Toaru Majutsu no Index:SSVolume2 Chapter12
 Chapter 12: A Debate Between a Sniper and a Bomber. The Fourth Friday of July.
This occurred three days prior.
“Sniping is so old fashioned,” came a voice to the front.
As a man who earned his living expenses by being hired as a sniper, Sunazara Chimitsu was at a loss for words. However, the woman in front of him continued speaking as he cleaned out the slight bit of soot that had gathered inside his gun.
“Actually, doesn’t sniping have a lot of pointless things in it? Whether it’s 5 mm or 7 mm, aiming for someone’s head or chest with such a small bullet is just pointless. Just a little bit of wind and the bullet’s trajectory is off, the target just has to sneeze and you’ve failed, and, if they’re wearing any bulletproof equipment, you might not kill them in one shot. That all just makes it pointless.”
She was a tall woman. She was even taller than Sunazara, who was solidly built himself. She was also thin. She might even have been thin enough to be said to have a model’s figure. She was a beautiful woman with a well-featured face, but she wasn’t fit for this job. She was so beautiful that it harmed her ability to hide herself.
There was more to hiding oneself than putting on camouflage and hiding in the jungle.
For example, when sniping in a large city, a sniper would mix in with the crowd, head for an elevated area, and then mix back in with the crowd to leave once the attack was complete. She wasn’t suited for that kind of job.
Her name was Stephanie Gorgeouspalace.
(She should really just get up on the stage rather than working as an assassin.)
“Hm? Sunazara-san, are you sulking?”
“…No, I am not,” responded Sunazara in a whisper. “But as a fellow assassin, I’ll ask you this: What other way to carry this out is there besides sniping?”
Sunazara assembled his gun that was now free of dirt and pointed with his chin towards the diagram spread out on the table. It was a diagram of the locations of a stereotypical villain and the guards surrounding him.
“These idiots are faking psychic powers and made an enemy of a group of overseas Chinese merchants. They’ve been gathering money by saying that they’ll develop psychic powers in a different way than Academy City if they get investments. How would you take them out?”
They weren’t people who you could take on by charging at them with a blade and they weren’t stupid enough to let someone rig their cars with bombs. Sunazara felt the most efficient way would be to put a bullet through the leader’s eyes in the few dozen seconds between leaving a building and entering his bulletproof car.
“Oh, you misunderstood me. I’m not saying every single kind of sniping is old fashioned. I’m just saying that using a sniper rifle like that is. I’m not denying the usefulness of every kind of sniping.”
“Now I know you’re sulking.”
“No, I am not,” responded Sunazara as he replaced the cover over the bare inner portions of the gun and reached over to the sight.
Stephanie looked at Sunazara and then continued speaking.
“There’s no rule that says that sniping has to be done with a bullet. We have all sorts of weapons these days and we should be finding new ways to do things with them.”
“What are you trying to say?”
“To be blunt, wouldn’t this be easier with a missile launcher?”
“Wha-!? Sunazara-san, don’t look at me like I’m a heretic!! Y’know, it really would be easier. When you’re sniping, missing a vital spot means you’ve failed, but a missile just has to hit somewhere nearby and the target will be killed in the blast, right!? And it’ll kill them even if they’re wearing bulletproof equipment, so it’s easier in every way!!”
“A scornful laugh!? With a rifle, you can shoot from at most 1000 meters away, but you can aim with a missile from 5 times that distance! It opens up whole new possibilities for missions, doesn’t it!?”
“Fine then. This is your job. You can carry it out with whatever supplies you want.”
“And that’s what I’ll do!!” Stephanie said proudly as she brought out a brand new-looking missile launcher that was supported over the shoulder. It seemed she had chosen a surface-to-air launcher instead of an anti-tank one for the sake of accuracy and distance. And yet she was attacking a target on the ground.
“…You really are a heretic.”
“So what!? I just have to kill the target!!”
And now for the continuation of that conversation from 3 days before.
Stephanie Gorgeouspalace was sobbing in front of Sunazara Chimitsu.
“No, I didn’t.”
“…They’re saying on the news that he miraculously survived.”
“But that isn’t true!!”
Stephanie jumped towards Sunazara to take the remote control from him.
“I blew him away with the missile launcher!! Him and his bodyguards all at once!! Even my withdrawal was perfect!! But they hid the body and the fact that he died and then reported that he survived!! That’s not fair! The client is breaking his promise by not paying me!”
“…This is why I told you not to use a missile.”
“No, you didn’t! You never said anything as kind as that!!”
While nimbly avoiding Stephanie’s attacks, Sunazara changed the channel. Every station was telling essentially the same story.
“Blowing all of them away makes it a catastrophe. If you efficiently ‘display’ the body, they can’t fool anyone.”
Sunazara sighed and then continued.
“To the client, it doesn’t matter if the target is truly alive or dead. Socially, the target is still alive. The ability to reliably kill the target in every meaning of the word is the quality looked for in an assassin.”
“That is why we go out of our way to hide within heavily guarded parades and put a bullet between the target’s eyes while everyone is watching. Not causing so much damage is better at preventing anyone from making excuses and a shot to the head is especially effective in that regard. Old fashioned methods are used in modern times because of how effective they are. Really, how stupid can you be?”
At that point, Sunazara threw the remote control to the side and pushed Stephanie away.
“What are you going to do now?”
“Eh? What do you mean?”
“…Now that you have failed so spectacularly leaving your target alive in a social sense, it becomes exceedingly hard to re-kill him. In a way, you have created a situation even more difficult to deal with than before. This is more than enough to make the client resent you.”
“So you didn’t even think this through… Stupid isn’t a strong enough word to describe an idiot like you.”
Stephanie finally started to get flustered and panicky and Sunazara sighed. He grabbed the sniper rifle case lying on the table.
“Ah. Are we making a run for it?”
“The client is with the overseas Chinese merchants, so crossing national borders wouldn’t help. If you want to survive, you’re going to have to re-kill the target.”
Stephanie tilted her head to the side in puzzlement and Sunazara pointed with his chin towards the TV screen.
“I thought some writer had created a script and it was all an act, but there’s too much of his characteristic persuasiveness there. …He must really be alive.”
“Did you actually see the body? And even if you did, it could have been a body double. Either way, the target must be using this to let the residents of the underworld believe he is dead to prevent any further pursuit.”
“Um. Does that mean…I have a chance?”
“Yes, aren’t you glad? You’ve been given a chance to live on due to your complete lack of skill. An assassin that doesn’t even get proof that she has killed her target is more vulgar than a housewife wielding a heavy ashtray against her cheating husband. One thing I know is that I will never die in an explosion no matter what.”
“Ohhh!! Sunazara-san, you’re being unusually bitter!”
(Of course I am,) Sunazara spat out in his heart.
After all, he was heading out to snipe someone for no pay because he had to clean up for some idiot that missed her target.
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