It was eleven-hundred hours. Atlantia had been docked for a little more than an hour. When Xenie heard the captain’s address that shore leave had been granted she wasted no time. She hadn’t seen her parents in over three years due to her deep space assignment. With haste, she opened up a communications channel and routed it to her parent’s home in Smolensk.
An older woman visibly in her early fifties with long golden locks and silver highlights appeared on the screen. “Zdravstvuy, mama!” Xenie said, greeting her mother in her native language, Russian.
“Xenie! What a pleasure it is to see you! How is your mission going?”
“Actually mother, that’s why I’m calling. I’m in orbit at Earth Spacedock. I was planning on coming to see you and dad while we’re here.”
“That’s wonderful news. Your father will be so happy to hear that. When do you think you’ll be by?”
“I’m going to take care of some things on the station, but I’ll be there tomorrow morning.”
“Perfect. We can’t wait to see you. It’s been so long since you were last here. See you in the morning.”
Xenie smiled and the screen returned to it’s idle black screen with the Federation logo. She now had one task taken care of. Now all she needed to do was visit some of the local shops on the station for a gift and some long overdue off-duty wardrobe.
When Xenie reached the retail spaces of the station, there were many shops that caught her eye; dress shops, shoe stores, hair salons. It was just what she needed after so many years on assignment.
Against her better judgement, she stopped at one dress shop in particular, Fraxor’s. The proprietor was a stout little Ferengi. She knew instantly he was going to try every scheme in his holy book, The Rules of Acquisition, to get the most out of her but she assured herself she was not going to fall prey to his tactics.
She scanned the assortment of garments on display and instantly fell in love with a red satin dress. She held it up to her figure. It was a bit big, but she hoped that the Ferengi had another in her size or at least could alter the display model. The Ferengi was busy with another customer, so while she waited she took the dress with her and continued to look around.
After a dozen or so minutes, the Ferengi wrapped up his transaction with his latest customer and wasted no time tracking Xenie down in hopes of making another sale.
“Welcome to Fraxor’s. How may I be of service?” he said with a smug grin, almost sneaking up on the woman.
Turning her attention to the man, she replied “Hmm? Oh, yes. This dress…would you happen to have it in a size six?”
The Ferengi looked the woman up and down, “My, my, my. A size six you say? I’m afraid all of my garments are made to order. That display model is the only one. I could have one made for you by tomorrow if you’d like?”
“Tomorrow?” She said a bit disappointed, “I won’t be on the station tomorrow. Is there any way to get it sooner?”
It was at that moment Fraxor remembered Rule of Acquisition Number 87, ‘Learn the customer’s weaknesses, so that you can better take advantage of them’. Hearing the urgency in her tone, knew at that moment it was time to resort to Ferengi intuition.
“Well…I might be able to have one made by the end of the day, but it will cost extra as I’ll have to close my shop early to work on the dress.”
“Fine.” She said.
“Very well, if you would step this way, I’ll get your measurements and then get started.”
Xenie followed the Ferengi toward the rear of the shop where there was a raised section of flooring and a multi-panel mirror. Fraxor took Xenie by her hand with his right hand and placed his left near the small of her back and helped her up. He was about to allow his hand to slip further down her backside when a sudden shout came from the front of the store, “Get your grubby little Ferengi mitts off that woman!”
Startled, Fraxor spun around quicker than a Ferengi closing a business deal and witnessed a petite Hispanic woman with dark chocolate brown locks glaring at him with a look of outrage in her eyes. He stammered to get out a reply, knowing he’d been caught in the act, “I…but…It’s not what you.” He began. “I am merely taking this lovely woman’s measurements for a dress.”
“Stuff it Ferengi, I saw where those hands were going. You’re not fooling anyone.”
Xenie took one look at the female accuser, then back at the Ferengi. She had no idea who this woman was, but she knew the Ferengi had a reputation with women. She scoffed at the man, realizing that his intentions were less than honourable and immediately stepped down off the platform. “You can forget about the dress.” She said to him in disgust.
She would have slapped him across the face had it not been for the presence of the other woman. Instead, she thanked her and invited her to join her for coffee.