Disclaimer: I don't own F.E.A.R.
Author's Note: This was originally intended to be one big chapter. However, I'm having some trouble in the later bits. So I've decided to break it in two so I can give you something new to read. The second part is mostly finished and will be uploaded upon completion. Thanks, once again, for your patience.
"Are you in position," Danielle's voice crackled through the headset mounted inside my helmet.
"Affirmative," I replied, flipping open the clasps on the black case that contained the disassembled custom Wraith sniper rifle,"I'm just unpacking now."
"Hey Jason," my sister Janet interjected,"Just make sure you hit the armored shoulder. The boss'll be pissed if dent her new hardware."
"I told you not to worry about me sis, you know how many times we've rehearsed this op. Why don't you tell Krueger to try and keep his illusions up after I take the shot. I don't want another slip up like the one he pulled during practice the other day. If he drops the ball while you're extracting, this whole thing goes up in smoke."
"Two things Strongfield," Andrew interrupted furiously,"One: don't call me fucking Krueger. Two: I thought I made it clear that I only 'slipped up' because of what that shithead Alan said. I get so goddamn sick that rumor about me fucking Aristide to get into Project Artemis."
Andrew Keegan had the most overpowering inferiority complex of anyone I'd ever met. Poor bastard, everyone absolutely despised him as a result of his obsessive crusade to prove that was as good a soldier as his older brother had been. He'd do anything it took to enhance his position or augment his abilities, even to the point of accepting an offer to become an experiment in one of those 'projects' Armacham was so proud of. He'd turned himself into a damn freak just to compensate for his lack of conventional combat skills. Sure I was on the Artemis squad, but I'd never been a part of Project Artemis.
Andrew's only real strengths were his tenacity and the power he obtained from the experiments. His unique ability to cast images and thoughts into the minds of others made him a valuable asset and earned him the nickname "Freddy Krueger", often shortened to just "Krueger". He loathed that title, but no one respected him enough to refrain from using it behind his back. Usually, fear of his retaliation would stay the tongue of the garden variety troops. I, however, was plagued by no such trepidation.
"If it's just a rumor, why do you get so aggressive whenever someone mentions it?"
"Because I-," he got no further before Danielle cut our argument short.
"FOCUS," she snapped. "The success of this entire performance depends solely on the two of you, and if either of you fuck it up even a little, I'll...," she paused here as if endeavoring to formulate a sufficiently horrifying consequence before continuing.
"You'll end up like the last two operatives who failed me," she hissed maliciously.
I grimaced, Malcolm and Luke were a frequently discussed topic in the barracks.
I could almost hear Andrew seething with frustration on the other line before communications went silent again.
I resolved to put the incident from my mind so that I'd be able to fully concentrate on the task assigned to me. I retrieved the components of my weapon from the case and reassembled it as efficiently as possible. I decided that it would be wise to examine my surroundings.
The barren rooftop left me feeling very exposed, but it was the only vantage point with a suitable line of sight to my target. I'd much rather have shot from a window, however it simply wasn't an option in the current situation. The wind speed was also erratic at this altitude. I wished I'd been accompanied by a spotter, but two people would likely be seen.
I dropped down to my stomach, deployed the bipod, and adjusted the settings on my scope to compensate for the distance and wind.
I centered the crosshairs on the podium where the President would be delivering her speech and observed the scene below. I was the finest marksman in Artemis aside from Danielle, who was overseeing the operatives that were posing as the President's bodyguards. The cloaking armor I wore would assure me a safe extraction, but the others would be relying on Andrew's skill in psychic manipulation. His job was to make sure that the crowd thought that Aristide received a devastating injury. The shot would only strike her shoulder where it would do minimal damage to the android. The crowd would see her being loaded into an evac chopper and rushed to the nearest hospital with biotech repair capabilities. In reality, she would be taken to a clandestine meeting with the other members of the United Corporate Authority while a decoy helicopter carrying a lookalike android with real damage arrived at the hospital.
My sister would be among the disguised troops.
I'd been worried about Janet recently. I could always tell when she was hiding something, and I felt it now. Oh well, I'd think about that after the mission was finished.
"I'm ready," I said into the mike.
"Acknowledged," Danielle replied crisply,"We're moving now."
"Hey bro, I'll be looking for you up there," my sister chirped in her usual cheery demeanor.
I smiled in spite of myself, at least one of us was relaxed.
I watched on through the scope as Aristide and the troops pushed through the doors of the government's embassy here in Fairport.
At Aristide's appearance, the throng of spectators erupted in a thunderous jubilation, and why wouldn't they? Aristide had been a hero with the American public since she'd received a majority of the credit for halting the Crisis before it spread beyond Fairport. That spectacular reputation had only been enhanced when she survived the assassination attempt two years ago at the closing of her first term as president.
Well, I suppose it didn't actually fail.
I waited for the signal word as she began the speech.
Author's note: All of your questions about this chapter, and I know there's alot of them, will be answered in Part II.
Jason and Janet Strongfield were created by WoWMotherFan45.