Doncaster Hotel. 21:35pm
"N-no, please... don't... I'm begging you! Don't!"
"Oh, so now your ready to talk, huh Fredrick? And I'm guessing it's got nothing to do with the fact that your now hanging from your ankles 68 floors above ground level from this rather plush penthouse suite balcony, am I right? Purely coincidental, right?"
"I would be remiss not to inform you arm is getting tired, Fredrick. And this wind and constant downpour of rain is certainly not helping."
"I'd take note of what my tall and rather imposing associate here is saying, Freddy!"
"PLEASE! I'M BEGGING YOU! ON MY DEAD WIFE'S ASHES, I SWEAR I'LL TELL YOU EVERYTHING YOU WAMT TO KNOW!"
Ever hear the one about the impatient assassin who was running out of time? No? Well unfortunately I don't have the time to tell it to you right now.
Oh, alright then, just a snippet.
My name is Alexia Sitarska and you can forget anything you think you knew about me.
For a start, that's just one of the many aliases I use in my day to day role as a high level operative within a secret organization called The Syndicate. Generally, I'm the kind of muscle you hire when you wanna get talkative people to stop talking. Permanently.
As for The Syndicate? Sure, we do bad things and for bad reasons too, but does that make us bad people?
Aw heck, who am I kidding?
Anyway, a little over a year ago I volunteered to have my memory wiped for an undercover assignment within a CIA black ops program codenamed Blackbriar, do try and keep up. The two-pronged aim of that mission was both to infiltrate the tech organization involved in Blackbriar's initial inception, Hazuki Enterprises, and eliminate an elusive rogue asset from that programs original operation, Treadstone, some guy by the name of Jason Bourne.
Meanwhile out here in the 'real' world, things went south involving one of our organization's primary benefactors and I was dragged from assignment early to clarify his involvement and assess what damage was done.
"Please, l-let me down!" pleads Fredrick. "W-w-wait, d-don't drop me! I m-meant on the balcony... please!"
The guy doing all the whining is one Fredrick Eisenberg, real estate hotshot of the city and a man with his ear so permanently to the ground you could easily be forgiven for mistaking him for the slithery snake he quite literally is.
"Wisely clarified, Fredrick." teases Vinter, before tossing Fredrick's wiry frame to one side like he was an empty chips packet.
Janik Vinter aka The Bone Doctor, is the kind of tall, imposing muscle you hire when you want to get quite people to talk. The guy could get a mute singing the national anthem in minutes with his 'unique' brand interrogation techniques. Holding Fredrick aloft in the air by his ankle with apparent ease in this stormy weather's no mean feat.
"60 seconds, Alexia." he warns me. It's the response time Fredrick's heavies at the front door will act upon when they finally realize something's wrong in here.
"Hear that, Fredrick? Best you make everyone of those seconds count!" I say.
"Okay-okay! Way I understand it, that whole incident a short while back involving one of our Pandora Sites being hit was not the FBI sting operation it was made out to be."
"Pandora Site?" I ask, with a blank expression.
"Highly secret storage facilities located around the world, holding everything from stolen classified documents to POW's." explains Vinter. "If not the FBI then who was responsible?"
"Dorian Grey! He masterminded the entire operation along with a handful of Feds on the take."
"Bit of a stretch, Fredrick." I say, with a stroke of my chin.
"On my dead wife's grave, it's the truth! According to my sources he's been complaining how he don't feel right having someone else looking over his shoulder. It's usually him doing the looking. He's been looking for leverage of some kind... got word of the location of a top secret ledger tied to the people up top... the puppet masters controlling our organization... you know who I'm talking about!"
'The people up top'... he's referring to the members of The Hand. The only time I ever saw Lane show straight up fear was the day I asked him if he knew who they were. Anyway, Lane's hunch about Grey's involvement's confirmed. Time to wrap this one up.
"You got to help me disappear!" squeals Fredrick suddenly. "Once Grey catches word I've told you... he'll... please... I have a family...!"
"Sure, I'll help you disappear!" I tell him, slowly reaching for the Glock shoved in the back of my pants. Just then, a bullet cuts the conversation short as it shatters the patio glass before piercing the back of Fredrick's skull. How inconvenient, that was my privilege.
"They are here!" alerts Vinter, as half a dozen suits firing semiautomatics swarm into the room, their sporadic fire keeping us on the outside as we try and take cover behind whatever we can.
"Gee, thanks for the heads up!" I shout over the noise of increasingly loud gunfire. "Masks on. They can't identify us until we take em down! Can't leave any of them alive and have em alert Grey before we get to him!"
"They KInd of have us pinned!"
"Again, thanks for the heads up! But I've an idea! Remember when we were in Syria a few years back?"
He nods in acknowledgment reluctantly before pulling a clown mask over his face and standing up to spray the entire inside of the hotel room with cover fire, forcing our attackers inside to take temporary cover.
Meanwhile I've sprung to my feet before running and launching myself off the balcony's ledge across towards the adjacent room. But it's rain soaked surface proves to slippery and I fall to the balcony below one floor down as the wind continues to howl like a wolf in labour. Nothing like a high risk chance of eminent death to get the adrenaline racing.
On my feet, I shoot my way into the room, excusing myself to the honeymoon couple I catch making good on their wedding vows.
"My apologies, 'Hotel inspection', no cause for alarm, it's all clear! Oh, and any word to anyone that you've seen me, I'll be back to shoot one of you whilst the other one's forced to watch. Enjoy your evening!"
Oh it's good to be back.
Exit made, I make my way back up the stairwell up towards the 83rd floor, double speed.
Cautiously making my way along the hallway I spot two of the security men poised outside the hotel room, waiting to join in the firefight. I give em an open invitation with two bullets to the head before grabbing one of their weapons and bursting into the room, two guns blazing like a scene right outta a Pekinpah western. Meanwhile, Janik, taking my cue, counters with his own onslaught from the rear. They never stood a chance. Security detail downed, we turn our attention to making our escape.
"Hotel re-enforcements on its way. 2 minutes." Informs Vinter, as he listens to his earpiece
"Alright then, let's get the staging done with and make our exit."
After carefully planting our weapons among the fallen bodies, making it appear to be an inside cockup of a hit, we make our way back to the balcony before I get a sudden flash of an idea.
"Wait a minute. Grey isn't the only paranoid egotistical frat boy on our payroll. Fredrick's his go to guy for real estate. Grey's got property all over the world... I'm guessing...!"
Then I see it. On the mantle piece underneath the huge 92 inch television, a rusty-looking urn.
"All that talk of his 'dead wife'! Fredrick never cared about anyone, ever! Even his own mother. Have you seen the broken down condo that poor women's holed up in?"
"One minute, 12 seconds." informs Vinter. "We do not have time for this!"
"Then we make time!" I say, grabbing the urn and running into the kitchen to pour its contents down the sink. Within seconds 'presto' a USB device wrapped in plastic emerges. I grab it, then grab a tie from one of the dead guys before setting it alight and waving it near the smoke detectors. The alarm triggers and the entire hotel proceeds with an evacuation proving us with a suitable distraction.
"Okay, now we go!" I say.
We head back to the balcony and jump, pulling the chutes concealed in our backpacks as we descend. Steering our decent down towards our designated landing point, a bus parked near by a field, commandeered by one of our very own.
No thanks to the torrid weather, which provides more than a few hairy close calls, we land on the vehicle's roof, gather the chutes and make our way inside.
"Took your damn time!" says the driver.
"Just drive, Sonya." grunts Vinter.
That's Sonya Rominov, aka Red Sonya, aka Copperhead aka a royal pain in my athletically taut ass. She's new, real 'salt of the earth' stock. Joined the organization while I was in deep cover. Has a fixation with throwing knives an unexplained hostility towards me. Not that I'm bothered of course.
"What's up with you?" I ask Vinter as I catch him eyeballing me.
"You seem... different... since you have been... back." he asks.
"Different? Different how? What, like I've put on weight?"
"Did you get 'it' or not?" interrupts Sonia, as she turns the bus into a busy local street blending us seamlessly into its ongoing traffic.
"Yep. Grey's involvement's been confirmed." I tell her, thumbing the small USB device in my hand. "We just need to locate where he is, retrieve what was stolen and eliminate him. And I think I have an idea for the former."
To be continued...