A car drives by on a road somewhere in a mountain dessert within Africa. Spectators watch from various viewing points in cliffs far above, cameras blazing at the celebrity within. Escorts of cars surround the car on all sides, portraying the significance of the figure within. One lone man on top of one ledge, however, does not care who he is. He is there for one purpose and one purpose alone.
Within his hand, he holds what appears to be a modern camera, though it has a more sinister purpose. This camera does function to capture the image of the figure, but it is not for tourism, a memento, or for a massive profit on the internet. No, this camera is to help him prepare—in this particular ledge, the car passes his view twice, and that was the first time.
His ‘camera’ has two eyeholes on one side, one on the other. On the side with two, he peers through. The ‘camera’ is capable of zooming in a great distance, capturing the face of the figure. One push of the first button—the one on the left—records every second passing by, while every push of the second button—on the right side—takes another picture. When the figure’s car goes out of sight, he smiles.
“Three minutes until the next pass by,” he mutters to himself. In that time, he presses another button and from the lens, a holographic image of the recording plays by. From this, he judges the speed of the car. Then he goes through the pictures. He calculates accuracy from this. Smiling, he prepares himself.
Once again, he views through his ‘camera’, but this time, his finger is in a different spot. On the underside of the camera, there lies a trigger. Two minutes had passed in his calculations, and almost the rest of the time had been spent preparing for the moment. His heart races, the thumps showing his excitement. The smell of victory, not dry, dusty, warm rocks is what he smells. He can’t hear the sound of the wind rushing by him or the shouts of cheer from the spectators. All he can hear is the car driving in the distance, hearing it when he should not.
And then, the car makes its appearance. Aiming, he fires his weapon. A brilliant flash is projected towards another area, masking where the true shot was fired from. For all the guards knew, the assassin was on a ridge on the opposite side of the road. The shot hat hit dead on target, and now there is barely anything left of the target’s head to view. A total success. He views his victory from his eyeholes, then flipping it to the other side and viewing it through his right eye. He holds his unique weapon in the middle, between both sides of it. A gleeful grin shows up on his face, knowing that the guards have no idea that he is responsible.
He opens a pouch contained on the left side of his belt, and then pockets his weapon into it. Closing the pouch, he runs down the path towards the now dead-stopped car of the victim, showing the same concern as the spectators around him.
This was a total success on my part. The target was eliminated. Now, it is time to collect my pay…once these guards tell everyone to leave.
When the bodyguards who have lost their employer force spectators away from the site to try and make sense of things, he smiles and walks away…
Another Day, another Target; things never play the same way twice
“So, C, I see you eliminated the target.”
Over a view screen, the assassin from before nods, confirming his codename. “I did. Now you know the rule of the assassins and hitmen; 50% before and 50% after. Transfer it to my account as usual. What’s my next target?”
“I know how you dislike being in the same place twice—much easier to get caught—but our next target is of vital importance. So much so that we’re going to pay you a bonus to get it done at that same spot. We need this target dead, C, so we’re counting on you. Your pay will be 750,000 now. After the job is finished, I’ll pay you 1,250,000 US dollars.”
“That much? You really are desperate to kill this target, aren’t you? Oh, well. It’ll be done, CL.”
“Nice to know, C. I probably won’t need any more hits after this, so this should earn you an early retirement. I hope you enjoy!”
The two both laugh at this, but the one identified by the codename of CL is laughing for a more sinister reason. If ‘C’ only knew what CL meant by ‘retirement’, he would never take the job. But the temptation of that much is too much to resist, and having already accepted, there is no backing down. His code of honor—the code that all like him are raised and live by—means that he cannot refuse now. There can be no failure. It has to be he who kills this target, or else he gets nothing.
A week later, he takes up a slightly different position. The place is identical to before, except there are no spectators around. All of them are not interested in this target; he is—to them—a nobody. C’s mission is to kill him, but the circumstances concern him. That much money involved probably means tight security. Tight security could mean that there are elite guards amidst his target. Elite guards mean the kill is much harder. In addition to that, he is worried. They are expecting an attack. They know of his actions the other day, and if there are elites amongst the target’s guards, then they probably know how he did it last time.
His heart is racing long before the convoy arrives. Sweat is pouring down his body, irritating every last fiber of his skin. The sweat does not come from the heat of the grueling sun; his tan skin color in addition to some sun shielding mean he is plenty cool enough. This sweat is from anxiety; he knows this will be perhaps his hardest kill yet. He forces his breathing down; he knows that he could give himself away otherwise. He is camouflaged, but still could be picked out. He can feel his breath on his arms, the heat from them combining with the sweat already there to create a near-unbearable itch. The dust beats against his body, scrapping at all exposed areas of flesh. Some gets in his nose; he can’t smell a thing. To him, this is a blessing and a curse. While the stench of his own sweat is gone, he can’t smell the wind, his upcoming target, or himself, to give an idea of what the guards can sense. The wind continues to beat at him, providing a refreshingly cool contrast to the dust, the sun, and his breath.
He hears the roar of the wind, but pushes it aside when he hears the roars of approaching engines. They are coming.
The first pass. He avoids taking pictures, relying on his video. He plays it, taking note of the guards. None he perceives to be a threat, so he analyzes the data and prepares to strike. Two and a half minutes had passed in his viewing; he needs only wait a few seconds more.
However, from the convoy, there is one who has avoided his detection. A man in the same truck as the assassin’s next target has been observing the surroundings and knows someone is out there, ready to kill. He alerts his employer to stop the car, stopping just before the assassin is ready to shoot. The guard unveils his right hand, revealing it to be mechanical. A large claw is visible in the assassin’s eye and he knows he has miscalculated the guard’s strength.
Just above the actual claw, the guard’s mechanical arm has a large box; he aims the box directly at C, shooting a cable. C is stunned; even an elite assassin would have trouble locating him this quickly. The thought hits him that the guard must have seen him earlier, preparing as if he noticed nothing. The cable hits and with surprising force, C is dragged from his position off of the cliff and is hurled to just in front of the guard. He immediately recovers, holding his camera-weapon from the handle between the two sides. He points the side with two openings at his intended target, pulls the trigger—now facing the other way—and fires, a burst of plasma discharging from the eyeholes turned barrels. The guard catches the shots in his claw, crushing the blast into nothingness. C is annoyed at this, but simply presses another button. Two large beams from the barrels form into long whip-like swords, aiming for the two closest guards. From the whole rectangular casing containing the two barrels, a much large sword forms and aims for the mechanical-handed guard.
He holds the weapon in two hands, ferociously slashing at all three targets. The two guards fight valiantly, but are eventually slain. However, the first guard is fighting strong; every blow to C’s sword seems to shrink the blade a little. For the moment, he is not concerned; his blade was unwieldy if it had been made of anything but energy before; its slowly shrinking size is not a problem. He retracts the two smaller blades and pours their energy into the large one, making it much thicker and deadlier. Still the mechanical-armed guard fights back, his hand catching the sword and the sword in his left hand countering.
C then changes strategies; he takes one hand off of his weapon and pulls out a pistol on his belt. He plugs it into the back side of his weapon, connecting it to the green cord sticking out a few inches from the ‘lens’ of the original camera. He smiles and then proceeds to fire off a dozen shots from his plasma pistol, all connecting to the guard’s hand. Still, he remains unaffected, though C can tell he is somewhat wearing down the guard. However, the guard strikes back; he aims the box, but instead of a cable shooting out, a dozen plasma min-bullets shoot out in a couple milliseconds. C twirls his weapon in a circle, managing to block them all. When he looks to see the guard, he finds the guard delivering a punch to C’s gut, though C manages to dodge the brunt of the blow.
C gets a little frustrated, changing his strategy again and flipping his weapon—the energy sword retracts inside of the weapon and then reappears through the lens of the ‘camera’. This new cylindrical blade instantly shoots a dozen feet, making it long enough to cut through the rock cliff nearby. C and the guard continue exchanging blows, both showing signs of tiring. He has a rather dirty weapon—his claw is slowly disrupting my plasma. It’s a powerful technique that can only be overcome with a powerful plasma discharge. I am fortunate that the technique has its limits as well—he can catch the plasma, but can do nothing about it. Eventually, his defense will crumble. C then decides to comment, “You’re pretty good. Who exactly are you?”
A few blows later, the guard responds, “A former hitman. I turned bodyguard not to long ago—the one-time pay was more than any job I had ever done and the weekly pay is something I couldn’t miss out on. If you’re referring to my name, you know the rule: we don’t openly reveal our names. However, my codename back in the day was M.”
“I see. So you’re basically retired from your true art, and as a former hitman, you are the best at discerning assassins’ movements. You really are a true mercenary; it’s a shame I’ll have to kill you to achieve my goal.”
“I could say the same thing about you. Taking a job like this means you must have a great bounty rewarded, and I know you can’t stop until you kill my client…which means I’ll have to kill you. You’d never be able to pay the debt for failing your mission, would you? Would you be kind enough to tell me your codename?”
“They call me C. You are correct—I cannot pay such a large sum of money.”
The two slash at each other, M managing to scratch C’s left hand and C managing to burn M’s right leg.
“You should know that your target is one of the richest men in the world—he hired me for millions.”
“Now I’ve got your attention. Yea, millions. If you kill him, that money goes to waste.”
“Unfortunately, I don’t have a choice. I’m also being paid millions for my job. My client is quite rich as well.”
“Too bad. Nice knowing you for thirty seconds, C.”
“Same to you—once I kill my target, I’ll look into another career. But in the mean time—”
He pauses mid-sentence, about to strike. But then, a sudden glow from the opposite side of the mountain and the feel of a powerful plasma presence could mean only one thing—another assassin.
The two glare at each other and both run towards the approaching threat. The new assassin from a distance begins shooting from what appears to be a machine gun, powerful blasts being discharged every few seconds. Both of them combined barely manage to block these attacks, both of them feeling the effect. “Say, assassin, why don’t we temporarily work together? You don’t get paid if you’re not the one who kills the target; you will have to return the pre-payment as well. You want him alive, at least for now, to kill him later. And I want him alive because he’s giving me my income. We have the same goal for now and we both felt the power behind those shots—neither of us would be able to defeat him alone.”
“For the moment, I agree, M.”
The two smile at each other, then proceed to charge at their new foe. He quickly switches strategies, gripping the barrel of his gun. The butt of his gun reveals a sharp blade, while the handle that he had been gripping before holds a wicked point. It is obvious this weapon is some sort of axe; a single blow would be lethal. The two charge off as allies, clashing with a foe of incredible power…