As the afternoon sun drifts lazily across the New York City skyscrapers, Isabella Reyes watches the city flow beneath her as the helicopter zeroes in on ExCorp. The black monolithic structure stoops amidst its nearest neighbors, not unlike a wolf skulking amongst the sheep. Her single companion, a hulking security officer who looks like a mafia enforcer and dresses like the Men In Black, keeps a silent vigil as the aircraft alights atop the corporate headquarters of Excalibur Corporation, a company Isabella knows little about but can certainly guess at the character of. She’s known for some time that Manticorp‘s purse strings were managed by an outside entity; who it is doesn’t really matter too much.
Descending from the copter, Isabella is greeted by ExCorp security chief Victor Gedding, a polite and somewhat distinguished-looking fellow whose appearance is marred only by an old scar just above his left eye. Victor welcomes her to ExCorp and escorts her immediately to the office of her uncle, Galen Sherer, which is something of a surprise to Isabella. Galen dismisses Gedding and engages in a private conversation with his neice, in which he hints at his interest in her career and asks her to put together a small task force to manage a special assignment. He provides information on a Slovenian mafia organization calling themselves the Syndicate and their rival interest in a former ExCorp asset named Greta Schmidtz. The mission is an extraction. Schmidtz will be attending her daughter’s championship motocross event in Ferma, Italy, the day after tomorrow. Isabella is instructed to retrieve both Schmidtz and her daughter Elsa before Syndicate agents can get their hands on them.
The next morning, Sunny Clark emerges from a cheap motel room in eastern Texas and visits the diner across the street. It’s a quiet town, and Sunny’s Harley Davidson startles nearby birds and locals as it roars to life. At the diner, he orders a meal and settles in to try not to think about his father’s illness, which summoned him from his more solitary existence in the wilds west of the Everglades to make the long journey home to Corpus Christi. As he drinks his coffee and ponders the road ahead, an obnoxious local drunk arrives to harrass the waitress and start a fight. After a few blows, the drunkard pulls a knife, which Sunny answers with a .50 caliber Desert Eagle. The town sheriff arrives before the struggle can escalate any further, and he is forced to detain Sunny when he discovers a warrant for his arrest.
As afternoon arrives up north in Chicago, Athena Jones serves one of her regulars at Joe’s Diner, a young man who frequently drops in to flirt with the girl over a cup of coffee. When he disappears, however, he leaves his battered briefcase behind, complete with an address label containing a name, street address, and a short string of numbers. When she gets off, Athena googles the address, then heads toward the apartment in question in order to return the item.
Meanwhile, Ethan Clark arrives in the area searching for the girl, whom he swore to her older brother Tyrone before he died that he would watch over and keep her out of danger. At her home address, he chats briefly with an old black woman sitting outside the building next door, and the woman identifies Athena by her picture and tells him where to find her. At the diner, Ethan manages to convince one of her co-workers that she might be in trouble and checks out the back-office computer where she searched for the address. He then heads out in pursuit.
At the townhouse in question, Athena finds that buzzing in reveals a security panel. She enters the code and is admitted upstairs, where she walks into the open apartment in search of her wayward admirer. She finds the place empty and eerily familiar for some reason, and she finds a number of surveillance photos on the coffee table, all of them pictures of her. Right then, just as Ethan arrives in the street outside, a sniper from a building across the street shoots through the window and begins taking shots at her. As Ethan charges up the stairs, Athena drops to the floor and scrambles into the bedroom. The shots stop after several moments, but Ethan is careful to stay low as he makes his way across the exposed outer chamber and bursts into the bedroom. In a panic, Athena scrambles under the bed, but the presence of a cold body drives her immediately from hiding, at which point Ethan snatches her arm and virtually drags her from the apartment.
The shooting has stopped, but they are still crossing the street when police lights appear a few blocks away. Rather than retreating to one of the vehicles, Ethan drags Athena into the building that the shooter had been using, a seemingly abandoned structure with no apparent secondary exit except the fire escape from the second floor. As law enforcement arrives in the street outside, the unlikely duo sneak through the central corridor of the upper story, where Ethan soon spots the sniper rifle propped against a window, but no shooter in sight. He sends Athena down the fire escape first, at which point the girl takes advantage of the opportunity to escape and runs down the alley. Frustrated, but unable to pursue her with a bum leg, Ethan mingles with the crowd outside until he can manage to get his vehicle away from the scene without drawing attention. Somehow, in the interim, in full view of the police and forty or fifty bystanders, the shooter managed to insert his weapon into Ethan’s secured pickup. Furthermore, the ex-sniper recognizes the rifle as his very own training weapon from a few years back.
Meanwhile, in Ferma, Italy, Elsa returns to her hotel with her manager, Trevor, to find her younger sister waiting outside the door. After a brief flurry of hugs and sign language, Elsa quickly learns that her mother – affectionately referred to by Trevor as the “Iron Bitch of Berlin” – is waiting downstairs. In no mood to deal with the woman, Elsa sends Trevor as interference and she and Ila sneak out the back. The pair of them are followed, however, by a conspicuous-looking eastern European thug, whom they attempt to lose in the nearby city streets.
At Joe’s Diner in Chicago, Ethan manages to catch up with Athena and express his interest in helping her, at which point he also learns about the briefcase. As he attempts to hide the case for later retrieval, the stressed latch gives way and it pops open, spilling a handful of files and a strange glass disc out onto the pavement. The files include a handful of dossiers, one of which is his own and includes both classified information and events that have yet to occur. When he retrieves the disc, however, the nearby streetlights begin to flicker and go out and the sounds of the diner disappear for several seconds.
At that precise moment, in a small jail cell in eastern Texas, the same thing seems to happen around Sunny Clark, the sounds of the sheriff’s station coming to a sudden stop and the lights going out for several seconds. In Ferma, Elsa is distracted by the man behind her and walks right into – and abruptly through – a brick wall. From behind the wall, she and her sister somehow watch the man react to losing them, just before the walls becomes solid and impenetrable once again. And in the skies over Switzerland, Isabella’s plane loses power for several seconds, drifting quietly through the darkness until the power is restored.