Posted on Wed Feb 9th, 2022 @ 11:54am by Lieutenant Commander Hamish Brott
1,340 words; about a 7 minute read
Ninety-Nine Bottles of Swill
Location: Bellwether Station | Brott's Quarters
When it came to Relay Station 97, comfortably was not on the brochure. The only luxury that was to be had on the old subspace communications relay station was that as remote as it may have been for the Federation crew that served aboard it, the station itself had received a significant number of communications coming through the station itself and being relayed to other stations along the greater communications network. RS-97, or Bellwether as the colloquialism had it, was very much like being the only cellular tower for a town by old Earth comparison. It was a hub for communication.
Additionally, it was basically a lighthouse for those, brave enough or crazy enough to venture through the massive ionite nebulae that made up a significant region of space. Several trade routes and shipping lanes were nearby, a few intersected or even bisected through the nebulae. It was risk some were willing to take, especially when it meant getting to their destination ahead of time to please the receivers. Others would take the riskier routes to avoid ’random’ inspections conducted by various authorities.
Federation starships did operate in the broader region, but this was not territorial space that they had much jurisdiction over. Traversed by various species with nearly half a dozen galactic powers with a presence in the area, it was simultaneously everybody’s and yet clearly a no man’s land. The nearest Federation starbase was state of the art and only a few years old, but it was still not exactly within arm’s reach. Two Ferengi Depots were also in surrounding sectors. The Balsonee and Barzan star systems were the nearest in terms of civilizations. Balosnee, part of the Ferengi Alliance while Barzan was a Federation world.
The jovial Bolian had retired to his quarters late in the evening while his Security Chief had watch, and of course he was working hard still at getting someone…anyone of some authority from the Ferengi Alliance to take Brott seriously when he requested an audience. Fortunately, the lieutenant’s persistence would eventually pay off. He was able to get someone that was willing to speak with Brott.
One piece of luxury that the station did have was an actual bathtub that had been heavily modified with sonic technology to generate small sonic waves like the sonic shower, except working with actual water to scrub the grit and grime from the body. In this case, from grime from the cervices of a curvaceous Bolian who’s quarters housed the only bathtub to be had, the others living in a shared suite containing one sonic shower each suite.
Brott was up to his neck in foaming bubbles when the lieutenant had interrupted his soaking with the news that he had located someone who was willing to talk. The issue was, they were only available then and there, no time to delay it. “Patch it through to my quarters, I’ll take it at my desk” Brott responded quickly getting out of the tub, causing the water to slosh back and forth like Bouey in a lake after a boat passed by.
The Bolian grabbed his cashmere bathrobe, slide into it, and loosely tied the belt around his waist, closing up the front. Brott sat down at his small desk that he had in his quarters, much like a student’s desk in a dorm room. The Federation emblem on the screen swiftly changed and the image of a Ferengi, looking disgusted let out a shrilling sound of disapproval. “You take a business communique nearly naked, Bolian?”
Brott chuckled at the Bolian. “I thought your people were not particularly fond of clothing,” Brott fired back. He had a history with Ferengi, and he knew what was going on, and how to milk the situation into a profitable one.
“Fee-males,” the Ferengi replied, his fingers curling and twitching at the sight. “We keep are fee-males naked, Bolian. Males where clothing, it is demeaning to be exposed as such, especially during a business transaction.”
Lieutenant Commander Brott, loosened his robe just slightly and leaned forward, his blue chest taking up some of the screen before he reclined back a bit. This ought to be enjoyable thought Brott. “Well, let’s get straight to business so that you do not have to admire my physique much longer.”
The Ferengi found that more than agreeable. “Yes, please, cover up.”
He knew that he had his fun, and Brott did not want to risk losing the opportunity. He tied the belt tighter, causing the robe to close more snugly. “Right, it looks like you have agreed to talk with me for…” Brott checked a PaDD nearby. He looked over the arrangement. It was hefty, but worth it. “Good choice mister…”
“Bork,” replied the Ferengi sternly. “Congressman Bork of the Ferengi Economic Congress of Advisor, representative of the moon Melnak, home of…”
The Bolian scoffed and waved his hand in a dismissive gesture. “I wanted to speak to someone of importance and prestige, not some lobe-ling Congressman from a desolate moon.” Perfect thought Brott as he saw the anger beginning to form on the Ferengi’s worn face and sunken eyes. “I know who you are. Yes, Melnak home to one of the largest latinum mining facilities in the Ferengi Alliance.”
Brott shook his head. “Word spreads fast around the galaxy, Congressman Bork. The price of Gold Pressed Latinum is nearing dangerously close to an all time low. Right now is not the time to be getting one’s lobe wet in latinum. I believe you may want to start liquidating your assets and remember the Ferengi motto ‘When profit is drying up, sell…sell…sell.”
There Ferengi gasped, seemingly offended. “I cannot sell my mining facility! The price of lantinum is falling every second, Commander. By the time the I find a suitable buyer, the transaction will be voided because the mining facility and the moon will be worthless.”
Now, Brott seized the moment. “Then, you better keep those lobes open, Congressman, and do exactly what I tell you to. Otherwise…” Brott sighed and shrugged. “I may have to do business with someone worth my time and energy.”
The Ferengi nodded. “Just save my business, save Ferenginar!”
Brott smiled. “I suppose that I could do that, but I will need your help. I am not a Ferengi, your government will not exactly listen to me, but they may listen to you…if you did not sound so desperate. I am going to transmit you an image. It from the back of a bottle of Slug-O-Cola, I need to know where the bottle came from.” With that, Brott sent the image of the bottle, the code that was in the Ferengi language did not translate anything but gibberish.
The Ferengi was studying the image and looked up at the screen. “That bottle was bottled by Slug-O-Cola Corporation from one of their bottling facilities on Clarus. What does this have to do with the illness causing a financial nightmare here?”
Lieutenant Commander Brott nodded. “I will send you everything we have explaining the connect, Congressman, but I will need your assistance. I am sending a Federation shuttle to Clarus first this in the afternoon. It will take them several days to arrive, but by the time they reach Ferengi space, I want approval that they will reach Clarus with no issues, no badgering them, no ticketing them. Clear the way, Congressman. You will have a Federation shuttle arriving by the end of the week. It’s destination will be Clarus. Is that clear?”
Congressman Bork nodded. “I’ll inform the Congress, the Ferengi Commerce Association, and the Grand Nagus will know about it.”
Brott smiled. “Pleasure doing business with you,” he said, standing up swiftly. The belt to his robe did not hold, and his bathrobe dropped to the deck. The Bolian ended the transmission and let out a bellyful laugh at the whole thing. Bolian’s were an unabashed people.