Prior to the film's events, Gibson, a British solar energy expert, was employed by Thai multi-millionaire industrialist Hai Fat to develop a solution to the world's ongoing energy crisis. With the help of Fat's construction company, a highly efficient solar power-plant was constructed on an island belonging to the industrialist's junior partner, the assassin Francisco Scaramanga.
However, following its completion, Gibson attempts to return to Britain, bargaining for immunity with a critical component of the power-plant: the Solex Agitator unit. Having outlived his usefulness, Scaramanga is dispatched by Hai Fat to assassinate the scientist and recover the Solex. After meeting with his British contact at a Hong Kong strip club, Gibson is shot by Scaramanga, and the Agitator is stolen from the crime scene by the assassin's diminutive assistant, Nick Nack.