Sherrinford Armstrong had been fully conscious and operational since 3:35am, and lay in bed in a trance state, remaining as receptive as possible to the world around him.
As he noted the trajectory of the fly that was buzzing in the far corner of the room - had he been with company and was inclined to do so, he would have placed a healthy sum of money on the chances that said fly would aim for the bookcase and land on the spine of Aristotle's Poetics before resuming flight and making a sharp left - he also sensed a larger presence.
There were footsteps - light, possibly wearing moccasins - and the weight of them was near negligible. There was also a slight change in temperature emanating from the left hand of the approaching figure, like a cool breeze, or perhaps a drink of water.
But it was a Wednesday. Cold steel was the wake up call this morning, and at 6:00am sharp.
Armstrong's eyes flashed open, and immediately leapt from the bed before landing gracefully on the floor. His assailant was wearing a balaclava and a tuxedo, and was wielding a cleaver in his left hand. He deftly dodged a sharp kick, and with a flick of the wrist knocked the arm of his attacker.
The cleaver went flying and solidly loved itself in the ceiling, and the attacker was launched onto the bed. The man fought his way out of the duvet to find himself at gunpoint, and removed the balaclava in defeat.
"Thank you for the test, Marcel. Darjeeling today, I think." The attacker smiled graciously, resuming the role of valet, and began to prepare the kettle in the next room. Armstrong smiled to himself, removing the blade and walking through to the Sanctum, sliding the cleaver into a clean white revolving holster as he moved fluidly through the alabaster complex.
The site had been chosen with the owner in mind, and the Sanctum Sanctorum was an additional touch of class granted by N.E.M.E.S.I.S. - a digital and physical haven filled with all that was necessary for an agent to function to their full abilities. For the ten years he had been with them, Sherrinford Armstrong had made a great impression on their minds.
He hoisted a set of dumbbells from the ground and began a few repetitions of lateral raises as the Sanctum network began to activate around him. Holographic circles rose from the ground, and began to coalesce in front of him. A shape began to become visible and formed into an all too familiar visage.
"Good morning, Agent Armstrong. I trust you rested well?" He laughed, raising the dumbbells in a vertical press as he moved closer.
"Contessa. Charmed as always. The butler ensured my awakening, don't worry." The smirk that had been on his face a few minutes prior vanished when he noticed the slight twitch of her left eye. "What's happened?"
The face vanished, replaced with a set of co-ordinates - he vaguely recalled the location - a small chapel atop a cliff. But the place had been untouched for years - what could possibly have gone wrong?
The kettle gave a shrill whistle - a cup of Darjeeling, a visit to N.E.M.E.S.I.S., and then the case proper...