December Challenge: True Originals
The challenge -to create a fanfic that is populated with only your own original characters.
It was the last place in the universe anyone would want to be. People did not come to this place by choice. They came by necessity. Sometimes by accident. Sometimes it was the only option open to them. For some it was a refuge. For some it was a hiding place. For some it was a stopover. For some it was a hellhole they could never escape. For most it was the edge of the Frontier. They knew it to be the beginning of the Border Lands, that wild and chaotic region of space that knew no government and knew no rules. For some this place then was a vestige of civilisation and law and order. In reality it was a miasma of criminals, refugees, hard luck stories and wild adventurers.
“Welcome ... to Jericho Station ... cough ... hack ...agh!” The cragged Ferengi coupled over in haggard coughing, hacking up an undesirable sight which he deposited at the feet of a black clad Vulcan female and smartly dressed Cardassian male. When he was quite finished he smiled through gnarled yellow teeth and whistled a breath of vile air at his passengers at the airlock.
The Vulcan woman closed her eyes and nose to the sight and onslaught. She turned to take in the sight in front of her. The dark and dank surrounds of the frontier outpost known as Jericho Station. One of the Federation Alliance’s furthest and most far flung outposts. Judging by the interior, a dull and dreary claustrophobic foreboding presence to many of the place’s first time visitors,
She noted a rather casually uniformed lieutenant come bounding up to them. “Lovely, Phlegm. Just lovely.” The enthusiastic lieutenant beamed a very warm smile at the visitors to the station. His face was unshaven and his hair straggly and he very much cut the rugged hunk. As an aside for the Ferengi to overhear he told the visitors, “Never mind our lovely friendly neighbourhood Ferengi. I think I’ll make a better tour guide than he.”
Stopping from picking his nose the hairy eared Ferengi harangued, “Eh! What about giving me a tip?”
Despite herself, the Vulcan pass remarked. “I suggest you take avail of a bath.”
“A pity that pretty mouth of yours is so smart. Bleedin’ Vulcans. We were best being rid of the lot of you!” He looked as though he were going to spit on the Vulcan who looked upon him as though he were a disgusting bug.
“Phlegm! Take your credits and go.” Phelgm greedily grabbed at the handful of gold pressed latinium coins and quick as a flash squirrelled them away under his cloak. He did not bother to wave them goodbye but tossed the last of their crates out of the airlock hatch and closed the door without ceremony to them. Dale assisted the quiet Cardassian to pick up the pieces of luggage. He offered an apologetic appeasement to the travellers. “I must apologise. He’s rather an acquired taste. However, there are not many that will brave the journey out as far as the Border Lands.”
“Our flight was uneventful.” The statement implied that the bravery of the Ferengi could be questioned. Knowing Phelgm as he did, Dale Garrow did doubt it but did not doubt the man’s greed, thus motivation for making the perilous journey.
“That I gathered by your making it here. Trust me, if it had been eventful we would never have heard of you again. By and by, my name’s Dale Garrow. I presume you are ...”
“To presume would be a breach of security lieutenant.”
“Then by all means identify yourself.”
Her look was haughty and her tone echoed it as she awaited for him to pull out the security padd check. Into it she directed her clearance code. “I am Dr. Ajshea, Starfleet security code Shrika-3-4-C-7-Omega-6.” Garrow himself held the device aloft carelessly. It seemed protocol was not a priority despite the claims about how dangerous this region of space was.
The Cardassian spoke. “I am Braham Oses. Starfleet security code Detla-9-Epsilon-4-2-8-Shrika.” His voice was courteous and soft and yet held your attention. “Are things really that desperate out here?”
Shrugging the items he carried into a better position, Dale explained good naturedly. “That they are. Pirates, smugglers and slavers, bounty hunters, rampaging Klingons, skulking Rommies, the ... ahem ... the Union Forces.” Dale looked carefully sideways at the Cardassian lest he had trampled on any potentially political animosity. There apparently were none by the stoic expression the Cardassian bore. The thought crossed Dale’s mind that perhaps the Cardassian was as amenable as he seemed or perhaps the Vulcan woman had a greater impression on him. Dale’s voice which had been light and breezy numerating the many dangers that were out in the Border Lands turned cold and serious as he added a final, “and of course ... them.”
The change in tone and the gravity of his words did not seem to affect the slim striking Vulcan. “Have there been any confirmed sightings? Until then all manner of talk about ‘them’ is pure speculation.”
“Oh don’t me wrong a fair share of the rumours about them are just that – rumours! It helps to keep the fringes of the Alliance that little more wild and helps the pirates and slavers and warlords to have their way and keep control. With our resources spread so thin policing this region of space is not exactly high on the agenda.”
They started threading their way through the bustling promenade. Neon lights and orange spots illuminated the thoroughfare in a macabre almost gloomy light. The many soiled and uncouth residents of the vicinity only adding to the destitute impression the station was having on the two travellers. The two strangers were both being cast at the least dubious looks by those they passed by. And outright hostile looks by the others. In particular, murderous looks were given to Ajshea who walked on oblivious to the hostility she engendered.
A little cagey at the attention they were garnering Braham stated, “I had thought the Federation Alliance was beginning to make a concerted effort to do so.” He gave the intimidating looks a thin smile but feared that perhaps someone would act on revenge and lash out at Ajshea.
“Maybe in more important and profitable places than Jericho, Dr Oses. Welcome to the frontier. You left civilisation behind you by a long mile. And heck going by the recent feeds, civilisation isn’t that pretty.”
Striding ahead, the Vulcan reprimanded, “Our purpose here is not to make idle chat or make speculations about the political strife in the inner core.”
Braham apologised on her behalf. “Excuse Ajshea, Mr. Garrow. She is eager to see the station commander and be underway with our mission.”
“Perhaps you would let me lead the way then.”
She stopped short whirring round on the lieutenant. “I assume that the commander is on the command level. Therefore, following the directional signs will suffice.”
“Ah well ... he is not exactly on the command level.”
She raised a withering eyebrow at him. “Then where is he?”
“He is only a level up on Bazaar One.”
“That like this level is a venue for commercial enterprises, entertainment, salacious activities and drinking establishments is it not?”
Garrow looked discomfited as he had to explain the curious whereabouts of the station’s commanding officer. “Well Bazaar Two is aimed for a more shall we say downmarket crowd. Bazaar One has a more ‘discerning’ clientele.”
The sarcasm dripped off her tongue. “How reassuring it is to know that the commander is discerning.”
“Yeah.” He trailed off into nervous laughter thinking that only reason the commander was on Bazaar One was because he had recently won big in the casino. A profit the station commander was quickly ploughing through in the more expensive establishments of Bazaar One instead of his usual haunts on Bazaar Two.
“Take us to him then forthwith.”
Dale was perturbed at the idea of interrupting the Commander in the middle of whatever more discerning activities he might be engaged in. “Would you sooner not be brought to your temporary quarters?”
“We intend for the temporary quarters to be very temporary. In fact we intend to have no need for them. Our arrangements were made well in advance and we expect the fullest co-operation for our mission. If it is too much to expect to be met by the ranking officer on the station I can at least assume that the matter of our mission arrangements has been met.”
“Ah ... as to that, I do not wish to speak for the Commander.” Dale nervously sidestepped the issue doubtful of any such efficiency on the commander’s part. “This way please.”
She sniffed with an evident air of dissatisfaction.
* * *
The Willing Wench brought another sniff of dissatisfaction from the Vulcan as they stood outside it. The garish blue and purple neon lighting did little to create the impression of an upmarket establishment for a discerning customer. She voiced that opinion loudly before they entered.
“It is more discerning not for the soft furnishings but rather for the ... ahem ... attentive ... the erm quality ... the looks of ...”
Oses smiled thinly but honestly as he tried to appease Garrow. “Please Lieutenant do not discomfort yourself from explaining. We do not seek to cause you embarrassment.”
“Nor is there a need, it is clear that this is a brothel of some kind, a rather dubious kind. The male of a species is truly a pathetic specimen.” Her contempt was clear and under her breath Dale heard her mutter something along the lines of ‘unbridled passions’.
Dale ignored the woman and entered into the bar and after looking around approached a figure. “Ahem. I was wondering where Commander Anthbek is?”
The voluptuous landlady of the establishment trailed off from laughing and giggling in the lap of drunken Bolian. “Oh Mr Garrow. It has been awhile since you’ve paid me a visit.”
Garrow blushed and gave a furtive sideways look at the two who accompanied him. “Heh! I guess my Starfleet pay check doesn’t stretch to such luxuries Lili.”
“Tut, tut.” She stood up from the Bolian’s lap and came up to him, grabbing the lapels of his open uniform jacket. “We should always treat ourselves – the joy is always worth it.” She gave the two strangers an appraising look. “I see you haven’t brought me any willing customers. What’s the deal Dale?”
“A matter for the Commander. An urgent matter.”
“He has other pressing matters on his mind and body at present.”
“Out the back?”
“Of course Dale, I like to run a discrete establishment.”
“This is ridiculous.” The Vulcan woman rolled her eyes and stepped towards the entrance that led ‘out the back’. Lilli quickly stepped in front of her, arms out declaring the way blocked. Ajshea arched a disapproving and irked brow at the woman’s actions.
“Sorry hon’ but nobody goes through those doors without gracing my palm with the appropriate coinage.” For effect she extended her hand baiting the Vulcan to pay her so.
Ajshea gave the hand an offended look and wrinkled her nose. The disgust on her face clearly implied that she felt sullied by even being in the presence of the woman. “I will not grace your hand with anything. I have no idea where it has been. I am not your hon’ nor am I one of your pathetically bridled customers. I have no need to avail of the sexual services you ply here. I am a Vulcan.”
“Well hon’ I’ll see you at some point in the next seven years then shall I? I got that you were a Vulcan. The pixie ears and dreadful bowl cut hair do where the most obvious signs until you opened that pretty mouth of yours and I realised you to be a stuck up, sanctimonious, arrogant bitch. Then I knew for sure you was a Vulcan.”
“If I have need to sate my sexual urges I can do so for free. Yours is a tawdry business and I have no need to pay you for any services you have to offer. Now if you will excuse me, I am going to talk to Commander Jorga Anthbek.”
“He would be out back. So it would seem you need to go back there.” Lilli permitted herself a victoriously smug smile.
Ajshea breathed heavily through her nose before stepping back from the woman and the doorway. She looked the woman up and down carefully as if weighing up her chances in a fight. Lilli for her part fingered a small ivory handle blade at her waist whilst she signalled for her doormen to come over to her.
Ajshea carefully considered the situation and took a further step back before she hollered at the top of her voice, “COMMANDER JORGA ANTHBEK!”
Lilli protested as she rounded on the Vulcan. “Now you listen here you pointy eared witch! I will not have you disturbing the peace of my establishment.” From the corridor behind the door a commotion was heard and a lot of cursing to boot.
Oses stepped up to Ajshea and carefully guided her back from the landlady’s ire. The scene was obviously distressing to someone of his demeanour. He wanted to quell the situation but Lilli’s continued screams were not easily placated. The doormen also interjected causing Dale Garrow to now step in and try to restore some order to the ensuing brawl.
“What in the name of all that is cold and holy is going on out here?” From the door stormed a dishevelled middle aged Andorian, almost tripping over his unbuttoned trousers.
In her most conceited voice, Ajshea declared, “Commander Anthbek. I have need to speak with you urgently to matter pertaining to the security of the Federation Alliance.”
“Is that all! I was in the middle of...”
“I do not wish to speak of what you were in the middle of. We will speak. Now!”
Commander Anthbek zipped up his trousers with a sharp tug, implying his patience was run out. He only managed to snag ‘himself’ very painfully. Anthbek bent over in pain as Lilli rushed to attend him. After wincing and crossing his legs, Dale Garrow also came up to his commander.
Again Braham tried to be the pacifier to the disarray. “Or at the most convenient moment for the Commander. The matter is of much import.”
“Now might be the best time to discuss matters as he will surely now be thinking with his brain and not his...”
* * *