Friday, November 11, 2011

CBR-III: Bonus Book: Inheritance

I can't really write much of a review in this review seeing as how it's the last book in a four part series. To give away any of the plot would be too revealing for anyone considering on actually picking the series up. So I'm going to tackle this another way. Hopefully you can bear with me.

I picked up the Inheritance Cycle shortly after Eldest came out from a friend of mine. Actually, I think it was an ex girlfriend but that doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things. It's not a well written series. I have to admit that. It's certainly not on par with Lord of the Rings even though the author attempts to create a Tolkien like setting and languages.

Christopher Paolini was around 15 when he started doing the initial writing for Eragon and the second edition was published in 2003 when he was 19. Is it awesome that he managed to get a book published so young? Fuck yeah. I still haven't had one published. Of course, that would require me to get past my slump and actually write one. What does that mean for Paolini though? He wasn't very mature when he wrote the first book. I would even dare to say that due to home schooling that maturity was probably even more lacking. So the book isn't very polished or refined. It's childlike in its approach and is generally considered to be even less of a young adult book than Harry Potter is. However, that being said, he has managed to grow in his books. I wouldn't say his writing is phenomenal now, after reading Inheritance, but he's getting there. He still keeps the playfulness of the other books, that lack of maturity, but he now manages to imbue more adult themes and situations into the work.

What Paolini manages though is to bring emotion into reading about his characters. After reading Inheritance I was left with a similar feeling to reading The Deathly Hallows. I was sad. I cried several times. I felt depressed after having a series disappear on me. I've spent six years involved in a series that has just come to a conclusion. In fact the spacing of the books is close to that of Harry Potter. I feel terrible for fans of the A Song of Ice and Fire series.

Literature also makes you more invested in the characters than a film does. At least in my opinion. I didn't cry when (Harry Potter Spoiler: for those rare people who haven't read the series or seen the movies) Hedwig died in the movie, but you can bet your fucking ass I cried when I read that part in the book (End Spoiler). It's a trying thing for a fan of a series. To read the characters of Eragon, Saphira, Arya, Roran, Murtagh, and the world of Alagaësia as their story ends. It's almost like letting go of an old friend. To see how your dreams of what would happen with the characters's hard.

Now that I've expressed my mental anguish, let me discuss the book. The series was supposed to end with Brisingr. It was only supposed to be a trilogy. So I remember when a friend let me borrow it that they said to me, "Be prepared. You're going to be pissed."

Of course I didn't understand until I got to the end. Not only was I pissed because I was expecting it to be the last, but because I knew I was likely going to have to wait another three years to be able to finish it. At 849 pages I still don't think Paolini was ready to finish it.

The end result was that I feel a bit cheated. I found the ending to The Deathly Hallows to be a bit idiotic. I even laughed when I read it. The ending to The Lord of the Rings trilogy, appropriate. I think Paolini wanted a Lord of the Rings ending, but he's no Tolkien.

He dragged out the ending unnecessarily. Continually adding more and more when I just wanted to find out what the fuck happened to the characters. In doing so he aggravated me. Which is not something you really want to do to a fan of a series that is ending. I found several moments where I felt he could have stopped...and he didn't. I kept turning the page for him to reveal new things to me. If he had managed to quit writing, and put his thoughts to the side, I think he could have come up with a much better ending.

If you're a Harry Potter fan I think you can find yourself interested in the characters. If you liked Lord of the Rings you will see plenty of similarities. If you loved Lord of the Rings you might hate the Inheritance Cycle. I don't know if I should give an age disclaimer here. I read Eragon when I was around 22, and I was able to enjoy it. Granted, I think my IQ might have dropped a few points, but I liked it. The series does get better though.

I kind of wonder what it would have been like it Paolini started it at 25 rather than 15.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

CBR-III: Book #52: The Strong Shall Live

Technically I finished the Cannonball Read a while back. I’d read another of the Women’s Murder Club, another Jason Bourne book, and another Jack Reacher book, but since I’d done a mass review of those I felt a solo review would be kind of cheap. Then I read Cowboys and Aliens by Joan D. Vinge thinking it was what the film was based on and finding out it is a novelization of the screenplay (its almost identical, but provides a little more character development and a different ending). The original is actually a graphic novel by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg. Basically I wanted to end on a high note and not sell myself short. I wanted to look good.

“They came west to stay, risking their blood to dig the gold, ride the range, conquer the greedy, and carve out a legacy of freedom. Men honed by desert fires and edged by combat with fist and gun. Women tested to the limit of endurance by an unrelenting land. Now, in a long-awaited collection of his stories, Louis L'Amour tells of the real heroes of the frontier, the survivors for whom hanging tough was as natural as drawing breath.”

-That’s the description for Louis L’Amour’s The Strong Shall Live.

I’ll be honest in admitting that the son of a man who owns damn near every one of L’Amour’s books just read one of his for the first time. My dad even has the whole leather bound collection. I’ve never been a big fan of western writing though. I love western movies, but the writing always seems to bore me with vast descriptions of landscape…like Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. That book took me three weeks to read.

The Strong Shall Live is exactly what its description said; a collection of short stories about really tough people. It opens up with the story of Cavagan, a solitary man cut from combat and natural hardship he’s the thorn in the side of a group of outlaws. After extensive tries to make the man leave, including attempts to kill him, the leader of the outlaws takes him out in the middle of nowhere (without food, water, or ammunition) and dumps him, leaving him for dead. Only Cavagan knows the land, and he’s stubborn.

That very first short story is the namesake of the series, “The Strong Shall Live.” The rest of the book follows a similar pattern. My favorite was “Hattan’s Castle.” The story follows Bon Caddo, a giant of a man, also solitary, who takes to mining a piece of land in peace. The town, however, is led by John Daniel. He’s a ruthless cutthroat that likes his hands in everything. Originally he tries to get one of his men to bring Caddo in to “talk.” When that doesn’t work he sends his private, prettiest girl, Cherry Creslin to go talk him in. Only Cherry falls in love with Caddo. Daniels sends someone to kill him, that doesn’t work, so Caddo brings the fight to him. I don’t know why I loved that particular story more than the others. I just did.

The great thing about Louis L’Amour is that everything he writes about is real. Maybe not the actual characters or the story themselves, but the environment. As my father told me…”If L’Amour writes about a creek or a cave. They exist. They are right where he says they are.” It’s an admirable trait and one that grew on me. I like that he’s traveled over the areas he writes about, that he has actually led an interesting life himself, and I loved that these short stories dealt with quiet, tough people. The characters aren’t glorified outlaws. They’re not gunslingers or gamblers. They are normal, hardworking people. One of the stories, “One Night Stand,” involves an actor who is hired to drive a young gunnman out of town. He pretends to be Wild Bill Hickock and frightens him away.

As a person who is not a fan of western literature I cannot recommend the book more. It’s wonderful. A fantastic little glimpse at the opposite side of frontier life. Away from the known famous ones like Wyatt Earp and Billy the Kid. A derailment from tales of prostitutes and alcoholics.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


For those of you who endeavour to read this, I salute you. This was an eight part series that I wrote in early 2008 for a friend of mine named Michael Sherman. Be forewarned that it is kind of long, so this isn't a quick blog read. It's more of a long short story (close to 50 pages). You can tell how some of my style changes as I go through it, and even my "voice." Anyway. Thanks for reading, and enjoy.


Jack stood in a small clearing of the dense woods, bare chested to nature his nipples were erect in the chill air and the small silver pendant, a tiny cross hanging around his neck, almost seemed to command the moonlight as it glimmered eerily.

He put his blood drenched hands, that were quickly drying, up to his face and rubbed vigorously, finishing by sliding them through his thick close cut black hair. He then ran them down his chest, lingering over his heart, and down to his sides where he clenched them into fists hard enough to turn his knuckles white. He screamed. It wasn't a simple scream, or a scream of sorrow, but a scream of hate. He screamed so long, and so hard, that the back of his throat sent tingles of pain into him even welling his eyes with tears. He beat his fists into his chest, like a large male guerilla, and let out a guttural roar. Then quickly, in what would look like a moment of Zen, he took in several deep breaths, breathing in through his nose and out through his mouth, and the hands at his sides opened loosely. His posture, which before had been very stoic and stiff slowly began to relax, the shoulders no longer tense, muscles no longer taunt and rigid.

Apparently he felt the cold now because he let out a violent shiver and wrapped his arms around himself. He looked around, disoriented and confused and reached down to grab his shirt off of the ground, seeing his hands covered in blood he dropped the shirt again and began to scrub at them. Realizing the futility in this notion he looked around, found the path he had taken into the woods, and headed back down it at a full on run.

He was in excellent physical condition; having been a track star in both high school and college his form was perfect even as he dodged around low hanging branches and small bushes. After college he had started working out more, often going to the gym at least four days a week, and taking classes in both yoga and muah Thai, if you were to look at him, you would say he was in the best shape of his life, which many people did. His muscles almost flowed into each other, lean and graceful, and if you watched closely enough you could see each one perform their necessary tasks. His continued to run in a full sprint until he came to a man made clearing.

In this center of this clearing stood a small cabin, old, run down, the wood was rotted and splintering, faded and dull, a small trickle of smoke rose out of a tiny chimney and into the night, and a small window emitted a thin amount of light onto bare ground. He ran for the cabin and then slowed his pace as he neared it. Jack walked around to the front, slowly, feeling the cold slightly damp ground under his bare feet, the crunch of dried leaves.

The entrance to the cabin, like the rest of it, was plain, a small porch with a rocking chair and a rack of wood for the fire were the only ornaments. The door was ajar, light spilled out onto the porch and out of two windows on either side of it. He approached slowly, and walked inside. The inside of the cabin looked much like the outside, small pieces of old tattered furniture, a bed, and a small kitchen, fit the one large square room.

On the far wall right in front of him the body was still slumped, the axe blade still buried in its chest, gore on the wall and floor around it. The dead man's hand sat in his lap cupping a generous amount of blood like a crimson pool. The man was large, easily over six foot six, which only made him a few inches taller then Jack, but the bulk of his three hundred pound frame easily made Jack look much smaller. He spit on him, and then turned his attention to the man lying in the center of the room. This man was much smaller then he was, only about five-ten, cuts all over his body, penetrating through the black fatigues that he was wearing, showed that he had gone down in a hard fight. Jack spit on this man too, then gingerly touched his own wound on his forearm, and his right eye, which had already stopped swelling. He regarded the two other bodies as well, one draped over a wooden chair that looked like it was ready to crumble, the other by the kitchen sink, the head disappearing in the murky water where it had been left when he died, the body was crumpled like an accordion, Jack figured his chin must be stuck on the inside of the sink. All of the men were dressed in identical black fatigues; all of them had the same buzz cut hair. He looked around at the carnage, 9mm pistols lay discarded on the floor, and a knife was against one wall, what looked like a police baton lay on the bed.

Jack moved around the bodies quickly to a suitcase that was under the bed. He pulled it out, it was one of those steel suitcases like you see in bad cop movies that the criminals always carry their drugs or cash in. Removed a change of clothes, black pants, black shirt, black hoodie and toboggan, black socks…he almost laughed at the pattern. It seemed all of his life he had always worn black, just like all of his life he had been fighting, just like all of his life he had been running. He put the clothes on, capped it off with a pair of black steel-toed boots, the kind that loggers wear, and headed back out the door. Without realizing it he was running again, all the way to the black explorer with tinted windows.

He opened it up and climbed into the passenger seat, he could have riffled through the bodies to find the keys to this vehicle, but that would have taken to long. Instead he reached underneath the console, pulled out several wires, and started it. He threw it into drive and headed straight for the cabin that was about a mile back. Without stopping he punched through the center of the cabin, rolling the massive vehicle over the body in the center of the floor, and stopping when it ran into the big man against the wall. He hopped out, grabbed the knife off of the floor, rolled under the SUV and punched a hole in the gas tank with the blade. Instantly the smell of gasoline permeated the entire room and he walked back outside through the large hole he just made and began tossing would back in from the pile, a trail, leading from the small fireplace to the SUV. It didn't take as long as he thought for the fire to get going and he had to back up to escape the heat as the cabin went up like a match.

He shielded his eyes and smiled.

The smile quickly faded from his face however when he heard the sounds of more approaching vehicles. He silently cursed himself, he should have known they would have sent backups; no single squad had ever taken out the Night. He ran to the edge of the tree line, found the tree he had marked with a large slash from a katana, and began to push leaves to the side until he found the box he was looking for, half-buried in the ground.

He opened it quickly, he never put a lock on it, he had no reason to put a lock on it, no one would have ever found it and to find it someone would have to be incredibly lucky, and Jack didn't believe in luck. Inside the box his hands hovered over an array of weapons, from automatic weapons, explosives and knives, to pistols and swords. He removed a katana with a design like that of the early Muromachi period and its shorter counterpart, a tanto, and ran into the tree line.

He could have handled this from a distance, but the bastards had pissed him off this time, they should have known better then to come to his retreat. That cabin had been his only escape from the world around him. He bit his tongue until he tasted blood. Two explorers slid to a halt in front of the cabin and four men spilled out of each one, they were layered with automatic weapons, pistols, knives, and even hand grenades. One group of four spread out to surround the cabin while the others seemed to be holding their ground.
Jack bid his time, watching their movement, figuring out which ones were slower, the weaker prey, not as quick and more jumpy then the guy standing next to him. He quickly ascertained that the group that stayed behind were the "hunters," the best of them. They stood in a tight circle, backs to each other, in between a crouch and standing, a "ready" position, bull-pup rifles at the ready. He smiled; they were getting better-trained men. The men who had surrounded the cabin began walking towards the woods, following Jack's tracks. The burning cabin gave them ample light to see by, but it also limited their night vision. Almost as Jack thought this the group of "hunters" pulled out night vision goggles, the ones who were facing the fire turned to look out into woods.

Jack felt his pulse rise.

He moved quickly through the woods, whisper quiet, stealth training he had had quickly took over and he even began counting his steps silently in his head. When he chose his time to move he did so at an efficient sprint to the other side of the "hunters" explorer. He could see them through the window; none of them were looking in his direction, their mistake. He marked where the other squad was at and saw that they were still heading to the tree line a good hundred yards away. He smiled and with minimal effort and almost no noise he climbed onto the roof of the explorer. None of the men below him had any idea that he was there, they were good, but not good enough. Keeping the katana in his left hand, and the shorter cousin in his left he jumped and swiped at the same time.

His swipe took the head off of the man to his right, the head didn't going flying, it seemed to linger in place then slowly slide off, blood flew out of the stump like a tiny spurting geyser, and before the body even had time to fall he buried the blade of the smaller weapon straight into the throat of another man. At the extreme angle, it looked like the man had sprouted a handle out of the hole between his collarbones at the base of the throat. By this time the other two men were turning to react but they were moving too slow. Jack delivered a kick with his steel toe boots straight to one of the men's temples resulting in a thick and satisfying thud and crack. The last man got the katana in full force splitting him from shoulder to belly button. The body opened up from the weight and blood came out in a flood mixed with spilling organs. A slight scent of urine, a whiff of shit as the bowels were penetrated.

Not one of them had screamed out, not one of them had fired a shot. And these were their best? Jack gave a maniacal laugh as he ran back into the woods, and turned his attention to the other group, who, startled from the laugh, had turned to find its source, and instead saw the mass massacre that lay behind them. Several of them started backing up, closer to the woods, and Jack smiled as he allowed the darkness to devour him.
"Come into the dark," he whispered, "meet the terror of Night."

Part II

Jack moved through the throng of people on the sidewalk with an elegant yet vicious grace. He moved smoothly, gliding around the people as if they weren't even there. Of course they were though, and by the time he had made it a block he already had seven wallets, two watches, five cell phones, three necklaces, and an engagement ring. As he rounded the corner the dropped them into a trash can. He didn't want any of them; he just wanted to make sure his skills were still sharp. Before the attack on his cabin, he had been out of the business for about three years, now he was preparing to make a comeback, in a not so pleasant way. As he continued to weave through the crowd he was making a mental prep list. A plan of execution. When he thought he had a good one that would work he headed in the direction of the shiny, gaudy, thirty story building. When he walked through the main entrance he didn't even have to blink, his shades had shielded him from the harsh light outside, and they made him prepared for the dull light inside.

Security hadn't even paid any attention to him yet. And they would in a moment. The suits around him, men walking about their dull lives, would probably never exceed five hundred dollars…the one he was wearing was worth five thousand. Hell, even his shades were worth five hundred dollars. He could feel the scabbard of his katana against the spine of his back and it calmed him a bit. Of course, the four Glock 26 nine millimeter pistols along the back of his pants should have comforted him too, but it was his watch, a Breguet Type XX, that if anyone could recognize would know was worth eight thousand dollars, that made him the most comfortable. He looked down at it, noting the time, then moved straight to the security desk.

See, most people, most assassins, hit men, muscle, contract killers, mercenaries, etc. would never, ever, make a scene. They would find the quietest path, so alarms don't get raised, shooting doesn't start, and general mayhem and chaos won't rule. Jack, however, liked chaos.

As he walked up to the desk he noticed the guards begin to pay attention to him. There were seven in all. The main lobby looked almost like a typical security enforced lobby you would see in any cheap film. The desk was a half moon filled with television monitors that sat in the center of the room, to get to the elevators you had to either go to the left or the right of the desk. Floors 1-15 on the right, 15-30 on the left. To the left and right of the giant room were couches, love seats, and mahogany coffee tables. Small rest areas that no one ever used, only those that were lost, or waiting to take someone to lunch. The seats were all the tacky old leather looking chairs, meant to show class and elegance. While Jack was a killer, he still had taste, and he thought if they really wanted class and elegance they should have gone for some Trados chairs. But that thought was a sliver. Of the seven guards around the room, three were behind the main desk, then there was one guard per hall monitoring the elevators, the other two were at the main entrance, therefore to his back. There were wearing the typical gray security guard uniform but as Jack also noticed, there were all carrying 40 S&W's, most security guards bought their own gun and therefore carried different types. He smirked and raised an eyebrow. Not normal security.

"Hello there sir, welcome to Capital Universal Exports, how can I direct your inquiry?"

The guard that spoke was young, probably early twenties, fresh out of some branch of the service.

"Yes," this time he let the Irish accent shine through in his voice, most of the time he hid it, but he had no reason to now, just like he no longer had his hair died black, it was back to his natural fiery red, "I notice your elevators there only go to the thirtieth floor, I would like to get to the thirty-first, now how would I do that?"

The guard to the left of the one speaking turned his head and touched a finger to his ear.

"I'm sorry sir, we only have thirty floors?"

"Oh but Shirley ya must be mistaken, I'm looking for Mr. Tamaguchi."

The guard to the left turned his head back and gave Jack a foreboding look, if Jack was a betting man he would guess that the guards at the door behind him were moving up. The young man in front of him however, continued his cool gaze.

"I'm sorry mister…?"


"I'm sorry Mister O'Carroll, but we don't seem to have a Mister Tamaguchi working here, perhaps he works at another one of our branches."

"Ya never even looked at that computer lad."

"My apologies Mister O'Carroll but I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to leave…if you would please accompany the two gentleman behind you they will direct you to the door."

Jack sighed, hung his shoulders down a little like he looked like he was accepting defeat; instead, he was getting ready. He looked at the young man in front of him and frowned,

"What's ya name boy?"

"Casey sir."

The young guard gave him a smile as Jack swiftly removed one of the pistols from its holster. Ten seconds, seven bullets, and all seven guards were dead. It happened so quickly none of the people moving around the busy office building did anything, and then they ran screaming. Jack thought it was amazing how weak people become, if all the men in the room had rushed him in that moment Jack would have been a goner, instead, he calmly made his way to the stairs, after grabbing Casey's security card. A woman ran into him, screamed, and fainted. As Jack began to hear heavier footsteps coming, a determined pattern of more security guards he used the card and gained access to the stairs.

He quickly took off his jacket, tie, and shoes revealing tabi boots and looked up, thirty-one flights of stairs. He laughed, and ran up to first floor, down the hallway he came to the elevators, forced the doors open, and jumped a car going up. Inside of the car he could hear security guards discussing going up to the floor he was headed for. Like taking candy from a baby he thought to himself. Near the desired floor he removed the tanto blade from inside his pants leg, and dropped in through the emergency exit, making sure to slip a piece of metal on the contact plate to keep the elevator from shutting down. Before the guards moved they were all dead, and Jack jumped up onto the railing to avoid tracking blood. When the doors opened he pause for five seconds, the dove out like he was diving into a pool, angling his body to the right he popped up alongside a wall as gunfire erupted the place he once occupied.

"Who the fuck is this guy." Someone yelled.

Panic. The Nyudaki no jutsu flowed through his head. Finding the psychological weakness. It was why he was called Naito-Night.

"Joe says this dude is some sort of assassin."

"An assassin?"

"Why would an assassin be here?"

"Shut the fuck up will ya?"

Five different vocies was all Jack heard, and he strained to pick out more.

"Go check will ya?" Six.

"You go check." Seven.

"Someone go check." Eight.

"I'll do it." Nine.

Jack looked around trying to get his bearings and figure out a way to conquer his environment. He saw an office door directly across the gap in front of him. He paused, reloaded the pistol he had fired earlier, and stood up. He walked casually, not fast, not swift, like he was taking a stroll in the park. When the guard with the balls peaked around the corner he put the barrell of the gun to his head and pulled the trigger, spraying a fine mist into the air, then continued his stroll halfway through the gap, looking at the guards, then he sprinted to, and through, the office door.

Fifteen…fifteen guards all stationed in different points around the room. Some were behind desks, others around walls, some even stood directly in the center of the hall. The room Jack found himself in wasn't an office at all but rather the electrical boxes. He severed the lines, and suddenly the world was in blackness, he removed his shades, withdrew his tanto and his katana, and crept back to the gap. Joei-on jutsu. He could hear them breathing, he could hear them swallowing, he knew where all of them were.

"Thirty seconds guys and emergency lighting kicks in."

He would save him for last. Jack burst in the room, but no one saw him, no one even heard him.

The slight hum of the back up generators kicked in and the security guard who made the statement looked out into the room with a smile on his face that quickly faded. Everyone was dead, and he hadn't heard a single noise. His gun, shaking in his right hand, began to rise when a sharp blade came around the back of his head and rested on his throat, he could feel that the blade was warm and sticky, and knew the reason why. Jack saw the elevator doors open, more guards spilled out, and he disposed of them with the 40 in the guards hand. He knew the guard wasn't dead, but he had stopped breathing.

"How many are in da room with em?"

The guard heard the voice and flinched. Jack expected him to piss himself but he didn't.

"You don't want to go in there man." The guard said, he sounded northen, but Jack couldn't place it.

"I think I do." Jack said.

He dug the blade in deeper and the guard sagged a little.

"Theres ten of them man, former Recces."

Jack sighed as he slit the guards throat, he hated Recces, they had a tendency to be hard to kill. As Jack made his way to the door he could only assume was the main office because it had to have weighed over three thousand pounds, he thought about the Recces, South African Special Forces, considered to be the toughest in the world, some years no one ever gets past the selection process, they use the Galil assault rifle, 700 rounds a minute. These guys were the best of the best in the armed forces. But of couse…as he was thinking this Jack noted the ends of two Galil assualt rifles emerging from holes on either side of the door, these rifles opened fire as he scurried back around a wall. But of course…he thought to himself, I'm not in the armed forces. He thought of his options and smiled, he could try for the door but that could take too long, he could try for the ceiling but could get shot before he had a chance, or…

Jack was on the roof and looking down, he could see the windows to the office he was aiming for and his smile faltered a bit. Who would put bulletproof glass on a thirty-one story bulding? He didn't think anyone would, and his smile returned. He stood there, rope around his left arm, pistol in his right, and let the wind rip at his body. He breathed, soothing, refocusing, eliminating fear. He didn't so much as jump off the roof of the building but rather ran, when he got to the office window he expected them to be paying attention to the door. Instead, these Reeces were looking right at him. He went from running to a straight dive, and the window ripped apart around him, sending glass showering to the pavement. He landed back on the roof and laughed, then he heard the slight whoomp as someone attempted to leave the office and triggered his small claymore. He had placed twenty of those behind him, each no bigger then a piece of gum, he had simply been carrying them in his pants pocket. He could hear them shouting and he knew that was a good thing, so he jumped back over the railing of the roof. Without the window to impede him he was able to go straight into the room and behind the large ornate Oak desk before him. The Galils tore the desk to pieces spitting out ragged holes, he knew it would be only seconds before they spread around the table and tore him to ribbons so he began a serious of jumps and dives going from one piece of heavy furniture to another. Jack realized quickly that they were wearing body armor, and dropped his pistols to once again retrieve his katana and tanto, no longer then a second later the shooting stopped.

"Naito, my old friend, why do you come to my house unannounced?"

Jack didn't reveal himself, he knew better, he would have been shot in heartbeat.

"You came to mine, I come to yours." The irish accent had disappeared, it was replaced with an west coast one.

"You know that wasn't my decision Naito, that was the entire councils."

"Well, you're a member of the council."

"Naito, you will not leave this room alive."

"Every one of you on the council is dead."

"My young friend, you cannot possibly believe you can kill us."

"Oh, I can."

While he was running Jack had noticed he had killed two of the men with his claymore, that had brought the number down to eight.

"Hey guys," Jacks accent was now South African, "if you leave now I will let you live."

He heard nothing, not even laughter. Most of the time he liked silence, not this time, this time it was almost unbearable. Fine, he thought to himself, if there was going to be silence, he flicked his IPOD on and Pantera, Five Minutes Alone, pumped into his ears, then let there be silence, and then he moved.

Five mintues later Jack stood in the center of the room, a bullet hole through his right shoulder and a bloody gash on his left cheek. In the far distance he heard police sirens, they were probably on the street below him. Tamaguchi stood in front of him, a katana of his own in his hand. Jack stood stock still, if any of his wounds hurt, he wasn't showing it.

"Why me Naito? Why me first?"

"Why not?"

Tamaguchi attacked, even for an old man he was remarkably quick, and Jack had a hard time in the skirmish because of his bad shoulder, but Tamaguchi himself never saw any of this.

"You should be dead young one."

"And you will be."

Jack sliced him across the stomach, his form had his blade out in his left hand, his right arm out for balance, his legs in a half split, back straight. Tamaguchi's intestines began to seep out. The older man dropped to his knees and tried to catch his spilling guts.

"Give me, honorable death." He grunted.

"Give me one location." Jack retorted.

Tamaguchi managed a short laugh. "Like it matters…Inishtearaght Lighthouse."

He decapitated the man in one swift motion.

Jack smiled, he was going to go home.

Part III
David Brenner, or at least that what people here thought his name was, stepped into the office with a coffee cup in hand. It was a typical office with typical employees and typical furniture to go with the typical paintings. The receptionist handed him a note as he walked by and he entered his office, shut the door and locked it. He opened the note and all it said was red. After removing his jacket he sat down at the desk and opened his laptop. He activated the alternate secure network, punched in his twenty-two character access code and the twenty-two character password and sighed. He pulled the sleeves of his long sleeve red shirt back, revealing corded muscles and a spider web that covered his entire left forearm and typed in the word: red. Instantly the message appeared on his screen.

Target: Naito (Night), a.k.a. Jack Dower, Philip Stringer, James Macey, Donovan Cross, Victor Tridant, Thomas Sans.

Current Location: Unknown.

Current Probable Locations: New York, London, Paris, Rome, or Frankfurt.


How's it going Doc? That target you never wanted to have to go after is your current target. He killed Tamaguchi three hours ago. Good Luck. Passports and Money will be in their usual place. Contact Gregory when you get overseas, he will give you anything you will need. Good Luck.


The rest of the message was a dossier on Night but David didn't have to look at it, he already had it memorized. He deleted the message then triggered the explosive inside of his computer, he grabbed his jacket and headed out of the office as the computer sizzled and emitted a small amount of smoke. The receptionist made a move to say something to him but he headed out of the office anyway. Three hours later he was on a plane to London.

Jack made his way to the top of the lighthouse, security wasn't as tight as Tamaguchi's had been, nor were they as trained, and he managed to dispose of them easily even with the bullet hole in his shoulder, it as a small wound though, basically a graze. Then again, Donovan wasn't a high ranking member of the council like Tamaguchi had been, he didn't rate top security. When he entered the top of the lighthouse he expected to find a room full of guards waiting for him but instead only Donovan was in the room. Sitting behind a massive desk as the light of the tower whirled around over his head.



"Welcome home boy."

"You won't be saying that for long. Give me the location of the rest of the council members and I will let you die quickly, don't and you die slowly."

Donovan was looking at a double barreled shotgun sitting on the desk in front of him but Jack wasn't worried, if he tried for it he could kill him before he even lifted the gun. Of course, he didn't want to kill him yet, so he would just hurt him.

"Frankfurt…Rome…London…Paris…New York."


"Fuck you."

Jack raised the pistol in his hand, fired one round that exploded the back of the mans head into a shower of blood that stuck to the outside surface of the light of the lighthouse, giving it an eerie look that would circulate around the room. He made his way to the bottom of the lighthouse and out, back to his rented jeep. As soon as he got to the drivers side door he stopped, something seemed wrong, like it was almost too silent. There was a little light being given off by the security lights that were around the lighthouse and Jack quickly stepped back into the shadows.

"If I wanted you dead Naito you would be."

Jack scanned around looking for the source of the sound but couldn't place it, he had a general idea but he wanted to be certain.

"Tamaguchi and Donovan huh? You plan on killing them all old buddy?"

The source of the sound had moved and he tried to find it again. There was something else, something familiar about the voice, but he couldn't place it, what did he mean by old buddy?

"The next time I see you, you will be dead. Don't make me kill you Daniel."

Then he heard the sound of a motorcycle starting and saw a sliver of light disappear in the distance. He climbed into the jeep and started it, then sat there. Who knew his real name? Who? Who knew him that was still alive? Almost instantly the name came into his head. David. Like he was Naito, they called him Doc, he was especially good at torture. Jack smiled and remembered and he slunk down in his seat.

At The School they were the top two in the class, and they were best friends even before they had been selected. They had started working with the IRA when they were thirteen years old, no major jobs, simple bombings, maybe an assassination every now and then. A man had simply walked up to them one day without making a sound and asked them if they wanted to join an exclusive club. Jack had tried to pull his gun on him but the man took it from him just as easily. The man had told them if they were interested to meet him at a coffee shop. He said if they chose to follow him they would never speak to anyone they knew in their life again. They were at the coffee shop earlier then planned the next day. What followed was seven years of intense training. Marital arts, stealth, MMA, gun training, knife fighting, evasive driving, anything you could think of that would be useful to a spy or an assassin even an education: foreign languages, history, art, math, science, English. They were not only made to be the perfect killing machine, but also an intelligent weapon. Always, no matter what subject or what training, Jack would beat out David. Except for one: knife fighting. While they were at the school they were given their codenames, Jack became Naito because of his superb use of stealth and quick lethal strikes, David became The Doctor, because of his supreme use of a blade.

By the time Jack got back to his hotel it was nearly seven in the morning, he opened the door to his room and dove into the bathroom as the sound of suppressed gun fire filled the tiny area. He could hear a shuffling in the next room and the wall over his head erupted in dust and splinters as a fully automatic weapon tore the wall to shreds. He waited until the person in the next room would have to reload and got ready to strike. Instead of reloading though, the fire continued. His mind raced. This wasn't hired muscle; it was too coordinated, hired muscle would have run into the bathroom firing. It wasn't that though, he also knew it wasn't David, he would have been waiting above the door and would have slit his throat before he knew what happened. Jack actually kicked himself for that, his guard had been down. He also knew it wasn't muscle because the shooter had waited until he had seen Jack, until he had acquired his target. Jack also had the sneaky suspicion that it wasn't one well trained assassin but two because the fire still wasn't letting up and as soon as this thought entered his head he also knew who they were, Jekyll and Hyde. They had been brothers in the school. Jack started laughing, because he thought it was funny if the council had activated all of them. When they heard him laughing the brothers stopped shooting.

"Come on guys." Jack yelled. "You were too slow."

There was no response, only silence.

"Ya'll know your dead right? Why don't you answer a few questions first and I may let you live."

The response was instantaneous as the wall only inches above his head erupted in a shower of wooden shards. Jack waited. The door started to open, housekeeping, he had seen them down the hall when he had entered the room, and the shooting abruptly stopped. They were weak; the brothers never could stomach civilian casualties. Jack ran, he kicked the door shut as he vaulted up the wall, literally running down it. The room was dark, the curtains were closed so that Jack wouldn't have been able to see them when he had entered the room, but there was also light coming around the edges of the curtains and he could see them trying to track him. He kicked off the wall, bounced off the bed, and speared them both center mass, they had been standing side by side. They got up quickly, discarding their Uzi's, and went to grab the straight razors they kept in their back pockets. The brothers weren't anywhere near as good as Jack or David, and they knew that, they had hoped to kill him quickly. They weren't ready to have to fight him. Jack brought a knee to the ribs of Jekyll and heard the satisfying snap as he brought his elbow down to the back of his head, but it didn't connect. Hyde had forgotten about the blade in his hand and had decided to punch Jack in the side of the head. Jack spun. He was moving too slowly, he should be quicker, but he was tired. He delivered a viscous roundhouse to Hyde but Jekyll moved under his leg and lifted him up. The brothers were small. They were identical twins, five foot five, Chinese, long hair that was kept up in high ponytails. They stopped, and paced each other. The brothers moved in opposite directions and came at him in unison. He killed Hyde with a hammer strike to his throat and was tackled to the ground by Jekyll. They wrestled and Jack knew he would win. He rolled Jekyll over, dug his thumbs into his eyes until they oozed around the nails then delivered three horrendous elbow strikes to his throat. Jack stood up, and collapsed onto the bed.

"Sorry sir, I'll come back later."

Jack heard the sweet Irish woman's voice through the door and he laughed.


The whole fight had lasted only a few seconds. It had been silent, swift. Even when Jack had dug his thumbs into Jekylls eyes he never made a sound, the other man hadn't even screamed. He imagined the mess housekeeping was going to find as he packed his things and went out the window.

Jack continued to lie on the roof and wait. His targets position was said to be sniper proof and it was, if he hadn't done a little reconnaissance the night before and made it to where it wasn't. He had been laying prone in his active camouflage for the last two hours without moving but that didn't bother him. He had already checked his Barrett 82A1 and Leupold Long Range vx-7l ten times, knowing there was nothing wrong with them but checking anyway. The target would be close to a mile away from him. This was the only part he hated…waiting.


David paced the exterior of the compound attempting to blend in to his surroundings so he would go unnoticed. The guards here didn't particularly like people roaming around but so far he hadn't raised any suspicion. He was looking for a place he thought Jack would attack and other then the main entrance there proved to be very little alternate options. He couldn't imagine Jack being that stupid though, he couldn't see how he would possibly hope to attack the compound without dying quickly. Even he had found little hope placing himself in Jack's shoes. Victory, Terror, and Pain had discussed other possibilities with him but he hadn't taken any of them into account. Pain had suggested a diversion of a car bomb, but even with a diversion David hadn't seen any plan of attack. Victory said Jack would wait for the target to leave the compound but David, after checking the schedule, had seen that there wouldn't be any leaves for nearly three weeks. The target was however planning to speak that day but Terror and the others had all quickly pointed out that sniping would be impossible, and David had to agree. Even then though, they had agreed to spread out, other then David the other three were patrolling outside of the perimeter, creating a search range of a mile radius around the compound. He didn't know why he knew Jack would come to Rome next, he just had an idea, and the other three had agreed with him, there were four more members in Germany, and the other four were in New York. His superiors had questioned why he hadn't killed him in Ireland and after a few minutes in which David didn't speak a word they didn't press the subject. The question became, where was Jack?


Terror moved his massive frame through the throne of people around him, at six foot ten and two hundred and eighty pounds most people moved out of his way. When it came to the school he was by far the largest and most intimidating, it was without a doubt that his best advantage was in hand to hand combat. He wasn't tested much however, because the organization didn't think he blended in well to his surroundings. He wore blue-jeans, a black silk shirt, a leather jacket, and a black toboggan. He felt the two Desert Eagle .50 Mark XIX at his back, at nearly five pounds a piece along with their ten inch barrels, anyone would feel them. He fingered the end of one of the barrels as he scratched his back and continued to look around for any sign of Jack. Doc had tried to convince him not to go on the hunt, he told him Jack would spot him a mile away, but it was the first time in a long time that the organization had allowed him on a hunt and he wasn't going to just go away. He stopped in front of a rather tall building and looked up, it was, he noticed, in a direct path with the ledge that the Pope would be on later and he walked inside.


Pain sat in the outdoor coffee shop and watched the people going by; he gently ran his hands along his ten thousand dollar suit and nudged down his Moss Lipow ostrich and alligator sunglasses that went for nearly four thousand dollars down his nose. In one swift move he showed off his two thousand dollar Berluti shoes, his nearly three hundred thousand dollar Blancpain 1735 Grande Complication Le Brassus watch, his three hundred dollar Meisterstuck pen, and his four hundred dollar Stetson pinnacle fedora. The others looked at him as vain, he saw himself as classy, right down to the two SIG P210 pistols with ivory handles he had in custom made alligator holsters. The others considered his frivolous spending as a sign of someone who was too narcissistic to be a good member of the organization; he let his flawless and impeccable record speak for itself. He knew he would be the one to kill the illustrious Naito; he had no doubt, while the others looked around for him he would simple wait, preserve his energy, and buy his time. Instead, he would sip his tea and see who was driving the impeccable and flawless black two hundred thousand dollar Porsche 911 GT2 that was across the street and in other words overshadowing his Audi R8, he was hoping for a woman, but had a feeling it was going to be a man.


Victory sat on the rooftop and looked around. She had a feeling Jack was going to try to snipe the target despite the fact that there was no way to do it. As the only female of the school she had felt that her entire life had been to prove herself in a man's world, and in many ways it had been. She was one of the best however, no where near the caliber of Doc or Naito, but she could always hope to get lucky if they ever had to go toe to toe, the only thing she really had going for her was grace and elegance, of course, her amazing good looks played a part to. A part that she used to great advantages and in most cases allowed her to easily complete assignments that the men would have a tough time doing. Show enough skin and most arrogant men would allow you right into their private lives, promise sex, and you would find yourself alone in their bedroom without having to kill anyone to get there. She was tall for a woman at five foot ten and her long auburn hair trailed to her ass. She had perfect legs and was most of the time mistaken for a ballerina. Pain one time had said she looked like a deadly Charlize Theron, but she didn't think so. She carried a Spectre M4 submachine gun at her back and two Glock 26's at her side on a suit that seemed to mold to her body showing of the rather painstaking time she put into getting in the shape she was in, she had a jacket to go over it when she was on the street, but she wasn't on the street. She wondered if they would get to see Naito, she hadn't seen him in almost four years, it would be nice to speak with him, it would be even better if she was the one to kill him. She had a sneaky suspicion that the honor would go to Doc though. She spotted Pain in a café a few blocks away, staring at a Porsche sipping tea, she thought he was arrogant, but he was good. She was about to get off the roof and out of the hot sun when she saw Terror emerge on a rooftop a few buildings away, they had chosen this area because it was one of the most heavily populated, and one that provided the best vantage point for the impossible sniping situation. She followed Terror with her eyes as he moved to the edge of the building and seemed to be looking at something on the roof.


Jack had heard someone emerge on the roof behind him but he didn't want to turn around to look. The active camouflage gave him almost perfect cover and only someone looking for it would be able to see it. He hoped it was just some businessman coming outside to get a breath of fresh air. He realized it wasn't when he heard the sound of a gun being loaded, the time delay from the action said it was a big gun, the sound of the persons footfalls said it was a big man.


Victory watched as Terror put a round into the chamber of his massive gun and began to make her way over to him jumping from rooftop to rooftop. She couldn't figure out what the fuck he was doing.


Terror thought he had seen a shimmer on the ground but he wasn't sure, better safe then sorry, he didn't know why he had come up here, maybe intuition, but now he was sure that he could see that shimmer, maybe it was the heat playing off of the rooftop, maybe not.


Jack held the little mirror in his hand and positioned it slowly to where he could see behind him but not give off a reflection or any sign of movement. His breath caught in his throat almost immediately. Terror? But how would he have known he was up there, and can he see the active camo working? He was betting he could because he had a weird expression on his face like he was seeing a mirage. Jack frowned. It was three minutes till show time and he wasn't prepared for this. He could try and go for his pistol tucked into his pants, but he had an idea that he would be dead before then, it looked like he would have to fight Terror and that wasn't an easy task.


Terror was almost on top of the shimmer now and he was absolutely positive that it wasn't a mirage, his guess was active camo and active camo wasn't cheap, nor was it easy to come by, if he was a betting man he would say it was Jack, he raised his pistol, and sighted it into what he thought was center mast of the shimmer.


Jack did a half push-up half jump and kicked back with all of his strength straight back into the kneecap of terror. Had he had a better angle he would have either broken it or dislocated it but instead he merely staggered the big man, which was good enough for him. By the time Terror realized what was happening Jack was flying through the air at him.


Terror felt a white hot pain in his knee and dropped his pistol, he knew it wasn't bad, but it most assuredly hurt. He almost dropped when he saw Night flying through the air, he grabbed him, one meaty paw at the throat, the other at the waist and brought him high over his head, he kept him like that only a moment before he slammed him into the ground.


Jack felt the wind go out of him and his vision faded a bit when he was violently slammed into the ground. Had he not rolled next, he would have gotten a large knee to his face. He looked up at the larger man as they both regained their ground.

"Long time Terror."

"Not long enough for you Naito."

"Aww come on," Jack said, a smile appearing on his face, "this is going to be fun."

"Not for you."

Jack saw Terror go for his other massive hand cannon and kicked him in the balls. A cheap shot, yes, but also effective. The big man howled and dropped his second pistol. Jack went for another kick when a large fist collided with his chest; he went staggering backwards and regained his footing just in time to see a foot slice the air in front of his face. The only thing about big men, they telegraphed most of their moves, he knew this, but he also knew that Terror knew this, that's why prepared, the big man began to go into a form of Capoeira. Jack sighed, as much as he wanted to fight the big man, who was now doing pretty masterful techniques of the style, he also knew it would take too much time. Therefore, reluctantly, he pulled out his sidearm and shot him three times in the chest. The big man dropped gasping for breath, Jack knew he would be wearing a vest so he walked up to him and pointed the gun at his face.

"Chicken shit." The big man hissed through clenched teeth.

Jack shot him twice in the head. He made to go back to his rifle when the ground in front of him erupted in sprays of gravel. He turned to see a rather beautiful woman running at him with a submachine gun in hand. He sprinted, slid, grabbed the rifle and turned it on the woman as she was coming over the last rooftop; she ducked, lost her footing, and fell. He turned the rifle back around, sighted, and fired through the hole he had made in the perimeter wall. The target, a high ranking official in the organization who happened to be the Pope, fell without knowing what hit him. Even a mile away Jack heard the crowd that had been watching go insane just as he also heard the guards go nuts and alarms go off. When he turned back around Victory was righting herself. She raised her gun and Jack jumped over the edge of the building. It was a good fall, but not too bad, and he rolled as he landed. Almost directly in front of his car, a pretty Porsche with a 0-60 of less than four seconds, and a top speed of 204mph he opened the door, threw his rifle in, and climbed in.


David watched the Pope die in front of his face. He felt no emotion, made no outside reaction, just watched it happen. He heard the report from the rifle, what he already knew to be a .50 cal of some sort, and turned his head in that direction. He picked up his phone and punched one of the page buttons, a woman sounding out of breath replied.

"Terror is gone, Naito is fleeing in a vehicle, Pain in pursuit, and I'm trying to get back to my car."

David put his phone back away and began walking threw the throng of people that had gathered around. All around him people were crying and wailing a few people were speaking in tongues or babbling, if only they had known who that guy really was. He wasn't anyone they would cry for. David stepped past a few more onlookers and then kept walking as people ran the direction he had just come. He pulled his cell phone out and hit another page button. Instead of a woman breathing heavy all he heard was the sound of an engine and squealing tires.



"Kein Ahnung."



The connection was disconnected and David looked at the phone again and pushed another button.

"Get a helicopter, grab Victory and then myself."

"That will be difficult."

"It shouldn't be easy."


Pain watched as Jack jumped from the rooftop and into the Porsche he had been staring at. He had heard the gunfight and seen Victory almost fall off jumping to that roof, just as he had also heard the report of the .50cal. He finished his tea, checked the time, folded his newspaper that was in his lap and set it on the table. Then calmly walked over to his Audi and started it almost in time with Jack starting his car. When the Porsche peeled out, tires squealing, into a standing still u-turn, Pain peeled out after it. He should have known Jack would drive a car like that, he had good taste, something Pain had always liked about him, now he was about to find out not only who was the better driver, but who had the better car.


Jack rounded a curve and admired how the Porsche seemed to literally hug the corner. He was smoothly and deftly switching through gears when he looked up in the rearview to see the Audi on his tail. He wondered who it was until he saw the custom Asanti rims, at four thousand dollars a wheel he knew it was Pain, who was always the one to live in luxury. He rounded another corner only to find the Audi closer on his six. Jack smiled, slapped the shifter into another gear, and stomped the gas down. He rounded another corner, then another, then another, sliding between gears with ease and never losing the smile. He started other maneuvers, high speed u-turns, traveling into head on traffic, power slides, and all the while the Audi stayed close to him.


Pain watched Jack do another seventy mile an hour u-turn and sighed, the chase was getting boring, he was deciding whether or not he wanted to go ahead and spin the Porsche out, possibly damaging both of the vehicles. When he noticed the police. They were closing in, and when Jack went left Pain went right. The police split their forces in two, one side following each vehicle. Now it would be fun because he wasn't hunting anymore, he was eluding, and he could see what the car was really capable of doing. He power slid the car around a corner, barely missing some pedestrians and a statue and laughed when the cops in pursuit did neither. Then he reached and found the radio scanner, clicked it on, and waited for it to find the police network, it did, and then began breaking down the coding so he could listen to it. He was going to find Jack, and hopefully find a way to cut him off.


The Audi had quit following several minutes ago and now all he had was multiple cops in pursuit. Jack continued to hug turns until he hit a straight patch of road and floored it, the Porsche climbed from sixty to a hundred and twenty in only seconds leaving the officers in his dust and by the time he had made a few more turns they weren't even in range of catching him, he turned another corner and looked to his left just in time to duck as Pain unleashed a barrage of automatic weapon fire into the car. His opponent was parallel to him on another road and every few blocks he would open fire again. Jack once again accelerated and every time he glanced to his left again he saw that the Audi was losing ground.


Pain began punching the steering wheel, he had him, he had been so close and now the other car was gaining with superior speed, once more they were almost out of the city and when that happened it would become even more difficult to catch his enemy. He turned the wheel right, raced down the road and then took a left coming about a block behind Jack. He stomped on the gas and flipped through the gears again straining to keep up. He was slowly doing just that when he saw the helicopter fly overhead. He cursed under his breath and took his next right.


David stood on top of the building as the police helicopter came down low. He didn't know how his contact managed to acquire a police helicopter, but then again he didn't care. He grabbed onto the lower bar and easily flipped into it and found himself sitting next to Victory who looked slightly disheveled.

"I take it you've been having fun?"

She reloaded the submachine gun in her lap and strapped herself onto a long length of nylon rope that was attached to the inside of the helicopter.

"Fuck you."


Jack came around another slight curve and found himself looking at Victory hanging from a rope in the middle of the street; he ducked again, and turned right as the gun spit out a little over eight hundred rounds a second, tearing up the car and devouring the front windshield. He came out on the next road, leaving Victory behind him, to find himself racing right alongside Pain. He could even see the glint of his diamond earring in his left ear. Pain lifted his weapon and fired three times. The first round fractured the passenger side window while the other two ripped through it. Jack was covered in auto glass and he cursed under his breath. This was quickly becoming a lose, lose situation. He reached over and grabbed the .50cal laying in the passenger seat/floorboard.


Pain was almost laughing; he had just sent a volley at Jack and could see that the other man was getting aggravated. He thought Naito was supposed to be a good driver, he wasn't impressed. He continued to pace him around curves and corners and looked over just in time to see the end of the massive .50cal pointed at him. Jack was driving with one hand and attempting to aim the large rifle with the other. Pain slammed on the breaks and the bullet tore through the front of his Audi sending up a cloud of smoke, he feathered the gas and found that it would still go fine, and went back into the pursuit.


Victory climbed back up into the helicopter to find David frowning at her. She waited until the helicopter pilot signaled again, and jumped back out.


Jack turned another corner to find Victory once again in the middle of the road, he didn't pause or turn this time, he charged her. She opened up another barrage and he could feel that the car wasn't going to be able to take much more. When he was passing underneath her he heard an all familiar tink land on the roof of the car and slammed the wheel to the right as the grenade went off. The car flipped end over end in a ball of flame and were it not for the roll cage he had installed he more than likely would of died, instead, he slipped out of consciousness.


Pain saw the grenade Victory had dropped ping off of Jacks Porsche and explode right in front of him, he put his car into a slide and felt it go out of his control as it began to roll.


David watched as the helicopter pilot pulled back up and the grenade exploded. He thought the gorgeous Victory a fool for dropping a grenade that close to herself, but apparently the pilot had pulled up in time because she was looking at the wreckage of the Porsche through the hindsight of her weapon.

"Land." David yelled into his helmet.


Pain pulled himself out of the wreckage and dusted himself off. He would kill that bitch the next chance he got. As the police pulled up he had his gun in hand, when they stepped out of their cars he dropped them where they stood then made his way to the wreckage of the Porsche, when he got there he saw no sign of Naito and frowned then looked up at Victory hanging from the rope and gave her the finger. David saw all of this and growled.


Jack was looking at David through the scope of his rifle and he smiled. One for one. He pulled the trigger and hit the tail rotor of the helicopter. Immediately it began to spin out of control. Several things happened at once. He watched David jump from the helicopter onto a nearby roof. He watched the beautiful Victory slam into the side of a building and her body basically explode, and he watched Pain run for his life before the shard of a propeller dissected him in half. Jack dusted himself off, checked the gash on his forearm, and headed down the narrow alleyway away from the chaos behind him.

Part V

Jack sat in his first class seat aboard the luxury aircraft, an aisle seat, and was silently in his head memorizing the other passengers around him, their location, and the layout of the aircraft. He was impeccably dressed but not so much as to draw too much attention to himself, and the outfit, silk sweater, suit jacket, slacks, allowed him comfort and maneuverability. He was done with his memorizing and had begun to play chess against himself in his head when the man next to him elbowed him in the side, he slowly turned and acknowledged the man who was wearing a cheap but expensive looking suit, a Rolex at his wrist, and a plastic smile. The man was middle aged, overweight, and balding. In a few seconds Jack had deemed the man as no threat and had turned back forward.

"So buddy, what do you do for a living?" the man asked.

"I kill people, lots of people, in foreign countries." Jack replied.

"Ah, international lawyer?"

"Something like that."

"I myself am a business man, started my own company, trying to build it up ya know. I sell plastics. Not a very lucrative enterprise I know, but it's served me well so far."

Jack eyed the man and then turned back forward.

"So," the man continued, "what were ya doing in Italy? Business, pleasure?"

Jack sighed, he hated small talk.

"I was trying to eliminate the enemy and sort of create a coup in the organization I used to work for."

"Ah, a hostile takeover?" the man inquired, "How'd it go?"

"Pretty good I guess."

"Say, did you see the Pope get popped? Can you believe that? There are some lunatics in this world."

Jack smiled.

"Who's to say the guy was a lunatic? Maybe he was a genius who didn't agree with the current social standings of society who put too much faith in an old figurehead."

The man blinked, and then got a glassy eyed look as if he was thinking really hard.

"You a religious man Mister…"


"You a religious man Mr. Ardheim?"

"No, I can't say that I am Mister…"

"Dole, Alexander Dole." The bald man replied.

"Nice to meet you."

"Likewise." The fat man continued."It's a shame you're not religious Mr. Ardheim. Faith goes a long way these days and its good for business, people see men without religion as a sign of weakness. Its good to have faith, builds a good moral value. Not to mention any of the important aspect such as marriage. You a married man Mr. Ardheim?"

"Can't say that I am Alex."

"A shame, shame. A young guy like you that would go a good way in a business atmosphere. People see a married man and it extends a measure of respect."

"My type of business Alex, marriage doesn't really seem an option." Jack replied.

"Nonsense, nonsense. All you gotta do is find some nice young philly that doesn't mind you being away from home. See, me and my missus, been married for five years, I'm home for maybe two months out of the year."

"So how many other guys is she fucking?" Jack retorted.


"Really? Just like you're telling me a guy who is home only two months out of a year isn't getting other pussy from somewhere else?"

"My wife is a wonderful woman, and I would never cheat on her."

"I'm sure she is. Young married woman probably fucks the local college kids who come over to do repairs to the house. Probably even has a whole routine. She own lingerie?"

"Well," the older man stammered, "yeah."

"Have you ever seen her wear it?"


"Exactly, a hot young wife isn't waiting around for you Alex. She's fucking the best piece of meat she can find."

"Now I don't think you should be talking about my wife that way, you don't know…"

"Exactly Alex, I don't know and neither do you."

"Well I never."

With that the conversation was over and Jack didn't have to worry about any more ramblings coming from the older man's mouth for the rest of the plane ride home. About that time the stewardess came up to him and asked him if he wanted a drink. He smiled at her, touched her thigh a little, just a glancing gesture, and leaned her in closer. He whispered something into her ear and she laughed a little school girl giggle and her face turned red. Five minutes later Jack went to the bathroom, he came back twenty minutes after that. He slipped his ear buds into his ear and went down his playlist; once he found some good easy listening he settled back into his seat and fell asleep.


David sat in his first class seat, a window seat, and memorized the people around him and the layout of the plane. He had already spotted the Air Security as soon as he'd gotten on, and kept an eye on them. He didn't like not having a gun. His porcelain one would work, but he didn't like how inaccurate and fragile it was. Still, it was better then nothing. Two hours into the flight and he couldn't stand the guy snoring next to him. The man had fallen asleep nearly twenty minutes into the flight and it was driving him crazy. He looked around, making sure no one was paying attention, and slammed the side of his hand in a karate chop into the mans throat, he started to gag, and David covered his mouth. When the man was dead he leaned him over in his seat and put a pillow under his head. The man in front of David turned around and laughed.

"Bout time that fucker quit snoring, I was afraid I was going to have to kill someone." The man said.

"Tell me about it." David replied.

David opened up the laptop in his lap and began to look at the dossier on Naito. He didn't need to at all but he wanted something to do and it gave him that opportunity.

Target: Naito (Night), a.k.a. Jack Dower, Philip Stringer, James Macey, Donovan Cross, Victor Tridant, Thomas Sans.

Current Location: Unknown.

Current Probable Locations: New York, London, Paris or Frankfurt.

The School: recruited by Slapjack (KIA) when he was 13 years old. Showed excellent ranking in all categories, greatly outmatched his peers. Excellent ranking in swordsmanship, eventually defeating his master in combat. Several school records including in: One Mile Run (4 minutes 23 seconds), 40 Yard Dash (3.9 seconds), Stealth (completed Pesel run in 1 hour 43 minutes), Evasion (eluded instructors and peers for 3 days 7 hours 42 minutes), Military Tactics (defeated the Mariashi simulation in 37 minutes), Hand to Hand Combat (Fastest Knockout in 7 seconds), Swordsmanship (defeated Master Yamatanashi in 3 minutes). Graduated at age 20.

Assignments: ..:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

His first assignment was to gather Intel and eliminate the target codenamed Bastard. (March 12, 2010)

Other assignments are classified except for the following dates: March 23, 2010, May 2010, June 2010, August 2010, October 2010, October 2010, December 2010, December 2010 (here the list continued but David simply glanced to the end of the nearly 400 assignments).

Current Status: Renegade, Kill on Sight.

David closed the dossier on his computer and frowned, he didn't know why he thought Jack was going to New York instead of attacking one of the other two organization leaders overseas, but it didn't matter what he thought, the organization was sending him to London to protect the head cheese. He wondered if Silence, Sleep, Freedom, and Retribution would be able to take him out in New York, if not it would be Death, Mayhem, Destruction, and Vengeance in Frankfurt, if they didn't do the job it would be down to him and the one other agent Jack had never heard about or met, Wrath. He didn't like Wrath. Just like he didn't like the fact that they had no one to watch the leaders in London and Paris, just because they were smaller and therefore less important.

David stepped off the plane and looked around, he was expecting someone to be holding a sign with his name on it, that was usually the way it worked, instead he was staring at a well muscled black man in BDU's, hair in dreadlocks. The man stood at around six foot one and probably weighed a hundred and ninety pounds. He was a good size, and he was strong. If he had an official record at the school David also knew he would have taken one of Jack's records, that being the swordsmanship, he beat the master in under a minute. David knew this, the man knew that David knew this, just like David knew he carried a katana on his back much like Night did, in a lot of ways Wrath was the twin of Night, if it wasn't for the fact that he was nineteen. And that was why David didn't like him; he was untested in serious combat situations. True the kid had already had his first kill. But David never considered the first kill, no one except for Jack every cared about that, his first kill bared a trophy that still hung around his neck. This kid though, had a trophy of his first kill as well, a titanium ring that floated on his right hand.

"Doc." The kid said without extending a handshake.


"You're wanted at the palace immediately."

"I'm sure I am, you leading the way?"

"If you'd like."

"Why not? Keeps me from having to drive."


Jack was sprinting along a fence line in snow almost up to his knees. All he had to do was keep pumping his legs as high as he could and he would continue to drive through the snow. He was nervous, his heart was pounding, and he could even hear it in his ears. For seven years he had been waiting to get his first assignment and ever time he thought he was going to he never did.

When he finally stopped running he was underneath a large oak tree, its branches sagging with the added weight of the snow. He checked the picture of his target again for the hundredth time, then climbed the tree.

He had been watching the target for three days now, gathering Intel that the organization wanted, proof that the man was cheating them and lying about it. As well he had been learning the lay of the land and the best route to take on his attack, which would be now.

He had a view of the whole complex from his new vantage point and even though he already had the schematics memorized he paid attention to every single detail now to see if anything was out of place or different. There was a limo at the front door of the main house. He also watched the pattern of the guards to figure out timing. The guards were accurate and precise. Even those that had obviously been doing their jobs for years remained vigil and alert, scanning their assigned territories with the upmost patience. When Jack thought he had their routine memorized he jumped over the wall silently. He landed without a sound and began to sprint. The snow wasn't even remotely deep on this side, apparently the target was rich enough to maintain a heated yard, and the grass was still luscious and green.

The first guard was dead before he even knew what happened; he was in mid turn the second his neck was snapped. Guard number two was dead from a crushed throat about the time he finished his turn. Jack ran out wide and emerged silently at the side of guard number three who was greeted with a slit throat. Guard number four a blow to his nose that sent the bone into his brain. Guard number five slit throat as well. Number six, a broken neck. Number seven, broken neck, and number eight who had actually managed to key his radio and was about to speak because he saw the body of number seven lost his head entirely. Jack ran to the side of the house and up the trellises until he emerged on the balcony of the third floor. He crept slowly, looking through windows and listening. The man had a teenage daughter who was asleep in her bed. The son appeared to be fucking his dad's girlfriend. The dad was having sex with a prostitute who looked to be about eleven. Jack paused on the son, he hadn't had sex in almost seven years, and he hadn't even felt the urge. Maybe, he thought to himself, he would see how Mary (Victory) was doing when he got back to the school. He moved back to the father and waited, the son was a target, as was the daughter, but he wanted to kill the father, the bastard, first. When the man had his fun with the little girl he tossed her off the bed like a piece of trash and laid back, lighting a cigarette as he did. The little girl sat on the floor next to the bed and held herself as she cried softly. The older man, who was hairy and overweight, patted her on the head and rubbed himself. Jack removed the katana from behind his head; he had a sheath that followed his spine, and silently crept through a window. The little girl saw him but did not even move or make a sound and so he slid into a position beside her.

"You're going to make a good piece of pussy one day little lady. One day you will like it. You all do."

Jack slid up onto the bed and covered the mans mouth with his hand, the older man struggled at first but slowly gave up and rather then fight he tried to cover his exposed organ. Jack straddled him and leaned in close to his ear. The man's eyes were wide with fear and they darted around as if looking for something, perhaps help. Jack knew there were three other guards in the house, but he also had a feeling the bastard had told them not to be around while he had his way with the little girl.

"I have a message for you Mr. Galaraga." Jack whispered into the man's ear, "fool them once, shame on you, fool them twice, shame on them, fool them three times…"

Jack inserted the blade into the man's stomach and slit up, spilling his organs. Galaraga tried to scream but Jack continued to hold his mouth, and he silenced that scream when he slit his throat. Jack got off the bed and touched the side of the girls face with two of his gloved fingers. They left streaks of blood, the girl looked at him but no one was home in her eyes. Jack sighed, and slid out of the room. He killed one guard in the hallway then slinked into the son's room. Personally the son had done no wrong, but Dad had told Jack to kill everyone in the family, leave no one to continue the fathers work in name. The dad's girlfriend and son were still going at it. The girlfriend was attractive, Jack took a moment to admire that, the son was too young to know what he was doing, and too overweight to maintain a good pace. He was pounding the girlfriend doggie style and she didn't even notice when Jack decapitated him. She didn't notice when he repeated the same process with her either. Jack left that room and then entered the sisters. She was young, she was beautiful. Jack knew she was fifteen but he also knew that one day she would have grown up to be very lovely. He removed a syringe out of his back pocket and slowly pulled the cap off. The girl slept, and never woke up. As Jack was leaving the compound he checked the body of the first guard he killed. The man didn't have anything useful on him, save for a small silver cross necklace which Jack took, and draped around his neck. Then he was over the wall, and moving at that awkward high stepping sprint.

Jack got off the plane and hailed a taxi, the taxi drove him to a bookstore on a small street corner in Paris. Jack got out, paid the taxi, and walked inside, he was unarmed, but didn't think it mattered. Jack walked up to the clerk and smiled.

"I'm looking for Mr. Lehmue."

"I'm sorry sir but there is no Mr. Lehmue here."


Jack hit the man hard in the diaphragm; he knew this guy wasn't muscle, just like he knew the guy was working for Lehmue. The guy crumpled into a ball, but not before he pushed a little button that was under the counter. A door opened in a bookshelf to Jack's right and he calmly walked through it. There were two guards at the entrance to an office, they saw Jack coming, and then they saw him virtually disappear. The two men walked down the hall in a staggered pattern, guns at the ready, when they got to the point where they thought they had seen the man he was nowhere to be found. Jack dropped down behind the rear guard and snapped his neck. The other guard put up a fight and Jack broke his leg, then his arm, and then ripped his throat out. He sidestepped quickly to keep from getting any blood on himself, and then continued down the hall. The door to the office was locked, so Jack knocked.

"Fuck off Night, fuck off."

"Mr. Lehmue, if you do this quickly, I will do this quickly, if you do this slowly, I will do this slowly."

He heard a moan then the door unlocked. Jack slid it open and waited for the gunfire. It came, hot and heavy, Jack heard two separate pistols. When they had to reload he quick walked into the room. One guard went down to a blow to the throat and the other ended up flipped over Jacks shoulder and Jack knee dropped into his throat. Lehmue sat behind his desk, his head in his hands.

"Night, Night."

"Sucks that you're a small leader doesn't it Lehmue, the fact that none of my classmates are here tells me that you didn't rank high enough on the list. Is it going to be as easy to get to Ross in London? If that's the case that means New York and Frankfurt have four guys a piece and David is floating somewhere."

"Let me give you advice, and tell you not to go to London." The man laughed.

"I take it that's where the head cheese is?"

The man just continued to laugh and Jack nodded, fair enough, he thought to himself. He grabbed the gun off of one of the dead guards and loaded a round into the chamber; he pointed the pistol at the man's head. As soon as he did this he saw something in the mans hand, it was small, metal, and when he pushed the top it began to beep. Jack frowned, and took off running, about the time he reached the inside of the bookstore the small device exploded. The whole building shook, and the concussion sent Jack flying into a wall of books. The man who had been working the front desk started screaming. The ball of fire that followed the explosion was promise enough to get Jack out the door at a full sprint. When he reached the other side of the street it did just that, and the building went up in a whump as the wind seemed to get sucked into the old building. Jack went over a few blocks, hailed a taxi, and went back to the airport.


David sat in the back of the Lexus with blacked out windows and sipped a glass of brandy. He often didn't drink, in fact most of them didn't drink, it was a poison to the body that only dulled senses and reaction time, but David, unlike the others, remembered drinking before he went to the school, and he remembered that sometimes it was nice for those sense to be dulled. The car was cruising along with Wrath behind the wheel when he saw the black man cock his head slightly to the side; he was listening to an earpiece. When his head returned to its normal angle he looked back at David and grinned.

"He just hit Paris."

David nodded as if this was the most normal thing he had ever heard in his life.

"Tell New York to be ready."

"Why New York? Why wouldn't he come here or Frankfurt instead, why cross the pond?"

It was one of those rare moments when an accent would kick in, David, as well as the others, were good at masking accents and sounding like they came from wherever they wanted to, Wrath was still young, and his English accent had just slipped in.

"Because Lehmue talked, he probably told Jack what was waiting for him wherever he goes. He won't come here because he would have realized that this is the main and final target. If he comes here now it would get the challenge over with too quickly. Likewise he probably already knew that Frankfurt would be a hard hit, so the organization would send their most qualified there, New York would be a prime target as well, but the easier ones are there. In other words, he's prioritizing."

The younger one seemed to think about this for a second, then continued driving, after a while he turned to look at David again in the rearview mirror.

"That makes no sense, why go after the easiest first. Wouldn't you want to eliminate the toughest opponent first?"

David smiled.

"You would if you weren't Jack."


Jack stepped off the plane and headed down the terminal, when he reached the end the head of the female college student next to him exploded in a shower of blood, he instantly dropped to the ground and started to roll. Chaos ensued.

People began running everywhere, screaming, it was disorienting and Jack needed to find the source of the gunshot. He couldn't believe that one of them would actually open fire in such a crowded place, not to mention in an airport, it was absolutely ridiculous, he didn't even know how they got past security. Of course, Jack would have figured out a way as well, then he also started to wonder how they found his plane.

Jack jumped behind a row of those cheap uncomfortable plastic chairs and they exploded over his head, two people the row behind him were shot, as was a person running the row in front of him. He leveled his body to the ground and started to think.

Who? If he knew a who he could figure out an option, he would know their weakness. Obviously it was someone who was daring, and not very smart either. It took him a few seconds, Retribution, and if Retribution was around that meant Freedom was near as well. He heard gunshots down the wide hall behind him and knew that was the case, he also knew that the fire was most likely directed towards airport security. Jack jumped up and sprinted, people started falling and screaming in pain all around him, he slid behind a pillar and looked around. There he was, Freedom, down the hall in a shootout with security, he hadn't seen him in years but even here he could see a large scar that trailed across the back of his neck and shoulders. All around him people were going around in a state of panic and confusion, but he also knew that soon the area around him and Retribution would be clear of people, and he didn't want that. Jack turned and started sprinting again this time he dove behind the desk that they check your ticket at before you board the plane. He had a notion of where Retribution was, and knowing the man himself he had a feeling he was correct, he was standing in the middle of the hall, wide open.

Jack grabbed the phone on the desk, and began pounding on the computer tower, when he broke off one of the walls he tested the corners and found them sharp, he set this piece on the ground then began rummaging around in the computer itself, eventually he found a long chip that he cracked to a point and stuck that in his belt. He jumped over the desk and threw the sheet of computer at the same time.

The sheet flew straight, spinning as it went, and stuck into Retributions body armor, he glanced down at it and that's what gave Jack his chance. He ran, ducked, weaved, and jumped. He flew through the air at Retribution, pulling the piece of chip out of his belt as he did and buried it into the man's throat. Retribution grabbed his throat and pulled the chip out, it hadn't gone in very far, Jack had hoped he would drop his gun but he didn't. Instead Jack rolled around his legs and found his knife tucked into Retributions boot, he pulled it out and the other man ran forward to get away from the swipe. Jack was about to lunge when the air around him whizzed with bullets. He turned to find Freedom coming down the hallway at a walk, looking calm, like a frozen pond.

Jack ran for the tube connecting to the airplane at a full run. He was in a losing situation without a gun and he needed to find open ground. The plane was still connected but the gap between them was enough for him to fall through so he did, straight to the ground below. He hit the ground moving and heard glass shatter as Retribution shot at him from inside the building. Pieces of concrete peppered his legs before he was able to get out of his line of sight. Jack turned around to watch Freedom fall to the ground in the same spot he had just landed, and once again the man started walking toward him, not running, walking, like taking a casual stroll.

Jack ran for a building. Freedom continued to walk.

The man was tall, with blonde hair and a dark tan, he wore a wife beater, tan shorts, and sandals. As he walked Retribution fell to the ground behind him and sprinted past him after Jack. Retribution was shorter, only about five foot eight, and he moved like a champion runner, his long black hair bouncing in its ponytail, he looked gothic in solid black fatigues with a black shirt, black fatigue jacket, black bulletproof vest, black sunglasses, and black boots.

When Jack got into the building he immediately cut left and stood next to the door. Retribution came in at a dead run and Jack barely had a chance to grab his ponytail, when he did though it brought the other man to the ground, and the startling motion also gave him the chance to bury the stolen knife into his throat. With Retribution dead Jack grabbed his gun and looked out the door.

Freedom was still walking and he stopped when he saw Jack, he slowly slid out of his sandals, standing on the ground barefoot, and watched. Jack swung the gun around and Freedom bolted to the left, out of Jacks sight, when Jack stepped out of the doorframe he was greeted with pistol at chest level he dropped to the ground as the gun went off over his head, and brought his gun up at the same time, unloading three shots into the underside of the other mans chin. Freedom fell, missing the top part of his head. Jack got up, and ran, he had to get as far away from the airport as possible.


Jack stood outside the gate of the massive mansion and rolled his eyes, he never understood the point of living in excess.

He was ready, he was wearing his stealth shoes, skintight BDU pants, a skintight black sweater, his sword, a tight black skimask, two 1911's that of course were also black, and a black combat knife. He strolled up to the gate and rang the bell. A face appeared on a touchscreen and Jack could see the little camera mounted above it, the face was staring at blank space.

"Please step in front of the camera."

Jack did, and he watched the face turn worried.

"Who are you?"

Jack didn't answer.

"Who are you?"

Jack pulled out his sword, and stabbed it through the camera. Seconds later three black sedans came hauling ass down the large gravel driveway, at the same time floodlights kicked on across the compound, and he heard dogs begin to bark. Jack backed up into the shadows.

The gates opened and thirty men armed to the teeth stepped out of the sedans, Jack had to stifle a laugh, they were all facing the same direction. Jack ran, silently, swiftly, slide under one of the sedans, grabbed and lifted himself up flat against the vehicle.

"We should get back up to the house, he could already be on his way there."

Just as quickly as the men got out of the sedans they got back in and went the same speed back up to the house. Jack felt gravel hitting him in the back and it felt like thousands of bee stings but he didn't move or make a sound. When the sedans got to the front of the house once again the men piled out.

"Grab the dogs, let them go. Unit one, patrol directly outside of the house. Go. Unit two, patrol the yard. Go. Unit three, I want a scheduled sweeping of the inside of the house after you let the dogs go. Now move."

All the men took off running in different directions, except for the one who he had heard issuing the orders, he stayed put at the front door. Jack lowered himself to the ground and emerged from underneath the car on the opposite side from this man at the door, silently Jack threw his knife and it sailed straight into the man's throat, he dropped, and Jack ran. He grabbed the guy's body and went in through the front door. He half expected there to be guards sitting in couches in the entry way but there were none, the house was as silent as a tomb.

This was too easy, it was harder getting Tamaguchi.

He hid the body in a hall closet and made his way around the house, slowly, silently. He entered an upstairs hallway, the lights were off and he froze. Something wasn't right, something didn't feel right, it was too silent. The hairs on the back of his neck stood up and Jack knew, someone else was here. He entered the hallway only slightly then went up the walls quickly and smoothly until he was flat against the ceiling. He looked all around, eyes and ears straining to find anything. Finally he did, breathing, but he still couldn't tell well it was coming from. He was about to start moving when he heard the slight shifting of someones hands on a wall and he was able to figure out where the sound came from, the next hallway. He dropped to the floor without so much as the slightest noise and crept down the hall, his body flat against the wall but not touching it.

He came around the corner, slowly, then waited to see if he'd been spotted, after a about a minute he determined he hadn't and started to look around but he kept his eyes barely open, it only took him a few seconds to see the whites of the man's eyes as he strained to see something in the dark, it was odd, but the man had looked over Jack three times and still hadn't seen him. Slowly Jack removed his katana and kept the blade at his back to not allow any glint to come off the polished blade, even in the darkness a blade would be visible. He was about to strike when the lights came on, the figure above him and himself quickly had to adapt their eyes again to get used to suddenly being able to see.

The man saw Jack and lunged off the wall he turned and Jack saw another man, dressed exactly as himself and this other man, standing near the light switch, then darkness again.

Jack moved swiftly, he backed down the hallway, back the way he came, and then pressed himself to the floor. He heard the hira shuriken fly over his head and stick to the walls around him, there were at least seven, then a bright light exploded in front of his face, Jack jumped up from the floor blinded, and ran back the way he'd come before he entered the hallway. One of the things he was always able to do was memorize his surroundings, it was something that came easily, naturally, and he jumped, still blinded, behind a large leather couch, there he waited and listened.

There was nothing, except for the sound of his own beating chest. After a while he slowly began to regain his vision and he waited until the last gleam of light left his vision before moving again. He ran, straight back the way he had just come from, katana trailing behind him in his right hand, he was low to the ground, sleek, and didn't make a single sound.

When he came back into the darkened hallway he didn't stop, he felt, and heard, hira shuriken hit him in the chest, thankfully under his tight sweater he was wearing a leather Roman musculata cuirass, the leather had been so well massaged that it didn't creak, the points of the shuriken still penetrated his flesh, but it was better then getting the full effect. Jack swung the sword around in the cramped quarters and he heard the sound of blood flowing, he could smell it, he heard the head hit the ground just before the body followed, he jumped, going off the wall so as to not step in the blood, then flattened himself once more again against the ceiling. He waited and listened.

The other person, the one he had seen by the light switch, wasn't moving either, they weren't making a sound. He had been hoping they would have after hearing the body but that wasn't the case, he knew who it was, Sleep, just like he knew that he had just killed Silence.


Jack didn't know how long he'd been flat against the ceiling but he knew two things; one, someone had to move, and two, he was running out of time. Soon the rest of the guards would take their patrol up to the second floor and he really didn't want to have to deal with that. He figured he could scare the guys in Frankfurt more if he was able to kill his target with very little deaths of anyone else, of course, Germany was going to be an entire different story, but they didn't know that.

He was about to move when he saw Sleep standing directly below him, the man was looking right at him but he couldn't see him. Jack was invisible. Slowly the man moved down the hall, stopping every few inches to look again, when he had passed him fully and was slightly beyond Jack dropped from the ceiling, the other man didn't even turn around, he had been whisper quiet.

Jack slowly brought his sword up until it was even with the other man's neck and he gently pressed the tip of the blade to the back of his neck. Sleep froze and Jack heard the clearly audible sigh, then the other man lifted his own sword in front of him and dropped to his knees. Jack cut his head off in one clean stroke then continued down the hall.

When he reached the door he saw that it wasn't a usual door, it was solid steel and obviously locked with several large bolts. Jack cursed himself silently then made his way back down the hall, he searched swiftly room through room until he found what he wanted, an attic entrance. He went up into the attic and then traced his way back until he assumed he was over the room then he calmly stepped through the ceiling.

He landed on the floor in a loud thump and scanned his surroundings. There was only one person in the room, Harold Barnes, and he was sitting behind his desk brandy still in hand, cigar in the ashtray, and he was staring at Jack as if he couldn't believe what he was seeing. Jack strode around the massive desk, put out the cigar in the ashtray, took the brandy from the man's hand and set it down, then sat on the desk facing him.

"Mr. Barnes."

The other man, who was severely obese and balding stared at Jack with an open mouth, Jack saw the panic button near the mans right hand but he still hadn't moved. Jack clapped his hands in front of the man's face and the large man instantly made for the panic button, with a swift move Jack cut his finger off in mid stretch with his combat knife. The man grabbed his hand and made to scream but Jack covered his mouth.

"Why did the organization come after me? Why couldn't they just leave me alone?"

Jack spoke in his native Irish accent, he made no attempt to hide it or cover it up. He removed his hand and the man spoke through clenched teeth.

"You were too viable an asset, we had hoped to bring you back in, when we realized you wouldn't come back we decided we would punish you for your insolence."

Jack sighed and shifted slightly on the desk.

"You should have left me alone."

"You will never survive Germany, Night, just give it up. If you stop now we may be able to forgive you enough to allow you to live. You've created quite a problem but not one that still can't be solved."

Jack edged the blade of the combat knife closer to the man's throat.

"All my life I've heard I wouldn't survive Mr. Barnes, and yet I am still here. The organization sent me on the hardest missions and I only came back with scratches. There are only, what, six of us School kids left?"

The fat man looked around the room, eyes darting in his head, Jack knew that look, it was of desperation.

"Pick up the phone."

The other man looked at him then slowly did what he said.

"Call her, put her on speaker."

No one in the organization knew that one of the highest leaders was a woman, except for the other leaders. No one had ever seen her either. Jack knew this, just like he knew that the School people in Frankfurt had no idea that they were actually guarding the woman, they would assume they were guarding her husband, a rich industrialist and to them the second highest leader in the organization. Jack hadn't even known this until just now. He figured it out through pictures, in Tamaguchi's office there was a picture of him standing with a woman, she looked tough, imposing, then again he saw the same thing in Lehmue's office, and just now, on the desk in front of him was the same woman, shaking hands with Barnes. He knew he was right because of the look on Barnes' face. Jack almost couldn't believe it he had never thought a woman could even be in the organization. Barnes dialed a number, then hit the speaker button. It rang twice and then it was answered.


The woman's voice was soft, sweet even, but Jack could also hear the cold cruel edge behind it. In that one word she gave off an aura of sophistication and determination, he admired her a little, and smiled when he thought of killing her. Barnes made a move to talk and Jack slit his throat.

"Hello madame, I suppose you will know who this is in a few seconds. I am impressed that a woman is actually a leader in this organization, second to the top in fact, but that doesn't change the fact that I am going to kill you."

He spoke with a clear crisp English accent. Suddenly the voice on the other end of the line softened a bit.

"You always made me proud Daniel, even now I'm proud."

Jack flinched a bit, he hated hearing his old name, he hadn't heard it in years until David spoke it outside the lighthouse.

"I'm going to take pleasure in killing you."

There was silence on the other end for a few seconds then Jack heard a soft laugh, it was the kind of life only a woman can do.

"I would expect nothing less Daniel, can I expect to see you soon?"

"That would be an accurate assumption."

"Until that hour."

Then the line went dead, it didn't do that traditional off the hook sound that seems to come into play as soon as a conversation is over in the movies, it was just silence, Jack put the phone back in its cradle and headed for the door.

Part VII

Jack sipped a cup of hot tea and watched the television screens, he wasn't in an airport this time, but a train station. All over the news he was watching his own exploits, of course, he wasn't in any of them. Ninety percent of the reports were saying it was terrorist activities, and that made him smile. He checked his watch, set down his cup of tea, and headed to his train...
David sat in the massive den of the mansion he was in and sipped a glass of brandy, all around him were antiques that were worth more then he had made in his life, he plopped his feet on some three hundred year old chairs and settled himself in. He had only been there a few moments before the younger Wrath came in and settled down in front of him.

"We placing bets?" The younger man asked.

"Sure." David sighed.

"Who ya got?" Wrath questioned.

"Night of course."

"I'll take that bet, not a chance he's getting into that place."

David laughed, it was a genuine laugh, not a fake one.

"But…" the younger man continued, "If he does bite the big one in Germany, who you got on killing him?"

"Flip that, who do you want?"

"I got Vengeance, that guy scared the crap out of me."

David laughed again and the younger man scowled a bit, his arms flexed involuntarily, David admired the youth, it became much harder to maintain that body as you got older.

"If anyone had a chance, and I say that because they don't, it would be Death."

"Never seen him."

"If you had, you'd remember, he stands about six four and weighs a good three hundred and thirty pounds of solid muscle, long brown hair, square jaw, full beard, it doesn't take you long to realize he's Russian."

"Just cause he's big doesn't mean shit."

David laughed again and the youth shifted in his seat.

"This is true, but big doesn't factor into Death."

"How so?"

"Well for one, he doesn't carry any weapons."

"So how much?" The younger man asked.

"Up to you."

"Ten thousand euros?"

"Deal." David smugly replied.


Jack walked down an empty street and turned down an alleyway, at the end stood a man probably in his sixties.

"Guten abend."

"I hate German, speak English."

Jack smiled and shook the mans hand.

"How you live in a country for forty years and not speak the language is beyond me."

"Ohhh I can speak it, I just choose not to."

The man shifted a bit as he unlocked the door behind him.

"Ya know kid, they find out I helped you, I'm a dead man."

Jack clapped the older man on the back and gave a slight chuckle.

"Old man, what's to say I'm not going to kill you?"

The older man shifted slightly as if to brush off Jack's hand and he grimaced a bit. Slowly he opened the doors to reveal a treasure trove of weapons, anything a wandering assassin could dream of. There were rifles, fully auto, bolt action, semi-auto. There were handguns ranging in every size and every style, the same could be said for the sub-machine guns. There were knives, swords, and grenades of several designs, C4, cutting edge and highly illegal foam explosive, mortars, rocket launchers. Basically anything and everything that was ever made to kill or maim was in this room. It made Jack laugh that it was just locked with a simple padlock. He patted the man on the shoulder and stepped inside. The older man waited outside and started chain smoking cigarettes, he paced nervously back and forth in front of the now closed entrance and kept glancing down the long length of the alleyway. When the door opened again he looked like he was going to have a heart attack.

"Calm down." Jack hissed.

"Look kid, I know ya never have to pay me or nothing but I would love to die somewhere sunny."

Jack emerged through the door carrying two large duffel bags in each hand and one across his back, his body was hunched slightly as he accommodated the severe weight and the muscles on his arms looked like they wanted to explode. Jack set one of them down and pulled a card from his shirt pocket along with a piece of paper.

"By all rights I should kill you right now." Jack exclaimed.

The older man took a step back and Jack grinned.

"Look Night, when they find out, I'm a dead man and you know that. Might be better if you kill me anyway, at least I know you would do it quick. Probably cut my fucking head off."

"There won't be a 'they' for very much longer old man, here."

Jack handed the card and the piece of paper to him.

"I doubt they changed the passwords because they knew if I tried to access the account it would be all over the board. So, this is the card to get you into the Vineyard Bank in Switzerland, once you're in there tell the guy at the door that you're looking for a raincoat, when you get in you have to type in a twenty-two character password…it's the first number on that sheet of paper, after that you have thirty seconds to type in the following two passwords…"

"Wait," the old man interrupted, "what are you talking about."

"Look you old bastard. When I'm done there will be no one to stop you from walking into that bank and it will take at least a couple of days for lawyers to close the account. So, after the two passwords you have to speak a phrase. That phrase, oddly enough, is…All good things come to those who wait. You get that?"

The old man nodded but frowned.

"What are you telling me?"

"In that account is over two hundred million dollars, us school kids use it when we need quick cash."

The old man leaned back against the brick wall and let out a whistle.

"And you're telling me I can have it?"

"Yeah, just wait until it's over."

Jack picked the bags back up and started walking down the alleyway.

"Wait," the old man yelled after him, "how will I know when its over?"

Jack laughed. "Watch for some weird terrorist shit in London."

The old man lit another cigarette and watched Jack continue down the alleyway, under his breath he said an old prayer of hope, not for himself, but for Jack.


Death, "the Russian," stepped underneath the guard house door and out into the crisp night, every step he took made a resounding thump. True to David's word the man didn't carry a gun, or knife, or any weapon for that matter. He wore large steel toed black boots, blue jeans, a wife beater, and over that a thick flannel shirt, his body was covered with tattoos, including one hundred and twenty six skulls that traced around his forearm, once for each person he had killed with his bare hands.

He stepped over to where two other men stood under a small lamppost that lined the walkway into the main door of the large mansion that was basically a castle. In fact, basically wasn't the word for it, it was a castle. Around the entire mansion was a twenty-foot high stonewall, complete with walkways and guard towers. The mansion itself was some ten stories tall, and at each corner of the house were more guard towers. In the front "yard" of the mansion, tucked securely behind the wall were four hummers complete with mounted fifty caliber machine guns.

The complex boasted nearly one hundred armed guards, a staff of servants, maids, nannies, butlers, chefs, handy men, and ground maintenance. The guards were all hand-picked ex-military, armed with MP-5's, guard tower guards used sniper rifles with night vision and thermal scopes, guards inside the house used "street sweeper" shotguns with fifty round drum mags. They worked in continuous fifty man at a time shifts, and each one had to go through channels even to take a piss.

Their leader, was a former lieutenant in the Marines, a woman by the name of Alice Walker. In actuality though, Death didn't give a shit about her, the person he was guarding, or any of the guards, he just wanted to lay his hands on Night. He stepped over to the other two men and grunted.

One of the men stood about six feet tall, he was dark skinned, he hailed originally from Turkey but it didn't matter now. His hair was cut close to his head and his face clean-shaven, he wore a crisp suit and smoked clove cigarettes. In one hand, was the cigarette, in the other an old school Thompson Machine Gun, not the world war two Thompson, the gangster "Tommy Gun." Underneath his suit jacket he had two backup drum magazines. This man, was Mayhem.

He nodded at Death and continued talking to the other man. This man, stood five feet one inches tall, he had no hair, no body hair, no tattoos, his eyebrows were black though but they were behind simple glasses, he wore baggy black jeans, a black wife beater, skater shoes, and a black hoodie with a skull and crossbones, he had MP3 earphones in his ears but he wasn't listening to anything. He had a wallet chain, but if you looked close enough at it you could make out that each ball in the chain was actually barbed with four spikes, and if you looked at his knuckles he had steel ball bearings under the skin between each one, this man, was Vengeance.

"So how do you suppose he's going to get in here?" Mayhem asked.

"Why the fuck would he come in here? That would obviously be suicide." Vengeance retorted.

"Because he's stupid?"

"He is anything but stupid," Death countered, "he is by far the smartest out of the three of us."

Despite the fact that Death looked the way he looked he spoke elegantly without a hint of accent, flawless English.

"Say," Mayhem continued, pointing a finger at Death, "didn't you fight him once while we were in school."

"Fuck yeah he did," Vengeance fired out.

"What happened, I can't remember?"

"It was a draw, Dad broke it up." Vengeance answered.

Out of nowhere a gunshot sounded above their heads, they calmly looked up to see another man at the tallest point of the "castle."

On closer inspection he was tall and very thin, wearing what would be a typical military attire, his red hair stuck out in tufts and his face was locked down the scope of the gun. When he looked down you could see that he wasn't someone you would look at twice. This man, was Destruction.

"I thought he preferred explosives?" Mayhem asked.

"He does." Death answered.

Destruction put a hand to his throat and a voice came through all of their nearly invisible earpieces.

"Spotted him, shot at him, think I wounded him."

"Was he carrying a gun?" Vengeance asked.

"Negative," Destruction replied, "just a piece of paper."

Death pointed to Walker who was looking on nearby and she regarded the much larger man with disdain. He waved his finger in a circular motion over his head and she keyed her throat mike and ordered her men to mount up.

Ten minutes later the hummers returned and the lady stepped out of the lead car. She calmly walked to Death with a smile on her face and handed him a piece of paper.


Jack was watching from high in a tree and all he really wanted to do was laugh. The situation before him was pretty ridiculous, he couldn't actually believe he rated what he saw in front of him, there was practically an army. He knew the drill, an old military friend had told him the layout of the compound and of the situation inside of it and it was insane.

A hundred guards? With the internal ones on top of that with street sweepers?

It was funny. He held the slip of paper in his hand and continued to look out at the scene in front of him. Through process of elimination he had determined that Death, Destruction, Mayhem, and Vengeance were likely his classmates here. Mayhem was cocky, Destruction was insane, Vengeance had little man syndrome, and Death, well, Death he didn't want to think about, he only hoped he would have the opportunity to kill him with a weapon.

He saw a slight glint through one of the forty flood lights that surrounded the compound and raised his spotting scope to the top of the castle, when he did, he free fell out of the tree. Dropped the piece of paper, and ran, smoothly blending into the shadows. Into the night.

He felt the burn when he was halfway back to his "hideout" and touched his left ear, his fingers came back bloody and he laughed. He knew it was Destruction that he saw through the spotting scope holding a rifle in his direction, he just couldn't believe the crazy bastard had managed to see him, once more he couldn't believe that he had almost sniped him. If he had to lose the top of his left ear for his stupidity then so be it.

When he got back to his place he grabbed the bottle of rubbing alcohol, the needle and thread, it was going to be ugly, but people like him didn't go to hospitals.


Death looked at the piece of paper and had to stifle a laugh. Mayhem, Vengeance, and Destruction all looked at him.

"For fuck sakes what?" Vengeance blurted out.

Death handed him the piece of paper and started laughing.

Hey guys,

Just wanted to let you know that through a process of elimination that I figured out which ones of my school chums were in there. So to each of you, allow me some parting words if we don't speak soon.

Death: I love ya you big fucking Russian. I hope I kill you with a gun and don't have to face those hands of yours. Yes, I know we technically need a re-match, but fuck that, if I don't have to fight you hand to hand I'm not going to do it. So, arm yourself, even though I know you wont. P.S. Did you get bigger?

Mayhem: Seriously, are you still using a Tommy Gun? Because that would be priceless. How in the hell do you even lift that thing. By the way, I'm going to kill you before you even manage to point that thing at me, believe that. P.S. I'm sure you're still ugly.

Vengeance: We all know that you have little man syndrome. Its ok, you should have seen a therapist instead of putting ball bearings in your hands. Yes, I heard about that. I will see you soon. P.S. If you pull out that fucking chain of yours I swear right now that even if I'm holding a gun I will drop it and pull my sword. Just to let you know.

Destruction: If you even attempt to blow me up, I'm going to make your head explode. P.S. You're really weird.

Finally to Ms. Walker: You ma'am are actually pretty hot for a Marine and I tell you what, if you walk out of that compound before midnight tonight, not only will I let you live, but I will even take you out on a date. P.S. Lose the sports bra, go for something in a push-up, I'm sure those suckers are wonderful.

Alright guys…and gals. I will see you tomorrow, if you would like me to attack at night (which of course, I would absolutely enjoy), flash the third floodlight on the right from the front entrance twice. If, however, you would like me to attack during the day, flash it once. Ok, if you want me to attack before noon, flash it three times. I'm just curious as to what time you would like to die, figured I would give you that option. Until that day gentleman…and lady.


Vengeance looked up from the note and pointed to Walker.

"Flash that fucking light twice."

Death put his hand on the man's shoulder and shook his head, then turned to Walker himself.

"Flash it once."

Walker turned to move and he cleared his throat causing her to turn around again.

"And if you leave before midnight, I will personally hunt you down and I will rip your head off with my bare hands."

The lady grinned, and turned to her men.


Jack saw the light flash once and smiled. Of course they wouldn't want him to come when there was any cover of dark but fuck it, he had secretly hoped they would be that stupid but was already planning for otherwise.

Currently he was in the garage of his place strapping C4 to the undercarriage of a stolen car, well, not exactly to the undercarriage, he was connecting it to the front bumper, quite a bit of it actually. After that he would put together what weapons he wanted to take, right now he was looking at his Katana, two small machine guns (these guns were small at the length of a 357 magnum and the width of a 1911, they didn't hold much or pack that big of a punch, but he could carry lots of ammo for them and they could be useful. Along with that he was planning on his two 1911's, a combat knife, one Bullpup, and a bunch of explosive foam. Once he knew that Destruction was there, he wanted to give the guy a show. He had always hated him.

He also knew because this was going down during the day that it wouldn't take long for police to show up, even though this castle was well away from anything, in fact it wasn't even that close to Frankfurt at all. He figured at best it would be an hour before the authorities arrived, at least anything that was worth a shit.


Destruction stood outside of the main door to the mansion and twirled his custom made explosive in his hand. It was half the size of a grenade and a tube, like a pipe bomb, but it had three times the destructive power of one. He twirled it casually. He checked his watch and saw that it was twelve o'clock. At midnight that night they had found a sports bra hanging from the lamppost nearest to the exit of the castle and a quick look had found that the former marine was nowhere in the compound, he had thought it was funny, Death disagreed. Death was inside the house, sitting in the middle of the house to be exact, with Vengeance. Mayhem was around somewhere.

He checked his watch again and saw that it was twelve o'five, and right after he did that the gate guard alarm went off. He turned his earpiece on and listened.

"Report." It was Death's voice.

"We have a car coming down the drive at high speed," a guard announced, "looks like he's going to ram the front gate."

Destruction saw guards running along the wall heading to the main gate, checking their MP5's, he also saw the guard tower guards turn their attention to the gate as well. He sat down on the front steps and waited. He had the sinking suspicion this was a decoy.

"He's ramming."

The guards on the front gate opened fire at the car and Destruction waited to hear it collide. It did indeed, the whole font gate exploded so large that the ground shook. He stood up and smiled, he recognized the C4 for what it was and laughed as pieces of rock fell down around him, mixed with pieces of guards. Where the front gate was, was now was a giant crater. He started to move towards it when the rock wall to the right of the mansion exploded inward. He turned his attention in time to see three guards on the wall drop to weapons fire, he heard the sound of a bullpup a few seconds later then saw a figure streak into the compound. He liked the fact that Night was using explosions. He lobbed his homemade explosive in that direction and made his way for the front door, pulling a Desert Eagle from a side holster, it carried custom made explosive rounds as well. He felt his homemade bomb go off as he made his way inside.


Death heard the explosion and watched Vengeance jump to his feet. He made a motion for the man to sit back down and he did. In a way, he hated that he was going to use Vengeance as bait, then again, he didn't like him anyway. After a few moments he heard another explosion, then Destruction made his way into the house, pulling out his Desert Eagle. The man nodded in his direction, another explosion went off, and he went to the right of the house. Death stayed where he was, and guards with their street sweepers followed Destruction.


Mayhem heard the explosion and started running, he was outside at the back of the house and he wanted his chance at Night. When he rounded the left hand side of the house from the back an explosion forced him into the wall of the house. His ears were ringing and he couldn't see very well, his vision was slowly coming back. He went to regain his feet and felt a gun barrel press into the side of his head.

"Told you that you weren't even going to point it at me."

Then there was nothing as his brains splattered against the wall.


Destruction heard glass break and he waved the guards forward into the room where the sound originated. He went to follow them in when the door slammed shut in his face. As soon as it did he grabbed a net explosive from a small pouch and laced the door with it.

A net explosive was just that, a net, that was typically used for breaching a door. He waited for a few seconds then heard the sounds of fully automatic shotguns going off.

He laid himself flat on the ground as the walls over his head erupted outward from the guns, after a few moments, the shooting subsided and there was silence again.

He waited a full five seconds, then detonated the net explosive. The door splintered inward with a concussive force, he tossed a flash bang in, waited for it to explode, then moved in with his DE ready. As soon as he walked in he saw something go through the wall to his right and he ran back out the same door just in time to see the same flash enter the room across the hall. He fired twice behind it and the wall erupted in small explosions. Then he traced it, moving slowly.

He rounded the corner into the room swiftly attempting to dodge anyone that could be waiting and was suddenly halted by his gun getting jerked from his hand. He turned to face Night, who had a large grin on his face. He swung at his face but missed and his hand erupted in pain as the wrist was snapped and for good measure Night also broke three of his fingers in the same motion. Destruction didn't make a sound however. He swung again with his good hand and Night seemed to disappear. Then he was behind him and he tried a roundhouse kick that got caught, and then he felt his knee snap in a defensive move. The thin man dropped to the ground, pushed a button, and the vest of explosives he wore under his shirt pinged to life. Suddenly a hand was at his throat and he felt another hand remove the detonator cable from the small of his back. Destruction looked up to see Night holding what looked like an aerosol can, the other man forced his mouth open and it was quickly filled with foam that hardened rapidly. He watched Night place what looked like a little timer in his mouth and the other man smiled.

"Told you."

Night took off in a dead run as Destruction struggled to remove the foam out of his mouth. A few seconds later and that whole quarter side of the house blew away to rubble.


Death had heard the gunshots, then the several explosions, then silence, and finally he stood up. Vengeance did the same. The smaller man keyed his radio, spoke into it, and then shook his head no. Their classmates were already dead. Death nodded to the smaller man and slinked back into a hidden part of the room. He watched the smaller man pull out his chain and begin to swing it.


Vengeance watched the bigger man slink back into the shadows and he got ready. As he stood there he heard more shotgun blasts, some MP5 fire, then some return fire from what sounded like an extremely small submachine gun. He was nervous, and sweating profusely under his arms. He took a few steps forward then stopped again. Death had told him to wait there and he was going to do just that. He continued to swing his chain, it was comforting, when he saw Night calmly stroll into the room. Vengeance started pacing, he was getting ready to fight. He watched as Night shook his head, then dropped the two tiny machine guns he was wielding and removed the Katana from his back.

As soon as Night made for him Vengeance started swinging. He brought the chain up, down, and around with a type of grace. He made sure not to get it stuck into any furniture or walls as that would indeed suck and he slowly made his way toward Night.

He watched the other man dodge. He knew he was going to attempt to discern a pattern and Vengeance tried his hardest not to form one. It was hard though, using this type of weapon one of the only ways to use it as a fighting style was to use patterns, as with any martial arts. But he also knew that he would have to improvise and adapt. He broke stride and made a swing for Night's head, and flinched when he saw the Katana come down and severe his arm. He didn't scream though, he wouldn't give the prick the satisfaction, and he still had another arm.

Vengeance swung, trying to connect with the ball bearings in his left hand when he saw that limb detach as well, he turned to face Night and saw the blade come down on his neck.


Death watched and as soon as Night decapitated the smaller man he jumped from his hiding spot and wretched the blade from the other man's hand. He struck the sword down, burying it into the hardwood floor and Night stepped back, wincing a little. He looked at the piece of ear missing from Nights head and smiled.

"You didn't have to do that," Night said, pointing to the blade, "that's horrible for the sword."

Death took a step forward, and Night took another step back.

"Have you been working out?" the other man asked, "How much can you bench now?"

Death smiled, and grinned even bigger at Night.

"I'm benching five hundred and twenty pounds now, yourself?"

"Umm something like that."


Jack really didn't want to have to fight this guy. He was huge, one of the bigger man's arms was as big around as his waist. Five hundred and twenty pounds, Jesus, was that even necessary Jack thought. He looked and saw Vengeances barbed whip laying on the ground and thought about grabbing that, but he had tried using that particular weapon back at the school and had never found the knack for it.

So instead, he got in his muay Thai posture and felt the 1911's at his back. He would give this a shot, if he started to lose, well, there would be other options. And in all due respect, he liked the big Russian.

To his surprise, the Russian adopted the same stance.

"Get the fuck outta here." Jack said.

The Russian just smiled and Jack sighed. As soon as the sigh was released the Russian moved close and swung, Jack ducked under the swing and brought a knee up to the bigger man's ribcage, it felt like a brick wall. Before he even had time to plant his foot again the man came around with a roundhouse, Jack dropped to the ground and kicked at his knee, the bigger man rolled with it and dropped with a knee of his own, aimed at Night's chest. Jack rolled out of the way and then had to continue to roll as the man came down with his large foot trying to neck stomp him, after nearly a full circle Jack rolled backwards and came to his feet. He expected the bigger man to attack as he came up and instead he stood there.

"Come on Jack," the bigger man said, "Do you honestly think this is going to work out in your favor?"

Jack ran at him and jumped, double knee dropping him in the chest. With any normal person that kind of blow would have sent them stumbling backwards, or falling, instead the Russian stuck his chest out and it was Jack that hit the ground. He rolled and kicked again, attempting to leg sweep him and once again the Russian went with the punch. Jack found himself again rolling away from foot stomps, this time however the Russian charged when he attempted to gain his feet. Jack stumbled backward and felt the knee collide with his ribcage, it hurt, but it wasn't a break, the Russian had been slightly off balance. Jack delivered a vicious rib shot to counteract it and even though his fist ached with the impact he managed to get the man off balance.

With the bigger man showing his side and Jack straight on he ran again and double knee dropped him straight to his exposed ribcage, this time the Russian did fall, and Jack took the opportunity in stride. He dove onto the bigger man's back and put him in a rear naked choke, to Jack's surprise the big man managed to gain his feet, with Jack on his back, and he ran for one of the many granite pillars that were throughout the interior of the house at the last second he turned and slammed Jack into it. He instantly let go and saw stars.


The Russian stepped away and looked at Jack as he struggled to regain his feet.

"I can make this quick." The big man said.

Jack waved at him, that wave that says, "Whatever." Returned to standing straight and tall and got into a different posture that Death had never seen before.

"And what is this?" He asked.

He watched the tiny man and saw that he looked like he was getting ready to pounce and he braced himself, he knew the smaller Night would try and get him off balance again.

"Its called Krav Maga." Night said.

And with that, he lunged. The Russian was expecting a chest shot and instead got a full kick straight to his groin, he actually grunted involuntarily, and leaned over, when he did he felt Night double elbow drop him to the back of the neck. He fell, seeing stars and tried to go to his knees, as he did he felt the smaller man land on his back again.

Death went to try and do the same thing again, he expected a submission hold and instead was rewarded with fingers being dug into his eyes. He grabbed the man's wrist and attempted to pull him off, as soon as he got some leverage he felt a knee strike continuously pounding him in the ribcage, he leaned to that side and let go of the hands and instantly felt one of them return to his throat grabbing his windpipe. He grabbed this hand and was granted the pleasure of the knee strikes to his ribcage again, he heard them crack and grunted again. Then he felt one of the hands go for his chin, and the other one to the back of his head, they maintained a death grip and Death strained his neck muscles trying to prevent what was about to happen, and then…nothing.


Jack watched the larger man fall to ground and stepped back, leaning against a leather chair, breathing heavy. There was one thing in the style of Krav Maga that wasn't expected in any other style, and that was anything goes, there were no rules.

He struggled to remove the sword from the ground and put it back into the scabbard at his spine. He rotated, hearing a noise, and instantly knew what was about to happen, the rest of the eighty or so guards were about to rush the house.

He had a feeling they were going to use a typical military strike with teams doing sweep and clears and as soon as the front door burst inward he saw the flash grenade get thrown in. He lunged, diving behind a couch and covered his eyes as the grenade went off, as soon as he heard it he took off at a sprint. Machine gun fire ripped the wall apart behind him as he burst through a door. No sooner than he did that he heard the glass rupture in the room he ran into, he closed his eyes and covered them and heard another explosion of a flash bang, he dodged, using memorization back into the hallway and was rewarded with not only the ground and walls around him erupting into small shrapnel but the hallway doing the same. They were surrounding him, and he kind of wanted that.

He slid into the next room and swept a guard that had come through a window. Before he even managed to fall backward Jack had gotten back up, put him in a choke hold, and choke slammed him, he then picked the man up, using him as a human shield, and using the guards own gun eliminated the ten other men that had entered the room. He broke the guards neck, then continued running.

As he re-entered back into the opening of the foyer he not only saw the guards moving in disarray, but the bullets that were impacting the wall in front of him. He slid again, and re-entered the room he had originally breached. There were guards in here as well and he eliminated another ten with his two 1911's, all headshots. He grabbed two of the street sweepers that were on the ground around him, reloaded and reholstered his 1911's, then criss-crossed the street sweepers into an x pattern. Then he ran back the way he had just came, slid into the foyer on his knees and began to unload the fully automatic shotguns.

Bodies, and body parts flew everywhere as Jack unleashed a hundred rounds of twelve gauge slug shotgun rounds. In a figure eight pattern he ran back into the second room he had encountered the interior guards and grabbed two more of the unrelenting shotguns, then went diving into the first room he had encountered exterior guards in outside of the foyer, he unloaded again, then repeated the pattern.

By the end, even though for the most part the walls around Night had continued to be pummeled he was always one step ahead, and he picked off the rest of the stragglers as they tried to run away with shots from his 45's to the back of their heads. He looked at the carnage around him and started to laugh. By all rights, and he knew it himself, he should have been dead.


Jack ran to the fifth floor and when he came around the corner to go up the next flight he saw two more guards at the end of the hall. They saw him, opened fire, and he stood behind a wall until, stupidly, they both had to reload at the same time. He stepped back around, they saw him, and lowered their guns. He raised the two 1911's fired once out of each gun and was rewarded with a headshot to both. That was movie stuff, the stuff that wasn't possible, but if you practiced long enough it was quite possible, and he had practiced enough. He made his way down the hall and opened the door. Inside was an office and a man sat behind a desk, he was old and gray and he held a double-barreled shotgun. Jack saw him and the man smirked.

"Guess you're going to kill me now?" the man said.

"Wasn't planning on it."


"Your not who I'm looking for."

With that Jack stepped back out of the room and closed the door then he quickly placed a charge that he had grabbed off of Destructions body. It was small, much smaller then an average claymore, but it would do the trick; he laced it in front of the door then took off back down the hallway.

He made it to the seventh floor before he heard the explosion. What man would leave his wife to die?

On the tenth floor, and final floor, Jack went straight to a back room, the only one, from the outside, that had no windows. When he opened the door he was facing a vault door. He touched a communications pad on the outside of the door and spoke.

"Warum ich nicht kann eingehen?"

There was a pause and then the familiar female voice he had heard before.

"Warum nicht tatsächlich."

He heard bolts unlock and the large metal door slowly slid inward. He paused then stepped inside.


Mrs. Slichtheiler watched Jack walk through the door and she smiled. He was as handsome as she remembered. Were she younger she would have tried to seduce him to keep her life, and she would have enjoyed it, instead she held the small twenty-two-caliber purse gun with the pearl handle in her hand, and never even pointed it at him.


"Bonjour, vous êtes une belle dame, son une honte je dois vous tuer."

The lady smiled at Jack and he smiled back at her.

"Pouvons-nous échanger à l'anglais ? Je déteste vraiment le français."

Jack laughed and shrugged.

"Wie steht's mit Deutsch?" he responded.

"Nein. Auf Englisch."

"I knew you were French, it was easy, all I had to do was look at you." Jack said.

The older lady sat the purse gun on the table next to her and waved her hand around.

"A panic room."

"I know," Jack answered, he held another can of the foam explosive in his hand and waved it at her, "I would have made a way in."

She nodded, and pointed to a seat across from her in the lavish panic room, most of these rooms that Jack had seen had been sparsely furnished but this one was opulent, he sat down and she smiled.

"Yo siempre le pensaba uno de los más atractivos." She said.

Jack smiled and nodded his head.

"Flattery will get you no where, besides, I thought you wanted to speak English."

She nodded, and shrugged her shoulders.

"Ich denke, dass Zorn jetzt am attraktivsten ist."

Jack flinched, and it caught even himself off guard.

"Wait," he said, "who is Wrath?"

She laughed a gentle laugh, none of the malice that he had heard in her voice on the phone and he settled a bit, he knew she had accepted her death.

"It doesn't matter," she said, "you will meet him soon enough I believe."

Jack didn't like it, he didn't like someone he didn't know, but these weren't the questions he needed to press.

"What's his name?" Jack asked.

She looked at him and shrugged.

"Who is to say it is a man?" She responded.

Jack smiled.

"If it was a woman, no offense, this organization wouldn't exist."

The older woman chuckled and patted her thigh.

"Son nom est Arthur Billings."

"Why did you tell me?" Jack asked. He wondered why he didn't even have to force it out of her.

"Parce que je savais qu'il ne me ferait aucun bien pour résister. Ainsi j'ai symbolisé la meilleure voie de vous permettre de savoir devrait juste vous dire. Maintenant, comment projetez-vous de me tuer ?"

Jack shrugged, his French was rusty.

"Why wouldn't I. I know it would do me no good to resist. So, how do you plan to kill me?" She translated for herself.

Jack shrugged, in truth he was just planning on shooting her.

"How would you like to die?" He answered.

"Par l'épée."

Jack nodded, and removed the Katana from the sword on his back.

"Who is this Wrath?" Jack asked, his sword at the ready.

"You will find out soon enough, I would advise you practice the skill with the blade you are now holding."

Jack shrugged, he was the best at the sword and he knew it. He wasn't worried about anyone who thought they could beat him at that. He would gladly accept the challenge.

"Tête ou Coeur?" Jack asked, basically, head or heart.

"Coeur." The older lady responded.

Jack nodded, and drove the blade into her heart. He waited until she quit twitching, then twisted the blade. For some reason he had felt an attachment to her, and he didn't know why. He removed the blade, cleaned it, and made his way to exit the compound.


There were police, as he had expected, but he easily bypassed them, when he reached the entrance to the compound he saw the younger Lt. Walker standing at the edge of the road. He pulled the Suzuki Hayabusa GSX1300R over to the side of the lane and looked at her. The bike was worth twelve thousand American dollars and had a top speed of close to two hundred miles an hour. She looked good in her push-up bra and Jack laughed.

"Need a ride?"

She smiled, and climbed on.


Jack had been sitting on the roof adjacent to the expensive loft apartment of one Arthur Billings in London for nearly a week. Through the usual channels (i.e. conversations that never took place) Jack had found out that this would have had to been the wealthiest Arthur Billings in London, therefore the most likely to be the leader of the organization.

Yet, in this week period, all the while he was getting soaked from the rain that wasn't really rain, Jack had yet to see any people other then Arthur himself. The man had continued to do his day-to-day thing and there had been no one, no bodyguards, David, women, anyone. Finally, upset by the fact that he didn't think this was the man when no one else even came close to rating a match, he got off the roof, and knocked on the door of the loft when he knew the man would be home.

He knocked three times; when there was no answer he knocked three more times, when there was still no answer he kicked the door in.

The first thing he saw was a lavishly furnished apartment, the second thing he saw was a large flat screen TV, the third thing he saw was one Arthur Billings jerking off (or actually no longer jerking off) to a rather raunchy gay porn featuring an extremely muscular black man with a not so large white man. Arthur Billings himself wasn't a very substantial man. Jack guessed him at five feet six inches and maybe a hundred and twenty pounds if he was lucky. Mr. Arthur Billings still hadn't moved, his dick still in his hand, he was staring at Jack, opened mouth.

"What do you do for a living?" Jack asked.

He was still scanning the room, even as he asked the question, he didn't consider the man in front of him a threat.

"I just get paid." The other man responded, realizing he was exposed and attempting to hide himself, although keeping an eye on Jack to see if he was looking and if so possibly interested.

"What do you mean you just get paid?"

The other man studied Jack as he looked him over.

"I should call the police."

"You could try."

The man still made no attempt to move and Jack focused his attention back to him.

"I don't know, I just do, for no reason. A few years ago this man came up to me and offered to pay me a hundred thousand euros a year just to use my name."

Jack thought of all the other Arthur Billings in London and how this one had gotten lucky, or perhaps not so lucky, a tiny white gay man.

"What was the man's name?"

At that Jack heard the barely audible creak of a staircase. He turned around to find a rather young, and very fit, black man with a sword in hand attempting to sneak up behind him. Jack stepped further into the room and kept his calm, keeping his hands in his pockets, he had no idea who this man was, and he had never seen him before. As he backed up and the other man entered the room, he heard the audible gasp, and no doubt excitement of Arthur.

"And who are you?" Jack asked.

"My name is no matter." The black man replied in a heavy British accent.

Jack could see that the young man was nervous, but he could also see that he was confident, Jack wasn't used to that look in someone's eyes.

"Humor me." Jack responded.

He looked out of the corner of his eye and saw Arthur slowly bring his penis back out in the open, he started to jerk off again, staring at the younger black man the entire time. Jack pulled out a silenced nine millimeter from behind his back and shot him in the head, then turned his attention back to the black man. This younger man had taken a guard position when Jack had removed the pistol and he had also taken a step back, this told Jack two things; one, he was inexperienced, two, he wasn't carrying a gun. He re-holstered the pistol, and turned his attention back to him.

"So, your name?"

"They call me Wrath."

Jack hesitated; this had been the one that Slichtheiler had mentioned.

"So, Wrath is it?" Jack's hand slowly crept to the katana at his back. If this man were good, he would have to prove it.

The younger man lunged, bringing his sword in for a strike. Before Jack even knew what happened he felt white-hot heat across his back and he realized his opponent was behind him. He moved, and felt the muscles ping along his back. He could feel the cut, it wasn't deep, maybe deep enough for stitches but he doubted it, he could feel the sticky blood though, and he knew the cut was about a foot long, he also knew that if the other man had wanted, he would be dead. He turned around in a flash and blocked another strike, this one aiming for his legs, and then another for his head, then another that was almost like an uppercut. Only then did Jack look, or even try to look, at the other man's sword. His sword wasn't a katana, it was a short sword.

Jack quickly laid his sword on the top of a table, handle out, and dove in with martial arts. The other man managed to get a swipe off that nicked Jack's upper thigh, but it was barely a graze. His fist, connecting to the other man's jaw though, wasn't a graze. Wrath took a step backwards from the blow and Jack jumped in with vicious punches to the man's ribs and chin. Jack grabbed the younger man's sword hand and felt three violent strikes to his head in retaliation. Jack stepped backwards and tried to clear his head and could see the other man out of the corner of his eye do the same. In that moment Jack jumped back in. He tried sweeping, the man jumped, head shots, dodged, kicks, deflected. Everything he threw at the other man was blocked or avoided. Finally the other man brought up another uppercut with his blade and it connected with Jack's cheek.

Jack reeled, and the other man went on the offensive. Jack found himself suddenly backing up, trying to avoid the short sword tracing his every move less then a second after he had completed it. He continued to back up until he found himself once again next to his sword. In a swift movement he grabbed the blade and brought it up, it was blocked, and Jack saw the blade's collide. His sword wasn't meant for "sword fighting" the other man's was. Jack realized this, turned like he was going to run, then brought the blade up in an arc behind his back without ever turning his body.

Jack felt the blade tear flesh through bone, the usual feeling of dismemberment, and whipped himself around. As he turned he saw the younger man, minus his blade hand, drop to a knee to retrieve the blade with his other hand. In a smooth motion Jack drove his blade home, the katana entered at the knee, traced the calf bone, went through the foot, and imbedded itself in the floor. Wrath screamed, and Jack punched him in the mouth.

"You should know better than that," Jack said as he removed his silenced pistol, "you are obviously trained, we show no emotion."

Wrath gritted his teeth but Jack could tell he wanted to scream, he was young, and he hadn't felt pain like that. Even if he did live, he would be crippled the rest of his life.

"Now, who is the real leader…Wrath?"

The younger man looked at him, then spit in his face. Jack grabbed his face with one hand, shot the nine-millimeter into the wall, and then touched the barrel to the man's face. He heard the hissing intake of breath and then nothing. Jack fired again and this time touched the barrel to the other man's eye, he saw the eye melt, then move into almost goo. The other man screamed and Jack punched him once more to silence him.

"I can make this quick, an honorable death," Jack sighed, "or I can do this slow, and make you wish you were dead."

In a movement Jack didn't see, the younger Wrath brought a blade up into Jack's ribcage with his good hand. The blade punctured his leather body armor and stuck itself in between two of his ribs. He showed no sign of pain, grabbed the front of the other man's pants, pulled them out, shot the pistol again, and stuck it down the front of Wrath's pants. He heard the other man moan and the blade was removed. Jack grabbed it, grabbed the other man's head, and began to cut his ear off. The other man screamed again and Jack had to punch him into silence once more. He couldn't understand why they would send someone this young after him, it was foolish.

"Tell me," Jack implored, "and this will all be over."

Wrath spit in his face again. Jack laughed, and grabbed the short sword that was on the ground near him.

"Guess you don't want any balls in your body at your funeral."

Jack brought the sword up and the man whimpered.

"Tell me, and this will all be over."

"Roundcourt…" the man hissed, "Dad."

Jack shook his head.

"Dad is dead."

"No…Roundcourt Road…expensive…"

"What is his name?" Jack asked.


Jack hit him, then tore the rest of Wrath's ear off that was still connected, with his bare hands. The younger man went to scream again and Jack punched him once more.

"Nice and quick." Jack said, then he picked up the other man's good hand and began to snap fingers one by one.


"Really?" Jack snapped another finger, then his wrist.

"Yes…Yunger…I hope Doc kills your fucking ass."

Jack removed the blade from the other man's leg, arched it up, and cut his head off.

"So," Yunger said, "he killed our newest? I was hoping young Wrath would be superior."

David studied the older man, the one they called Dad, he, like Jack, had thought him dead for many years now. The older man was still fit, still in good condition, still lethal. Even though he was nearing seventy his black hair only had highlights of gray that tinged the edges. He was wearing a simple attire of blue jeans and a white t-shirt with Nike tennis shoes. The watch at his wrist, and small glasses were the only things that gave away his money. His face was still lined with acne scars of his youth, his ice blue eyes penetrating, his skin remarkably free of wrinkles and tanned. David could see the muscles of his arms and even the still defined six-pack through the white t-shirt. When he stood up and began to pace around the room, hands at his back, David could see the pearl handled thirty-eight revolver tucked into the back of his jeans.

"I told you," David said, "Its Night we're talking about. Is there anyone who could beat him?"

The older man looked at David and a slight smile played at his lips.

"You can."

David nodded, not a nod of agreement but of understanding.

"So," the older man continued, "Do you think Wrath talked?"


"So, Daniel will be on his way then."

David nodded, flipping the Smith and Wesson H.R.T. Rescue blade in-between his fingers. There were better knives, but he liked the black blades and handles of the Smith and Wesson.

"I only want a small detail of guards, send the others away, I want the doors open, I want him to be my guest."

David looked up, not believing what the other man had said, if it was him, he would have suggested hiring an entire army not sending the few they had away. Then again, an army had not helped the lady any.

"Are you sure that is the correct course of action?" David asked.

The older man looked at him, smiled, and then waved his hand to dismiss him. David nodded and left the room.

Jack waited nearly three weeks to heal before heading after this Yunger. He had found him easily, had found his opulent mansion, the man certainly didn't hide his money, it was amazing to Jack that he hadn't figured it out earlier. It was an expansive mansion with large grounds, some three hundred yards of open ground in all direction before reaching the house. Open ground meant he would have to find another way in.

"We don't recommend night jumps mate."

Jack looked at the skydiver and nodded.

"I understand that, but you've gotten your money, all I need you to do is fly me up."

"Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the money its well more then we ask for, but you do understand the risk of a night jump? I see you're certified to jump, but have you ever actually done it…a night jump I mean?"

Jack considered telling the man the truth, just so he would shut up, and then decided he would.

"Look pal," he was using a northern American accent, "I've done thirty-six night jumps and three HALO jumps, you ever done a HALO? How many night jumps have you done?"

The other guy stood there, mouth open, hands on his hips.

"Get the fuck outta here, what, you like special forces or some shite like that?"

"Something like that."

"Well why didn't you fucking say so mate? What time you wanna jump?"

Jack floated through the air silently, he could see the grounds below him easily because they were lit up like a baseball field, everything except for the house, it was a dark spot in the center. He tucked the chute into a spin, spiraling straight down through the dark hole that the house created. At the last moment he pulled out of the spin, angled himself up slightly, and whisper quiet landed on the roof of the mansion. He tucked the chute up quickly, stored it, then made his way down the roof. When he got to the edge of the house he wrapped his legs around a TV antennae at the ankles and hung over. He opened a window below him, pulled himself back up, turned around, and slid into the now open window.

As soon as he stepped foot into the room he saw a glint of steel and turned his head in time to have it whizz by him and stick into the wall, he could barely see the make from the black blade and handle, Smith and Wesson. His sword was still on his spine but it was reversed, he reached to his lower back to grab the handle.

"When you've finished this," he heard David's voice and saw the man standing near the door of the room, "then we end it…by the lake at the edge of the property. If you come with anything but your tanto I will shoot you. Are we clear."

"Yes," Jack replied through clenched teeth.

"And no armor. You will find him at the end of the hall, he is expecting you. There are no guards."

Then David was gone. Jack walked out into the hall and didn't see him, so he made his way to the room at the end of the hall.

He opened the door quietly and stepped inside. The only light came from a fire in a fireplace in the center of the room. The room was large, easily thirty yards at its diameter, sparsely furnished, but he could see a man standing at the corner of the room, looking out a window.

"How are you Daniel?"

Jack heard the words and knew the voice; he strode across the room, a tear welling in the corner of his eye.


The man turned around and Jack looked at him in disbelief.

"You're dead, I saw you die."

The other man nodded and Jack looked straight into his ice blue eyes.

"You needed to think I was dead. It was the only way you would do your job, and you've done wonderfully my boy."

Jack hesitated then looked at him, the gleam gone from his eyes, all he saw was death.

"You wanted me to destroy the organization?"

"Exactly. We're a tired old bunch for the most part. Our days in the sun are gone, we deserved to be destroyed and what better way then to use our perfect tool? David would never have done it. None of the others could have ever completed the assignment. But I couldn't let you just do it; you would have to work at it, make sure we were all gone. That's why everyone had orders to kill you. Just like you will have to work to kill me. Perhaps…" the old man said as he grabbed a katana off the wall, an ancient katana nearly 900 years old, crafted by Sanjo Munechika, "we could have an old fashioned duel."

Jack stepped backwards, removing his katana, and assumed his preferred fighting stance.

"I don't want to kill you."

"My dear boy, I'm already dead to you. All you are doing is fighting a ghost."

He assumed his fighting stance as well, and looked at Night.

"Do me proud Daniel. Do what I trained you to do."

He sprinted at Jack, surprisingly quick, but Jack wasn't taken off his guard. He sprinted forward as well. The old man went low and Jack sidestepped and went high. He felt the older man's blade trace up his side from bellybutton to just below the armpit, the cut was deep but not a kill strike. Jack's on the other hand split open the man's stomach. Yunger dropped to his knees, holding his trailing intestines. Jack turned around quickly and decapitated him. He looked at the body for only a few seconds before turning and walking out of the room.

Jack walked to the lake holding his side. He dropped his katana and two pistols on the way there, then his body armor that was pretty much useless in a knife fight anyway, it was why the sword had managed to penetrate the way it did. He removed his tanto and walked to where David was standing looking out over the lake.

"You ever think it would come to this?" David asked as Jack neared.

"I had an idea." Jack said, as he got nearer. "We never really were friends even when we were kids. And the two best always have to play king of the hill at some point."

"Did he tell you why?" David asked.

"No." Jack replied.

"He wouldn't tell me either." David paused."Was it a quick kill?"



David removed his shirt, reducing himself to dress slacks and shoes, and pulled out his larger Smith and Wesson that was about the same size as Jack's tanto. The other man looked at Jack and saw the large wound from the duel earlier.

"Can you fairly compete?" He asked.

"We will see."

Jack darted forward, he knew David was an aggressive fighter and hoped to keep him on the defensive.

Suddenly Jack felt fire open up on his body as the two men circled each other in the fight David was still the one scoring the points. He felt a wound open up on his forearm, then his wrist, the side of his neck, back of his thigh. He was losing a lot of blood and starting to get lightheaded. David made another swipe, Jack grabbed his wrist with his free hand, David went to kick him and Jack buried his tanto into the other man's thigh. David flinched and when he did Jack grabbed his own blade out of his hand and buried it into his ribcage. When David turned again Jack removed his tanto from his thigh and drove it upward into the underside of his chin. David dropped dead, and Jack fell to the ground as well. He stayed that way for a while before he grabbed David's discarded shirt, split it, and wrapped it around as many of his wounds as he could. Then he started walking. It was over. He picked up the katana, and started to regain his step.

"Permission to proceed?"

"Negative Lightside, base says to let him leave, they may want to recruit him."

The assassin known as Lightside looked through the scope of his sniper rifle at the assassin known as Night as he limped across the field. He'd had a clean shot ever since the man had landed on the roof of the house but he hadn't had permission to fire.

"Come again base. This guy has killed how many? I'm to let him live."


Lightside stood up and pulled his red hair into a ponytail. He grabbed the rifle, looked down the scope at Night one more time, and then started the hike back to his jeep. The trip took about twenty minutes. When he got back to the jeep he opened up the back and slide his rifle in, then turned to get in. The first thing he noticed as he was turning was a 2006 Yamaha Y7 propped against the side of the jeep, as soon as he turned the blade of a katana stopped at a halt near his throat. He looked over at the man holding it and saw the man he had just had in his scope. The man looked at him, he couldn't even stand upright and Lightside thought he may be able to take him out in a little hand to hand, he thought that, until the man smiled.

"Who are you?" Night asked.

Lightside didn't answer.

"Whom do you work for?"

Lightside pinched the panic button on his thumb and continued to look at him, he could have shot him, and he should have shot him.

"We can do this the easy way or the hard way."

Lightside smiled, "Ohhh, I think I will take the hard way."

His opponent smiled and the smile itself made him nervous.

"I was hoping you would say that." Night said.

The End