Waiting for the cab, Karl had introduced himself. Never one for that godd**n Oneshot nonsense Teddy Best had saddled him with, he only said, "Hathaway, miss. Karl Hathaway." Karl spoke to her with a soft politeness he hadn’t used, but didn’t offer his hand. Kate and the others likely noticed how Karl kept his right hand clear at all times, ready to draw. He even used he left to push away the plate of rubbery, overdone squid in the restaurant, always keeping his right free.
In the cab, Karl was quiet, lost in thought. Thinking about Katie, and Linh. Thinking about every move - the few right ones and many wrong ones - which brought him here, now. Thinking, Silently praying to a God he was certain was laughing down at him that Katie'd be okay. To anyone glancing at Karl, his hair seemed grayer, his face more haggard.
Then the group had arrived, and Karl’s mind slipped back into the present, back to the mission. Now sizing the place up, he’s again the young... well, younger... Karl they'd first glimpsed. Shouldering his heavy duffel, he looks around, at the building, then at the others, studying each with a keen eye. A veteran operator, Karl reads in each one that they too have been there, that they have @!#$ing done that. He takes in Kate last of all, and in Karl’s eyes she sees none of the things she sees when most men look at her. But she also sees some regret. She reminds him of someone, and the memory doesn’t bring him comfort..
But then Karl gives a short, violent shake of his head, clearing it. Gotta stay here. Gotta stay now. Useless old man trapped in the past ain’t helpin’ Katie. "Enough of this bulls**t,” he says. “Time to give up on ghosts." He nods with his head to an alley across the street, then heads over there. Once in, he looks around.
“I don’t trust easy. I’ve learned not to. But I ain’t a fool. I know I’m in over my head. So I have to trust y’all, an’ ask fer help. That means y’all gotta trust me. So... truth. The short version ‘cuz we ain’t got all night.”
“The FBI, they got a file on me. Not much to it. Old feller, retired Marine sniper, been some places, done some s**t back in ‘nam, but he lives alone in the backwoods now, keeps to himself, has done for twenty years or more. Good Marine, once, but no-one to take no account of no more.”
Karl hesitates a moment, before fully committing. “But they got a second file. One hardly anyone's ever seen. One that ain’t under the name my momma give me in 1940. This’n only goes back about four years. It’s coded using the stupid @!#$in’ name ol’ Teddy Best give me when I helped ‘im out a few years back. He calls me Oneshot.”
Karl’s quiet a sec. The name speaks for itself to the right ears, and he’s betting with tags like Bloodhound and Quicksilver, these are the right ears.
“Now, neither one of those names appears in the other file, and ain’t no clear pictures of Oneshot. Just a few of some feller in full kit with camo paint on ‘is face. I’d appreciate it if you didn’t spread that around none. But I reckon someone else knows about it, because there ain’t no reason anyone would want ol’ Gunny Hathaway out here. So they’re tryin’ to get hold of that other feller. An’ for some reason, they want him mad.”
Karl glances at his duffel, heavy with death. “Now, I reckon they want me here, since they called me from here, and they know I could get the call traced. So, ‘less one o’ you objects, I’m fixin’ to knock on the front door. Got my door-knocker right here. She makes a real purty knockin’ sound, an’ she’ll open any godd**n door this side o’ Fort Knox.”
Karl is quiet a sec. “Any o’ you got a better idea, let’s hear it. But they got my little girl and I’m fixin’ to kick up a fuss.”