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Acceptable Margins

Posted on Wed Mar 25th, 2015 @ 2:05pm by Dahleya & Karx & Venin

Mission: The Art of the Hunt [Incomplete]
Location: Alexander's [Deck 2000, Starbase 332]

"For the last time, I don't think there's any justification for this!" Venin shouted from the kitchen. "You let that incompetent buffoon off the hook the last time he over-ordered and he's done it again."

The whining refrain from behind the door was quickly replaced by a crash before a different kind of whining returned. "Ow!"

Karx had been wiping down the bar and silently mimicking his brother's ranting when the crash snapped his attention away. He dropped the towel and rushed to the door, "Venin?" he shouted as he shoved open the door.

The scene in the kitchen was carnage. A pile of metal crates lay strewn across the floor and Venin sat amongst an ocean of writhing Pacifican Seaweed nursing his forehead.

"What did you do?" Karx cried, his arms extended as if to take in the calamity. "We can't use this seaweed if it's out of its container for too long. Don't you know that?"

"I didn't do anything!" Venin squealed in retaliation. "It wasn't my fault, they fell down when I went to check the inventory. Plus- you know that the Chen isn't going to take this stock back anyway!"

"Certainly not now!" Karx wailed, flustered and not knowing what to do with the mess that was now sluicing around his shoes. He jabbed an accusing finger at his brother, still flailing on the floor. "This is your mess, Venin! I'm not cleaning it up."

"It's not my mess, Brother!" Venin had managed almost to his feet and was standing at half mast, bent double with one hand on the floor to steady himself, his feet slowly parting in the slippery seaweed. "It's that incompetent Trill's that you insisted on hiring!"

Karx threw his hands up in the air and looked to his left and his right with exaggeration. "I don't see him here anywhere, brother," he said. "Where did he run off to after he spilled all this perfectly good Pacifican Seaweed? Hmm?"

"He ordered it, he brought in, he stacked the crates!" Venin shouted back. "It's not my fault that the idiot doesn't know how to stack!"

"They were stacked fine until you started poking your nose in there!" Karx retorted, both of their voices getting very loud now.

Suddenly a loud attention gaining cough erupted from just outside the kitchen. Dahleya had had her share of run-ins with Ferengi, but they never ceased to amaze her how they can argue over the most mundane of problems. "I'm sorry to interrupt this little lover's quarrel, but I was hoping to speak to the proprietors of this establishment," the Denobulan stated as soon as she had their attention.

Karx instinctively bared his teeth at the interruption, but quickly donned his more welcoming expression. "That would be us," he said in a level, friendly tone. "My name is Karx and this unfortunate gentleman on the floor is my brother, Venin. Who are you?"

The Denobulan ignored the sudden barring of teeth. She worked with enough Ferengi to know that it was nothing personal. "My name is Dahleya. I'm just looking for a couple of people who may have been recently on this station. They're related to a new venture I'd like to undertake." She laid some slips of gold-pressed latinum on the bar. "Maybe we should start with some Saurian brandy, then we can talk business."

"Are you paying?" Venin asked, finally managing to extricate himself from the seaweed. Noting the grimace on the Denobulan's face, he smiled awkwardly. "Just a joke, of course. You're our guest. Brother! Fetch a bottle of the good Saurian stuff."

If looks could kill, the serrated scowl Karx shot toward his brother could have left a greater mess than the seaweed. He shook his head and stepped forward to the bar, making a show of sliding the latinum back towards Dahleya while looking back at Venin. "No, by all means keep your latinum," he said, spitting every word. "My brother seems to have taken an instant liking to you, so he will pay for your drink." He then walked off to the liquor storage muttering to himself and shaking his head.

"Please, please. Ignore my brother." Venin smiled an unsettling, toothy smile. "He is having a bad day and has resolved to take it out on our guests."

Dahleya smiled as she took back the latinum. She was willing to spend money to make money, but saving money to make money was even better. "I appreciate the offer, Venin." She leaned in a bit closer while leaning over the bar. "He's probably just worried about you being more popular and losing out on his share of the profits. But I'm sure you work best as a team, a trait that you and your brother are no doubt proud of. You seem to have quite an establishment here."

Flattery was like music to Venin's ears. "Why thank you. I often wonder if it is difficult for him to live in the shadow of his brother, but one's natural standing cannot be helped."

"I suppose some people just don't have the lobes for business. But clearly you do." Dahleya was content to continue stroking his ego, but as long as she was getting somewhere, she wasn't going to be stroking any ears. "You're probably the one responsible for most of your business contracts, aren't you?"

Venin nodded, purring his enthusiasm at their new associate's positivity. "Indeed I am."

Karx returned to see his brother and this Denobulan stranger chatting freely. Immediately, his fear of missing out kicked in and he firmly placed the bottle on the bar. "What did I miss?" he asked his brother, with a hint of a snarl.

"Oh, nothing my brother!" Venin said enthusiastically, delighted that he was both able to make a new 'friend' and keep information from his brother. That was pretty much his perfect afternoon.

"We were just doing a little chatting about nothing in particular." Dahleya picked up the bottle from where Karx had left it, and poured an average serving into each of the three glasses. She raised hers in a brief toast before taking a sip.

Karx's eyes narrowed and shifted between the two of them. He didn't believe them and his lobes were screaming that he was missing out on something.

"Now, I'm sure you are curious about me. I've been following up on a lead that could lead to a pretty big profit," Dahleya started explaining now that they had their drinks. My business contacts have pointed me in your direction. No doubt you are both involved in pretty much any deal taking place on the station." She said this last part with a smile in Venin's direction.

"We have been known to ensure our interests are represented in the civilian affairs of the station." Venin replied opaquely. "However, we now prefer to conduct our business on a 'payment up front' basis."

Dahleya took a sip of her brandy, not fazed at all by Venin's comment. She had no doubt that it was at least somewhat directed at her. She would have been surprised if they had been overly trusting of her. After all, they were Ferengi. "Of course, as all good businessmen do. Right now, what I mostly need are contacts, a couple of people in particular."

She was worried about tipping her hand too early, but she knew that if she didn't start getting to the point soon, she'd lose them and the meeting would be all in vain. The huntress pulled a PADD from her satchel and laid it on the bar in front of them. "Are you at familiar with a Bajoran named Vendeje? How about a Cardassian woman named Raela?" She gestured at the images on the PADD. "That's them."

Venin's teeth bared slightly as he saw Raela's portrait appear on the screen. She had done their dirty work, dealing with the liar and conman Crelar Rax but he knew she would be trouble.

Karx closed his mouth tight, his stomach churning at the sight of the woman and the thought of glogulls coming home to roost. He swallowed and made an effort to look uninterested. "What have these pair done to get on your bad side?" he asked, failing to sound aloof.

The Denobulan gave the brothers a puzzled look. "Who said anything about them being on my bad side? Why, does that mean that you do know something about them?"

"That depends." Venin smiled widely.

Dahleya returned the smile towards Venin. Perhaps she had underestimated his business sense after all. "I suppose we are to that point of the discussion, aren't we? The thing is, how much that information is worth depends on useful the information turns out to be. I can't pledge a significant portion of my expected profits if all you happen to know is their favorite colors. I need a way to reach at least one of them in person. Could what you may or may not know get me at least that far?"

"We are aware of Raela and how to contact her- we can provide that information." Venin said simply.

"Then we may be on to something. So how much are we thinking here?" Dahleya asked. "A few bars?"

"Define," Venin leaned forward over the table, "a few."

Dahleya shrugged. "I don't know. Five."

"Ten." A wide grin washed over the Ferengi's face.

"Ten?" Dahleya asked with a laugh, her eyes open wide. "I could hire a private investigator for that much latinum. Six."

Venin's eyes narrowed until his beady yellow irises were barely visible. "Eight."

"I still need to be able to make a profit or this whole endeavor is useless to me. Seven."

"Seven is... acceptable." Venin replied with a toothy smile.

Karx had watched the exchange with obvious enjoyment. There was plenty that he and his brother didn't agree on, but he was far and away the best at bartering and now they would make a tidy profit out of this little encounter. Now I just have to make him share it.

"Then we have a deal." Dahleya started to extend her hand, but pulled it up at the last second. "If the information proves to be useful. If I don't get paid, then you don't get paid." The Denobulan was a woman of her word, and she would honor the agreement with the Ferengi, but she was still a shrewd enough businesswoman to know not to pay upfront.

"We had an agreement, Denobulan." Venin hissed. "Payment up front."

"And what if your information proves to be useless, Ferengi? I have no way of knowing if you've sent me on a wild goose chase until I can prove the information is valid. Besides, just because you said you prefer your payment upfront doesn't mean I agreed to it." Dahleya swirled her tumbler of brandy as she considered the situation. "I like you. I don't know why, but I like you. Maybe it's your brutal honesty. Half now, and the rest after I can prove that I can get in contact with Raela. I can set up a transfer that will send you the funds at my command, or in the event of my death, whichever comes first."

"That would be," Venin thought on the possibility that his information might not give the bounty hunter what she needed and the potential consequences involved. "Acceptable."

"In that case, I think we have a deal." Dahleya took a drink of her brandy and finally extended her hand towards Venin. This time, she didn't pull away.

Venin & Karx [NPC: Gunning & Deakin]
Ferengi Traders

Dahleya [NPC: Von]
Bounty Hunter


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