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Seeking Comfort

Posted on Tue May 21st, 2024 @ 3:57pm by Raven Mattel & Ignatius

Mission: The Only Thing Left Was Hope
Location: Transport Ship


Two seats and a small table. That's all they had between them.

Raven and Ignatius were suffering the indignity of catching a civilian transport to Risa. In their haste to make it to the pleasure planet to find Mindo, they had booked a seat on the first available ship heading there - which turned out to be an oversized merchant shuttle, retro-fitted to exhaust as much cargo space with extra seating as possible. The Ferengi operators of the ship were undoubtedly motivated by all that Risian tourism business and filled the ramshackle vessel with so many cheap seats to maximize their profits on desperate Federation holiday makers. Now Raven and Ignatius found themselves squeezed into two seats with a tray table between them and so many, many hours left in their journey. The ship was hot, over-crowded, and noisy.

"I had my own quarters." Ignatius grumbled.

"My closet was bigger than this room." Raven hissed.

"MY store was bigger than this SHIP!" Ignatius steamed. "Why did we ever leave the comfort of the Federation? Or Earth for that matter?!"

"As soon as we get there, I am having a sonic shower." Raven agreed. "No - TWO sonic showers and a full body scrub."

Ignatius closed his eyes, "Ohh and a mud bath."

"With cocktails." Raven did likewise, the duo trying to will away the smell, the noise, and the discomfort with notions of Risa. It was a nice thought, but a rumbling shake of the transport snapped them back to reality rather quickly.

Ignatius sighed, opening his eyes. "We have to find Mindo first."

"Right," Raven agreed flatly, "I mean, if there happened to be cocktails in reception, we could take one though, right?"

"Naturally," Ignatius nodded, "It would be rude not to."

"We shan't be rude." Raven said knowingly.

The two looked about them, the over-crowded space was still as stagnant and over-bearing as before. Ignatius was already mentally writing up the complaint for the Risian Tourism board. Surely they wouldn't want their guests travelling to their planet in such degradative conditions. It was a stain upon their reputation as a luxury destination, not unlike that brown patch on the headrest in front of him was a stain of something unworldly.

"I just hope the dress is okay." He sighed, looking back towards the cargo hold, or the pile of crates loosely tied together that counted as a cargo hold.

"Oh I slipped the crew some latinum," Raven shrugged casually, "Half now, half when we get there, and the dress is completely undamaged. As soon as they heard that, they put it up the front with the captain's cargo."

"Raven!" Ignatius laughed, "You didn't have to do that."

"Of course I did," Raven replied, "I'm not going to have your brilliant creation ruined by this two-bit transport operation."

"Good point." Ignatius nodded. He looked around him once more, "I bet Mindo has his own bar on Risa. Or a restaurant."

"Ohh like his place on the Pandora but bigger." Raven smiled. "One with real gaming machines and a massive dance floor."

"Multi-story, of course. The hottest place in the city." Ignatius added, the two of them dipping into flights of fancy once again. "With pulsating music and lights. OH! I bet Mr. Zo and his band perform there too."

"YES!" Raven cooed. "Surely we'd have time to perform. Just once at least."

Ignatius nodded, "Once, at least."

"It'd be rude not to." Raven quickly added.

"FOOD SERVICE!" Cried out a snarling female Ferengi voice from the front of the cargo bay. Immediately Raven, who had the aisle seat, was jumping up in preparation. They had to be quick - the last food service was snatched up in under a minute. The vessel's idea of dinner was small packs of questionable rations which were dumped unceremoniously out of a hatch at the front of the cargo bay. They had missed out on the first dump but Raven was ready this time. She'd swapped out her high heeled pumps and had been diligently watching the hatch for signs of activity.

As soon as the call had come, Raven sprang from her seat and sprinted to the front like a gazelle galloping over a grassy plain. She dodged a larger passenger who had been doing some leg stretches, darted around a tall woman searching her bag, and sailed over the top of a sleeping older man who found the ground more comfortable than his seat. Her acrobatics saw her arrive first at the cargo hatch just as the food was dumped outside; the hatch snapping shut immediately afterwards.

Raven quickly palmed two of the silver packets in her hands but as her fingers gripped around them, she noticed they were emptier than the ones before. As if these ones were only half full.

"HEY!" Raven cried out. "What gives?"

She quickly looked through the rest of the pile and found the all of the rations were the same - just one piece of interesting looking fruit and a dry-looking, dusty bar of some kind. Feeling the anger and indignity rise up inside her, Raven pounded on the metal hatch.

"YOU THERE!" She called out, "Where's the rest of it?!"

The hatch swung open and the female Ferengi snarled, "That's it hu-man." Came the reply and the hatch was shut again.

"This is disgraceful!" Raven complained. "Well, then I'm taking four packets."

The hatch opened quicker this time. "NO! Only one per passenger!"

"One!" Raven hissed, "This is barely even a meal and... Wait a minute, don't I know you?"

Now having a moment to fully take in the Ferengi's appearance, she knew they had met before. Few Ferengi she had met wore such round, chunky earrings. Especially on a ship like this. It was just a little too fabulous.

"NO!" Shouted the Ferengi and the hatch shut back again.

Raven shook her head and started back towards their seats.

"Oh good, you got some." Ignatius smiled, as he reached out to receive the packets expectantly. Then he saw the look on his friend's face, he frowned concerned,"What is it?"

Raven didn't so much reply as she mouthed the words "Oh." "My." and then "Gooooooooood!"

Raven stalked back up towards the front of the cargo bay and banged on the hatch once more.

"Madame Kroll!" Raven called out.

Raven and Ignatius had the pleasure of meeting the famous Madame Kroll on Paradise Outpost, where the Ferengi singer performed in their glittering Casino District. Kroll was a show-stopper, the headliner, the star. She charged tens of thousands of credits just to be in her presence for mere seconds. Raven believed - thanks to far too many drinks - that she had also performed with Madame Kroll, but this seemed to be an alcoholic-induced delusion. Kroll instead believed Raven had attempted to upstage her and possibly steal some footwear.

It had been a crazy night.

Ignatius had heard the name and - after securely stashing the food away - came running up behind Raven. "You can't be serious!"

Slowly the hatch opened and Madame Kroll stared back at them. Except for the chunky earrings, all of her adornments, high-priced fashion, impeccable glamour were now gone. Now she was wearing a matronly smock and dividing ration packets in half on a tacky tourist vessel.

"It is you, then?" Raven asked, quieter this time, as she could see the forlorn look in the singer's eyes. "The Madame."

"I no longer perform under that name," The Ferengi sighed, "It is just Kroll now."

"It's good to see you." Ignatius lied, "But, uh, what happened?"

"I escaped Paradise and returned to Ferengi." Kroll answered, "My wealth and all my possessions were seized by my Assistant, Goj. He claimed he was protecting my acquisitions so the government would not confiscate them. But he took everything for himself." She looked down at her hands, "Then he lost it all gambling."

Raven put a hand to her chest, "My goodness, that's awful!"

"Disgraceful Goj!" Kroll spat, "I spent years building my fortune only for that weak male to lose it all."

"Where is he now?" Raven asked.

"Driving the ship." Kroll said flatly. "I had managed to stash some latinum away from his greedy hands. It was just enough to buy this ship and try to make some profit."

Raven looked down at the half-opened rationed, "I can tell."

Kroll sneered at the woman and Ignatius quickly jumped in, "Tell me, do you still sing?"

At this question, Kroll softened. "No." She replied quietly, sadly.

"Oh! Well we know someone on Risa." Raven said, "He's probably got some connections there for you."

"Right." Ignatius nodded, "We could help you out. We assume he's got some kind of bar or restaurant by now."

"You would help me?" Kroll asked suspiciously. "What is your price?"

"No price." Raven said holding up her hands, "Just helping out a fellow woman in need."

"I am not charity!" Kroll growled and snapped the hatch shut again.

Ignatius sighed, turned back to their seats, "Come on, she doesn't want help."

Raven agreed with a nod but then she stopped. "Two rations. Proper ones. For the introduction to our contact."

The hatch opened once more. "Deal." Kroll replied, quickly slipping the full servings through the hole.

Raven and Ignatius sauntered back to their seats with their bounty. Suddenly the trip to Risa wasn't so bad after all.



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