Operation Cave Boa (Pt.3)

She let Casey carry most of her own things down, taking the free time she had to go through her belongings once again. This had to have been the third time since arriving here that she'd gone through this. She even fitted the plate carrier again, then loosened it just enough to be easy to throw on in an emergency.

When she got to her rifle, the smaller AR platform, she conducted a thorough breakdown, stripping the receiver out and carefully inspecting both internals and externals. Nothing was damaged, as far as she could see, but everything had been jostled in the ambush down in the BatCave.

Sharon let out a sigh. It was something she could do later, but it would ride on her until she got it done like some obnoxious bug in a vehicle until it was ejected out the windows.

The pieces went back together easily, as if it had always been her own. Not that AR pattern rifles were really that difficult, but each had its own signature buried in the design. This one she found, after inspecting the loading mechanism, was clearly not intended for automatic fire, even though it had the option printed on the selector.

She slid the ACOG back on and aimed it empty at the far wall. Nothing spectacular, she could at least look through the lens and adjust them.

She pivoted on her rear and aimed it out the window, adjusting the sight until she got a decently clear picture. Four magnification wasn't much, but it did well in city streets, which is where she often was and would be finding herself a lot more.

Through the window she was able to trace the old skyline of Gotham's mainland urban areas, and had a good view on many of the destroyed buildings that remained. Snow covered most of the damaged areas, and for the most part remained unbroken across the dead zone of Gotham. It seemed even the patrolling helicopters had turned in for the day.

She tuned her sight, bringing distant shapes into focus, but there wasn't a lot she could do at this range. Hopefully the Batcave below would have something of a serviceable range to…

A brilliant flash light existed for the briefest of moments, then vanished behind a cracked wall where the sun cut in at just the slightest of angles.

Her rifle dropped low as she backpedaled behind the Manor's own walls, sidestepping up to the window. She peered out, but saw nothing.

The structure was what remained of an apartment building, one of perhaps hundreds that had once filled the local streets. If she was right, it was maybe upwards of eight or perhaps nine hundred yards. Only three levels remained above the ground, the final level being completely exposed from whatever had ripped the rest completely off.

Then, on the second level just where the sun was starting to hit, she saw it again. A flash, white like the flare of light off a car or a camera.

Or a scope.

She put the wall between herself and the potential shooter. Running the options, she felt more than confident it was a scope, but what were they doing there? Was she under observation, or had they simply not found the right moment to take a shot?

The layout of the manor was still relatively unfamiliar to her, and she couldn't risk losing the shooter completely, nor could she give up her position here if they didn't know.

There were too many things to consider, and she'd just soon enough abandon the place and escape if it weren't for…

... I don't want you to leave again.

Sharon shook her head. Perhaps it was just some scavenger that had gotten lucky and found someone's old hunting rifle. From what she understood of trained marksman, letting the sun give you away like that would be considered a rookie mistake.

Mulling it over for a second, she came to a decision. She screwed the suppressor on, loaded a fresh magazine, and slipped upstairs, avoiding windows as best she could until she found a nice little room with the curtains drawn, and a bed with a backboard that was perfect for supported shooting.

A little rearranging and she had herself a decent sniper hide, if not a decent rifle to work with.

She drew back the curtain just a few inches, and set herself up, finding her target's window shortly after.

Time seemed to creep by, as if stuck in the moment of stress as she watched the building. Moments felt like hours, and she honestly started counting her breaths as they came, waiting for that first move that would give the shooter away. They had already let the sun betray their scope twice, why wouldn't they reposition?

By her hundredth breath, she considered leaving it be and just making sure the Manor was secure before reporting in. After all, she could just be paranoid.

Then, on the third level, she saw it. Movement. Someone had definitely walked past an open window, and they weren't going slow either.

She trained her eyes on that level and watched further. Again, she saw movement, this time she couldn't quite make it out. A warp in the shadows where the sun hadn't quite reached yet.

Then came the flash, and the bullwhip sound of a bullet breaking the sound barrier just above her head.

She'd been found, and now it was a duel.

Sharon didn't waste time, rolling off the bed and running back into the hallway. She ascended another level and found a room where she could stand and shoot.

She put her sight on the building, and watched the shadows. It was times like now when she desperately wished she had her old team.

Another crack in the air, but this time it landed in the wrong place, and the muzzle flash from their rifle exposed the sniper to her. She aimed, adjusted, and fired.

The round fell further than she had hoped, knocking dust and snow off the exterior wall beneath the window. Unlike her opponent, her rifle hardly had any muzzle flash, and she was able to bring her aim up and fire again, putting a swift follow up round in the window.

She couldn't be certain she hit him, but she could see the commotion explode in that room. Sharon dipped back out into the hallway, and found herself a new room.

Lawton watched as the LexCorp sniper dragged his buddy out of the room, having stood rather relaxed in the center hallway for the entire shootout. He was screaming pretty hard, and from what he could see the bullet had punctured his collarbone.

He went back to hand loading the magazine he had. "I told y'all she wasn't a push over. Should've never taken that first shot."

"You're supposed to be the best marksman in the world!" the un-wounded sniper snapped, "Why aren't you helping?"

Lawton chuckled, "Cause I don't expose myself needlessly. Part of being 'best marksman in the world,' LexCorp." He loaded the magazine into his rifle, a slimmed down and personally machined version of an SR-25. "But since you agitated her, I guess I'll show y'all how it gets done around here."

Lawton turned, leaving the two snipers, and descended three flights before finding himself a window to look through, crouched back several feet from where the sun was hitting. A bullet, five-five-six, and old NATO standard, hit the concrete before him and bounced past his shoulder. He had to admit, she was fast, but not good enough.

He feigned exiting the room, then crept back in at a snail's pace, leaning ever so slowly into position. Through his scope, he could clearly see her, a redheaded female with… she was using an ACOG? The absolute mad-lass. This just wasn't fair at all.

He fired, the bullet clipping her in the shoulder just below the small pocket of her uniform. Not more than a scratch, but it sent her to cover.

"Lawton, what's your situation? I'm getting word one of our snipers has been hit." Graves voice cut into his zone, forcing him to vacate his room for the hallway.

"Yeah, he got hit. Your 'Cardinal' is a fighter alright, you sure you want to leave her alive?"

"Let me handle her, Crane and I still have one trick to put her out of the way. Just focus on making sure they don't escape the Manor before we arrive, ETA in five."

"Copy that ma'am.”

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