Chapter 2, part 1
Quark sat on his bed, while he waited for Rom to return the call he had sent out. He felt a little annoyed because he had intended to spend this time in the holosuite, trying his newly acquired program Vulcan Love Slave Five. Alas tonight he would not be seeing scantily clad Vulcan women, desperately trying to make love to him, and all of them suffering from pon farr...
“Transmission received,” said the computer.
Stretching his stiff arms, Quark got up and walked over to his console. Pressing a command, the screen activated, showing Rom in his office.
“Hello brother,” said Rom in his always warm and welcoming voice. “I didn't expect you to call so soon.”
“This isn't a house call Rom,” Quark reminded, he wanted to make this conversation as short and as brief as possible. “Before I go any further just how secure is your end of the comm link?”
Rom looked somewhat puzzled to hear this. “I can encrypt this transmission with the highest security levels if necessary.”
“Then please do so, there are some... sensitive issues to discuss.”
The screen went black before the video feed returned. “I've encrypted the transmission,” said Rom.
“Good...” said Quark, before he cut to the chase. “Today I've heard a rumour of sorts that the Ferengi Alliance is secretly funding Apocalypse. Is this true?”
“Uh...” replied Rom, stalling for time. “I don't know what you are talking about brother.”
Quark sighed, because he instantly realised from Rom’s nervousness to his quick reply, that his brother was lying. “Rom don't try to lie to me, you were never very good at obfuscation, so you may as well preserve what dignity you have left and tell me the truth!”
“But who are you going to talk to about this conversation we’re having?”
“Colonel Kira of course,” said Quark a little impatiently, he could not understand Rom’s reluctance to spill the beans. “She asked me to contact you!”
“And what does the colonel want with this information-I mean why doesn't she ask me herself?”
“Ha! So you do admit it, the Ferengi Alliance has been secretly funding Apocalypse!”
“I never said that!” protested Rom.
“You alluded to it,” replied Quark, trying to sound as patronising as possible. “Listen are you going to tell me or not, because right now I've got better things to do than talk to you!”
Rom grimaced in a frustrated manner, and it seemed something else was holding him back from telling Quark everything. “Even if I wanted to give you the information, I can't! It would be too dangerous!”
At the mention of dangerous, Quark became ten times more engaged with the conversation. Just what had his brother gotten himself involved in here? “Does mother know about this?”
“Not exactly...” said Rom slowly, avoiding Quark’s stare.
“By the Blessed Exchequer!” exclaimed Quark. “Just how deep are your lobes in this mess?”
“Listen I can give you details, but promise me you won't tell to Kira the names I'm about to tell you!”
“I promise brother,” said Quark, making the Ferengi hand gesture of trustworthiness.
With that Rom then launched into a full explanation of how the Ferengi Alliance funded Apocalypse.
Quark was astounded by what he heard. It seemed clear that Apocalypse had only grown so rapidly in the last ten years because of Ferengi funding. The Ferengi government provided Apocalypse with millions of bricks of gold-pressed latinum. While Apocalypse used this to build the station, its ships, arenas and purchase mercenaries and weapons. The ingenious part was that the Ferengi companies could advertise their produce on the Apocalypse media, and reach an audience of trillions of people, trillions of new customers.
Quark was even more surprised when Rom told him it was his idea to assist Coplin, and his business partner Nemoltz, to set up Apocalypse. However the more Quark found out, the more his apprehension grew. He was going to have to tell this to Kira, and likewise she would tell the Federation about the Ferengi funding of Apocalypse.
But if the Federation found out there would be diplomatic and economic consequences, consequences that Rom did not seem to realise right now.
“Rom I hate to interrupt you but we have a serious problem!”
Quark shook his head, at times Rom’s stupidity could be maddening. “I have to tell Kira this, and she’ll tell Starfleet, and then the Federation will realise your government has been helping Apocalypse. Do you see now the dangers of funding Apocalypse?
“Oh no!” exclaimed Rom, his eyes wide with fear. “If the Federation knows, then they could carry out a trade embargo of the Ferengi Alliance… Unless of course you don’t tell Kira about what I told you!”
“You don’t get it do you?” said Quark angrily. “If I don’t tell Kira everything, and I don’t think I’ll be able to lie and get away with it, she’ll ruin me!”
“And if you do tell her, you’ll ruin the entire Ferengi economy!” shouted Rom.
“Just calm down!” said Quark, placing his hands up. “There is a way out of this mess and that’s damage control.”
“Damage control?” quoted Rom.
“It’s simple, you withdraw all funding from Apocalypse, and so that way when the Federation comes knocking at your door, you can say to them you did the right and noble thing.”
Quark paused as he thought about his solution, as he did so he absentmindedly rubbed a finger against his right ear. “Also tell them that you didn’t realise that Apocalypse was abducting people and attacking ships, stations and worlds in Federation territory.”
Rom’s mouth dropped in horror. “Apocalypse has been attacking the Federation?”
“Don’t tell me you had no idea of what Apocalypse has been getting up to recently?”
Now Rom looked a little guilty. “The truth is Apocalypse never did inform the Ferengi government about exactly what the money was used for. Also I did hear rumours that Apocalypse was behind the hit-and-run raids in the Federation and elsewhere, but I thought they were just rumours.”
brother?” said Quark disbelievingly. “You are the Grand Nagus, how could you not know what was going on?”
“That’s not the only problem. If my government withdraws funding from Apocalypse, I could make some considerable enemies amongst the business community.”
“And if you do nothing the Federation will ruin the Ferengi economy, and you will make even more enemies!”
Rom looked a little taken back to hear this, he seemed to be doing some considerable soul searching. “Alright I’ll see if I can get my government to withdraw Apocalypse funding.”
“That’s all I ask for,” said Quark with a slight bow. “But do take care brother, what you are about to do is very unpopular and there could be challenges to your position!”
Despite Quark’s warning, Rom looked resolutely at his brother. “Whatever happens to me doesn’t matter, I did the right thing, and if I lose this title as Nagus then so be it!”
The transmission ended, and though Quark thought Rom’s tenacity to abide to righteousness and justice was a little stupid, he could not help but admire Rom’s bravery. However misguided it was…
Day 3, 1000 hours
Quark received some stares from the officers in Ops, but he ignored those and proceeded to the commander’s office.
The moment he had entered the office, Kira had looked up from her work. “What did you find Quark?”
“It seems you were right,” said Quark, and he slid a padd across the desk to Kira. “The Ferengi Alliance is providing significant amounts of funding to Apocalypse. Furthermore the Ferengi Alliance has a vested interest in Apocalypse because it can advertise Ferengi company's produce to the trillions of people who watch Apocalypse.”
For a moment there was silence as Kira read Quark’s report, afterwards she lowered it and looked at Quark rather thoughtfully. “Is there any means to stop the Ferengi Alliance's funding of Apocalypse?”
“The only way would be for the Grand Nagus himself to demand a cessation in funding. Rom assured me he would look into the matter, but I can't promise you anything. One last thing; given the size of Apocalypse I'm certain that the Ferengi Alliance are not the only ones to be funding Apocalypse. There could be third party involvement.”
Kira face betrayed a little surprise, and Quark knew that he had given her some really useful information.
“Thanks Quark, I owe you one,” said Kira giving him a brief smile.
“Don't mention it...” said Quark pretending to be modest, he thought it was now best to ask whether he had fulfilled Kira’s terms. “Does that mean I won’t have to pay any taxes?”
“I suppose I can continue to keep looking the other way,” said Kira, though she looked undecided. “For now of course…”
“Thank you colonel,” said Quark, and giving Kira a polite nod, he turned to leave the office.