Amylia sighed out of boredom. Her netscan visor projected thousands of glowing green data bytes every second like raindrops on her skin. She hid in a corner of the corporate network and watched it all stream by, one useless message after another.

Even though it was the most boring part of her gig, trawling information from internal comms often provided Amylia with enough data to tease out trade secrets. Then she’d sell those secrets to the highest bidder. The payoff was worth it. Most days anyways. 

Amylia rolled her eyes at the current messages.

“Close chat”

“No u close chat first ;)”

But then something interesting bobbed up and down in the netstream. Amylia hopped down the file path like stepping stones in a river and peered in.

“cipher cracked not safe”

“confirmed dumping data”

How did they find her? All of a sudden, the data flow surged, rushing past her and careening down a digital vortex. She needed to boot out before the connections were severed leaving her consciousness trapped inside. 

She wasn’t going empty-handed, though. Underneath a layer of financial data, there was a heavily-encrypted cache titled something clever. This was her payload, no doubt about it. 

Amylia tore through the safeguards until the core data was exposed. It contained a project, a big one. She skimmed over the data and gasped. It was so diabolical. More than the usual hostile corporate takeover, it was a plan to dismantle an entire country’s assets. She was so enthralled that she didn’t hear the alarms sounding. The network had closed. And she was trapped inside.

She clutched the data in her hands and sat in dismay when she heard a peculiar voice.

“First time? Don’t worry, there’s still a way out. I’ll tell you where if you give me that data.”

 🔬📖 Microfiction entry for 12.14.2020
 🖼 Art by SimonWeaner on DeviantArt