She turned her headset back to the shouting of her teammates. Her attention was drawn to Dave’s voice, screaming for everyone to run before Ash could hear the unmistakable sound of an antimatter blaster charging. Ash charged her own blaster and took off into the forest towards the shooting. She spotted the red armor of the enemy, throwing herself behind a tree and pulling her gun close to her. She turned the corner and saw a woman around her age with a tight bun holding the dreaded antimatter blaster, the weapon’s whirring increasing in pitch and volume as it charged. It had to be destroyed - it was too dangerous to be left intact. It was too easy for someone else to pick it up and use it against them.
Ash raised her ray gun and aimed at the weapon, firing one quick blast before ducking back behind the tree. She heard the woman’s surprised shout and Ash quickly climbed a tree, ducking into the branches. She turned her gun to check the charge, seeing she only had one shot left.
Best make it count.
Taking a deep breath, Ash leveled her small pistol where she thought the woman come to search for the shooter, using all her skills as a sniper to keep her hand perfectly steady. She could not miss this shot - there simply wasn’t enough time to reconstruct and charge her sniper rifle.
Red armor flickered through a bush, and Ash adjusted her aim by a millimeter, effectively firing blind into a patch of bush beneath her. Her gut told her to shift her aim one last time, and she fired through a gap in the leaves. The agonized scream was enough to tell her she had been perfect.
Ash holstered her now powerless pistol, reaching for her sniper rifle and rebuilding it, choosing to disregard the stand and use her knee as a brace. She flipped to her private channel with Jonah.
“Change of plans: turn on tracking and go find Kaleb. I’ve got Dave covered.”
There was a pause and she took the time to adjust the settings for her scope, setting it to infrared so she could shoot through the tree. She also flipped a switch on her headset, a small screen flicking in front of her eye. It displayed any teammate within twenty feet as well as their status - health, armor, any injuries, and so on. The software was typically reserved for medics so they could see who on their team was in the direst shape, but since their only medic had been killed within the first hour, it had been passed to Ash. She used it so she could fire near-blind without hitting any teammates.
The screen flickered on to show information about Dave when she aimed at him, showing that he had suffered a blast to the shoulder, but it was non-fatal. Ash added Dave to the channel with Jonah.
“Ash? Where are you?”
“Covering you. Now scream.”
There was a pause before Jonah spoke up. “You are brutal, Ash.”
“Absolutely. Now do it.”
She drew the scope up to her eye, shifting so she didn’t accidentally shoot Dave. A yell ripped through the undergrowth - the pain in it seemed authentic, Ash noted - and it wasn’t long before a heat signature appeared nearby. Ash quickly adjusted her aim and put a bullet through the enemy - the shot tearing through them was too quick to allow time to scream.
Dave cried out again, and the last two figures appeared on her scope. She shot the one closest, and turned to finish the last one off with her last round, when they ducked behind Dave. She could see them wrap their arm around Dave and took care to hold him in the way.
She heard the last man start shouting demands into thin air, since he clearly didn’t know where she was. He was screaming about surrendering or he’ll kill Dave. Ash scoffed, as if she would concede so willingly. One man, one bullet. It was her specialty.
“Dave?” she murmured, her gaze fixed on Dave’s heat signature, “Let me know if you’re okay with me finishing this - however you can.”
She sat perfectly still, her sights trained on Dave’s head. She saw him struggle against his “captor” and scream into the air. She noticed him jerkily nod his head, and she took that as her cue.
“I’ll be quick,” she breathed, her finger tightening on the trigger.
She took the shot.