The Interrogation “Are you sure you want them doing this?” Commander Carol M’Benga looked dubious at best. Sergeant Mitchell smiled. “Commander, if I didn’t know better, I’d say you don’t approve of my security guards. I have supreme confidence in their ability to get the information we are looking for. They may be unorthodox but they are effective. You might want to give them a chance.” “Sergeant, it isn’t that I don’t approve. I’m just afraid of the end results. You weren’t there on the trip to Mii. These two are nuts. I’m not entirely sure they can handle this kind of responsibility.” Carol frowned up at him. “Commander, any member of my security team is perfectly capable of handling an interrogation and these two have a very high success rate.” He paused for a moment. “Ask yourself this: Would you want to be in the same room with them?” He smiled wickedly at her. Carol shuddered. “No, I already had that time aboard the Terra Nova with them and Nog. What happened on Mii was just icing on the cake.” “And that’s what I’m saying. Give them a chance. They may be unorthodox but they get results.” Carol rolled her eyes, crossed her arms and walked away. Mitchell looked into the interrogation room through the one-way mirror with interest. They were just getting started. Seleya Security Interrogation Room: 1200 Hours Torres looked very severe and professional. “Johx, you are facing extremely grave charges. Theft of Starfleet equipment. Interference in a humanitarian aid mission. Piracy. You realize we can throw the book at you?” The Ferengi he was addressing looked bored. “I have no idea what you are talking about. My ship was merely in the area of your ‘alleged’ theft. When you boarded her there was no trace of the cargo you where seeking. This is an illegal arrest and I intend to take my grievance all the way to the Grand Nagus if that’s what it takes.” He crossed his hands on the table in front of him and looked up at Seleya’s security officer smugly. Shandahat, Torres’s Andorian partner, spoke up from the side wall of the interrogation room where he had been casually leaning. “We found your engine signature leading to and from the looted freighter. The cargo was gone. There weren’t any traces of other ships in the area. And as far as the Grand Nagus goes-who do you think identified the specific Ferengi vessel for us?” Shand’s grin showed off the teeth he’d filed into points, Klingon style. Johx grimaced up at him. “All you have is an engine signature? Paah!” He shook his head contemptuously and focused on an invisible point on the opposite wall. Torres peered at him intently. “Johx, just tell us what we need to know. Those medical supplies are needed on Cardassia. If you pimped them to the Orion Syndicate you might as well just throw yourself out of an airlock now. If you didn’t, maybe we can work something out” The Ferengi sneered at him. “Like the Federation would do anything other than toss me in Sundancer. I’ll be out in six months. And that’s IF you can prove anything. Which you can’t. Because I didn’t do anything.” Torres smiled grimly at him. “No, I don’t think Sundancer is in your future. If we find you guilty we have an extradition treaty with the Cardassian Union. We’ll just ship you out to them. IF we don’t recover the missing cargo. And they can try you. I believe their judicial system assumes guilt first. And they still have capital punishment on the books.” Johx looked a little worried but he still remained defiant. “You don’t have a case. So why should I worry?” Torres said, “Shandahat, would you like to take a stab at this?” Shandahat cracked his knuckles and grinned. “I was wondering when you’d ask.” He moved menacingly towards Johx. “Hey, remember what happened in that bar on Cestus Prime. Just take it easy,” Torres cautioned. Johx looked from one to another, puzzled. Shandahat paused halfway to the table. “Cestus Prime? What are you talking about?” Torres smirked. “That bar we went to. The Naked Vulcan. Surely you remember?” Shandahat looked off into space for a second. “Are you talking about the spider?” He asked. Torres nodded his head. Johx just looked more confused. “You pulled the legs off of that spider!” Torres exclaimed. “Well, he shouldn’t have put them in my beer!” said Shandahat. Johx watched the interplay between them with furrowed brows. “What does this have to do with me?” he asked. Torres leaned across the table from his seat in a confidential manner. “He was the second mate on an Argellian freighter.” Now Johx was really confused. He pointed at Shandahat. “He was a second mate on a freighter?” He asked. Torres shook his head and smiled. “No, the spider was.” Johx looked very worried now. Shandahat sounded defensive when he said, “He shouldn’t have had his arms in my beer!” Torres sneered at him, “He was BUYING you that beer for the job we did on Rigel!” He gave a snort of disgust. Shandahat hotly replied, “It was still MY beer! Besides, Dr. J was able to regenerate them!” He stepped forward and loomed over Johx. “Hey, Joe, do you think Ferengis taste like chicken?” He leaned in over the table and showed Johx his pointy teeth. Ferengis were pale by nature but Johx looked positively sickly now. “You pulled the limbs off of an intelligent being?” Shandahat just smiled harder. Torres hurried to reassure him. “He only does that to people who piss him off. Just tell us what we want to know and it will all go easy for you.” Shandahat looked at Torres. “He’s just a Ferengi. They’re all over the place. C’mon, let me have a snack. Even if he didn’t steal that stuff-who’d miss him?” Johx was horrified. “B-b-but that’s cannibalism! What kind of Starfleet officer are you?” Torres said to Johx, in a confidential tone, “He rarely eats intelligent beings. Don’t worry about it. Just tell us what we want to know.” Johx looked less than reassured. “I’m telling you, I don’t know anything!” There was a noticeable waver in his voice. “You can’t threaten to eat me! I have rights! What is going on here?” “Hey,” said Shandahat, “I have a great idea. I’ll be right back!” He walked briskly over to the door. As he left the interrogation room he paused to look back at Johx. Waggling a forefinger at him he said, “Now don’t go anywhere!” and with a grin he was gone. Turning to Torres, Johx asked, “He wouldn’t really try to eat me, would he?” Torres continued to grin. “I can’t remember the last time he ate someone.” No matter what Johx said after that he refused to respond. He just sat and waited for Shandahat to return. ********* When Shandahat came back he was carrying a good-sized jar nearly full of reddish-brown goo. In his other hand was a long-handled brush which he waved triumphantly at Johx. “Now the interrogation can proceed!” he declared. Johx eyed him warily. “What the frinx is that?” His eyes fixed on the jar of goo. “This,” Shandahat declaimed, “Will tell us everything we need to know! Now, hold out your hand.” When Johx refused Torres grabbed his arm and extended his hand, palm up. “What the…, what are you doing?” Johx was yelling now. Shandahat had placed the jar on the table and unscrewed the top. While Torres continued to hold the little Ferengi’s arm Shandahat dipped the brush in the mix and painted some onto Johx’s open palm. “Well?” Torres asked. Shandahat glared at him as he screwed the lid back on the jar. “Give me a second,” he said, peevishly. Setting the brush on the table, he suddenly grabbed the Ferengi’s hand and…licked it. “Yup,” he said, “Tastes like chicken. I’ll go get the coals.” He made for the door. “Why did he do that? What is that stuff? Coals, what are coals? What’s going on here?” Torres could see the yellows of Johx’s eyes and he was practically screaming now. Torres let go his arm and gathered the jar and brush in protectively as he re-seated himself. Smiling, he answered the distraught little thief. “Taste test.” Pointing at the jar, “Authentic Earth barbeque sauce. I think Shandahat intends to hold a barbeque. Its an old Earth culinary custom. You need carbonized wood coals to get the cooking fire just right.” “Cooking fire?” Johx was practically frothing now. “You people are mad! You can’t get away with this! The Federation won’t stand for it! Your Hu-mons won’t stand for it!” Shandahat came back in at this point with a cloth bag blackened with coal dust and a small brazier. “I don’t think there will be any problem, do you, Joe?” Torres shook his head. “Nope, shouldn’t be a problem,” he replied. “I never logged the arrest and everyone knows you don’t know how to write so there’s no record of our little friend, here, being picked up.” Johx gaped at the two of them. “But people saw me come in here!” he sputtered. Shandahat was whistling merrily as he set the brazier on the floor and began pouring briquettes into it from the bag in his hand. Torres looked the Ferengi in the eye and slowly shook his head. “Nobody saw you come in here. Oh, and Shandahat and I were responsible for the maintenance on the monitoring system this month. We’re both a couple of lazy pukes. I’m afraid it just didn’t get done. See, the ‘active’ light is out on both cameras,” he said, pointing into the corners. Johx was practically swallowing his own tongue. “Hey, Shand, that brazier’s kind of small, isn’t it?” Shandahat grinned. “I already thought of that.” Reaching under the cuff of his pants he whipped out a d’k tahg. “See, no problem.” Johx looked like he was going to faint. Suddenly, Shandahat frowned. “Damn,” he said, “Joe, you got a light?” Johx bolted towards the one-way mirror where Mitchell still watched. “I took the medicine! I’ll tell you whatever you want to know! Just get me away from these freaks!” Tears were streaming down his face. “I started the Dominion War! I led the Borg to the Alpha Quadrant! Please, my entire fortune is yours!” he wailed, “Just get me out of here!” He pounded on the glass. ******** On the other side, M’Benga had just rejoined Mitchell. “So, how’s it going?” Mitchell turned towards her. “Not bad. They’re getting ready to barbeque the Ferengi.” “They’re getting ready…” Her voice trailed off. Mitchell’s face remained placid as Johx scrabbled at the glass. “Hey, whatever works. I told you they were good. I just hope they get the barbeque sauce back to Nog’s quarters before he notices it’s missing. I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes if he finds out they borrowed it. Ferengis are just plain crazy, you know what I mean?” Carol looked into the interrogation room at Johx, who was curled up into a fetal ball. Shandahat stood over the readied brazier with a knife in his hand. Torres was flicking an antique Zippo over and over. “I know exactly what you mean,” she said.