The night air was bitterly cold, uncharacteristically so, this far South-West, even for December, but Barrett was unperturbed, as his training had taught him to be. Any normal person in the position which he found himself at the moment would have long ago been compromised under the stresses of it: the cold, the hunger, lack of sleep. He had been going continuously for about twenty-one hours and counting and he could see the end in sight. It did nothing to drive him to do his job any faster-there was no compromise for doing it right, because he knew that no matter what the job, he only ever had one shot.

From slung over his shoulder, he pulled the carbine rifle in front of him, and examined it carefully, pulling back the charging handle and giving a feel to the grip, not to mention the suppressor which stood at the end of the tip of the barrel. However, he replaced it behind him, sliding the strap over his chest, knowing that in the best of circumstances, the heavy duty shooter wouldn't be necessary. Though, it never hurt to have a back up. He made a feel for the sidearm that sat in his left-side hip holster: combat .45 fitted with suppressor and laser sight; his precision tool for keeping his work clean and quick. His grip was firm and his hand steady, even at the chill while in his damp skin suit. He checked his right wrist as the orange LED screen of his watch ran down not the time of day, but rather a running timer-at forty-four seconds and counting.

The mansion's grounds were illuminated as if it were midday, despite rounding off ten at night, as security patrolled, armed with their own heavy artillery; each man carried no less than an SMG, automatic pistol fitted with an extended magazine and the FIB's standard issue Kevlar vests. Not to mention the name "Merryweather" embroidered into each of their designer polo shirts and hot branded onto every one of their firearms.

As was his expertise, Barrett knew the one spot of the grounds which stood clear from prying eyes of patrolling private soldiers as well as the stadium-standard spotlights which sought to kept the owner of the mansion safe and trap all would be intruders in a sea of blinding lights and bullets. He checked his watch again-based on his planning, as the guard to his three o'clock would be heading around the side of the house, he had mere seconds to clear the few yards from the grounds to the pool deck before another guard would come around from his nine. Without even blinking, as he watched his point B, he readied himself and waited for his watch to vibrate, signalling the point where the guard would round the corner of the house.

BZZZT.

On his mark, set and go, Barrett, shadow-like as he clutched his .45 with both hands, his left index ready on the slide, ran from his hiding place to the beautifully unsecured deck. He kept his whole body low in the few seconds it took for him to dash to the deck and slip to the back door of the seemingly impenetrable fortress. He zipped between the light spots and by the back door, slid the counterfeit keycard-which he was afforded by weeks of reconnaissance and undercover work-past the sensor, which clicked in an instant, allowing him to walk right in through the door.

Inside, as he lightly tread on the pristine, polished marble floor without a sound, he checked his watch again. The timer had restarted and now was running down from ninety seconds: how much time he calculated he would have before his presence would be picked up by someone or something. He had no time to mind alarm systems or C.C.T.V., his expertise was practical, so his M.O. meant working around it. They would eventually know he was there, but by time they would figure it out, it would already be too late. As he steadily approached his engagement point-the master bedroom at the top of the stairs-heavy, electronic bass which pounded against the ceilings and floors, shaking the bulletproof windows, grew louder. Shouts and screams of adulation came from behind the shut bedroom double-door as he crept up the stairs towards them. There was a party going on behind those doors and he was about to crash it.

He eased closer, his right hand inching to the gold-trimmed door handle, reading his trigger finger and lifting the silenced barrel...

... then... his plan jarred completely. The door swung backwards, opening up. The perpetrator was merely a wobbling, tripped, twenty-something blonde, who gazed at what stood before her: a build, six-foot man in head-to-toe all black, gripping a handgun and pointing it right at her face. She didn't know if to scream or to tell her host that he had company. Her mouth dropped open and as he did best in times like such, Barrett improvised. He grabbed the girl and spun her around, wrapping his arm around her neck and forcing her back into the room with him closely behind her-the poor thing was too busy tripping balls to know what the hell was going on anyway, so she could do little more than numbly mouth in panic.

Barrett pushed himself and her into the room of drugged up party-goers, who, for a brief moment, left his intrusion unnoticed. Three girls, two guys, all unfortunate stereotypes: young, stupid and killing themselves in hedonistic fits of their young stupidity, fueled by the blaring Flying Lotus on the bedroom's sound system and the mixture of sparkling white powder and cheap Boomshine. Barrett scanned the room, but the host wasn't among the five of them. He wasn't wrong, though, his plan wasn't wrong-his target had to be there.

Failing to miss a beat, he scanned the room again, all while waiting for the inevitable buzz at his wrist. He spotted it, the ajar bathroom door, the occupant most likely jaded to what became fearful gazes and open mouths at Barrett's presence in the room. Wrenching the girl along with him, he approached the bathroom door and then throwing her aside, to the floor, he kicked it open: in the bathroom, his head bowed down on the vanity's countertop, that sick snort coming from him, was the target. He waited to finish his rail, to spin around, staring down the barrel of Barrett's .45. However, unlike his guests, he was very much aware.

"H-holy fuck!" shouted Blake as he slipped and stumbled to the hard floor with a thud, and Barrett edged closer, pressing the barrel against Blake's temple as his guests watched in silent horror, gently shaken about by the astounding bass of the music. "L-listen man," he began pleasing, "I-I know why you're here... l-l-look, I didn't know who that kid was, man. I promise, if I knew, I-I wouldn't've shot 'im man. R-r-really!"

He waved his arms about as Barrett cocked the hammer; Blake grew more frantic.

"L-look, look, l-l-look!" he stumbled incessantly, "I-I can pay you, a lot. Double whatever you're getting n-now! I promise I-I'll leave. Ch-change my name, disappear, won't push or sh-shoot videos ever again, man. I'll be a ghost!"

Barrett tilted his head, almost contemplatingly. "This isn't personal, Blake; this has nothing to do with the kid. Besides, I killed him myself this morning." Almost.

Blake's eyes widened as he shudderingly turned his head towards Barrett, the barrel scraping against his forehead as he gazed into the ice-cold eyes of the killer standing over him.

"This? This is simply me cleaning up the mess that you and the kid made. This is me saving a very powerful man a lot of valuable time and money. This, Blake?"

BZZZT!

... the crash of the front door being battered down by zealous Merryweather footsoldiers echoed throughout the house as Barrett kept his gaze on Blake.

"This, is strictly business. Martin sends his regards."

POP!

Blood and grey matter splattered throughout the bathroom, as one of the dazed girls regains herself enough to let go a horrified scream. By that time, though, Barrett darted for the floor to ceiling windows at the opposite end of the room, just as Merryweather's heavies busted their way in through the rest of the door, pushing past the stoned kids who tried to flee the scene. The Merryweather soldiers raised their weapons, ready to riddle Barrett with bullets, but his plan, at this point, was infallible.

As he sprinted for the window, time slowed to a crawl and his reflexes accelerated. He checked the soldiers, then the window, then his gun, waiting...

BZZZT!

A thunderous bang shook the room as sparks shot from the windows. Plastic charges molded at the base of the window, camouflaged and gone largely unnoticed up until now, erupted, shattering the frame of the bulletproof glass, allowing enough give for Barrett to thrust his way through the window. From the second story window, he soared into the night air, the Vinewood sign coming into his line of sight in the split second he hovered over the phallically shaped pool which stood feet beneath him. He curled his body, dropping into it with a massive splash, as in the bedroom, the Merryweather footsoldiers gathered themselves following the explosion and rushed for the window. Staring at the rippling water, the group split, half standing at the window and the other half rushing downstairs and onto the deck, hoping to cut Barrett off at the pass. However, as the water settled, Blake still sitting on the bathroom floor, draining blood into the tub from the hole in his head, Barrett was nowhere to be seen.

Minutes later, Barrett approached his navy blue Karin Futo-which would be inevitably scrapped or chopped hours from then-stationed blocks away from the mansion compound. He had changed out of his skinsuit, attired in a pair of black jeans and a forest green t-shirt, a black travel bag in hand as he threw it into the backseat of the car. From the glovebox, he pulled a pair of binoculars and aimed it at the house, scanning for anyone who may have been looking out for him, as he could see two heavies carrying out a body bag through the backdoor, Blake most likely zipped up in it. Giving no expression, he slipped into the Futo, started it up and drove off into the Vinewood Hills.

As he cruised along Vinewood Boulevard, past the Oriental Theatre, he was startled by the sound of his phone chiming in the pocket of his jeans. He pulled it out and examined the number: it was local.

"Hello?" he apprehensively greeted, his eyes fixed straight ahead and his foot gradually pressing on the gas pedal,

"David Barrett." greeted the voice at the opposite end, "How has time treated a dog like yourself?"

"Who is this?" Barrett pressed on the throttle even more and the engine picked up as he checked the rear view mirror.

"Someone who thinks that you need to stop playing equaliser for the rich kids." The voice was gruff, but familier. Paternal to Barrett, even, "Someone who thinks that it's about time you do some worthwhile work again."

Barrett paused.

"Do you copy, Dead Air?" asked the voice.

Barrett's eyes widened and his foot hit the brakes, bringing him to a hard stop as he came up to a rapidly changing traffic light.

"Roth... C-Commander." Barrett called out,

"It really is just Roth now. I'm retired. Unlike you, getting yourself wet, while you play cleaner for the divas who can't keep themselves out of trouble."

"Where the Hell are you?" questioned Barrett.

"I'm at my ranch, David and more importantly, I want you to come and see me, I have something I need to talk to you about."

Barrett went silent, contemplating the number from which Roth was calling him, before adding: "Your ranch? Outside Vice City?"

"Affirmative. Can I count on seeing you soon, solider?"

Barrett paused, before confidently ending the call with "Hooyah."

Click.

Name: David Barrett
Age: 34
Location: Los Santos, San Andreas.
Profession: (Formerly) Spec Operator, Navy SEALs. (Currently) Black Operator/Assassin, Unaffiliated
Status: Activated.