Obsidian Command

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Pretty Lights

Posted on 28 Mar 2024 @ 3:23am by Brek - Timeless Treasures Art Gallery
Edited on on 31 Mar 2024 @ 6:37am

Mission: M4 - Falling Out
Location: O.C - Brek's Quarters
Timeline: MD 4 - Day 9 Evening
1411 words - 2.8 OF Standard Post Measure

When Brek invited Ara to his quarters instead of taking her to the best restaurant on the Station, she wasn’t surprised. Her little beetle had a knack for twisted facts and arriving at conclusions that were beneficial only to him.

He had made an effort to receive her in style though. The dining room was devoid of clutter, or much personality, come to think of it. Looking at the grey walls and simplistic art on the walls (boring sunsets and holiday resorts), one might assume that a hewmon lived in those quarters. Thankfully there were, on the table, a great number of dishes that smelled heavenly. Roasted snails, and grilled insects accompanied with green and white root vegetables.

Had she been 10 years younger, she would have asked her grandson several questions. Chiefly among them: had he prepared this food himself? Alas, with great age came foreknowledge. Of course Brek had not cooked this food. She doubted he could even prepare a sandwich. This food, he had likely ordered from different restaurants. As for the reason why she wasn’t sitting, right now, in a cosy bistro with fresh flowers on every table and an attentive wait staff, it was because Brek feared she had no manners. He thought she was uncontrollable, that she would criticise everything and make a fuss over every dish, ordering food twice and paying for nothing. Here, in those secluded quarters, no complaint of her would be heard, except by Brek himself, and this didn’t account for much.

She took a seat, and she sighed. Well, since it was only the two of them tonight, she might as well take advantage of the situation and put the pressure on her grandson. It would teach him a lesson: never go against the wishes of a wealthy relative.

Brek, silent so far, had greeted her with a little grin that conveyed a certain nervousness on his part. True, he was a fool, but not a complete one. He could probably tell what would happen tonight.

“Should we start with the canapés with garlicky escargot spread?” He finally asked. “I spent the best part of the afternoon sourcing those special dishes.”

“You did make an effort, I’ll admit that much,” she told him as he handed her a little plate with a colourful assortment of canapés. “If you spent the best part of your time organising this meal, how did you spend the worst part of your afternoon, then, my dear little beetle?”

He shrugged, giving the notion that what he actually did with his life was of no consequence. “Oh, you know, the usual. This and that. Grabbing as much latinum as I can.”

“How much does an art dealer make?” she wondered aloud. She ate a canapé, which kept her silent (and happy, for the finely chopped snail meat was heavenly) for a few seconds. She then added: “It’s a question without an answer, isn’t it? If I let you, you would tell me that your money intakes fluctuate. You have good and lousy weeks. You like it that way, because it’s convenient to hide in the grey zone afforded by the art market. It’s secretive and mysterious and nobody ought to know what you exactly do with your latinum and your time.”

“I’m not sure I like where this conversation is going,” Brek said with a forced smile. “Next you’ll be asking to see my accounts.”

She looked at him blankly. Ferengi males would rather be seen stark naked in plain daylight rather than reveal the actual content of their coffers. “It is a delicate topic. I’m not denying it. It is leading to an interesting point, though: My inheritance will go to the relative, who, at the time of my unfortunate dispatch, will have the most latinum. At the moment, it is not you, Brek.”

Brek, who had been sipping black tea, coughed. He waited a few seconds, and then, instead of losing his temper, as she had expected him to, he took a deep breath and placed the tea cup back on the table. He was, obviously, opting for a diplomatic approach. “It’s not the first time you tell me this, Ara. And yet, here you are, dining with me, calling me every few days, like I was your favourite grandson. If I am of no consequence to you, you shouldn’t spend time with me.”

“I spend time with you because I’m worried, Brek. How many mines do you own? How many gambling venues? How many freighters? Zero. You have nothing.”

“I have you. And more often than not, I regret it.” He looked at her with insistence, which wasn’t something she was used to. “I thought our relationship had reached a certain stability. A symbiosis, if you prefer. I entertain you, because I hope my name will have a prominent place in your will. It is a form of investment. But if you prefer to ruin the whole game and tell me upfront that I’ll get sod all after all I’ve done for you, then you can eff off. This very minute.”

“How very very rude.” Ara said, returning his stare. At her great age, she wasn’t going to be disrespected by a youngster who had not even acquired his first ship. “You will pay for this.”

“How very unambiguous, too.” Brek added. “We are in business of sorts, Ara, or we are not. As it seems that we are not, you are no longer my guest. Don’t touch my food, and go .”back to your life of plenty.”

“I’m not leaving without the treasure map that you promised me, Little Beetle.”

“I never promised you anything.”

“Obviously, you failed to acquire it then.” She sighed. “I can’t say I’m surprised.”

There was a call at the door, and when Brek went to see what it was. Out of spite Ara ate most of the canapés that remained. It wasn’t greed, just disagreement. At 90 she firmly believed that no one had the right to tell her what she ought to do.

When Brek came back, he was carrying a black octagonal box, which, ignoring her, he put on the floor. As he knelt down in front of his new mysterious acquisition, she joined him.

“What is it that you have here?” She inquired.

Brek grumbled. “None of your business.” He then opened the Box, which contained a smaller box and a PaDd, which he consulted.

A minute later, bright lights appear in the room, silver, orange and yellow. Mesmerising they were, in a tacky yet joyous way. Ara had not seen anything like this since her roaring twenties. “What is that?” She asked again. “It looks like a nightclub scene. I had no idea you were into that sort of thing...”

“The only thing I’m into is the making of latinum. This device is from Earth, and I purchased it for one of my customers. It is called a karaoke machine. Now, will you leave me alone?”

“Certainly not, I want to see this thing in action. What does it do, besides having pretty lights?”

Brek gave her an odd glance. “It plays songs, to which people take it in turns to sing.”

“What type of songs?”

“Any songs.” Her grandson got back to his feet. “Listen Ara, you should really go now, I’ve got...”

“I want to see how it works. Do you remember that song from the 70’s? Biggest hit ever. Fantastic marketing and mind-boggling merchandising, They had it all. What was it called? Ah! It’s ‘Let’s Make a Deal.’ Go on, play it.”

“All our songs are rubbish.”

“I guess it only plays silly Hewmon ballads, then. This is so typical of you.”

To prove her wrong Brek located the horrible tune, and he played it. “Here we go... intense drums and thunderous trumpets. This is not music, this is chaos.”

Ara pretended no to hear, and she started to sing, off-key and proud, the lyrics of this unforgettable song, whose first lines were:

In the bazaaaar or on the trading flooooor,
Every deal with youuuu, I adoooore.
I'm counting profits with flair,
In this Latinuuuum Love Affair.

And so and so forth, with delicious puns, which sadly Brek, a complete melophobe apparently, didn’t seem to grasp.


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