In Madrid, they drove past the swank restaurant where Izzo was scheduled to meet the locals. Rael pointed behind them. “That’s the building. Just three floors, so he’ll have a clear shot under that nice high portico as Izzo gets out of the limo.”
Lots of high landscaping blocking the view from all sides, hard to shoot anyone there from ground level.
“Take a right. Peeve was thinking he’d be on the roof, but we can’t count on that. The sniper may have decided to get lower, so we may have a bit of a search. Drive past it . . . good, a back door. Park and let’s get to it.”
Dave stepped out of the car . . . and stared in consternation. “It’s red!”
Giggle. “A shield that only lets through a narrow spectrum. An ordinary illusion won’t fool a camera. I’ve got a detailed block over the license plates, too, and scrambled the electronic ID. C’mon.”
“When did you do that?”
“Right after we left the winery. Pity I didn’t think of it sooner. There may be records of us visiting the inn.”
Dave subdued a whimper. “I think I see why Urfa wanted me to shadow you. I had no idea of the scope of a Presidential agent’s permitted actions.”
Rael grinned at him. “It’s a matter of trust between Director and Agent. Urfa trusts me to follow the meaning of his orders—in this case, to keep the election as bloodless as possible—while breaking as few laws as possible and not landing him in too much hot water. And I trust him to not order me to do anything I would find morally objectionable.”
“So . . . what happens with a new President and new Director?”
“That . . . may be a problem. There’s a good chance I’ll resign. No trust either direction. Well, I’d trust Izzo, but he won’t trust me. And . . . well I don’t know who he’d want as a director. ”
Dave winced. Because who is going to trust her to . . . eliminate a bomb factory with no fatalities? Who can she trust to not order her to kill a political opponent? Or a foreign diplomat. Or Xen Wolfson?
She reached into her bag and pulled out another set of handles. Handed it to him.
He followed her quietly up three flights of stairs, and watched while she leaned on a locked door . . .
“They had a magic alarm on it. Looks like the two people up there are our target.” She opened the door and slid through. Dave followed, closing the door silently behind him. Thinking invisible thoughts as he ghosted up the last flight of stairs and out onto the roof.
Only the break in the continuity of the line where the parapet met the roof clued him into the location of the sniper.
Rael’s half imagined distortion stepped out and gestured across the roof. :: There’s spotter . . . signaling? Damn it, Izzo . . . ::
The distortion disappeared and he heard her running foot falls, and bolted after her.
A sharp snap of a suppressed shot, then the mound of active camouflage collapsed. Dave veered and intercepted the spotter as he . . . she . . . ran forward, drawing her pistol. One punch and she was down and out. Dave shook his hand as he ran over to the edge and looked over at the fuss under the portico.
:: We’ve taken out the sniper up here. :: Rael sounded pissed. :: Izzo? ::
:: I’m fine. :: Izzo sounded amused . . . and a bit surprised. :: There must have been shield piercing spell on that bullet. I thought a shield around the car was enough . . . fortunately Scar made me wait and send out an illusion first. The bullet went right through the window of the open door, and nicked Scar. ::
:: I’m fine! :: Scar’s mental voice was loud and pissed.
Rael growled. :: Right. So, Izzo, do we call the police, or do we make this all disappear? ::
She felt his indignant . . . pause for thought.
:: One damn it all. I do not want a circus, and I do not want to encourage more . . . dammit. Can you make it disappear? ::
:: Yes. ::
:: Then do it. :: Izzo sounded exasperated.
:: Scar, get back in the car, so no one sees any blood. :: Rael pulled off the active camouflage blanket. A man limp on the ground, a beautiful long gun on a tripod. 20mm? All tricked out with a telescopic sight.
Dave grabbed the man’s legs to get them into the bag, then heaved his shoulders through.
Rael reached for the gun.
“You really want him armed?”
She snorted. “Right. Get the gun and the blanket. I’ll grab the spotter.”
Dave stuffed the blanket into his bag, then the gun. Trotted back to the spotter.
“I think you broke her jaw.”
“Serves her right for hurting my hand.” He scooped up the pistol and dropped it in his bag, and then stepped over to where she’d been and found another blanket when he stepped on it. Quick fold and stuff, then they were galloping down the stairs.
With a wave the car turned black.
“You drive. I’ll take Scar and the damaged car back to Versalle. You act like you were here all along, and this is the car Izzo came in.”
“Right.” Dave pulled up behind Izzo’s car. His entourage surrounded him and escorted him inside. Rael jumped out, took the wheel of the other car and drove off. Dave pulled forward and stopped.
The doorman, and a couple of youngsters were looking from him, back into the restaurant.
The only witnesses, thank you landscapers! And most likely they mostly saw alarmed guards.
A police car pulled up. Dave brushed off his uniform jacket, and walked out to meet them.
“We heard a report of a gunshot.”
Dave shrugged. “Might have been, so we over reacted, as usual . . . then nothing. So we let Izzo out of the car.” He shrugged again.
Nothing to see here, move along.
The policeman stepped back to his car, talked on the radio for a bit then drove away.
You know . . . I really hope this was an unusually busy day for Rael.