Star Fleet Corps of Engineers, Mission to Bajor
Book One – The Monarch
By T.M. Flavin
Chapter Twenty Two - Be’nen and Staunn’s shopping trip.
When the crew from United Space Ways showed up for their quarters refurbishing project, and I had a break from carrying Be’nen and Staunns’ packages, I asked;
“Can you tell me now what is going on here?”
“We can talk in my infirmary, mother. If you want to,” spoke up Staunn.
“Yes,” replied Be’nen.
So we walked back to Staunn’s office for some privacy.
“It looks as if you had a very productive trip Be’nen.”
“You look absolutely fabulous, but what is all this going to cost me, and the mission,” I queried?
“Hopefully nothing,” she replied. “I just furnished the start up funding for ourselves, and the rest of the advisory crew, those who needed a loan to purchase some furnishing, and facilities modules, at a discount.”
I had to sit down.
“Be’nen, I love you, but just how did all this come about?”
“You never said anything to me about it?”
“I told you before that I would protect my daughter, and my mate,” she huffed.
“I hoped you didn’t like living in this pig sty?”
“After all you are the mission command advisor and I am an ambassador level assistant.”
“This ship is unseemly, and its accommodations are un-professional for persons of our rank and status. So I made some complaints.”
She actually smiled with her explanation.
“I also asked Mr. Murray, and Mr. Thornton, what they thought of the present conditions that they were living in,” she continued.
“They said it was something like the “pits” and that they were “sucking a hind tit in a hog wallow”.
“I didn’t quite understand what that meant, but Staunn told me that it wasn’t good.”
“So I asked them if I could help change the circumstances would they be willing to help me make some changes.”
“They all said, Yes, Michael.” She emphasized pointedly.
“So I asked them if I backed them for a loan would they agree to buy facilities similar to what was in shuttle number one, the one that YOU are staying in.”
“Oh brother,” I grumbled.
“When you made me your shuttle pilot,” she continued, “I thought it was an opportune time to purchase a few items for Staunn and myself, but these people were living in slave pens so I thought I would use a little of my influence to help us out a little.”
“Influence,” I asked. “What kind of influence?”
“I talked to the Vulcan Ambassador,” she replied.
I now was holding my head in my hands thinking; ‘looks like I’m headed back to retirement again.’
“When we landed at Luna port I asked the crew to stick close to the transit hotel until I called them,” she continued.
“I might be needing them for additional information.”
“They all agreed that when I finished my business, I would take them to New Berlin later to do some shopping. Which we did, didn’t we Staunn?”
“Yes mother we sure did,” Staunn replied cheerily.
“I then called on Commander Hayes, and asked him to escort me to the Vulcan representative here on the moon, which happened to be right next to the port."
"It was there we met Ambassador Mar’Rela at the Vulcan consulate.”
“After we were introduced by Commander Hayes, the Ambassador asked me what he could assist me with.
I asked him if he knew who I was, and what my current status with the Vulcan Embassy on Earth was.”
The Ambassador said; “Yes I do know who you are Ms. Tash, would you give me a second to verify your present status?”
“I heard that you were on some sort of a mission to Bajor."
"Some kind of recovery operations you are to be involved with, I believe?”
“Yes Mr. Ambassador,” I told him.
“I am presently attached to the Military Assistance and Advisory Group – Bajor; Commanded by Chief Warrant Officer (Ret) Michael Thomas”
“I see here Ms. Tash that everything seems to be in order,” Ambassador Mar’Rela replied.
“How can I be of assistance?”
“I would like to establish a line of credit for fifty thousand credits, backed by my accounts at the Vulcan Bank, on Earth, and these two properties that I have on Earth, that may be sold to guarantee the loan requirements if needed,” was my answer.
“The Ambassador was a little taken aback,” Be’nen continued.
He said; “It can be arranged, but I think it is a little unusual to need such a request.
“He then asked why I would need so much money here on the Moon; and that there were banks at New Berlin that would be glad to establish a line of credit for me.”
“I told him, ‘I wanted to purchase up to twelve shuttle type refit module packages, to refurnish at least twelve units on the Bajoran leased ship, the Monarch, especially for me and my daughter.”
“But why, Ms. Tash,” he asked?
“Isn’t the ship leased in a joint venture; surely Star Fleet is in some way responsible for the facilities within the ship?”
He then asked Cmdr. Hayes;
“Is it not true Commander Hayes?”
“Before Cmdr. Hayes could reply, I interjected,” Be’nen continued.
“I am really not sure about Star Fleet, Mr. Ambassador, but I feel I could not wait for their approval.”
“The conditions aboard the ship are deplorable and as a member of the Vulcan Ambassadorial staff, on leave of absence, I deem it necessary to take immediate action at my own expense to help remedy the situation.”
“If you can get me some reimbursement from Star Fleet, I would appreciate it, but right now I don’t want my daughter, and myself, to spend another night on that ship, that the crew calls a “Hog bellow.”
“Hog Wallow,” I corrected.
“Don’t interrupt Michael, I’m not through yet,” Be’nen corrected.
Staunn started her huff huff laughter, and stated;
“You should have see Commander Hayes’ face, I thought he was going to explode.”
“The Ambassador asked Commander Hayes, “Is this true, Commander Hayes. Have you personally seen that vessel?”
“Yes sir, Mr. Ambassador, it’s in pretty bad shape."
"It’s a former Orion slave ship I believe,” was his reply.”
“I see,” said Mar'Rela, and then he asked him;
"Could you assist Ms. Tash, Commander, in acquiring what she needs? I will see to the money situation.”
“Yes sir,” he answered, “I will assist her in whatever she needs, Mr. Ambassador.”
“He just had to inform his staff.”
“The Ambassador thanked him and offered to send one of his assistants with him.”
“Ambassador Mar’Rela then surprised me by saying that; “All the charges are to be forwarded to the Lunar Vulcan Legation,” and assured me; “That this will all be financially worked out between Star Fleet, and the Vulcan Embassy, on Earth.”
“He then announced: ’I hope this is satisfactory to all parties here concerned?’”
“Commander Hayes said “Yes, sir”, and asked me; “Is there any particular place you wish to start, Ms. Tash”?
“I told him I wanted to start at United Space Ways; that you used to work for them, and maybe I could get a discount due to a referral.”
“My referral would amount to zip,” I quipped.
“You are interrupting again Michael, shall I continue?”
“Before we left with Commander Hayes, I asked the Ambassador if Staunn and I could have a moment in private with him.”
“Commander Hayes said he would wait outside, and when he left, I requested that the Ambassador assist me in finding if we had any living relatives on Vulcan, or anywhere else?”
Be’nen continued; “I told him the names that he knew us by were the names I picked out of a dictionary, because I could not remember my mothers’ name, at the time we were repatriated back to Vulcan.”
“I know now that my mothers’ true Vulcan name was La’T’Freja.”
“I also told him about the circumstances surrounding Staunns’ father and his ultimate demise.”
“I wanted us to meet with the Frengi representative at New Berlin."
"So I requested that he make the preliminary arrangements for a meeting with the local Ferengi representative, pertaining to the former Ferengi merchant trader named Targ, Staunns' father.”
“Mommy never told me his name,” interjected Staunn. “It was quite a shock to me.”
“I know Staunn,” said Be’nen, “but you knew my feelings on the matter. Things have changed now.”
“You will be meeting more, and more, Ferengi on this trip, and I don’t want any dark clouds hanging over us.”
“Anyway you have a right to know; maybe not all of his relatives were of the same character.”
“Ambassador Mar’Rela said that he would make a call to the Ferengi Trade Commissioner, a Mr. Numb, to expect a visit from us,” Be’nen continued.
“We both thanked the ambassador for being so helpful and left with Commander Hayes to go over to United Space Ways.”
“I called Mr. Thornton and requested that he and the rest of the Assistance Group personnel that were interested in looking to upgrade their on board quarters, to meet us there.”
“All six people met us at the USWF terminal."
"There we met with Mr. Ball.”
“Mr. Ball was very complimentary to us,” Be’nen continued.
“He said that he didn’t understand why you had quit USW so suddenly, but after he met Staunn and I; he said he now understood completely.”
“Do you know what he meant by that Michael?”
“I haven’t a clue,” I lied.
Be’nen harrumphed, Staunn gave a Ferengi giggle, and Be’nen continued with her narrative.
“Mr. Ball was very helpful.”
“He said that they usually only serviced USW shuttles, but under the circumstances, he would save us the time by showing us what he had in stock, and by ordering locally what he didn’t have."
"He was sure he could fill our order.”
“When we looked at his catalogs and seen what he had to offer, I told the crew members that I was backing them with the necessary credits to purchase enough units to furnish up to twelve units.”
“Some people would have to continue to double up, but for Staunn, and I, it could only be minimally satisfactorily, to live at least like a lowly Star Fleet recruit; with a decent bed, a shower and private lavatory, for the time we are to spend on the Monarch.”
“They all cheered, Michael,” Be’nen stated. “I was astonished.”
“Mr. Murray even came up to me a slapped me on my back and said;"
"‘Your alright Be’nen, we were on our way to get some stuff for our quarters too."
"You were way ahead of us, thank you, and count me in.’”
“Mr. Ball was a little taken aback at the large order, and asked Commander Hayes if he could use some of the GSA equipment from Star Fleet, to be reimbursed later, so he could complete the order.”
“After we discussed it with Mr. Murray and Mr. Thornton, we settled on five units to be delivered when we returned to the Monarch today.”
“Two of the units for Staunn and I were to be installed by the USW crew, along with the installation of the required water, and sewage lines.”
“Mr. Murray stayed behind at USWF, to coordinate with Captain Kahlest and his engineer,” Be’nen continued.
“With all parties in agreement, I told them I was going to New Berlin to see the Ferengi Trade commissioner, and if there was any one else wanting to go, please come along.”
“Of course everyone went except for Mr. and Mrs. Murray, and the Commander, went with me.”
“Commander Hayes said he would stick around to assist Mr. Murray and give him a lift later to New Berlin.”
“So off we went to New Berlin, all of us, even the Klingons,” stated Be’nen.
“Now meeting the Ferengi Trade Commissioner that was quite an experience,” exclaimed Be’nen.
“Just to see the Commissioner some Ferengi, what did you call him Staunn?
“A little twerp.” explained Staunn.
“Yes, well Mr. Twerp wanted us to pay one hundred credits each, to see the ambassador,” said the exasperated Be’nen.
“One hundred credits each. I was upset.”
“She was furious,” interjected Staunn.
I could see why.
“I told Staunn that I wasn’t paying anything, to see anybody, about anything, that could be handled through a pers-comp.”
“I was ready to return to Luna port when Staunn said;’ that as long as everyone was here for the next six hours, that we may as well look around and do some shopping.’”
“That’s where we bought our outfits, do you like them,” asked Staunn?
“Yes very much, you both look lovely," I agreed;
"And you know your mother Staunn, she always looks absolutely glamorous, and you are the cutest.”
“I bet you had all the stray men in the casino following you around.”
“Yes, and it was very annoying too,” harrumphed Be’nen.
“They wouldn’t believe that I was just a lowly shuttle pilot.”
“But you aren’t, you’re my administrative assistant,” I exclaimed.
“I know that, but those nosey people didn’t need to know all our business. So I bought that outfit to convince them.”
“I bet that really convinced them,” I said sarcastically
“I must have only met two Ferengi in my whole life,” interjected Staunn.
“Mr. Og being one and the Ambassador to Earth the other, and I don’t remember his name.”
“Ambassador Meek.” replied Be’nen.
“Oh yes, that’s it,” answered Staunn, “today I must have met a hundred.”
“Of course they all wanted to meet her instead of me."
"I was almost blinded by all the camera flashes.”
“They were scurrying after her everywhere we went.”
“I don’t think mother would have had to pay for anything, if she would just stroke their ears a little.” Staunn laughed.
“That’s disgusting Staunn, after all I am engaged,” said Be’nen haughtily.
“At least we got in to see the Commissioner a lot cheaper.” said Staunn.
"Yes we did Staunn," agreed Be’nen.
“You know that Mr. Twerp bragged to me how he charged all the wait, and maintenance staff, five credits to take off fifteen minutes, just to go and see us?”
“Remarkable!” She exclaimed.
“Well I must admit you are lovely to look at, with or without clothes on."
"I might have paid ten credits to look at you myself.”
"You heard him Staunn," Be’nen replied.
“I’m getting two of those Ferengi prayer banks and putting them in our new quarters and if he continues to act like he does, see if he can pay his rent.”
Staunn laughed, “Mother, all you’ll get from an engineer is washers and IOUs.”
“I’ll try to find some gold ones’ for you both, and then you can put them on chains and have them jingle when you dance naked before me.”
"Ha," said Be’nen!
“I’ll have you know Vulcans don’t dance."
"If they do it is a dignified manner at and ambassadorial level."
"But you are distracting me."
"Dance naked indeed!"
“As Stauun said we got in to see the Ferengi Commissioner a lot cheaper. Only ten credits apiece.”
“Commissioner Numb is an elder Ferengi who was a little put out that Staunn was in his presence with clothes on.”
“We had to explain that she was only half Ferengi and that she had permission from her mate (you), to wear them.
“The first thing he asked Staunn; “Did she know how to do Oo-mox?”
When she said “No”, he immediately ordered his secretary to bring in a data book for her in Ferengi, “Oo-mox for Fun and Profit”.”
“That cost us twenty five credits.”
“Then he asked her; ‘Is it true what Ambassador Mar’Rela said, that you are a doctor?”
“When Staunn said; “Yes, I am presently the ship’s doctor for the Klingon vessel, the Monarch, that is presently orbiting the moon.”
“The Commissioner was astonished.”
“He then ordered his secretary to get him a data copy of the latest Ferengi Medical Journal, which cost us fifty credits, plus a subscription to the annual updates, for an additional twenty five credits.”
“His next question was if Staunn, “had a marriage manual, as required by law to be given to all newlywed wives.”
“When Staunn said no, it was another twenty five credits.”
“When he started to sell us a child rearing manual, I told him that this is not what we are here for, but to clear up a case concerning Staunn’s father.”
“It still cost us another ten credits for the child rearing manual along with a copy of “The Rules of Acquisitions” that all Ferengi children were required to memorize.”
“Absolutely essential,” he said.”
“Now what is your problem Ms. Tash, he finally asked?” continued Be’nen.
“I told him the circumstance of my involuntary servitude with Targ, and that he was accidently killed in my escape.”
“I was truly sorry that it happened, but I wanted to know my status within the Ferengi legal system.”
“Plus we would like to know if Staunn has any living Ferengi relatives, after all he was her father.”
“Commissioner Numb thought about it for a few seconds and then said:
“It will cost you twenty five credits to check on your present legal status.”
“So my credit card went in again.”
“I see here’” the commissioner said, “Targ died from injuries inflicted by a servant named Nandiboop."
"The charge is manslaughter, fourth degree.”
“Nandi is what he called me, Nandiboob, “excellent one who serves”,” Be’nen said.
“Nandiboob, I like that”, I cut in. “Nandibooby sweety.”
“You are interrupting again, Michael.”
“I then asked him what the implications were,” she continued.
“He said; ‘It means that if you plead guilty your fine will be twenty five credits, plus filing fees, to clear the record."
“Our statute of limitations has expired years ago.””
“”If you say you are innocent it will cost you one hundred credits to start with, to hire a proxy lawyer (he shivered at that thought) to plead your case in the court at Frenginar.””
“I pled guilty,” Be’nen continued, “I paid my fine of twenty five credits and was charged an extra twenty five credits filing fee.”
“I then asked him about Staunn’s legacy, if any, and if there were any of Targ’s family still around?”
“That will be fifteen credits for the search of Targs' family history,” replied the Commissioner.
“In went the credit card again,” Be’nen continued.
“The results was that Targ was married, and in debt on Ferenginar.”
“All of his property was confiscated upon his demise, except for his ship the “Bargain Hunter.”
“Evidently the wife, Wabi, escaped with her son to the ship before the confiscation could take place, and eventually she married one of the crew.”
“They still run in system freight, but the home location is unknown.”
“Also Targs' desiccated remains are still up for sale."
"Of the one hundred pieces, only two have been sold in the last thirty five years.”
“His recommendation was to buy the last of the remains.”
“They were only one quarter credit a piece, and by putting our names, and location address in for the purchase, his family would contact us, if they were interested in seeking a family relationship.”
“We both agreed, and paid the twenty five credits along with the additional five credit handling fee.”
“After the commissioner finished with my problem,” continued Be’nen, “He went back to Staunn.”
“You tell him Staunn.”
“The ambassador felt very sorry for me Michael,” Staunn started off.
“He was from the old school where Ferengi women stayed home, raised children and didn’t go out in to public, especially not wearing clothes.”
"He recognized that I didn’t have a Ferengi upbringing, but he felt obligated to pass on the parental advice that all mothers told their daughters prior to their marriage.”
“Seeing as I’m preparing for marriage, he wanted me to have an extra data file."
"It would only cost fifteen credits.”
“I told him of course I would buy it, and I appreciated his concern.”
“He then asked his secretary to bring me a copy of the supplement, to the Marriage Manual.”
“The Ferengi secretary’s ears went absolutely crimson."
"Can you guess what the data file was Michael?”
“I haven’t a clue,” I replied.
“It was a copy of the Ferengi facts of life, and marital sex manual,” was Staunns’ answer.
“Now I am complete, Michael.”
“With all this valuable information you will find out what a good wife I will be,” She started to laugh.
“Now you have to watch them all with me, so you will get the complete history of the undressed, and under loved Ferengi woman, who must prepare you all those native dishes of Ferenginar, that I just know you will just love eating.”
Staunn then came over to me and sat on my lap and said,
“Isn’t that right lover”?
“As long as you don’t bug me about it, Princess,” was my reply.
That gave Staunn a chuckle.
“I didn’t think it was funny Staunn, the ambassador practically accused me of being an unfit mother,” Be’nen huffed.
“I think she is just upset lover,” Staunn explained to me.
“That the old geezer wasn’t at all impressed by my mothers’ low buttoned blouse, and actually asked her to Oo-mox his ears,” Staunn chided.
“Staunn that’s not nice, you’ll get your ears boxed if you don’t watch out,” Be’nen announced.
“He was just trying to be nice for my sake, mother.”
You could see he was out of his comfort zone conducting business with females.”
“You know the Ferengi, mother."
"They keep their woman confined to their homes, and even with some of their recent reforms, extremely few Ferengi women conduct any type of business with strangers.”
“Besides that mother you shouldn’t be upset, you won all your money back at the Dabo table.”
“She did,” I exclaimed, “I always though Vulcans never gambled!”
“The game was a simple game of averages, beside that I thought they were charging too much for their services."
"I was irritated,” explained Be’nen.
“She won five bars of gold pressed latinum.”
“I think I’ll ask her to have one bar reshaped into washers for you, so you can put them into my prayer bank."
"I know mother will let you look at her for free.”
“Staunn what has gotten in to you? You are acting very strangely lately,” inquired Be’nen.
“I’m just happy mother.”
“You are free of charges, we are getting new quarters, we had a good time shopping, my mother still makes thing happen and I have my man.”
“This has been a good day mother,” exclaimed Staunn.
“I am just so happy, maybe it was the gold pressed latinum too, I don’t know.”
Be’nen just arched her eyebrow a little.
I got a big smack on the lips and a big embrace from Staunn.
I felt she was defiantly in a good mood.
“I hate to break up this little love fest, dears, but I have to get back to work and see how the Space Ways people are doing.”
“I have the late shift again tonight."
"Hopefully you are able to sleep in your newly refurbished quarters."
"I’ll have coffee with you later.”
I went out into the hall where all the activity was going on thinking; ‘Tomorrows’ another day, we’ll see if Be’nen stirred up a real hornets’ nest over this quarters issue, or is Star Fleet and Bajor, going to call a halt to my operation all together.’