He stood, panting, covered head-to-toe in the blood of a thousand prostitutes. The bomb strapped to his chest counted down the seconds as he began ranting furiously in an obscure dialect of a language that sounded vaguely Welsh, except when it sounded like a cross between Farsi and Navaho.
Special Agent Sarah Venture blew an errant lock of hair away from her forehead, sliding her gun from her holster with practiced ease. She understood exactly what he was saying, being fluent in every known language as well as having created one or two for her own personal use. Sometimes, it helps if no one can understand you.
But she understood him. He was screaming about his mission. He was supposed to blow up the Estonian Embassy along with himself, in service of a highly secretive Judeo-Christo-Islamic-Scientology sect based out of Akron, Ohio. However, he'd spent the night slaughtering hookers, and had decided he had something to live for after all. But the bomb was programmed to begin counting down on its own, and he couldn't figure out how to remove it. He was stoned out of his mind on hashish, percoset and 50-year-old cooking sherry, and was well beyond any sort of manual dexterity.
Sarah raised the gun and took careful aim. If she could put a bullet through the timing mechanism of the bomb just before it hit zero, it would render the experimental semi-liquid explosive inert, thereby preventing certain catastrophe. She had invented the explosive herself, and had built that particular fail-safe into it, knowing that only she would be able to disarm it if necessary. Of course, she'd invented it merely as an intellectual exercise, never intending it to be used, or even known of outside her secret underground laboratory.
She was still trying to figure out how it had been stolen. She suspected someone at the agency, and she had a pretty good idea who. She made a mental note to finish her robot assassin as soon as she was done here. Some jobs were worth handling personally, others were better handled by a machine.
But that was later. Right now, she had 135 lbs of Midwestern psychopath to deal with first.
She pulled the trigger, and a bullet flew straight and true toward its target, shattering the timing mechanism at exactly zero seconds. The bullet continued on its path through the back of the explosive, piercing the madman's chest cavity and exploding his heart in his chest. He fell to the ground, the bomb falling off him as he hit. A special forces team trained in exotic weaponry took possession of the explosive and the body. She'd steal both back from them later, and wipe their records and their minds as she did.
She holstered her gun, walking back toward her car with the easy strut of someone who knows exactly how important she is to the world, and the horrifying state it would be in without her. Her cellphone rang and she answered.
"Special Agent Venture ."
She smiled. It was a rare smile, and one most people didn't get to see and live. One of the few who did was on the other end of the phone. "Hi, sweetie!" She said happily. "How was school?" Her smile widened. "You did? That's fantastic!"
She got into her car, started the engine and pulled out into traffic. "Yes, I'm going to pick up your sister now." She laughed happily. "Of course we can have ice cream tonight. I'll pick some up on the way home."