Post Spotlight – Make It Yours. And Then Make It Mine (Obsidian Command)

Written ByCalliope
Published On
Oc 2023

When Brek’s Grandmother Ara has her mind set on wanting something, she won’t be dissuaded. And the job of acquiring it falls to Brek, who dares not turn down the task at the risk of his Grandmother’s ire and the possibility of being written out of her will…

Make it Yours. And then Make it Mine

Posted by Brek – Timeless Treasures Art Gallery
Mission: M4 – Falling Out
Location: O.C – Timeless Treasure Art Gallery
1519 words – 3 OF Standard Post Measure

The first thing Brek did this morning was to mark his latest exhibition – the canvases that reflect people’s emotions – correctly. It was now named ‘“Emotional Rendering”, and there was, on the floor, a red line indicating how close people should be for the canvases to be effective. Beyond this inclusion zone, the display remained inert.

He was now observing the blank canvases, deep in thoughts. A perfect Ferengi would charge a non-negligible sum every time someone wanted to use those canvases. Not doing so was pathetic. So what was he waiting for? He wasn’t sure. Maybe he simply liked the fact that more people than ever were visiting his gallery. It kept the place busy and allowed him to make new connections. Wealth, he had discovered a long time ago, wasn’t only measured in latinum. But this was a secret best not shared. Thankfully someone entered the gallery, rescuing him from his embarrassing thoughts.

That someone was Mrs Novikov. She joined him and looked at him, as usual, with a mixture of amusement and annoyance.

“I don’t know how you did it, Brek, but you’ve managed to convince me to buy one of your emotional mirrors.” She started. “It’s a novelty item that will work wonders with my clients. All those colourful patterns, they will be ideal for breaking the ice and facilitating business.”

Brek smiled. “Mrs Novikov, you are irresistible when you speak my language.”

“Your language?” She asked, looking a little flustered.

“The language of Business, with a capital B. Anyway,” he added, losing all levity. “Should I dispatch one of those marvelous canvases to your quarters? It could be at your doors within the hour.”

“What about the price? I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere.”

“There is no need for that,” he said, walking to the reception desk, “my prices are always correct.” There, he fetched a PaDD, made a quick calculation on it, and he showed the price to her, in credits. It included super fast delivery and a ten year extended warranty that was deliciously exorbitant. Novikov frowned at it of course.

“Is this one of your Ferengi jokes? You have already overcharged me three times, Brek. Enough is enough.”

“Yet, here you are, wanting more Ferengi prices,” he remarked. “I thought you liked them.”

She stared at him, more annoyed than amused. “A one year warranty will suffice, thank you. I warn you, if you make difficulties, I’m going to do my shopping elsewhere on the Promenade, where I might just complain everywhere about your silly prices.”

“You Hewmons, always want a bargain,” Brek mumbled. He recalculated the price of the canvas, which was now so low, he could have wept. “You are hurting me terribly with your demands, Mrs Novikov. If you weren’t such a regular customer, I would…”

He was interrupted by the croaking voice of Ara. His grandmother had just marched into the gallery. Her dress, a curious assemblage of green, yellow and orange, looked like one of his emotional mirrors. It screamed discontentment and impatience. “We need to talk. In your office. Now, little beetle!”

What had he done, or not done, to infuriate his grandmother so much? He wasn’t too eager to find out. Of course, and without surprise, Novikov smiled at hearing his nickname. “You can’t just barge in like that, Ara,” he complained. “I’m in the middle of a transaction. I’ll be with you in a few minutes.”

The old woman tapped her foot, and her walking stick, on the floor, as if to say, ‘business with Hewmons is insignificant compared to Ferengi matters’. Mrs Novikov who was now literally beaming – honestly he had never seen her so radiant – took advantage of the situation and announced that they were done. She had successfully bought a canvas, and to prove it she transferred the right amount of credits to the gallery’s account.

“Always a pleasure to business with you, Mr Brek,” she said before leaving the two Ferengi alone.

“What the hell is this about, Ara?” He asked when they were both in his office, with the relative comfort of two cups of black-root Ferengi teas and a few grasshopper biscuits, which he knew Ara favoured. “Do you want to cause my ruin?”

“On the contrary. I’m here to improve your lot Brek. Kreca is planning to leave this Station very soon and you need to speak to her. Ever since she spoke to this diplomat, what’s his name…. Rubens, she is full of fanciful ideas. She wants to explore the Quadrant and expand her horizon, which can only improve her art, she says. It’s been a while since I’ve heard so much drivel. I’m sick and tired of young people without an ounce of wisdom about them.”

Brek took a deep breath. He should have known that Ara would renew her attempts at connecting him with the Ferengi artist. “I don’t have anything in common with her, Ara. Sure, I don’t mind making a profit on her paintings. Other than that, I’ve no interest in her and what she plans to do. And you shouting at me won’t change anything.”

“By all that is precious,” Ara seethed. “You excel at sounding like a moron. I’m not talking about matchmaking anymore.” There was a pause, where she seemed to realise that she had omitted to deliver some crucial information. “Let me start from the beginning. This morning, I caught Kreca packing her things. Frankly, since nothing fruitful happened between the two of you, I couldn’t care less about her plans. But the foolish girl insisted on explaining her actions and as she was engrossed in her own drama and how much time she has wasted on Ferenginar, she packed and unpacked her belongings without much care. And this is when I saw it.”

When Ara remained silent, Brek added: “What? What did you see?”

“The most wondrous map I have ever set my eyes upon. Inherited from her father, she said, and her most precious possession. For your information, her father is a wealthy merchant who traveled all across the Alpha Quadrant and made his fortune by buying and selling all sorts of goods to Bolarus and Bajor.” The old woman took a long sip of tea. “I only got a glimpse of it because as soon as Kreca noticed what I was looking at, she put the map back in her bags. After that she deflated all my questions about that map. But I know what I saw.”

“Indeed. You’ve seen a map. Big deal, Ara. It looks to me like a silly heirloom and she will never part with it. Why would you take such an interest in it?”

She leaned forward and whispered. “Because it’s a Ferengi map I have heard of before, Brek. It depicts one of our southern archipelagos. A circle of eleven inhospitable islands with tall mountains and four islands that are more accessible. And in the sea…“

“The locations of several long lost treasures.” Brek completed. “Are you kidding me, Ara? You are actually wasting my time with a so-called treasure map? Razal’s Lost Fleet, from the time where our people only used sea vessels. It’s a tale for little kids. Some affabulation invented to sharpen our greed. Make us want more wealth, all the time, at all costs. How can you, of all people, believe in something like that?” He looked at her, concerned that she might be gradually losing her sanity. “It’s nothing but a fiction, and not even of a good kind.”

“Razal and his fleet are not inventions, Brek,” She insisted. “They existed. They ruled our seas in bygone times and he amassed treasures so incredible that they defy description.”

“Yeah,” Brek said with a sigh. “That’s what they also say about a mess: it’s hard to describe, especially in detail. I’m sorry Ara, but anything that’s connected to this Razal is nothing but an advertisement for the credulous. Too many people have lost their fortune and their health trying to find those treasures.”

Ara sat back and gave him a harsh stare. “I’m not asking you to explore this archipelago with your meagre talents and resources, little beetle. I’m asking you to get your hands on that map. Make it yours. And then make it mine. I’ll know what to do with it.”

Brek looked at her agape. Was the old crone willing to waste her non negligible fortune on the sort of tale only younglings ever believed in? “You can’t be serious.”

“Don’t try me, Brek. If you don’t give me that map, you can kiss your inheritance goodbye. It will all go to your brother. A real pity that, coz all he deserves is a kick in the backside.”

“Fine,” Brek mumbled after a long while. “I’ll see to it that you get this stupid map…”