Camera Obscura

Summary: In an age of universal facial recognition, universal security is an illusion. A former mob informant finds this out the hard way.

Joey Vizzini ratted out his former Mafia colleagues, forcing him into an informant protection program. For a decade, he'd gotten used to his new identity, new life, and new friends. He even considered settling down, given the small town he'd been relocated to.

Joey only sometimes came into town, and only then, to purchase things he needed on the farm. He acquired feed for livestock, fertilizer for crops, ammunition for pest control, and the few items he did not produce himself. When he walked into the hardware store one day, he knew something was wrong.

Joey was no stranger to outsiders passing through town, but those lingering outside the store set off alarm bells. He knew a stakeout when he saw one, from having done it multiple times. Hoping to find safety among his neighbors, he hurriedly walked into the store. Inside, there were more unfamiliar faces. He hurried to the restroom, excusing himself to the rear door.

Joey never got there. Instead, an insect-sized drone injected poison into him. He had a heart attack and died right there, face down in a toilet bowl. On the other side of the drone's controls, a mob hitman sat in front of a laptop. The feed from the security cameras in the store was routed through a facial recognition and security contractor on the mob's payroll. After years of dismissing Joey's identification as a false positive, they confirmed it in person.

The hitman had worn actor's makeup and used a stolen identity, so they same fate would not befall him.