Obsidian Command

Previous Next

Artists United

Posted on 11 Mar 2024 @ 7:29am by Brek - Timeless Treasures Art Gallery

Mission: M4 - Falling Out
Location: O.C. Station - Timeless Treasures Art Gallery
Timeline: MD 4 - Day 9
1390 words - 2.8 OF Standard Post Measure

Brek should have a grin on his face going from ear to ear. He had just sold one of his emotion canvases to his own grandmother at a price three times as high as its regular value. Instead he looked like a Ferengi who’s lost the entire content of his e-wallet. The reason for that? The emotional picture that Ara had created was the very one he craved for himself: pure gold with a few specs of crimson red. The image of a healthy Ferengi who knew what they wanted: profit, profit, profit!

“So Kreca’s really left the Station?” Ara asked, as she joined him at the reception desk.

"Absolutely.” He glanced up as Ara approached. "Off she went for adventures, discoveries, and probably blowing through whatever meager latinum reserves she has left, I'm afraid."

"So, you, as her art agent, didn't offer to bankroll her little odyssey?" Ara said, giving him one of her ‘power stare’; unwavering and challenging. "Especially considering the hefty commission you'll rake in from her future paintings?"

Brek observed her through narrowed eyes. Was she serious? Since when did art dealers finance dubious projects? “What kind of fool do you think I’m? I have a reputation to maintain. Besides, Kreca isn’t ‘away’. She never belonged here, and nor do you, Ara. She is where she wanted to be. She said it herself, she’s got a lot to learn - despite her great age.”

Ara grunted. “She is only two years older than you, Brek. And, mark my words: you are a greater fool than she will ever be.”

“Whatever. You sound like you just put the finishing line to your phenomenal epic, in ten volumes: ‘Ara and the Incredible Floodgates of Discontent.’

Ara’s ominous reply died in her throat, cut short by one of those infuriatingly polite coughs – the kind that oozed rudeness by blatantly interrupting a conversation. The culprit was Romulan artist Bajeem, flanked by young Kyrril Novikov, a hewmon. Both of them sported unruly black hair which almost made them look like brothers. They also had identical tight smiles – the type often seen before a silly request is made.

"Who are these youngsters?" Ara muttered, scanning the newcomers with a critical eye. Bajeem, ever the picture of exhaustion and malnutrition, wore a clashing red-and-orange monstrosity of a sweater that screamed "thrift store find." Kyrril, in a misguided attempt to project an air of maturity and seriousness, had donned an ill-fitting black suit.

“Can’t you tell? They are artists," Brek said dryly. "Rest assured, Ara, your canvas will find its way to your quarters within a few hours." He gestured towards the newcomers with a hint of annoyance. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I must attend to these… gentlemen."

Ara scoffed. "Gentlemen? Please. Those two reek of trouble, not refinement. I can practically smell it – the desperation, the idleness. They're after your latinum, plain and simple. But of course, men are so easily blinded by... well, whatever it is they see. Regardless, I expect to see you at eight o'clock sharp tonight. A nice restaurant. Don't disappoint me, Little Beetle."

After Ara had left, Bajeem's smile stretched considerably wider. “Little Beetle, Mr Brek?”

The art dealer sighed. "Enough with the pointless conversation. What do you want?"

A silent exchange passed between the artists. Kyrril's gaze held a silent prompt, urging Bajeem to speak up. Once he did, Brek was bombarded with an avalanche of unwelcome information. It was a tale of woe, a long and tedious explanation of how Bajeem's friends had swindled him. Apparently, they'd convinced him to invest most of his life savings in a fraudulent business venture. Now, utterly destitute, Bajeem lacked even a single slip of latinum to fund his supposed sister's education. The only element missing from this lurid narrative was a heartstring-pulling anecdote about a feral upbringing, where Bajeem and his "sister" had actually been raised by wild animals.

"So what I need," Bajeem concluded, "is an advanced payment on the artwork I'll produce this year."

Brek blinked, flabbergasted by the sheer absurdity of the situation. "Latinum from a Ferengi? Are you under the impression that this gallery harbours a secret financial institution? The Bank of Brek maybe? Some type of charity business where I give my hard earned latinum to all and sundry?” His voice rose with incredulity.. “Do you want my ruination?”

“It’s not like that at all, Mr Brek,” Bajeem quickly added. “I’m truly desperate. My sister’s only ten and...”

“This is none of my business,” Brek insisted. “If you want help, go where the good credits are: The Federation and their Civilian Affairs Department.” He snatched a PaDD, tapped it efficiently, and announced, "Consider this a courtesy. I've sent you the directions to the C. A. office. I'm certain they have a dedicated staff brimming with patience and compassion. Those talents are in short supply in this gallery"

“But Mr Brek, Bajeem and his sister, they are Romulan.” Kyrill pointed out. “And you’ve always said you like to help the Romulans.”

Brek's scowl deepened. “Oh I see what the two of you are doing. You formed some sort of coalition, haven’t you? What is it called? Artist United? I have always been fair with you, and this is how you repay me?”

“Well if we are talking about fairness, Mr Brek,” Kyrill went on. “There is the odd case of the dog I painted for you, for free.”

“So what? You are an apprentice.”

“Sure. But my mum said she gave you good money for that paint. And you kept it all to yourself.”

“Of course I did. Did you forget that I am a Ferengi? A Ferengi whom, by the way, you drugged shameless a little while ago? Spare me the lecture on morality, Kyrill.”

The air crackled with tension in the brightly lit gallery. Several minutes crawled by, painfully slow, and then Bajeem’s tentative voice was heard again. "What if, I..."

Brek's eyes narrowed. "Yes?"

Bajeem hesitated, then blurted out, "I could... perform an exhibition. Every night, for a set period. I would create a new landscape painting, live, in front of an audience, in thirty minutes. It would be a bit messy, but well worth it."

Brek stared at him. A mix of suspicion and disbelief contorted his face. "Why didn’t you start there, then? It would have saved us a great deal of unpleasantness."

Bajeem shook his head, his shoulders slumping slightly. "I... I don't know, Mr Brek. I just need those funds. Quickly. Perhaps a demonstration would be helpful?" He whipped out a PaDD and played a brief video. What began as a chaotic splatter of colors flinging across a canvas - seemingly random and frankly awful - slowly transformed into a captivating night scene by the end of the video.

“Not bad,” Brek mused. “I can see profit in this, quite clearly, yes...”

“Does it mean you will give Bajeem what he needs, Mr Brek?” Kyrill asked, hopeful. “Surely the prospect of drawing larger crowds to this gallery is worth a good reward?”

“No doubt, no doubt,” Brek added, already calculating how much latinum he could make if Bajeem was to give a live performance once a week, for six months. “Our Romulan friend will be paid handsomely. I’ll make sure of that. Don’t count on me to finance his sister’s education, though.”

“You won’t help then...” Kyrill added. "Perhaps I could pick up this performance art technique myself. Imagine, live shows, the two of us... we could be quite the spectacle, Bajeem."

Brek shook his head. He could practically hear Mrs. Novikov's shrill disapproval echoing in his ears. "Best not get ahead of ourselves, shall we? Obviously, Bajeem, you need help. But throwing more money in your direction is not the answer. No, we need something more effective. Something more drastic. Give me the name of those ‘friends’ who swindled you. I’ll sort them out and get your money back."

“You could do that?” The two artists asked at about the same time

“Sure. With a 20% service fee, to pay for my efforts and willingness to help, I’ll even do it this very afternoon. Do we have a deal, Bajeem?”

“A-absolutely Mr Brek!”


Previous Next

RSS Feed