Chapter 1: The Marksman


A shot (of a bullet, shell, or other projectile) or hit that rebounds one or more times off a surface.

Two doors opened slowly admitting the woman of the hour's attention. Two men stripped of their clothing, kneel down upon the floor their hands and their feet chained behind them. their mouths gagged.

Their eyes fell on the woman known to be an overseer of shadow operations.

Number Two relieved her two tailing escorts. The armed soldiers turned immediately about face and exited from the hall of reaping; to return to their sentry position postings.

"..... Number Three?"

The woman age of thirty plus years dressed in black, nails lengthened beyond that which would be conceivable as being normal; spoke to the highest ranking of the two, the nails from her right hand raking through the man's short trimmed hair starting from his neck behind.

Diamond tipped nails bit deep into the flesh of the man's exposed neck and blood began to drip from the scratched wounds from the op of his forehead. The man attempted to scream. His voice lost in the muddling of gagging.

The woman slowly moved to the next. Her voice, it was seething in dialect of international persuasion. Her body voluptuous; her one piece black suit slimmed tight to the curves of her natural form.

"..... Number Four?"

This man she now approached was visibly shaken.

The woman, in his eyes moved as a serpent ready to strike. His tongue searched out for that planted capsule in one of his teeth to the right side of his mouth frantically, as the woman set the palm of her left hand upon his bald head.

The tablet popped loose. The man bit down hard on the casing. Cyanide quickly released into his system.

This one, his mouth began salivating over the gagging. Number Two frowned on this and moved back to the other.

Number Three kneeled straight. The man only slightly shaken.

"..... Number Three..... You and Number Four are charged with conspiring against S.P.E.C.T.R.E..... but for you, there is yet a chance of redemption....."

Number Two removed the man's gagging that he may speak.

"..... What have you of me Number Two?"

"..... Unchain him, and release him into the maze of mirrors..... You have this one chance Number Three.....

Survive the maze and lead me to Bastion..... I know that he yet lives."

"The maze?! nobody survives the maze!"

Number Two smiled wickedly. "You could be the first..... You have, but to run from death..... This is no great challenge for you I hear."

"..... I live to aid S.P.E.C.T.R.E in attaining victory."

"And yet, you have cost us many failures.....

You flee as a coward, leaving others to implement wild ideas of their own ambitions as a shadow of S.P.E.C.T.R.E."

Number Three attempted to run. The man quickly caught up within the grappling grips of the two waiting soldiers outside the hall. The two judges garn in black robes following close behind.

The door to the maze of mirrors locked securely behind the tall and spindly average built, athletic man. His mind raced with raised fear as the sport began.

From concealed compartments behind two of the mirrors behind him; swinging blades extended to lash out at the man's calves and back of his legs.

The man managed to leap forward to avoid the first triggered trap. Two more blades positioned high causing him to duck low in motion.

The all too familiar voice from the one he most feared now echoed throughout the maze.

"..... Little, little, little man...... Run hard as you will , fast as you can....."

Number Three now looked on the hexagonal shaped iron plating shields extended from the corners of the maze's mirrored walls only two inches above his head.

The running man picked up his pace, and stumbled to avoid a razor wire that automatically raised to lock in position of his exposed throat. Number Three managed to drop low and slide beneath the wire.

The sounds of metal quickly impacting metal now reached his ears from the passages he managed to leave behind. Number Three rose fast back up onto his feet. The exit, it was within a dashing reach.

"..... Little, little, little one..... Super, you are not..... From my bullet, you cannot run....."

From one hanging iron plate to the next, the unseen marksman's bullet traced the man's path.

The exit door now loomed before him. Number Three paused to catch his breath. the man's chest feeling as if it were about to burst.

Pain, most excruciating; penetrated the back of his skull. Number Three crumpled as the marksman's well placed shot severed his brain from his spinal cord.

The floor gave way beneath the dying man. His motionless body slipped into the bottomless darkness beneath.

"..... That is one more for Ricochet."

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