Firing The Torpedo

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The stenches felt overwhelming, even to him, who smells blood almost each and every single day. It was his blood, though. Maybe that was the distinction needed to be made to feel revolted. Tied to a chair, hurt and bruised, his mind was wandering. A predicament not the best for his current position, especially as his target was in the same building as him. But how to get out? His tools nowhere to be seen, armed just with his own bare hands?…

He closed his eyes briefly as a drop of sweat fell from his forehead. The pain was great, but he’s been in worse. His feelings were the culprit here. The lack of power he felt over his current situation. The frustration and lack of immediate solution. He took a deep breath once again and did a brief analysis.

The room was small and quite empty. There were only a few barrels in the corner but they were of no use even if he managed to somehow make his way to them. The door handle was one of those annoying ball ones, meaning there was no good ways other than the intended one to open it. The walls were splattered with drops of dark blood and various bodily fluids, after his head was hit against them. His own white shirt was wet from those as well. It felt uncomfortably sticky in front, and very itchy in the back, after a knife quickly entered and exited the area right below one of his ribs.

Suddenly, he felt very ill. The adrenaline was slowly lifting from his body and all that was left was the burning pain of his back and the throbbing sensation of his forehead. His neck was sore in places where his tie was sitting. He was quite a skinny man for his age but his weight was still enough to slice the fabric into his skin once the aggressor grabbed the other end of the tie and lifted him.

There were also scratches and cuts on his wrists and hands. After a few failed attempts at escaping the plastic cable ties, he felt blood dripping and mixing with sweat. Pain and trauma caused a fever and over the course of barely a few minutes, he was exhausted. The feeling of powerlessness certainly didn’t help it, either.

And then, he heard a loud bang. And then another. Three bangs coming from the corridor neighboring the room he was in. The gap underneath the door revealed a spillage of dark red liquid as it crawled onto the tiled flooring. Then, the door sprung open and a man wearing an olive drab uniform appeared. In addition, there was a hat on his head and the shadows it was casting hid the man’s facial features. His heavy black military boots stood in a pool of blood which, from what could be seen, originated from someone’s skull. The man in the uniform took a couple of steps, his soles leaving bloody imprints on the floor. His hand, covered by a black leather glove, shut the door behind him.

A few more steps and he was now by the chair. The man tied to it tried to look up but his neck interrupted the movement with a sharp pain. Who was this mysterious man and why did he kill people who were guarding the interrogation room? Was he here to save him? Was he sent by the Agency? Who was he?

The man went around and then behind him. He unsheathed something that sounded like a blade and definitely didn’t instill hope. Thus, cold chills went through the hot and sore back of the one who was tied to a chair before he realized his hands were suddenly free.

They still hurt, they were bloody and scratched. But they were free. He waved them around a bit to regain the feelings. His mind was racing but he didn’t want to show it.

“Returning the favor,” a voice sounded. It felt familiar but not exactly clear. Realizing that he was weaponless and the other man had a blade, the decision ended up being to stay calm and silent.

“47,” he heard. “Buddy, are you okay?”

He turned his head so quickly, he felt a painful pinch. Looking from below, the hat’s shadows were no longer covering the man’s features, and the one called “47” could now make out a big nose, square-shaped face, and maybe a bit overgrown ginger hair coming from underneath the headgear.

“You?” he grunted, genuinely surprised.

“Didn’t expect me, eh?”

“Can’t say I did,” 47 agreed.

“Well, I’m getting you out of here. Whether you like it or not.”

The second sentence was added after a short period of silence, meaning it was triggered by 47’s behavior. This awkward, wordless demeanor was almost too still, if this could even be said in regards to this man.

47 also noticed something was off. He was extremely grateful for helping him in this predicament before it could get any worse but he couldn’t go through with saying it aloud. There was a barrier stopping him from expressing his feelings in such a way, but then again – maybe something should be said once a man saves you from what might have been a certain death? He cautiously stood up and the ginger-haired man jumped to shake his hand. It surprised 47 so much he was left dumbfounded as his bloodied wrist was going up and down repeatedly.

“It’s nice to see you, man! Really! So happy I could finally return the favor!”

“You did me a solid, Smith,” 47 muttered.

“Oh yes, I have,” the ginger-haired man replied with a wink.

“Is there anything I could do?”

“Start by pulling your pants down.”

A strange request for sure, and the confusion was now thick in the air. “What do you mean?” felt like a wrong type of a reply, after all the message was quite clear. Thankfully, Smith was the one to open his mouth before 47 even could.

“If it makes you feel better, I can drop mine first.”

He was still holding the blade in his hand, and 47 could now see that it was a short and very sharp kitchen knife. Its tip cut the belt of the olive drab uniform, and Smith’s pants dropped to the floor revealing his red and white boxers.

“I have a new pair of undergarments,” he announced. “I’m being loyal to my favorite sports team, you see.”

Upon closer inspection, the elastic band of the boxers was decorated with three letters which 47 couldn’t quite make out. He was staring at them long enough for Smith to notice it, however.

“Wanna see it up close?” he offered.

“I think I’ll pass…” 47 replied. He was hesitant to come into physical contact with this man anyways and yet their hands were still touching in a more and more intimate handshake. Not only that, his arm was suddenly pulled towards Smith and he found himself in his embrace. He froze in confusion.

For the first time in his entire life, he was so close to another man in a way very different from violence. He felt warmth coming from Smith’s body and the stench of sweat under the uniform.

“I was waiting for this moment,” Smith said. “And I want to make it last as long as I possibly can.”

His hands quickly untied 47’s tie and wrapped it around his own wrist. Then, his fingers started unbuttoning the bloodied shirt. 47 wasn’t sure how to react and it took him a few seconds to regain his composure.

“Stop that,” he ordered. But Smith didn’t comply, going further and further down his shirt. “Stop it.”

“Maybe freeing you wasn’t such a good idea after all…”

He pushed him away. The movement was so sudden, 47 stumbled and fell back on the chair. Smith approached him once again and grabbed him by the arms. 47 was shocked by this series of events. Soon enough, he was bound to this position once more as his hands were tied by his own red and gold tie. The ginger-haired man circled around him letting out an upbeat humming sound. He was more than happy to have tamed the world’s best assassin now entirely left to his disposal.

47 could now very clearly see the letters on Smith’s boxers. FCK standing for FC Kopenhagen. Considering how patriotic towards his home country the man usually was, this was a peculiar change.

“What do you plan on doing?” the assassin asked cautiously. He wasn’t sure anymore if Smith was really here to help him. Maybe he double crossed him? Maybe 47 let his guard down too quickly?

“Something I wanted to do for a long time now,” Smith replied. “You know how Diana always tells you to keep it clean? I’ll try to keep this in mind.”

His fingers returned to the task of unbuttoning 47’s shirt. Once that was done, he was also freed from his belt and the buttons and the zipper of his black pants. They slid down his legs. Now, both men were in their boxers, albeit still fairly clothed otherwise. But the movements did not stop there as Smith’s fingers went down under his boxers and removed them, revealing a long erect penis and a bush of fiery ginger-colored pubic hair.

47 gasped.

There was nobody to help him now. No Agency, no Diana. In his head, he was begging for this to be just a terrible nightmare. One sprung to his mind by the fever as he was still sitting in this very chair, hurt and bleeding. But it wasn’t meant to be…

“I was waiting for this moment,” Smith repeated in a hushed voice. “I love you.”

Their bodies met once again, yet this time it was with their lips. Smith slightly gaped open his and tried to force his tongue into 47’s mouth but the reaction wasn’t what he was expecting. The assassin’s knee knocked him away. The ginger-haired man tried again, rushing at 47, embracing his bald head and joining him in a passionate kiss. His persistence was staggering and that’s why 47 dropped his guard.

A slimy hunk of meat found his way into his mouth, paired with Smith’s hums. The initial grossness turned into a warm and quite intriguing experience. A one 47 never had before and he had to admit, he was starting to get more and more into this.

The kiss stopped. The saliva of both men mixed together and its last drops were now stuck to 47’s lips.

“That was just our first step,” he heard. “Relax. We’re gonna get there. Slowly but steady. Now, let’s get you off this chair at last.”

Still tied with his own tie, 47 was pulled from the chair and dropped down the cold floor. He was now kneeling. Suddenly, a hand was rested on his sore back. He pressed it, getting the assassin into a proper position before removing his underwear.

“Fuck, I guess I’m not really that creative,” he muttered. “Okay, deep breaths now. It’s not gonna be long.”

47’s buttocks spread but before learning what was the thing not lasting long, they both heard a loud noise coming from the outside of the room. The adrenaline hit both men and the long, snake-like penis of the ginger-haired man approached 47’s anus. The noises were getting louder and louder, drowning out what’s been happening in the room. But as they were getting closer and the movements got faster, the men both realized what the noises were and the realization shocked them.

Smith pulled out and began to get dressed in panic. 47 was left on the floor. This time, they needed weapons to battle what was coming.

The noises were gunshots. They were distracted by pistols.

 

And if you couldn’t tell, yes, this was an April Fools joke.

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Part 7

HITMAN (or H6 as I’m used to calling it) does things differently. Very differently. In previous cases, we could simply go through the main story of each of the games and be fine with it. We could disregard anything that happened in the meantime, any lesser side stories told within the missions themselves. Here we could, arguably, still do that. It’s just that we would be missing most of what makes the game interesting. H6 takes pride in its environmental storytelling. Every mission is a separate story, which ultimately makes sense as every mission is a separate episode. They all link up in the end, however. They are all important in one way or another, so we do have to make sure to round up the side stories told during the missions themselves for it to make at least a tiny bit of sense. Keep in mind, there are tons of little details that don’t fit anywhere in the grander scale of things just yet. These may be random name drops or mentions of events that don’t link up to the overarching story. We will also be talking only about Season 1’s main episodes. No Elusive Targets, no Bonus Episodes, no Patient Zero. None of that business. Main story only. So let’s not dawdle anymore. If you’d come here to read my ramblings on the game itself, I’m sure you’d just click the HITMAN Opinion Pieces button instead.

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H6 throws most of Absolution out of the window – apparently it still happened but forget about the leftover plot holes, sequel baits and all of that other jazz. It’s irrelevant now. The main story takes place in 2019 and we start out in Paris. More precisely – Palais de Walewska – where there are some shady deals going on in the background of a prestigious fashion show. Viktor Novikov – originally a man of many talents, such as corporate espionage, arson, kidnapping and insurance fraud – bonds with Dalia Margolis to create IAGO – a spy ring using models as their cover agents. In addition, the duo blackmails a famous fashion designer to work with them and use it as a disguise to hold a secret auction. The goal is to exchange information, albeit not all is well in the World of Assassination.

Speaking of a world, the crowd consists of people from all around the globe. The invitations were sent out to folks like Prince Po or Sheik Salmon al-Ghazali. Generally people with power but not the best of intentions. That’s not very surprising as IAGO holds some impressive information. So impressive, in fact, that Viktor Novikov himself is sought out by a peculiar mysterious man who is willing to help him in exchange for the IAGO dossier. Help with what, you ask? Even though Novikov ran away from the past and settled to be protected by Margolis, he has more problems than he realizes. A case against him was set up by the FSB and the news was picked up by an editor for the “Showstopper” magazine. If that’s not enough, Dalia herself plots his assassination. Viktor agrees to give up the dossier to quietly get rid of some problematic people. Someone (whom I’m going to be calling Our Main Bad Guy from now on) is now in possession of truly powerful information…

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Our Main Bad Guy certainly looks unamused.

Other shady deals are definitely happening in the meantime. The MI6 themselves ask International Contract Agency to get rid of Viktor Novikov and Dalia Margolis, as they don’t want precious information leaking out to the world. Given the high security of Palais de Walewska (currently crawling with employees of a security company called CICADA), the task seems impossible at first. But not to Mr. 47 himself, who succeeds in eliminating both of his targets.

Our next stop is Italy and the ever beautiful tourist town of Sapienza. It’s not all as pretty as it looks on first glance, though, as beneath the great residence of the Carusos lies a secret underground lab. In it – a deadly virus is on its way, developed by a pharmaceutical corporation called Ether. Invisible and impossible to detect, the virus has potential. To add to the list of greatness, it can be encoded with its target’s DNA, spread across the globe and leave hosts unharmed until the DNA strikes a match. 47 is to eliminate Silvio Caruso – a stem cell researcher, the lead of the project and probably one of the best characterized targets in the entire series – and Francesca De Santis – a research scientist who’s working on the virus. The ICA also has an additional objective for our protagonist. Sneak into the lab and destroy the virus. Seems easy enough… It definitely is for the best assassin in the world. But what’s with up with Our Main Bad Guy?

One week after the hit, Ether is still wondering what happened at the lab. Our Main Bad Guy uses information ripped from IAGO’s hands to follow a certain fella (who we later learn is one of the “Heralds” – we will learn about them later) to an underground parking in Johannesburg. A few names are brought up: Cobb, Providence. Our Main Bad Guy achieves his goal, gets a key and then straight up kills its previous owner. Classy.

Across the world to Marrakesh where heavy riots currently take place! Claus Hugo Strandberg – the former CEO of Morocco’s private bank has been accused of investment fraud after a reporter revealed his criminal activities to the public. He’s currently residing in the Swedish Consulate after mercenaries freed him from transport. Involved in his escape and manipulating the entire situation is Reza Zaydan – a military general and author of fake propaganda. Their original plan was to evacuate Strandberg via an underground secret tunnel, which doesn’t mean much as he would be eliminated during his flight to Argentina. All of this orchestrated by who else but the mighty organization we’ve heard of before – Providence – whose Zaydan is a part of. Unfortunately for them, 47 gets to Strandberg first and kills him and the general, ruining the plans of them both.

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You tried so hard and got so far but in the end it doesn’t even matter.

In the meantime, it appears someone else was quite busy. Previously name dropped dude AKA Cobb was found dead and with it, a secret door was opened and the insides of some very important room were exposed! Apparently that’s what the key was for. Who knew?! Anyways, we now learn another name – Director Fanin – and that Providence is under attack. Who do we know it from? Some guy who doesn’t get a name for the entirety of Season 1 so we will call him a “stereotypical wannabe mysterious” syndrome dude. Yes, I need to give him some name, he will be important later…

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This image is information. On the wannabe mysterious syndrome dude guy’s face.

Oh hey, we’re now in Bangkok where Jordan Cross and his band are recording their next single. His father is a powerful figure who ends up dead a week later after being kidnapped during the funeral of his son… whoops! Spoilers! Jordan gets killed, too, albeit by Mr. 47 himself. Interestingly enough, his second target of the mission is Ken Morgan – an attorney not just to the Cross family but also a representative of such giants as Hamsun Oil, Kronstandt Technologies (we could hear about them back in Paris but there was no point in mentioning them) and Ether Corporation. After the hit, 47 and Diana meet up at the airport to talk about some secrets in public. The ICA found out that the shadow client (or Our Main Bad Guy) had his hands in their recent operations but no need to worry as the analysts are already on his tail. Damn, the Agency works fast!

And if you thought this piece is going pretty fast as well… Colorado is where a lot of information comes into play all at once. In fact, it was this mission which holds the most worldbuilding and attempts to tie everything we’ve just talked about. So hold on to your seats. This will be quite a ride.

The trails led the ICA to a remote farm in the USA. A one which, conveniently, is currently used as training grounds for a private militia. One of the people involved in said organization is Sean Rose – a radical activist and bombmaker, responsible for several terrorist attacks and Thomas Cross’ (Jordan’s father) kidnapping. That’s not the only thing the Agency analysts managed to find. They also came across traces of a 24-year-old hacker by the name of Olivia Hall, who is actively working with Our Main Bad Guy, as we can see during a later cutscene.

As the stakes get higher, so does the target count. Besides the aforementioned Sean Rose, 47 is also to eliminate Penelope Graves, Ezra Berg and Maya Parvati. You can totally forget about the last gal as she’s completely unimportant but the other folks show potential. For example, Penelope was brought up to the militia for being “best of the bests” but no one really knows if she really switched sides. After all, she used to lead a manhunt against Sean Rose before inexplicably joining him in his fight. In reality, she is working with the shadow client behind the scenes, asking difficult questions and trying to get close to Mr. Rose. She is familiar with IAGO, knows about Cobb’s death and met Olivia Hall herself before coming over to the farm.

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Sometimes the pieces write themselves!

But she isn’t the only one working with the shadow client! Ezra Berg is, too! In fact, he is holding a hostage. A man only referred to as “Herald”. From their little investigation, we deduce that Heralds are Providence messengers and key holders. Other terminology includes a “Constant” – the leader of the Heralds – and “Partners”. Apparently, Providence has their people on every IAGO auction to contain information they deem important. They stay in the shadows, don’t intervene, only coming out of hiding when absolutely necessary. Our Main Bad Guy’s role in all of this is to destroy them. He is working with a group of people to make this happen. He is the one behind the kidnapping of Thomas Cross, tracking and eliminating Cobb for his key and ransacking Providence’s vault. In addition to all of this, he uses the ICA to do his dirty work, stay anonymous and yet still have problematic people taken care of. What a sneaky guy! Just as sneaky as our man 47 who ends up killing all of the Colorado targets and getting access to a hidden room in one of the houses’ basement. The ICA now knows all of the previous hits were connected – the targets were all part of Providence. Also, they have a Providence mole right in the Board of Directors.

This is also the time to reveal another huge plot point. Our Main Bad Guy was eyeing 47 all along, going as far as to follow him to Colorado. He and Olivia Hall are exchanging observations throughout the phone call, and we learn the shadow client is actually one of 47’s “brothers” from back in Romania. Not just that, he and 47 were quite close during that time, and he claims he knows 47 “better than anyone”.

…what?

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Touching triggers, you mean.

Before moving on, let’s look at one more detail now that we know Cobb was one of the Heralds. Eugene Cobb was a bank director in New York and apparently quite a hot topic. He died in an airplane catastrophe and the black box has gone missing. This led to many assumptions, one of them being that his successor wanted him dead. What was the name of his successor, you ask? Fanin. Why is this important now? One of the targets in Hokkaido recommended him as Cobb’s successor. Who was that?

Yuki Yamazaki – a secret operative of Providence… in addition to being one of the best lawyers in Tokyo. She has ties with the yakuza – being their go-to attorney – and Masahiro Hayamoto (whom you might remember from Silent Assassin). There is another familiar name involved in all of this. Erich Soders. You see, our Prologue guy Soders ended up joining the ICA Board of Directors. But that wasn’t enough. He also became a mole for Providence as they offered him money to prolong his life. We learn that he suffers from a rare condition in which his internal organs are reversed. He now needs a heart transplant and, as you might imagine, right-sided heart donors are a tiny bit tough to come across. Providence arranged the best medical care by getting him all the way to Hokkaido, Japan, where a weird futuristic robot called KAI is going to perform the operation. To tie things up, it was built by Kronstadt Technologies. The company, as well as Ether are what is called a Partner to Providence. They are working on technologies not available worldwide which Providence wants to control and use for their limited purposes. They also want to get their hands on the Agency. Why? Multiple reasons, I assume. One of them of course being 47 and his connections with the shadow client. Speaking of the best guy the ICA has, he completes the hit on both Yuki and Soders and flees. In the meantime….

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Dun dun DUN! It’s the guy!

Remember the “stereotypical wannabe mysterious” syndrome dude? He’s back, too. He just “happens” to be on the same train as Diana Burnwood and he uses this opportunity to strike a deal with her. He offers her a job for his organization but she isn’t interested. After all, that would be making Soders’ mistake again. A mysterious photo brought by the wannabe mysterious dude might change her mind though.

Might?…

You’ll have to wait for Season 2 to find out!

 

A Classic Hit

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He looked at them. Bodies drenched in pools of blood. The red liquid was so thick, it looked almost as if they were floating on top.

Lifeless faces. Such an odd sight when you’re looking at your own. An eerie, cold feeling.

Clean, sterile environment pillaged with mutilated bodies. The odor of chemicals turned into an even fouler stench of corpses.

What a sight to behold.

He remained quiet. Not calm, mind you, but he wasn’t eager to exhibit his inner self. He stood silent as the last of the gurgling and yelping slowly faded and finally stopped. Only then, he put down the gun.

What was that feeling again? Anger? Hatred? Indifference? Coldness? Alienation? Woe?

For now it was confusion. Then it was dismay. Stepping through the blood pools, his feet crossing his own corpses’. Not one. Not two. But dozens. All with only a single detail to differentiate. And at the end there was Him. The self-proclaimed God Himself. Begging for his mercy.

47 was woken up by a soft voice whispering into his ear. Her distinct British accent brought a new feeling to the mixture. Comfort. Or, at least, some minuscule form of it.

“It’s time. He’ll be approaching from the west.”

He said nothing and yet she trusted he heard her loud and clear. She knew he’s not a talkative type. And she was okay with that. Nothing more infuriating than an agent babbling all the time. Waste of precious minutes. Too big of a risk. Their long term success was tied to their mutual trust. Both of them were aware of that fact.

He wasn’t happy about napping for so long but it was better to be rested than to sit here the whole night doing nothing. His sleep was shallow to begin with. Even the softest of sounds could wake him. Both a curse and a blessing, given his profession.

47 stood up, dusted off his jacket and fixed his red silk tie. Black leather gloves gave nice warmth to his hands in an otherwise chilly environment. An attic of an olden church wasn’t the coziest of bedrooms but it was a safe one. A wooden wobbly chair was his bedding this time. To his right, a small inconspicuous briefcase stood firmly on the stained floor. To his left a faint light was bouncing off a polished silver handgun. The appropriately nicknamed Silverballer gave 47 a sense of reassurance, staying awake whilst his owner was sleeping.

A quick glance at his wristwatch reaffirmed that it was, indeed, the time to strike. 47 put the weapon back into the holster and instead, grabbed the handle of the briefcase. Given its contents – it was fairly light and the briefcase itself didn’t add much weight due to the materials it was made out of. Costly little thing but useful. And he could afford hundreds if not thousands of them.

He looked out of the window, stared at the Marian column in front of Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. His female companion pointed out that the target will be arriving from the west – meaning from the back of the building he was in. This meant he had to travel further up to get a more convenient view on the situation. He had to climb the bell tower.

47 knew the basilica’s blueprints by heart. He just had to put this knowledge to the test. Entering the church last evening was easy. Perhaps too easy, even by his standards. Sneaking in and traversing the restricted areas during a highly populated mass was always a risk but he was skilled enough to judge how attentive people around him really are. He spent the night here. Falling in and out of sleep. Always looking behind his back even when his eyes were closed. And the Silverballer was there to aid in need. Churches felt more safe somehow. Even though, in reality, there was no difference.

He crossed the tiny and dirty attic, reached for the wobbly handle, still somehow staying inside of the rotting wooden door, and exited to a short corridor with a ladder leading up to the bell tower.

“You there, 47?” sounded a voice in his ear. She seemed uneasy. He looked around and whispered:

“What’s happening?”

Despite lowering his voice, it still echoed down the empty corridor.

“He arrived much earlier than we’ve anticipated. His car just left the Palazzo. He’ll be there in twenty three minutes. Can you make it?”

He had no choice but to make it and the situation looked likely as his feet were starting to climb the ladder. He wished he could just nod but alas, his female companion would not see the gesture. Thus, he let out a slight hum in return.

Getting up to the bell tower was a task simplified by how light his luggage was. A cold wind hit his bald head and he shivered as he lifted himself to the final steps of the ladder. The morning was chill. The sun still hasn’t given any proper warmth even though it was already making its way through the thick white clouds. The wind was a concern. But 47 knew how to work with it. Years of experience, childhood spent on intense training.

Anger. Indifference. Woe.

Went through his mind once again and immediately left, leaving only traces of confusion.

He closed his eyes for a second and took a deep breath calming himself down and feeling for the weather. He kneeled to put down the briefcase. His fingers swiftly entered a three-digit code and the locks burst open. Another of his deadly friends embraced in red velvet. 47 began to assemble it.

After a while, his black leather entwined hands were holding an almost meter-long rifle with a wooden frame and stock. A telescopic sight and a silencer were a must in bright daylight. 47 stood up. A cold wind blew in his face once again, his tie swirling in the breeze. A tower like this could be used in various ways. They were perfect for snipers but 47 also had experienced a couple of “accidental” falls. It was never a pretty sight. A human being turning into a twisting set of limbs once it hits the ground. A panicked face. It was better when they didn’t fall head first. A cracked skull couldn’t hold the bloodied mush anymore.

His mind was full of images like these. Not shocking. Not anymore and not to him. Unless the body was his own. The face was his…

Not much time left. None for contemplating the past. He still had to figure out the best spot to take the shot.

As if reading his mind, his female companion spoke up:

“I’m following him on the map, 47. You have approximately seven minutes left.”

Then the GPS proved handy after all…

The streets of Rome were lively. The sight helped him see paper cups of coffee in hands of many people heading to work on foot and bouncing heads of those spending their time behind the wheel listening to music. A large crowd was moving towards Piazza di Santa Maria Maggiore. Easily distinguished due to their bright yellow caps. Most of the group was short. Meaning children. Maybe a school field trip. He noticed a few hands raising to point out the face of the clock on the bell tower he was currently inside of. Could they see him though? They were hundreds of meters away…

Another thought came through his mind instead and accompanying it was a set of conflicting emotions.

A group of children. Looking just alike from this distance and a handful of adults giving directions. An ironic familiarity. There was no way they won’t see the events unfolding in the next five minutes. 47 knew exactly what those will be. A red Audi will enter the area. Park next to the Marian column. A brown-haired tall man with a scar across his brow will slowly exit the vehicle. He will be limping. An aftermath of a failed assassination years ago. A slip. The attacker was killed during the mission. The target left with a bullet in his thigh.

This piece of lead didn’t encumber his driving skills. And a vivid-colored car just appeared in the corner of 47’s view. Yellow caps, a light gray column, a bright red car. Soon met with a dark, almost brown shade of blood. A color so deep it looked black in the moonlight. 47 saw the image in his mind already. The children were about to see it. There was nothing he could do to avoid it.

Indifference. Alienation. Regret?

“He’s approaching the Piazza.”

He set up the rifle.

“I see him.”

The tour guide was carrying a leaflet. He stopped to make sure they were heading the correct way. They were. 47 knew it. And he wasn’t happy knowing there are going to be witnesses.

The Audi stopped by the column at exactly 9:42 AM. The radio stopped playing once the engine turned off. The driver took off his glasses, put them on the dashboard. Took a glance at his smartphone. Maybe curious of the time? His hand opened the door, and he exited the vehicle. A brown-haired man with a scar across his brow. Wearing a light blue shirt, gray pants and semi-formal shoes. He took a step. Limping slightly. Another step. Foot didn’t meet with the ground. He faltered. Then fell. A bloodied mush spilled on the window of the Audi. Red splattered on red. A lifeless body dropped next to the vehicle.

Soon enough, the shirt was drenched in thick blood. Yellow caps spread and began fleeing the area. The guide hopelessly trying to keep them close to each other. Panicked screams. Genuine fear. An eerie, cold feeling.

He remained quiet. Not calm, mind you. But what were those emotions again?…

A holy place desecrated by a disfigured dead man and his brains spilled next to the Marian column.

What a sight to behold.

47, 6 and their baffling adventures #2

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Poetic justice is, according to issue number two of Agent 47: Birth of the Hitman, “a fiction where the good succeed and the wicked are punished”, the poetic part being “how the punishment is delivered. You take a thing important to a man. And you beat him to death with it.” And even though 47 asks 6 if that’s a metaphor, it might as well be as that’s exactly how I feel after reading the second part of their adventures.

Last time, we concluded that A47:BotH (ugh) is neither logical, unique nor interesting. Issue no. 2 picks up where the first one left with 47 and 6 going on their globetrotting journey and Diana Burnwood being a girl with a tough life. This time, we also get to meet Savi – a completely over the top and not akin to the rest of the Hitman universe woman who takes the role of Diana’s mentor and a few targets who end up dead sooner than I can even turn the pages to write their names down. All of it in a neat little package bringing to mind the Hitman movies instead of the Hitman games. If you’re a fan of the franchise, this is probably enough for you to never bother with this tie-in ever again.

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White’s face when they have to express their opinion on the comic.

Unfortunately, as the Hitman Lore Expert, it is my duty to at least give these things a try. And as much as I attempt to not be prejudiced against it, this may end up happening for the rest of the comic. I began this journey with no expectations and even was pleasantly surprised when reading some of Chris Sebela’s previous work as research. Last month, my analysis of the first issue was surprisingly dry and void of obvious anger and despair – something a lot of you expected, as you’ve later expressed. It’s not that I wasn’t bothered by retcons and new ideas, so prominent that they almost felt forced. I was merely disappointed and tired of it happening. After all, how many times can you come to the same conclusion?

I had even less expectations towards issue number two, if that’s even possible. As I was reading it however, I found myself genuinely cowering and the return of “…what?” is now official. That’s the best explanation I can give and the best picture of my reactions I can draw. So let’s run through the twenty-or-so pages of content and see what brought White to the boiling point…

Since the story itself starts with Diana, let’s put her in the spotlight first. The poor girl continues her quest for revenge* with a lust to find her parents’ killers*. As said desire keeps being repeated on and on throughout the story, I genuinely await her getting a hold of a bat costume at some point in time, especially since Sevi mentions “there’s no reason [she] should look savage in the process”. Ending people’s lives in classy suits was already established by Mr. 47, thank you very much.

As is with all “great” mentors, she puts her through various tests with no proper warning*. This means Diana suddenly gets attacked* by a bunch of muscles stolen from 80’s beat ‘em up games and somehow magically knows how to handle a car at high speed without any previous experience behind the wheel. Besides coaching her, the black-haired woman also keeps referring to her per “little bird” which honestly makes me not only uncomfortable, as she appears significantly older than the teenager, but also bewildered. I hope this doesn’t mean anything more than just a quirk in her speech, albeit I wouldn’t be surprised about either of the options as she’s such a shallow character otherwise. There are a few lines indicating she has some sort of a background but it doesn’t get explained just yet and she immediately changes the topic in the next sentence.

Being her only hope*, Diana follows her lead, skips school (this means she has transformed into a troubled individual already!) and fires a whole array of diverse emotions towards a Blue Seed employee who she might end up either murdering or not as it sort of cliffhangers at this point. If I can point out one inspiration this story took from H6, it would be its incompetent practice of the ending mystery. Also, Blue Seed is the company behind Diana’s brother’s illness, if you don’t remember. I wouldn’t blame you. The name was dropped only a handful of times.

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I’d compare them to Hannibal and Will Graham, especially with the “curious to see what happens” thing but that would be a crime.

On the other side of the coin, we have 47 and 6. Their arc involves traveling the world and killing men. They go from Sweden to Pripyat as the text boxes attempt to give reasoning for massacring Soviet officers*. If Hitman was about being a silent assassin, I see more of that in Diana’s portion of the comic rather than 47’s. Every mission ends up being a bloodbath and not just by client’s request (as 6 states is the case in the Soviet Union) but because that’s what 47 considers proper. His understanding is that it somehow means freedom and just as his “brother”, I don’t get it either.

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No, it won’t.

On the subject of targets, I’m surprised and very disappointed that missions themselves take only a few pages. The whole meat of H6 were the stories hidden within each level. Assembling the target background out of puzzle pieces scattered in the game world was one of the most interesting parts of the entire game and one of the only I genuinely enjoyed. The developers took their time to leave breadcrumbs for the player to follow if they wanted to learn who 47’s targets are and it resulted in such amazing characters as Jasper Knight, Silvio Caruso or even Ezra Berg if he was fleshed out. Completely dropping that concept for a clichéd and shallow story is mindboggling for yours truly. It’s supposed to be a H6 tie-in after all, isn’t it?

In the meantime, we also get a tiny insight into the… Institute… and a typical morning. A nurse comes by, hands everyone a pill* and gets on her merry way. Not checking if the subjects actually take their medication. Even more-so, Ort-Meyer apparently trusts his children completely as 47 has a whole stash of the drug in his room’s drawer. You would think trained killers, each costing an unimaginable amount of money would be held on a tight leash, but no. They can walk out willy-nilly and aren’t controlled in the slightest. I guess Providence doesn’t care that much. Another perplexing concept is the fact that 6 somehow not only gets his hands on contracts from outside Ort-Meyer’s range of operations but also continues his plan to take the Institute down. …Which then gets completely shattered by 47’s idea of “freedom” and “fun”.

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It feels like it though…

And thus, we should somehow come to a conclusion for this obviously very tired-sounding piece. Yes, even I can see that this is me saying “please end this already” in 1,162 words and counting. With the announcement of the Hitman TV series, I – the Hitman Lore Expert – am honestly just done with watering down my beloved franchise and what made me love it in the first place – the lore and the story. The current state of it made me forget the reasons as to why I created such long writings on the original lore and why I was so passionate about getting the community into it, too. If the entire mystery of the Romanian facility can be explained with a simple pill, maybe the inspiration wasn’t drawn from Hitman but from Kane & Lynch instead, and maybe I will be willing to talk about my gripes with the concept if I ever decide I want to drag my feet through the four hour campaign of Dog Days ever again.

For now, though, I find A47:BotH (ugh) as shallow and uninspired as it can get and I fail to see how this very specific and niche product might be targeted towards the story-loving freaks of the Hitman community. You would think I’d be the prime audience for it but alas, that isn’t the case. There’s nothing poetic nor justified about it. Change the title, drop the names, sell it as its own story. Maybe once it can stop being compared to the already established beautifully mysterious original lore, it can at least be a fun mindless tale to read on the way to work.

*cliché

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…what?
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Different From The Best

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– Originally written in Polish, in 2011, translated in 2017 –

Doctor Kovacs’ shoes were making a distinct sound as he was walking across the impressively big hall. The room seemed colder than usual. The wooden floor, polished fifteen minutes ago by one of Kovacs’ pupils, was so shiny that a small boy could see the reflection of his bald head when he looked down.

The doctor was nervous. He reached the wall, turned on his heel, stared briefly at the double entrance door and began walking towards it. He didn’t know what to expect. Even though he and his colleague were working together for a long time now, he never managed to guess what goes on inside of his head. A textbook example of a mad scientist. Nothing would surprise Kovacs anymore. The scientist could even kill him right here and now and make all of these children watch the act. Honestly, that would not even be that unlikely the more Kovacs was thinking about it.

Beside him, inside the hall were twenty kids. They all stood neatly in line, at a perfectly measured distance from each other. This painted a quite unnerving image not only because they were all standing up straight with their heads up. All of the kids looked the same.

Not even clothes were differentiating them. They were all six-year-old boys with bald heads and ice blue eyes. All had serial numbers tattoo’d on the back of the head – their only unique gift and the only way Kovacs could tell them apart. Thus, their order in line was determined by their order of “birth”.

Today, two groups were present. Kids numbered 2 to 12 and 37 to 47. One of them sneaked into a doctor’s office the night prior. Even though he used his skills and chances in the best of ways, the ever present cameras captured him in the act. Albeit, the quality of the recording wasn’t good enough to determine which of the boys was the culprit. The staff facility wouldn’t even know an incident like this happened if not for an unfortunate event. 18 heard a strange noise during his late night bathroom break and his curiosity was “rewarded” with a broken nose. Kovacs found him unconscious, lying on the corridor floor and that’s what led to this very situation.

Another man dressed in a white lab coat entered the hall. A pair of circle-shaped glasses was digging into his nose but it didn’t seem to bother him. Kovacs stopped, cleared his throat and suddenly, all of the boys bowed down. Otto Wolfgang Ort-Meyer usually smiled at seeing his pupils so well-behaved but even this gesture didn’t make him lift the edges of his lips today.

“Enough!” he exclaimed. His voiced echoed through the hall. Kids returned to their original position. The scientist stood next to his colleague and, even though in English, spoke with a heavy German accent:

“You know exactly why you’re here. None of you will leave this hall until the culprit admits to his nighttime escapade.”

Twenty pairs of blue eyes turned in his direction. Nineteen of them only learned about the incident ten minutes ago. One felt his stomach twisting. As much as he didn’t want to come clean, he knew he will eventually be forced to. What kind of punishment will he have to endure? Swiping and licking the floors clean for months with no end? Will there be any corporal punishments? Maybe he will be this year’s cook for his “brothers”?

“One of you attempted to access doctor Ort-Meyer’s office at night”, Kovacs said in a calm manner trying to contrast the obvious anger of his colleague. “We do not care what was the reason behind it. And we will not question it. If one of you admits to his mistake, there will be no investigation and no punishment. We will only ask him to never do it ever again.”

Tears started filling one of the boys’ eyes so he blinked a few times to make them go away. Showing any emotions was unacceptable. They were a weakness, so the men taught them. The boy always felt as if hiding those weaknesses was much easier for his “brothers” than it was for him.

Many thoughts were crossing his mind at the moment. Was Kovacs telling the truth? Maybe there really aren’t going to be any questions or punishments if he confesses? He didn’t trust either of the men in white coats but Kovacs seemed to be somewhat reasonable at times. Maybe he should just swallow his pride and speak up?

“We all know who did this!” yelled one of the boys at the front of the line. 6 took a step forward and looked Ort-Meyer straight in the eyes. He already seemed triumphant with his chin held up.

The culprit felt even more ill. 6 had no idea who truly sneaked into Ort-Meyer’s office but since he spoke up already, there was no doubt whom he is going to blame.

“It was 47, of course!” he promptly stated. Ort-Meyer’s eyes looked at the boy at the end of the line.

“Come forward”, the scientist said. “Is that true?”

The boy gulped down his tears and broke the line. His small hands turned into fists thinking of 6. His heart was filled with hatred towards his “brother”. But now, he was assessing his options. If he denied the claim, 6 would definitely find a way to shift the blame. He was the best. The strongest. He knew how to fight. Ort-Meyer will stand by his side. And 47? 47 was small, slim and fragile. With tears in his eyes. The only thing he could count on was Kovacs’ good will.

“Yes”, he mumbled. All of his “brothers’” eyes turned towards him. It was uncommon for 47 to open his mouth. Some thought he was mute. This reaction made the boy feel even worse.

“I should just dispose of you at instant. Kovacs turns a blind eye at you way too often. But trust me, my boy, your life is going to get much more difficult from now on.”

47 tried his best to justify.

“But… doctor Kovacs said no one will get punished if one of us confesses… I… I thought that–”

“What did you say?” Ort-Meyer interrupted him. The hall was suddenly silent. “Repeat what you just said.”

“I thought that…”

The scientist chuckled making Kovacs’ hair stand on end. Ort-Meyer took a few steps and stood in front of 47. Kovacs wasn’t sure if there’s anything he can do to protect the boy. He almost wanted to grab his colleague by the arm as he was passing him but ended up not even moving a finger.

“You ‘thought’”.

It was Ort-Meyer who lifted his hand instead. His palm hit 47’s cheek painting it bright pink and making the unsuspecting boy falter and fall to the floor.

“You know very well I don’t need you to ‘think’. Your purpose is to act on my order. And that’s to all of you. I allow you for too much freedom. Remember that you can lose your white fluffy friend just as quickly as you got it.”

47 tried getting up but was too scared to move a muscle. Ort-Meyer stared at him for the very last time and the boy was sure there was a certain sense of pride hidden behind the circle-shaped glasses.

“Kovacs, take him to his room and lock the door. Up his training sessions to at least twice what they are now. He won’t have time to ‘think’”, the scientist said angrily to the other man dressed in white before exiting the hall altogether.

His evil chuckling was still heard echoing the hall after he has left.