Book One – Chapter three
Crew calls and a Ferengi?
It’s a new day and I was in a good mood.
After haunting the Depot for two days I was starting to see some daylight on the list of supplies and equipment I needed.
Chuck told me everything will be processed smoothly if I furnish the two hundred and fifty men to get all of the equipment serviced, loaded and ready for transport. Ha!
I had to call the Bajoran embassy to see if they had any suggestions as to how we could get things rolling in the labor department.
So far I hadn’t got one application for crew assignments.
I suggested to them that we list on the civilian net, for temporary crew assignments of people wishing to travel to Bajor, Deep Space Nine, or parts unknowns.
Vedic Tre Lan, of the Bajoran Embassy staff, said he would see what he could do.
Later in the day I got an encouraging call from Ron Thornton. He said he might be interested if he could bring his wife along.
She was former Star Fleet tech and they were both getting itchy.
I said “Sure and if you know of any others with the same idea of bringing their spouse, it was okay with me. If their qualified, we’ll find a position for them, but I needed people who were willing to assist in training and overseeing the Bajorans for at least three years.”
Ron said “Okay, Mike, sign us up. Do we meet at the Depot, or shuttle out of San Francisco?”
I told Ron to come with his tools; both he and his wife would be working for me right away helping me in getting all this stuff prepared in the Bone yard.”
Ron told me they would be there in about a week.
He would try to track down Don and Pete because they were talking about going into the freighting business themselves.
He would get back to me as soon as he could.
After the call I was feeling better. That went well for the morning anyway, time for lunch.
I was just about to go out the door when a rental car pulled up.
I could tell it had been rented from a rent a wreck outfit because the model was almost ten years old.
Out stepped three humanoids.
I say humanoids because they sure weren’t Earthers.
Two of the off worlders were shapely females, of a species I’d never seen before.
They seemed to be the type you would see at Vegas a lot these days.
These were more scantily dressed than most, and adorned with feathers no less.
Even though I didn’t recognize the species, and they were greenish hued, they were very pretty.
The dwarf they had between them, I did recognize. He was Ferengi.
The first thing I did was put my hand on my wallet.
He was short, overdressed by my standards and had a big toothy grin like a barracuda that wanted to sell me a used car.
The Ferengi weren’t pirates, at least that I knew of, but they were some of the biggest scavengers that the Star Fleet Engineers had to deal with.
Some of the Fleet’s crews spent as much time chasing and recovering what the Ferengi were pilfering from both the Borg and Dominion battle sites, as they did with recovery operations.
They were as persistent as mice after a five pound cheese, what they couldn’t carry away they nibbled at.
I was wondering if I should alert depot security.
He spoke up directly and asked if he could speak to me about the possibility of traveling to Bajor and Deep Space Nine, on the re-commissioned Grayson.
Frankly I was a little put off.
I felt I was getting an invitation from the fox to raid my hen house.
Be as it may, it was the spirit of interstellar relations and the dire need of crew, that I invited them into my office cubby for an interview.
The Ferengi introduced himself as Mr. Og. The two lady friends, Daboe Girls he called them, Sunbeam and Tea Cup; now that was a set of names if I ever heard of one.
The gist of Mr. Og’s request, after much bowing and scraping, with a few your Excellency’s’ thrown in, was he was in a little financial difficulty and desired a fast and cheap travel to the nearest destination that would improve on his present circumstances.
Bajor and Deep Space Nine weren’t his first choice, but he knew of at least some Ferengi trade colonies there and he was sure he would get a job there and pay for his passage.
I got the impression the Daboe Girls were on their own.
I asked him if he had prior experience as a spacecraft crewman.
The answer went something like, “I’ve owned and piloted numerous private Ferengi trading vessels, on numerous trading ventures, many very successful and profitable”.
I took that with a grain of salt and entered in his passport card into the computer just to make sure there was no criminal record.
The reading showed that he arrived on a Ferengi freighter six months ago, and the ship left Earth without him two weeks later.
All his paperwork looked legit; pilot, loadmaster, fourth officer (cargo and supplies). Over twenty years of flight experience, but what was the reason he was stranded on Earth?
I asked him that question.
“It was all a misunderstanding. They said I was incompetent dealing with Earthers."
"There was not enough profit, the captain said, to pay my way to are next port."
"It was most embarrassing, but I assure you your Excellency I will guarantee you an excellent profit on record when we reach Bajor.”
I told him it was Mr. Thomas, not your Excellency.
I didn’t need an immediate profit to get to Bajor, but I needed a loadmaster and supply tech.
All officer positions would be eventually filled by Bajoran Fleet Officers. So if he was interested in taking a position as a SF Civilian grade five Supply Specialist, he could work his way to Bajor, or to Deep Space Nine, for that matter.
“But Captain I have over twenty years experience in trade and commerce, surly that must be worth much, much, more.”
“Well Mr. Og, I figure you were stranded here on Earth because you couldn’t con, cheat or steal enough to satisfy your fellow crewmembers, so they voted you off the boat."
"Am I right?”
Both Daboe Girls were shaking their heads yes behind his back.
“I gather you had some bad luck in Vegas trying to recoup your losses, By the way how much are you in debt to the casinos?”
“I owe about twenty thousand credits, plus hotel bills and other miscellaneous expenses.”
“Show Girls!” The girls said in unison.
“My, my Mr. Og. I am amazed that you lasted this long. Are you sure there is no contract out on you with some debt collectors?”
“We think there is, that’s why we are here,” the girls said. They must be twins.
“That’s an exaggeration Captain. I’m sure as soon as I accept this job, everything can be worked out.”
“You said accept, right.”
“Yes, but that’s because you have me at a disadvantage, sir,” he said glumly. “I will do my best in whatever position you put me into.”
“Okay, Mr. Og. Just fill out this SF Civilian job application form, for Supply and Cargo tech, grade Five, and submit it to SF Engineer HQS, Attn: Commander Peter Turner, everything will be fine."
"You can use this terminal here,” I directed.
I expected Pete would have a heart attack when he got this application, but I knew the computer system Mr. Og would be working with would watch his checks and balances.
Plus the fact the Ferengi had a business brain that thought anything within his inventory control was theirs, so I’m sure he’ll definitely keep an eye on everything.
“What are we going to do, captain?” The two Daboe Girls asked.
“Why, what do you mean, don’t you work in Las Vegas”, I asked?
“Yes sir, we do, but we must go with Mr. Og. We are his companions.”
“Companions? Just what do you mean by that?”
“Well sir, we are a gift from the queen mother, and we are bound to him for life,” said Sunbeam.
“Yes sir,” added Tea Cup. “Mr. Og performed a great service for the queen mother, and our species.”
“Is this true Mr. Og.?”
“It was only a minor thing, nothing at all, surely the girl’s exaggerate.” Mr. Og seemed to squirm in his seat and try to duck under the counter.
“What was this great service, girls?”
“Mr. Og and his fellow crewmembers donated his DNA, and sperm, to help design us, as the Daboes we are today."
"We can all walk upright and vocalize like the humanoid races. It is so much easier for off world travel you see.”
“Oh yes, captain. On our home planet we used to have a physical appearance of what some of your people would call insectoid, although we had mostly mammalian characteristics.”
“The Ferengi were hunting us for food as well as seeking planet minerals,” piped up Tea Cup.
“The queen mother asked her children to capture some of these Ferengi, for study and communication."
"The Ferengi are not susceptible to mental telepathy, so we had to find out a way to communicate with them to stop them from killing our sisters for food.”
“They only killed females?”
“Captain we are all females in a sense. Only the queen mother can create a male for breeding purposes."
"Tea Cup, and I, are pod mates; we serve the queen mother."
"We are all female and we are all sterile. Only the queen mother can birth the pods.”
“Mr. Og was thoroughly studied by the queen mother."
"It took an extensive mind probe to discover what the Ferengi physiology, and psychology was. We are almost his perfect woman."
"After the first pods had grown enough to communicate with Mr. OG, He was able to stop the hunting of us Daboes.”
“We now have a written language, and can now trade with the Ferengi."
"The Ferengi take us everywhere as helpers and companions."
"We have returned with so much knowledge to the queen mother, that the Ferengi can no longer cheat us.”
“Well now that is saying something. I suppose that means you know if your boss is cheating someone.”
“Yes Sir, much to our dismay. We are such a burden to Mr. Og."
"When he is with other Ferengi we can’t tell what is going on between them, but with non Ferengi, we seem to sense if something is a little risky.”
“Why doesn’t he fire you and send you home?”
“He cannot insult the queen mother!” They both exclaimed.
“The Grand Negus would crucify me and my whole family if I so much as slighted the queen mother, let alone insult her,” interjected Og.
“Besides that she would kill these two she gifted to me.”
“How the hell can she do that? Can’t you protect these two girls?”
“Well if anything happens to me, like death, or if I renege on my promises to the queen mother, they would return to Dabo and the queen mother would eat their heads off.”
“Yes I’m afraid so, but that is how the queen mother gains all her knowledge. It is then transferred to the next generation of pods that she lays. It’s all so biological you see.”
“I see, so I must hire these two Dabo girls or I’m sending them to their deaths. Is that correct?”
“I’m afraid so your Excellency, it out of my hands and I seem to be doomed to a life of poverty unless we get back into the hands of my Ferengi brethren."
"Plus I can’t find a mate with these two hanging around, but that’s another story. I just need to get back to Ferenganar and I’ll be rid of these two.”
The two girls giggled. “We told you, you were traveling in the wrong direction. It was away from Ferenganar, Mr. Og. Things will be better when you are rich again.”
“See what I mean Captain, the burden they put on me and so little respect. They should be tasked for the hardest and dirtiest job in your Star Fleet. It would serve them right.”
“Okay Sun Beam and Tea cup, if that is your real names I can offer you a couple of clerical jobs."
"Not much money, but you can keep an eye on your lord and master here.”
“Oh yes,” they both chimed. “We accept.”
“The two positions are Supply Clerk and Load Master Clerk, both SFCiv grade threes. I just made them up.
"Get on the terminal after we have lunch. I’m starved and Mr. Og hasn’t even started his application yet."
"He can stay here and get it done, then go to lunch later, or whatever Ferengi do for meals.”
“Oh yes Captain! We are hungry too. We have not eaten for two days, we were so glad for him to see the opening on the employment net.”
“Okay girls, but its Mr. Thomas, not Captain. I am a retired Chief Warrant officer and you can address me as Mr. or Chief. I will answer to both.”
“Yes Cap—Mr. Thomas, chief sir. We understand perfectly, Mr. Chief Sir.” This brought on another round of giggling.
“Let’s go to the mess hall ladies, and have lunch. This time it’s on me.”