After grabbing a quick bite of lunch at the nearby Civic Center food court and finding out as much as Marsden could tell me about my target, we walked together back to his hotel.
Entering the cool lobby, I was almost chilled by the drop in temperature, especially since both the outside temperature and humidity had risen rather dramatically since we had departed the hotel earlier.
“If you’ll wait here Michael, I have a package of material that contains everything we’ve already gone over, as well as additional information that might prove helpful to you.”
Marsden walked over to the front desk and spoke to Willoughby, who was still on duty there. Willoughby reached under the counter and produced a large Manila envelope which he handed to Marsden, who turned and headed back to where I was sitting.
“Here, Michael. Should be everything you need including how to get in touch with me, how your final payment will be made, and an American Express card in your name to take care of your initial expenses. Stenolic’s trial is scheduled to last until the end of September, so that’s your window of opportunity. I trust that will be enough time?” Marsden asked, somewhat apprehensively.
“I would prefer more time,” I replied. “But I’ll get started right away. If there’s no chance of completing the assignment, I’ll let you know as soon as I do. But you understand I’ll still require twenty-five percent of my fee, even if I can’t complete?”
“Of course, Michael. We realize that your time and effort require remuneration, regardless of the outcome.
“Well, good luck. I hope to hear from you with good news. I don’t suppose we’ll see one another again, but it’s been a pleasure meeting you,” said Marsden as he extended his hand.
“Thanks. My pleasure. Please be assured that I’ll make every effort to complete the commission.”
“I’ve no doubt of it, Michael. I’ve heard you’re very reputable… and persistent.”
Marsden turned and walked towards the elevators as I headed out to retrieve my car, head home, and begin planning for a trip to Europe.
When taking on any assassination assignment, it is always necessary to try to determine which tools of the trade might be necessary to carry out the assignment successfully. My first thought was to use the sniper rifle in my arsenal. This is usually the first consideration, as it allows me to maintain distance from my target — distance which makes departure from the scene easier. However, flying to Europe with firearms is not easily accomplished so the alternative is to ship the equipment separately and pick it up at some spot near the final destination.
I broke down the Remington into several component parts and packed it along with the scope and the P238 into a package whose size would not broadcast its contents. All the items were carefully separated so that they would not shift or contact one another, signaling something metallic inside.
I called FedEx and determined that there was a shipping center in Amsterdam to which the package could be sent for later pickup. Fortunately, the center was located very near the airport which would be convenient for me as I would be booking my flight to Amsterdam instead of traveling by air all the way to The Hague.
I decided to leave for The Hague on August 11th, which would give me a few days to prepare. I set the date for FedEx to pick up my package on the 9th, which should ensure that it would arrive ahead of me and be waiting for pickup when I arrived.
I then booked my flights which would take me from Lexington to New York and on to Amsterdam and went online to rent a car once I arrived at Schiphol Airport. Sixt is a reputable car rental agency and covers most of western Europe, so I arranged to rent a BMW Series 1 sedan, which was not only a low-priced rental, it was a speedy vehicle with good handling and would not attract undue attention, as they are pretty common there.
I then utilized Google Earth on my computer to find out some things about the area, especially The Hague and where the ICJ is located.
While examining the area I could quickly see that finding a suitable location to utilize the sniper rifle was going to be difficult, especially if I hoped to apprehend Stenolic at the ICJ, and a long shot somewhere near the prison proved to be even more remote.
The problem is that there are no buildings sufficiently far away and sufficiently tall to offer a clear shot and a high probability of escape. I don’t like to take shots at less than a thousand yards and The Hague is so built up that there seemed no prospect of finding that distance without intervening structures in the way.
But I didn’t want to rely simply on Google Earth to establish my methodology this time around, so sending the rifle on anyway was a way to provide a secondary plan.
Still, some other method must be available, something that I can pack along without arousing concerns of customs officials.
I guessed that, as long as it wasn’t explosives, I should be okay packing something in my checked luggage.
After reading through all the material that Marsden had provided, especially on the habits of Stenolic, I settled on a fairly safe alternative.