The Engelhardt Encounters
Prologue: Rough Night
4:40 am, Hong Kong; 16 February, 2013...
The night was dark and the air thick over the city. At this time of night, most of the city's residents were asleep.
Except for the man who was running along the rooftops, leaping the narrower gaps between buildings with ease, only one thing on his mind.
He did not live in this city. For that matter, he did not even live on this continent. He knew this city hardly at all, except for the small part he had reconnitored in order to complete his assignment. He knew just enough to see him through to the end of his mission and nothing else.
He knew that if he was caught on this mission, that if he was seen, recognition would be a sure thing. He did not even have the looks to blend into the native population, with his blonde hair and distinctly European features, and he did not speak a word of the native language. This is why he was traveling by way of the rooftops: to avoid detection and therefore avoid falling into the hands of the police. He was quite certain that the Hong Kong police would not look favorably on the idea of a foreign assassin in their city.
Leaping over a particularly perilous gap to the next rooftop, he reflected on how his life had come to this. How he had gone from a relatively stable career as a heavyweight boxer, to someone that took lives for money. How he had gone from that, to a career he despised.
These reflections were cut short when he looked down and realized he'd arrived at his destination.
Here, he hesitated. This was the part of the job he always dreaded, his main reason for his hatred of his occupation. He detested the idea of taking a human life. Even if, in this case and every other case, the people he was tasked to eliminate were the world's most dangerous. Those who were literally too dangerous to be left alive.
Even keeping this in mind, it never made it easier on him when it was time to pull the trigger.
Silently, he made his way to street level, his footsteps on the building's fire escape all but imperceptible. Checking his gun, a black Walther P22 that he had picked up shortly after starting in this occupation, to make sure that it was loaded, he caught sight of his target standing in the doorway of the building across the street.
His target, and the bodyguard that loomed large beside him, an automatic rifle clutched in one arm.
That was just typical, he couldn't help but think. Of course the man would have a bodyguard. Not that this posed any undue trouble, but he didn't want to have to kill anyone else if he didn't have to...
He took a step forward just as the bodyguard looked in his direction. Even with his concealment in the shadows, there was no doubt that he'd been seen.
There was no more time to hesitate. Without making a sound, he ducked behind a nearby car and took aim at the big man, hoping he could do this in only one shot.
Before he could pull the trigger, however, the sound of automatic fire from the guard's weapon split the night, and the man heard the sound of shattering glass as the bodyguard blew out the windows of the vehicle. He remained crouched down, and he did not move until he heard the unmistakable click of the magazine, indicating that the bodyguard had just run out of things to fire.
This was what he had been waiting for. He got to his feet, took aim and fired. His shot hit the bodyguard square in the middle of his forehead, and the automatic rifle fell from lifeless hands as the body of the guard hit the ground.
It was then that his true target turned towards him, terrified, and bolted down the street.
He did not get far. Another shot fired, and he fell to the ground, face first.
The assassin leaned against the wall of the building and took a moment to lean against the wall and try to calm his nerves. His heart was pounding and his hands were starting to shake. He knew the full weight of what he had done would hit him later.
Right now, though, he knew he had to get out of here. He could already hear the commotion of people awakened by the gunfire and the sirens already starting towards the area.
By the time the police arrived on scene, he was gone, the two dead men the only evidence he had ever been there at all.