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She was a bad woman. Normally kill squads would just kill a Marine and take his shoes or whatever, but the Apache was very sadistic. She would do anything to cause pain.
Carlos Hathcock on Apache

Apache was a female Viet Cong sniper and interrogator, she earned her nickname through her methods of torturing US Marines and South Vietnamese troops and letting them bleed to death. She led a platoon of snipers and earned a reputation for torturing prisoners of war in earshot of US bases and cutting off her victim's eyelids and kept them as trophies, as well as castrating them.

Because of her brutal tactics and infamy, she quickly became a high profile target. She was killed in 1966 by Carlos Hathcock, who was part of a sniper team of the United States Marine Corps. His partner Captain Edward James Land manned the spotting scope while Hathcock hit her with both of the rounds that he fired. Her death was a major moral victory for the US troops.

Battle vs. Ann Matsura (by SPARTAN 119)

Alternate universe (obviously, given the events to follow), Vietnam, 1966

US Marine sniper Carlos Hathcock took aim the Viet Cong sniper known as Apache, who he had been stalking for weeks now. Hathcock pulled the trigger, his Winchester Model 70 rifle giving off a loud report.

Apache's face was covered with a bright light, but it was not a muzzle flash. Apache felt her feet leave the ground, she was flying through a tunnel of light.

"Have I been shot? Am I dead... Is this what dying feels like?", Apache thought to herself as the flew towards a blurry image at the end of the tunnel, which appeared to be a of a large city at night. Apache flew through the end of the tunnel and found landed on her stomach on a hard surface.

Paris, France, June 16, 2024

"If I can still feel pain, I must not be dead...", Apache got up and noticed several people gathered around her, all of them Caucasians, speaking French. As Apache looked past them, she saw a street full of cars. Apache hadn't seen many cars in Vietnam, and they were all old and beat up. These vehicles, though, were new, and looked unlike anything Apache had seen before, almost futuristic.

Beyond that, however, was the thing that surprised Apache the most: "The Eiffel Tower?", Apache said- like many Vietnamese, she could speak French, Vietnam being a former French colony, "I'm in Paris? How did I get here?"

"You appeared here in a flash of light", A Frenchman said, "Anyway, who are you..?"

Apache gave her real name, then said "I am a from Vietnam".

"What about the rifle?", the man asked.

"Enough questions!", Apache said, annoyed, pushing through the crowd. Immediately past the crowd, she saw something in a nearby cafe that made her freeze in her place. A man sat at an outdoor table with an Ipad. The device was unlike anything Apache had seen before, but that wasn't what grabbed her attention. Rather, it was the date displayed in the corner of the device: "June 16th, 2024? How could this be.. Either this is dream or... That light sent me forward in time..."

Two years later, 2026

Crystel "Chris" Ario was quite pleased with the newest member of her unit, a Vietnamese woman who was an expert sniper. Sure, she was more than a bit eccentric. She claimed to be a Vietnam War-era sniper known as "Apache" by the Americans, who had been sent forward in time by some sort of mysterious accident. As such "Apache" favored an old Mosin-Nagant over more modern rifles. It had been difficult getting her out of spending the rest of her life in a mental institution after she walked through the streets of Paris with her rifle two years ago.

Apache was initially overcome by culture shock when the arrived in the 2020s, and was now living with a woman named Crystel Ario, who took her in after she met her in the streets, and was intrigued by her claim that she was a Vietnamese sniper.

Crystel, or Chris as she preferred, was a mercenary working for a company called "Trident", and she was a self-proclaimed "admirer" of Apache's work, being fascinated by her stories of the war, asking her questions down the the most grisly details, and was particularly impressed when she showed her a plain metal necklace, with numerous pieces of dried skin- human eyelids- affixed to it. Apache, meanwhile, was pleased to hear that the Americans had pulled out of Vietnam in 1973, and the country had been united under the communist north.

About a six months into her new life in the 21st century, Chris offered her a job with Trident. While externally, Apache was a communist, and disapproved of such a capitalist notion, by this point, she had started to miss the thrill of the hunt, and though she never admitted this to Chris, the euphoria of holding the power to bring suffering and death.

Because of this, Apache accepted the job, though she never told anyone other than Chris about her past. Within the next six months, Apache has pass Trident training, and was now a fully fledged operative. Over the next year, she proved her worth in Africa, eliminating several key figures in a militia.

Apache was rather unimpressed with her next contract, however, an industrial espionage mission in Japan, to steal a part of an experimental weapons system from the JSDF. It sounded to Apache like an easy mission....

Forest surrounding the abandoned building, Fuji Training Grounds, Japan, 1:30 AM, June 23rd, 2026

"Ann-chan", Touko Natori said, tapping a sleeping Ann Matsura on the shoulder, "It's your turn to stand watch."

Ann yawned and got up, picking her Walther WA-2000 sniper rifle and walking off the edge of the EPDA camp, getting into position in a clump of dense bushes. Ever since the students of Eastern Private Defense Academy had been forced out the abandoned building when the Trident mercs set fire to the place, Ann had taped branches and leaves to her uniform, a crude ghillie suit, to camouflage herself in the woods.

The night air was cool and quiet, the only sound was that of the cicadas chirping into the night and the rippling of the trees in the wind. It was hard to believe that they were currently fighting to prevent a foreign PMC from stealing an experimental weapon.

Ann and the rest of the students of Eastern Private Defense Academy, however, were suddenly made painfully aware of the reality of their situation when a gunshot rang out in the still night air.

Less than two hundred meters away

Apache sat in a Y-shaped intersection of two tree branches about two hundred meters away, cursing in Vietnamese under her breath as the round went wide, missing the head of her target and going into nearby tree. The rest of the students of Eastern Private Defense Academy ran for cover, hiding behind trees or boulders.

Meanwhile, back with Ann Matsura

Ann immediately went on high alert when she heard the gunshot. She had heard it, but she had not seen the muzzle flash. She needed the sniper to take a second shot, but she shuddered to think at what that could mean.

Whether she really wanted it or not, the sniper fired again. This time, Ann saw the muzzle flash come from a tree about 150 meters away. This time the there was a shout of pain in Touko Natori's voice.

"Natori-san, are you OK?", Kazuki Kurobe said from behind a rock.

"I'm fine", Touko said, "It only grazed me".

As Touko and Kazuki spoke, Ann took aim at the tree. She could tell where the muzzle flash had come from, but she could not clearly see the sniper. Ann exhaled and slowly applied pressure to the trigger, firing a shot the the tree. She then fired more rounds at the tree.

After the third shot, Ann saw a dark figure run out of the tree and start running. Ann led her target and fired two more times, but the hastily aimed shots both missed. Ann ran out of cover, ducking as she relocated to another bush about twenty meters away. She stayed there for almost an hour, until she was sure that the sniper had indeed retreated.

"I think the sniper's gone", Ann said, "Don't think I got them, but I definitely spooked them.

12:24 PM, June 23rd, 2026

Ann Matsura duct taped two sticks together, one larger, about five feet long, and one smaller, only about a couple feet in length, into a cross-shaped pattern. As she did so, Youji Takatsu walked up to her.

"Hey, Ann, what are you doing with those sticks?", Youji asked.

"Making a bait for that sniper from last night", Ann said as she took one of the ponchos that were standard issue for the students of EPDA and draped it over the stick cross, before perching a helmet over the top of the crossed stick to finish of the dummy target.

"It's a trick used by snipers since at least the Second World War", Ann said, "Create a fake target, and, and when the enemy fires at it, they will reveal their position with the muzzle flash, allowing you to take the shot."

"You really think that will work?", Youji asked, "I mean, it's pretty obvious that's not a person".

"That may be true from standing right next to it in the day light, but at night from a couple hundred meters away, even with a scope, it will look like an actual target."

2:23 AM, June 24th, 2026

"Apache" crept through the woods surrounding the Fuji training grounds, to the location where the the teenagers that had caused Trident so much trouble lay hidden. Kneeling behind a bush, Apache placed her crosshairs over a helmet poking out over a bush about 100 meters away. There was no wind, this would be an easy shot. Apache squeezed trigger, sending a 7.62mm round through the helmet, knocking it several feet away.

As Apache turned the bolt on her Mosin-Nagant rifle, she heard the report of a rifle, and felt a sharp pain in her shoulder. A bullet had shot through her her arm, not hitting the bone, but the wound was still bleeding profusely. Apache would have to retreat yet again without claiming a kill.

11:34 PM, June 24th, 2026

Ann Matsura stood in a tree, placing her decoy into a new location. She was sure she had hid the sniper this time, but she doubted whether the sniper would fall for the same trap again.

In order to stay one step ahead of the game, she and Youji had come up with a new plan.

"Youji", Ann called down to Youji Takatsu, who was standing below her, "Hand me that my pistol".

"Here", Youji replied, handing Ann the USP .45 handgun. The weapon had a string carefully looped around the trigger, leading down in a large loop from the tree to a bush Ann was using as a sniping position. The mechanism was complicated, but the idea was simple: give her fake sniper a fake muzzle flash.

"All right", Ann said, pulling back the slide of the empty handgun, "We're ready for the test run"

Youji walked over to the end of the string, grabbed it, and pulled. The pistol let out the click of an empty chamber.

"All right", Ann said, "It worked, hand me up the magazine".

Youji handed Ann a loaded magazine, and after loading the weapon, Ann climbed down from the tree, her trap in position.

11:45 PM, June 24th, 2026

Apache was not in a good mood. The wound in her arm was properly bandaged now, and did not cause her any trouble aiming. However, she, the woman who terrorized battle-hardened US Marines, had been foiled two nights in a row by a bunch of kids.

If she couldn't drive them out of their hole with sniper fire, Apache thought, perhaps she could do so through other means....

11:50 PM: 5 minutes later

Youji Takatsu walked out alone about 20 meters into the woods to take use what passed for a "bathroom" in the EPDA camp- a bush that obscured him from the rest of the camp.

Youji about a minute later, Youji zipped up his fly, having finished watering the local plant life. At that moment, however, he could have sworn he heard sensed someone behind him. Practically the second after this occurred to him, he felt a rag soaked with some sort of chemical pressed against his face. Youji passed out instantly.

12:00 AM, June 25th, 2026

"Hey", Touko said, "Has anyone seen Takatsu-kun?"

"Haven't seen him", Nanami Karino replied.

"Me neither", responded Taro Tsurumi.

"Last I saw of him he was going to the "bathroom", Kazuki Kurobe said, "But I haven't seen him since."

The question of Youji's whereabouts was answered immediately in a most unpleasant manner.

A female voice spoke in broken Japanese out from somewhere in the darkness through what sounded like a megaphone or a loudspeaker.

"Attention students of Eastern Private Defense Academy. This is the Trident sniper that you have been engaged with these past few days. I have one of your friends as my "guest". You have one hour to surrender, or your friend....", the speaker said before he cut off to a scream, clearly in Youji's voice."

Touko was torn between what to do, they could surrender, and risk the national security of Japan, or they could abandon Youji to an enemy who sounded like they were planning to torture him to death. Neither sounded like good options.

Ann saw Touko's look of indecision, and, against everything she had been told in her military education, she acted on her own, without speaking with others. Ann pulled the string looped around the trigger of the USP .45 in the tree next to her dummy.

The pistol fired the report filling the still night air.

Meanwhile a few hundred meters away

"Where's your sniper located?", "Apache" said to Youji in what little Japanese she had learned for the mission.

"I'm not saying shit!", Youji said defiantly.

Apache grabbed a her combat knife, which she had already used to lightly cut Youji's side- a to his comrades warning of what was to come, and pointed it menacingly between his legs.

"Next time I'll cut them off", Apache said.

Thankfully, Apache's plans for his reproductive organs were foiled by a gunshot that rang out in the night, and a muzzle flash in a tree.

"I'm still going to cut them off, and your eyelids too", Apache said, "But first, your going to watch me kill one of your friends."

At that, Apache picked up her Mosin-Nagant and took aim at tree where the muzzle flash came from. She fired off a single shot. The round hit the helmet of the target, causing a dark figure to fall out of the tree.

Apache then turned to Youji, but he was not wearing a look of sorrow or fear, but a look a satisfied smirk, as though he were victorious.

"What's so funny?!", Apache yelled at him, brandishing her knife.

A suddenly, a loud loud crack rang out, as a flash in the darkness lit up the night. The bullet went into Apache's back, causing the front of her chest to explode outwards, before she fell to the ground in a pool of blood.

Youji heard a rustling in forest, and seconds later, heard Ann Matsura's voice.

"Youji!", Ann said, "Are you OK?"

"I'm fine", Youji said, as Ann set about untying him whose arms were bound to a tree, "It hurts but it isn't very deep".

As soon as Youji was loose, Ann threw her arms around him in a tight embrace.

"I was so worried about you", she said tearfully, as she hugged him tighter. They did not break apart until Touko Natori, who Youji had just noticed was there, along with Kazuki Kurobe, Hikari Senami, and Taro Tsurumi.

"Ann", Touko said, "What you did was reckless, dangerous, and would have got you court martialed if we were actually in the military... but it saved the life of one of our comrades, and I am grateful for that".

Suddenly a female voice shouted a several words in Vietnamese. Apache was still alive, and with her last breath, she had reached for the Tokarev pistol at her side and took aim at Ann and Touko, both of whose backs were turned.

However, instead of a gunshot, the only sound heard was a scream of pain and the sound of a knife entering flesh.

"You tried to torture me!", Youji said furiously, thrusting Apache's own knife into its owner again, "You tried to kill my friends!"

After stabbing Apache three times, Youji breathed heavily, panting over his vanquished torturer.

Ann reached out and grabbed Youji's hand, in spite of the blood that now stained it, helping him up.

"I guess..." Youji said through heavy breaths, "We're even..."

"I guess we are", Ann said, as they started to walk back to their camp, his hand still in hers.

The Next Day

Ann and Youji woke up early that morning to the sound heavy footsteps that morning.

"JSDF!", A male voice yelled.

All of the Eastern Private Defense Academy students stood with their hands raised in the air around the camp, surrounded by several JSDF soldiers.

"I suppose your here to take us", Touko said.

"Command has cleared any confusion, the warrants for your arrest have been voided, and there will be no criminal charges pressed. The French PMCs responsible for the incident have been apprehended.", The squad leader said, as he picked up the box the EPDA students had been working so hard to protect.

Touko looked relieved that she they were no longer wanted by the police or the SDF.

"You will be debriefed once we get you back to base. Afterwards, you will be allowed to return to your families. From what I heard, you may even be eligible for medals", and SDF soldier said.

"Meaning no disrespect, sir", Youji said, "But what I'd like most about now are a hot meal and a shower".

The entire group of EPDA students murmured and nodded in agreement as they left the woods.

WINNER: Ann Matsura

Expert's Opinon

The Expert's believed that, while Apache was brutal and highly experienced combatant, Ann's larger magnification scope with a ballistic reticle, as well as her knowledge of the area won her this battle.

To see the original battle, weapons, and votes, click here.

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