CHAPTER 1: Early Reconnaissance
The ice cold wind blew through Smythe’s hair as he clung to the rope ladder being lowered from the side door of the helicopter. He squinted as he recognized the building that they were approaching: the Russian Embassy. The helicopter slowed as it flew closer to the back side of the building, barely visible through the thick night fog that blanketed the city. Smythe’s pulse pounded and blood rushed to his head, he craved thrilling moments such as this.
“We only have one shot at this!” the man in the sunglasses yelled from the side door barely audible over the beating rotor blades, “we’re gonna swing in towards the rooftop, fly as low as possible, you’ll have to jump and roll, there’s no time to stop!”
Smythe nodded up towards the man and took one final breath as he hung from the rope ladder. The wind was picking up and began to blow the ladder violently as Smythe held his grip. The helicopter swooped in faster than Smythe had anticipated and before he knew it the embassy roof raced into clear view.
“Damn!” Smythe shouted as his eyes caught sight of two security guards patrolling the embassy rooftop, both immediately alerted to his presence. Before either of them could react to the incoming helicopter, instinct struck through him like lightning. In one swift and precise move he whipped out his silenced handgun and first took out the guard to his left, and then the guard to his right a heartbeat later. As the embassy rooftop raced below his feet he knew he only had a split second to land. At the last possible second Smythe released his grip from the rope, tumbled towards the roof and rolled as soon as he hit the concrete to reduce the pain.
He quickly got to his feet, checking the bodies of the doomed security guards. Both were dead, one with a chest wound and the other a victim of a deadly headshot. Searching both bodies Smythe found nothing of importance, not even a keycard.
“Useless,” he whispered under his breath. He crept over to a large ventilation shaft protruding from the rooftop, kneeled down and leaned his back against it. “Echo One,” Smythe spoke as he tapped a device in his inner ear, “This is Agent Smythe. Embassy drop complete. I’ve made first contact. Proceeding to enter ventilation system, over.” As he spoke his breath froze into an icy mist before his eyes. Smythe turned towards the shaft and pulled out one of the gadgets he’d chosen earlier on the helicopter: a laser cutter. As he held the button on the handle of the small rectangular device a bright red laser began cutting through the perimeter of the shaft cover. Soon enough the cover dropped to the ground. But before Smythe could climb down into the ventilation shaft he felt a small vibration in his earpiece which signalled an incoming call from Echo One.
“Good-luck Agent Smythe.”
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