The tall, bald headed man known only as 47 sat at alone at a table in a cafe located in the Austrian city of Salzburg. 47 sipped at his espresso and carefully observed the passing tourists and locals. It was spring in Salzburg, the weather fine and many people were strolling casually through the plaza the cafe was situated in.
Nobody paid any undue attention to him so he opened his laptop and inserted the USB stick given to him just minutes ago by an Agency operative at the pre-arranged hand-off point. The USB contained his latest assignment and details of the man he was to assassinate.
The target was Heinrich Schwarzmann, 83 years old and a retired university professor in astrophysics. Apparently he was also a known pedophile and had served fifteen years in prison for his crimes against children. One of his victims, now an adult had decided that fifteen years was not a sufficient punishment and had contacted the Agency to have the man eliminated. Enter 47.
According to the intelligence gathered on the target, he had taken ill in recent years and spent much of his time bedridden and attended by physicians who visited him daily. A possible way in, 47 noted and continued reading. Schwarzmann's illness was terminal and he had, at most, six months to live. The client stressed that he wanted his death to not be of natural causes.
Typically, 47 gave little thought to the motivations of the Agency's clients. It mattered not to him why a person wanted somebody else dead, just that they had the funds to procure his unique skills and experience. In his years working as an assassin, he had been paid by wives to eliminate unfaithful husbands and their lovers, children had paid him to remove the obstacles standing between them and their inheritance - older siblings or their parents and more than once, he'd been contracted on the behalf of one government to carry out an execution against the member of another government. It was all the same to him, he thought and went back to his reading.
Also included with the briefing material were details of the physician - a Doctor Weizmann who lived nearby. And alone. 47's ice blue eyes narrowed as he formulated a plan. He finished his espresso and left a tip - not so small as to draw the ire of the waiter but not so large as to attract undue attention. 47's continued survival was dependent on him maintaining a low profile.
He left the cafe and decided to take a stroll to the neighbour Weissman and his target called home.
Weizmann lived in a small townhouse surrounded by a high iron fence. The townhouse stood at the end of a cobbled lane that branched off from the main thoroughfare. 47 walked slowly along the lane, alert to possible witnesses but the surrounding area was clear.
47 walked past the townhouse, looking for signs that the doctor was at home but the curtains were drawn. He circled around the outside of the fence to the rear of the house and quickly climbed the fence, his well-toned physique making the climb easy. 47 landed quietly in the yard and quickly made his way to the back door of the house. After making sure he wasn't observed, 47 removed his lockpicks and quietly opened the door. Inside, the house was dark and silent. 47 paused to listen but heard nothing. Likely, the doctor was making house calls.
Moving quickly, 47 searched the house. It was definitely empty and the doctor's car wasn't in the garage. Perfect, he thought. Now all he had to do was wait until the doctor arrived home, possibly for lunch and then incapacitate him.
Hours passed, the sun moving steadily across the sky, but 47 waited patiently. He sat still at the kitchen table. He did not move, he did not fidget. Agent 47 was patience personified. At last he heard the sound of a key in the front door lock and stood quickly. 47 retreated to a corner of the kitchen, by the stove and removed a syringe from his suit jacket. With his other hand, he removed a vial of a fast acting tranquiliser and drew a measured dosage into the syringe. He squirted a bit out to make sure there were no air bubbles and held the syringe ready, gloved thumb poised on the plunger.
The front door opened and Dr Weizmann entered. It had been a long morning so far - aside from the usual coughs and colds, there was also poor Herr Schwarzmann. He hadn't long to live, Weizmann thought sadly. It would be a mercy when his time came, he thought. As he entered the kitchen, bag in hand, he caught a glimpse of something in the corner and turned to see...
47 moved swiftly towards the doctor as the man turned to look at him. A look of fear passed across Weizmann's face and he opened his mouth to yell. 47 clapped one hand over his mouth and used the other to slide the steel needle into his neck. His thumb depressed the plunger and even as he removed the syringe, the doctor's eyes rolled back and he slumped forward. 47 gently lowered him to the ground and checked his pulse. He didn't want to kill the man, after all. Satisfied that the doctor was safely asleep, he picked him up and carried him to his bedroom.
47 laid the doctor out on his bed, then went to his closet. The doctor looked to be about 47's size. He planned to pose as Dr Weizmann's colleague, claiming that the doctor was unable to visit Herr Schwarzmann because he was sick in bed. Which was true enough, 47 thought with a small smile. Once he gained access to the mark, it would be a simple matter of administering some...medicine and slipping out before anybody realised that Schwarzmann was dead.
47 opened the closet and removed one of several white coats from inside. A finely crafted hat would conceal his bald head as well as the barcode tattooed on the back of his skull.
47 returned to the kitchen and collected the doctor's bag of medical supplies. Doubtless a newcomer would be carefully searched by the former professor's household security - Schwarzmann was noted for being quite paranoid. Probably he was worried about his former victims seeking revenge. As well he should be, 47 thought. 47 decided to take no chances and would leave his customised Silverballer pistols and other equipment behind. He only needed a syringe plus the vial of toxin that would kill a man in moments. 47 looked at the time. It was past midday and he felt the gnawing of hunger. He opened the doctor's fridge and found some left over pasta that the doctor had likely intended to eat himself. 47 reheated it in the microwave and sat at the kitchen table.
After his meal, 47 washed his plate and cutlery and placed them in the dishrack to dry. He was nothing if not neat and efficient. With his plan of attack worked out and a number of hours left before he would need sleep, 47 decided to use the downtime to clean his weapons. He could never be sure when they might be needed and wanted them to operate at peak efficiency.
As the afternoon wound down towards dusk, 47 checked on the doctor. He decided to give him another small dose of the sedative. It would be most inconvenient for him to wake up in the middle of the night and alert the gendarmarie. He also found the doctor's appointment book and saw that he had another appointment with Schwazmann tomorrow morning at eight am. Excellent.
Afterwards, 47 removed his shoes, placed them by the couch and slept the untroubled, dreamless sleep of a man who is sure of his purpose and unassailed by doubt.
As dawn rose the next morning, 47's eyes opened and he sat up on the couch. His neck and back were stiff from his night on the couch but a hot shower would soon remedy that. He padded back to the doctor's room in his sock feet and observed the man still completely oblivious to everything. 47 smiled and nodded. Twenty minutes later he was dressed, the doctor's white coat over his clothes. 47 picked up the bag of medical supplies and slipped out the back door. This early in the day, the only people around were deliverymen and the owners of market stalls setting up for another day's trade. 47 climbed easily over the fence and walked slowly back towards his target's residence.
As the hour of the appointment neared, 47 walked up to the front gates of Scwarzmann's large house. A man in a security guard's blue uniform stopped him.
"Gut Morgen," 47 said in perfect Austrian, "I am Dr Rieper," Rieper was pseudonym he had used in the past, "a colleague of Dr Weizmann. Unfortunately Dr Weizmann has suddenly taken ill and asked me to attend Herr Schwarzmann."
The guard asked him to wait a moment and crossed to the small guard building by the gate, no doubt to check with his superiors, 47 thought. Soon he returned and opened the gate.
"I am afraid I must search you, Herr Doktor Rieper," the guard said.
"Of course, I understand."
The guard quickly and expertly patted down 47 and checked the inside of the bag. All looked in order and he allowed 47 to enter.
At the front door, 47 knocked and was allowed inside. A maid offered to show him to Herr Schwarzmann's room and 47 accepted. It would save him having to skulk around the house dodging guards and staff looking for his target.
The maid quietly opened the door to Schwarzmann's bedroom and left just as quietly, leaving 'Doktor Rieper' and his patient alone.
Herr Schwarzmann was either sleeping or comatose. His chest rose and fell in fits and starts as his breath wheezed and rattled in his chest. There was a smell of impending death about the man. 47 quickly opened the medical bag, removed the syringe and filled it with the toxin. He crossed quietly to the man in the bed who, perhaps sensing the presence next to him, opened his eyes. The eyes were yellowed and unfocused.
Schwarzmann opened his mouth to speak but before he could, 47 slid the needle into a vein prominent under the man's thin skin. A few seconds later, Schwarzmann's eyes half closed and his chest stilled.
47 carefully replaced the syringe and vial in the bag. It was time to leave.