All was silent on a dusty back road that shimmered and waved in the heat of the noon day sun.
A tiny wind picked up and blew a cloud of dust across the road but instead of bringing a cool touch, the wind only brought death.
This place was death.
Dry grass that crackled and snapped with the passing wind waved as the sounds of birds rang out. Somewhere, hidden in the relative cool of the tree branches, birds perched and waited for the deadly sun's heat to lower as the sun sank below the horizon.
A vulture soared on the thermals that rose from the sandy ground and the bird of prey wafted lazily along as the heat held the bird afloat. The dying country lay stretched out below the enormous bird and it gave a cry as it saw a shape in the grasslands that had long since ceased to move. Even though the carcass appeared to be stripped clean of all meat, the bird decided to investigate if there was anything left.
The bird gave a cry and banked lazily around as it angled its flight to come in on the no longer living carcass. Minutes passed as the bird descended from the cool above and into the inferno below.
The vulture pecked idly at the carcass and it took its fill of the corpse of what had once been a man. The other creatures of this wasteland had already picked the majority of the carcass clean of its flesh but this bird hadn't lived this long without finding what other predators had missed.
Big wheels keep on turning
The vulture looked up from its meal in confusion at the noise as it struggled to find the source of its disturbance.
Carry me home to see my kin
The vulture felt the ground beneath its talons rumbling as something approached and the Vulture waited in silence as the rumbling grew louder.
Singin' songs about the Southland
The wind shifted again and the Vulture felt fear as it smelled what was coming: Death was approaching.
I miss Alabamy once again
The Vulture was struggling to get out of the area as Death approached loudly. As the Vulture rose into the air, it sensed that death was close.
And I think it's a sin, yes.
The tiny boom box in the jeep blazed out a scratchy tune that broke the silence of the car ride.
The man in the passenger seat turned in his chair as the tune continued to scratch on, "you sure this will work?" he asked his female passenger sitting in the back seat.
The woman turned from her gazing out the window and looked at the man with a blank expression, "Oui?"
"Are you sure this will work Michelle?" the man asked again as a bead of sweat traced its way down his cheek.
She nodded emphatically as she checked her watch, "Ze Jackal is supposed to be conducting a deal in a few hours and if you want to kill him," she took a deep breath as their jeep ran over a pot hole and jarred everyone inside, "he will be there."
The man smiled and took a swig from the canteen next to him. He offered it to her but Michelle turned him down. He shrugged and as he turned away Michelle saw what looked like a Desert Eagle handgun in his jacket, "I'll admit Michelle I didn't quite trust you when you came to me with this information but," he paused as he saw a vulture struggling to take flight in the grasslands they drove past, "but you've proven yourself with this information."
Michelle looked out the back window at the row of military cargo trucks that were brimming with soldiers and their weapons, "was it necessary for all the troops?"
The song continued to blast out of the tiny box as the man looked behind their jeep with a far off smile.
Well I heard mister Young sing about her
The man smiled and dabbed at the sweat on his face with his jacket's sleeve, "The Jackal is going to want lots of protection for this deal and so he'll probably have the APR there as his guard."
Michelle nodded slowly as she remembered the group of rebels that had just recently decided to agree to a cease fire, "and you feel that ze best way to attack ze Jackal is by bringing an entire UFLL division of troops?"
Well I heard ole Neil put her down
The man laughed uproariously, "when we catch the APR with their pants down we'll effectively wipe out all resistance to the UFLL in Leboa Sako."
Michelle shook her head, "that's only half the country, what about Bowa Sako?"
Well I hope Neil Young will remember
"Why do you care?" the man said and wiped at his face with the back of his sleeve, his wet face replaced with a dry but dusty one, "this is Africa, no one cares about Africa. We leave rich people and let this country circle the drain without our help."
Seeing that her conversation wasn't getting her anywhere, Michelle Dachs smiled politely and returned back to her staring out the window as she watched the grasslands pass them by in a blur of light and heat.
A Southern man don't need him around anyhow
She tugged at the red bandana that she kept wrapped around her skull almost nonstop. A strand of blonde hair ducked in front of her face and she brushed it idly to the side as continued to watch the passing scenery.
"And you," she heard herself speaking slowly, "Mr. 'Bolivian'," she put as much emphasis on the only name he had given her as possible, "what happens once you kill ze Jackal?"
The Bolivian smiled, "I leave this little hell hole of a country a rich man and if you want you can tag along."
Michelle was silent as she listened to the man's words as her jeep passed what looked like a half buried bus in the middle of the grassland in the shadow of an enormous tree.
A flash of light beckoned from somewhere in the grass and Michelle quietly rolled down her back window, instantly exposing the cool interior of the jeep to the hellish temperatures beyond the jeep.
The Bolivian looked back angrily, "we have the air conditioning going for a reason."
"Not for long," Michelle said emotionlessly as she checked to make sure her seat belt was unfastened.
The Bolivian cast a look of confusion at the driver who shrugged quietly and resumed driving.
The Bolivian looked back at Michelle as realization struck him, "Oh you little-"
He didn't get a chance to finish his statement as the road in front of their jeep erupted into flame as the road exploded in a massive fireball.
Behind their jeep a rocket propelled grenade slammed into the side of one of the trucks just above the gas tank. Within milliseconds, the explosive detonated and engulfed the cab of the truck in an enormous fireball. The fuel tank exploded mere moments after the grenade exploded and the force of the explosion launched the truck into the air, as the ensuing fireball flash baked all the occupants in the back of the truck. By the time the truck had returned to earth, three more trucks had experienced the same fate.
In the jeep, The Bolivian was shouting something at the driver but Michelle wasn't listening as she pulled at her door handle and dove from the car and into the hellish landscape that was now filled with the screams of the soldiers that were being cooked alive.
Michelle Tumbled through the dry and razor sharp grass of the landscape, before she came to a stop near a cast aside rifle. She rolled into a crouching position and prayed that her red bandana didn't make her stick out like a-
Two bullets zipped past her head and disappeared into the tall grass behind her where they kicked up clouds of rust colored soil. With a curse on her lips she dove to the ground as she pulled the red bandana from her head and tucked it in her back pocket as she thanked God that her hair was blonde as she now blended in with the grass.
She looked up at the convoy that was still under fire from rocket propelled grenades and she watched emotionlessly as troops started pouring out of the trucks that had not been hit. Their commanders screamed orders over the explosions as more trucks continued to erupt in flame.
After what felt like minutes but in reality was probably closer to seconds, the UFLL troops in the trucks began to fire back into the tall grass surrounding them but it was all for naught.
Reports of gunfire echoed from the grass and flashes of light signified bullets that sliced through the remaining UFLL troops. Their screams echoed in the desolate grassland but they were swiftly silenced as bullets tore into them.
Michelle saw The Bolivian's jeep struggling desperately to flee the massacre and she swiftly brought the rifle up to her shoulder and sighted down the barrel at the fleeing jeep.
Deep breath, she thought silently as she felt the somehow still cold metal of the trigger beneath her fingers, squeeze the trigger-
CRACK CRACK CRACK
A trio of bullets flashed from her gun and she felt the barrel of her rifle rise in response. Bringing the gun back to bear she was rewarded with the sight of the jeep's front passenger tire blow out and she watched with just the tiniest hint of glee as the entire vehicle jerked sideways and rolled onto its side. The top heavy vehicle continued to roll and the jeep flipped over as the momentum carried the car end over end. Finally the jeep slid several meters through the red soil before finally coming to a stop in the loose dirt.
Michelle turned her attention back to the massacre at hand and was surprised to see the UFLL troops were all dead or fleeing back down the road they had arrived on.
The air was silent for a moment but soon she heard it. It started out as a tiny noise but it grew in strength until the entire countryside was alive with the sound.
It was the sound of cheering. From their hiding spots in the grass, APR troops clambered to their feet and raised their rifles in exultation. Like a cloud of locust the APR troops fell upon the trucks and dead bodies as they started to strip the bodies of their weapons, ammunition and anything they thought might be valuable.
Michelle watched the entire scene play out before her but instead of joining the troops, she checked her rifle for any damage and quietly reloaded as she dug in her back pocket for her canteen.
She held the metal canteen to her lips and gasped in pleasure as she felt the cool liquid tumble through her mouth and down her throat. Instantly she felt the heat of the surrounding landscape grow a bit more bearable and she smiled as she took another swig.
"Anything left for me?" a deep, gruff voice asked from her left.
Michelle nearly jumped in fright but was able to contain herself as she offered the canteen to the man.
"Pathetic isn't it?" he asked before he took a swig of her water before offering it back.
Michelle didn't answer but instead waited for her employer to explain what he meant.
"A group of people whose sole focus in on destroying themselves under the pretense of self liberation," he wiped at his red shirt and his eyes narrowed as he watched the dust fall off.
"What difference is it to us if they kill themselves?" Michelle asked as she started to walk towards the overturned jeep. Her employer followed, "you and me both exist to ensure they continue to kill themselves."
He laughed mirthlessly as they neared the jeep, "You might exist to ensure the conflict continues," he said quietly although Michelle thought she heard anger in his tone, "I'm doing something far greater."
Michelle pulled her gun out and cocked it once just to be sure, "you're an arms dealer and I'm your distributor," her employer cocked his gun as well, "you don't need much more of a plan than that."
She gave a silent nod to the man in the red shirt and they quietly rounded the far side of the jeep where Michelle saw the true damage done to the front of the jeep.
The entire front end of the jeep had been caved in like a beer can, with portions of the blue paintjob having been streaked off in the crash. The windshield had been blown out as had most of the windows. The driver's head was slicked in blood and it didn't take Michelle's medical training to figure out that he had died the moment the car had tumbled over. He hung loosely in his seat, only the seatbelt kept him strapped in his chair. The interior of the car was completely torn up as the impact of the flip had dislodged the seats in the back of the jeep and they had tumbled around haphazardly in the crash, in the process the radio had been crushed and the car was now silent.
Michelle didn't focus on any of this however but instead focused on what was missing.
"Merde," Michelle whispered as she saw the empty seat that the Bolivian had been seated in.
Her employer waited as Michelle dug into her back pocket and pulled on her bandana. She brushed a strand of hair away from her face and sighed deeply, "what now?"
He smiled and pointed at a trail of red that disappeared into the tall grass, "we could always follow the blood trail."
Michelle silently cursed herself for not seeing the trail sooner but she nodded and the two of them disappeared into the grass as they followed the trail of blood.
Five Kilometers later Michelle was starting to get fed up. She pulled out her GPS and saw that they were nearing a tiny oasis but she didn't care about water as she struggled to find her prey.
Her employer kept pace next to her with hardly a word having been uttered between the two of them upon entering the grass.
"How did he move so fast?" Michelle asked in wonder as her GPS signaled they passed six kilometers.
Her employer didn't answer as they finally broke free of the grass and found themselves standing before an enormous rock. The blood trail led around the rock and as Michelle followed the trail, Michelle wondered how much blood there had been in the Bolivian for him to bleed this much.
She didn't think too much on the issue and instead pulled out her gun as the trail grew weaker.
Michelle felt a hand on her shoulder and turned to the man standing next to her and he motioned for her to listen. Michelle stood still and waited as the air around them fell silent.
That was when she heard it.
She had heard the sound of death before and she had developed a sixth sense as to how a person was dying strictly based on their breathing.
The wheezing echoing around the rocks told Michelle the one of person's lungs were collapsed and the other was slowly filling with blood.
"You're makinghackhack making the wrong ch-choiwheeze choice," the Bolivian's voice echoed in the rocks around the two of them, "I can get you out of here."
Michelle kept quiet as she silently stalked her prey.
"All you have to do iscoughcough is kill The Jackal and we can lea-wheeze leave this place," the Bolivian continued to plead.
She rounded a corner and stopped as she finally found the Bolivian.
He was leaning up against a rock with a his desert eagle hanging loosely in his hand. His clothes had been torn to pieces and his face was covered in cuts and bruises. His clothes were now slicked in blood and he held a hand to his chest as Michelle neared him and he tried weakly to raise his pistol but to no avail.
"Please," he pleaded as Michelle drew near, his voice barely above a whisper, "don't do this."
Michelle shook her head and grabbed the Desert Eagle from his hand. She checked the gun to make sure a bullet was in the chamber and without a word she holstered the gun and walked away.
"You don't have to do this," The Bolivian whispered.
Michelle shook her head and continued to walk away. As the Bolivian watched her leave he felt some confusion as to why she didn't kill him but before he could question her actions he heard a familiar and chilling voice.
"Hello," the gruff voice sounded as the man in the red shirt crouched next to the Bolivian.
"Jackal," the Bolivian whispered.
"You were sent here to kill me," The Jackal said angrily through clenched teeth. The Bolivian remained quiet as the Jackal continued, "you think me a monster but you are the monster. You and the ones who sent you," the Jackal stood up, "you're a cancer. A tumor that keeps on growing and unless I do something, you'll just continue to grow."
"So what are you going to do?" The Bolivian asked weakly.
"I'm going to ensure the cancer doesn't spread," The Jackal answered matter of factly.
"How…" the Bolivian struggled as his breathing became ragged, "how are you going to do that?"
"By killing each and every one of the cancer cells," he pulled out his pistol and cocked it, "starting with you."
Before the Bolivian could respond, the Jackal pulled out his pistol and fired twice into the Bolivian's chest. The man gasped once before slumping over as death claimed him.
The Jackal admired the body for a moment before turning back to Michelle who had appeared next to him, "Tell me something Michelle."
She looked at him expectantly, "Oui?"
"Do you want to stay here?" the Jackal asked genuinely.
Michelle was silent for a moment, "where would I go?" she paused, "how would I leave? I have no money."
The Jackal was silent for a moment before reaching into his pocket and he pulled out a tiny burlap sack no larger than the palm of his hand. He handed the sack to Michelle and she heard a clinking sound coming from inside the bag.
She opened the bag up and gasped as she saw-
"Diamonds?" she asked in surprise.
The Jackal nodded, "I've already bought you a ticket on the next flight out of here and you can sell the diamonds for no less than twelve million euros."
Michelle beamed at the thought but suddenly sobered up, "Why?"
"Because," The Jackal said hesitantly, "I've got something big planned and I don't want you here for it."
Michelle was silent before offering her hand to the Jackal, "Then allow me to say it was an honor working for you."
The Jackal smiled and shook her hand back. It was silent in the cave for a moment before Michelle broke away and walked off into the growing night with her bag of treasure clinking softly in her pocket.
Disclaimer: I own nothing, Ubisoft owns every aspect of this story.
Author Notes: So yeah, I know I'm crazy for starting a new story when I'm already in the middle of another one, but I will do my best to write both and update in a prompt and timely manner. For those of you new to me, Hello. My name is The Real Sidekick and I will be your author today.
I'll update when I have a new chapter, until then...