41w, 5dThe Conversion Bureau
The sniper exhaled gently as he lay prone, his rifle to his shoulder and glinting in the light of the sunrise. The plan was flawless, and going according to plan. His rifle, forged of orichalcum, and loaded with just one, magic-nullifying round. One shot that could slay a god... like the one below.
He watched as Celestia sat atop her chariot, coming to the end of her parade. And, the sniper thought, the end of her life. Nietzche would have a field day with the HLF sniper right now. Killing a god? Who was he to do that?
Perfect conditions, perfect planning, and total stealth. She wouldn’t, couldn’t escape his scope; he had one bullet, and that was plenty.
His finger curled around the trigger, when-
His finger met hard resistance, he was unable to shoot - the safety had been toggled! The offending finger belonged not to him, but... another man, dressed just as he was in black fatigues and bodysuit, goggles obscuring his face as he leaned over the sniper.
The sniper rolled over, going for a sweeping kick; the other man avoided the attack, and yanked the sniper’s rifle away from him, as if he knew just what to do.
“Who the fuck are you?!” The sniper demanded to know, scuttling backwards and getting to his feet, preparing to fight. “How did you find me? I told noone of this position!”
“I’m you,” the other man said. “From the future. I came to stop you.”
“Lies!” the sniper spat. “If you were me, you wouldn’t stop me! Celestia must die!”
“If she dies,” the future man said, “Humanity dies with her. That’s a fact.”
“How do you know?” the sniper asked, sneering.
“I know, because I saw it all,” the future man replied. “Magic will spread unchecked, killing millions of humans. Ponification will no longer work.” The man pointed at the Princess. “I killed her. We killed her. By killing her, we sign the death warrant for billions. We commit the genocide, not her.”
The sniper numbly caught the rifle as it was thrown back to him.
“Shoot, or don’t,” the future man said. “It’s your choice. I know what I’d pick.”
The sniper looked at his weapon. He looked at the princess. He raised the orichalcum rifle, weighed the fate of all mankind in the palm of his hand... and chose.