A big face appeared on the walkway. Jim walked right past it, he was on a mission. He dove off the walkway head first towards the floor of the city. Lights, windows, cars streaked past as he descended, accelerating at 9.2 meters per second squared.
He drew his gun, and closed his eyes. In his mind, he could imagine his target. Just walking out of their front door on the ground floor of the city. Looking left and right, they knew someone was after them. But the target wasn't trained in how to be paranoid when someone was after them. So a quick look would suffice to convince the target he was being careful, and he would continue out as normal.
Jim knew the target well. He'd studied him for decades. Jim had uploaded himself to a computer, sped himself up, and dove into the target's entire world, immersing himself in it for twenty five years of objective time. In reality, only a few days passed, during which Jim's body sat around patiently for him to return. Twenty five years of preparation, now finally he would kill what most people would consider a life's work.
Jim grabbed ripcord and pulled it, unraveling his wing suit. He just needed it to slow him down enough to get a clean shot. Now the shop would be coming into view. He'd flown this course thousands of times over the virtual years. The idea had come to him over a decade ago, but it took a lot of time to perfect the planning.
He steadied himself. Depending on the wind conditions at the time, he could get air turbulence throwing off his aim. It was consistently the most unpredictable part of his training, but he could manage it. The turbulence didn't manifest. Jim was mildly disappointed he'd spent so much time learning to compensate for something that hadn't happened. Probably spent a cumulative five years practicing his aim in uncontrollable winds.
There was the target. Just walking out the door as Jim had expected. He'd watched the target on video for years, over and over exiting the shop over the last couple of realtime days. Jim took aim, decisively, fired, and continued his flight over the target and down the street to a small open air duct. He tucked his arms in, boring as he'd done this so many times nothing about it could surprise him any longer.
Dutifully, he turned back to confirm the target was dead. It was unlikely, but possible, and he had accounted for that possibility. He would take one last flanking pass, and there was an alley he could duck into so as not to be seen.
When he looked back, the target was gone. Never in all his years of studying and preparing had he contemplated this possibility. At the very worst, the target should be running down the street at this...
"You're probably wondering where I went right about now." a voice said in his ear. A knife blade was pushed uncomfortably into the skin of his neck. "You're not the only one with access to powerful computers mate. I've spent over a century waiting for you. Now you're here, and I can do what I've been dreaming of for so long..."
The knife slid. Jim felt a tugging in his neck, and a slight pain. He suddenly noticed warm liquid was pouring down into his suit. He tried to cough, but something was wrong, it was very painful. The cough didn't sound right, a loud gurgling and sputtering. Blood spritzed onto his hands. He felt lightheaded, like he'd stood up too fast. Vision faded, thoughts became bubbly, fructim, magal mathanew... erremore, daa.
Light returned. He was back at his desk in the stark white room. The last of a headache from having his throat slit dried up like alcohol spilled on a counter. He took a deep breath. So, what if the target has computer time? It was a danger, and one he knew he needed a plan for.
The next thirty years were going to be a lot of work.