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The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial is one of the largest memorials in the nation. With a park, waterfalls, statuary, alcoves, and basin, the memorial is divided into four outdoor galleries, one for each of FDR’s terms in office.

A mile from the memorial, a lone Kiowa Warrior coasted in, high over the city, its running lights dimmed. In a town boasting as many VIPs and media crews as D.C . . . helicopters in the skies were as common as birds flying south. Delta‑One knew that as long as he stayed well outside what was known as “the dome"‑a bubble of protected airspace around the White House‑he should draw little attention. They would not be here long.

The Kiowa was at twenty‑one hundred feet when it slowed adjacent to, but not directly over, the darkened FDR Memorial. Delta‑One hovered, checking his position. He looked to his left, where Delta‑Two was manning the night vision telescopic viewing system. The video feed showed a greenish image of the entry drive of the memorial. The area was deserted.

Now they would wait.

This would not be a quiet kill. There were some people you simply did not kill quietly. Regardless of the method, there would be repercussions. Investigations. Inquiries. In these cases, the best cover was to make a lot of noise. Explosions, fire, and smoke made it appear you were making a statement, and the first thought would be foreign terrorism. Especially when the target was a high‑profile official.

Delta‑One scanned the night‑vision transmission of the tree‑shrouded memorial below. The parking lot and entry road were empty. Soon, he thought. The location of this private meeting, though in an urban area, was fortuitously desolate at this hour. Delta‑One turned his eyes from the screen to his own weapons controls.

The Hellfire system would be the weapon of choice tonight. A laser‑guided, anti‑armor missile, the Hellfire provided fire‑and‑forget capability. The projectile could home in on a laser spot that was projected from ground observers, other aircraft, or the launching aircraft itself. Tonight, the missile would be guided autonomously through the laser designator in a mast‑mounted sight. Once the Kiowa’s designator had “painted” the target with a laser beam, the Hellfire missile would be self‑directing. Because the Hellfire could be fired either from the air or ground, its employment here tonight would not necessarily imply an aircraft’s involvement. In addition, the Hellfire was a popular munition among black‑market arms dealers, so terrorist activity could certainly be blamed.

“Sedan,” Delta‑Two said.

Delta‑One glanced at the transmission screen. A nondescript, black luxury sedan was approaching on the access road exactly on schedule. This was the typical motor pool car of large government agencies. The driver dimmed the car’s headlights on entering the memorial. The car circled several times and then parked near a grove of trees. Delta‑One watched the screen as his partner trained the telescopic night vision on the driver’s side window. After a moment, the person’s face came into view.

Delta‑One drew a quick breath.

“Target confirmed,” his partner said.

Delta‑One looked at the night‑vision screen‑with its deadly crucifix of cross‑hairs‑and he felt like a sniper aiming at royalty. Target confirmed.

Delta‑Two turned to the left side avionics compartment and activated the laser designator. He aimed, and two thousand feet below, a pinpoint of light appeared on the roof of the sedan, invisible to the occupant. “Target painted,” he said.

Delta‑One took a deep breath. He fired.

A sharp hissing sound sizzled beneath the fuselage, followed by a remarkably dim trail of light streaking toward the earth. One second later, the car in the parking lot blew apart in a blinding eruption of flames. Twisted metal flew everywhere. Burning tires rolled into the woods.

“Kill complete,” Delta‑One said, already accelerating the helicopter away from the area. “Call the controller.”

Less than two miles away, President Zach Herney was preparing for bed. The Lexan bullet‑proof windows of “the residence” were an inch thick. Herney never heard the blast.