Things hadn’t gone as well at Captain America had hoped they might… but all was not yet lost. Wrex was gone, and so was Legolas. He was left with the mysterious Jedi and the hooded assassin against a numerically superior enemy force. Captain America addressed his troops:
“We’re not out of this yet, men. They have an edge over us, however. Their sniper is going to keep us pinned down if we don’t do something about it. If they draw us into the open, she’ll pick us off one by one. She’s priority A. We need her gone, quick and clean.”
Ezio stepped forward, “I believe that’s a job for me, comandante. If we can get an idea of where she is, I can use my skills to find and silence her.”
Cap hesitated… he remembered the cruel efficiency with which Ezio had dispatched the enemy wizard. However, this was no time for mercy, whether he liked it or not. Captain America gave the assassin a curt nod. “Get to the rooftops, Ezio… Obi-Wan and I will get her to reveal herself.”
Batman, too, felt things should have gone better for his team. Harry was one of the most versatile assets to his team and it was a harsh blow to have lost him. Things weren’t looking all bad, though. They outnumbered the enemy, and Sniper Wolf had proven a valuable asset. Batman turned and spoke to his remaining team mates. “Here’s the plan. Sniper Wolf is going to do all she can to take out the enemy team, starting with their leader. If we take him down, the rest will be easy. Drizzt and Master Chief, you guard the ground where Sniper Wolf sets herself up… I’ll be patrolling above, keeping her safe from there. Let’s make them come to us and fight them on our own terms.”
Sniper Wolf smiled. “You flatter me, Batman… but I thank you for not underestimating me,” she spoke. “They won’t know what hit them.”
Master Chief and Drizzt glanced at each other and nodded.
Captain America wandered a wide street, keeping his eyes open for any threats. He was alone and more than a little nervous. He remained calm and continued his slow patrol forward. From the top of a tower a small distance away, Sniper Wolf watched her prey. He wandered the street, completely undefended. He was an easy target. In fact, he was all too easy, which was why Wolf had not yet taken the shot. He must know his opponents still had a sniper on their team… why then step out so obviously? Clearly, the enemy force underestimated her. They assumed that she would miss and thus give herself away. Foolish. She had missed earlier, but that was when she was firing long distance at a fast moving target and the bearded man had been nearby to protect his ally. This shot was simple.
After assuring herself that inaction would gain nothing, Sniper Wolf lined up her shot. Once the enemy leader was in her sights, she fired. The rifle cracked through the air and the bullet launched forward at supersonic speeds. Obi-Wan felt the ripples in the Force and devoted his energy to protecting his leader. He could barely see him, since he had attempted to stay hidden and not blow their strategy, which made the effort all the more difficult. All it took was a touch, however, and the bullet slammed into the ground right next to Cap’s feet. Ezio heard the rifle fire and was gone in an instant.
Master Chief and Drizzt also heard the rifle fire and assumed there was one less enemy to worry about. They stood facing opposite directions at the base of the tower Sniper Wolf was positioned in awaiting either orders or an enemy to appear. Above them, Batman crouched and waited for Sniper Wolf’s report. Suddenly, she shouted down to him, “The enemy sorcerer is with him, Batman! I cannot take down the leader while he is focused on protecting him!
This was what Batman was afraid of. He leaped over the edge of the building and landed by his two companions. “The enemy leader is being protected by their sorcerer,” he said, “You two need to take him out. He’ll be near the leader and will likely come out of hiding if you both appear. Focus on the leader, and then shift to the other man when he shows up. Keep him busy and Sniper Wolf will make your jobs easy.”
Sniper Wolf was angry. She had underestimated the abilities of the enemy to redirect her shot… but she saw Master Chief and Drizzt running down the street heading towards the leader and she felt better. Soon enough the sorcerer would be too distracted to matter and she could take the leader down easily. Batman, meanwhile took over the job of watching the tower entrance for signs of the assassin.
Once Ezio had an idea of where the sniper was, he used his eagle eye to home in on her… he also noticed the enemy leader hiding above and out of sight. This wouldn’t be as simple as he had hoped. He positioned himself on the opposite side of the building to the enemy and leaped from the rooftop. He hit the wall and scrambled for a handhold, sliding down the wall rapidly. Finally, he managed to find a small hole in the smooth surface and caught himself. Looking up, Ezio realized this was going to be no easy task. Slowly, he began to move upwards.
Master Chief and Drizzt had taken position on opposite sides of the street as they waited for Cap to come closer. Master Chief, slowed after his battle with Wrex, raised his hand to Drizzt and threw a series of short hand signals towards him. The drow ranger nodded and turned the corner. He would charge first with Master Chief providing cover from behind. Drizzt sprinted, twin scimitars in hand, towards Captain America. Master Chief was close behind, armed with his assault rifle. Captain America had been waiting, however. With a spin, he rocketed his shield toward the charging elf.
Drizzt turned and leaped sideways over the shield. Master Chief, following close behind, was not so lucky. He was moving slower and had no possible way to dodge the shield. He took the blow full to the chest, sending his massive frame sprawling backward. Drizzt charged Captain America, but rather than attacking, he simply sent a low blow towards Cap’s legs and sidestepped around him. Captain America easily dodged the blow and turned to see the elf now charging towards Obi-Wan. Master Chief was slowly rising from the ground. Gritting his teeth and catching his shield, Captain America made his choice.
Master Chief lifted his massive body from the ground. He was on his hands and knees, and he was badly hurt. He was moving so slowly that he didn’t even see the boot coming before it connected with his armored face. Captain America stood above him, ready to fight. Adrenaline moving him a little more quickly now, Master Chief struggled to his feet. He threw a fist at the enemy and caught him in the jaw, sending Cap reeling. He recovered quickly and returned the favour. Hitting the armored man caused more damage to Cap’s hand than it did to the enemy, so he set about bashing him with his shield. Master Chief got a hand on his pistol and, before Cap could stop him, fired 2 rounds, one of which was deflected by Captain America’s shield, the other grazed his arm, causing a deep gash. Cap didn’t know how Obi-Wan was faring and needed to end this fast. With a sweeping kick, he knocked the legs out from under the huge man. He was too slow to react. Master Chief hit the ground and Cap raised his shield in both hands above his head. As he brought it down on the prone soldier’s neck, the words of his team mate echoed in his head: “Nothing is true… and everything is permitted”
Drizzt was doing his best to distract the Jedi, leaping and rolling and dodging lightsaber blows as fast as he could. The enchantments on Twinkle and Icingdeath luckily made them strong enough to withstand even the lightsaber’s intense heat, which allowed Drizzt to stay close and make more attacks rather than just dodge and avoid. His enemy, however, had superhuman speed and seemed to be able to predict where Drizzt would aim his blades. He hoped Sniper Wolf would take the shot soon… he wasn’t sure how much longer he could keep this up without backup.
Meanwhile, Ezio had reached the top of the tower and could see the balcony where his prey was lying. With a heave, he threw himself from the wall to clutch the edge of the balcony. He drew himself up slowly and silently and crouched on the bannister behind his prone opponent. Below, Batman watched with a grimace as Cap finished off Master Chief. Drizzt would need help against the two formidable enemies. He leaped across to the next roof top and headed towards the battle, but at the last minute, something stopped him… where was the assassin? Batman turned to look at Sniper Wolf and found his answer. He aimed his grappling device at the balcony and shouted a warning to Sniper Wolf.
Ezio wasted no further time. Hearing Batman, Sniper Wolf turned , but it was too late. Ezio dropped on her with his hidden blade and silenced her cry. Now his companions on the ground would not have to worry about attacks from afar. Ezio heard a click as a black device latched to the edge of the balcony. Without a second to lose, he ducked, narrowly avoiding being tackled by the caped leader of the other team. Batman turned and assaulted the smaller assassin, revenge on his mind. Ezio blocked a blow with his arm, leaving what would likely be a terrible bruise and landed an open palmed slap on Batman’s face. The two stopped momentarily as Batman glared the assassin down. Ezio shrugged and flashed a cheeky grin before attacking once again.
Ezio was a talented combatant, but soon learned that he was little match in a fist fight with the incredibly adept Batman. After taking numerous blows, he realized this fight wouldn’t go his way. With a feint and a flourish, Ezio attempted to leap from the balcony to safety below. Batman let him go and then caught him with a quick shot of the grapple gun. It caught Ezio by the legs and pulled him back toward the tower upside down. He slammed into the wall and was knocked unconscious. Batman pulled up his foe’s body and then leaped from the balcony to glide to Drizzt’s aid. The battlefield was now even and it was time to finish things, one way or the other.
To be continued …. Tune in next week for the conclusion of the story arc!