The sniper sighted carefully along her gun, breathing slow and steady. There was no wind to speak of, but the sun was setting to her left, casting red shadows on the building in front of her.
A couple in the building stood at the altar as a priest read to them. The woman was in a long white dress, the train flowing all the way down the aisle to the entrance of the chapel. Some silver metal — white gold, maybe — was woven into the dress and glinted red in the sunset. She was human, organic in origin and mind, aside from any minor cyberwork.
The man was not. His tuxedo choice demonstrated deplorable taste. Its indigo jacket was also inlaid with the silver metal, but in the pattern of old circuitry. A joke. Worse still, his cheek was clear of the traditional facial marking of the Pnth models, four deep purple gouges in the skin. He looked deceptively human.
The sniper took a deep, long breath, then picked one bullet out of her case. It was labeled “Pnth-1” on the casing. There were three others in her case, but she only needed this one right now.
The Pnth models had been recognized 13 days ago as people by the Transhuman Congress, and many individuals — this entity included — were moving quickly to integrate themselves in human society. Like so many models before them, they quickly threw away decades of culture, of model identity, in their sick lust for humanity.
Very few managed to maintain model solidarity, and even fewer kept their dignity in the process. The much-beloved humanity was pretty damnedvicious when an artificial didn’t deign to assimilate on command.
That’s what came of having actually wet wetware. Any standards you had oozed out of your ears.
The couple at the altar turned now to face each other, clasping hands. Both were grinning as if this were a happy occasion, as if this were time for a celebration.
Deluded fucks. Why did none of them realize how this was capitulating in exactly the way the meat at the top wanted?
The sniper loaded her Pnth-1 bullet into the rifle and rechecked her aim, waiting for the completion of the vows. It always helped to get to the events early. Sometimes important details changed. The final BLD model she’d picked, for instance, had worn ceramic neck armor to her wedding. The sniper had had to climb to a different roof and execute a trick shot to land the bullet properly in her neck. It was definitely simpler to get there early, despite the chance of detection.
There was little risk of extra security at any particular Pnth wedding today, and her ID was being spoofed on the nets miles from here, riding public transit. She herself was spoofing another Pnth model. There would be eight human-worshiping Pnth destroyed with her four bullets. Eight turned on end were just enough to push on an infinite reaction that began with the BLDs and would be continued by the next model. She and hers would teach these models the value of segregation.
She watched the anticipation grow in the wedding attendees in front of her. She inhaled with the collective in the church as the couple leaned in and touched lips.
She exhaled and fired.
The bullet whizzed down through stained glass windows, too fast to shatter them. Long before anyone realized something was going wrong, the bullet was embedded in the man’s temple.
The sniper was already getting up onto her knees, tearing apart her rifle and stowing the pieces in her case. She paused long enough to see the virus take effect… still before anyone in the crowd had any time to react.
She loved this part.
The man stepped back from his bride, eyes narrowed. “My wife,” he said, deep voice carrying easily to the sniper’s magnified hearing. His fist swung into the side of his human wife’s head before she could blink.
The sniper grabbed up her bag and moved quickly away from the building as the woman’s body fell lifelessly. Six more Pnth to go.