Campaign of the Month: January 2012
Star Trek Late Night
My story? Are you serious? No one wants to know who I am. I am just a merchant, an honest trader. I suppose if my life were a book it would be called I Ferengi. They say a man is the sum of his experiences. If that is true, then I am no man. I am Ferengi. Sure I was born human and both of my parents are human but they died when I was young. I barely remember them. I remember faces but they are blurry things except for one. It was a woman, beautiful, brunette but with some grey at her temples. Blue eyes, I think but I am not certain. She was singing a song. Beautiful and serene. If I close my eyes I can almost hear it.
What I do remember of my childhood is death. I remember the Klingons that attacked us. I remember the blood, the violence, the rapes. That woman I remember, she put me in a cargo container and told me to be quiet. I remember the sounds of people screaming, the pounding blasts of battle, and silence. I tried to open the container but it was locked from outside. I thought I would die. Days later when the container was opened I saw what I now know was a Ferengi. And so began my life on Ferengar.
Initially my new family treated me as an oddity or perhaps a pet but as I grew older and began to understand the intricacies of Ferengi culture, I saw a way to survive. I began quoting the Rules of Acquisition whenever I could. I stole money from the neighbor kid, Jok. My new parents discovered the theft but Jok never did. This seemed to impress them and my father, Grom, began to teach me all that he knew. He was a doctor and he traveled the galaxy helping those in need. Now he did this for a price, but he still cared for those he treated. I learned medicines, drugs, and even how to close wounds and treat diseases. I took to this very well and when I could, I would steal from the patients as well. I made a good profit and my father was proud of me. Soon I had forgotten my old family and my new one was all that mattered. I even had a new name now, Tarak. Strange that I can’t remember my old one.
When I was twelve Father gave me my first files. He said they were to sharpen my teeth and before I could use them he took me to a dentist to have my teeth altered to appear more Ferengi in nature. He then took me to see Aspira. If you have never seen Ferengi opera, then you truly have missed one of the greatest wonders that the galaxy has to offer. Aspira is the opera of operas. It spoke to me and taught me that profit is more important than family, more important than friends – it is all that matters in life. If we are to achieve a grand afterlife then we must profit on every venture. Even if that profit is only one slip of latinum.
I began running numbers in school and the other kids all were so certain they could best me. Their gambles became my profit. I soon was bringing in 1,000 slips of latinum a month and I was only fourteen. It was then that I got the idea of sex for money. I convinced a few girls to work for me. I paid them and the clients paid me. The profits kept coming in.
I would travel to many worlds with my father for more than a decade as we treated the sick and delivered medicines to those in need. The more the need, the better they pay. The Rules of Acquisition were my life.
When I turned 28 my father cashed in a favor and helped me to get a place on a ship heading for the newly built mining station, Terok Nor. My father had heard rumors that the station was built with slave labor and that the subjugated people of Bajor would be the perfect place to begin my career. “Those who are oppressed will do anything for medicine, weapons, and luxuries,” my father told me before I left. Another Ferengi, named Quark, would be on the same ship. He had his eyes on establishing a tavern on the station. I would trade medicines and luxuries to the Cardassians and Bajorans too, if I could figure a way to do so. At first things were hard but soon I was traveling to and from Bajor almost daily. I made contacts amongst the Maquis and the Zealots alike. It was true that war is good for business. The commander of the station, Gul Dukat, took notice of what I was up to and invited me into his confidence, but I always felt he was trying to squeeze me for information. I used my skills at deception to get deeper and deeper into Bajoran confidences. My only competition for sales was Quark. He always seemed to have the right connections to undercut me, but I had a plan and soon was out selling him.
The Maquis were my brothers and they even drew me into their opperations. I am personally responsible for many of the successful missions against the Cardassians. I was so good that the Bajorans even named children after me. I am godfather to no less than 30 Bajorans. Now you tell me, did that prick Sisko ever accomplish such a deed?
As the years passed the situation on Terok Nor would become deplorable. The Maquis had moved from freedom fighters to terrorist. Gul Dukat had become somewhat overwhelmed by the situation. Bombings were commonplace and assassination attempts seemed to occur weekly. I started importing medicines, guns, and explosives from the Syndicate and Klingon raiders. The Maquis seemed almost ravished in their desire to buy from me. They accepted my aid and paid me well. When needed, I would smuggle people out of the station.
That fool Odo, would always be on my tail. He hounded me for information, searched my ship, my cargos, and even put me in jail at least a dozen times. I was smarter than him and always manages to get out of the troubles he put to my name. Quark was always getting a little more attention than me, so I was able to use that to my advantage.
The Cardassian had a plan and that plan was to use the Bajorans as slave labor, sex toys, and basically little more than property. I could respect their desrie to own people. It was one of my own desires. The conflict I faced was that the bajorans paid better than the Cardassians. Soon I was smuggling drugs, weapons, explosives, and making use of my contacts within the Cardassian garrison to supply the Maquis with vital targets. When they asked me to join them I did so and the profits continued to grow. My guns and bombs killed hundreds of Cardassians.
I saw much death and destruction on Terok Nor but it gave me the chance to hone my skills as a doctor and a merchant. My father would have been proud. I remember his last words to me, “War is good for Profits” and he was so right.
Back on Cardassia Prime, the Occupation was losing the war of public opinion and the order soon came for all Cardassian soldiers to withdraw. I stayed behind and celebrated with my Bajoran friends and we turned Terok Nor into a Bajoran station. It took three weeks to clean up the mess left over from that party and Quark’s bar was nearly destroyed by the revelry. Good times all around.
When the United Federation of Planets came to Terok Nor, they renamed it Deep Space 9 – what a sorry name for my home. The commander was a human named Sisko and he – as I said before – was a prick. He tried to curtail business on the station, which forced me to join forces with Quark; we established a trade system that was nearly foolproof. Odo was always the thorn in our sides, but he seemed to focus much more on Quark than me. This allowed me to operate much more freely. I began bringing in shipments of Romulan ale, Orion bisk wine, and numerous other illicit drugs.
Dr. Julian Bashir was the Starfleet doctor that was assigned to the station and we became fast friends. He always was accompanied by the engineer, O’Brien. They introduced me to the holodeck and allowed me to join them on many of their adventures. When O’Brien started telling me I should try out for Starfleet Academy, I played the part of the skeptic but inside my heart lept with joy. Starfleet would offer me the credentials to be treated as a professional and with both Bashir and O’Brien’s contacts, I was accepted very quickly.
I truly loved those two and when I heard of their deaths recently, I swore vengance on the Starfleet team that killed them. I even paid off a Starfleet captain to get the names of the six men responsible. Shall I name them? Sure why not. Commander Craig Forester (Human), Lt. Commander Nathan Hunter (Human), Lt.jg. Myek Mahtuz (Andorian), Ensigns Hurunda (Klingon), Tarnok (Klingon), and Bobbi McDoogle (Human). My informant tells me they all serve in a Starfleet Prime Team onboard the USS Ragnorak.
Six months after my conversation with Bashir, at his recomendation, I applied to the Federation School of Diplomacy on Auralia. He thought that if I graduated from that school, getting into the Academy would be a ‘No Brainer’. The University was actually quite fun and they taught me many new tools to use for debate and negotiation. I think that all Ferengi would benefit from the school but few would ever even think of going there.
Three days after graduation I was on a ship heading for Earth. Starfleet Academy was hard – much harder than I ever realized it could be. I had to push myself to my limits but I succeeded. With the background I had in medicine, I quickly became a rising star of the class. With my background in diplomacy and negotiation I was soon to become valedictorean. Throughout my time at the Academy I took notes about everyone I met and every place I went. I made friends with Dmiral Ja’ko Simms and we would often meet at a local pub and discuss the War with the Dominion. What started as a simple friendship soon developed into a romance. Ja’ko was a magnificent lover and if you have never been with a Benzite, I recomend you give it a whirl. The War would end prior to my graduation from the Academy of which I was the top of my class. I mourned the deaths of good friends and found myself in a state of severe depression when the war ended. I actually took a leave of absence for two weeks to go to Risa and escape from the funk I was in.
When the time came for my Cadet Cruise, I managed to do so well that I was stationed on a Mediterranian-class ship, the USS Wyoming, where I became the assistant Ship’s Counselor. My job as Counselor would allow me to gather much information on the personnel of the ship, of which I catalogued for later use. You never know when information may prove useful but it always has a value to someone. By the end of the two-year mission, I would have proven myself and earned a promotion to Lt. Commander. I requested a transfer hoping to become a department head.
My new ship, a Galaxy-class, the USS Excelsior was on a scientific mission to the singularity in Sector 77. The ship was studying the effects of the event horizon bubble. Not being a physicist, I barely understood what they were compiling. My job aboard this vessel required an immense amount of work. I had to manage a team of seven and handle the mental wellbeing of well over 1,000 people. I still compiled data and I would use this data to start a business selling drugs to the crew. I set up a network of runners who would do the actual work and I raked in the profit.
Beja Bango gave me a comicbook one day called, “The Secrets of the Buddha’s Palm”. It was a fun little thing that taught the basics of an unarmed combat style. While it seemed for children, something about the book captured my attentions. I paid Ensign Kim to program the book into the Holosuite and started training. You would never believe it but that childrens story taught me how to fight.
When the first explosion occured I was sleeping and thrown from my bed. I scrambled toward the bridge as the ship rocked under some dire attack. By the time I had made the bridge the battle was well under way and we were in real trouble. An Imperial Star Destroyer had arrived in the system and hundreds of TIE-fighters were swarming around us. I heard engineering telling the Captain that the warp core was damaged and needed to be ejected. Commander Boro yelled over an explosion, “We must abandon ship Captain!”. I turned to look at the Captain as a flash of light blinded me, and when I awoke I was floating in space inside of an escape pod. Ensign Diggs was the only other person in the pod and he was dead with several pieces of shrapnel sticking out of his back. I touched my aching head and realized I was very badly wounded.
It would be two weeks before I was rescued and taken back to Starbase 417 for treatment. The doctors told me I had been left without care for too long and that treatment of my injuries would likely kill me. I would spend over a year in that hospital. I learned to sing. Every day while lieing in that bed I would sing. I learned tavern ballads, war songs, and the songs of minstrals long dead. I learned the Klingon Operas, the Andorian Bruhaks, and even the Romulan T’sala Din.
When they released me from the hospital I left Starfleet behind. Drugs and alcohol would be my friends for several months but then the itch would return. Dodging Starfleet Security became my favorite game but my experience with near death gnawed at my soul. I had nightmares, horible nightmares that seemed to drive me insane. I found a doc and had my a small bit of DNA rewritten so I would never need to sleep again. When I was done I realized I was missing something. I needed to make a profit. I needed to do something. I bought a small ship and started traveling the galaxy. I would sell my new found skill, Singing. The profits I made from that was wonderful but not enough. So between planets I started scavenging the battlefields that the War was leaving behind. I sold weapons, shields, and anything else I could find.
Eventually I ended up on Romulus to meet with a Senator who was planning to overthrow the Praetor. While walking back to my hotel a kid tried to mug me. The kid never even saw it coming. I had drawn my neuro whip and nailed him before he even realized I had a weapon. He dropped his weapon, a meat hook. I laughed and picked it up. Then I searched his body and took his sunglasses too. A meat hook is a nasty looking weapon. I decided to keep it and it gave me an idea. Captain Hook from Peter Pan: I would become a pirate.
I asked around and greased the right palms. Soon enough I was introduced to Saman, an Orion who would help me with my new venture. Within a month we had a crew of 25; within six months we had grown to a large ship and a crew of 600. We raised holy hell. We raided along the Romulan/Klingon border. I soon realized that piracy wasnt enough. Don’t kill em, sell em. We modified the ship to hold hundreds of prisoners and we started to raid colonies within the Federation. The people we captured would be taken to Rigel and we would sell them at a nice profit. Sometime we would get special orders and those always paid a premium.
When on Rigel 7, I met an Andorian woman that I wanted very much to take as a wife. Instead I took her as my 2nd-in-command. Saman played the roll of cook while in reality he was my true 2nd and Imara played the roll of 2nd though she knew she was 3rd. The complexities of command are for too numerous for me to explain. Imara is a free lover but she would never accept me as a husband. She said she would only marry a true warrior and though playing games with a merchant could be fun, it would never work out.
Saman suggested I join the syndicate and I paid good money to do so. Life was good. I earned money and sent a percentage home to Ferengar as was required by law and I sent a little more to the Syndicate who gave me safe ports to bring my goods. When we took the merchantman, Marsanna, we made so much money that most of the crew retired from the life. Saman and Imara departed as freinds. They told me to get out of the game but I could only see profits in my future.
I hired a new crew and promoted Norm Gural to the position of first officer. He was a capable Orion with many years of boarding action experience. He recomended a couple of dozen other men and we started making runs deep into Romulan space and hitting cargo ships travelling to and from Citadel Station. One of the things that bothered me about Norm was he always asked about my background and who I knew. I should have suspected something but he was very personable, and I like a fool, would talk.
We picked up a slave, I think I called her Sila, and she was a gorgeous and sensual Delvian. I nearly fell in love with her, but Norm wanted her badly and kept offereing to buy her. Sila begged me not to sell her to him but money is money and I made the deal. He agreed to serve on the ship and give me 50% of his stake for two years. I turned Sila over to him and the very next day I was told she killed herself. I always suspected that Norm killed her but he came at me with a vengeance saying I cheated him. We worked it out but he seemed to hold a grudge. It isn’t like I knew she would kill herself and personally I don’t think she did. I think Norm killed her and then realized he threw away two years of profits. Not my problem but Norm didn’t see it that way.
All good things come to an end. The Federation, Romulans, and Klingons all put prices on my head. I was spending more time running from war ships than I was raiding for profit. The new crew became restless and they turned on me. I knew it was Norm and when he turned me over to the Romulans he laughed and said, “Jok sends his regards.” I stared at him with my mouth open for so long that he had to push it closed for me before shoving me towards the Romulans. I was certain death would follow. After being tortured, beaten, and humiliated they finally sentenced me to life imprisonment.
And so I ended up here in Xebec’s Demise. Now I have my bar, the ‘Grinning Vulcan’, and my joytoys. I have Alana and my girls. I make a profit and the gangs dont bother me. I tell ya, had I realized it back then, Quark had it right. A bar is a great business. When I get out of here, I plan to go visit him and thank him for the good advice.