Mustered Out on Mertactor

161-1106

The Assassination of Orobid

From their position in the tree, it was practically impossible for either Arvor or Jie to get any sleep and so they had to spend the night awake. Luckily the weather is pleasantly warm and so it could have been a lot worse.

There is little activity during the night, but this all changes shortly before dawn when some police vans arrive and start to cordon off the sidewalks either side of the road that the motorcade will be travelling down.

A couple of cops check the copse of woods that they are hiding in. They aren’t terribly thorough though and don’t look up in the branches where the pair of them are located.

The remaining members of the party, however, had a much more comfortable night in the hotel and are able to enjoy a leisurely breakfast before they check out of the hotel. Mid-morning, Max and Will, dressed in their medics outfits, drive the ambulance, parking it in the car park next to the Book Depositary. Taeva and Grim, meanwhile, dressed as a second married couple, take the metro to the assassination destination.

They get there at 11.00am, a good 90 minutes before Orobid is due to pass by, so that they can get a good position in front of the Book Depositary. The sidewalks either side of the route starts to fill up with the citizens of Twalarsk. As this area is a little out of the centre though, the crowd doesn’t get too dense. There are cops on duty every 50m or so to keep an eye on the crowd.

Then it’s just a question of waiting.

In the tree, Arvor tries to steady his breathing, trying to forget that the next shot that he makes is the most important one that he’s ever made before – maybe the most important one he’s likely to ever make – a shot that will change the history of his homeworld forever.

He is stirred from his thoughts as he hears a cheer go up in the distance as the motorcade rounds the corner. Four motorcycle outriders come first, followed by two limos, then Orobid’s opentop limo, two more limos and then another four motorcycles.

Grim and Taeva let up a cheer along with the rest of the crowd as the motorcade passes at a steady 10km/h. Orobid is standing up, waving beatifically at the crowd, many of whom are throwing flowers in front of his limo.

Arvor has him in the crosshairs of his telescopic sights now, Orobid making a good, clear target as the vehicle slowly comes closer. The barrel of the sniper rifle is resting on another bough of the tree above him, giving him a solid shooting platform.

The limo gets ever closer. Once it gets within 80m of him, he gently squeezes the trigger as Taeva simultaneously sets off the explosions on top of the telegraph poles and upstairs in the Book Depositary.

There is just a gentle “PFFT” sound as the large calibre bullet leaves the barrel of the rifle followed by a “SPLAT” similar to that of a hammer hitting an over-ripe watermelon as Orobid’s head explodes, splattering the other occupants of the vehicle with his brains.

Simultaneously there are three “BOOMS!” as Taeva’s explosions go up, spraying wood splinters from the telegraph poles and shattered glass from the upstairs window of the Book Depositary.

The whole scene seems to go into slow-motion for all of the onlookers – it seems as if they can’t believe what their eyes are telling them. A second or two later though, and people realize what has happened and the calmness is replaced with total pandemonium as women start screaming and the motorcade comes to a confused halt. The drivers don’t know what to do. Some of them speed up as they have been trained to do, but others come to a halt, blocking the vehicles behind them. Around where Taeva and Grim are standing, some of the citizens run away from the bombs, while others just stand around looking dazed and confused.

The cops at the side of the road don’t know what to do, standing around impotently for a moment.

Grim grabs his chest and falls to the ground, with a groan. Taeva lets out a scream and kneels beside him. The closest cop to them doesn’t know what to do. He comes over to check on them, but doesn’t seem that interested as he waits for more orders.

Max and Will wait for 20 seconds and then decide that it’s time. They grab the stretcher from the ambulance and head through the car park towards where Grim and Taeva were standing.

On the opposite side of the road, Arvor and Jie take advantage of the confusion by slowly descending from the tree, managing to do so without being seen. They retrieve the abandoned pram and quickly put the rifle back in it underneath the blanket and then slowly start to make their way south out of the immediate area.

Max and Will have reached Grim now and put him onto the stretcher. The cop has gone now and so they don’t have to answer any awkward questions. The police are starting to get their act together, with all the beat cops being brought towards Orobid’s limo in order to receive instructions.

They place the stretcher in the back of the ambulance and then Max sets off immediately afterwards, anxious to move out before the police have sealed off the vicinity. They are away from the area with no problems though. A few minutes later and they have met up with Arvor and Jie who were waiting for them five blocks to the south.

As soon as the party members are together, they head for the dachas area. Although it seems as if every cop car in the city is heading in one direction or another, there are no police checks and, thirty minutes later, they are in the quiet dacha area.

Arvor dumps the rifle in the middle of a clump of bushes. He then helps the others to take the decals off the telecom vehicle. Less than ten minutes later and it’s a normal looking van once again.

Everyone climbs inside and Max drives, heading for the road to the northwest to Petuary. They don’t get very far though as, before they get onto the onramp to the highway, they get caught in a jam. They wait for 20 minutes, but there is no movement at all. People are out of their cars now, trying to figure out the problem. Others have grown impatient of waiting and have turned around to try a different route. Max follows the other cars looking for another way out of town.

They try a highway leading north, but it’s the same story. It appears that the police have sealed the city.

Max turns the van around once more and they return to the dacha. Grim spends a while looking at the map, looking for a small road that might not be closed. He eventually finds a likely looking prospect – a single track dirt road leading through a small national park on the southern edge of the city.

Max takes off again, heading back to downtown again. Grim navigates him through the smaller roads in order to try and avoid police road checks, but it seems as if the police have them everywhere. The van is stopped twice on the way through the city centre. The police question Arvor and search the van, the party members and their luggage, but the party members have nothing on them that is incriminating (apart from inside the false bottoms) and so the van is let through the road check, although they are told that they won’t get out as the whole city is locked down.

Dusk is falling by the time the van reaches the national park. Much to everyone’s relief, there is no police check at the entrance to the park, which is more of a wide pathway than a road. They head down the road, the trees on either side of the road scraping the sides of the van as it makes its way through the forest. With great relief, they squeeze through another pathway where there is no police check and are out of the park and speeding down a B-road, heading for the lakeside town of Marianske Spa.

The party members have a bit of a scare as they are stopped by police as they hit the first village on the road. Once again, Arvor does the talking and manages to convince the cops that they have not come from Twalarsk, but just drove around it coming from Petuary. The cops check the van for a third time, but still find nothing incriminating.

Max continues to drive the van south, keeping the speed down so as not to arouse any suspicions. After a 90 minute journey, the van finally arrives in Marianske Spa. They try a few hotels and manage to find some space in the second one that they try, the Lakeside Inn. It’s quite an expensive hotel, but they still have plenty of cash left. They hand over their identity cards and fill in the forms, and then dump their bags before having a late dinner, being careful once more not to say anything incriminating in case they are being overheard.

The hotel is pretty busy. Not surprisingly, the only talk in the hotel is about Orobid’s assassination, with several guests stating that, even in thirty years’ time, they’ll always remember where they were the day that Orobid was assassinated.

It’s been a long day for everyone, especially for Jie and Arvor who haven’t slept for two days, and so everyone gets some well-needed sleep.

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NickPendrell

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