The sniper breathed slow, keeping his heartrate down, his arms had developed a dull ache and the red rag tied to his right arm was too tight in his prone position. His left eye was closed and his right eye had been an inch from the scope of his rifle for three hours.

Through the scope and half a kilometre away he was looking into a room in an EDF building. Nothing mattered to him except that room. He needed to urinate an hour ago so he did so while he was still laying there. While waiting, the sniper had given names to the people in the room.

The guard by the door was called Smilie because he was the epitomy of seriousness. Occasionally he'd scratch a troublesome itch above his right eye. The scientists sitting at computers opposite the window were called Rob and Bob, and they were always looking at each other's screens.

The last person in the room was a tired looking scientist with greying short hair, he was looking at something the sniper couldn't see, it was just out of sight behind the left side of the window. The sniper had named him Crabs because he occasionally scratched his crotch. About fifteen minutes ago Crabs had called Rob and Bob over and they'd talked excitedly and sent Smilie out of the room briefly for reasons unknown.

The sniper's mouth was dry, he tried to build up some saliva by moving his tongue around but it didn't work. He swallowed, his throat hurt. Then the door beside Smilie opened. Smilie looked round and put a hand on the pistol holstered at his hip, then snapped to a salute.

Three men entered, two of them were guards like Smilie, carrying assault rifles. But the third, with a bald head and predatory features, made the sniper's heart race. His name was Samuel Forsythe, and he was the man of the day. The sniper willed his heart to slow down and breathed deep a few times. He licked his lips with his dry tongue.

Rob and Bob stood up and saluted, but not as smartly as Smilie. Crabs walked over and shook Samuel's hand, then showed him to the thing just out of sight. Crabs was pointing out something to Samuel while the others stood by expectantly.

Samuel bent over slightly to look closer, and as he did the sniper breathed in deep, breathed out slightly and held his breath. He could imagine Samuel's brain inside his head and placed the crosshairs in the centre of it. Seven hours ago he'd zeroed the scope at this exact range in a valley nearby.

His numb finger slowly squeezed the trigger, gradually putting more and more pressure, he could feel the trigger at the breaking point. Then Samuel straightened up and the sniper followed his head with the crosshairs, keeping his finger at the breaking point.

He said something to Crabs, who smiled. Crabs pointed at something slightly higher out of view and Samuel looked at it and his eyebrows raised while Crabs smiled more broadly. The sniper put that last bit of pressure on the trigger.

The rifle jerked back against his shoulder and there was a dull sound as the bullet passed through the silencer. A hole with fractures going out in every direction appeared in the window and a good portion of Samuel's brain was turned to mush while blood had splattered on Crabs. Samuel dropped like a ragdoll out of sight and Crabs fell back in shock.

Smilie slammed his fist against an alarm button on the wall, although the sniper couldn't hear the alarm from where he was. The two guards that had entered with Samuel ran over to the window while Rob and Bob rushed to Samuel, now out of sight below the window ledge. Smilie had opened the door and was shouting something. The guards by the window were aiming around frantically.

Soon a medical team entered the room, they bent down and the sniper couldn't see what they were doing. After maybe twenty seconds one of them stood up and shook his head, the other simply stared down solemnly. The sniper grinned broadly to himself. Kill confirmed, now it's time to get to the nearest safehouse.