“I detect eleven other life forms aboard. Seven humans, one Bajoran, one Trill, one Andorian, and one Vulcan. Explain their purpose,” demanded a surly Jem’Hadar flight controller over the video feed.
“The hew-mons and the rest of the scum – except the Vulcan – they’re junkies I picked up from the bowels of Freecloud to carry my wares,” Grok spat with palpable distaste for those who had failed in the pursuit of wealth acquisition. “A wealthy and successful businessman like myself cannot be seen doing such manual labor himself.”
The Jem’Hadar airspace controller did not look amused. It wasn’t due to any sort of disbelief though. He just despised the Ferengi. They were a self-obsessed culture who believed victory was the number of trinkets one could collect. He, on the other hand, knew higher purpose. Victory was life, combat was the vehicle, and Ketracel-White was sustainment. Nothing else mattered.
“And the Vulcan? What is her purpose?”
“She’s my bookkeeper.”
“Because, let me guess, a wealthy and successful businessman like yourself cannot be seen keeping the books either?”
“Now you’re catching my drift, Mr. Jem’Hadar! I acquired her from an Orion trader, and boy, oh boy, can she do math and so much more,” bragged Grok with a wink. “Have you ever seen a fee-male Vulcan during pon farr? What a treat, let me tell you! Maybe after these goods are unloaded, I’ll introduce you to one of my other fee-males.”
“That will not be necessary,” the Jem’Hadar responded flatly. These unrefined primitives had such pitiful needs. But the might of the Dominion required the goods they bore, and so they had to be tolerated. That was the Vorta’s instructions. “You are cleared, third in line, behind the Tzenkethi freighter, flight path 2A to Nasera Municipal Spaceport for Docking Bay 14.” And then the Jem’Hadar flight controller cut the channel without another word.
“Where was the ‘thank you so much for your kind offer’ or ‘have a wonderful day’?” exclaimed the Ferengi exasperatedly into the void.
Commander Jake Lewis, Lieutenant Commander Brock Jordan and T’Aer emerged from the alcove where they’d stolen away out of sight while Grok was on the call.
“No manners with those guys, let me tell you!” Grok scoffed, turning to his friends.
“You’re enjoying this, aren’t you Grok?” asked Lieutenant Commander Jordan incredulously. The Ferengi almost seemed to be having fun in the face of the Jem’Hadar.
“I’m just playing the part,” Grok declared coyly before glancing over at the Vulcan. “But T’Aer, my lady, if ever you require my services to resolve a private little situation of yours, you just let me know. We are teammates after all, and that’s what teammates do for each other.” T’Aer shot him an ice cold stare.
“Come on Brock,” said Commander Lewis, ignoring the banter. “Let’s gather the troops and get ready to start moving some freight like the tired dayworkers we are.” He headed for the exit, the second-in-command tight on his heels, leaving Ferengi and the Vulcan alone on the bridge to continue their quarrel.
“Sure it’s safe we abandoned T’Aer back there with him?” joked Lieutenant Commander Jordan as they walked through the corridors of the Lucre.
“Oh, I’d be far more worried for Grok, if I was you.”
“It’s crazy how they can joke around like that as we fly straight into the hornet’s nest,” commented the younger officer, still a bit in shock over the sheer number of Dominion ships they’d just casually flown past.
“Grok and T’Aer, they’ve done this a hundred times,” Lewis offered calmly. “Wait until you see them in their element.”
“That’s not their element?”
“No, that’s just foreplay. Wait until the shooting starts,” Lewis laughed. “The heat of a disruptor pulse whizzing past really gets them going.”
That was when Brock Jordan realized who exactly he was going into battle with. When he’d said he was a field operator for Starfleet Intelligence, that just meant he’d tossed a few dumpsters on Freecloud, hacked a Klingon communications array near Narendra, and connected with a Romulan informant on Nimbus. To casually make jokes in the face of a Jem’Hadar commander while a Dominion Fleet loomed with their polaron emitters trained on you, that took a different kind of insanity altogether. Lewis and his Sebold Logistics colleagues were something else, and Jordan just hoped that he and the Hazard Team could live up to what they needed them to be.