The only way to penetrate the tight security cordon was to be inside the cordon before it was initiated. He knew this and had been in hiding on the roof of the tower block for a full week. Every scrap of evidence that might lead back to him was being meticulously collected. His body waste materials were stored in two plastic containers - his training and experience helping him to keep these to a minimum, far lower amounts than would be produced under normal conditions. He ate and drank only the food that he had brought with him; survival rations that were high in protein and sugars. He supplemented the sparse food with a cocktail of drugs that kept him in a very high state of alertness. This constant state of readiness did not come without a price and when the job was done he would need to retreat to one of his safe houses to rest and recuperate, slowly coming down from an almost euphoric state of awareness.
The weather had been changing all week long but he was grateful that today it was dry and overcast. There was very little wind and he made a slight adjustment to compensate for the slight breeze that he measured with a portable anemometer . He looked through his powerful binoculars again and scanned the area. The security team were easy to spot - they occupied all the positions that he had taught them to take. The man who had come to occupy this vantage point lay dead behind him. It was a shame to take the life of a man who was once a student and colleague, but that was another price of the job. He used the man's radio to check in whenever it burst into life. Even the codes that they used were the tried and tested code words that the industry always used. The security was being co-ordinated in exactly the fashion that he expected, it was after all, the way he had taught them.
The directional microphones that he had set up relayed sounds to him that were of specific importance and from one of the feeds he heard the sound of motor car engines. Scanning the direction that the sound came from he spotted the cavalcade. He placed the Barratt rifle on its bipod stand, into position. This would be the only time that the muzzle of the awesome weapon would be visible to any close observation of the tower block. Even then, the only view would look like an overflow pipe of a toilet cistern unless the observer was exceptionally talented. The weapon punched with such a power that it could kill a man standing behind a brick wall from a range of a mile away. It fired a bullet a half inch in diameter, that travelled at 2800 feet per second. He knew from the laser measuring device that he carried that his line-of-sight range to the target would be one thousand eight hundred and four feet, so from the moment he squeezed the trigger the bullet would take 644 thousandths of a second to cross the distance. He formulated that constant with the speed of the cross wind and made one last fine adjustment. All the time his eyes switched from the telescopic sight to the digital wind speed read out, ensuring that there was no sudden change that would ruin the shot.
The cavalcade drew nearer. All the vehicles were black Mercedes, with dark glass that lent them a sinister appearance. The lead vehicle was a four-by-four, filled with security men. It was followed by a saloon which carried a medic and was essentially an escape car should the need arise. Behind that was a huge Maybach saloon and inside that ultimate symbol of wealth was the target. It was followed by two more saloons that carried lesser mortals to the conference, and finally a four-by-four brought up the rear. They all came to a stop at the exact point that they were supposed too and the security teams tumbled out of the two four-by-fours. The men quickly surrounded their charges and scanned the area, all the while speaking into the microphones of the headsets each man wore.
Satisfied that the area was still secure, one of the men opened a rear door of the Maybach and its single occupant stepped outside, directly into the crosshairs of the shooter's telescopic sight. His finger was curled around the trigger, his breathing slowed down so much that it seemed he was not taking any air at all. The target turned to say something to one of the security men, showing his face for the briefest of seconds. The international financier was something of an enigma, a man who never gave interviews, whose picture had never appeared in print. He had been the front page subject of Time and Forbes magazines more times than he could remember, a dozen or more TV documentaries had been made about him yet his wealth was only estimated, his description anonymous. He lived somewhere in Switzerland - that much was known, and his business empire encircled the globe, yet nobody had ever met him face to face. All his business meetings were contrived such that he remained in the shadows, a mysterious and aloof figure who played with amounts of money that dwarfed the entire income of many of the countries in which he operated. There was but one fact known about him and even that could apply to thousands if not millions of other men of similar height and build. It was this trademark that the shooter had to rely on - if there was a last minute switch, he could not know. More than once that tactic had been used in the past and a highly paid stand-in had lost his life, once to a bomb and once to six machine guns that took out all of the security team at the same time. The Maybach was blast and bullet proof but that only worked if the subject was inside.
The face of the financier was clear in the centre of the telescope. The crosshairs were zeroed on the exact spot in the centre of his eyes, directly above the bridge of his nose. When the heavy bullet hit its mark it would destroy most of the top of his head. Wind compensation was corrected by a digital link from the sight to a small computer that in turn was connected to the anemometer. All he had to do was to keep locked onto his target now. He did not use a laser dot to paint his target because a well trained man could pick that give-away up a moment too soon. The American gasped when he saw the face, but the sound was lost in the sharp report from the rifle.