Downtime



 

Contrary to rumors around the ICA, Agent 47 did not work year round. Sometimes he worked two to three missions in a row, sometimes he only worked two to three missions in a year. Being six-two, bald, and broad-shouldered, with a barcode tattooed on the back of his skull, he looked like a bouncer at the best of times, a thug at the worst. He fit a certain niche at the ICA, one that didn’t suit every mission. As a result, he had a lot of downtime.

Most people would use their time off to relax, take a vacation. Currently, Agent 47 was enrolled in a computer administration class in San Francisco, California. He was neither the oldest, nor the youngest in the class. Hacking into computers was area of expertise he did not possess. He could turn on, locate, and copy files onto a thumb drive while physically in front of a computer, but entering one without having the password or remotely was beyond his capabilities.

Agent 47 grew up in a Romanian asylum, trained from youth to become an assassin. He’d learned firearms, marksmanship, unarmed combat, military hardware, disguises, lock-picking, poisoning, explosives, and other tools of the assassin trade. He’d learned how to enter and exit buildings unseen, and how to blend in with crowds.

However, over the years, Agent 47 had found that disguises alone no longer cut it. Cameras and security advanced to the point that he needed to know the job he was pretending to have in order to pass scrutiny. And so he began learning new skills, studying and practicing with the same intensity he put into his work, until he felt he’d achieved an expert level. Yoga, bartending, culinary skills. Ballroom dancing, massage, commercial truck driving. Professional level drumming.

The last had come about when he’d noticed that no one paid attention to the house band at functions. He chose the drums because that person sat at the back of the band for the most part. Session drummers were on call to fill in, in case of illness. He could pretend to be a friend of the ‘sick’ drummer, or a friend of the absent manager, or even brought in by the event itself. His physical appearance was not out of place, especially hidden by a drum kit. He’d used that particular skill set and disguise quite often over the years.

Day to day, in between assignments, he worked out, including free-climbing, long-distance running, swimming, and yoga, and kept up his marksmanship at the range. He read the newspaper to keep abreast of current events and sports, in order to make small talk on missions if he was called into play. He practiced his bartending and culinary arts by making elaborate dinners for himself nightly. Occasionally, he would sit outdoors on the balcony of whatever safe house he was currently residing in and read a classic novel or similar scholarly works, to brush up on his literary knowledge for the intellectual crowds.

For the next few months, barring missions, his weeks would be filled up with the computer administration class and related studies. This particular class would teach him how to enter a password protected computer – a skill he could really utilize – along with navigating the background programs. From there, he would build his expertise outside of the classroom, by reading manuals and watching online videos. If necessary, he would enroll in additional classes at a higher level, to refine or enhance what he’d learned on his own.

The world of assassination was an ever-evolving profession, and Agent 47 knew the key to staying on top: there was no such thing as downtime.

 

End