Obsidian Command

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Incursion into the Past

Posted on 01 Oct 2022 @ 12:28pm by Brek - Timeless Treasure Art Gallery

Mission: M3 - Into the Deep
Location: OC - Promenade - Timeless Treasure Art Gallery
Timeline: Timeline: MD06 - 1330HRS
1583 words - 3.2 OF Standard Post Measure

.: [[Timeless Treasure Art Gallery]] :.





The Ferengi friend that Brek had called was going by the nickname ‘The Nephew’. A Terran joke, apparently, which, to this day, neither of them could grasp. His avatar (a wet targ designed to look less than impressive), floated on the main screen, silent. Neph, was unavailable right now, but would be back soonish. This could mean anything, so Brek went to one of the suitcases piled behind the desk, and from the top one he retrieved a bottle of dark rum. He poured himself a glass of his favourite poison, not really dark in colour, more like a deep amber shade, and he took his first sip.

He had first met Neph on Volchok Prime, a trading centre on the edge of Ferengi space. Then aged 18, this is how far his savings had taken him after leaving Ferenginar. This was also where his freedom, along with many fantastic adventures, all leading to crazy wealth, were supposed to start. Obviously none of that had happened, otherwise he wouldn’t be opening a small gallery on a Federation starbase. Had his plan turned out right, he would own several mining colonies by now. Instead, he was rich in knowledge, and rather lacking - as far as Ferengitude went - in latinum.

Did he regret it? Plenty. On the other hand, he was now in his mid-thirties and he was still happily breathing. Had things developed differently, he might have died some 2 weeks after setting foot on Volchok. It wasn’t that in that short lapse of time he had made any enemy (back then, he hadn’t been shrewd enough to antagonize anyone). Rather the whole settlement had been against him - or more appropriately - a lobeling like him, who knew absolutely nothing of space, had been ill-equipped to survive a world where you could get fleeced (i.e. all your organs would end up on the black market), for looking in the wrong direction.

Neph had saved him from this indignant fate. Neph, 25 year old at the time, liked to describe himself as some kind of dispossessed royalty. He came from a long line of dock workers, who centuries ago had owned a little something on Volchok. This fleeting memory was attached to a string of butchered ancestors, as each of them failed to retain the properties that they had themselves stolen from others.

People often get the impression that all Ferengi are wealthy and successful, but for one happy owner of a pyramid of latinum, there are dozens of poor sods behind, whose enterprises have failed one after the other, and who are so desperate that they would do absolutely anything just to get a few bars of the shiny metal in their pockets.

As he returned to his comfortable chair, Brek’s mind continued its incursion into the past.

.: [[Volchok, Trading Center - Ferengi Space]] :.


Brek had just disembarked from “Harmonic Mean”, the freighter that had brought him, with some twenty passengers, to Volchok. In his mind, it had been a vibrant community where the delicious smell of food, sold by street vendors, floated in the air. Instead the air was vile. There was something fishy and acrid about it, and the port was pretty much deserted. Not a ground car to be seen, and no merchants either. Instead, the sky was crisscrossed with drones of various sizes, all going about their mindless business, while producing an incessant buzzing.

Five minutes later, while he was consulting a map of the town, a security guard had stopped him. The man, easily in his fifties, checked his identity, along with his place of employment, the Asax House, where he would be working as an accountant.

“Cooking books, I see,” the security guy had grunted. “I don’t know why we need so many of ‘em cooks. The ‘brew’ in this town can’t be salvaged. Still, I guess a little oke like you can’t create much damage. You’d better be on your way then, and make yourself useful.”

Moments later, Neph had introduced himself, and for a few slips of latinum, he had guided Brek to Asax House, and also to an inn where the prices were decent, but the food wasn’t.

“So, you should heed my advice. Don’t eat anything under that roof.” Neph had said. “The lady in charge, she laces the food with special ingredients. Makes the clients sick. They are easier to rob like that.”

“I’d rather pay a little more and...”

Neph had interrupted him. “Don’t be a fool. If the folks around here get the notion that you’ve got latinum, they’ll bug you till you’ve got nothing left. And then they will encourage you to borrow. If that happens, you might want to go over the hills past the Pwalty forest, and dig your own grave, ‘cause you’ll never be allowed to leave this hellhole.”

“I must admit, I thought Volchok would have been a little brighter...” Brek had remarked. “Is it where you are, with debts?”

“Do I look that stupid?” That was the first time Neph had looked angry.

“Not at all. I was just... Say, since you seem to know everything about this place.” Brek added quickly, eager to change topic. “Do you know where I can find Gribel? He is a friend of mine. Joined this world two years ago.”

“Hmm...” Neph (his face was already severely scarred back then, the result of an acid attack) glanced at him. “You’ve got decent shoes, I could show you. It’s not that I know him personally. But I’ve heard of him. Follow me, and don’t lag, it’s a long walk.”

Two hours later and some heavy sweating on Brek’s part, they had reached the edge of a cliff. Beneath them, a violent sea, actually purple, raged and foamed. Beyond, in the distance, there was a vast construction with multiple black towers.

“Is it where Gribel lives?” Brek asked. “It looks quite inaccessible.”

“That’s Mendez Heavy Industries. No one lives there. It’s a factory. They build ships. Everything’s controlled and operated by robots and drones, and no one can get there. This also means that no one can stop them from polluting the place. Forget MHI. I’m showing you Grib’s resting place. He had a nasty encounter 6 months ago.” Neph was now staring at the heavy sea. “He didn’t make it in one piece, I’m afraid.”

By then Brek had stepped away from the cliff’s edge. “Is that what’s... what’s going to happen to me, too? You’ll make sure I go down there.” At that point, he had been so scared, all he could think of was to fumble in his pockets, to get all his latinum out and give it to Neph.

“I’m not in the habit of pissing against the wind, Brek.” I’ve already been paid to take care of you. Take care in a good way, that is. I’m only showing you the landmark, so that you know the places that are best avoided. Come on, let’s get back to town.”

“Who’s paying you?”

“Can’t tell. It’s part of the deal.”

.: [[Timeless Treasure Art Gallery]] :.


“You still there?”

Neph’s voice startled Brek and he spilled some of his drink on the floor.

“Neph! I was miles away.”

On the screen the targ avatar bobbed its head. “I’ve got the item you wanted. It’s going to cost you twice the initial price, B. Getting my hand onto that thing was tortuous, you can’t imagine. Never ask me anything like that again.”

“You didn’t have to accept the deal, you know.” Brek remarked.

“Yeah, well, if I could make my living in a different way, I would. Besides, you know me, I can’t refuse you anything.”

“What you mean is that I pay you generously and on time.”

“Maybe there is a little bit of that too. I’m sending you the file, B. Enjoy the read.”

Brek was eager to do so, but right then Glutik came back. The Tellarite now had a short beard, and his face now looked more menacing, by making his tusks more apparent. So not the improvement that Brek had expected. Although right now, this was somewhat tempered by Glutik’s big round eyes. The look he often gave when he thought he had discovered something splendid and unmissable.

“Boss, you’ll never guess what!,” He boomed, staying by the office’s door, as he had been advised to do. “There’s a casino on this station! And not only that, it doubles as a bar, restaurant and holosuite! Krught! We’ve got to see that! Have some fun after all this work. You can bet: wine, gossip, women, they’ll have it all over there!”

“Not now, Glutik, I’m busy. Come back in a couple of hours. There is something urgent I must do,” Brek countered.

“More urgent than making latinum the easy way, boss?”

“I’m not sure my ill-luck falls asleep, let none wake her.” Brek countered. “There is no way I’m spending my money in that sort of establishment. If you want to play, use your own cash.”

“Darn it, you are soooo boring Boss!”

 

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