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Trying to run back to my apartment, soaked through every bit of clothing I had on was making me laugh. I couldn’t get on a bus anywhere near D.C. since I’m pretty sure my face is plastered all over and the fact that I was soaking wet would only add to the looks I would get. I knew I was going to catch seven kinds of hell on my next check in for killing the cop, but that was part of the job. The trip though town after climbing out of the sludgy, oily waters of the Potomac had cleared my head. I had an idea now about my mystery friend.

I kept my head down throughout most of my walk, not because I was afraid of being spotted, but trying to still the fleeting images that kept popping up in my mind. I was on autopilot as I walked, but realized I was nearing my aerie when I began to hear the low sounds coming from the Occupiers–the new generation of wannabe- hippies looking for something to be outraged over instead of looking for a job–and could see the faint lights of their camp that had been left on to keep the monsters away.I smiled as I thought ‘all this monster wants to do is get some clean clothes and a shower’.

The building where my aerie was looked rundown, verging on abandoned. If you managed to get past the locked doors of the entry way–which you wouldn’t without a tactical battering ram attached to a vehicle–you’d be confronted by a nearly hidden entry consisting of a vault door opened by a numerically keyed lock that only I and my employers could access. I had been assured that the frame around the vault door was sufficiently reinforced so that short of high explosives it wasn’t going to be a weak point for anyone trying to get into the building.

I keyed in the code to the vault door and waited a couple of seconds for the locks to disengage and pop the door open. I heard the hum of electric motors and stood back as the door opened just enough for me to squeeze through. When I was being recruited for this job I was given the opportunity to explore several places I could use as a hide and this building was perfect; a developer had purchased this and several other buildings just after the September 11th attacks and converted the place into a fortress. If the developer had been a little more farsighted he probably wouldn’t have lost the building when the subprime mortgage bubble popped and caught a bunch of high fliers like him out.

I liked the old converted office building above all the others I saw even though it only had two livable spaces; one near the fifth floor and one in the basement. The aerie had been hardened by layer upon layer of steel girders and cross-bracing meant to make the building impervious to –I supposed–an airplane smacking into it. I’m sure it was ‘a great loft space, with tons of storage room and a fantastic view into downtown’; there was probably more to it, but real-estate had never been something I’d bothered to examine too closely.

There were two methods of getting up to the aerie, a long spindly steel staircase and a freight elevator. Normally I’d run the stairs, but my swim had left me feeling a little tired so I settled for a slow ride up in the elevator. I opened the protective gate at the top and looked around for signs that any of my gear had been disturbed. Just because your average robber couldn’t get into this place didn’t mean the people I worked for wouldn’t come snooping around.

I looked around for a few minutes before I was satisfied everything was as I’d left it and then stripped out of my damp clothes. I heard a thunk as my jeans hit the floor and realized I still had the cops gun tucked into the front pocket; I made a note to get rid of it in the morning.

The windows here on the top floor of the aerie provided me an almost 360 degree view. I moved over to the 85mm Zeiss spotting scope and looked out toward the river. Even with the powerful optics I couldn’t really see much activity except for several helicopters buzzing around the area where I had ditched the police car, betrayed at this distance only by their searchlights.

Satisfied that the local LEO’s weren’t going to be knocking on–or down–my door at any minute I walked to the other side of the aerie and picked up my custom built Savage BA 110 in its Accuracy International stock and looked down into the Occupiers camp. I rested my finger lightly alongside the trigger, careful not to accidentally apply the three pounds of pressure necessary to fire a round  and took aim at a head sporting blonde dreadlocks sitting around what I guessed had to be a drum-circle.

“Fucking hippies” I could hear the sneer in my voice and I laughed. I didn’t care about them or their political beliefs, but saying things like that certainly made me look like the kind of guy my employers so desperately wanted me to be. I scanned around the camp looking for more possibles. I put the rifle down long enough to grab paper and pen and scribble down some notes. I took a seat behind the big Savage as I put a handloaded .338 Lapua Magnum round into the chamber and slid the bolt home.

I kept scanning faces, but wasn’t seeing the desired combatants. Maybe come morning they would be there–it was possible they didn’t sleep in the camps overnight; even with the powerful nightvision scope it was sometimes hard to pick out other ethnicities in low light conditions.  I flipped through the notepad   sitting on my leg until I got to the sketch I had made of the Occupiers camp, looking between it and my scope to see if any changes had been made since this morning.

The tripod my rifle sat on swung freely as I slowly scoped the ground before me. I let the gun rest a second as I had glassed one of my checkpoints, a sort of refreshment stand kind of thing that gave out water in bottles or refilled containers for the throngs of people in the space below me.  A few new tents had appeared that weren’t in my sketch, but that wasn’t what caught my eye. Several people were milling around the refreshment stand; the leader of the small group was making excited gestures and likely zealously yelling at the people around him.


I slid the aerie’s window fully open and adjusted the tripod, moving the gun back and away from the window so the pressure of the round coming out of the muzzle wouldn’t shatter the glass. I looked through the scope again and pressed the button for the camera-like device sitting atop my scope to take a picture for confirmation. I made a note in my officially unofficial notepad: M/20’s/Black and a note for one of the people he was talking to M//20’s/Hispanic?

I shrugged it off. I’d have to wait til the sun was up to try and confirm that one. This would be easier if they’d just put some of their undercover’s back into the group and start marking them with the infrared dye again. I shook the thought away and got back on the gun.

The preacher was still there railing at his impromptu congregation; a multitude of heads nodded in agreement every time he pointed in the direction of the White House. I waited until the preacher finished his diatribe–it was the polite thing to do– and then squeezed the trigger.

“So long, brotha.”

I put an X on the note I had written next to his description. I’d turn that one in tomorrow along with the photo. I shut the window and took the rifle off its tripod before I closed the blinds. Time now to get some sleep. I yawned and stretched out on a pallet next to my rifle. ‘Maybe I should take up swimming’ I thought, drifting into sleep.


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