Intermission One – Aye Mak Sicur



Call me Yehudi; it’s the name i’ve chosen for myself, much to the chagrin of my parents probably, if they even knew that I was still alive. INTERPOL stopped putting my face up on the news months back, and if it wasn’t for the constant attempts on my life i’d believe they’d forgotten about me.

I held briefcase bag on my lap, as if trying to stop it from escaping. As some of my luggage usually disappeared whenever I set it down due to my forgetfulness, I made sure to keep a tight grip on the case.

The Catalan countryside flashed by outside in a long blur as the train bounced down its tracks, the wind whipping hard enough against the windows that a low whirr was heard throughout the entire cabin. I shifted in my seat, before deciding for the first time on my trip to take my eyes off of my briefcase, instead gazing outside at the valleys and hills the train passed. It felt good to be home again, if only for business. I stuck a gloved thumb into the corner of my mouth and gnawed on it for a moment, letting my thoughts wander and my worries disappear for a moment.

But as quickly as they left me, they returned with friends. I heard someone shuffling behind me in the aisle between the seats, a familiar clopping gait that i’ve learned to identify from distance; her.

I turned and glared at her as she approached my seat, gaudy purse in hand, head scarf hastily thrown on and sunglasses held on solely by the scarf itself in an attempt to conceal herself. She stopped by the seat, putting her free hand on her hip. “This seat taken?” She asked, pretending to not know me, but I knew that underneath those glasses she was glancing around the cabin.

“No.” I replied, shifting again. “It’s not.” She sat down in the empty seat next to me, sighing before zipping open her purse and rummaging around inside. “Why are you following me?”

“There’s been a change of plans. You’re going to be ambushed at the train station.”

“By who?”

“You know who.”

I leaned back in my chair. “Wonderful. I trust your presence isn’t just to mock me at my possible upcoming death?”

“No, i’m here to tell you that i’ve secured a way out of the train and a means of transportation in Barcelona. And also to see you again.” She took off her glasses, flashing her emerald-green eyes at me. “You seem well.”

“Still healing after that dislocated shoulder but definitely alive, yes.” I rotated my arm, grimacing a little as the aching socket sobbed in pain.

“Good, as I fear you’re going to have to run as soon as everyone else leaves the train, me included. In the train car behind us, the left window in the middle will be unlocked; knock it open and jump out. Run through the trainyard until you get to the fence, there will be a hole cut in it somewhere, go through it. You’ll end up in a construction yard, on the other side of which is a busy highway. Cross it into the first alleyway you see, and there will be your car. That easy enough to remember?”

“I hope so. You know how my memory is.”

“I do, so just in case,” She pulled out a sticky note from inside her purse, handing it to him, “I wrote them down. Don’t die please.”

“Not planning on it. Thanks for the heads up, Johannes.”

“Just get out in one piece.”

She zipped her purse closed and stood up, glancing around the cabin before walking off. Oberstleutnant Johannes Aranka Rulo, a prime example of GSS interference in… personal matters. She was just another chess piece, except I knew that she herself was also playing the game.

And I was just a poor sucker who got stuck in the middle due to being at the right place at the wrong time. Lucky me.

In the distance I saw Barcelona appear, first just a few speckling towers, then clusters of buildings began to manifest around those skyscrapers. I adjusted my glasses and emulated Johannes’ sigh, reaching down to open my briefca- where the hell did it go. It was right here, in my hands. I looked at the seat Johannes sat in, then down the side of our seats. I found it when I looked underneath my seat, and a memory of me sliding it under my seat before sighing slapped itself into my mind. Good ol’ memory loss issues. Barcelona was close.


By the time the train stopped I was ready for my personal evacuation, dawdling in my seat until everyone else was off the train. As I rose from my seat, pushing up my sinking spectacles with a pinky, I noticed something bright blue moving outside the train, not looking directly at them as to not draw attention, but I knew that shade anywhere. I crept out from my seat and down the aisle, but instead of leaving through the side door graciously held open for me by a tired-looking conductor, I dashed into the connecting hallway, ripped the door open, and sprinted through to the middle of the train car. I noticed the window Johannes had left unlocked for me instantly as it was slightly ajar, something that shouldn’t be even possible on a high speed train but alas i’m not here to complain about lax safety standards.

The window lazily swung open as I kicked its lower half, and I ungracefully fell out onto the gravel, turning my head just as I hit the ground as to not scratch up or destroy ANOTHER pair of spectacles; this was the third pair i’d gotten this month alone, and I don’t keep spares. Probably should. Anyways, I scrambled to my feet, immediately spotting a tall fence at the end of the trainyard underneath the trains. I hopped through the middle of two train cars and was about to hop through another when I saw that damn bright blue color again, and more importantly the people wearing that bright blue.

A pair of INTERPOL Enforcers swerved around the corner down at the end of the train I had just hopped between the cabins of, their blue helmets and shoulder pads reflecting annoying in the midday sun as they raised their weapons. One yelled, “Reed! Stop!” But I wasn’t stopping. I crawled between the second pair of train cars, and judged myself to be two trains away from the fence, beyond which seemed to be the city. The Enforcers rounded the corner again, this time immediately firing at me. They were a good fifty meters away, and as I wasn’t hearing my ear protection I began to heavily flinch, just barely making it between the pair of train cars a third time.

But I knew they still had a good chance to hit me, especially with the small clearing between the final train and the fence, which I could see a large gash in now that there was only a single locomotive between it and me. Only a train was between me and freedom, I thought, but getting shot would put a damper on any plans I have. I dropped to a knee and set my briefcase on my leg, popping it open, pulling out my custom carbine, an AC-556K I had fitted a short range telescopic sight on, and unfolded the folding stock out and into position. I already had a magazine loaded, so I merely pushed forward on the safety and raised the gun with one hand, bracing the stock against my arm as I closed and clasped my briefcase shut, and squeezed the trigger at the first ‘blue meanie’ I saw.

They didn’t expect me to shoot back that’s for sure, because as soon as they saw me firing back they did 180s on their heels and ran back behind the locomotive to safety. However, I heard the crunch of gravel down behind me, so I swung around, blasting twice an Enforcer who was trying to flank me. I saw one round be absorbed by his vest, a puff of fiber explode out of his chest, but the second one hit him square in the face and he was dead before his body even began to fall. I jumped between the trains one last time to get to the fence, running through the small clearing before sliding on the concrete to get through.

Unluckily for me, it took me going through the fence to realize that this wasn’t just merely blocking off the sides of the train station from possible homeless intrusion, but in fact was protecting me from a quite steep and severe drop down an angled concrete wall. I found myself tumbling, unable to see anything or hear anything as I fell, but somehow managed to right myself and land on my back, sliding down the rest of the wall with more bruises than i’d like to admit. Landing in yet another pile of extremely comfortable and cushioning sharp gravel I struggled to get to my feet, but when I did and looked back up the wall, I noticed trio of Enforcers looking down at me from far far above in front of the fence, where I had fallen off. They seemed surprised that I had kind of jumped off what was almost a vertical cliff and survived, and didn’t realize that they were still in range until I started shooting at them with my AC-556K, sending them running. I hit one in the lower leg and he ended up tripping and falling, letting out a short shriek before landing close to me with a few sickening crunches and cracks on a pile of wood, limbs sticking in the wrong positions. If I still cared about INTERPOL’s complacent goons, i’d have felt a little bad.

But I did feel bad when he started to gurgle as I began to limp away. Turning around, I approached the shattered body of the Enforcer, who was still very much alive, albeit with a nasty gunshot wound in his thigh and two of his limbs fractured badly. His helmet was tossed aside by the impact, and I instantly noticed that he was a red fox anthromorph, just like me, and as blood dribbled from his nostrils his eyes locked onto mine.

“Y-You, used to be one of u-us…” He wheezed.

“Emphasis on used to. But I don’t stand for treachery. I’m not a pawn like you lot.”

“W-We were just, following orders.”

My pity disappeared. “That’s what they all say.” I raised my rifle and put a single round through the wounded man’s head, before picking up my briefcase which had fallen nearby and limping off. I’m not a pawn. Not of INTERPOL, not of the GSS.

I am Yehudi. I am free. And I will shine bright.


Johannes’ previously mentioned ‘mode of transportation’ for me was a rusted Volkswagen Beetle sitting in an alleyway. There was still a smoldering cigarette sitting on the dashboard, and as I pulled open the unlocked side door got a whiff of marijuana. What shocked me most however was the pair of fuzzy dice hanging from the rearview mirror, which I immediately tore off and threw farther into the alley. Who the hell did she steal THIS car from, some hippie?

I sat down in the driver’s seat and found the keys left in the ignition, and when I turned them was surprised that the car started, nonetheless on the first turn. I put the stick shift into reverse and drove back slightly to get out of the alleyway easier, but ended up rolling over something roughly cylindrical, which the car ended up stuck on. Groaning, I put the car in park and got out, walking behind the car to see what I was stuck on.

Well there’s the owner. The smell of burnt hair filled my nostrils as the friction-burnt afro attached to what was the head of the strangled car driver that now looked more like strawberry jam and some bits of weird gray stuff sat underneath the wheel, and I groaned.

Some pushing and pulling later and I had managed to get the small car off the corpse, and I got back into it. I drove out of the alleyway, merging onto the highway. I stuck a hand into the pocket of my overcoat when the light went red, pulling out my notepad and flipping through to today’s entry. The church should be nearby, just a street or two over.

I swerved into another street off the side of the highway and drove around for a minute or two, before spotting it; a large church towering above all other buildings for miles, covered in rafters adorned with tarps shredded from age and countless birds flying into them. Sagrada Família, a church once destined to be the most beautiful thing in España, now left to rot like many other old world wonders. Although officially condemned decades ago, it’s too costly to tear down, and no matter how many windows are boarded or doors blocked, people still find a way inside, as I did when I was just a kid. There was a cracked window concealed by an overgrown tree that I would commonly scrape my elbows on whenever I crawled in, and my friends and I would pretend to be priests and nuns with the old clothing left in some of the back rooms.

It was funny to us because we were Jesuits.


I simply parked my car and walked up the front steps and through the front doors; I knew the Catalan government had stopped trying to seal it years ago. When they nailed all the exterior doors shut, the very next day the nails were discovered to have been pulled out in the night by some unknown vagabond with a claw hammer. The next year, they taped up the doors, nailed boards in, and set up a physical wooden barricade with a ‘WARNING, CONDEMNED’ sign in front. The sign was found in a burn pit in the surrounding park the next day by Catalan authorities, who were rightfully suspicious that their events would be thwarted again. The boards and the tape had disappeared, and Sagrada Família was open to all once more.

Although many of the windows had been destroyed over the many years, enough remained to coat the inside of the church with soft multi-colored light, giving the place an almost enchanted atmosphere, which was probably the point. But now that everything was covered in a fine layer of dust and dirt, that enchantment had lost a bit of its effect, but at least the light was pretty. The ceiling seemed to be miles away, supported by the dozen plus hulking pillars now covered in graffiti and poorly-drawn genitalia by children, and as I walked into the clearing between the pillars saw a familiar individual peek out from behind one and begin to approach me, a long case held in one hand, their other one concealed in a pocket on their overcoat.

“Sorry for meeting on such short noti-” I couldn’t finish my sentence before she slapped me with the hand she was previously hiding in her pocket.

The hyena scoffed, “You disappear for two months then call me by payphone in the middle of the afternoon as i’m in the middle of my smoking, asking me to get your rifle? Well you know what, Reed? You know what?” She raised the case in her hand. “Here it is. Now i’d like some answers.”

I took the case. “I’ll tell you what I can, but sadly i’m only here as a side stop. You needn’t worry about little old me, Gem.”

Gemma Akachi, my sole friend in this world. All the others had moved on or passed away, but Gemma stayed. She was a spotted hyena, born and raised in Biafra for the first few years of her life before being given up for adoption due to yet another war with Nigeria sparking off; her parents wanted her to be safe. So, she was put on a boat to Iberia, ending up with a foster family in Catalonia. We met in our teens, and, although she doesn’t like admitting it, i’m almost solely responsible for teaching her Catalan and Gildish. Gildish is the primary language of the Gilded States of the Stars, a creole based off of Hungarian and German and the most spoken language in the universe. It’s kind of impossible to not know it and be successful at… well, anything. It’d be like living in the UK and not knowing a lick of English.

Internationally however, she was known merely as ‘The Hand’, similar to how i’m known as Yehudi. I mean, it makes sense that we both use nicknames, considering we’re wanted international criminals, but that’s besides the point. I held onto the case with both my hands as I glanced around the church, asking Gemma, “How have things been?”

“Average, albeit we can’t do shit without, you know, our leader who is USUALLY the one who plans all of our operations.”

“I know, but i’m still tied up in a bunch of crap I don’t want to be involved with, courtesy of a… friend of mine.”

“Well whatever it is,” She poked me in the chest, “Get it done and over with. We still have a lot of work to do, and we can’t do much if you’re not pulling your share, Boss.”

“You think I don’t know this? But I promise, i’ll be free soon enough to resume our work.” I put a hand on the back of my neck, before turning and looking back at the front doors of the church. “In one way or another.”

“The hell does that mean?”

“Thanks for bringing me my rifle.” I walked away. Gemma yelled for me, but I was already outside.

When I threw the case into the back seat and got back into the car, I rested my forehead against the wheel, letting my pent up anger just slowly release. I didn’t want to be doing this shit. I wanted to be doing actually IMPORTANT stuff, like, I don’t know, killing people who I actually WANT to kill? Getting more funding for my organization? Actually trying to make Earth a better place?

I punched the steering wheel. The car honked.

I’m not a fucking pawn.


I was ordered to take up a position in a hotel close to the city limits, on its roof. It was one of the tallest buildings in Barcelona, and hopefully the height would mask the sound of a suppressed rifle cracking off. I was ordered to shoot ‘someone obvious’ by Johannes, with no actual description given other than they would be flanked by bodyguards and nicely dressed. The receptionist was in cahoots with Johannes, giving me a keycard with roof access instead of a room key when I ‘checked in’, and when I got out of the elevator on the penthouse floor, found that there was a chain and padlock over the roof access door. However, it was just for looks, as the padlock merely slumped off when I brushed my fingers against it.

Gnawing on one of my thumbs I pushed open the door, and was almost immediately assaulted by a cold gust of wind whistling over the roof. In the distance I saw the rest of Barcelona, the jewel of Iberia, sparkling brightly. The sun was setting overhead, and everything had begun to gain an orange hue. A small helipad was situated on top of the hotel, and a small crate sat on the white ‘H’ in its middle. I walked up to it and set down my case, taking a knee and opening the case to find a mobile telephone situated inside along with a small notepad, similar to my own. I picked up and examined the notepad, squinting at the various numbers and angles written on it; it was a windage card, calculated exactly for the ballistics of my rifle.

But as I examined the card, the mobile phone began to ring. I looked around for any possible observers, wondering how they knew exactly WHEN to call it, before picking up the phone, a two-piece design, and angling the top half to fit my canine head shape.

Pressing it against my cheek, Johannes smooth, monotone voice pierced through the static. “Your target is wearing a blue suit and has blue eyes. He’ll be exiting a building at the end of the street directly north from where this phone was placed, at the approximate time of,” She went silent for a moment, likely to check a clock, “Five fifty-one, which is less than three minutes away. Set yourself up.” She hung up. I set the phone back down on its receiver, closing the crate and picking up my case before walking off the helipad to one of the railings surrounding it, leaning over the edge to look down at the long street below. A perfect firing line.

Now i’m no sniper, but i’m definitely an above-average marksman; I let my rifles be accurate, not me. My rifle for this occasion is special to me, as it was my first firearm I ever purchased, legally even. It was an ancient Carcano M91/38TS, an archaic rifle from the Second Great War, this one chambered in its proprietary 7.35mm Carcano round and with an offset scope mounted to the left of the receiver to allow the gun to be loaded. It used a six round en bloc clip that was inserted into an internal magazine, and had the big disadvantage of being unable to be ‘topped off’, that is, reloaded with loose cartridges with a clip inside it. I bought it for fifty Forands roughly a decade ago, and over the years had babied it and cleaned it up to the best of my abilities. The trigger’s contact surfaces had been polished to a sheen and the overall travel reduced, turning a gritty, mushy, loooooong pull to a moderately soft one with only a little bit of travel, and the bolt was the emphasis of greased lightning with how polished it was and how I made sure it was lubricated well, turning a historically-rough bolt throw to one that could rival modern sporting rifles.

And when I threw open the case to take it out, I just had to take a moment to hold the rifle in my hands and press the red-dyed wood against my face, memories flooding back. I hadn’t touched it in years, but I was by no means rusty in its usage. I cranked open the bolt, pulling out one of the five loaded clips I kept in the case from their foam slots and sliding it in until it clicked, before closing the bolt and pushing on the safety, a large button on the rear of the bolt that had to be rotated forty-five degrees to deactivate the gun. I stood up from my crouching position and used the scope on the rifle to scout out the avenue; traffic wasn’t very bad out here, and there was an almost complete lack of pedestrians on the sidewalks.

I pulled my suppressor out of the case and unthreaded the thread protector on the end of my Carcano’s barrel, spitting into the suppressor before screwing it on. I had made it myself one bored afternoon, showing myself how useless the licenses are for ‘prohibited accessories’, and I spit into it in order to help dampen the sound slightly. Suppressors that are wet end up absorbing sound a bit better, but that really doesn’t matter as i’m not using subsonic ammunition. I adjusted my scope, and set the rifle’s stock on the railing, pointing down at the street below me, the perfect shooting gallery.

There’s an old Anciest saying that constantly finds itself in my mind in times like this; ‘Violence is manic when you’re ready to panic, violence is pleasure when you take drastic measures, and violence without a point will find one someday’. The Anciests, those damn nihilists, believe the anthromorphs and alien species’ were forced to meet on Earth by some unknown force, not a god, but some other sentient being. If there was any evidence of this, i’d be a part of them, but so far all they’ve given are rhyming tunes about the pointlessness of life in the current day and the displeasure of the flesh. But still, that one poem sticks itself in my head whenever i’m about to do what I personally consider meaningless violence. I am not a political assassin for the GSS, only for my group, yet here I am, yet another gun in their arsenal. At the end of the street a small crowd of individuals wearing black suits flooded out of a building, and I saw a few flashes of blue in the middle of them. Swinging my scope over, I saw my target; and Aldearian with blue eyes that matched the color of his suit, walking with a briefcase clutched in his hands and flanked on all sides by some gruff-looking bodyguards of all species’.

Something about him was familiar, but I still began to sight in my rifle on him, adjusting my stance slightly and leaning forward, holding my eye as close to the scope as possible, but not close enough for it to kiss my spectacles under recoil. Blue eyes, blue suit, and not a care in the world it seemed. I laid my crosshair on his head. But I didn’t pull the trigger. Something in the back of my mind muttered, and I squinted through the scope, trying to remember whatever it was this man reminded me of in my spotty mind.

And when I did, I took my rifle off the railing and walked back to the crate, opening it and waiting. The phone began to ring.


I remembered who he was, and I would not kill him. I wouldn’t let a finger be laid on his chitin if I could. He was an old coworker of mine when I was still in INTERPOL as an Enforcer, one responsible for me even being alive in the first place.

When I finally remembered, it almost felt like the flashback had taken over my mind; the day was bright and hot, and me and all the others had rolled our sleeves up and adjusted the collars of our flak jackets as well as slightly unzipping them, roasting too much to care about our own safety. It was just another weekly raid, this time on a drug cartel who had brought in a shipment of illegal narcotics on a small boat in a port in Barcelona. We were waiting between multiple storage containers for our radios on our belts to tell us when to come out, and we stood there for a good hour or so. I used my rifle as a walking stick in order to stay standing, the heat getting close to forty degrees celsius on that day, and the others were likewise in states of sitting down or straight up lying on the concrete ground of the shipyard, trying to occupy as much shadows as possible.

The Aldearian was one of those men, sitting with his back against one of the storage containers with his hands on his helmet, trying to conceal his eyes from the sunlight beaming down from above. The containers themselves seemed to radiate heat, so I simply stayed on my feet near the mouth of our ‘alley’, watching the avenue we were supposed to run into in order to catch the smugglers in the act, idly spinning the three-pound ‘handgun’ every Enforcer is issued. I still have it. When we finally did get the call to make arrests, I was the first out into the avenue, spotting a bunch of seedy-looking fellows talking in front of a palette covered in cardboard boxes near the water’s edge to my right, and a few more Enforcers running towards us to the left, our back up. However, while the other heat-struck Enforcers struggled to get to their feet and out of the alley, the smugglers noticed the large amount of police officers staring at them and barking orders for them to put their hands up and decided that coming quietly wasn’t in the best of their interests, so they began to draw guns from their waistbands or reveal ones they had been hiding behind their back.

I shot the first man who drew a gun thrice in the chest, being the first to fire, and the situation fell apart moments later. Most of the other Enforcers were loopy and exhausted, and as such their aim wasn’t up to snuff, and I have the distinction of having shot down four men that day out of the seven we ended up encountering. But one of the remaining three was shot not by me, but by the Aldearian. That man had somehow crawled on top of a storage container and stood over the avenue with a shotgun, which he proceeded to point down at me while I was completely unaware of his presence. Thankfully cartel members aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed and he hadn’t loaded the gun yet, but when he racked the pump, a sound seemingly nobody could hear, the Aldearian heard. I envy their increased senses to be honest, but needless to say a second later there was a corpse falling next to me and the fight was essentially over, the remaining two cartel members wounded and taken into custody. I didn’t ask him for his name, but I shook his hand.

His grip was tight and firm. He set the left hand of his lower arms on top of my hand, a trait he had been concealing inside the pockets of his vest, which he had obviously torn out the insides of so he could stick his second pair of arms through. He was a second-generation Aldearian.

His left eye had a slight hue difference compared to the right.

I later learned his name. Kay Kaliburr.


I stared down at my scope at Kay Kaliburr, a man who not only was important to me, but to the world. Kay Kaliburr is the most well-known Aldearian in existence, and also the oldest one still-living, born some time in 1812. For a 263-year old, he looked swell, and I was glad to see a slight smirk on his face when I aimed at him. I knew it was completely fake, but it helped reassure me that he was at the least okay. He saved my life, yet he killed millions of others. Kay Kaliburr was the former Deputy Fuhrer of the German Reich in the Second Great War. He personally was responsible for at least the deaths of two-hundred thousand Jewish men, women, and children, but in his words he had no idea what he was doing. He had known Hitler from his days in the trenches of the first Great War, and after he was captured in Poland fighting as a cavalry commander, was offered to either join them or die. He joined them. I don’t blame him for that, and neither does the world, but he obviously wasn’t over his own personal betrayal as during the Nuremburg Trials, something he was exonerated from, he made an appearance and was allowed to talk at the stand. He pulled a knife from inside his belt and slit the wrists of his upper arms as he sobbed, “I hope my blood makes up for at least one of the deaths i’ve caused to innocents.”

He survived of course, but it seemed like the world seemingly forgave him afterwards. Since then, he had been moving around the world, fighting as a mercenary or government liaison for the Aldearian Republic. He’s also considered the co-founder of the Gilded State of the Stars, something that made me even more confused as to why I was told to kill him. It’d be like, say, being told as an American to kill a somehow still alive Thomas Jefferson by a member of the United States government; it’s ludicrous and insane!

So therefore, I sat by the crate, and when the phone rang I picked it up. I said one word into the receiver, before whoever was on the other line could speak.


I put the phone back and closed the case, before throwing it off the side of the building. I picked back up my rifle and looked back down at Kaliburr and his swarm of bodyguards, setting my scope on his head. His bodyguards were all looking at him, wondering why he had stopped in the middle of the sidewalk.

And he was looking at me. Head slightly tilted to accommodate for the angle, teal eyes locked onto mine. I had no idea how to feel, so, I did the first thing that came to mind. I waved. He gave a slight smile and waved back. The guards looked up at the building where I was situated, unable to see me with their natural eyes, but Kay had hundreds of years to recognize the silhouette of a man pointing a rifle at him from the top of a building. And somehow, I think he knew who I was. And when he mouthed ‘Yehudi’, my wonders were confirmed.

How he knew it was me, i’ll never know, but somehow, just him acknowledging my existence made me feel great. Another Anciest poem crept into my mind, its words echoing from ear to ear. ‘Appreciate the littlest things and friends, because they’ll all be gone before the end.’

I noticed glinting on top of another building on the other side of the street, and swung my rifle over there to wonder what it was. Probably was just some glass or something. No, it was actually a rifle scope, attached to a rifle, which was held by some individual wearing all black. They shot at me. My mind failed to recognize danger as the bullet hit the front of the building right in front of my feet, ricocheting off with a silly little buzzing noise. Their gun was unsuppressed, and I saw the tiny black dots that were Kay’s bodyguards scramble, one of them grabbing him and pulling him down to the ground as they all pulled stubby carbines and submachine guns from inside their suit coats. Some began firing at the roof that the other sniper was on, the gunfire a series of loud pops that I could clearly hear all the way up here, and I myself, sights still laid onto the other sniper, pulled my own trigger.

The rifle bucked and puffed, and a crack sounded off in front of me as the bullet broke the sound barrier a few meters away. The black-wearing individual collapsed, but wasn’t down for the count, struggling back to their feet before operating the bolt of their own rifle and taking another shot at me as they stumbled away, this one also hitting the front of the building. I operated the bolt of my own rifle, unable to hear anything other than my own breathing and the far-off cracks of the bodyguard’s weaponry ripping the roof the other sniper was on to shreds, and fired again. I hit them in the lower back as they turned to stumble away, and they stiffened instantly and fell, not moving on the ground. The bodyguard’s took a moment to stop firing, but when they did, they all looked around confused, wondering where their support came from. A few looked up at the hotel I was standing on top of, pointing and murmuring to each other. I stopped leaning on the railing, and I raised my rifle in one hand.

“BLACK ADRIAAAANS!” I shouted. I felt embarrassed doing this, but, hey, i’d never have another chance.

Kay Kaliburr, founder of the Black Adrians, the organization I now led, raised his hand and shouted back.


I felt my heart explode into joy.

Kay’s bodyguards shoved him into a car and drove away.

I operated the bolt of my Carcano again, before collecting my shell casings, packing up my rifle, and walking away.

I am not a pawn.