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105 Shifting the Blame

 Huo Shaoheng listened to the report, and responded with a curt "Copy that." They were going ahead with their original plan.

They had been in the city for two weeks now. It was time to act.

Zhao Liangze remained in the hotel; he was the operator for the mission, and it was his job to support his other teammates.

He heard Huo Shaoheng give the go ahead, and immediately issued instructions to the three squads via the Nandou Global Satellite Navigation System.

"Everyone get in position. We strike in five minutes."

Five minutes was the bare minimum necessary for snipers to get a lock on their target.

This was not a normal mission, and they had prepared for it accordingly: they had scouted out the area and prepped their sniping positions beforehand. Once they were in position, they would be able to lock on to their target within five minutes.

"Copy that. Not a problem." The three squads answered in the affirmative.

Zhao Liangze relayed their message to Huo Shaoheng.

Huo Shaoheng did not say anything. He bent over, grabbed a fistful of bread crumbs, and tossed them upwards, into the sky.

The pigeons in the square immediately took off, their wings flapping loudly.

The sky was full of the cooing and fluttering of pigeons.

Against the white clouds and the azure sky, pigeons of all colors flew about, as beautiful and graceful as white swans.

Mike was sitting at the other end of the square. As the pigeons continued to coo and flutter, a small red dot appeared on his forehead.

Mike was extremely vigilant, and could sense when something was wrong.

Without warning, his heart began to race, and the hair on the back of his neck prickled.

He looked about the square, and spotted a tall, bearded man sitting on the bench opposite him.

The bearded man appeared to be watching him.

When the bearded man saw Mike look his way, he tossed another fistful of pigeon feed into the air.

The sky was immediately blotted out by pigeons. They were big, strong birds, and they swooped towards the man in a flurry of feathers.

Mike saw the pigeons descend on the man across him, and laughed.

As he laughed, the vague sense of unease in his heart disappeared.

At that very moment, a sniper rifle, some 500-meters away, fired an olive-shaped bullet. It struck Mike in the forehead.

Mike silently fell backwards onto the bench.

From where Huo Shaoheng stood, Mike looked like he was watching the white pigeons, up in the sky...

"Target C eliminated. Over."

Huo Shaoheng nodded. He got up and left the square.

There were only a few other people in the square. Huo Shaoheng had a feeling it would probably be some time before they realized that the man on the bench was dead.

Over at the home-style hotel near St. Vitus Cathedral, on the second floor, Huttu was sitting in Room 319, cleaning his gun. Suddenly, a bullet from an anti-materiel sniper rifle burst through the walls and struck him in the heart from behind.

A pink spray of blood appeared on the wall opposite Huttu.

The gold wallpaper was immediately mottled with red.

Huttu fell to the floor, now no more than a shapeless blob of human flesh...

In the Old Town district, inside a 3-story building, Rahm was eating breakfast by the window. He was the leader of the Prague mercenaries, and the oldest and the most experienced of the three.

His years of experience had granted him almost a sixth sense: he sensed something was off, and looked out the window.

He saw a familiar circle of light in the opposite building.

It was the tell-tale flash of a sniper rifle scope, caught in the sunlight.

Rahm realized what it was, but it was already too late.

The bullet was already out of the barrel. As quick as his reflexes were, it was not humanly possible to escape a bullet that was already on its way.


The bullet hit him square in the head. It punched right through his skull and buried itself in the opposite wall.


Rahm was already dead when he dropped face-first into his breakfast platter.

Three men in different corners of the city had been assassinated within the span of five minutes.

"Pack up. We're leaving the Czech Republic for Austria." Huo Shaoheng instructed his men to dispose of their foreign-made guns as soon as possible.

They no longer needed the weapons: they had a contact who would get them new guns from the black market once they were inside Austria.

Huo Shaoheng and his men split up and left the Czech Republic in groups of twos and threes, using different modes of transportation.

Huo Shaoheng and Zhao Liangze drove out of the country in a car as they had a lot of luggage with them, mostly electronic equipment.

Two groups took the train from Czech Republic to Austria.

The remaining group took a bus.

The idea was to blend into the never-ending stream of tourists sightseeing in Europe.

They arrived in Austria, turned on the TV, and found the news stations all abuzz with news of the deaths of their three Czech Republic targets.

The Czech Republic invited military experts from Russia to help run forensics on the ballistics, which subsequently led to the discovery of the discarded sniper rifles.

After careful inspection, the Russian military experts determined that the three murders had been committed by the same organization. The modus operandi was similar to that of the US Navy SEALs, and the experts were certain that only the United States could have slipped into the Czech Republic undetected, assassinated the three men, and then retreated without leaving a single trace.

The Czech Republic closed its borders, and spent three days combing the country for the killers. They came up empty-handed.

Everyone knew that there was only one country that could have pulled off the assassinations.

The Czech Republic authorities were absolutely livid. They issued a diplomatic note to the US embassy, and demanded an explanation on the three murders that had occurred in the Czech Republic.

Officials from the Czech Republic's Ministry of Foreign Affairs paid the US ambassador a visit, and began to interrogate him. The US ambassador sweated profusely as he listened to their angry questions.

The Czech Republic had found plenty of incriminating evidence, and their arguments were water-tight. The Russian military experts backed up their claims by citing examples of similar incidents that had happened in the past. Collectively, their arguments were so convincing the US ambassador began to suspect the US Special Forces really had assassinated those men...

He caught himself before he could say: that does sound like my men, all right! Aren't they something? Bravo, men, good job!

It was true that the assassinations had been conducted in a manner that was consistent with the United States CIA's playbook.

The CIA was not afraid of war. They hungered for it, in fact; they zealously made attempts to incite civil war and political unrest in other countries, and seemed to think it was their patriotic duty to do so...

The arrogant US ambassador mumbled indistinctly to the Czech Republic diplomat in his southern drawl: "We regret to hear about the killings that have occurred in this country. Our deepest condolences to the families of the deceased; we hope that the victims are now in heaven, and will be able to rest in peace. "

"That's it?!" The Czech Republic diplomat was hopping mad. "Aren't you going to hand over the killers?!"

"You want me to get the killers? Why? I'm not a policeman." The US ambassador did not bother hiding his impatience and disdain. It was obvious that he wanted to be rid of his troublesome guest as soon as possible.

"So what are you going to do, then?" The Czech Republic diplomat brought his fist down upon the table, hard. "You seem to be forgetting that the Czech Republic is an independent, sovereign state! We will not stand for this!"

The US ambassador finally snapped.

"I came to the Czech Republic as an ambassador. I did not come here to listen to your lectures." The US ambassador frowned heavily. "Please leave. I hope you catch the killers soon."

He showed his guest out the door.

Following this unpleasant meeting, the Czech Republic recalled their ambassador to the United States, and expelled the US ambassador from their country.

When the United States CIA learned of the incident, they, too, were furious.

They had had nothing to do with the assassinations, but there was no way to prove their innocence.

Whitewater Security Group was actually a front organization, controlled by the CIA.

The CIA therefore could not go to the Czech Republic and conduct a thorough investigation on Whitewater Security Group, even if they wanted to.

The fact of the matter was, the CIA had bankrolled those mercenaries.

It was better to sweep the incident under the rug, than risk exposing the CIA's ties to Whitewater Security Group.

The CIA thought long and hard about it, and ultimately decided to take the blame and cut their losses.

They had thousands upon thousands of mercenaries working for them. So what if three of them were now dead? There were thousands more of them at the ready.

The case of the Czech Republic assassinations ended with both the Czech Republic and the United States of America expelling the other nation's ambassador.

Zhao Liangze summed up everything that had happened in a report, and submitted it to Huo Shaoheng. He said, smiling, "It seems that all our training paid off."

They had successfully fooled the Russian military experts and the leader of the US Navy SEALs.

Huo Shaoheng merely glanced at the report; the results did not surprise him. "We will deal with the three mercenaries in Austria next. We stick to our original plan, like what we did in the Czech Republic."

The Special Operations Forces prepared to make their move in Austria.

Over in the Huaxia Empire, the graduating students of C University were in the middle of their thesis defense.