It was raining. It always seemed to rain whenever there was some observing to do. This didn't surprise Robert. For him, scum always liked to do business when it was least likely to be observed: either at night, in bad weather or in remote places. This case had been his life for so long, but he knew that if he cracked it then the suffering of hundreds, if not thousands, of people would be stopped.
That was the driving force behind Hirst. His son didn't understand this. He was too blinded by Starfleet glitz and shiny boots to see that it was people on the ground, with nothing more than just their wits and a phaser, that made the real difference. The raindrops ran down Robert's face, tickling his cheeks and teasing his chin as they worked their way down and dripped onto the sodden coat that he was wearing.
Hirst's sources had told him that the deal was going down today. It was certainly the right place for a deal - the industrial quarter of a Federation frontier world. No one would have guessed that there was blackmarketeering taking place on Federation soil. This was proof that Starfleet wasn't solving the problem. They couldn't. You can't chase criminals on the ground from space easily, and it was on the ground that they actually were a problem.
Hirst scowled down the binoculars at the figures in the rain and darkness. He didn't like to use technology as anyone with a scanner could pick it up. He just hoped that no one was scanning for lifeforms in his direction. The containers of trash next to Hirst helped to mask his presence and, he hoped, would confuse any scans in his direction.
The two figures were standing outside of a warehouse. There was nothing particularly suspicious about that, except for the fact that Robert had been tracking them undercover for months. Hirst was like a terrier with a bone - he never gave up once he had the scent of something. These two individuals were the front line of something far bigger in the background. Hirst didn't have much in the way of hard evidence yet, but he was building up reports for his superiors.
Robert had a long leash from his boss. He had to have - anyone got a whiff of the operation that he was performing, he knew that his body woud turn up somewhere for his next of kin to identify. That was if he wasn't vapourised. This was bare-knuckle kind of work, not that cushy easy techno-existence that his son preferred.
Jonathan was such a disappointment. Robert had been in the Federation Security all of his life, as had his father before him. Jonathan had been brainwashed by the glamour of joining Starfleet. Where had it gotten him? From his sources he knew that he was now on a Miranda class starship. Just a standard workhorse on a standard mission. Where would his son deal with the scum of the galaxy whilst out exploring dead ruins? The Federation was an idyll, a utopia, and it took people like Robert to keep it that way. Just as you needed to weed a garden, so the Federation needed tending to in order to keep the scum from getting a hold.
The binoculars that Robert had possessed microphone guns which listened in a linear direction, focussing on discreet conversations. The trouble was that the two figures he was observing were as obscured by trash containers as he was. They obviously didn't want to be overheard as much as he wanted to overhear them. He had to get closer. Hirst began to pick his way around the containers, keeping himself in the shadows and being careful to tread carefully - he didn't want any sudden noises or splashes to startle his prey.
Hirst worked his way around, keeping the two figures in sight, occasionally stopping just to check they hadn't moved. They were just about in range to hear them.
"...they won't even be able to scan them, not with the new packaging that we've developed".
"Is it pure?"
"Of course. Just like always". The figure seemed to take offence, only to joke about it afterwards. Obviously friends thought Hirst. He scowled down his binoculars again as he listened.
"I hope I get compensated for the lost shipment last month. My clients weren't happy".
"You know we always take care of our customers. This is business and there is nothing more important than business".
A shape loomed in the darkness in front of Hirst. His cover was blown. Damn.
Hirst stowed the binoculars and confronted his discoverer.
It was a large human male, not particularly handsome, but Hirst knew he probably wasn't hired for his looks. He'd obviously sneaked up on Hirst whilst he was trying to listen in. This wasn't good. Robert's stomach knotted as the adrenaline kicked in. It was fight and flight now.
A large fist impacted Hirst in the knotted stomach, followed by a fist in the face. The shock of the blows stunned him into action.
The next blow that came at Hirst from the large attacker was deftly knocked aside as Hirst's controlled aggression kicked in. Hirst followed up the block with precise blows to the solar plexus and a sweep to the legs of his attacker. The aggression of Hirst was swift and decisive - as it always was. Hirst was like a wasp in a sweetshop - furiously raining in blows to overwhelm his attacker. It worked.
"Hey, what was that?" the first figure that Hirst had been watching stopped the second with a raised palm.
They listened in the rain and darkness to the distant sound of a scuffle.
"Get out of here!" the first figure said, before drawing a phaser and going to investigate.
The figure hurried carefully up to the source of the noise, ready to phaser the first attacker. He looked around the corner, the rain dripping off his angular chin as he risked a glimpse. Nothing. He crept slowly around until he could see a pool of blood.
He burst around the corner, phaser raised. A shape moved and the criminal instinctlively raised his phaser and fired. The shape fell to the ground dead. He crept up slowly, his heart hammering in his chest and his phaser levelled as he drew closer to identify the man he just killed. It was his minder who he had left to keep a watch over the meeting. Damn.
The figure looked around, scanning the alley and roof for any sign of the intruder who, miraculously, appeared to have floored his now-dead 'insurance'. Nothing.
A block away, chest heaving with exursion, Hirst looked at the figure as he looked down on the minder he had just killed. "I see you", he whispered to himself. He had started tonight with no concrete evidence. Now he had a murder. That was a start. Hirst was bitter at his own stupidity and carelessness. It would take weeks, if not months to get that close again. They wouldn't make the same mistake twice.
Hirst would wait. He was a patient man. It would only be a matter of time...