Sparrows can fly anywhere, virtually unnoticed.  That was Jepsen’s rationale.  Proud of his craftsmanship, he imagined it might even attract a living female of the species.  Not that his device would ever contemplate social interaction.  Four processors drove an artificial intelligence on par with a human genius.  Sophisticated wireless receptors combined with advanced algorithms made it the ultimate hacking machine.

The disguise allowed it access anywhere.  It could fly into secure warehouses and storage bins to scoop up minerals and chemicals in its beak.  A tiny factory in its belly operated by nano-robotics manufactured poisonous darts.  These were then loaded and launched through small tubes in its claws with computer targeted precision.

Programmed for counterespionage, the bird was released from its Virginia incubator to locate and eliminate targets.  Along the way, it gathered massive amounts of intelligence which were sent back to Langley’s database.  For eight months, foreign operatives working in North America died from unknown causes.  Eventually, the growing body of intelligence gathered by the agency’s top assassin could no longer identify additional marks and information from the bird’s encrypted feeds ceased.

After several attempts to reconnect, Jepsen concluded his masterpiece had either gone inactive or been taken out by a sparrow’s natural predator.  Turning his focus onto new projects, he paid no attention to reports of mysterious deaths ravaging organized crime families.  His interests were devoted to foreign affairs.  Domestic issues were for the FBI.

With a new idea fresh in his mind, he scheduled a presentation for his superiors.  Sitting in the upper board room on a warm, spring morning, he gave no thought to the small gray sparrow that flew in through the window.


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