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Situation Report

Posted on Mon Jan 31st, 2022 @ 8:16am by Lieutenant Commander Brott & Lieutenant JG Tilo Riehl

1,098 words; about a 5 minute read

Mission: Ninety-Nine Bottles of Swill
Location: Bellwether Station | Operations Centre

It was turning in to being a busy little station with the Ferengi recovering on the station, Brott working with Operations and Security to bury the Ferengi in paperwork and fines, stall tactics to have time - time for what though? For the science officer to work our her hypothesis and prove it, for Medical to get to the bottom of things, for the rest of the crew to do its part.

What Brott was not expecting was to walk out into the Operations Centre, spotting his station's Security Officer having all screens active with various frequencies and a plethora of information going on at once. It was a bit of a sensory overload, but the lieutenant seemed to be navigating through it all just fine.

The Ferengi language scrolling across one screen caught Brott's attention. He was only at a toddler's level of speaking Ferengi, but he had an elementary level of reading it. Characters for 'sick' stood out. "What do you have, Lieutenant?" Bott asked Tilo Riehl. The Bolian was curious what the man was looking at and listening to.

'Newsreels essentially, Commander,' Riehl replied as he glanced up and flashed a quick smile at the Bolian. 'In between all the advertising you can find out some interesting things about the goings on in and around Ferenginar. Did you know the price of latinum fell the day before yesterday? The Grand Nagus is in a lot of hot water for it - too much ooh-mox and too little Rules of Acquisition it seems.'

Brott smiled "Ah well, you know what they say about the position of Grand Nagus," the Bolian said, his arms wide as though he were about to act out a Shakespearean scene, but instead he just bellowed "Oo-mox today, gone tomorrow," quoted Brott. It wasn't exactly fine poetry or a good idiom, but it served its purpose. If anyone knew the Ferengi, it was Brott. He socialized with a lot of them.

"Broadcasts on Ferenginar and across the Ferengi Alliance is about 85% advertising, 10% exploitation, and 5% news" Brott noted. "Anything newsworthy except the fickle price of latinum?"

'Well here's the thing,' Riehl said, concentrating on the monitor for a moment before picking up a PADD and handing it to the Bolian. 'Seems the Ferengi are experiencing a bit of an epidemic. Nothing serious, you know, just intestinal troubles. Right across the Alliance, it seems. Most recently arrived on Irtok. One of their last departure points before they head over to Federation space. Interesting, no?'

Brott, having just spent some time with Lieutenant Skye MacLeod in the lab chattering about what scientific things she was finding, and potential concern, Brott found himself taking a very deep breath. "More than just interesting, Lieutenant," Brott said to Riehl. The Bolian shook his head and sighed. "What are the chances that an epidemic is sweeping across Ferenginar and we have ill feeling Ferengi aboard this station right now?" It was not exactly like Brott was looking for a statistical probability, but he anticipated that the lieutenant would have something to say.

'Given the flatulent Ferengi passed through Irtok not long ago, I would say the chances that it's somehow not connected is slim to none,' replied Riehl with a small smile. His fingers danced across the console. 'A bulletin from Starfleet Intelligence a few days ago reckoned that most of the population of the Alliance have it, so ...'

Brott snorted and guffawed at the man's response and general assessment. "It sounds like we are beginning to collect pieces to a much larger puzzle, one that I am keen on solving," replied the Bolian. "Colour me curious, Lieutenant, but given we have had a shuttle of ill Ferengi, and the entire Ferengi Alliance appears to be dealing with enough similar cases to merit the classification of epidemic, and with what our medical and science personnel have found, I do believe that we are sitting on some information that will be beneficial to the Ferengi."

Another alert sounded causing Brott to glance over at the screen where the alert had come from. "Looks like the price of latinum just dropped again," Brott said shaking his head. "At the rate it is falling, there may be more worth in table salt before the fiscal cycle is complete."

'Kinda makes you glad we moved away from that kind of system a long time ago,' Riehl replied with a grin as he looked up at the Bolian. 'Not to tell you your job, sir, but if you have information valuable to a Ferengi, don't let it go to waste.' He whirled his finger around, 'Starfleet isn't going to upgrade any of this any time soon, if you know what I mean.'

Brott nodded. "She is old, beautiful, and high maintenance," the Bolian said in agreement. "Lieutenant, I have a task for you. I want you to work communications for a Ferenginar and see how high up you can get with our valuable information. I seek an audience with someone in the Ferengi Alliance with the lobes large enough to listen to a small Federation Relay Station's Commander. If you can get met some time with the Grand Nagus, excellent. If not, I'll settle for a Liquidator with the Ferengi Commerce Authority or even a representative from the Economic Congress of Advisors."

'Yes, Sir. I'll see if I can rustle up some comm frequencies that have proven useful in the past,' Riehl paused, and thought, 'what am I authorised to trade in return for access?'

"Anything and everything that we have," Brott replied. "Short of your body," the Bolian teased. "That I need here manning your station for the foreseeable future, but feel free to go through the inventory of what we have in the cargo holds, including my own personal belongings. There is bound to be something of worth on this station."

'Alright, sir, I'll send along what little's left of the grey material,' he rapped his knuckled on the side of his head. 'I'll have a look,' he continued in a more serious vein, 'hopefully there won't be a need to trade personal effects just to get a hello - they must be desperate for relief now.' Riehl refused to smile as he finished his sentence, concentrating furiously on the feed in front of him.

Brott winced a bit. "A desperate Ferengi is unpredictable. I'll be in my office" said the Bolian. It was true too. Ferengi who were desperate were unpredictable.


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