Chapter 1, part 2
Day 5: 1600 hours
One of the most boring features of a vacation, was the time spent travelling to the destination. It was a five day journey travelling from DS9 to Ferenginar. Megan past the time by reading books from a pad in the privacy of her quarters, or writing into her personal log. This was something she had recently started doing, she wrote everything that she was feeling and thinking into her log. It was a means of easing the emotional pain, by directly confronting the memories of Tau Primia and Bordak.
Sometimes though she was with only Bashir or occasionally Nog in the quarters. When it was just her and Nog in the quarters there was a painful silence, however when she alone with Bashir the two talked nearly non-stop. At first they exchanged stories about their lives, though Megan was careful to avoid telling Bashir anything about Tau Primia, Bordak or Jack. She thought that Bashir was a friendly person, though sometimes he was infuriatingly clever.
She also found some amazing facts about Bashir: that he was genetically engineered at the age of six to become smarter and physically stronger, and of course some of his medical achievements. Like finding a cure for the quickening virus, and discovering a method to allow for a humanoid and a shapeshifter to have children.
Currently Megan was in her quarters, with Bashir and Nog, she looked up from the pad when she noticed Bashir and Nog dealing with some very unusual looking cards. The two were sitting on a hard-back sofa, on the table in front of them was a few strips of gold pressed latinum.
Megan’s curiosity was sufficiently piqued that she disregarded the pad. “What are you doing?” she asked them.
“Tongo,” said Nog, he was concentrating immensely on the cards held in his hands.
“Never heard of it...” said Megan.
Nog seemed too focused to explain to Megan what tongo was. Whereas Bashir looked totally relaxed and in control of the game, and he gave Megan an explanation. “Basically tongo is sort of like a combination of cards and roulette and can be played with two to eight players. The object of the game is to win by acquiring as much wealth, usually gold pressed latinum, as possible. On any given turn, a player may "confront", "evade", "acquire", or "retreat". Each venture has a "risk" amount, a "buy" amount, and a "sell" amount, where the risk amount is equal to the sell amount minus the buy amount.”
Bashir laid down his cards. “Total monopoly,” he said.
Nog looked beside himself with frustration and exasperation, he stood up and threw his cards onto to the floor. “Damn you Julian! How do you do it? Every time whether we’re playing by ourselves or with Quark, you nearly always win!”
Nog calmed down somewhat, and sat down on the sofa in a huffy manner. “Julian here wins six games out of every seven when he plays with me.”
Megan though had no interest in gambling, she thought it was a huge waste of time. “So your basically going to Ferenginar to gamble?” She threw in a huge amount of disapproval to her voice, to make it implicitly clear what she thought of it.
“Not exactly,” said Nog. “We'll be walking around as well. You see ever since the Ferengi built a weather-control station on their homeworld, they've tamed the planet's climate. It was a rain-soaked place, but now the climate is quite... temperate. Anyway the point is with no more rain the true beauty of Ferenginar's geography was revealed: forests, mountains and other special geological features. As such it is an excellent place to walk around.”
Bashir elaborated on his and Nog’s vacation plans. “Nog and I decided to spend the day walking, well actually it's more like hiking, around, and in the night we hit the tongo wheels and gamble.”
“And it's best if you were to get familiar with the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition,” added Nog, “that's probably your best safeguard against the Ferengi short-changing you.”
“I'll keep that in mind,” said Megan.
Bashir got up and walked over to the bag containing his personal possessions, he bent down and extracted from the bag a book. He then walked back to Megan. “Here take my copy of the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition, it’s divided into two sections: the old Rules of Acquisition and the new Rules of Acquisition. It’s an interesting read if you ignore the advice it gives about woman.”
Megan took the book from Bashir’s hands. “Let me guess, it’s absolutely sexist and tells women to stay in the kitchen and make babies, correct?”
Nog grimaced in an embarrassed way. “Something like that, the old version of the Rules of Acquisition tramples upon many Federation sensibilities.”
Day 6: 1700 hours
Quark was an old-fashioned Ferengi: greedy, manipulative, devious and sexist to the core. As he walked into the Ferengi tower of commerce, he still found it somewhat difficult to see clothed female Ferengi and worse still female Ferengi who were working and making profit.
After eighteen years that taboo didn’t feel so strong to Quark, but what really bothered Quark was that his people were less greedy. Twenty years ago if he had entered the Ferengi tower of commerce to see the Grand Nagus, he would have to pay just to arrange the meeting with the secretary at the desk, use the lift (or for free climb the most steepest sets of stairs ever known on Ferenginar), and so forth.
Everything that he did inside the building would have once cost him latinum, now however all of that was abolished. He blamed Rom for all of this, Rom was turning the Ferengi race into a bunch of sentimental, law-abiding and moral hew-mons! Though Quark had to admit the human way of doing things became quite infectious after a while.
He had come to Ferenginar on the request of his brother. Rom had been quite vague when in his transmission to Quark, he said that he had found the ‘opportunity of a lifetime.’ On the other hand, Quark had to leave his bar to pursue this opportunity. He trusted Jake, his business partner, to keep things ticking over. Jake had set up a restaurant right next to Quark’s bar, and the two had agreed to combine the two business’s together to increase profits.
At last Quark, was standing outside the door to the Grand Nagus's office. The two Ferengi security guards checked him over, and then nodded to him once to give him the all clear.
Quark knocked once on the door.
“Enter,” said Rom.
Quark walked in, he glanced around to see what had changed to the office. It had been over a year since he stepped inside this office, but by the looks of it nothing had really changed. For a Ferengi, Rom had become surprisingly spartan in his tastes for worldly goods. Three of the walls were shrouded by various plants, Rom had over the years developed an obsession with botany.
Various types of vines arced over the door, while from the door there was of course the window, divided symmetrically by brown support columns. To the left of the room was Rom’s desk, it was shaped in a 120 degrees cross-section of a circular torus. Propped against one side of the desk was the Grand Nagus's sceptre.
Quark closed the door and walked over to the desk. Rom looked up from a console and gave Quark a toothy smile. “Brother, I knew you would come!”
Even though Quark loved his brother, profit nearly always came first. “Make it quick Rom, leaving my bar for over a week is not very profitable.”
Rom looked slightly nervous, he still sometimes mumbled and stuttered in front of his brother. “Err... I know, but I need your help to compose a currency deal with the Ferengi Alliance and the Cardassian States.”
Quark laughed out loud. “Your pulling my lobes, a currency deal?”
Despite Quark’s derision, Rom wasn’t put off, he chucked to Quark a Ferengi padd. “I'm serious brother, if the deal works the Cardassians will be using our currency!”
As he looked at the pad, Quark laughter steadily diminished until he became silent. “Your right, you DO need help composing this deal. Look at these concessions: splitting the Badlands between the Ferengi and Cardassians, exchange of technology, a free 'gift' of medical supplies.”
He looked up from the padd and gave a scathing look at his brother. “Rom your an idiot, if the Cardassians use our currency then our exports to them will be worth considerably less. There's a reason why interplanetary states, well the civilized ones, use their own currency because they have control over it. The Cardassian States and the Ferengi Alliance are two very different economies.”
“I know that brother. But look at the benefits of this deal: Cardassian nanotechnology, for instance, is the most superior in the entire Alpha Quadrant! By acquiring it industrial costs could be potentially cut by up to 95%, and using just energy we could replicate any substance you could think off!”
The implications were absolutely profound to Quark, perhaps his brother did have the lobes. He was so shocked he rose from the chair and walked a few steps in apparent bewilderment. “Which would give us a total monopoly on the supply of just about everything we export and import,” said Quark slowly, he then turned around to look at Rom excitedly. “We could fix prices, provide virtually risk-free commodity trading! The Cardassians could do the same, but it would be even as they would be our only competitor! So this currency union is just a pretext for acquiring Cardassian nanotechnology?”
“No it's a gesture of friendship and goodwill.”
“I'll pretend I didn't hear that,” said Quark in a dismissive tone, he paused as he thought about the deal. “But even you have to admit that there is serious money-making potential to this currency deal...”