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Observational Skills

Posted on Mon Jul 4th, 2011 @ 8:06am by Captain Alexander Gunning & James Wilson LLB PI [P: Ratchford]

Mission: A New Beginning
Location: James Wilson P.I.'s Office
Timeline: SL D02 - 1900


If Gunning was honest, he enjoyed the company of the station's very own Private Dick. Since hiring him, he had been to his anachronistic little office off the promenade to take some rye and inhale some highly irregular cigarette smoke which, due to Starfleet medical directives had its lethal and addictive qualities removed.

In a strange way, to Gunning, it was like living a holosuite program. Wilson would never acknowledge it himself probably, but there was something about him which was not of this time. He carried himself in the manner of Marlowe, Holmes and all the great detectives. His observational talents were second to none. Gunning had never seen a man without some kind of telepathic abilities able to read someone's manner and poise so easily.

James, for his part, was reading through the various bits of mail he had received that day, his feet up on the desk, and cigarette clasped between index and middle fingers, as he lifted each PADD from a small stack in his one hand into the other, glanced at them, before calling out to his secretary his conclusion and tossing the PADD to the side. "Tell Mrs Gardner that her husband is not making sinister meetings, but is in fact courting multiple other women. Despite what he has told everyone, he was not brought up on Archer Four, but was in fact brought up on Denobula. And inform Mister S'ran that his assistant is not attempting to spy on him, but that the assistant is merely infatuated by his boss. I would recommend firing him if such advances are not appreciated." Each time he spoke, it was in a matter-of-fact tone of voice, somehow being able to discern and solve each of these petty cases simply be the contents of the letter requesting his services. Needless to say, he would ensure he was paid for each of them.

"I do hope you're here to provide me with something more interesting, Captain," he said, not looking at the station commander as he neared the end of his stack.

After half an hour sitting in the office, Gunning eventually let him know the reason for the social call. He said, "I want you to teach me to do what you do. How you read people and how you know what they're all about. It fascinates me."

Pausing in his perusal of his mail, the detective looked to the captain, a smirk appearing on his face. "You wish to learn from me do you, good captain? Well I can assure you, it is not an easy skill to learn, to be able to use one's eyes and intellect to their full extent."

"I wouldn't be surprised if it is difficult, Wilson. You do have a way of making the incredibly difficult seem incredibly easy but I'm game."

"Very well, if you are determined," the Private-Eye responded, swinging his legs off the table and moving to extinguish his cigarette. The station staff had insisted he keep his smoking to the confines of his office. Not that he always listened. "Mrs Price, please do clear my schedule for this evening."

"You don't keep a schedule, Mister Wilson!" his secretary retorted.

"I know dear, I know." Smiling quietly to himself, he led the captain out of his small office, and out into the station proper. "There's a lovely little restaurant on the promenade, you know," he said, conversationally. "They have an exquisite menu to select from, though some of their meats tend to be a bit too stringy when replicated."

[A Few Moments Later]

Gunning and Wilson passed through the door of the restaurant. It wasn't crowded but was far from empty. They passed by some tables holding a combination of the lonely and the blissfully happy and made their way toward the bar.

Having made their orders, the two men moved to take a seat at a table. Gunning automatically went for one that was near the bar and free, but Wilson walked right past it, heading for a table over on the edge of the room; not exactly secluded, but in a position where one didn't have to turn around in his seat to see everyone around him.

Gunning followed him, feeling a little hard done by. He couldn't even pick the right table. He took a seat beside Wilson before taking a long sip from his drink. He waited for the Private Dick to make his thoughts public.

"You can tell a lot about a man from the smallest details," Wilson finally said, after a long silence between them. "Take that man over there, for instance." He tilted his head at a humanoid male, whom it was clear was a waiter for this establishment. "What is it that you see about him?"

Gunning took a long look at the man. Dishevelled when all around him were well turned-out. He seemed gaunt, tired but had a hopeful sparkle in his eye. There didn't seem to be anything that would mark him out as being different to the rest of the humanoids in the restaurant but yet, there most definitely was.

His knuckles were white with an unspoken tension that, the more Gunning looked at him, seemed to be eating away at his very being. The sparkle was there but around it seemed a look of despair, of disillusionment. As if he had lost something that was truly important to him.

He leaned across the table and said to the detective: "I reckon he is either getting a divorce or he's just lost a lot of money."

"Not bad... for a first-glance theory of a novice," the detective responded. His hand flicked out to point at the man's hand. "Notice the faint ring of skin on his finger, and the way the flesh bends down to it. That and his lack of a real tan elsewhere on his body indicates that he has been married for quite some time. However, the pale skin and indent is subtle, unnoticeable to the average observer, which shows that the ring has been removed and replaced numerous times over the years of marriage, which means either one of two things; either he is cheating on his wife or his profession requires that his marital status is not made aware to individuals he comes into contact with. His facial expression is a natural one for him, as is his body language and they both tell me that he is not a womaniser. He didn't even glance at the dabo girl who just walked past that entryway, which means that either his attention is focussed or he isn't the type to philander, or both. But then nobody cares if a waiter is married or not, as they are merely in the background; servers and observers, nothing more." He spoke so quickly, one fact and observation flowing off the next almost before he had finished the one preceding it. He paused and turned to face the station commander. "All of this leads me to one conclusion. He is an operative of an intelligence agency, most likely Federation-based, or at least run by a species that is a member of the Federation. The Romulans and Klingons are seldom likely to employ such discrete methods as a long-term planted observer, and the Tholians and Ritorians both share a stronger reliance on technological observation devices, just like the one that is fixed on the bulkhead above your head, thankfully positioned in such a way that we are sitting in one of its blind spots." He pointed directly above them as he finished his statement, amazingly not out of breath for all his talking, and a sly smirk on his face.

Gunning stared in disbelief at the device which was, indeed, strapped to the bulkhead above them. "One of yours?" He asked, more hopefully than anything.

"No," the detective responded simply. "Tholian. It appeared yesterday, likely from an agent of theirs which came in on the Aktoniza - they had a batch of Tholian silk in their hold's manifest," he said, explaining his point matter-of-factly as though it should be common knowledge. I suspect it was placed to keep an eye on the Ritorian agent whom our agent friend over has also been tracking. The reason you get a sense of loss from him is because he has lost his target, and cannot find a trail to re-discover him."

"And you know where he is, I suppose?" Gunning replied, keeping his voice to a low murmur.

"No," the detective admitted, though as a surprise to Gunning it wasn't with embarrassment. "He is a man who has been followed before, and knows well enough the tricks of his trade to evade such watchers. But nobody is impossible to find."

"Can you do it?" Gunning asked, unaware of how the conversation had changed into Wilson gaining employment from Starfleet... again.

"Of course I could," Wilson said, completely matter-of-factly, as though the question needn't be asked. "For my regular retainer fee, of course."

"Of course." Gunning replied, pushing a few buttons on a PADD. The amount of money that Wilson had taken from Starfleet over the last few years they might as well have opened up a tab with him.


James Willson, LLB PI
Private Detective


Commodore Alexander Gunning
Commanding Officer
Starbase 332


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