Previous episodeNext episode

 “Gold leaf”

by Lord Thanatos


12/12/11 28/12/11







1. To Hangar 18

2. Reinard’s workout

3. Bad timing

4. Business as unusual

5. Shipshape

6. Chiefs of securities

7. In league with Meeg

8. Taken gold and taken liberty

9. The scum list

10. Primitive man

11. Professional alcoholic

12. The whole thing…

13. Zennoyance

14. Flying gold

15. Sad but true

16. I have a cunning plan

17. To the golden cage

18. Silence is golden

19. Gold medal sprint

20. Goldrush

21. All that glitters...





SCENE 1: To Hangar 18


An alien being with a broad smile on his face is sitting at a desk looking at a screen.


Alien: “Welcome to Fowen, the biggest trading planet in the known universe. My name is Yantim.”


The screen is not visible in this shot, thus the contacted traders are obscured.


Trader: “Good day, Yantim. Your face is not familiar to me…”


Yantim: “I take it then you have been trading with us before?”


Trader: “Indeed we have, and we’re back to trade some more.”


Yantim: “That is good to hear! We always appreciate reliable trading partners…”


Trader: “I am Smirkin, and these are my associates Meeg and Ulgor.”


Yantim: “Nice to meet you, gentlemen. What can I do for you?”


Smirkin: “Since our last visit, a few days ago, we’ve done some trading elsewhere and are looking to open trade negotiations regarding our newly acquired resources.”


Yantim: “Of course. What is it you have to offer?”


Smirkin: “We have a cargo hold full of Trillium 323…”


Yantim: “I’ll check the trading board to see how much Trillium 323 we are currently looking for.”


Yantim taps a few buttons on the console and finds an answer.


Yantim: “Well, good news. We’re currently looking for all we can get of the stuff… It’s a useful commodity to trade for gold. And you probably gathered already we need a lot of gold, hahaha…”


Smirkin laughs as well…


Smirkin: “Yes, I’ve noticed...”


Yantim: “Especially since a relatively large theft of 3,500 gold panels just this morning…”


The trader seems shocked by this news.


Smirkin: “Really?! That’s awful… Who would do such a thing? It’s such a beautiful project you have going on on your moon…”


Yantim: “Indeed, indeed…”


Smirkin: “Unfortunately we have no gold for trade, just the Trillium.”


Yantim: “No matter, the transformation will continue as scheduled I’m sure… Anyway, how much Trillium have you got in your hold?”


Smirkin: “9,000 kilo’s, my friend…”


Yantim: “That’s quite a bit… What are you looking for in return?”


Smirkin: “Oh, just make us a few different offers and we’ll see which one’s most interesting…”


Yantim: “Of course, I’ll arrange it for you. As you might know, we don’t use transporter technology to beam the goods. Too many beaming stream might cause interference. So, you are free to proceed to Hangar 18 and use any of our public facilities before we exchange the goods. I’ll be contacting you shortly…”


Smirkin: “Thank you, my good man. We’ll await your call…”



SCENE 2: Reinard’s workout


A shuttle from the Greate Pier approaches the planet Fowen as well.


LT: “Just look at that moon…”


Amato: “I am looking at it, sir… And it’s quite amazing…”


They are looking at a moon circling Fowen. The moon appears to be almost completely covered in gold. A small portion of the moon shows its original, grey surface.


Reinard: “That must have taken a lot of time and effort…”


LT: “I’m sure they’ll tell us all about it.”


Amato: “Alright, gentlemen, approaching the hangar.”


The shuttle flies into the giant open doors. Bright yellow scanning lights are showing Amato where to pilot the ship. After a short while of following these lights and passing dozens and dozens of other ships of all shapes, sizes and origins, the ship is set down on the correct landing site. The ship’s complement of 3 exits the vehicle.


LT: “Alright, let’s go Reinard… We shouldn’t be late for our appointment.”


Reinard: “Have fun keeping an eye on the ship, Just…”


Semi annoyed Just replies to Reinard’s remark.


Amato: “Thank you so much, sir… And good luck.”


The commander and the captain walk towards the nearest giant wall of the giant hangar and soon find themselves on the other side of a nearby door. The men are now in a 30 meter wide corridor where many dozens of people of all imaginable races are moving in both directions, some carrying merchandise in their arms or moving stuff on antigrav sleds.


Reinard: “Whereto, sir?”


After consulting his tricorder, the man in charge points in a certain direction.


LT: “According to the provided map, this way…”


Reinard: “This place is huge… I couldn’t believe my eyes when we approached the building, but it’s no less amazing on the inside…”


LT: “Then to think they have 20 of these trading centers… Insane.”


After a short while they enter an insanely huge, open room.


LT: “Well, here we are… Trading Arena 18.”


Reinard: “Good. Don’t feel like walking around half the globe…”


The captain fiddles with his tricorder again.


LT: “Now to find meeting point 893. Let’s see… Ah, there it is.”


Reinard: “Where is it?”


LT: “Well, here in this arena…”


Half annoyed the commander sighs his reply.


Reinard: “Yes, I figured that…”


LT: “2 miles in that direction…”


As LT walks off in the indicated direction, Reinard doesn’t believe what he’s hearing…


Reinard: “What?!”


After working their way through a crowd of many thousands of traders, the men are about to arrive at the meeting point.


Reinard: “Finally… This crowd is giving me a headache…”


LT: “Are you done complaining for today? We’re about to meet the minister of interplanetary affairs. A great honor, I’ve been told…”


Reinard: “Yeah, great. If it really was that special we wouldn’t be meeting at meeting point 893, but at meeting point 1 in a secure room away from this crowd. This place is a major risk for a minister. And us!”


They are already awaited by said minister and his entourage.


LT: “Good morning, minister.”


Minister: “Good morning. You must be Captain LT.”


LT: “Indeed I am and this is my chief of security, Commander Reinard.”


Reinard: “How do you do, sir?”


Minister: “Nice to meet you gentlemen. Since you represent the United Federation of Planets and its many billions of citizens I had to meet you personally.”


LT: “We are honored, minister. And we hope we can establish a formal trade relationship with you and your people and make some friends in the progress…”


Minister: “A formal trade relationship? That sounds so… formal… And speaking of which, please call me Erahman.”


LT: “Of course, Erahman, haha…”


Erahman: “And I’m sure we can come to a ‘formal’ trade relationship, gentlemen… Trading is our trade after all… Anyway, let’s get to know each other a bit first and get to boring business later…”


Reinard: “In that case, could you tell us something about your moon?”


Erahman: “Ah, our pride and joy! It’s a project that is nearing its conclusion. According to the latest calculations there are just 36 years remaining before total completion…”


LT: “36 years?!”


Erahman: “Yes, it may seem like a small gap still to be covered in gold panels, but it’s a huge surface. My people have been working on the moon for 630 years already, you know?”


Reinard: “Amazing…”


LT: “Well, it really looks stunning, Erahman… You can really be proud of it…”


Erahman: “Thank you so much. And we are; it’s our biggest achievement as a race. And it employs about 1.5 million people.”


Reinard: “Really? 1.5 million?”


Erahman: “Well yes, it’s no small task. We have many, many tens of thousands of traders who search the known universe for sources of gold. Next to that we have transport ship operators, porters, security personnel and countless construction workers to put the panels in place…”


Reinard: “Security personnel, of course… There must be so much gold to protect…”


Erahman: “Indeed. Gold holds very little monetary value with our people, but it is nonetheless important to us for this project. And it has a major impact on the life here on Fowen, not in the last place because all that gold up there actually has a bit of a gravimetric effect here on the planet…”


Reinard: “How do you protect all of that gold, both in storage and on the moon itself once it’s put in its place?”


LT: “I’m sure the minister doesn’t have time to answer that in-depth, commander…”


Erahman: “Nonsense, captain, I have all the time in the universe. But perhaps I’m not the man to answer those questions for you, Commander Reinard. I could get you into contact with our own chief of security on this project; he’ll be better able to answer all your questions regarding security matters. I’ll instruct him to reserve all the time you need to satisfy your curiosity, hahaha…”


Reinard: “I don’t want to be a burden, sir, but I nonetheless would indeed be interested in meeting your chief of security…”


Erahman: “Alright, I’ll arrange it then…”


Reinard suddenly looks a lot happier.



SCENE 3: Bad timing


Mansfield exits his quarters and rushes towards the turbo lift while trying to put on his waistcoat.


Mansfield: “Computer, time?”


Computer: “The current time is 0806 hours.”


Mansfield: “Crap!”


He enters the turbo lift.


Mansfield : “Deck A!”


Just before the door closes a hand forces it back open. Commander Eisinga enters the lift.


Eisinga: “Morning…”


John gives a very short answer, without looking at the commander and while still straightening out his waistcoat.


Mansfield: “Sir.”


The door closes and the lift starts to move.


Eisinga: “Deck A.”


Eisinga looks at his colleague and suddenly has a puzzled look on his face.


Eisinga: “Computer, what’s the time?”


Computer: “The current time is 0807 hours.”


Eisinga: “Hm…”


Mansfield refuses to make eye contact with his superior and decides to study the wall on his other side with an annoyed look on his face. Soon after the doors open and the commander’s hand signal shows he’s allowing John to exit the turbo lift first. Without any form of reply Mansfield steps into the corridor. The commander soon follows suit but goes into a different direction. The crewman puffs his cheeks and gets rid of all the air in his lungs to signify those short seconds in the turbo lift lasted longer than he’d care for.



SCENE 4: Business as unusual


Yantim walks into the office, where dozens of colleagues are apparently doing the same work, carrying a PADD is his hand. He sits down behind his desk again and hails his clients again.


Yantim: “Good day, gentlemen.”


Smirkin: “Ah, Yantim. You have some offers for us, I take it?”


Yantim: “Indeed I do… Let’s see…”


He looks at his PADD for the information.


Yantim: “In exchange for your shipment of Trillium 323 I can offer you 1,800 kilo’s of Pergium, 79 non-synthesized Dilithium crystals, original is always best, or 13,900 kilo’s of Nitrium…”


Smirkin: “Well, we’re good on Dilithium and Nitrium is hard to trade off these days… But the Pergium offer seems to be very acceptable. And you know what? I’m not even going to haggle… We’ll be able to make a decent profit on the Pergium. You’ve got yourself a deal.”


Yantim: “Ah, that is excellent. Someone will report to your ship as soon as possible to exchange the goods.”


Smirkin: “We will be standing by, my friend. Thank you for your business…”


Yantim nods at his screen and pushes a single button to disconnect the call.



SCENE 5: Shipshape


Amato is wandering through Hangar 18 admiring all the alien space crafts he encounters. After looking at a ship on his left he turns his gaze to a ship on his right. It seems familiar.


Amato: “A Ferengi ship?”


A message is routed through his combadge.


Eisinga: “Commander Eisinga to Ensign Amato.”


Amato: “Go ahead, sir.”


Eisinga: “Amato, have the captain and Commander Reinard returned to the hangar already?”


Amato looks at the shuttle in the distance.


Amato: “No, not that I can see, sir. But what I can see right now is a Ferengi ship…”


Eisinga: “A Ferengi ship?”


Amato: “Yes, quite unexpected so far away from Ferenginar…”


Eisinga: “Well, not as unexpected as you might think, this is still a trading planet of course…”


Amato: “True. But you’d think there is of plenty profit to be made a little closer to home for them…”


Eisinga: “Who knows?… Anyway, please inform me when they’ve returned to the shuttle.”


Amato: “Understood. Amato out.”



SCENE 6: Chiefs of securities


Reinard is in a private office belonging to the chief of security of the Trading Arena’s.


Reinard: “So, that was obviously the mistake which got Suder caught… He didn’t have a leg to stand on and soon admitted his guilt.”


Security Chief: “Very impressive, Jens…”


Reinard: “Thank you, Ewep. My team deserves the majority of the credit.”


Ewep: “At least that security risk is solved…The Inj business is another matter, it seems…”


Reinard: “Unfortunately, yes… We’ve managed to destroy 2 of 3 Behemoths… But until that 3rd one is destroyed we cannot rest easy.”


Ewep: “I quite understand… From your description of them they don’t seem like very good neighbors even if they are nomadic.”


Reinard: “I’m not the kind of man to say we need to kill creatures we don’t really like, but we chose to defend ourselves and protect others rather than letting them have their violent way.”


Ewep: “Which brings me to my next question. To further strengthen the new relationship between our peoples, I’d like to request you and your team to assist us in the hunt for the gold thieves. Despite all our best efforts, sometimes gold does get stolen…”


Reinard: “How much?”


Ewep: “3,500 panels…”


Reinard: “Wow….”


Ewep: “Well, it’s no disaster, but a serious theft nonetheless…So, how about it? Interested in helping us out?”


Reinard: “If your people need a lesson in detective work, we’ll be glad to teach you, hahaha…”


Both men laugh out loud.


Reinard: “We’d be honored, Ewep…”


Ewep: “Good!”


Reinard: “But I’m quite sure you and your men and women are more than capable of doing this on your own… You’ve got plenty experience in securing 20 of the largest buildings I’ve ever laid eyes on.”


Ewep: “Well, we also have to secure the storage areas, which are insanely huge. We can’t have eyes on every square meter of all the buildings… Besides, we also are responsible for providing security for the gold transports in transit and the moon itself. And I don’t have to tell you how big that moon is… So, you understand our people can only do so much… Any help is always welcome. So, also from a practical point of view, your assistance is most welcome… I mean, the fact 3,500 gold panels were stolen is proof that security isn’t perfect around here…”


Reinard: “Do thefts like this occur often?”


Ewep: “Well, gold panels have been stolen before… Both from storage area’s here on the planet and from the moon itself even, but all the thefts so far range from a handful of panels to maybe 50… 3,500 panels is something else… After 630 years of work on this moon we’d like to concentrate on finishing it rather than replacing stolen panels and hunting thieves…”


Reinard: “In that case, let’s grab those bastards! I’ll return to the ship immediately and assemble my team…”


Ewep: “I’ll compile a list of suspects for you to work on… Looking forward to working with you, deputy…”


The men laugh again and shake hands.



SCENE 7: In league with Meeg


In the hangar, the ship of the traders is being loaded with the acquired merchandise. Someone is talking with one of the traders.


Yantim: “I hope everything is satisfactory, Meeg?”


The big ears reveal they are actually Ferengi.


Meeg: “Yes, indeed it is, my friend… Thank you for meeting us here in person, Yantim. It makes the trade experience more… personal.”


Yantim: “My pleasure. And let me say we’re very happy to be trading with you gentlemen. I’ve checked your trade history here on Fowen; we’ve had a few good deals over the last few weeks and I hope we can do more business in the future.”


Meeg: “I’m sure the boss already has plans for more trades lined up.”


Meeg looks at Smirkin in the distance whom is giving instructions to the people loading the goods.


Yantim: “Very good. Even if you have more Trillium 323, we’d be glad to make another deal for it; we’ve already sold 7.500 kilo’s of it in exchange for gold.”


Meeg: “We’ll keep our eyes open for more of the stuff…”


Yantim: “Brilliant!”


Smirkin yells from a distance…


Smirkin: “Meeg! Get your butt over here and help loading!”


Meeg: “Coming, boss!”


Yantim: “Well, I won’t keep you then. Thank you again for your business!”


Meeg: “No problem, Yantim. I hope to be back soon, I love your food… Makes me think of home…”


Meeg sighs.


Smirkin: “NOW, Meeg!”


Meeg: “Yes, boss!”


Meeg clumsily sprints towards the shouting Ferengi.



SCENE 8: Taken gold and taken liberty


The captain and Amato are sitting in the shuttle which is still parked in the hangar.


LT: “So, yes, it went pretty well… I’ve managed to obtain one or 2 things Serrag asked for. And most importantly, we’ve made good friends far away from home.”


Amato: “And we now, of course, have an address to go to if we need something…”


LT: “That’s not a lie… The list of resources they have available is absolutely endless…”


Amato: “I’m not surprised… Just look at all those trading ships going back and forth…”


The captain’s eyes are directed to a screen on the console in front of them. Hundreds of ships can be seen flying to and from the planet.


Amato: “The only thing I imagine you won’t be able to buy is gold, haha…”


LT: “Correct… I actually sold them 40 kilo’s of it… Not a lot, but they’re happy with any quantity.”


The door in the back opens.


LT: “Ah, the commander has finally returned…”


Amato: “It’s about time.”


Reinard enters the shuttle and walks up to the cockpit.


Reinard: “Sir, ensign.”


LT: “You took your sweet time…”


Reinard: “Ah, ehm, sorry, sir… I lost track of time it seems…”


LT: “Nearly 3 hours of time…”


Reinard: “Sorry, sir.”


LT: “It’s quite alright, commander… At least you seem a bit happier than you were before, haha…”


Reinard: “Were you successful in negotiating for Serrag’s toys?”


LT: “Yes, it took the better part of 2 minutes to come to an agreement.”


Reinard: “Good.”


A short moment of silence before Reinard speaks again.


Reinard: “Ehm, sir… How long are we planning on staying here at Fowen?”


LT: “Well, I’m eh…”


Reinard breaks in.


Reinard: “Because I kind of took the liberty to ehm…”


Amato quickly mumbles…


Amato: “We’re never getting off this planet…”


Reinard: “…to agree to help Chief of Security Ewep to assist in trying to find some gold thieves...”


The captain doesn’t immediately know how to respond to this…


LT: “Ah.”


Reinard: “Ehm, as Ewep put it: ‘to further strengthen the new relationship between our peoples’…”


LT: “I see, I see…”


The captain sighs, as he clearly has no choice…


LT: “Well, in that case I better inform the crew they have some unplanned shore leave coming then…”


Reinard’s expression upgrades from semi nervous to a full smile.


Amato: “I told you… We’re stuck here…”


LT: “I’m sure Commander Reinard will solve this case as quickly as he can, Amato…”


Amato: “In that case, let me help you with your investigation, commander.”


Reinard: “I haven’t even read the case file yet, but I’m open to suggestions, as always…”


Amato: “It’s the Ferengi…”


LT: “The Ferengi?!”


Amato: “Yes… The Ferengi apparently made it to this part of space too… There’s a Ferengi ship in this very hangar.”


Reinard: “And that means they’ve stolen the gold?”


Amato: “Well…”


LT: “There are a few billion people of hundreds of different races present on this planet, Amato… What makes you think it was the Ferengi specifically?”


Amato: “Ehm… Past experiences?”


Reinard: “Well, that would normally be a thing to take into consideration indeed, but in this case that’s not going to work.”


Amato: “And why not?”


Reinard: “Because you’re forgetting one thing… Gold is practically worthless to Ferengi…”


LT: “For as far as I know, gold is only used by the Ferengi to suspend liquid latinum in…”


Reinard: “It must’ve almost been 2 decades since gold meant anything to them in terms of monetary value…”


LT: “Yes, I remember hearing about the market crash when I was a kid…”


Amato: “Just trying to help…”


Reinard: “And it’s appreciated…”


LT: “Anyway, let’s get back to the Greate Pier…”


Amato: “With pleasure…”


Reinard sits down and the other 2 men turn their seats towards the controls and operate the instruments.



SCENE 9: The scum list


On the Greate Pier a door opens. Commander Reinard walks into the security office and sits down. At that very same moment he is being hailed on the communication system. Jens pushes a button to answer it and his colleague Ewep appears on screen.


Reinard: “Ewep! You don’t waste time, do you?”


Ewep: “It seems I don’t, Jens.”


Reinard: “You have that list for me?”


Ewep: “Sending it to you now.”


Ewep can be seen pushing a button. Reinard receives the file.


Reinard: “And received.”


Ewep: “The list contains 47 names on gold thieves, would-be thieves who got caught attempting to steal gold and a few other shady characters whom may be involved.”


Reinard: “That’s quite a list…”


Ewep: “Well, the original list was a little longer, but the rest is already in prison. Or dead. Anyway, my own team will continue the general investigation of this case, you and your team will approach the thugs on the list…”


Reinard: “Alright. Let’s hope we can close this case quickly with this collaboration. I’ll get my personnel together now and we’ll get right on it.”



SCENE 10: Primitive man


The admiral’s face fills the screen in Captain LT’s ready room. The face is not a happy one and appears to be quite red.


Grant: “You destroyed the Behemoth?!”


LT: “It was my pleasure, sir.”


Grant: “Pleasure?! You went against my express orders!”


LT: “Which orders were those, admiral? I don’t recall you telling me not to get rid of our number one mortal enemy.”


The admiral is furious now…


Grant: “Don’t push it, captain!”


If this were a cartoon, steam would be coming out of his ears. After a short second or two, the admiral continues at a slightly milder tone of voice.


Grant: “I knew you were going to be difficult to talk to about this, so I pulled up the recording of the conversation…”


The admiral plays back the selection.


LT: “Regarding that, admiral, I’d like to ask how we should proceed… We’ve been tracking the second Behemoth for a while now… They seem to be exploring and searching for worlds to colonize… Isn’t it time we did something about the Inj rather than stalking them like this? They cause so much destruction and death… Surely we can’t afford to let them just continue on their way and wreak havoc in every inhabit system they come across…”


Grant: “I understand your eagerness to destroy the Inj, captain. And I’m quite sure everyone here at Starfleet Command agrees they need to be dealt with. But we don’t have the ships to deal with them at the moment.”


LT: “We’ve dealt with 1 of the 3 Behemoths quite well on our own…”


Grant: “Perhaps, but we can’t risk the Greate Pier in another attempt to destroy a Behemoth.”


The playback ends.


Grant: “I specifically told you the risk was too great.”


LT: “Yes, I remember that very well. But those weren’t orders, like you claimed previously.”


Oops. The admiral is seething with fury yet again.


Grant: “Captain LT, you are definitely out of line!”


While keeping his eyes aimed directly at those of the admiral the captain plays the same game as his superior.


LT: “Computer, playback of time index 76.3 to 81.3 of that same conversation.”


The computer obeys and plays back the requested selection.


Admiral #2: “If you would have a safe way to destroy that thing, I’d be happy to see it blown to smithereens…”


LT: “We had a safe way to destroy it, so we did…”


Grant: “First of all, you risked the lives of those onboard the Kaneda’s… You even got one destroyed, captain! You were lucky the occupants were not killed in this foolish attempt to kill off the Behemoth.”


LT pushes his luck.


LT: “It was not an attempt to kill, it was a kill.”


The admiral’s face goes from red to redder.


Grant: “AND SECONDLY you still went over my head. I told you it was too risky!”


LT: “The admiral in the clip I just played back, whom is clearly of the same rank as yourself, unmistakably would’ve liked to have seen the Behemoth destroyed. If they were orders, your colleague gave the most recent ones, thus allowing me to destroy the Inj ship.”


Grant: “If there was a safe way, which there was not… Captain, you’ve made me an unhappy man a few times before, but this time you’ve really done it! There will be repercussions for this. Grant out.”


The redness turns to darkness as the communication ends. The second in command, leaning against the wall, after having witnessed the call, feels the need to respond.


Eisinga: “If he does anything to jeopardize your position as captain of this ship I’ll have him for breakfast.”


LT: “But I thought you were a vegetarian…”


Eisinga: “I’ll make an exception…”


LT: “Somehow I don’t think it’ll come to that… Though I’d love to see Grant on a serving platter with an apple in his mouth.”


Eisinga: “Well, we’ll have to see what he’s going to do, I guess…”


LT: “I’m not going to let this get to me, Eldert… I’m just going to go about my business as usual; I see no reason to mope about a whining admiral.”


Eisinga: “Well, I’ll try and do the same… But I think I need to walk it off for a bit… Just to get the anger out of my system; this guy just makes me so angry… You rid the galaxy of a deadly foe and all he does is yap about going over his head. That stupid second-rate desk-tied admiral should get out more… Getting a promotion from captain to admiral and being rewarded with sedentary work seems to deaden emotions and make you a grumpy old man…”


LT can’t help it but laugh…


LT: “Go walk your frustrations off, Eldert…”


Eisinga: “Ya…”


While staring at the floor with a Cro-Magnon look on his face he leaves the ready room.



SCENE 11: Professional alcoholic


Ensign Marks walks into a local bar. After he closes the door behind him he looks around as if looking for someone. The man behind the bar notices the stranger and decides to help him with whatever he’s doing.


Bartender: “Is there anything I can help you with, sir?”


Marks walks up to the bar.


Marks: “My name is Marks. I’m looking for someone named Vondurn.”


The barman then notices the deputy insignia pinned on Marks’ uniform.


Bartender: “Ah, you’re a deputy to Security Chief Ewep… He’s a regular here. He should’ve been able to tell you Vondurn always has an alibi.”


Marks: “How’s that, sir?”


Bartender: “Because he’s always here…”


The man points at the sleeping man at the end of the bar, leaning against the wall.


Bartender: “He’s asleep, or in an alcohol-induced coma, for 80% of the time…”


Marks: “Shouldn’t he be committed to a hospital or put into some kind of rehab program?”


Bartender: “Well, the first few times he passed out mid-sentence we called for medical help, but they simply refuse to come for Vondurn anymore. The first week alone he was picked up 3 times…”


Marks: “I see…”


Bartender: “And besides, during the 20% of the time he is conscious he actually livens up the place. He’s part of this bar, almost like a piece of furniture, except people can’t sit on him.”


The both of them direct their looks at the drunk man again…


Bartender: “The people like him, Marks. Especially since he buys everyone a round of drinks once a night… Sometimes twice, if he’s really drunk. Which he is everyday. All day.”


Marks: “How can he afford all that?”


Bartender: “Ewep didn’t tell you much, did he? That man you see passed out in the corner of the bar, believe it or not, is filthy rich… He won the lottery some 2 years ago. He had just been released from prison; he was sent up for stealing tons of gold. Funny, right? Anyway, he’s not a criminal. Not anymore. In his own words he’s going straight now. He can’t even see straight, let alone attempt another crime.”


Marks: “Can you tell me if he was here on day 218 of this year?”


Bartender: “Like I told you, he’s always here… So, yes, he was here on day 218.”


Marks: “Ah… But he must go home at closing time, right? I mean, you don’t leave him adorning the wall at night, do you?”


Bartender: “No and no. When it’s closing time, I tap him on the shoulder if he’s not awake, give him a bottle of Bazzo, he gets up, walks into the backroom and passes out on his bed…”


Marks: “He lives here?!”


Bartender: “Well, it’s not much of a life, I’ll give you that. But yes, he lives here…”


The bartender points at the entrance.


Bartender: “He hasn’t been through that door in over 3 months…”


Marks looks at the door but doesn’t say anything…


Bartender: “Each and every one of my other regulars will be able to corroborate this story, if you’re not convinced, deputy…”


Marks: “Oh, I believe you… But it’s just unbelievable…”


The drunk noticed nothing of Marks’ presence and continues his well-earned sleep.



SCENE 12: The whole thing...


Eisinga is walking off his anger in the ship’s corridors. He doesn’t pay much attention to where he’s going, much like when he ran into Mansfield. Will this be different? No. He cuts the corner when he takes a left turn and literally runs into Mansfield. John, unable to prevent the accident, is knocked backwards and lands butt first on the deck plates.


Mansfield: “Oh man, of all the people on this boat…”


Eisinga: “Sorry, crewman. I wasn’t watching where I was going.”


Eisinga extends his hand to help John up.


Mansfield: “No thanks, I’ll manage.”


Mansfield stands up without any help.


Eisinga: “Alright, as you wish… Again, I’m sorry, it’s my fault… Just having a bad day.”


Mansfield: “Whatever, man… Just get out of my way.”


Eisinga: “Calm down, crewman.”


Mansfield: “That’s kinda hard with you being everywhere I go…”


Eisinga: “I’m just taking a walk because…”


The crewman doesn’t let the commander speak.


Mansfield: “Remember our last encounter in the corridors when the captain stepped in? Despite being the instigator of that whole scene you got off easy!”


Eisinga: “Actually, the captain called me to his ready room to express his discontent regarding the incident in the corridor… You got off easier; he never called you to his ready room…”


Mansfield: “At least he knew who was wrong.”


Eisinga: “I’m not going to be provoked into another discussion, John… Why are we talking about this again anyway? I wasn’t even…”


Again the commander is interrupted.


Mansfield: “Just leave me alone, ok? Consider the whole Ellen-girlfriend-Halstead-wife-thing settled, ok?”


John barges off…


Eisinga: “John, listen… John?”



SCENE 13: Zennoyance


Commander Reinard is walking on a narrow, winding yellow brick road. On both sides of the path there’s neatly cut grass with the occasional well-tended tree and bush. The path leads to a small wooden door with a rounded top in the middle of a 4 meter high wall. The commander knocks on the door and waits. After about 15 seconds he knocks on the door again… Still nothing… Some 10 seconds later Jens knocks on the door again, this time as hard as his knuckles allow for. Almost instantly after his last knock the door opens.


Man: “Patience is a virtue, friend.”


Reinard: “Hi… Ehm…”


Man: “You are here for Xeptans?


Reinard: “Yes, how did you know?”


Man: “Follow me.”


The man, dressed in a simple cloak and shoes made from a single piece of leather with a shoelace slowly leads the way. Reinard impatiently follows the man.


Reinard: “My name is Commander Reinard and I’m a temporary deputy assigned to the office of Security Chief Ewep. I’m here to investigate the theft of a large batch of gold panels and regarding that matter I wish to speak to Xeptans.”


Man: “In this monastery speaking is rare and we do not have titles, ‘commander’. Nor do we need gold.”


The commander is noticeably uneasy and decides to keep his reply short.


Reinard: “Ah…”


After about 10 minutes of walking through beautiful gardens, the commander dares to speak again.


Reinard: “Excuse me, sir… Is it much further before we reach Xeptans?”


Man: “Xeptans’ quarters are not near here. We passed those some time ago.”


Reinard: “What? What are we doing here then?”


Man: “I thought it wise to let you relax and adjust to our way of life first. It seemed like you needed it.”


Reinard sighs…


Reinard: “I’m extremely calm and very Zen right now… Can you take me to Xeptans? Please?”


Man: “Follow me.”


Some time later they arrive at the main building within the walls of the monastery. They enter through a small door and walk through some sober halls before they reach yet another small door.


Man: “These are Xeptans’ quarters.”


The man walks off.


Reinard: “Thanks…”


Jens knocks on the door. The annoyed commander waits for some 15 seconds again.


Reinard: “Oh come on!”


After another 10 seconds he is about to knock again when he hears a voice from inside.


Xeptans: “Come in.”


Reinard opens the door and sees nothing in the room but a tiny bed with brown sheets and a chair at a writing table with nothing more on it then paper, ink and a pen. Nothing on the walls, nothing on the floor, nothing anywhere. Xeptans is sitting on the bed in the familiar lotus position, with a broad smile on his face and an empty gaze in his eyes.


Xeptans: “Be welcome, friend.”


Reinard: “Thank you. Are you Xeptans?”


Xeptans: “That is my name, though it is seldom used.”


Reinard: “I’m Commander Reinard and…”


Xeptans completes Jens’ sentence.


Xeptans: “you’re a deputy. Are you here to ask me about the gold I stole? I’d be most happy to tell you everything about it.”


Reinard: “That depends on whether we’re talking about the gold that was stolen on day 218 of this year or about the gold that was stolen on day 39 of 2 years ago.”


Xeptans: “I stole the gold on day 39 of 2 years ago, my friend.”


Reinard: “Where were you on day 218 of this year?”


Still with the same broad smile and the empty gaze which seems to go right through the commander, he answers.


Xeptans: “I was here in the monastery. I have been since about a week after my release.”


Reinard: “Are there any witnesses to confirm this?”


Xeptans: “319 monks, kind sir. Would you like some tea, commander?”


Reinard: “No, thank you. Were you involved in stealing 3,500 gold panels on day 218 of this year?”


Xeptans: “Heavens, no… I could never do such a thing, my friend. Not anymore. I’m going straight now… And I stole 8 panels 2 years ago… Nothing close to 3,500. Would you like a beer perhaps? We brew our own here…”


Reinard: “No, thanks, I’m fine… Do you perhaps know any people that might be interested in stealing gold?”


Xeptans: “I’ve severed all contacts with the outside world when I walked into this monastery. When I stole the gold I acted alone. Greed is such a devastating sin.”


Still brandishing an annoying smile, he further annoys the commander…


Xeptans: “A cookie perhaps?”


Jens sighs and shows a desperate look on his face.



SCENE 14: Flying gold


Apparently it’s lunch time on the Greate Pier. The lounge is filled with people eating and drinking. Cole and Sharbino are busy in the kitchen, running back and forth to serve customers and preventing the food from burning. Commander Eisinga enters the lounge accompanied by Crewman Maresca. They start walking over towards the bar.


Maresca: “It’s really insane… I’ve been contacted from the surface no less than 17 times since we arrived with ‘an offer I cannot refuse!’…”


Eisinga: “Marketing calls… Hardly surprising when you think about it. The same thing happens when you orbit Ferenginar…”


Maresca: “I can hardly concentrate on my other tasks…”


They arrive at the bar. It’s pretty crowded, but they find a spot to stand.


Eisinga: “I’ll keep that in mind for the next personnel review.”


They both smile when Bart approaches them.


Endersby: “What can I get you?”


Eisinga: “I’ll have a coke.”


Maresca: “Water, 10 degrees.”


Endersby: “Coming right up.”


Eisinga: “It seems we may get to visit the surface since Commander Reinard is involved in helping out local authorities.”


Maresca: “Yes, I’ll sign up for the first available transport to the surface. No more calls for a while…”


Eisinga: “Got any sights in mind to see?”


Maresca: “Well, not really… I guess I’ll just pick a nice city to walk around in, do some shopping… Are you going down there yourself?”


Eisinga: “I don’t know, it’s not really my kinda place I guess… I’m not much for big cities. And this planet only seems to have big cities… Not a lot of rural areas to be found…”


Bart delivers the drinks to the 2 officers.


Endersby: “Here you go. Enjoy.”


Maresca: “Thanks, Barty. Well, I do like the big city… Probably because I grew up in Pistoia … Not a huge city, but nothing close to rural either, haha…”


Eisinga: “I grew up in a small village… Must have about 3,500 inhabitants these days…”


Maresca: “ Pistoia has a population of some 115,000, so there’s a slight difference indeed, haha…”


Eisinga: “Well, that explains it, haha…”


Eisinga puts down his drink. Some of the liquid spills over the edge and lands on the sleeve of the guy standing next to him. Both the guy and Eisinga, whom also noticed the spill himself, turn around towards each other… Yep. It’s Mansfield… The commander already apologizes before he realizes this.


Eisinga: “Oh, I’m so sorry…”


Mansfield: “You’ve got to be kidding me, man! Are you following me or something?”


Eisinga: “Well, it’s kind of hard to avoid each other on a ship like this…”


Mansfield turns his attention to his wet sleeve.


Mansfield: “Just look at this mess…”


Eisinga: “Yes, you nearly drowned there.”


John is not amused and creates an even bigger scene.


Mansfield : “Just stop following me around!”


He rips his combadge from his uniform and throws it away in a slapdash manner.


Mansfield: “You’ve done enough damage to my life already!”


Eisinga: “I’m just here to have a drink, John. I didn’t even know it was you standing next to me.”


Mansfield: “Whatever, man…”


In the background, Barty picks up John’s badge, tests the quality of the gold with his holographic teeth and then walks off while visually studying it.


Eisinga: “John, calm down… You said it yourself; the thing is settled…”


He seems to be calming down a bit.


Mansfield: “Right.”


Eisinga: “Good…”


Mansfield: “Good…”


The issue seems to be resolved, but still John doesn’t feel like staying to finish his drink. On his way out he walks passed Barty, who’s still checking out the gold communication nugget. Mansfield’s next comment still concerns Eisinga, but is only heard by Bart.


Mansfield: “Asshole…”


Endersby: “Excuse me?!”


Mansfield: “Not you, dumbass…”


He then notices the combadge in Bart’s hands and snatches it from his hands.


Mansfield: “Give me that!”


And John hastily leaves. Bart’s eyes follow him out.


Endersby: “Something weird is going on, but I can’t quite put my finger on it…”



SCENE 15: Sad but true


A large antigravity vehicle is approaching. When it arrives at a house it quickly parks. The driver, or pilot, or… whatever, steps out of the machine. Waiting there for him is Mark Philips, who seems to appear out of the blue, which startles the man…


Philips: “Good day, Mr. Kathavig.”


Kathavig: “Do I know you, alien?”


Philips: “My name is Philips, deputy of Security Chief Ewep and…”


The man doesn’t let him finish…


Kathavig: “Now what? I’m going straight now, alright? Listen, I’ve got to deliver this load early in the morning.”


Philips is checking something on his tricorder.


Kathavig: “I want to go inside, give the wife a kiss, have dinner and go to sleep, ok?”


Philips: “Ah, I understand. Then I’ll be brief.”


Kathavig: “Very brief.”


Philips: “In that case: tell me where I can find the 3,500 stolen gold panels or I’ll report you to Ewep. I’ll let him deal with you then…”


Kathavig: “Report me? What?! Leave me alone, man…”


The man hastily walks towards the door of his house with a bag in his hand. Philips keeps talking like Kathavig was still there…


Philips: “Let’s see… Among other things, you’re hauling something resembling phase compensators… The bill of lading says there’s supposed to be 114 of them. At least, that’s what the original bill of lading says, the one crumpled up in your bag, next to the 3 stolen compensators. The one in your vehicle is a forged document.”


The thief begins to sweat… He doesn’t know how to respond.


Philips: “Tell me where the 3,500 stolen gold panels are and I promise you I won’t tell anyone.”


Kathavig: “I’m… I’m sorry, but I honestly don’t know what you’re talking about. I know I stole gold panels before, but I did my time for that. I haven’t stolen since… Well… Gold panels, that is…”


Philips: “Where were you on 218 of this year?”


Kathavig: “Ehm… Let me think… On day 217 my brother was hospitalized and I remember that the day after I was working in the distribution center of Trade Arena 5.”


Philips: “If that is true, I’ll be able to get confirmation from your employer… If I don’t get that conformation, I’ll have to inform him and Ewep of this most recent theft on your résumé. Put the compensators back, smooth out the original bill of lading and go as straight as you told me you were.”


The alien sounds sincere…


Kathavig: “I’m sorry…”


The deputy walks off, leaving the baffled alien behind... He looks sad and takes a peek at his own house. His wife is standing in the kitchen and waves at her husband with a big smile on her face before returning to her kitchen duties. Kathavig tries his best to form a smile on his face and briefly waves back before showing his worried and sad face again…



SCENE 16: I have a cunning plan


Reinard: “I hate to disappoint you, Ewep, but none of the suspects on the list have turned out to be of any value… Most of them have an alibi.”


Ewep: “That’s a disappointment… I had hoped to find the culprit among them as we don’t have any other leads.”


Reinard sits down in Ewep’s office.


Reinard: “Well, it may be nothing, but I might have a tiny lead for you...”


Ewep: “Oh? What’s this lead?”


Reinard: “The Ferengi…”


Ewep: “Ferengi? Doesn’t immediately ring a bell… Let me look it up.”


The man types away on his console…


Reinard: “They’re a trading race originating not too far from our home world. They’re known to be trouble. They’re obsessed with making profit and are willing to go very far to obtain it.”


Ewep: “Ah, here we go. There are currently 3 Ferengi guests on our planet, Smirkin, Meeg and Ulgor. According to these records they’ve been trading with us for a few weeks now. Hmmm, it seems they’ve provided us with the necessary rare resources for very, very low prices… Interesting… Anyway, they’ve not been in trouble for as far as I know.”


Reinard: “Hmmm, ok… And next to that there’s one problem tiny problem with this tiny lead.”


Ewep: “Which is?”


Reinard: “Gold is worthless to the Ferengi…”


Ewep: “Ah… That would make it hard to add them to the suspect list.”


Reinard: “I’d still like your permission to at least ask them if they know anything about the missing gold. Maybe they’ve been asked to fence it.”


Ewep: “I don’t think that would be a good idea, Reinard. It says here they have a trade importance rating of 84 points despite being relatively new contacts. I can’t jeopardize losing them as a trade partner.”


Reinard: “It’s the only lead you’ve got…”


Ewep sighs and leans back in his chair…


Ewep: “Alright…You can ask them if they know anything about the gold. But do not at any point imply they have got anything to do with it… I don’t want them to think they’re suspects.”


Reinard: “The good deals you are getting may be intended as a distraction… Maybe they found a buyer for the gold and they don’t need to haggle too much for the legal deals to make their profit.”


Ewep: “That seems a little far-fetched… Anyway, I’ll instruct one of my guards to scan the Ferengi ship. It appears to be here in Hangar 18.”


Ewep hits a bunch of buttons on his console.


Reinard: “Yes, our pilot spotted it earlier. Anyway, I may have an idea on how to find out if the Ferengi are interested in gold in the first place.”


Ewep: “Oh? And how are we going to find out?”


Reinard: “Ferengi love opportunities which can make them profit. I’ve got a little plan for that…”


The console bleeps.


Ewep: “Ah.”


Ewep pushes a single button and reads something on his screen.


Ewep: “Well, the Ferengi ship has no gold in the cargo holds… Just a supply of Pergium they bought from us earlier, not much else…”


Reinard: “Hmmm, they’d be fools to leave it on their ship in the first place. And the Ferengi may be fixated on profit, but they’re not stupid.”


Ewep: “What’s this plan of yours exactly?”



SCENE 17: To the golden cage


The gangway of the Ferengi ship is still lowered onto the floor of the hangar and the door at the top is open. It is from inside this door a loud, scratching voice yells out to Ulgor whom is still outside the ship.


Smirkin: “Ulgor! Get your saggy lobes in here! We have to leave!”


Ulgor: “Yes, yes, I’m coming already!”


Ulgor starts walking towards the gangway.


Smirkin: “Don’t you scream at me!”


Ulgor: “You screamed at me!”


Some people in the direct vicinity are directing their looks at this scream fest.


Smirkin: “That’s because I’m the boss and you were slacking!”


Having nothing to say to that Ulgor’s reply is short…


Ulgor: “Oh…”


Smirkin: “Now get in here!”


Ulgor mutters to himself.


Ulgor: “Alright, alright…”


He walks up the gangway. But when he’s halfway, his attention is drawn to something happening in the hangar…


Ulgor: “Ehm, Smirkin?”


A very loud, long-drawn scream expresses Smirkin’s annoyed mood…


Smirkin: “WHAT?!


Ulgor: “You should see this, boss…”


The voice of Smirkin draws closer when we hear him muttering to himself also…


Smirkin: “I should fire that incompetent pain in the lobes… What can be so important to get me out of my pre-warmed chair?…”


In a louder voice, directed at the incompetent pain in the lobes…


Smirkin: “This waste of energy is coming out of your paycheck, you know…”


Smirkin exits the ship and starts walking down to Ulgor.


Smirkin: “Now then, you moldy gree worm, what’s so important to make me come all the way over here?”


Ulgor says nothing but continues to look over the railing of the gangway. Smirkin decides to find out what he is looking at and takes a peek. He sees gold panels being transported on antigrav sleds. One sled after another is being pushed down the main hangar path, 8 in total. Smirkin doesn’t say anything. He walks down the rest of the gangway and goes to the front of his ship so he can see where the men and women are taking all that gold.


A small ship, a few parking spaces over, is being loaded with the gold. Smirkin is now joined by his 2 accomplices.


Smirkin: “Interesting…”


Ulgor: “Are we going to steal the gold, boss?”


Smirkin slaps Ulgor’s head a few times in quick succession. He then puts his helper in his place in a firm but controlled voice.


Smirkin: “You fool! Are you trying to get us caught before I even think of a plan?! Keep your stinking mouth shut or I’ll put you in a swamp eel retirement home where your tongue can slither all it wants without drawing too much attention among other raving, mud-crawling lower animals!”


Meeg: “I wish your insults wouldn’t take so much time…”


Smirkin: “Shut up before I think up one for you too!”


Ulgor: “That’s the last of the sleds with gold…”


Smirkin: “Good… Let’s get back to the ship, track it and predict where it’s going… We can work from there…”


Smirkin and the raving, mud-crawling lower animal head towards the gangway.


Meeg: “Wait…”


Smirkin: “What is it now?!”


The 2 other Ferengi halt in anticipation of the answer.


Meeg: “Look… They’re all leaving.”


Smirkin: “And?”


Meeg: “Well, it means there’s no one onboard right now. The ship isn’t going to leave just yet…”


Smirkin: “Hmmm, that may make things a little easier… Well, in that case, you need to act now.”


Ulgor: “We? What about you?”


Smirkin: “I make the plans and pay you 2 to run the risk for me.”


Ulgor: “Oh, ok.”


Meeg looks irritated but doesn’t complain to the boss…


Meeg: “Come on, Ulgor… Let’s get some tools…”


Ulgor already heads towards the ship…


Meeg: “And what are you going to do?”


Smirkin: “I’m going to do some calculations on how much profit I’m going to make…”


A little while later…


Meeg: “Well, this is the last load…”


The 2 Ferengi exit the little ship. Meeg pushes a button on a little handheld device and the cargo bay door closes… Ulgor seems uneasy…


Ulgor: “Let’s hurry, Meeg…”


Meeg: “Calm down, calm down… Act natural…”


The 2 aliens push the last 2 antigrav sleds, with the gold covered by tarps, towards their own ship.


Ulgor: “We’re going to be rich!”


Meeg: “No… Smirkin… Smirkin is going to be rich. We’ll be ‘compensated for our assistance’… Like always…”


They push the sleds up the gangway.


Ulgor: “At least I’ll be able to buy a new tooth sharpener next week…”


Meeg: “Why do you always insist on buying those expensive Mowgillian tooth sharpeners?…”


Meeg enters the ship first. After he does so, he turns around and looks at Ulgor.


Meeg: “I mean, look at your teeth! It doesn’t seem to do much good…”


Ulgor enters as well.


Ulgor: “Uhm, Meeg…”


Meeg now looks where Ulgor is staring at.


Reinard: “Good day, gentlemen.”


Reinard is sided by Ewep and a small complement of armed guards pointing their weapons at the lobed ones, soon followed by more armed men running up the gangway. Meeg whispers to his colleague…


Meeg: “Great! Now I have to bribe these guys from my share of the profits…”



SCENE 18: Silence is golden


In Ewep’s security office…


Ewep: “Well, we may have caught these 2 thieves…”


Reinard and Ewep both look at the Ferengi men in the background, locked up in a cell behind a force field.


Ewep: “…but they refuse to tell us where their leader is. They insist they acted alone.”


Reinard: “Yes, this Smirkin fellow or something, he was the one who did all the legal trading with your people… Where can he be?”


Ewep: “We’ve scanned the entire planet, but we cannot find a single Ferengi lifesign except these two…”


Reinard: “Did you also scan for Ferengi technology?”


Ewep: “Well, no...”


Reinard: “Maybe we can find him if we can find his tricorder or his communicator…”


Ewep: “I’ll try…”


Ewep sits down behind his desk and works on the controls of his desktop console. A plingy sound indicates he found something…


Reinard: “Ah, there we go… What is it? A communicator?”


Ewep: “No…”


Ewep looks at Reinard and continues after a short pause.


Ewep: “This Ferengi power signature seems to be a force field of some kind…”


Reinard raises both his eyebrows.



SCENE 19: Gold medal sprint


Kerr and a few additional security personnel walk down a street on planet Fowen. By checking the tricorder Kerr manages to find the house he’s looking for. He taps his badge.


Kerr: “Lieutenant Kerr to Commander Reinard. We’re at the house shielded by the Ferengi force field generator.”


Reinard: “Alright, be careful… Keep me apprized, lieutenant… Reinard out.”


The Klingon knocks on the door. The Ferengi, surrounded by countless gold panels, answers with a twisted voice.


Smirkin: “Go away!”


Kerr: “Security. I need to talk to you. Now!”


Smirkin: “Sorry, I’m not dressed; you should come back later…”


Kerr: “Not dressed? Are you a female Ferengi then?”


Smirkin: “A what now? A Ferungi?”


Kerr: “Open this door, Big Ears!“


Smirkin: “I know, I know, Big Ears is a nasty person. Even Klingons find me rude, hahaha!”


Kerr: “You’re in luck then… There’s a Klingon on the other side of the door, so I suggest you open up now before I bust it down and break you into bite size pieces!”


Smirkin: “A Klingon? What’s a Klingon doing here on this planet?”


Kerr: “I’m an officer on the Federation starship Greate Pier.”


Smirkin: “Then you have no jurisdiction here, Klingon.”


Kerr: “I do, since the Fowen formally asked for our help to solve the theft.”


Smirkin: “Theft? What theft?”


While Kerr explains it…


Kerr: “There have been 2 separate instances of stolen gold panels. We caught your 2 accomplices red-handed, so there is no need to play innocent…”


…the Ferengi escape through the backdoor… Kerr notices a lack of a response.


Kerr: “Ferengi, open this door.”


No reply… One of Kerr’s men sees the cowardly Ferengi exit a backdoor and flee.


Security guy: “Sir! He’s escaping!”


They start their pursuit. The Ferengi runs as fast as he can, panting like a dog… It’s obvious he’s not built for speed. The Klingon and his team quickly gain on him...


Just ahead of the Ferengi and his pursuers there’s a salesman behind a stand of cabbages. A woman walks by.


Man: “Hey Wendee! How are you?”


Wendee: “Hi, Errig!”


Man: “Say, do you know when Case’s birthday is?”


Wendee: “I think it’s sometime next week, but…”


Before she can finish her sentence, the Ferengi rushes around the corner, barely misses both the woman and the cabbage stand as he rushes in-between them while looking over his shoulder for his hunters. Wendee and Errig’s eyes follow the alien, not knowing what he’s running from… At that moment the Klingon sprints around the corner… Wendee and Errig’s eyes now turn to the larger alien rushing towards them as their eyes widen in shock. The Klingon is less careful… He knocks the cabbage stand over and continues his pursuit.


Errig: “My cabbages!”


The security men soon catch up with the trader and Kerr pushes him to the ground. He jumps on top of him and keeps his right fist at the ready. Smirkin protects his face, afraid he’ll be punched by the big alien with the big hair.


Smirkin: “No! Don’t hit me! I’ve got very sensitive skin!”


Kerr: “Now can I have a word with you?”


A fake laugh is heard, when the Ferengi apparently is trying to be funny while still being very afraid…


Smirkin: “Hahaha… As long as that word isn’t ‘gold’.”


Kerr: “No, it’s about this fist…”


A short pause…


Kerr: “And gold.”


The Ferengi doesn’t reply…


Kerr: “By fleeing you admitted your guilt. Why did you steal the gold?”


Smirkin: “Rule of acquisition 22, a wise man can hear profit in the wind.”


Kerr: “The only thing in the wind here is your foul smell! And you’re lying; gold is worthless to Ferengi…”


Smirkin: “Wrong. Gold is worthless on Ferenginar. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a market for it elsewhere… We hardly trade on Ferenginar. We trade where profit takes us. And selling 35 gold panels on…”


The Klingon corrects the big-eared slime.


Smirkin: “35 hundred.”


Smirkin: “Whatever… Selling those panels on some planet where it is still considered worth a lot is… well, worth a lot to us… Last time we traded gold we made a substantial profit. They were very willing to part with their Dilithium at an interesting rate… We sold the Dilithium to the Breffac for a huge amount of iridium ore which we sold about a week later to…”


Kerr: “Yes, yes, I get the idea…”


Smirkin: “So, ehm… How about you let me go… I’m willing to pay you 10 gold panels…”


Kerr: “Ah, a sense of humor. And I thought I wouldn’t like you when I got this assignment… Now I know I don’t like you…”


Smirkin: “Can’t stand jokes?”


Kerr: “Not from a cheating Ferengi…”


He removes his fist from the air and strokes his beard for a moment…


Kerr: “Wait, ‘cheating Ferengi’ seems like a redundancy…”


Smirkin: “Now you’re making jokes?”


Kerr: “That’s wasn’t a joke…”


Kerr’s hand forms a fist again when he grabs the Ferengi’s clothing. He lifts the thief off of the ground and onto his feet.


Kerr: “Now move!”


He pushes Smirkin in a certain direction.



SCENE 20: Goldrush


Reinard has joined Ewep in the security office once more.


Reinard: “My men have rushed the gold back to the hangar so it can be transported to the moon.”


Ewep: “Thank you so much for finding the thieves, Jens…”


Reinard: “It was our pleasure, Ewep. So, what’s going to happen to these guys?”


They both look at the cell again, this time with 3 occupants.


Ewep: “Since we have no extradition treaties with Ferenginar we’ll deal with them ourselves. It might be a good idea to let them help make gold panels…”


Smirkin: “Until we produce 3,500 panels? That would seem fitting…”


Ewep: “No, that would not be realistic… We produce some 154 million panels per day…”


All 6 eyes in the cell grow really big…


Ewep: “It’s our pride, you see? Thousands of ships fly back and forth between Fowen and other worlds and trade stations to obtain gold.”


Reinard: “No wonder gold is a valuable commodity in this region…”


Ewep: “We trade gold with every trader we know within 6 light-years of our home world…”


Meeg: “Then 3,500 panels is nothing! Let us go! We can trade many other commodities with you… We’re valuable partners.”


Ewep: “True, we would hardly miss those panels, but we cannot allow theft, as you can understand…”


Ulgor: “Can’t you call it an ‘acceptable loss’?”


Smirkin: “Yes, I mean, you have your gold back… We can even help you find more; we’re experienced traders you know…”


Reinard: “And unreliable thieves…”


Smirkin: “We can try to trade the gold back we sold to the Yunadi a few weeks ago and get you…”


Ewep has had enough…


Ewep: “The answer is no. You’ll be working in one of our panel plants for a while…”


Ulgor: “How long is ‘a while’?”


Ewep: “That’ll be up to the judge…”


Reinard smirks…


Reinard: “Seems like a golden opportunity to try some real, honest labor for once…”


Meeg: “But I’ve got a bad back!”


Smirkin: “And I’ve got very sensitive skin!”


Ewep: “And I’ve got enough of you guys…”


Smirkin: “Come on, there must be some…”


Ewep pushes a button on the control panel on his desk and the sound from the cell is muted. The Ferengi can be seen talking on and on… Smirkin at one point even slams his fist into the force field, causing him the necessary pain. He immediately gets into a fight with his 2 accomplices, but Reinard and Ewep are unable to hear the squabble.


Reinard: “As we say on Earth: ‘Silence is golden’…”


Ewep and Reinard show a broad smile while observing the angry trading thieves…



SCENE 21: All that glitters…


Mansfield is in his quarters… He sits down behind his desk and makes a call through his console.


Unknown contact: “Is this channel scrambled?”


Mansfield: “Of course…”


Unknown contact: “Good. So, how’s the situation over there? Been in another fight with Eisinga lately?”


Mansfield: “Well, actually, yes.”


Unknown contact: “Again?!”


Mansfield: “Well, it’s not me that’s the problem… He’s deliberately trying to make my life miserable… It’s all a big joke to him…”


Unknown contact: “That seems to be commonplace among the higher ranked officers on that cursed tub. No worries, I’m on your side…”


Mansfield: “Anyway, he now thinks everything is settled between us… He thinks we’re ok… But in the end, the joke will be on him…”



Previous episodeNext episode