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The bushes seemed to move whenever the wind blew. Carefully, silently, intently; the man standing guard outside of the church grew weary with a sense of apathy. The time neared 3pm. More or less, he was tired; alert. Time slowly passed by. Watching. Waiting. Anticipating. Every move. Every gust. Every damn leaf.


The phone rang. Seizing it out of his pocket with lightning fast speed, he pressed the OK button. Raising it to his face, he smirked.


"Greetings, comrade."


The man by the church continued to talk on the phone for fourteen minutes. When he finally put the phone away, he readjusted his eyes to where the moving bushes had been. But, ever so mysteriously, they had vanished. He grimaced. A sound, he thought. He heard a faint crackle...


POP!


The man by the church fell with a thud.


"Move up," said the Captain.


"Roger," replied the Lieutenant, the designated marksman.


The two got up from their viable hiding spots between two fairly large bushes and silently ran to the door of the church. Opening the door, quietly, they peeked inside. There were many support beams dangled across the walkway, as the church had been hit by an accidental airstrike two years prior. They silently crept in through the door. The Captain signaled the Lieutenant, alerting him of a single Tango near the other door. He acknowledged. Responding with a 'hold' hand motion, he crept up behind one of the wooden pews behind the Tango. He believed he had the upper hand.


*tock*


The muzzle brake on the M82A1 slung over his shoulder smacked into a low beam, and the Tango turned around.


"Damn!"


POP!


The Tango grasped his Jugular in pain as he fell to the floor, squirming. Blood pooled around his body.


"Move up, you inadvertent pig," commanded the Captain.





Both soldiers consecutively reached the top of the ladder and looked around before proceeding to the bell tower.


"Set up here; when you’re done, contact HQ."


“Roger.”


The Captain walked closer to one of the windows and peered out. The church was atop a hill that looked over a large hotel, which had been abandoned since 1937. Slowly but surely, he pulled the scope on his M110 sniper system close to his face and peeked through. He fixed his view of the hotel, scanning the windows and various openings for signs of movement. Nothing.


“Sir, Intel suggests target is mobile,” interjected the Lieutenant.


“Then we don’t have much time,” replied the Captain. “Set up the Barrett.”


The Lieutenant unstrapped the 27lb Special Applications Scoped Rifle from his shoulder and placed it on the ground facing up. Unlocking the Bipod into place, he relocated the weapon’s stand onto the windowsill with the least vertical clearance. He reached into the satchel lying slightly beside him and pulled out the large, two-mile scope fitted exclusively for that weapon. He fitted it to the Picatinny rail on top of the weapon, then tightened the bolts with a coin.


“Target sighted in brown vehicle,” the Captain notified the Lieutenant.


The Lieutenant popped the lens caps off the scope, then looked through.


“I see ‘em. Doping the scope now.


The Lieutenant applied the appropriate measurements to the scope, taking into account wind speed, projectile drop, the “Sniper” effect, and the Coriolis Effect for 1,580 yards. When finished, he readjusted his eyes to the brown vehicle.


“We have about three minutes,” the Captain told the Lieutenant. “Get ready.”


The Lieutenant acknowledged, and reached into the satchel. When his hand came out, it was wrapped around a rifle magazine, stuffed with ten rounds in the .50 BMG. Carefully, so as not to disturb the rifle’s position, he locked the magazine into place. Switching hands, he reached forward and pulled back the large bolt, loading the cartridge into the chamber. He let go, and the bolt snapped forward. He then repositioned his cheek against the rifle, and peered into the scope at the brown vehicle.


“Ready.”


The vehicle came to a slow pace, nearing a gate. It stopped, and one of the tinted windows rolled down. A hand shot out, placing some sum of money into the gate workers hand, who then opened the gate. The window rolled up, and the vehicle slowly picked up its pace.


The Lieutenant's eyes forcefully followed the vehicle.


The vehicle once again came to a stop outside of the hotel. However, contrary to both the Captain’s and Lieutenant’s expectations, nothing happened. The vehicle remained still, and nobody opened the door. No one attempted to approach the vehicle, either.


Frustrated, the Lieutenant fidgeted.


“Quiet!” commanded the Captain.


The Lieutenant grimaced, then calmed himself.


“If we don’t get any movement in two minutes, I want you to put a round into the cabin,” said the Captain.


The Lieutenant didn’t reply, but had heard him.


Suddenly, without warning, a plume of smoke exited from the exhaust pipe, and the vehicle began to slowly roll away.


Shit! What now?!” questioned the Lieutenant, frantically analyzing the situation.


“Shoot!”yelled the Captain.


BANG!


Two seconds later, the supersonic round slammed into the front end of the brown vehicle in a shower of sparks. It tore through the engine block, and exited the other side of the vehicle as a mutilated lump of hot metal. The vehicle immediately came to a fierce halt.


“Readjust! Watch for movement!” commanded the Captain.


The Lieutenant grew weary of the man inside the vehicle, and opened fire once again. He threw four rounds into the cabin of the vehicle.


“Wait…” pondered the Lieutenant. “Those windows are bullet-proof!”


“We have support if you think we need it,” complied the Captain. “It’ll be easier to call in on an immobile target.”


“Roger.”


The Lieutenant took out his radio and pressed the button on the side, silently whispering coordinates for a Howitzer strike on the brown vehicle. Moments later, faint booms could be heard in the background. Seconds after that, the vehicle exploded.


“Target eliminated.” confirmed the Captain. “Pack up!”


The Lieutenant began disarming the M82A1. However, before he could remove the muzzle brake, a shower of sparks exploded through the wall a mere three feet from him.


Both the Captain and Lieutenant stood silent. A minute passed.


“Sniper,”the Captain whispered. “Don’t move.”


The Lieutenant rolled his eyes to the right, frantically searching for another muzzle flash. Ten minutes passed, motionless. Finally, a small yellow circle appeared in the distance only for a split second.


The Lieutenant’s heart rate tripled instantly, and he instinctively dropped to the floor. Three seconds later, another shower of sparks exploded on the wall opposite of the window.


The Captain moved behind the wall to the ladder leading downstairs. He jumped down, and rolled out of the fall. He yelled:


“I’ll try to get his attention; See if you can acquire his position!”


The Lieutenant acknowledged. He pulled the Barrett off of the windowsill and reloaded it.


The Captain cycled the action on his M110 and crouched behind a window, unseen.


“Ready for decoy!” called the Lieutenant.


The Captain took off the hood of his ghillie suit and put it on the barrel of his weapon. Then, slowly, he pushed the hood into the view of the window. He slowly moved it from side to side, trying to make the movements as human as possible. Then, suddenly, a noise. Moments later, a shower of sparks on the windowsill.


“Target acquired!” the Lieutenant cried.


The Lieutenant properly doped the scope for his target, all the while hoping that the enemy sniper hadn’t known his position. He repositioned the M82A1 and rested his cheek against the side of the receiver. He set the crosshairs in the middle of his scoped view, and placed his view over the building where the muzzle flash had appeared.


“Ready.”


The Captain displaced, and commenced his decoy operation once again. It took a bit more time, but with some complex movements, the enemy sniper fired again.


The Lieutenant, anticipating this, returned fire. The recoil of the rifle rocked his shoulder


back.


BANG!


Close to a mile away, the .50 caliber slug slammed into the wall next to the enemy sniper, sending dust and fragments of wood damn near everywhere. The sniper cried in pain as he fell to the floor, in shock.


The Lieutenant prepared for another shot. The Captain, now pleased with his brilliant decoy, set up his M110 and aimed down the scope. He doped said scope quickly, and waited for the enemy sniper to get up.


The enemy sniper, after twenty minutes, pulled himself together. He picked up his rifle and placed it back where it had been, then relocated himself on top of it.


The Lieutenant watched the events unfold. He dictated to the Captain, as steadily as he could, exactly what was happening.


“I have the shot,” he said.


“We’ll fire together. On three.”


One.


Two.


Three!


The Captain fired two shots, making a sort of echoed noise from the integrated silencer in the muzzle of his weapon. A fraction of a second later, a large, booming shot came from the Lieutenant’s Barrett.


The Captain’s first shot made the enemy sniper still, and the second alerted him. He quickly rolled to the left of the window. The Lieutenant’s shot, which had been purposely aimed off-target, struck directly left of the window; exactly where the enemy sniper had rolled to.


A shower of blood washed the opposite wall. “Target down.”


“Nice shot, Lieutenant.”


“All in a day’s work, Captain.”


The Captain and the Lieutenant proceeded to dig themselves out of the hole they had gotten into, and called command for a UH-60 Black Hawk extraction force.


Within an hour, the helicopter arrived. They boarded, silent.


“Good work, boys,” said the pilot. “Command says I have to shoot you over to Afghanistan, eh?”


“That’s correct,” replied the Captain. “Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry Division needs all the snipers they can get over there.”


“Ah, I gotcha.”


Without any more talk from the three, the helicopter left. The four hour ride was to have two pit stops in between; mere minutes after the first, the pilot said:


“We got an infrared lock. Everyone brace yourselves.”


The Lieutenant looked out the side window of the helicopter, and searched for signs of Opposition Forces. Suddenly, a plume of smoke erupted from the ground, and out of it came a fast moving, slimly profiled object.


This object, a surface-to-air missile, was headed straight for the helicopter.


The Lieutenant closed his eyes hard.

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