LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Star Trek is trademarked and copyrighted by CBS Studios.
NO infringement is intended. All other material is copyright to Unusualsuspex 2009.
USS ANGEL – CAPTAIN’S READY ROOM
September 9th 2371 – 1505 FST
“Sir I have an incoming transmission for Commander Gray.” Dan looked to Kat who simply shrugged and indicated that the message could be piped into the office.
“Thank you lieutenant, Commander Gray says she’ll take it here.”
Dan offered Kat his seat as the screen cleared from the UFP logo to show a dark skinned woman wearing an inconceivably large, broad brimmed hat.
“Guinan?” Kat grinned uncontrollably. Kat hadn’t seen Guinan in a long time, certainly not since her early days aboard the Covington
“Well well, Commander now? The rank suits you Kat.”
Guinan’s eyes twinkled in amusement as she apprised the young woman she’d mentored all those years ago.
“Well it’s you I need to thank for that.” Dan, who had politely stood out of pickup range, raised his eyebrows. “I’ll explain it over a drink Dan.”
“Is that the good Captain?”
“Yes, we’re in the ready room at the moment.”
“Good because I have a favour to ask and it’s one I think you might just find works in your favour.” Kat beckoned for Dan to join her and as Guinan explained, they both smiled knowingly.
HASKAN INDUSTRIES REGIONAL OFFICE
September 9th 2371 – 1330 FST
The broad open plan foyer spoke of a well organised and affluent business operation which didn’t surprise Spider at all. Ganyol had been many things in his time, but as a businessman he reigned supreme. Now that he’d gone legit, it seemed to only have increased his business acumen which was a good sign as far as Spider was concerned.
As they approached the front desk that carried the company name in holographic chrome letters, a beautiful Orion woman smiled at them in greeting. If the smile was as blinding as a phaser blast, the pheromones she exuded were the equivalent of a photon torpedo broadside and Spider suddenly found himself concentrating hard to remember why he was here.
“Ma’am…erm…Mr DeBat and I are old business associates of Mr…” His thoughts trailed off elsewhere as the receptionist smiled.
“Ganyol,” supplied Dingbat in a stage whisper.
“Yes Mr Ganyol and we were wondering if it was possible to get a message to wherever he may be at the moment.”
The Orion lowered her eyes in what Spider thought was a very seductive manner until he realised she was simply scanning a computer screen. Snap out of it man he thought. Ganyol had certainly found a way to put visitors off their stride that was for sure.
“And you would be Sir?”
“Mr Tarrant. We, erm, knew Mr Ganyol on Tilaak Prime.” If nothing else, Spider knew that would grab Ganyol’s attention.
With a sensuous wave of her hand, the receptionist asked them to wait in a comfortably appointed annex. Taking a seat in the bodyform chairs, Dingbat gave Spider a somewhat forlorn look.
“Are you sure about this Spider?”
Spider shrugged. “What’s not to be sure about? We need maglev compensator sleds, heavy duty ones at that, plus those assorted spares we can’t replicate. Ganyol’s business, or at least one of them, deals in industrial mass transit systems, and the good part is we just deal with him from a remote regional office.” He relaxed back into the chair with his hands behind his head. “Works for me.”
Dingbat, ever the pessimist, still looked worried, and Spider sighed realising that he wouldn’t be comfortable until business was concluded. “Look Dingbat, what we did on Tilaak Prime saved Ganyol’s life. Admittedly he had to leave the planet with nothing but his underwear but I figure that was a good trade. Being the businessman he is Ganyol should appreciate that.”
“And if not?” Dingbat raised his eyebrows expectantly and Spider shook his head in resignation.
“Have you always been this morose or is it old age?”
Before Dingbat had chance to form a retort, the door opened and the receptionist entered on a waft of expensive perfume.
“Gentlemen, if you’d like to follow me, Mr Ganyol would be delighted to see you.”
The two Chiefs sat bolt upright at that.
“See us? He’s here?” Dingbat was already envisioning being removed forcefully from the building while Spider quickly adjusted his sales pitch.
“Yes Sir. Actually you’re lucky to catch him; he was just about to leave for Bajor.”
“Oh yes that was very lucky,” quipped Dingbat, “wasn’t it Mr Tarrant?” But his expression conveyed exactly the opposite as the receptionist led them to the ‘lift.
CENTRAL PLAZA ARCADE
September 9th 2371 – 1330 FST
Vonny leaned on the railing that overlooked a twenty metre drop to the calm ocean below. Aquatic creatures of various hues and sizes swam in and out between the hydraulic stilts that supported the city, with the coral reefs providing a perfect ruby backdrop to their motions. The fresh tang of sea air was bracing, and Vonny breathed it in deeply.
“This is just so perfect,” she sighed, taking more holos of the stunning scenery.
“I couldn’t agree more,” rumbled LJ beside her. “Perhaps I can persuade Jo to take a holiday out here when we both have the chance.” The wistful look on his face made Vonny stop her manic snapping.
“You’re really missing her aren’t you?”
His big shoulders slumped as he sighed. “She’s due to arrive on Adreman the day after tomorrow.” Vonny couldn’t recall seeing LJ looking so lost in a long while. “Is it that obvious?”
“Only to somebody who knows you,” she smiled. “Don’t worry I won’t ruin your fearsome reputation as the big tough security Ensign.” She caught herself grinning at the appellation. “Ensign still sounds so weird LJ. I mean I know it’s only temporary but it’s like…I don’t know, as if we’re really part of something now.”
LJ puffed out his already expansive chest in mock pride. “Well of course for us old hands who have already held the substantive rank…”
Vonny slapped his arm. “Whatever. You’re as chuffed as I am so stop pretending!”
Leaning back on the railing, he relaxed once more. “How is Tevara?”
“Oh she’s fine. Still shuttling back and forth between San Francisco, Paris and enough worlds to fill a travel directory.”
Tevara was Vonny’s partner on Earth, a fellow cadet studying with the Diplomatic Corps. Her current field assignment was working with Ambassador Kaylene Jennings on the Dominion effort, though it appeared that they had reached an impasse. The Dominion refused any form of parley which left a diplomatic solution somewhat unlikely.
“She’s really enjoying her work, but she’s terribly worried about the whole Dominion situation.”
LJ humphed and nodded. “As are we all. Still,” he smiled, offering his arm to Vonny, “There is no point us worrying about it when there is so much to see and so little time to see it. Shall we?”
With the sombre mood broken, Vonny placed her diminutive arm through his. “Thank you kind sir, I shall report your gentlemanly conduct to your fiancée.”
Rolling his eyes he said “Not you as well?”
HASKAN INDUSTRIES REGIONAL OFFICE
September 9th 2371 – 1345 FST
When Ganyol entered the office closely followed by two extremely “heavy” types, Dingbat feared his expectations were about to become reality. To his surprise, Ganyol came up and shook their hands offering them a drink.
“It’s a real pleasure to see you gentlemen. I apologise that my hasty departure from Tilaak Prime didn’t allow me the proper chance to thank you.” He turned to the two minders, and with a nod they disappeared into an adjoining office.
“Though it would have been nice if you could have at least provided me with more in the way of clothing.”
Handing them each a snifter of Saurian brandy, he showed them to comfortable seats around a solid wood table inlaid with the company crest.
Spider indicated the expensive suit that Ganyol now wore. “Looks like you made up for it though. Cheers.” He raised the glass then downed it in one, barely suppressing an expulsion of air as the brandy hit his stomach.
“Still a philistine I see Spider. You’re supposed to appreciate it, not extinguish it.” Ganyol shook his head in mock horror.
“I shouldn’t even be drinking real alcohol on duty. Thought I’d better drink it fast before my wiser compatriot here reminded me of the fact.”
“Ah, so it’s not a social call then?” Ganyol had figured as much already but didn’t say so.
“Much as I adore your company blah blah, we’re here to request your help for a change.”
His interest piqued, Ganyol sat forward in his large chair. “I’m listening.”
Over the next twenty minutes, Spider outlined the problem they faced and his innovative fix requiring parts that simply couldn’t be replicated aboard a starship.
“The sleds are no problem, but the thennite bearings and runner couplings are. We can replicate them but they break down much faster than the production versions. With the amount of pressure we’ll be putting them under, I can’t afford that.”
“So you came to the acknowledged leaders in industrial mass transit systems,” Ganyol said preening slightly.
“Actually, it was a case of you or space dock.”
Ganyol deflated again. “Your business etiquette needs a brush up as well Spider. Still, we have what you need I’m sure. Considering the debt I owe you two gentlemen, I’m sure that can be arranged.”
Dingbat had sat through the whole conversation occasionally interjecting with some technical specification or other, but on the whole remaining quiet. As the meeting appeared to be drawing to a close though, he spoke up.
“Ganyol, I gotta ask…” He paused, fearing the answer. “Maria?”
Ganyol shook his head sadly. “I’m sorry Dingbat. But rest assured she went out like the true lady she was.”
Spider covered his face with his hands. “It was a yacht for god’s sake! And he’s still pining!”
Dingbat wore a look of unrequited love. “Yea but she was a real beauty.”
Within an hour, Ganyol had secured the required parts and arranged for their delivery to the Zethander Dock with little more than a well placed call.
“Seriously gentleman, I owe you my life, despite the somewhat slapstick circumstances. Thank you.” He presented each of them with a vintage bottle of brandy remembering it was one of their favourites. “I won’t tell Starfleet if you don’t.”
Spider smiled appreciatively. “Y’know I never thought I’d live to say this but for a real pain in the ass, you didn’t turn out too bad Ganyol.”
“I’ll take that as the compliment I think it was meant to be.”
He shook their hands as they left the ‘lift into the foyer once more. “If you ever need anything, just call.”
Heading out into the busy street, Dingbat shook his head in disbelief. “How do you do it?”
Spinning the thousand credit bottle in his hand, he looked at his life long buddy and simply said, “Balls of steel Dingbat, balls of steel.”