Put-up Job I settled the stock against my shoulder, ignoring the biting cold that cut through my gloves. When I first woke in Brockton Bay it was a horrible shock. I still wasn't sure, even after the last two weeks, that this wasn't a dream. I mean, I fall asleep in a comfy bed and open my eyes in a dumpster in a city that doesn't exist? No money, no ID, and a generally shitty situation all round, and that was just getting out of the dumpster. It hadn't sunk in until I'd seen it, out in the Bay. The written descriptions hadn't done the Rig justice, not at night, the field around it glittering like stars in the aurora, reflecting in the dark waters to make a near perfect sphere. The locals were used to it, but I took the time to learn on the rail and drink the view in. Which is when a local tried to pick my pocket. Nice city. The trigger was cool to the touch, the best thermal gloves that fitted inside the guard unable to handle temperatures this low for long. The ice had made climbing up here murder, but I'd made it up at the cost of an outer glove. They could use it to trace me, but as long as I made my shot count it didn't matter. It wasn't snowing, a mercy as I had to use a scope. Laser sights were easier, but everyone knew what the red dot meant. Getting the gun had been shockingly easy. Getting money was the hardest part, but a dead homeless guy still had five hundred bucks on him, something I was putting straight down to a Contessa plot. The gun was as simple as having the right skin tone, walking into a shop in an area with a lot of white skin and distasteful blue ink, and telling a wannabee I wanted to remove a threat to the species. It was true, so it wasn't hard to make it convincing, we just had different definitions of threat. It certainly wasn't the threat he was thinking of, if he was thinking at all. I worked myself down under the tarp further, using the builder's materials to break up my outline even if it did nothing for the cold. Thinkers were a risk, but there weren't many of them. Unpowered observers and cameras with outline detection were numerous, but a manageable threat. The rifle barrel looked just like one of the pipes, or it would from street level. Royal Marine snipers were meant to be walked over without being spotted. I'd never been military, but I was making my best effort. But then, I only had to be hidden for just long enough. As long as I didn't miss. Getting out of Brockton Bay hadn't been a problem. The train ran fine. I'd expected Contessa or Cauldron to popup one of their Doorways, stop me before I could leave, but nothing. If this was an isakai, and not a lucid dream, I hadn't taken Invictus of Blank or anything so she'd proably already adjusted the Path to account for everything I knew. I'd read all the official material, including Ward, so if she knew that too Teacher was in for a hell of a shock. Either that or she knew how important my mission was. I'd hopped the borders without even a passport check, so either my work was Contessa's plot or the Simurgh's, or Earth Bet really took the undefended border thing seriously. One pull of the trigger would improve quality of life for so many, lift a huge burden from the undeserving, and perhaps let me sleep at night. It was the first and only priority I could have. Scion could wait. This could not. The doors were opening below. I controlled my breathing, focused the scope on the light that spilled out onto the ice-covered pavement. The first to leave was not the target, conspiciously female despite the heavy armour. She stalked forward, ice cracking under her feet as she stomped into the snow a few paces and turned, irritation visible in every line despite the heavy costume. The door opened again. I saw the outline, the distinctive headpiece, and held my breath. Slowly the target emerged, dark colours looking almost black in the doorway as they blended with the white panels on his armour. The description was seered into my mind. My loadout should be strong enough to punch through armour, but if he had a chance to react, to dodge. I tried to will my heartbeat slient as he pushed the door fully open. Stood outlined in shadow from the light behind him. I pulled the trigger. I blinked on reflex - good or the light would have blinded me - the thunder of the blast ringing in my ears. The bullet had punched through the front of the armoured helmet, torn the back completely off, starred the armoured glass of the door. His partner had dived for cover, was radioing in frantically, and with my half-deafened ears I was left to strain for the only call that mattered. I had done it, but I had to be sure. "Shooter! Feint's dead!" Yes! I've wanted to do that for five fucking years, you obnoxious little bastard! -- Yeah, I just re-read PRT Quest.