The sharply dressed gentleman stared down at the camera phone in his hands with a look that indicated that the small device had offended him to the deepest levels of his soul.
Incompetence should be added to the list of Deadly Sins....
Immediately after this thought strayed across his mind, the gentleman allowed a small smirk grace his lips. He realized that this was a bit ironic, thinking about deadly sins that is, considering what made him the copious amounts of money that kept his lifestyle at the manner to which he has become accustomed.
He was the apex of an amazingly extensive network that could provide his customers with anything they wanted...some blackmail on a political rival...a little corporate espionage...protection for less than legal businesses...and, on somewhat rare occasions, a hired gun to take out that special someone.
His business enterprise was one that couldn't be found in the Yellow Pages but it was well known in a select side of society, the side that had oodles of disposable income, problems to spend it on and no nerve or skill to handle these problems themselves. Technically his father had started the venture but he was the one who had brought it up from the unsophisticated and unsavory state that it had languished in for years because, while his father was a half decent organizer when it came to muscle-bound hitmen, he had no style.
After his father had died when the gentleman was only a young man of twenty, suprisingly it was cancer that had finally taken out the geezer not a rival business associate as was expected in this type of life, so he was left with a platoon of lunk-headed goons as well as his father's "advisors". His father's advisors were nothing more than dim-witted sychophants who desperately wanted to take over the operation so when he had been given the reins at such a young age instead of one of them, well, not one of them were very happy. They considered it an insult to their many years of experience and service that some young upstart would be calling the shots.
The young man's first meeting with the advisors after his father had died did not go according to the advisors' plans. They had planned on a show of force where they would "put that punk in his place" and make him into a figurehead so that they could run the operation as they saw fit. What they didn't plan on was the fact that the young man had shrewdly watched the relationship between his father and his father's advisors for years, had seen how they were circling like vultures during the old man's last days and had realized something like this would happen. He was prepared for their attempts at taking him down a peg.
As soon as the meeting started, they had immediately started to inform him why he was not fit to be in charge of the operation, pointing out his drastic lack of experience in such a business and smugly explaining how things were going to proceed from this point on. The young man sat at his place at the head of the table and said nothing during this tirade, he just listened with an expression akin to that of boredom. After the advisors had laid out their demands, the young man looked at them for a moment, sighed and snapped his fingers.
A half dozen men filed into the room and stood in a line behind the young man, each man impeccably dressed, expressionless and armed with a handgun. The advisors were, obviously, put immediately on edge.
Now that you're done with your ridiculous show of bravdo and I have your undivided attention, this is how things are going to proceed from now on....
And with that the young man began to outline his major changes to the operation.
The operation was going to receive an almost complete overhaul. Over the years, the young man had noticed that the call for brutish thugs was declining. If this organization, his new term for the operation, was going to survive, it needed to adapt to the needs of a new time. In this age of big business and political scandals, spying and blackmail services were what the high rollers would require. There would still be a need for hired guns but they need to have skills beyond the ability to fire a gun, they needed to have style.
From that day on, the organization focused on refining the talent of its employees. They no longer just hired any idiot with a handgun and a pechant for killing, there were standards. The new employees, or agents as the young man had deemed them, need to be able to navigate the worlds of business and politics, to have the skills to take on the different covers that would hide them in the field, and, on the rare occasion, to have the nerve to take out a target. This transformation was not without caualties of course. The young man was forced to eliminate a good portion of his father's old employees and advisors because they just wouldn't accept changes and wouldn't be brought to heel.
After cleaning house, the organization had flourished in the following years, turning into a powerhouse of espionage, blackmail and death while the young man had transformed into the elegantly dressed gentleman who was the currently trying to decide how to deal with the problem of an incompetent agent.
Over the years the gentleman had learned one important rule: if one ignores the incompetence of others, one can expect to suffer the consequences of incompetence for themselves. One of the reasons that the organization had grown so sucessful was the simple fact that incompetence from any employee, even the high ranking agents, was not tolerated.
We are in the business of doing illegal things for people who cannot afford to be connected to illegal activity. Incompetence almost always leads to run-ins with authorities and run-ins with authorities are bad for business, therefore incompetence is a sin in this business, a sin that will be punished swiftly and decisively.
This was the speech he had given every new agent and employee he had hired, he personally spoke to each new hire before things became permanent, and if the phone he held in his hands was any evidence, apparently the message hadn't been absorbed by this particular agent.
One of his agents, who had been working for him for years, had gotten himself filmed on a camera phone while exiting the scene of a hit. Strike one.
Luckily the camera phone in question ended up in the hands of an employee he had planted in the police and said employee had made sure that it ended up in the gentlman's custody. Unfortunately, by doing right by the organization, the employee was going to lose his cover job at the police station. Which means the organization was out one undercover officer. Strike two.
Finally the agent, who is supposed to be one of his best, didn't have a single clue that any of this had occurred. This agent was obviously starting to let past sucesses get to his head, making him think he was untouchable. Strike three.
Normally in a situation like this the gentleman wouldn't hesitate to have a liablility like this taken care of but he had a problem...this was the agent that he typically used to handle these types of terminations and, even though the idiot didn't know about the mess he had trampled in, he would definitely be able to spot almost all of his fellow employees making it difficult to catch him off guard. The other issue was the gentleman was somewhat reluctant to take out this agent, he was a very experienced agent with a good track record. Unfortunately if he let this slide it would get out to the other agents and employees and soon they would come to believe that they too would get a free pass. This would most likely lead to a major drop in standards and would make him seem weak, something he couldn't afford at this stage in life when all of his competitors were side-eyeing him, waiting for him to stumble so they could slip in like jackals and tear his network apart. An action such as this could almost be seen as incompetence.
I suppose it just has to be done.
He rang his personal assistant, he had decided how he want this termination to be taken care of, all it required was his most skilled agent and a little misdirection.
"Julie dear, please give Agents 6 and 11's handlers a ring. I need to talk to them about a situation that needs handling."