Check out our latest Fleet Action!

 

Part of USS Eagle: Serving in Starfleet

Another World

Ferenginar
September 2401
2 likes 125 views

Carefully studying the surroundings, Hok couldn’t shake the nagging flutter in the pit of his stomach.  Glun was known for allowing his bar to be used as neutral ground to conduct business best left out of the public eye, for a price, but he was a Ferengi after all.  A lucrative payoff could change all that.  Still, having a reputation that led to more long-term profit should be worth keeping.  Hok didn’t know what to think, so he needed to be careful.

“They’re here.”

Hok nodded.  Lorx was the first client in his new private security business, so he had to make sure he did everything right.

Two Ferengi entered the bar.  One was dressed in the finest suit latinum could buy.  The other was plainly dressed.  Hok’s security counterpart.

“Do you have the formula, Lorx?”

“It’s right here.”  Lorx raised a PADD.  “Do you have the latinum?”

“Yes.”

Before anyone could do anything, three men burst into the bar from the back room, weapons in hand, firing at the four men meeting to do business.

Hok reached for his own weapon, but he was struck in the chest.  It felt like he was hit by a denix bull.  Gasping to breathe, he crashed to the floor and everything went black.

=====

Hok opened his eyes, then immediately shut them due to a bright light pouring from every direction.  Shielding his eyes with his hand, he sat up.  His chest didn’t hurt anymore.  Looking around, he was in a room like a small outer court.  Everything was a brilliant gold: the walls, the floor, the steps leading to a lectern, a door in the back wall.

Was it possible?  Was this….

The door opened and a Ferengi dressed in the finest, most ornate robe Hok had ever seen, walked out, standing behind the lectern.  He was handsome beyond description.

The Blessed Exchequer!  Hok was dead!  He quickly moved to his knees, placing the heels of his palms together, his hands pointing upward, his fingers curled inwardly.

“Blessed Exchequer, whose greed is eternal, allow this bribe to open your ears and hear this plea from your most devout debtor.”  Hok reached into his pocket and offered a handful of latinum coins.

The Exchequer scoffed.  “Stand up, grub.”  His voice was gruff, but almost musical.

Hok hurried to do as instructed.  He trembled as he realized his eternal destiny depended on what happened next.

“Hok, son of Esh, are you ready for the reading of your balance sheet and the execution of my divine judgment?”

“Yes, Exchequer.”  Hok tried to keep his voice even.

“In your childhood, I see you memorized the Rules of Acquisition.  Very good.”  The Exchequer continued reading.  “In your younger years you earned a modest profit working private security, with plans to start your own business.  Good.”  He frowned.  “You turned down great profit from the Orion Syndicate.  Explain yourself.”

Hok took a deep breath.  “It was the Orion Syndicate.  They’re dangerous.  The fact my…. my father and brother died because of them proved I made the right decision.”

The Exchequer humphed.  “It is better to be alive.”  He paused.  “Tell me about your next venture.”

“The Syndicate was after me and my business license was revoked.”

“Why was it revoked?”

“I never found out.”

“So you fled to the Hewmon home world.”

“I thought it was the safest place to be,” said Hok.  “The Hewmons love helping people.”

“I commend you for that, Hok.  You acquired help and safety at no cost.”

Hok couldn’t help smiling.  Maybe things would go well for him.

“Continue,” said the Exchequer.

“After securing business loans at almost no interest, I was able to build and open a speakeasy,” said Hok.  “It was something unique that appealed to the history and traditions of the locals.  I quickly repaid the loans and earned much profit.”

“Then disaster struck.”

“Yes.  The fire.”  Hok’s shoulders sank.  “The Orion Syndicate found me.  They burned down my business.  It wasn’t my fault.”

“That’s debatable,” said the Exchequer.  “Did you get an insurance payoff to recoup your losses?”

“What?”

“An insurance policy.  Did you have one?”

“The Hewmons barely use money.  There are no insurance policies,” said Hok.

“I see.  Tell me what came next.”

“I joined Starfleet Academy and after I graduated, I served a few months on a starship.  I eventually resolved the Orion problem and went back home to Ferenginar.  I got my license back and started my own security business.”

“But you went over four years without earning any profit.”

If Hok didn’t think of something to say in response to that, his fate could be in jeopardy.  “Exchequer, I contend that profit can be more than just currency.”

“Explain.”

“Skills.  I acquired skills I wouldn’t have now if I never was in Starfleet.  I also made friends and connections.  I can ask for help and they’ll help me at no cost.  Once I returned home, I used these new skills to earn more profit.”

The Exchequer laughed.  “Profit is more than currency.  You certainly have the lobes to say that.”  He laughed again.

Hok didn’t like the sound of that.

The Exchequer drummed his fingers on the lectern.  Hok could see he was deep in thought.

“You haven’t acquired enough to enter the Divine Treasury, but I like innovative thinking,” said the Exchequer.

Hok was so nervous, he felt like he was going to wet himself.  Was that even possible in the afterlife?

“I’m giving you another opportunity.  I’m sending you back.”  The Exchequer waved his hand.

=====

Hok gasped and quickly sat up.  Allowing his eyes to adjust to the dim lighting, he was stunned when he saw the bodies of Lorx and the two men they were meeting.  Crawling to them and checking each one, he saw they were dead.  Rubbing his chest, he felt pain again.  There was a burn mark on his shirt.  The PADD with the formula and the latinum were gone.  Were his instincts correct?  Had Glun betrayed them?  Had he actually stood before the Blessed Exchequer or was it an unconscious dream?  Whatever happened, he had to get out of there and find a safe place to think.