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|Optics (standard:mystery, 5611 words)|
|Author: Das Tier||Added: Aug 09 2001||Views/Reads: 1219/676||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|A hired hitman with his arsenal of weapons and visual devices is confronted by his victim, who seems to know more about spotting targets.|
OPTICS Imagine you are looking through a spyglass. Its little round eyepiece is exactly the diameter of your eye. There is only one border between your flesh and the lens, it is its metal rim; but as you keep it close, your eyelashes trimming the firm round shape exactly like they do with your eye, the cold metal grows warm, and you start to forget this is an artificial prosthesis. It is unlike looking through binoculars. It is a totally different experience. You get asymmetrical. I can draw one comparison: imagine you are walking, and while one of your feet is still standing, the other has made a gigantic step ahead. At the same time you are miles away and still anchored in the here and now. The only way out, before you start to fall in the gap between, is to close one of your eyes. With the job I've had for several years now, sometimes I think the lens has stuck to my eye, and I have to tear it off together with my eyelid. I look in the mirror and am afraid to see the reflection of a Cyclops. The poising between my short and far-sighted eyes is exactly the one I have to keep in my two lives -- one of them in the working, the other in the off-hours. These two lives completely overlap. It's the same city, the same day, the same clothes. The only difference is on which end of the spyglass I am. My spyglass is a Bausch & Lomb 6-24x40 Elite 4200 Rifle Scope attached to a M21 rifle. My good old M21. It has no "or" alternative to its "hit" action. Together they work as one: the sight is a spotlight that captures one of the figures, one of those flat cardboard shades blurred by the distance, while others fade outside the little circle. I split in two: one me is there, yards away, and the other is holding the trigger, ready to bridge the gap with the speed of 1,000 fps. That assignment didn't seem any different from about a dozen I have had in last three years. Not a big score, I know, when compared to other hitmen; but I've always been the one for quality against quantity. I had an approach of my own that guaranteed ninety nine percent of success, no matter what the conditions were. And this time I was going to apply it in the usual way - find, fix, finish. It's a game that takes two to play, and one to win. He had let his eyes get in the wrong place, they said, he knows too much now. He has seen. And he can speak. Now either he or his tongue have to go. And I, Phil Gallo, aged 37, blood-stained by 12 deaths, am to hunt down both of them. _______________________ People move around me, up and down the passages, between high walls of steel and glass. Stone is not in favor nowadays; they like transparent buildings, with lots of windows like open mouths. They swarm inside those glass bowels, in the ribcage made of steel, and all private life they can get is the pretence of a shelter behind roller blinds. His name was Bruno Taut. A German crossbreed with proud American spirit. Perhaps his mixed blood was to blame: an inborn disunity that tore him between his alliances. Or maybe, the reason was in his job. He was a physicist, specializing in theory of light, non-linear optics. This alone must have forewarned me, that this one will be a match for me with an equal knowledge of who, how and when to watch. I easily spotted him moving carelessly in the flow of shoppers in the mall. It was one of the new buildings, and its arcade was made into a gallery with big shop windows and a transparent glass roof overhead. Transparent glass doors opened inside each of the tiny shops on both sides of the way, several fountains spurted transparent water, and the polished marble on the floor reflected transparent clouds in the transparent sky. It was a dull grey day. I imagined what this place should look like when the sun shines. Cascades of blinks and reflections. A burst of light, mirrored in thousands of metal parts, from gigantic arches to polished doorknobs. Even the thought of it made my eyes hurt, and in that case it would be hard, almost impossible to do what I had come to do. For now, the black square of my aim's shoulders was a clear target ahead. I picked up speed, passing by the people between us, advancing the man like inevitable fate. My hand gripped the gun in my pocket. When we align, me right behind him, his step will falter, and before anybody notices what is happening, before anybody hears anything, I will be Click here to read the rest of this story (525 more lines)
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