((The black hole bar, USS Constitution-B))
::It was an unusual day for Zogi. After years as a bartender he had seen his number of captains and commanders in the bar but today was something special. The first Ferengi captain in Starfleet would pay him a visit. Not for a drink but for an interview set up by the Federation news agency.
:: When the request had come Zogi accepted right away. It was a way to make a nice profit after all but when the date came closer and closer he started to wonder what he should ask the man. He spend all night thinking about some good questions but in the end he only came up with two.::
::It wasn’t often that Brek had the opportunity to visit another ship, and, as he walked towards his destination, (a black hole, of all things) he felt curious about everything, and soon fell into a routine where he compared the prestigious Galaxy Starship with the good old Columbia.::
::Thankfully, he managed to reach Zogi’s bar before feeling too jealous about the specs of the Constitution. He sat at the bar, took in the rich décor around him, and after a sigh of contentment, he spoke up.::
Brek: I can’t possibly answer questions on an empty stomach. That would be completely unethical. ::Thinking aloud.:: What about something light and yet tasty, like a beetroot sorbet, on the house?
::Since food and drink would be paid for by the news team Zogi had prepared all kind of dishes and quickly went to his kitchen to get a few plates with all kinds of snacks. He put them on the bar and then he fired his first question::
Zogi: So, tell me captain, how does a Ferengi end up in Starfleet?
::Brek admired the dark red dessert he had been served, and at long last, he answered.::
Brek: Same as you Zogi: by following the scent of profit. Also, joining the Fleet is pretty easy. All you’ve got to do is to sacrifice some of your youth to their Great Academy. This means spending about 4 years being everyone’s minion. But, once you get promoted to the rank of Ensign, things… well they get tentatively better.
::Here Brek ate some of his sorbet, to make sure he wouldn’t have to add anything to this subject.::
Zogi: Well its not for me… to much regulations to keep up with. I’m glad i know the rules about bars. If they ask me to learn all about plasma conduits, temporal prime directives and all that I’d go nuts.. Anyway.. I contacted some of your friends and they told me you have a special lady in your life. How did you and Alice meet?
Brek: Oh Alice, she is an old lady now, and she isn’t as vivacious as she used to be. ::Grins.:: In the past, she used to go through several huge meals per day; mice usually. I met her the night she ran away from her vivarium. She was unwanted and unloved, and because Ferengi too can have a big heart, I adopted her. Many will think I am mad, but with a large spider like that in my quarters, I get zero annoying visitors. What of you, do you also keep pets?
Zogi: Me? No way! Thats a waste of Latinum. You have to buy them food, drinks, a home, all kinds of vaccinations throughout the year. I’d go bankrupt in a week! And no doubt Starfleet has regulations about pets too, which brings me to my next question: was it hard to adjust to all the Federation rules and regulations?
Brek: I think you already know the answer to that. The Fleet is so strict, even on a perfectly productive day, it’s capable of giving you hell. But when your life depends on their generosity, you need to adapt and to give them what they want, it’s the only way to progress. Don’t you agree?
Zogi: Thats is what a good bartender does isn’t it? But even then you must miss a few things from Ferenginar?
Brek: ::Chuckling.:: At the risk of sounding like a renegade, I miss nothing from Ferenginar. Do you? Don’t answer right away, Zogi. I bet you think you do, but deep in your wallet, you don’t. Because people like you and I, we know that genuinely entrepreneurial Ferengis don’t stay at home. We get out there, in the galaxy, to seek our own fortune. But I’m curious, what twist of fate brought you here, on a Federation vessel?
Zogi : Me? That is a long story. I wasn’t very successful on Ferenginar so I went to Earth. They were looking for a caterer on the USS Apollo-A. A big new ship so I asked my father for a loan to get started and rented the bar. It was huge. A few hours after i opened my doors those morons from the FCA show up. Buy me out and sent me over to the Constitution! I tried to get some legal aid from Starfleet but they didn’t intervene! They still don’t like us very much do they, or the Ferengi alliance for that matter. Don’t you agree?
Brek: ::Uncomfortable smile, for this was a question where a faux-pas could so easily be made.:: They are the way they have always been: tense. I think it’s the natural order between these two organizations. And natural orders are best left alone.
Zogi: You think it’s possible that the Alliance will join the Federation some day?
Brek: ::Another complicated question, so he ate some of his sorbet to gain time and think about his answer.:: Hmm… If it does, it would mean Ferengi have turned into Hewmons. That’s a strange concept that hurts my head. On the other hand, if you were to ask me if I think the Federation might join the Alliance one day, now, that depicts a much brighter future!
Zogi: ::laughing:: I’ll drink to that!
:: Zogi filled two glasses with Slug-o-Cola and took a big sip from his. Then he checked his notes and continued::
Zogi: You’re having a very promising career so far and many believe you could make it all the way to the top. What would you change if you make it that far?
Brek: ::Thoughtful.:: If I make it to the top… I sincerely don’t think I’ll have the stamina to get there. But if I did, I would probably want to retire right away, and live on a remote colony somewhere, without any newsfeed. Because the higher the spheres you reach, the more you realize that changing things isn’t a solution. Changing and educating minds, that’s what the galaxy need, but that would take a length of time which I don’t have. What about you, are there any things you would love to change in your career?
Zogi: Simple. Less regulations. They speak of free trade but one look at my accounts shows you they still force me to pay all kinds of taxes to get a good bottle of whisky from Earth or a barstool from Cardassia. But lets not go there… before you know it I bore you do death with numbers. Its say its time for a final question. As you know many children dream of a career in Starfleet. What you advise all the young people thinking about that kind of career?
Brek: Perseverance. That is to say, never allow yourself to be defeated, and stay focused. Fleeters are actually nice and dedicated people. Be as dedicated as they are, and you might even make a few friends. For those who don’t know, a friend is someone who don’t try to take advantage of you, and who listen to you when you have a problem, and all that, for free. Do you have any friends, Mister Zogi?
Zogi: I have regular customers, and I’m sure some of them would help me out in my hours of need. Does that make them friends? I think it does.
Brek: I see. Well, since you too have been living among Fleeters for a while, what do you feel most proud of?
Zogi: Hmmm… that is a good one. ::Now it was Zogi’s turn to fill his mouth with food to give it some more thought:: Well we had this alien presence on the ship about 9 months ago. Everyone lost their minds. Somehow my Ferengi brain protected me from it so I was asked to supervise my bar that became some sort of shelter at the time. It was scary at times with people attacking each other but we made it through.
Brek: That’s impressive. It makes me wonder, what do you like to do when you are not serving food and drink behind that bar? Do you actually have time to pursue other profitable activities?
Zogi: Well there is so much to do… some of my regulars always have new ideas. Take a monday night for example. It wasn’t a good day for profit. Just a cup of coffee here and a few nuts there. But then these guys from earth show up with a dart board. So now we have a monday-dart-evening with a happy hour. Then there is the dabo wheel on wednesday. So in short I’m busy all the time. Its a small bar after all so everyone day i have to rearrange the furniture to prepare for all kind of events.
Brek: And you’ve never been tempted to join the Academy?
Zogi: No… plain and simple. Never gonna happen.
Brek: So, once you have made your fortune, where do you think you will go to spend your riches?
Zogi: I’ve already asked the commander for some more space but she won’t give it to me. So when i have enough money i plan to buy my own ship and hire a crew. Then i turn the ship it into one moving bar with plenty of holodecks, race tracks, casinos, bars, you name it. Traveling through the alpha quadrant and make more money they I ever dreamed possible.
Brek: It was nice meeting you, Mister Zogi. We should meet again sometime, in a more convivial environment. oO Without any prying ears. Oo.
Zogi: I look forward to it sir. And ::Zogi grabbed the man’s arm and pulled him closer:: If you need a new bartender let me know. I’m sure we can work something out. Triple the size of this bar and you can have 20% of my profit.