October/November Challenge Entry: "Along the Way"

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Cobalt Frost, Nov 9, 2019.

  1. Cobalt Frost

    Cobalt Frost Captain Captain

    Joined:
    May 22, 2004
    Location:
    Cobalt Frost in Phineas & Ferb's backyard
    USS Challenger, NCC 86128
    In orbit of Antarga, seventh planet (ice world) of the Celva'nos system


    * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    “I must say, Commander Taylor, that despite our last encounter being, shall we say, less than pleasant, it is a most welcome surprise to see you again.” The eloquence of the voice – a buttery-smooth tenor – was dramatically offset by the fact that said voice belonged to arguably the ugliest Ferengi in existence.

    Connie kept a smile plastered to her face, absolutely stunning but completely devoid of any warmth. The real surprise, she thought, was how the Ferengi had been able to make inroads into Alliance space and establish trade routes. The Free Stars Alliance was notoriously insular when it came to matters of trade; Connie was certain that copious amounts of cold, hard latinum (and/or the local equivalents) had helped grease the infamously glacial wheels of Alliance bureaucracy.

    “We’re grateful that you were able to expedite delivery, Daimon Zor,” said Connie. She stood as far as diplomacy allowed, but even at that distance, his stench was eye-watering. She handed him a small, plain bare metal box. “Here is the contracted payment, and a token of our appreciation.” She repressed a cold shiver as the Ferengi leered at the contents of the box more lecherously than he’d been at Connie.

    “It is an age-old dilemma,” Zor said, “that a man finds himself with a substantial amount of disposable income whilst having none but himself to spend it with.” The look on his face made Connie’s skin crawl something fierce.

    “I do apologize, Daimon,” Connie replied as she fought a nearly overwhelming urge to vomit, “but as soon as you depart, Challenger needs to get underway. We have an important assignment from Admiral MacAllister, and it simply cannot be delayed." She lowered her voice conspiratorially. "She was just appointed to a seat on the Alliance trade commission, you know.”

    “Indeed? Ah. AH! I shall depart forthwith so you incur no delay in your mission fulfillment.” Zor bowed with Shakespearean flourish. “I do hope we meet again, Commander.” Once again, Connie found herself struggling to keep her lunch down.

    “Safe and pleasant travels, Daimon Zor.”

    “Safe travels are rarely profitable, Commander, but I appreciate the sentiment.” With some effort, Zor crawled (the hatch wasn’t designed for someone of the Daimon’s substantial girth) into his yacht, which incredibly was as pristine as he himself was ugly. Challenger’s air boss gave clearance, and the Ferengi ship slid gracefully into the cold void of space.

    As the shuttlebay doors hummed closed, Connie started barking orders to the waiting crewmen. “Cargo pods one and two, to engineering, pod three to sickbay, pod four through seven to the freezers.”

    “What about this one?” said the power loader operator, a nod of her head indicating the load she had. “Where do you want it?”

    “Bay twelve, please.”

    * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Later that evening, after everything was sorted, Connie reported to Gabriel's ready room to deliver a manifest of the cargo they'd received from Daimon Zor. She tabbed the 'call' button next to the door.

    "Come in," said Gabriel. Connie stepped in, and despite the thermal lining of her uniform, shivered violently.

    "Is there a reason it's so cold in here?" she chattered. Gabriel was seated behind his rough-hewn wooden desk, wearing.. what did he call them? jeans and a tee shirt?.. and looking completely comfortable. “Blessed Hell, I can see my breath.”

    “One moment, Commander. I don’t want to lose this shuttle-train of thought.”

    Gabriel had stacks of papers on his desk, and would periodically sort through them, pull out a sheet and study something doodled on it, then make an addition or correction to the design on the large sheet of paper in front of him. He did this for a couple minutes before turning his attention to Connie.

    “While I was growing up, it seemed we were always hauling corbarrium rods; they have to stay supercooled, you know. Besides, the heating units in the living quarters on the Destiny's Moon -- you remember, my parents’ freighter -- could rarely manage to get the temperature above 40 degrees Fahrenheit," explained Gabriel, "so I got used to it. Kind of had to. In fact, I have a hard time sleeping if it's much warmer than that."

    "Must have been rough on your Academy roommates," Connie remarked.

    "Actually, I had three Andorians and a Cohvli." Gabriel chuckled at a memory. "You wouldn't think it, but the Cohvli know how to party."

    "Hmm, weren't you lucky," she deadpanned. "Here's the manifest you asked for."

    "Thanks," said Gabriel, taking the proffered PADD. He set it on his desk and went back to his designing. After a long moment, he looked up at Connie, seemingly amused by her efforts to look like she wasn't freezing, then: "Dismissed, Commander."

    Connie would have said something about the smirk on Gabriel's face, but she was just too damned cold. She bit off a quick 'on your word, Captain' and scurried out as fast as protocol allowed. Then, she headed straight for her quarters and the hottest shower she could tolerate...
     
    SLWatson, Gibraltar and Atolm like this.
  2. Atolm

    Atolm Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Location:
    Killingly, CT
    I like it!