I can’t fucking believe I’m doing this.
The sales associate pulled another dress off the rack and handed it to me to try on. How the fuck did I end up having to go to another black tie party? Did Banderas have a clue just how much I hated having to get dolled up like some sex object and have to walk about in a set of high heels and an outfit that showed off my body?
Honestly, if I had my choice I’d rather spend fifteen rounds wrestling a bear than have to spend one minute in the kind of getup I’m having to buy. Not only does it bring up bad memories of Tom and his raping me, but it’s degrading and sends a message that I’m incapable of doing anything without relying on my looks.
I walk back to the changing room and slip out of my jeans and shirt and then pull the dress on. It clings to be body like a second skin, showing off each curve and every blemish that I have. My legs and ass, which seems to be two of things guys really like, are emphasized, and I have to admit that it does make me look good. In another life I’d’ve killed to look this good and feel sexy, but in this one I despise having to parade myself around in such a way.
Chalk up one more reason why I’m going to put a fucking bullet between Lacey’s eyes. If that bitch thinks I’m going to take this shit lying down, then she’s dumber than I think.
The poor sales associate it trying so hard to make me happy that I start to feel bad about my nasty attitude. It isn’t her fault that this is something that I truly despise, so I shouldn’t be taking it out on her, but I have been. Maybe I’m changing because normally this wouldn’t bother me in the least but today it’s nagging at me.
Ok, so this will be the outfit I’ll wear, now it’s on to finding a pair of shoes to match it. Given how I’ll have to dress, riding my bike it out of the question, which means having to take a cab but that’s not what concerns me. Beyond turning myself into a sex object, one of the things I despise out parties such as this is the inability to carry a weapon with me. The only place I could place it would be in the small purse I’ll have and that’ll be searched by the guards, which leaves me at a distinct disadvantage-especially when dealing with someone from Alliance Security.
A thought starts to tickle the back of my mind and I take the time to stop and let it develop. What if all this was an elaborate ruse by Banderas to get me into the hands of security? It sounds crazy as shit but he stands to gain a great deal by handing me over on a silver platter. First off, it would make him look very good to the people in Security, who would then be willing to look the other way so Banderas could operate freely. Secondly, it would allow him to not only hurt the Marano family by handing me over, but it’d make good payback for my killing his attorney.
Fuck, I thought, why didn’t I see this before?
I paid for the dress, shoes and purse while formulating a plan for dealing with this betrayal. Once again someone screwed me, and that wasn’t good for their long-term health. While I’d hoped that the Boss would’ve let bygones be bygones, I guess I was wrong. Fine, that just meant taking care of things my way.
Why couldn’t someone just have enough sense to realize that what Lacey planned was bad for all of us? If she managed to either sell or detonate that weapon, then Security would clamp down so tight on everything that no one would be able to work. Can’t they see that? Or would it take me operating alone, and trying to clear my organization’s name, to show that?
Either way, there wasn’t a chance in hell that I’d show up like Banderas expected. Oh, I’m going to the party, make no mistake about that, but it won’t be as some lamb being lead to the slaughter. This wasn’t going to be pleasant for the boss; that much would be for certain.
It takes thirty minutes to ride the subway back to the hotel and by the time I get there I’m in a royally bad mood. How the fuck could I, of all people, fall for such a fucking weak ass plan? Banderas wasn’t even being subtle about what he wanted to do and I almost walked into the trap!
I plop down on the couch and then cut on the daily news to see if watching the holovid will get me out of my snit. The babe reading off the broadcast went on about some conflict on the edge of Alliance space before mentioning the assassination I carried out. It seemed the security forces were no closer to determining who made the kill than they were before, which meant they were continuing to leak information out into the media.
Too bad for them that I don’t suffer from a big ego and have a need to brag about my kills. That actually was something Tom, believe it or not giving his temperament, taught me. Anyone who felt the need to brag about their accomplishments left themselves open to be manipulated into making a mistake. Armed with that knowledge, I learned early on to be proud of my work but not tell others about it. Besides, how many people truly needed to know about my kills anyway? Fewer that knew the better.
The party would be at eight tonight, which gave me another four hours to wait before I’d need to leave. Banderas’ house sat on four hundred acres in Loudon County, which was a forty-five minute drive from here. Of course it’d be heavily patrolled, but that wouldn’t be a problem.
I pull up a satellite image of the Boss’ property on my computer and spend the next hour looking at the holographic image. A creek cut a path through the woods on the northern edge of his property, which backed up to a mountain. Places for guards to avoid the elements were numerous, which told me he’d have probably close to thirty men covering the perimeter. No doubt they’d be in all-terrain vehicles, allowing them to stay on the move, which would prove problematic.
It would prove to be one of the most challenging, no make that the most challenging, entrance I’ve had to make onto a residential compound. If this worked to plan, than there’d be almost no place I couldn’t get into, and it’d definitely cement me as the top assassin in the Alliance-provided I can get in and out.
Once inside the fun would really begin and that’s what I really needed to plan for. Not only would there be Security dickheads there, but Banderas needed to be dealt with. I hate to hand the city over to whatever will be left of the Marano family, the Boss’ betrayal just couldn’t be allowed to slide. So, that meant needing to kill him too along with whoever gets in my way until I reach the Boss and the security mole. Maybe then I can clear my name from the WMD at least.
The sun is starting to go down as I roll up the driveway of the house and then stop outside the garage. While none of my rifles were exactly what I would want to do this, they were better than nothing. Thank God that I tend to be one that tries to cover all bases or I’d be totally fucked right now.
A .308 sniper rifle was a bit underpowered for what I wanted to accomplish but the R93 more than made up for it with its direct pull-back bolt action. That allowed me to reload and fire quicker than otherwise and when you factor in the ability to put a suppresser on it, than whatever weaknesses it had were mitigated. Besides, it was accurate up for 700 yards and I could assemble it in thirty seconds, so what more could I want?
I carefully load several 5-shot magazines, making sure that all the bullets were in slot correctly. As single job or misfire could be enough to get me killed, so it was better to take my time and get to Banderas’ place later than to rush and get myself into a bad situation. There would be only shot to get this done and damned if I was going to blow it-not after being screwed again.
You know, that’s one thing that’s starting to piss me off in this entire bullshit dog and pony show. How many times is someone going to fuck me over? I mean, do I have a bulls eye on my chest of something? All I do is provide a service, through an organization that gives the client complete anonymity and the ability to deny it all, and it seems everyone wants to get my ass. I just don’t get it.
Traffic is heavy when I leave the house and start off from Loudon. Rush hour started while I’d been getting my shit together, which meant it would take a lot longer than I expected to get to the house, which would be fine. No doubt Banderas’ men knew what my bike looked like now so I’d need to take an alternative route to get there and then back where I wanted to go.
Once outside of town, the traffic thinned dramatically and I opened up the throttle on the bike. The party would be starting in a little less than an hour and I needed to get into position to make my move. Banderas might suspect I’m going to do this, I’m betting he doesn’t make many changes to his security. If anything, the dickheads in security will be the ones who do the heavy lifting.
I turn off onto a country road a mile before reaching the Boss’ house and wind my way back through the woods. A dirt path then ran parallel with the back of Banderas’ property. From this point on things can go one of two ways: either I surprised Banderas by not appearing like the lamb to slaughter or I walk into a trap because he expected me to see through his ruse.
Knowing him, I thought, he won’t see it coming.
The bad thing about being in the country is that sound carries a long ways so I have to kill the bike’s motor sooner than I’d like. From here on out it’ll be by foot, and that included crossing the small creek at the back of Banderas’s property. Judging from what I saw on my computer, it’ll only be about three to four feet wide and maybe a foot deep, which I should be able to jump over. But you know how it is in life: there is no “should” so I’m expecting the worse.
My first step nearly results in my landing on my ass and I string together enough curses to make a sailor blush. The bad thing about trying to get to Banderas’ house is the trek through the woods. It’s bad enough to navigate a yard in the city at night, but it’s ten times worse when in rural areas.
I slip on a pair of what look like sunglasses, but they’re really night vision goggles. Every detail jumps out as the built in sensors send their information to a miniature computer chip that then displays the scene before me as if it’s midday. Now, it won’t take that long to reach where I can freely snipe.
Twenty minutes later I kneel down behind a fallen tree and then shrug the backpack off. One of the things I’ve always liked about the R93 was the fact that it was idiot proof. Anyone with half a brain could assemble it in less than a minute, even less if they had any kind of experience with the weapon.
The suppresser twisted on the end of the barrel, and I quickly spin it into place. Once that’s done, the first five shot magazine popped into the bottom of the body, and I then pulled the bolt back to chamber the first round before searching for a target.
As expected, Banderas had his security forces on atv’s to be able to cover the territory more effectively. That would be a problem because I couldn’t outrun one on foot, which meant trying to commandeer one or kill enough men to leave a big enough gap to move through.
Additional movement catches my attention and once I again I start to curse like a sailor. Six men, each in suits and carrying semi-automatic rifles, patrolled closer to the house and they all moved with the measured steps of a professionally trained hitter. So, the security dickheads were adding to the protective forces. That meant they expected me to just walk into the house and let them grab me. So, not going to happen.
Damn, the additional men, while expected, will make entering the house problematic at best. Throw in all the party goers and it might’ve have been a mistake to make this move. But, I’ve come this far, might as well finish it off.
The first patrol comes into sight and it lift the rifle into firing position and use the tree to balance it. I suck in a deep breath and then pull the trigger gently and am surprised when the rifle kicks back and strikes my shoulder. A single round strikes the guard in the head, blasting it apart, sending him flying off the ATV.
Another man comes into view and he spots the fallen guard and reaches for his radio. He never makes it. I drill him in the chest, and he slumps forward as the four-wheeler careens out of control and into the creek a hundred yards from where I’m at.
Ok, time to change locations so they don’t have a chance to triangulate on my location. I sling the rifle and then grab the backpack before I start to move through the brush, continuing to parallel the creek, until I reach a spot closer to the house yet still protected by the woods.
The creek is closer to four feet in width, which is a touch further than I can jump, but it’s less than a foot deep. So I risk crossing and wince as the ankle deep ice cold water soaks through my shoes and socks. It’ll be a long, cold ride home but if I accomplish what I set out to do, then it’ll be worth it.
From here I’ve moved a hundred yards closer to the house and have a clear view of the party going on inside. Damn, I was mistaken about the amount of external security. It’s far less than what I expected, which is enough to make me wonder if Banderas really thought I’d be stupid enough to walk right into his trap. If he did, then that’s fucking insulting.
Sometimes I wonder if these guys keep fucking me over because I’m a girl. See, assassins are almost always men and the ‘good old boy’ network definitely comes to play here. And God help you if they’re worse than a woman! Oh, no, can’t have that! So, I guess all this shit is coming down because of my gender; just one more reason for putting a bullet in the head of some of these fuckers.