Location: Castella Residence Surroundings – Richmond, Virginia
Horus raced stealthily through the thick forest vegetation, which ran across the narrow tarred road, leading up to a lone duplex which sat at the bottom of the sloping road. The cold air froze his breath into tiny ice shards as they escaped his nostrils. Horus docked and weaved through the vegetation, his black clothing – a winter cap, sweater, gloves combat pants and boots – concealing him in the darkness that ruled the night. As he ran, a bit of static, crackled in his ear, before a voice came through.
Horus, come in. Horus come in! Do you read me?!
The sprinting man jumped over a tree root protruding from the ground and came to a halt.
“I read you, Set.” He said, bringing his breath under control with the ease of one who had been pushed physically, many times before.
There was a thud of running steps behind him and soon Ketra came to a crouch, panting heavily.
“Breathe easy.” Horus said, giving her a single glance and nothing more.
The pupil having a hard time keeping up?
“She’ll be fine. Let’s focus on the mission, Set.”
Waiting on you.
“If that’s Set, tell him he can kiss my…”
Horus’s glare immediately made her pause on her sentence. She glanced at his right hand, which was placed – palm spread out – on the soil. She wasn’t sure if it was the dim vision but she thought she could see it tremble slightly. Horus looked up at the tall tree they had crouched near.
“This tree is strong enough and should give us a good vantage point, once Set swoops in. I’ll take the higher branch on the right. You take the lower on the left. Understood?”
“Understood.” Ketra said, softly.
“Good. Activate your grippers.”
Horus held out his left hand and twisted a circular ring lining the edge of his black gloves. Numerous miniature hooked claws unhinged from the glove’s palm and finger surfaces. They glimmered menacingly in the dim light. Horus walked up to the tree and tested his grip, before hoisting himself up with one arm. Blades soon shot out of his boots and he quickly planted them into the tree bark to give himself a better footing. As he got higher, Ketra followed not too far behind. She was careful to keep a considerable distance between herself and the sharp blades protruding from his foot. As they got higher, the wind swirled more violently around them, stinging their eyes, frosting their lungs and rubbing icy fingers across the back of their necks. They steadied themselves against the gale and continued to climb until they were perched on the branches. Ketra brought out her multi-modular scopes and surveyed the compound.
“Do you see activity?” Horus asked.
“Yes. Two patrol guards on the south wing, facing on us and four more on the west wing leading up to the driveway. The east and north wings are in my blind spot.”
Horus nodded and spoke into his hidden microphone.
“Set, we’ve ID’d six roamers, two south and four west. Ghosts on the North and East, copy?”
There was a crackling sound and finally he heard Set speak, in his earpiece.
Copy. I’m positioned to swoop in from the South. I’ll say hi on the way past.
Horus managed a wry smile.
“You do that.”
Remind me why I chose to do this again?
Glide in on a wingsuit into the side of a residential building?
“You’re the crazy one who said this was the only way to beat the laser motion sensors and cameras.”
Right. I’m airborne in 120. Will keep you updated. You got me, overwatch?
Horus looked down at the CHEYTAC M500, he held in his hand.
“I got you.”
Ketra watched him for a while. As long as she had known Horus, she had never seen him this unsettled or unsure of himself. No. He had never been like this. He didn’t become the most feared assassin in the world, looking insecure.
“Keep eyes on the…”
“No, Horus. Talk to me. What is it about this mission that has got you so ruffled?”
Horus turned to look at her and beyond his steely gaze she could see an ocean of fear building… mounting.
Ready in ten!
“I’m fine, Ketra. We’ve got a target to eliminate. Let’s do that. By the way, activate the sound dish. Any audio information might help.”
When Ketra quietly nodded, Horus dug his foot into the branch and leaned on the main tree trunk. He steadied himself and glanced at the side sniper display, mounted on the side of the rifle and separate from the telescope. The sniper display was a revolutionary feature that allowed shooters take shots from otherwise impossible angles and vantage positions. From the display he could still position his crosshairs like he would if he were using the telescope and he wouldn’t lose any accuracy. Set was counting down and Horus’s breathing fell in sync with it.
The assassin known as Set felt his airspeed increase as he hurtled above the forest tree line. Every now and then he had to steer himself out of the path of an unusually tall tree. The whoosh of the wind caught between man and tree always sent a rush through his veins. Maybe Horus was right. Maybe he was crazy. He banked along the forest line until the lone white house was in view. Set tucked his hands and legs in, increasing his speed further. In a moment, he was a bullet hurtling tearing through the skies. The house seemed to expand in size before his eyes. He would have to deploy his shoot at the right moment. Set extended his legs and arms, decelerating his fall. He aligned himself with the south wall of the house and glided in at a considerable speed. As he passed the last flight of trees, he spoke into his mic.
“Overwatch, I am officially a sitting duck. Take out any roamers.”
Set could now make out the patrol guards’ features. One was perched on the roof, while the other one continued on his patrol path, below. The one on the roof saw him first. As he scrambled to speak into his mic, a hole expanded right in the center of his forehead and he slumped instantly. The guard on the ground was whirling around when the back of his head exploded with a silent thud. He dropped lifelessly to the ground.
“Nice shooting.” Set said as he deployed his parachute. He was instantly yanked back and upwards, before slowly dropping to the side of the wall. He quickly reached out to his left palm and twisted the metallic ring at the end of his gloves. The area over the palms glowed a warm circular red. Set quickly unhooked his parachute harness, and felt the sharp pull of gravity. He extended his arms and dropped on the side wall with a soft thud.
“Landing successful. Infiltrating.”
Set began crawling on the side wall towards a window, his boots and gloves granting him adhesive abilities. The wind swept past the length of his form in invisible ripples, stinging his eyes and slowing his advance towards the window. He wondered how Horus could make those shots, under these conditions. Then again, it was shots like these that had earned him the moniker in the first place. The Berlin authorities were still struggling to figure out how he put a bullet in a man’s head, through a wall. Set stretched out his right hand and placed it on the glass surface of the window pane. He braced himself against the wall with his other limbs, while moving his free right hand in a circle. The glass along the circular path he created, slowly began to melt.
Set winced under the strain of the repeated circular movements. A fiery flash of heat was beginning to stir underneath his right shoulder muscles, and his left hand bucked under the weight of the rest of his body. The glass, along the circular path finally dissolved and the circle of glass within it tilted forward, threatening to crash inside. Set reached in and caught the glass, guiding it to the wooden floor beneath. He winced once more, at the dull grating sound of glass on glass. Soon, the glass was resting just inside the window, and Set smoothly pulled himself in. He fell into a soft roll and got into a crouching position, quickly dissolving into a pool of shadow on the right. Once his breathing steadied, he spoke into his microphone.
“Infiltration successful. I’m in.”