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Adventure Capitalists

Posted on Thu Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 10:53am by Venin & Karx

Mission: Picking Up the Pieces
Location: Main Promenade


Karx sniffed the plate in front of him and almost sneered at it. It was another unpronounceable and equally unpalatable Klingon dish that seemed to be the closest thing available on this wretched husk of a starbase that came close to the sweet delicacies of Ferenginar. Karx missed his soaked homeworld and would have given all of his now meager savings for a nice, cool plate of tube grubs.

He pushed the plate aside and glared at his brother, who was seated across the table they were sharing in the corner of the restaurant. "I hate this place," Karx said for about the nineteenth time that morning.

"And I hate that you constantly feel the need to tell me that you hate this place." Venin held little love for the Starbase but his lobes for profit were bigger than his brother's. There was latinum on this station and he felt it in every fibre of his being. "Now eat your Gagh and let me think!"

"Think fast, Brother," Karx said, pulling the plate back and grabbing a small handful. Before he stuffed them into his mouth, he added, "We should have bought that freighter we came here on. That captain would have sold low, I tell you."

Venin growled through his blunted teeth. He couldn't remember the last time he'd had them sharpened and blamed that, like most other things, on the profligacy of his brother. "You're right, Karx. We should have bought the hewmon freighter and taken it to rendezvous in Ritorian and Sojourner space. We'd have been blown to smithereens before we even got a sniff of any latinum!"

Karx growled back; his teeth were sharpened and he made no apology for the expense of keeping them that way. Who wants to do business with a blunt-toothed Ferengi? Sharp teeth meant success, and even the illusion of success was better than the abject poverty Venin seemed to prefer. "You don't know that, Brother," he said. "It was a better risk than wallowing in this wretched place without a sniff of any latinum!"

They had chanced upon Starbase 332 when their contact on Mira- a particularly spendthrift Phoenician by the name of Raif- suggested that they visit the trading post and set up shop among the low-lifes and criminals whom the Ferengi left to their own devices in the pursuit of profit.

Although their shock should have been informed by previous experience, they found that Raif had 'done a bunk' in the weeks it had taken them to reach Mira from the Galactic Core and their lead on a shop had fallen through. After spending weeks knocking around Mira, trying to eek latinum out of nothing, they heard about a terrorist attack on a Federation station.

Like Rule of Acquisition #34 stated: "War is good for business."

They sat in silence for some time after that, each avoiding eye contact with the other while they went about the unpleasant business of devouring their gagh.

When he had finished, Karx pushed his plate aside and looked at his brother. Venin infuriated him so much and the journeys his lobes took them on were so damn frustrating! But he was his brother and he would stand by him; and he usually led them to somewhere profitable, so it made good business sense to stay with him. Karx had a habit of spending his latinum quickly, so he needed the level-headed determination of someone like his brother.

"So what's the plan then?" he asked, his voice softened a little but not too much. "Did you find anything in the upper sections?"

Venin felt spittle hitting the backs of his teeth as he tried not to tear his irritating brother a new lobe. "No, but I did hear a rumour about businesses giving up and leaving the main promenade. With the bomb and whatever, it won't be long until there isn't much of a civilian presence left!"

Karx furrowed his brow, "How is that helpful? Do you want them to leave so we can move in?"

The next sound which Karx heard was a crack as his brother's open palm snapped across his forehead. "We don't want to be on a station with no civilians. You think those Starfleet hewmons want to spend latinum?! No! They want to hang around replimats spending their abundant ration credits on processed cubes of... garbage! Any business relies on the civilian population."

"I know that!" Karx protested, rubbing his brow where the blow had landed. He thought about hitting back, but memories of the last time stayed his hand. Instead he said, "And stop hitting me! We're supposed to be partners, Brother."

"If we were 'partners', Brother, you would see the sense behind my plans and not ask me stupid questions!" Venin's eyes narrowed as he looked at the object of his ire. His brother had better lobes for business than Venin would or ever could give him credit for but allowed him the opportunity to assert his dominance in the relationship. Karx wasn't an idiot and he wouldn't stand for it forever.

Karx glared back at Venin, the silence lingered between them for a moment, hanging heavy above the table. Finally, Karx broke it by speaking slowly and in a low tone, "Maybe if you let me in on your full plans, not just the little bits here and there you think I can handle. Maybe then I wouldn't bother you with questions. You've never fully trusted me with your plans, but who has always been there for you, Brother? I have, that's who. Whenever you've needed to bypass a security system, I've been there. Whenever you didn't want to get your hands dirty, I've been there! There's no Venin without Karx, Brother. When are you going to start treating me with the respect I've earned by being there for you all over the galaxy?"

He paused, his own outburst catching him by surprise. It had been boiling inside him for some time now, but he didn't expect it to explode like that. He hoped Venin wouldn't hit him again ...

"You have a point." Venin conceded before baring his teeth once again and hissing. "Just remember, Brother. I'm the one that makes things happen for us. If there's no Venin without Karx then, if it wasn't for me then that Trill would have throttled the life out of you on Risa."

Karx grinned at the memory. Venin was right; he did save Karx's skin back on Risa. The Trill was furious with Karx because he might have, under some interpretations, swindled him out of a modest sum of latinum. The Trill - what was his name? Loben? Loren? - had Karx against a wall when Venin swooped in and talked him out of an irrevocable act of violence. If the roles were reversed, Karx would probably have stuck a knife into the Trill's back, but Venin was calm and in control and Leoran (that was it!) walked out of there in a much better financial situation.

The grin turned into a chuckle as Karx leaned in, "You did, Brother. That was a good day. But let's not forget that it was him who didn't know the rules of acquisition," he said, then jabbed at the tabletop with a finger as he quoted. "Rule of Acquisition Seventeen - A contract is a contract is a contract ... but only between Ferengi!" He laughed a nostalgic laugh, suddenly feeling less angry than a few moments ago.

"The riskier the road Brother," Venin replied, quoting Rule #62, "the greater the profit. I am sure that our friend Leoran will come through on his end of that arrangement soon."

Karx certainly hoped so; he didn't relish the thought of being on the receiving end of that terrible Trill's temper again.


Karx & Venin
Ferengi Traders


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