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Hanging on by Their Lobes

Posted on Sun Feb 27th, 2022 @ 5:02am by Lieutenant Commander Brott & Warrant Officer Valko Kostova & Lieutenant Skye MacLeod & Lieutenant JG Tilo Riehl & Ensign Andrea Astor & Senior Chief Petty Officer Fordyce Kirschler

1,285 words; about a 6 minute read

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

Lieutenant Commander Brott had been in office, doors peculiarly closed - something the Bolian rarely did unless he was discussing sensitive matters. He had summoned the crew to Ops save for the Chief Medical Officer who had some unfortunate news of her own that she had shared. With his crew all in Ops looking at his office doorway, the doors parted. Brott made his way out.

"It is official," Brott began. "There is an epidemic sweeping through the entirety of the Ferengi Alliance. Symptoms appear to all be gastrointestinal issues which are exactly like those the Ferengi who are here are experiencing." The Bolian placed a hand on his waist and looked at the lot of them.

He huffed. "Well, don't just stand there you silly geese, let's get this gaggle going," he proclaimed. "The Doctor, unfortunately, has come down with Tarkalean flu, unrelated coincidence, but she has decided to quarantine elsewhere on the station for a few days. That has sadly made me in charge of Sickbay and tending to our guests" explained Brott. "Lieutenant MacLeod, you need to make a house call to Ferengi and help get to the bottom of this."

"Okay," she said, ever-willing to help--although she'd never been to Ferenginar and didn't particularly like Ferengi customs. "Do I get a white horse?" she jokingly added.

Lieutenant Commander Brott shook his head though he knew that Skye was teasing. "Probably best you don't ride in on a white steed, lieutenant. As I recall from my time studying Earth theology, there was a white horse depicted in tales of the Apocalypse, conquest rode upon the white horse," the Bolian said with a chuckle. "I don't think we are looking to unseat the Grand Nagus just yet" teased Brott.

"Ah and then of course there's the Korean culture. White had a bit of a connotation with death," added Brott. "I'm not sure what white means to Ferengi, but I know the power of the all-mighty GPL, and its prices are falling each day."

"The falling price of latinum should be enough to start with," Skye said. "The data we've gathered should do the rest." At least she hoped so. Maybe she should be sure to have a belt knife, too...just in case.

"Agreed," the Bolian replied and nodded.

Brott smiled. "I'm looking for volunteers at this point to accompany you" he added addressing the others.

Taking a bite from a protein bar, Ensign Astor glanced at the small group assembled together. After seeing the state - and smell of the Ferengi shuttle - combined with trying to rid the station with the stench and her previous, albeit limited interaction with them in her childhood, she hoped someone would volunteer so that someone wasn’t picked. Besides, she doubted she was in any way suited to be helpful. At least here she could work on repairs. There was always plenty of those.

Ford was a little surprised that an away team was being formed largely by volunteers. A typical commanding officer would have selected officers specially suited for the mission objectives. Then again, a typical commanding officer would have had a much larger officer pool. Plus, Lieutenant Commander Brott was shaping up to be anything but typical.

"I reckon I could go along. I know Ferengi pretty well." And Ferengi games of chance, he left unsaid.

Brott nodded. "Not a bad idea. I cannot go, and having someone familiar with the Ferengi and years of experience would be beneficial."

The fuzzy faced and statuesque Valko Kostova shook his head. "No," he said looking specifically at Brott. "You want to take a shuttle from here to Ferenginar? Going around the Ionite nebulae to take too long, perhaps even months if you seek to avoid any navigational hazard. The most direct route is through the Ionite nebulae, and only the most experienced of pilots make it through, none make it through unscathed."

Brott took a deep breath. The man knew his stuff, he knew the star charts, and most of all he knew Federation shuttles. "Not to Ferengiar, but to Clarus, one of their agricultural and industrial worlds, and you are are correct. We do not have time to go around, and must go through the nebulae."

Kostova nodded. "Then, I volunteer to pilot the shuttle. None of them can do it," he stated, and yes, there was a bit of arrogance to what he said, but potentially a layer of truth. "Your shuttles will not make the trip," he added swiftly.

The Bolian crossed his arms. "I am aware. They are constantly banged up and repaired when we have to go into the fringes of one of those nebulae, but our options are limited."

Valko shook his head. "No," he said once again. "Your type 18 shuttlepod is sub-light speed only, your type 10 shuttle barely exceeds warp five. One is useless, the other is reckless. I scrap."

Lieutenant Commander Brott was uncertain as if he should have felt offended or relieved. "Scrap my two auxiliary craft, and do what?"

The Human nodded. "Scrap and make new. We have the materials in cargoholds and from scrapped shuttles. Schematics in computer can guide us as we build new craft. A runabout is better option, not puny shuttle get squished like tin soda can. All crew dead, everyone sad."

"I like the ambition and idea, Mister Kostova, but we don't exactly have the time to construct a runabout. Even if we all pulled our weight and made that a priority, it would take well over a week at best speed with no sleep to build one." Brott was pretty sure it would be a lot longer.

The Bolian continued. "Clarus itself is not exactly a quick trip through the woods to grandmother's house. Even at high warp, that's two weeks and some change. You're right, out shuttle would take a month to get there, a month we do not have."

Brott looked at his Security Chief. "Lieutenant, we are going to need some help. Contact the nearest Federation starship...we're going to need them to loan us a runabout."

The Trill nodded, then looked at his PADD, Brott's enquiry jogging his memory, 'a small task force passed relatively close by a while ago - I'll see if they can't double back and loan us a runabout.' Riehl looked up from his device, 'better make the briefing quick though, they were in a hurry.'

Brott reached for a nearby PADD, tapped away, and handed it to the lieutenant. "There you go," he replied. "The abridged version. I didn't have time to to the audio cover for you, but that should be good enough. Now, go get us that runabout."

'Sir, yes Sir,' Tilo replied with a grin as he clawed for the PADD with the official request, and heaved his wrestlers bulk up from behind the table. 'Shouldn't take too long for a response.'

A runabout would be faster, and probably more comfortable, Skye thought. To her, the ccomfort as as important as the speed.

"Astor," Brott called out. It had not gone unnoticed that the ensign had been there, but kept her distance. "Runabout or station?" He asked seeking her preference. She did not need to go, not with Ford volunteering. Still, Brott wanted to give her the opportunity to get off the station if she wanted.

“I’d rather stay,” Astor replied after a moments consideration. “We have plenty of maintenance to do. And it’s gonna take some work to completely get rid of the smell.”

Brott clapped his hands together. "Then that is what we will do. Let's make it so."


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