The sun dipped down under the clouds into nighttime. As Keiffer went out to buy some groceries for Ava, Elena and I communed over the holotable to go over the intel she brought me. She tossed the Touch-Drive to the center of the table. A blue circle rotated around the drive, reading its data.
Nowadays, Touch-Drives are slowly replacing USBs. Their simple and fast interface was super convenient, especially with holotables. All you needed to do was place the drive on an acceptable surface to read and bring up the saved information. This meant, no more figuring out which side a USB needs to be in to enter a port.
The table projected a holographic list containing a schedule and a street map of the downtown Square. Elena waved her hands inward to zoom into the list first.
"So here's the deal. At six o'clock tomorrow, your guy is going to step onto the main podium for some final campaign speech and answer questions from the crowd afterward. From what I got, he should be out there for an hour or so. An hour and a half at most. Before then, he'll be off with some friends at lunch in his tower."
Elena moved to the map and tapped the table to make it three-dimensional, seeing all the buildings surrounding the area. "The police and a few men from his private military will be on guard at the event, no surprise. Closing off streets. Sweeping the perimeter about three blocks around the stage and audience pit. He'll have snipers on the roofs and windows of every building within a thousand feet of the vicinity."
"What about drones?" I asked
"None. They were told not to interfere too much with airspace; he'll only have camera drones above the stage to record."
"Hovercars or choppers?"
"Nope, but they'll have that area clear of cars. Any flying around will be noticed and turned around."
"Seems too easy…."
"Not really. Almost the entire area is covered by snipers or blocked off by buildings. No clear shots within a mile in…."
"Looks like long distance is the way to go," I crossed my arms to think.
"From where, though?" Elena looked around the map.
I stepped forward to zoom out and in on some high-rise apartments where there were sky bridges connecting the buildings. I forced the perspective to see it as if we were standing there looking at the stage area. And sure enough, about two miles out, the stage was in direct line with this spot.
"With what will you be killing him from that distance? The gap is small, there'll be rain and wind, and not to mention the trouble you'll find getting out of there quick enough carrying whatever you're packing discreetly."
"A Retractable Sniper," I shrugged.
"That's it? No fancy tools or gizmos you're gonna pull-... what?"
"Smart bullets," I pulled out a black .50 caliber bullet, and showing it to Elena.
"Speak English!" she pouted.
I walked over to the wall right below the railing of the second floor. I pulled a rusty lever on the brick, causing the wall to split smoothly to reveal a well-cleaned armory. LED lights illuminated from the white walls within, with racks of guns and all kinds of tools hung neatly along the surface. Prototypes and weapons in the making were gathered around an island in the center. I grabbed an oversized hefty tripod-looking item from the cornucopia of artillery.
"Keiffer made this for me months ago. I'm more of a melee weapon guy, and it never was necessary for me, so I never used it. Till now."
Holding the center metallic pole of the tripod, I shook the item once, and it transformed outward, folding itself into place. The finished shape was a four and a half feet long sniper rifle. Its weight was a heaping twenty-five pounds, which might not seem like a lot, but its center of gravity was tricky to hold with one hand. In the past, such a weapon would be heavier to fire at a long distance, but thanks to Keiffer's intuitive mind, he managed to make it compact and lighter too.
"Okay, well… that's cool, I guess. What's it called?" Elena hid her excitement not so carefully.
"Keiffer calls it the Chimera III. And with the smart bullet, I'll be able to hit my target accurately, even in impossible environments."
"How, with aim assist? Pff- cheater."
"It's not cheating if it levels the playing field. I'm not taking a test. I'm trying to shoot a bullet two miles away in the rain through a small gap between buildings at a target surrounded by an army," I set the sniper down.
"Well, you got the schedule, the map, the weapon, and your target… but what's your escape plan?" asked Elena.
Now that I thought about it, that might be the second most complicated part of this mission. If I bring the sniper, it'll already carry too much weight for me to bring my hoverboard. I don't even know if I'll be able to carry it too. Then there was the wingsuit that I had Keiffer disassemble at my request for a new idea.
Way to go, you picky dolt.
"I guess I'll have to park my motorcycle nearby. To which I'll have to get down the building quick enough."
"There are too many surfaces between the sky bridge and the ground. Plus, it's almost eight hundred feet high, so you won't be able to climb or grapple your way down fast enough."
Now I wish I had asked for that bonus from Hermes upfront. I'm gonna have to pull out all the stops for this mission. It might not take as long as my Skull assassination, but it'll be the hardest in terms of speed and physical strength it would take.
"Guess I'll have to wing it. See what's best once I get up there," I sighed.
"Keiffer just told me you scrapped his wingsuit prototype, so looks like you won't be able to 'wing' it after all." Elena snorted out a laugh bending over at her own awful pun. "Sorry about that, heh- just hope you're getting paid enough for all this."
I definitely was, but I now wondered why Hermes wanted Dygen dead. An assassin makes a habit to not question the reason for a client wanting someone dead. But I was curious nonetheless. This kill was bound to change the course of history, just as Hernes said.
There's always a politician someone wants dead. What's special about this one?
A runner-up for Supreme Leader was pretty serious. Getting to lead this country for the remainder of their life was a high goal, with a lot of power. Dygen was this world's Jobs and Bezos combined. And now he's almost the Supreme Leader.
The more I thought about it, the less questionable this kill request was. No one would want a man to be given that much power, beloved or not. I was probably doing the world a favor.
The main entrance front door creaked open with Keiffer stepping in. He was holding bags of food and clothes for Ava.
"I'm back! Please tell me, I don't need to build anything else last minute," Keiffer groaned.
"You're lucky this time, K," I teased.
As Keiffer set down the bags, Ava stirred awake, looking around with her eyes half open. "Broperies," she yawned.
"Hey you, how you doing?" I approached the sleepy guest.
"Tired. Are you leaving?"
"No, I'll be around for the night. I got some work to prep for tomorrow. First thing in the morning, Elena will be back to take you to her place to find your family. If no luck, we'll call the doctor to have a look at you just in case," I caressed Ava's head.
"Okay, will I see you then?"
"Sure, it's just… I'll be working tomorrow, and I want you with your parents if you find them."
Ava sat up with drool on her face running down her cheek. "But I'd like to say goodbye," she mumbled.
"Then I'll visit if that happens. Let's eat some supper and get you changed."
Before I stood up to bring Ava to the table, she jumped upwards, wrapping her nimble arms around my neck. She was hugging me tightly as if I were leaving for good.
"Thanks for saving me," she whispered in my ear.
I had no words or thoughts for this reaction. All I could do was reciprocate Ava's gesture and hug her back. It felt nice… and if I was being honest… I wished the moment lasted a bit longer.
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