Morals Of Engagement




Wind cut through the sniper's hair like a scythe through wheat, a single strand breaking from his auburn locks, drifting away with the breeze. Snatched out of thin air by a leather-clad hand, ever motionless, he placed the strand into a zip lock bag while muttering to himself.

"It's fucking freezing up here."

He re-shoulders the rifle, placing his eye in front of the scope, already zooming in to almost 3 miles away, to a little fabricated playground on the outskirts of the city. From the vantage point of the 23 story tall building, it was easy to let the scope do its work tracking down the target. The sniper takes his eye off the scope.

"What the fuck? Am I…"

Looking through the scope again, he confirmed his target. Am I supposed to shoot her? A girl, couldn't be older than 8, was being slowly followed by the scopes targeting system.

"I didn't sign up to be a kid killer."

Talking to no one in particular, of course. The sniper shelters alone off the rooftop, as he has for a thousand missions before. A slow degradation of the mind, or a coping mechanism? Does it really matter? He brings out his phone, jabbing into the digits angrily with his pointer finger. He though to himself, they won't make me a monster. Not today."

"Pick up asshole…

He tapped on his rifles hand-guard impatiently. This wasn't in the details, he thought. A soft click gives it away, the call has been accepted, the speaker on the other end. "Is it dead?"

"It? It's a fucking child you sick bastard. You didn't put this in the contract."

"Would you have taken the contract if I put those details in? Did you really think we gave you that spotter-scope for something as menial as another political assassination?"

"What? What threat could a child pose?"

"Our grand machinations and predictions of what are to come are not of your business."

"Oh, they aren't?" He pulls his sniper rifle close to his body, moving it off the tripod; making a show of it to his invisible audience. He grits his teeth, talking through them, "Maybe I just won't shoot then."

An audible sigh is heard on the other end of the phone, and a mumbling of "stupid fucking mercenaries". The speaker returns to the phone, straining a calm voice. "Let me put this in a way you can understand jarhead, there is a large domino we predict to occur in some time, and this is the optimal time to prevent such an action. If you delay, lives, countries, the world is at risk. All because you arbitrarily care of the age of a target? Nonsense."

"I'm sure it must be arbitrary to you, o' great knowing one, but fate ain't set in stone. A kids life can change, for the better, or for the worse. I'm a trained killer, but I have standards, and I can see the shit you're trying to pull."

"You were hired for a simple shot. Far enough away to never see their face, with the scope you didn't even have to find information about the target for their whereabouts. We've done everything to make this comfortable for you, and you deny us?"

He spits off the roof, watching it sail down to the busy street below "Ain't nothing comfortable about shooting a child."

Silence on the other side of the phone lingers for a whole 10 seconds. The sniper draws his breath in. The back of his neck starts tingling. He flexes his wingsuit.
"In the grand scheme of things, you were nothing more than a maid to prevent a mess. We won't make that mistake again."

The sniper has already dropped the phone, taking a running start towards the playground. He doesn't know how long it may take for them to dispatch a second killer, a drone strike, or any other assortment of long range tactical equipment. All he knows is he's done being the tool.

"Guess I ain't going back to the establishment anymore, but I never really did like tea, anyway."

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