them at SAB’s main gate; blank-faced guards with Longnor Mark V sidearms (biometrically locked, computer-directed targeting system, 98% accurate) checked their idents, took their fingerprints and eyescans, and waved them through onto a military transport. Fifteen minutes later, Amy followed her father off the transport onto the tarmac outside the Birdhouse, where they were greeted by a diminutive woman with red hair.

“Lieutenant Perry Slater, Secretary,” she said, saluting. She didn’t even come up to Brenner’s shoulder. “I understand you’re interested in a bird. Captain Newton sent me to look after you, sir.”

Brenner returned the salute. “My daughter, Ensign Annieka Brenner.”

Slater saluted again. “It’s an honour to meet you, ma’am. If you don’t mind my saying, sir, your father’s that proud of you. He says you’re a natural flyer.”

Amy frowned. “I think you must be mistaken. I’m sure my father doesn’t talk about me.”

The lieutenant grinned. “All the time, ma’am. Why, he’s said if you were to take to the air with the best of the flyboys you’d wipe the sky with them.”

“Thank you, Slater, that will do,” Brenner said mildly. “Before you thoroughly embarrass both of us.”

“Begging your pardon, Secretary,” Slater said. She turned towards the doors of the nearest hangar and said over her shoulder, “If you’ll both just come this way, we can have a look at the birds we’ve got dirtside at the moment and see what might suit your needs.”


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