His name is Viktor Kurienkov. Loving husband...devoted family man...prominent businessman.
For the last two days he has been engaged in negotiations with UnitedFutures Incorporated concerning the acquisition of a small oil production plant that his company – Kurienkov Holdings – owned which had control of the primary distribution line that ran from the Caspian Sea, through the Ukraine and up into Germany.
UnitedFutures had made him a very good offer – rather too good in her opinion – however it had failed to inspire him to sell.
His name is Viktor Kurienkov...and now he is her target
Encased in darkness, she watches from a small clump of bushes. Her eyes peer through the scope of the rifle and she sees the world in a sickly green hue. As she becomes one with the shadows, her vision takes in the sight before her. She watches as the overweight and balding Kurienkov tucks his nine-year-old daughter Irina into her bed in her room in the rented accommodation. Her intelligence had been accurate – he never travelled anywhere without her since the death of his wife four years ago. She smiled to herself.
The door to the rented cabin opened. Her scope swung across and she watched as one of his four "assistants" – hired thugs would be her term for them – stepped outside, swinging a torch around.
"There's nothing out here," He said in Russian, her educated mind translating the words a fraction of a second after they were spoke. "It must have been..."
The bullet from her rifle struck him perfectly – centrally in the forehead, just above his eyes. She was already moving as he stumbled backwards and fell to the floor, blood trickling from the wound. Discarding the rifle, her body sheathed in a dark, seamless, form-fitting suit, she ran swiftly across to the cabin.
Inside the power was suddenly cut, plunging the interior into darkness. The sounds of confused voices were like music to her ears as she slipped in through an open window – a window she knew had a faulty latch when she had booked it for the Kurienkov party. With her face covered with a thin black balaclava, she was almost invisible – except for the thin green sheen that covered her eyes.
The ultra-slim night vision goggles were woven into the fabric of the clothing – and it enabled her to see as clear as day inside the pitch-black room. There were four figures in the room – and the one closest to her entrance was first. She slipped in behind him with the silence and grace of a stalking cat. In a flash her left hand was positioned over his mouth, her right cradled the back of his head.
His body went rigid against the overwhelming force she exerted against it and without even really trying, she twisted his head, pushing down with her right hand and left with her other in a savage jerking motion. His vertebrae snapped with a rolling crunching noise, and she allowed his body to fall to the floor. Her eyes took account of the other occupants of the room – two of them reacting to the sound of the body hitting the floor, looking in the general direction of the now open window.
At that point, she became a symphony of violence in the narrow space. She covered the distance between them in a matter of seconds. Her right foot snapped out before her, the slick booted surface smashed into the jaw of the man on her right, exploding with force against his jawbone. He staggered backward, hands to his face.
His partner turned and raised his sidearm, a 9mm handgun. She turned to face him, and smashed a hard right fist into his face. His head snapped backwards on his neck as if it would come off, but miraculously he remained conscious. Her left hand snapped down on his, snatching the pistol out of it with a strength her slim frame belied. She then drove the heel of her palm into the middle of his face, shattering his nose and driving shards of bone on a lethal trajectory. She was rewarded with a dull thud as her foe fell backwards, lifeless.
She caught a glimpse of the fourth figure in the room scrambling away towards the stairs. Refocusing her attention on the other guard, she took aim with the pistol she had liberated moments ago from his now dead colleague. Two quick gunshots rang out, acting as a short pause at the end of a crescendo to signify the end of her devastating ballet.
As Viktor scrambled up the stairs, half running, half crawling up the wooden structure, the cacophony of sounds from the ground floor ceased. Fumbling with the torch in his fat fingers, he finally managed to switch it on. Spinning the small ball of light around him, he searched for the one door that he was looking for. Time seemed to slow down for him – in his confusion he was struggling to process his surroundings accurately. Eventually locating it, he stumbled forward, the cool metal of the door handle feeling strange to his sweat-soaked palm.
The torchlight flew around the room – illuminating a tear-strewn face as a pair of bloodshot blue eyes stared back at him. As he mumbled something, he noticed that the artificial beam of light was reflecting off a sharp blade being held tightly against his daughter's throat. Viktor felt like someone had reached into his body and crushed his heart.
"If you value the life of your daughter you will do exactly as I tell you." The voice was calm, feminine and in near-flawless Russian. Viktor held his breath for a moment. How had she gotten here before him? The soft breeze from another open window told him all he needed to know.
"Don't cry Irina...everything will be fine..." he tried to look at his daughter, yet couldn't tear his eyes away from the blade.
"Your father is right Irina," The figure shrouded in the darkness said. "No one else needs to get hurt tonight provided he does what I say." There was a long pause – Viktor could feel the sweat running down the back of his neck. "Now, on the table there is a document." Viktor looked across, swinging the torch over to the table and seeing a pile of papers. He then looked back in the direction of his daughter. "Sign it and place it in the envelope provided. Once you have done that, slide it across the floor to me."
Viktor hesitated for a moment, alternating his view between the paperwork on the table and his daughter. He took a half step towards the documents and then moved back, closer to the bed. Irina screamed, as the blade was pressed tighter against her throat, straining the skin to breaking point. "Unless you wish to watch your daughter die right now, I suggest you do what I ask!" The woman in black barked at Viktor over sounds of the screaming girl.
Viktor stumbled as he turned to the table. His hand shook as he grasped the pen, signing his name next to an ominous red X next to his typed name. Picking the papers up, he struggled to insert them into the envelope without creasing them. Once they were inside he slid them across the floor – where they came to a halt next to a dark boot. A hand swooped down and picked them up before he heard Irina scream once more. The torchlight swept across the bed – where he saw his daughter huddled at the foot of it, sobbing.
Wrapping her up in his arms, Viktor watched the shadowy figure begin to exit out of the first floor window.
"I...I know...who you are..." Viktor's voice was broken. The figure halted her exit and appeared to twist her head, looking straight at him.
"Good," She said. "Then you understand that we can get to you whenever we wish if you fail to honour this contract." Viktor watched her vanish into the night as he felt the cool sting of tears running down his own cheeks as he held onto Irina as if his life depended on it.
UnitedFutures European Headquarters
The transfer from the private airfield just north of the city to the gleaming steel and glass monolith located in the heart of the city had taken less than an hour. As she stepped out of the vehicle and approached the imposing structure, Eva Lake cut an impressive figure.
A statuesque blonde with an athletic figure, Eva knew that she turned heads. However, her outward appearance belied the complete dedication she had to her employer and her devotion to being the best at her job. Entering the building using a pass card and making her way to the exclusive executive elevator, she passed only cursory pleasantries with those colleagues who greeted her.
As she stepped out of the elevator and walked to one of the offices on the top floor, she paused for a moment, checking her appearance in the reflection of the glass. Opening the door, Eva stepped inside.
"Good morning Mr Edwards," She said, addressing the head of UnitedFutures' Mergers and Acquisitions Division. The chair behind the desk swung around – a severe looking man in his early forties looked at her with anticipation in his eyes.
"Miss Lake," He replied. "I trust that there were no problems getting the Kurienkov contract signed?"
"No problem at all. The negotiations went exactly as I planned." Her matter-of-fact reply was what he had expected. He watched as she placed the briefcase down on his desk, opened it and removed the envelope from within. "Congratulations on your promotion to the Board." Eva added as Edwards opened the envelope and pawed through the contract.
"Thank you Miss Lake," he said, his eyes gleaming. "This is the icing on the cake." He stood up from behind the desk and picked up his jacket.
"Can I just say thank you for the opportunity to work as your assistant," Eva said as he opened his draw and removed a small box. "I've learned a lot from our time together."
"Eva, if only all the assistants in this company were as...thorough and efficient as you are." Edwards handed the box to her. "Consider this a small token of my appreciation of your services." Eva opened the box – the diamond necklace within sparkled despite the artificial nature of the light illuminating it.
"Thank you Mr Edwards," Eva said, closing the box and placing it in her pocket. "However, service to the company is reward enough in itself."
"Indeed it is," Edwards said as he left the room. "I hope my replacement realizes what an asset he is getting with you as his assistant." Eva nodded as the door closed, allowing herself to wonder for a moment what the new occupant of the post would be like.
Hopefully he has better dress sense, Eva thought as she turned her mind to what restaurant she would eat at tonight.