Appellant morti, sicut et diabolus; tu non times eius venit cum.
Men call upon Death, as they do upon the Devil; when he comes they're afraid of him.
Stockholm, Sweden - February 1986
“Target is approaching.” Looking down onto the city, Hera raises her scope, scanning the perimeter. The street directly below her was nearly empty, with the last few shop owners shutting down for the night. “Lawrence, I’m going to need you on the south side of the building. No one comes in or out.”
Lawrence’s voice crackles through the radio, “copy that.”
“Nico. Are you in position?” Moments pass and no response comes. She turns the dial on her radio, shifting to a different channel. “Nico, do you copy?” Static. “Lawrence, do you have eyes on Nico?”
“No. I’m in position and the target is about to hit the mark. What’s the play here?”
“You take the shot. We can’t compromise the mission.” Hera tracks the target with her scope. Over the radio she hears the hammer of Lawrence’s gun click. “Do you have a visual?”
“Target is in sight. Locked and ready to go when you are,” Lawrence replies.
“Do it.” A second later, a shot rings out. From her position, Hera watches as the body of the target falls to the floor. However, she is unprepared for the second shot she hears almost immediately after the first. The woman who was walking beside the target slumps to the ground. “Son of a bitch.”
Lights in the windows above the streets come on and Hera catches a glimpse of Lawrence retreating back around the corner. Taking that as her cue to leave, Hera grabs her gear and dashes to the stairwell leading back down into the building. Entering the building, she slows her pace and listens the commotion coming from within the apartments.
“Did you hear that?”
“There’s bodies in the streets!”
“Call the police!”
Hera breezes past the row of doors before reaching the elevator. The doors open and she steps inside. The doors shut and Hera leans against the wall. She takes note of the security camera situated in the corner and averts her gaze, angling her face away from the camera. She had done her research. She knew that the building couldn’t afford high quality cameras — it would be nearly impossible to identify her in the images, but in this line of work one could never be too cautious.
When the elevator reaches the ground floor, Hera walks into the lobby then out the doors into the cold winter air. The frantic panic of the scene her, Lawrence, and undoubtedly Nico had caused was just around the corner. Ducking into a nearby alley, she pulls out her radio and turns the dial.
“Regroup at the rendezvous point,” Hera hisses into the device. Without waiting for a response, she switches it off dropping it back in her bag. She closes her eyes in a silent prayer before turning back onto the main street. She raises the collar of her coat and looks down at her watch.
There was still a half hour until transport would be able to retrieve them from the access point. She turns the corner, taking herself farther from the scene of the crime. Two police cars zoom past, sirens wailing. Hera chances a look back and a familiar figure turning the opposite corner catches her eye.
For a moment, she considers turning back and following him. The sound of a third siren quickly ends her consideration. Hera heads towards the bay, the noise of the commotion fading away with every turn. She quickens her pace, the wind whipping past her. She keeps her head low, weaving through the few people sidewalk.
Eventually, she ducks into a seemingly closed cafe. She waits for the door to close before making a move.
“What were you thinking?” She marches over to a table in the corner. In the darkness, she can just make out Nico’s silhouette hunching over the table.
“Your plan was flawed,” he says as she sits down across from him.
Despite the fact he couldn’t see her, Hera rolls her eyes. “The target was the prime minister. One hit. One body. Those were the orders.”
“Lawrence was too close. If she saw him, we would’ve been screwed. The whole mission would’ve been compromised.” The chair creaks as Nico leans back; the air of nonchalance causes Hera’s blood to boil.
“You can’t just choose who lives and who dies!” Hera slams her hand on the table, causing Nico to refocus his attention on her. “We do what we need to do and get the hell out, Nico.”
Nico scoffs. “I’ve been doing this much longer than you have.”
“I’m a tactician. The government hired me because I know what I’m doing,” Hera retorts. “And that means you follow my plan.”
“You think you know what you’re doing.” Nico leans in. “So tell me: if I hadn’t stepped in and the prime minister’s wife had screamed, how long do you think it would’ve taken for civilians to notice two suspicious men?”
She hates to admit it, but Hera knows he’s right. “Still. You killed an innocent person.”
“No one is truly innocent these days.”
Hera closes her eyes and rubs her temple; obviously he wasn’t understanding her point. “Nico. I have to put it in the report; you killed her.”
“Lawrence is family, Hera.”
“I know, but–”
“What should I have done? Leave him to get arrested?”
“Lawrence would know it’s part of the job. He can handle himself; he’s a grown man.”
“Do you know what they would’ve done to him? He’s a murderer in their eyes.”
“He’d get ten, maybe twenty years in prison.”
“It’s the prime minister. You know as well as I do that he’d get something much worse. Life. And then there’s no telling what would be done to him behind closed doors.” Nico stares pointedly at her. She averts her gaze knowing he was right.
“Lawrence is trained to handle these kinds of situations. We all are; this is what we signed up for.”
Nico sighs. “I know, I know. We would know how to handle it. But how would Rosaline?”
“Don’t bring her into this.”
“Oh, I have to. Imagine the look on her face when we tell her that she may never see Lawrence again.”
“That their child will never know his father. What will you tell her then?”
Hera freezes. “What?”
“You didn’t know.” Nico crosses his arms with a smug look on his face. “You have to realize that the consequences affect more than just one person.”
Hera sinks back into her chair. She closes her eyes, taking a deep breath. “I know, Nico. It doesn’t change the facts, though. You killed her.”
A truck passes in the street, causing them to both go silent momentarily. Seeing the frustration on her face with the passing light, Nico softens his demeanor.
“Change the perspective.” Nico reaches across the table and places his hands over Hera’s. “If you look at it, I spared her the tragedy of living without the one she loved.” Hera’s gaze moves down to where their hands meet. She shifts her hand, not allowing him to intertwine their fingers. “If it were you, I wouldn’t be able to bear it.”
Hera exhales sharply. The sincerity in his voice simultaneously annoys her and flatters her. “You know it’s not going to be easy.”
Nico chuckles. “Nothing I haven’t dealt with before”
Hera furrows her brow. Before she can say anything else, Nico quickly slides out of his chair and slides behind Hera’s chair, shielding her from the door. He quickly draws the pistol on his hip and Hera follows suit.
The footsteps outside grow closer. “Fifteen feet,” Nico whispers.
Hera shakes her head. “Ten.”
Their eyes stay trained on the door. They see a shadow move from behind the curtains. Nico cocks his pistol.
“Nico, drop your gun.” Hera nudges Nico, holstering her gun. “Nico. Drop it.”
The handle of the door jiggles and the door creaks open. Lawrence stumbles in, with his hands up. “Woah. Cease fire, soldier.” Nico drops his gun and Lawrence laughs. Hera places her gun on the table and drops her head into her hands.
“Jesus Christ,” Nico laughs. He slides the gun back into the holster. “I nearly shot you.”
“Would not have been the first time.” Lawrence slings his bag on the floor and takes a seat. “So, when’s transport getting here?”
Copyright 2019, Crazy10 Entertainment