A Simple Mission
Janet peered around the edge of her open newspaper, scrutinising the dark Italian's handsome features in the way she'd become so accustomed. Every physical detail, captured and committed to memory, every nuance of expression understood and retained for later use. He's bloody gorgeous, she mused, and Molly said he's a real stallion - lucky bitch. ¬ The Agency's rules stipulated no personal involvement with any mark unless contact is authorised prior to the assignment's commencement. For a moment she considered herself in another place, another time, and smiled. The image of a darkened room, shared tenderness and the inevitable release triggered an intense, sexual response deep inside her belly, slowly spreading down her legs into her feet. Her toes curled upwards inside her black Gucci shoes as she yanked her thoughts back to reality. Jesus, it had been a while. Just then, the Italian rose from his seat, put on his Armani leather jacket and reached up to retrieve a black attaché case from the luggage compartment. Janet knew she'd have to act fast. "Excuse me, sir?" "Yes?" His taciturn response was cold, businesslike. Christ, this is going to be difficult. "Sorry for disturbing you," she said, appearing embarrassed. His indifference told her to get on with it. "How many stops is it until we reach the Vatican?" "Two more stops," he grunted. "Thank-you. Thank-you, so much." She wore her best pitiful-tourist face, and smiled at her prey. "You're English," observed the man. "Yes, from Cambridge," she answered, "just doing a bit of sightseeing before I head home tomorrow." "You're alone?" enquired the man. "My husband's working here in Rome, so we spend the weeks here, and the weekends back in England." "So you need a guide for the afternoon?" His complexion relaxed somewhat allowing a faint smile to tickle the edge of his mouth. Janet felt his gaze wander the entire length of her body, sensing his mental undress, and lustful caress of her flesh, but this well-trained man betrayed nothing in his professional manner. She felt icy fingers claw her back, and the guilt overwhelmed her thought for a moment. "Are you alright, Madame?" "Fine," Janet said, "and thanks for the offer, but I'm ok on my own, really." "Fine, no problem. Just make sure to get some nice pictures for your husband." He sat back down, resting the black attaché case on the table in front and promptly resumed his previous mien as an impartially, complacent commuter. When the train pulled in at the platform, the Italian arose and smiled at Janet. "My stop too," he said. "Can I at least make sure you leave the station in the right direction?" "Yes, of course." They walked from the station together, handing in their tickets to the inspector, looking like old friends, or lovers. "Are you going my way?" Janet enquired. "I actually work in the palace. I'm seeing Cardinal Ricoh this afternoon, and I thought I'd get here early to compose myself. But the promise of spending time with a beautiful woman like you seemed the better option." Here goes, Janet thought. "Well, I suppose it wouldn’t hurt, just for an hour or so." "Great, do you want to grab a coffee and make a plan? I know a lovely little café in the square." The two strangers walked quietly down the cobbled pavement, side-by-side until they reached a junction. The Italian stopped briefly, looking left then right before crossing the street and turning a sharp left into a deserted alleyway. "A shortcut," he called. Janet noticed how powerful and athletic this man was, she was having trouble keeping up with his sudden increase in pace. He must have been a bloody good lay, she thought. Bloody Molly, wait till I get back tomorrow. He'd walked about forty paces in front when she spoke. Without thinking she called, "Vittore, wait, you're going too fast for me." As soon as she'd spoken, Vittore Hipolitti, stopped and spun round to face her. His face was now sullen, cast deep in shadow from the surrounding buildings. "How the fuck do you know my name? We haven't introduced ourselves yet." Janet froze. Oh shit, she cursed. She'd blown it - just when she'd been doing so well. Reaching inside her bag, she felt the cold comforting steel of her trusty Glock. She'd used this weapon many times before, considering it the weapon of choice for any modern female assassin. In her hotel room, she had meticulously cleaned and polished it, fully loading the clip with 17, NATO spec'd, 124-grain bullets. 'Hosing down the target' is what she called it; and that is exactly what the Glock 18 was capable of. With her thumb, she deftly flicked the firing mode switch to fully automatic and pulled the handgun from her bag. "You fucking bitch," screamed the Italian, pulling from his jacket the biggest Beretta hand-cannon Janet had ever seen. Shit, didn't see that one coming, did you girl, she said scornfully. She didn’t normally slip up, not in this way. It must have been his cute butt. In a flash, Vittore Hipolitti raised his weapon and fired. Boom! It sounded like a bomb had gone off. Using all her strength she launched her bag towards Vittore. It was now considerably lighter than it had been, but the little present inside would be sure to make it carry the distance. Then she felt sudden pain, searing through her left shoulder. The bastard had shot her. Damn it, she thought, this complicates things. "I'll fucking kill you, you little whore," shouted the big Italian, now beginning to walk towards her. She dropped the gun to the ground and looked mournfully across the cobbles towards him. She though he looked slightly smug beneath his mask of rage. She gripped a small, round metallic ring tightly in her right hand as she screwed her eyes as tightly shut as possible. Then it happened. One hundred and forty five decibels of pure explosive noise ricocheted around the alleyway as the flash bang lit up like a roman candle. Janet was deafened from the explosion, but she knew it would pass, but at least she could see. She cracked opened her eyes, looking in the direction of where Vittore had been. And there he was, staggering along, stunned by the loss of his two favourite senses. He shot blindly in the direction he thought Janet would be, but he was disoriented and confused. Janet rose from her kneeling position and lifted her Glock from the cobbles. In the distance she though she could hear a siren. The cops would be here any minute. Time to finish the job. She levelled the machine pistol at Vittore's head and pulled the trigger. She felt the cold gunmetal grip buck in her hand as it started pushing back at her with inordinate force. She held her ground as the gun ejected a stream of brass cases up and over her right shoulder, then the whole bloody business was complete in less than a second. Vittore's body lay face down in the street, torn to shreds by the ravaging fusillade of bullets that had streamed from Janet's Glock. When the police arrived two minutes later, to their horror, they found the devastated body of Vittore Hipolitti, Cardinal Ricoh's political adviser. Renowned for his humanitarian work in both the middle-east and Kosovo, he'd worked alongside many of the Papal father's distinguished emissaries. In her hotel room Janet winced. Her shoulder hurt like hell. She looked at the computer screen, waiting for the modem to connect her to London. A young woman's face appeared smiling on the screen. "Done it?" "Yip." "You ok?" "My shoulders mangled, but I'm ok." "I wouldn’t like to see the other guy." "You're right, you wouldn't," Janet said, smiling. "Get me out of here, Molly, I need a holiday." "On behalf of the Secret Intelligence Service, Janet, I thank you." Molly grinned then saluted." "See you in a few day's, Major."