Chapter 11:

Shields Are Back In

Assassin's Hunter

The morning came with Ava leaving with Elena to run her through the database to get all her family's names and whereabouts. Based on what Elena told me, she acquired an illegal Grid entry system to go through the city's network. I assumed she had devices to read fingerprints or take eye scans to search for a person's ID.

I left Keiffer in the shop who was still going through the cryptic documents from Ava's hidden vanilla folder. If her dad gave them to her in a hurry, surely they must be important with enough clues to tell us what they contain. Keiffer wrote down what he could decipher on a whiteboard, which looked like a bunch of scribbles a toddler drew.

I phoned my personal doctor to meet with Ava the following day, in the scenario she doesn't find her family by then. I was oddly conflicted about the next few hours. I'd sure miss Ava if she left, but I obviously wanted her home safely with her parents.

Why have I grown this attached to her, though? It might've been my sympathetic side wanting to help a lost child with no parents to cling to. That's something I was all too familiar with. Alone with no family, left to the harsh electric tide that was Ultima.

The hour was close at hand. The neon ads and lights activated, bringing light to the dark gray city. The time read five fifty-four. In just a few minutes, I was going to kill this world's would-be most powerful man.

I set up camp above the sky bridge with my rifle aimed down at the stage area. The surface I was laying on was solid, so no wandering stranger would take notice. The darkness was setting in thankfully, to mask my presence. Luckily, the apartments around me were closed off, vacant, or had tenants keeping their windows shut for privacy.

Minding that I'll be using my naked eye to look down the sniper, I had left my helmet, down with my motorbike. Plus, the odds of someone of importance seeing my face were slim up here.

Two miles away. I looked down into my scope and found an empty podium with Ultima City's insignia etched into the wood of the stand. There were cameras and new teams crowded around the front. I held my breath to practice the control I needed to make the shot.

Water fell continuously from the heavens, providing an irritating amount of interference. I loved the rain, but this was the one moment I needed it to stop. Any slight miscalculation and I'll miss my shot. As much distaste I had for rifles, I appreciated their design and tactical properties. The one I currently held in my hands was uber-special.

The PGM Chimera III fired vicious .50 caliber rounds. It was capable of tearing through military structures and vehicles, classifying it as an anti-material sniper rifle. Over time, most rifles sharing this category amped up their average distance range; even then, its maximum range was farther than what I was shooting from now. So this little puppy was more than capable of hitting a person a little ways away.

This rifle was specially outfitted to fold and carry 'easily' for light transport, holding another trick up its sleeve. The smart bullet. Works like a laser-guided system but on a miniature level. I lock onto the target, set the bullet line to track, and fire when ready. I was already well versed with such weapons before, so I didn't feel bad using an aim assist for this job.

Simply put, I really didn't want to take any chances with this kill. The bullet could still miss with enough force and movement, so it wasn't guaranteed. I needed this to go down perfectly to the last moment.

The obstructions in my line of sight limited my options to move. About an inch of room was given to see the target from my scope. I delicately adjusted the reticle on my scope, centering the crosshairs on the podium.

Once done prepping the basics, I waited and tuned into my earpiece to listen to the crowd. Before moving to my perch, I placed a listening device to hear the commotion down at the Square a few hours earlier. Patriotic music played over a speaker, and people clapped faster and harder. The man of the hour was here. A microphoned voice spoke to the audience.

"Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome your future leader, Mr. Jacob Dygen!"

Through my scope, I saw Dygen walk across the stage dead in the center. No pun intended. He wore a black suit, a white shirt, and a skinny blue tie. His short light brown hair was parted to the right and showed no sign of wrinkles or gray. Dygen was in his late forties but showed no sign of aging. He might've had his genes altered to amend those beforehand if that was his style. The thought creeped me out.

"Thank you all. I'm so blessed to be among the best of the best tonight. The people of Ultima City!" Dygen worked up the crowd.

He continued with his speech as I made my final preparations. My hand slowly turned the range-turret knob to my exact distance. Next, I clicked the elevation knob, adjusting it just above my target. Finally was calibrating the windage knob to the direction my shot needed to move in.

Breathing steadily, my right index finger traced from the trigger guard to the trigger itself. Cold sweat was coming off my hands gradually from the anxiety. Now for the cover. Lightning from the clouds had been flashing lightly and slowly, building its way towards the roaring sound.

"-and you can too. It's not a promise; it's a fact. Because if you vote for me, you'll be choosing a brighter future. Say it with me: A Better Future In Your Hands!" Dygen raised his hands in the air as the crowd grew wild like some conductor above a sea of fans.

Light flashed brightly, making the dark afternoon bright for a second. This was it. My nerves were firing as I inhaled deeply to hold my breath. The second I heard the cue, my finger pulled inward against the cold metal.



Flames shot out the muzzle creating a puff of red hot light around my face. Thunder cracked the sky, and my weapon fired off, following the echo, creating a terrifying sound of its own. My bullet aimed directly at Dygen's head and sped its way through the air powering through the rain and wind. It fought the obstacles correcting its path down the bullet line. The second crack of the shot echoed immediately after firing the bullet. Now, for impact...


Silence. I stared down my scope to see a horrific sight. I had aimed and fired the rifle perfectly at Dygen without mistakes. It was a beautifully guaranteed hit. In fact, it did hit its target, but that wasn't what went wrong. Instead, what I saw was something I never expected. The bullet was hovering an inch in front of its target, shaking violently.

Dygen's visage blurred as the bullet tried to push forward. A white shimmer of light surrounded his body, causing his appearance to seem ghostly. For a second, I mistook him for a hologram, but his body returned to normal, appearing whole again. The large .50 caliber bullet fell to the ground dully. He was still standing. And he was real because I could see the rain hit his face as it did mine.

The bullet I had fired hit some kind of invisible barrier between him and- ... a shield. He lifted his head up at the direction the shot came from… right at me. My body was frozen in shock, with chills creeping upon my skin.

I missed.

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