“What are you, some kind of photographer?”
The rude security man seems to take pleasure in checking out everything duffel bag of camera supplies. You would rather be setting up for the governor of this province to arrive and snap the perfect picture for the papers. Or at least that's the story. The bodyguard gives you some shit over your pocket knife, a stainless steel folder clipped on your pocket. Ultimately, you are allowed into the press area as a photographer representing an obscure Some-shit-or-another Shimbun, though you are a fraud. The other reporters are like zombies, fueled by a combination of coffee, adrenaline, and cigarettes.
You've been hired by a mysterious client to assassinate the mayor of the town of Sekigai. Your tools are back in your hotel room, disassembled. You head up to the second floor of the press stands and set up a tripod. Before putting your eye to the viewfinder, you pull a cigar from a tin in your jacket pocket and light up. In your mind's eye, the decorated palaquin pulls into your vision, surrounded by lavishly decorated attendants. The buildings will be lavishly, of course, decorated. It will be dark, and your glass will be doings it best to such in as much light as it can. Custom coatings of your own composition will do their best for light transmission and to enhance the contrast. When you aren't assassinating people, you make an honest living selling expensive cameras with lenses of your own design and grinding.
The problem which has confronted you is the shot. Originally, it was your plan to take your shot from the Tidewater Library across the river hit the mayor as his parade passes between two of the Eight Temples. However the best shot you had was now blocked by these damned press stands which had only arrived in the last. It was a difficult shot in the best circumstances, with unreliable winds across the river and without the light to judge it from the mirage. And your next best shot was from the dockyards of the Warehouse District to the Old Bridge which was too exposed for you tastes. This sort of thing is why you don't like cities. Well, you have well into the evening to figure this out.
There are several factors in being successful in your endeavor. Of course, the shot itself – you only feel confident in obtaining a kill against such a moving target on the first shot out to perhaps 750 meters and you would feel better at 600. However, special consideration must be taken to infiltrating to the proper location; things like bell towers are too obvious but you really do need a commanding view if you wish to get out and collect your payment. Finally, you have intelligence which indicates that this mayor has hired a team of ninja, in the form a senior leader and a three-man cell. The idea that any given adolescent was a trained assassin has you on quite the edge. You would really prefer to get out alive and get paid, in that order.
[A] Reconnoiter for the ninja team
[B] Set up at your less favorable secondary final firing position
[C] Look for a better firing position
I'm a weab, but I also enjoy shooting. Might as well combine the two :^)
I'm not the best artist, but I do have a tablet and paint
Well, you have some other options. The procession starts with a blessing at each of the eight temples, before heading across the granite battlements of the river fort, through the Old Town and across the bridge before returning to the fortress. Taking a shot across the battlements could work, but the route there is not nearly so obvious. It might very well go through the courtyard and any shot from across the river would be spoiled.
Another option would be hiking up as far as you can go up the slopes of the valley setting up there. The problem is, of course, the ninja – who are looking for something unusual. Chances are, they are expecting some sort of assassin and are looking out for strange individuals. Even against one of those kids, you'd probably be gutted like a fish. Thankfully, you can pass that shudder of fear off as shivering in the cold breeze.
Looking at the river gives you an idea. You might be able to steal a sampan and take the shot there, and the wind will probably be behind you. And it provides a built in way to get away.
[A] Try and take the shot through the press stands.
[B] Start hiking
[C] Prepare for the boat plan
[D] Take the shot from the Warehouse District
What do you do in the meantime?
[A] Tour the lovely town (where)
[B] Find a local watering hole, alcohol is a banned drug in marksmanship competitions after all
[C] Wait in your hotel room until the time is right (Time Skip)
>[A] Press Stands
In the interest of the continued development of the questing community, let me point out some issues here.
It's discouraging to actually vote when you can't tell what your vote might do. I don't mean to say something like, tell me the result of this, but just make it implicit what the different results of each option might be. The first four options all seem to move us to the same destination, that is to say that we'll be killing a dude then ending up somewhere that isn't any different from somewhere else. The second set of options doesn't seem like it'd impact anything one way or another, so it's easier to just skip it entirely.
I understand that you need to establish the premise and story, so you can't just let us decide here not to be a sniper, but start us off after the kill if you have to so that the choices have meaning.
Having already gotten all the utility possible out of your cameraman persona, you head back to your hotel room to change into the festive robes and mask of this special occasion. This time, you wear a flat cap and sling a cello case over your shoulder. Your persona as a musician is complete and, since you can indeed play it, you have a certain familiarity to appear normal rather than out of the ordinary.
The streets of the Sekigai are awash with the light of red paper lanterns. Children play soccer in the geometric patterned robes popular in this part of the Elemental Countries. The crowds are thick, but it is no great difficulty to navigate the swirling mass. Young couples animated with the bright sparks of life. Old men who enjoy the atmosphere with body language that says they look forward to this occasion every year. Charming, perfumed prostitutes who show a bit much shoulder in red-lit alleys. The further your stray from the ongoing party, the fewer people there are. Indeed, the docks are quiet with a few forlorn guards watching over merchant ships which are probably carrying loads of fine timber to the more urban interior of the continent.
You crouch on your hands and feet and crawl like a cat from shadow to shadow, always on the alert for some disturbance. Next to the big ships are a number of small, single-man sampans which are perfect for your purposes. It is an exhausting process to crawl on your belly and take a look at the shore where they are beached. It is still and not a soul can be seen. You climb into a sampan and let it slip from into the river.
“Damn it,” you mutter.
However, the opposite bank is in sight. You are able to prevent a collision with the rocks and instead lash the boat to a jutting rock. It is now that you prepare your lethal instrument, a long rifle. Which is soon made longer as you screw a can-like suppressor onto the end. You slowly climb out of the boat and wedge yourself between the slick rocks. Cold water soaks through your trousers, but this is preferable to the rolling, bobbing, little boat. You place a large beanbag between your feet, tension the sling to your arm, and start to range in on the bridge. Since you know that the distance between three posts is a meter, it is a trivial matter to determine the range, some 850 meters plus or minus half a dozen or so. As you crank up the magnification and play with the parallax ring to observe the waving rays of mirage, like tall grass swaying in a field. You dial six-point-five mils of elevation and relax in this uncomfortable position, with the sixteen pounds of rifle resting against your body.
The drums boom as the procession begins. You grit your teeth and try to relax in this uncomfortable position. It takes hours for the procession to reach the bridge and you see the palanquin carved in the shape of twisting dragons start to make its way across the bridge. You bring the scope up your eye and twist it to a moderate magnification, creating an exit pupil in line with the size of your night-dilated pupil, to make the shot.
Every heartbeat disturbs your aim; the floating red crosshairs rock like a boat as you hold it ahead of the mayor in his palanquin. You slowly exhale and squeeze the trigger in perfect rhythm with your body. You intellectually know that the bullet travels some eighteen meters in the air and arcs down into a space almost a meter ahead of the man in your sights. Several heartbeats pass and then blood sprays out.
As a side note, the scope our sniper here is using is basically the Kahles 624i with AMR reticle I've been posting here. It's a really cool and very pricy piece of equipment, though not as crazy as some of the offerings from companies like Schmidt and Bender
However, you have an unnerving feeling that something has gone wrong. It is the sort of sixth sense for danger an experienced assassin develops over time. You look over your shoulder and there is a little girl looking at your from the bank. You put a finger over your mouth in the universally understood signal to be quiet. The girl opens her mouth, almost in slow motion as she starts to scream.
Your heart is racing. This was not part of the plan. You were hoping that you might paddle back across the river and leave with the remainder of your belongings in the confusion. If you act fast, you might very well silence this child permanently; however, you know it would leave a black stain on your conscience for the rest of your life. Another thought strikes you, to just drift down the river, but that would take you closer to the carnage and any bodyguards - especially of the ninja kinda.
[A] Shoot the girl
[B] Ignore the screaming girl
[C] Drift down the river
Sorry about the length, this took longer than I thought