Chapter 01.1

Friday, May 11, 2018 (Alanday, Sagittarius 25, 0031)

Captain Steven Thomas and two of the men under his command, Williams and Bentley, were swiftly lowered on ropes from the helicopter, as it hovered almost silently, above the rooftop observation deck of Marina City’s southwest tower, in the heart of Chicago. Barely a sliver of a moon would have been visible, had it not been cloaked by an overcast sky, and it was just a bit past 01:00 hours. After touching down and disconnecting their harnesses from the floating ropes, Steve and his Armored Tactical Assault Command (ATAC) team rigged rappelling ropes and prepared to drop over the south side of the tower, overlooking the river, flowing nearly 200 meters below.

Meanwhile, on the twenty-first floor, the lowest of the residential floors, situated directly above the parking decks, Fahid stood up and stretched, as if trying to touch the ceiling with the palms of both hands. “Abu, this movie is very good, but I’m getting exhausted,” he yawned. Abu crossed the living room for the door to the balcony, tapping an unlit cigarette on the breach of the Uzi slung around his neck.

“You should get some sleep. Tomorrow, we have a busy day at the Sears Tower. Or, you can take my watch and I’ll get a nap,” Abu offered. Fahid corrected, “Willis Tower, now.” Abu smiled snidely, revealing a gold-capped tooth, “Soon, it won’t matter what it is called.”

“And, no thank you. You keep your guard duty. I’m just going to get a glass of water and turn in,” Fahid replied as he wandered into the kitchen. Abu stepped out onto the balcony, raising the cigarette to his lips. As he lowered his head, bringing the match up to meet the cigarette, a .223 hollow-point went zipping through the top of his forehead, exiting the base of his skull through a hole the size of a golf ball, before shattering the living room window with a loud crash. ‘I guess he didn’t read the Surgeon General’s warning,’ the sniper thought as he removed his infrared headgear and prepared to descend from his perch atop the Renaissance Hotel.

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