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[2008: MAY-JUN] The Good Ship Hospitality


James T. Kolk
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"The Good Ship Hospitality"

by Jackford B. Kolk

Floating through a sea of near-vacuum and occasionally brushing aside the odd hydrogen atom with it's navigational deflectors, the newly-christened USS Hospitality drifted toward the quiet spaceport of J'Nolam II. Its sleak Defiant-class hull shone briefly as the light of the J'Nolaman star reflected off its hull, but soon the ship faded back into the darkness of space as the star eclipsed itself behind its second planet. On the small space station that orbitted the planet, the relatively young J'Nolaman who ran the installation sent his image via subspace to the unexpected Federation craft.

"Unidentified Craft, I am N'Timba, Commander of H'Bolna Station. Please identify yourself and your intentions."

The return signal contained the vibrantly friendly appearance of an average male Terran of vaguely European descent:

"This is Captain A.J. Charity of the Federation Starship Hospitality. Greetings from the United Federation of Planets! We understand that you have recently ventured into the larger galaxy and we would like to offer our welcome and assistance to you and to your planet."

The J'Nolaman officer looked suspiciously at the Federation Captain for a second before responding, "What sort of assistance did you have in mind?"

--

On the bridge of the Hospitality, there was no Starfleet officer to be found. Instead, a pair of antsy Ferengi stared at two small viewscreens at the science station, while another Ferengi nervously sharpened his teeth at the Helm.

"Tell him to lower his shields!" DaiMon Glik spurted out. "Tell him to lower his shields!"

The Ferengi first officer, Bim, sneared eagerly at his side. "Yes, DaiMon! But... why?"

Glik shoved the other Ferengi aside and typed in his message. The left viewscreen on the science station instantly showed the amicable Captain A.J. Charity blithely delivering DaiMon Glik's request, "If you lower your shields, I could beam over to your station to discuss just that." Instantly, all of Glik's attention honed in on the other screen, waiting with bated breath for the alien's reply. While his eyes were glued to the screen, however, his wrinkled little brain was working overdrive. It quickly decided that his right arm should flail unceremoniously in the general direction of the Helmslobeman, Nob. "Nob! Nob!"

The young Ferengi cautiously took his hands down from his mouth, tucking his tooth sharpener into his pocket and staring straight ahead. "Yes, DaiMon?"

"Tell Goob and Jif to clear the cargo bay, quick!! I've got a tingling in my lobes tonight!!"

The muddled spikes that Nob called his teeth showed omniously as the young Ferengi smiled with glee. It was always a good day when their DaiMon's lobes tingled! "Yes, DaiMon!" Immediately, he sent the message along to Jif and Goob.

--

N'Timba stroked the thick hair growing from his left elbow pensively. It was a risk, certainly, but... this Captain Charity seemed harmless enough. "Very well, I will hear your offer." The J'Nolaman Station Commander nodded to his second-in-command, who promptly closed the channel and shut down the shields.

The two men instantly knew they'd been had when their station shook violently. "Shield generators offline!" K'Tolman, the second, announced.

"G'Rethom's cursed pincer! I should've listened to my elbow!" N'Timba exclaimed.

--

"Their shields are inoperable, DaiMon!" Bim shouting proudly. His DaiMon, though inwardly appreciative, glossed over the man's achievement and simply continued barking orders.

"Goob! Transport everything!"

"Yes, DaiMon!!" Goob's exultant voice blared over the intercom, accompanied by the background hum of multiple Federation transporter beams activiting simultaneously.

For a delightful minute, DaiMon Glik sat staring at the station he was procuring things from, imagining the mountains of gold-pressed latinum that he would be able to build after selling everything from within it. And then the minute was gone. His shiny new Federation battleship shook violently, tossing him from the seat that had formerly belonged to Captain A.J. Charmery. He half-growled, half-muttered something indistinct as he fell, and knew Captain Charmery had found him again.

--

"Careful! That's my ship!" Captain Charmery bellowed from the auxiliary station on the bridge of the Sovereign-class USS Excathedra.

"Keep firing! Don't let them escape." Captain Ellen Tuscany ordered before turning to the guest at her left. When she spoke to the man, it was with a tone of barely controlled annoyance. "Captain, right now that's a Ferengi vessel illegally pirating in Federation space. Now, if you'll let me do my job, Starfleet might let you have that ship back..."

"They're responding to our hails, Captain," Lt. Jomarvi at Tactical called out.

"On screen," Tuscany said.

The viewscreen flashed and the form of Captain Charmery appeared, large as life, if a bit more friendly than the real thing. "This is Captain A.J. Charity of the Federation Starship Hospitality. Greetings from the United Federation of Planets! We understand that you have recently ventured into the larger galaxy and--" Jomarvi cut the line as Tuscany gave him the kill gesture.

"Hospitality! I'll show that big-eared little magot some hospitality!" A.J. Charmery shouted.

"Get off my bridge, Captain! Now!" Tuscany shot back at him with the same controlled anger. "Or shall I have you escorted to your quarters?"

"Sir, the 'Hospitality' is entering warp," the ensign at Flight Control cut in.

"Mr. Jomarvi, contact the station. Appologize for the Ferengi raid and tell them that we'll return what was stolen as soon as possible." Captain Tuscany ordered. "Also, contact Starfleet Command and have them send a diplomatic envoy to this system." I don't have the time, but someone has to clean up this mess, she thought.

"Aye, sir." Jomarvi said.

"And show the Captain to his quarters."

--

As the second Federation ship warped out of their starsystem, the J'Nolamans looked at each other, bewildered by what had just happened. N'Timba shook his head. "Whoever they are, their Federation seems very tumultuous. I hope they don't send anyone else our way..."

THE END

Edited by Lt. Jack Kolk
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