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Chapter One

Seb drove on the dark, lonely Kiev street to park in front of a bland apartment building. Stepping on to the Cold War-era porch, the Soviet engineering still supported his weight. The climb to the third floor was a monotonous tapping as the Ghost sniper's tired steps moved to Room 103. As soon as Seb stepped inside, he flopped down to a warm couch and flicked the old TV on. Channel Ukraine host Aleksey Sukhanov was talking about something in Ukrainian, a language that Seb couldn't comprehend. He was sure that Boris was able to translate for him, but everyone was way back in Russia. Watching him. Helping him. Counting on him. Seb lightly drifted into a sleep.

...

Light steps outside instantly woke Seb up. It was already morning and the sun was beginning to rise. While it was a pretty nice view of the city, Seb needed a pretty nice view of his surroundings. This would be impossible as opening the door would instantly get him shot at. He picked up his briefcase and took a lighter by the kitchen table as he began to work.

The door split apart as uniformed men in blue stormed inside.

"Поліція!" the Phantoms yelled. "Руки в повітрі!"

There was no-one to throw their hands in the air. Instead, they found nothing but a burning pile of papers and an open window.

...

A Phantom officer walked into the apartment. Phantom intelligence staff had been inspecting the apartment for any other contraband and enemy information. A soldier approached him holding some documents.

"Colonel Reznov, I found this information that the agent tried to burn!"

"Interesting..." the Colonel replied.

He examined the papers. The person who tried to burn them did an awful job.

"They're trying to bomb the Verkhovna Rada building, eh? Even the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine building?" Reznov read. "Alert the government immediately. Divert any possible resources to conduct counter-terrorism operations."

"The nuclear power plant security forces are best for these operations!" a subordinate noted. "Should we redeploy them?"

"Do whatever you must. I will see to the Prime Minister's security." said Reznov as he walked out the building. He ordered a search in an effort to catch the fugitive.

...

Already a mile away, Seb hopped into a telephone booth and hoped for the best.

"Alright, alright Sheep," Seb replied on the payphone. "Everything's under control. I did everything you asked."

"Did you remember to partially burn the junk information?" Sheep asked from approximately 530 miles away in the Moscow command center. Screens shone brightly into the eyes of the staff as they monitored the Kiev area. Sheep was watching Seb talk to him from a public security camera. He watched as a Phantom patrol passed Seb's telephone booth, followed by another crowd of everyday citizens. "Also, do you still have your equipment?" Sheep added.

"Yes and yes." Seb answered. "As always, I'm not a blithering idiot. Where's the next safehouse, anyway?"

"There is no next safehouse." Sheep told him. "Your orders are to complete the mission today."

"I haven't the foggiest idea what my purpose here was," Seb said, a bit confused. "Run around getting chased by Phantoms and planting bad information?"

"Assassinate Prime Minister Vassiliy Seryozha Nikantor," Sheep ordered coolly. "Don't make it look like an accident."

Chapter Two

Log 9/29/16: Khmelnitskiy NPP

Reactor One Core Temperature Normal

Reactor Two Core Temperature Normal

Reactor Three Core Temperature High

Reactor Four Core Temperature Normal

---

Reactor Three Log

2:01 - Temperature High

2:06 - Temperature High

2:11 - Exceeding Temperature Threshold; Emergency Systems Activated

2:12 - Manual Override by Operators

2:15 - Coolant Dumping in Progress

2:21 - Insufficient Coolant

2:26 - Insufficient Coolant

2:31 - Insufficient Coolant

2:37 - Secondary Emergency Systems Activated

2:38 - Manual Override by Operators

2:41 - Meltdown Imminent

2:42 - Meltdown Alarm Sounded; Tertiary Emergency Systems Activated

2:43 - Manual Override by Operators

2:44 - Meltdown in Progress

Chapter Three

"How'd you like our distraction?" Sheep asked from the radio. An hour ago, the Khmelnitsky Nuclear Power Plant had been reported to have melted down. Seb's watch beeped, signifying 4:00 PM.

Seb watched three men exit out of the temporary exculsion zone in their black car through his telescopic sight. A flash of orange uniforms was visible as the car comtinued on its way down the road.

"Pretty nice," Seb replied. "Chernobyl 2."

"In an hour, the Prime Minister is hauling his ass down to the exclusion zone border," detailed Sheep. "He'll deliver his speech about the disaster. A crowd of 30,000 will likely be attending, with heavy television coverage. There will be no mistake of a sniper's shot."

"As long as I don't grow a third dick and am free of thyroid cancer, we'll get along fine, the reactor and me," Seb stated.

"They've contained 79% of the radiation thanks to the new technology," Bill answered. "That's how the Minister himself and 30,000 people mustered enough balls to travel so close to the leak. If you do it right, you can distance yourself from the site if you're that much of a chicken."

"Eh, I'm fine," said Seb. "I'll just go visit the checkpoint guards."

Seb left the radio at his hiding spot and strolled down the hill to the checkpoint. It was part of the temporary exclusion zone border but also a structure constructed as part of the power plant's security perimeter. The guards were quite busy playing a game of Counter-Strike. In total, there were three computers but two men. They were holding AK-47s... in the game. Seb used this inattentiveness to sneak around the building, where he found the third guard chatting on his phone. He understood only spotty Ukrainian but could make enough out to determine he was talking with his girlfriend. Not that it mattered. Seb took out his combat knife and put it to the guard's neck. Stunned, he almost dropped the phone but Seb pressed the End Call button mid-air. The cellphone fell uselessly to the ground, out of reach and cut off from communication.

"Do you know how to speak English?" whispered Seb.

"A... a little and slowly," the Phantom answered quietly with a thick accent.

"Good," replied Seb. "Do you know how to knock yourself a unconscious?"

"Wh... What?"

Seb hit the guard with the hilt of his knife with enough force to knock him out. He was sure not going to wake up any time soon. Seb moved to the guardhouse interior, pointing his pistol at the two guards. He shot out their computer monitors as they immediately raised their hands.

"Any English, my friends?" Seb asked again.

"йти ебать себе!" yelled a Phantom. He then proceeded to take out a grenade and pull the pin, but Seb's GSh-18 fired a 9mm round through his head. The M67 dropped to the ground, pin still unpulled and still innocent, and so far still harmless.

"Goddamnit! I never knew Ukrainians were suicide bombers!" yelled Seb.

The other Phantom tried to make a run for it. He was already on the road, but another nine millimeter stopped him right there.

Seb didn't really like to kill everyday checkpoint people, but if they endangered their mission, he had to do what he had to do. He poured through the documents, though all of it was written in Ukrainian. It took a while to get Phantom Translate working on a guard's phone.

"Security check... right before speech...by Colonel Reznov... 4:15 PM..." Seb read aloud. The rumble of a vehicle was audible as a car approached. Seb glanced at the clock on the wall. 4:15 PM.

Chapter Four

"Little weakling! Improve muscle mass in two hour at Big Town Gym! Become like Comrade Ram, much stronk and Russian-!" As soon as the mention of Russia was heard, Colonel Reznov switched off the radio. Political power had drifted to the pro-Ghost sides and part of their plans were to absorb Ukraine into Russia. Reznov trembled at the thought.

At last, they reached one of the guardhouses of the Khlementsky NPP. Something was off.

"Popov, what the fuck is a body doing on the road?" Colonel Reznov grumbled. He cocked his Stechkin and stepped out of the VIP car as his men disembarked the vehicle with him. A quick glance and he could see that the Phantom's head was penetrated by a bullet. Blood and brains were strewn all around the body but Reznov had seen worse and had seen more.

The Colonel stepped to the body. Crack! A large round passed just above his head. If he hadn't started crouching to inspect the dead Phantom, he wouldn't have been alive. Instead, one of his personal guard was missing his head. The others took cover by the car. Reznov threw himself to the ground as another shot took out two of his men with penetrating force. The driver was still in the car and began to turn around and escape, but another Crack! went straight through the supposedly bulletproof glass. By then, Reznov knew this wasn't just an amateur terrorist.

Colonel Reznov dived into a near-empty trashcan by the guardhouse and found the dead guards' AKM rifles. Apparently, the sniper had disposed of them here. As he grabbed the weapon, the sniper fired a .408 into the metal dumpster. It penetrated the thick metal and barely whizzed above Reznov's legs. Determining the angle, the Colonel noted that the round was likely fired from a position in the rocks. He mometarily stood up and spotted an orange uniform hiding behind a stone outcropping. The AKM barked, making the Ghost sniper dive into cover. The rifle clicked, out of ammo. The sniper rolled to another rock, taking another shot at the Colonel. The heavy .408 took out a section of the guardhouse's wall, flinging debris into Reznov's eyes.

He blindly ducked into the guardhouse, searching for a weapon. He scrambled to take out a WASR-10 from the gun locker. By the time he was able to step out and attempt to take a shot, Reznov's VIP car roared off down the road, to the Prime Minister's speech.

Chapter Five

Seb drove the Phantom vehicle the rest of the way to the speech area. That encounter with the Phantom was close! Luckily, Seb was barely able to steal his car. Barely. The Phantom officer wouldn't be able to do anything about his mission now! All the radios in the guardhouse were destroyed, along with that other guard's cellphone. The power plant's service road was too underused. The crowds would be driving via P05. Even the Prime Minister would be taking a helicopter to the exclusion zone border.

Su-27s flew overhead, flying the insignia of the Ukrainian air force. Nuclear contamination containment workers were dressed in orange anti-radiation suits as they did their work inside the exclusion zone, which was relatively small considering that the reactor was still visible. Tens of thousands gathered to the podium while millions watched from their screens.

Finally, a Ukrainian helicopter arrived. Formerly a Soviet anti-tank craft, the Mi-2 Hoplite carried the Minister to his death.

Vassiliy stepped out of the helicopter and everyone cheered. The pro-Phantom leader accepted the praise and began commemorating the men who had died in the accident. There were only three names.

Meanwhile, Seb was readying his rifle as he loaded a magazine into his Intervention. It was marked orange and read "CASELESS FRAGMENTATION." Experimental Ghost ammunition but it would be fired. For science.

Prime Minister Nikantor went on about future progress and government goals. The speech dedicated to lamenting about the Khmelinitsky accident quickly became a political monologue in just a few minutes.

Seb couldn't care less.

The Minister was engulfed in a small explosion, the podium quickly catching fire. The crowd suddenly stood up in a worried manner. Seb wrapped up his work, marveling at the modified Intervention rifle. He stepped out into the stolen Phantom VIP vehicle and made his escape.

Epilogue

"Pro-Ghost war hero Sergiu Matamorez will be advanced as the new Prime Minister as..."

"They will pay..." Reznov ranted. "They will pay..."