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Lieutenant Galdar

Started by Feathers, June 04, 2009, 01:57:43 AM

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Feathers

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Name: Galdar
Rank: Lieutenant                
Position: Conn Officer

Personal Information

Age: 30
Place Of Birth: Ferenginar
Gender: Male
Species Of Origin: Ferengi
Hair: None
Eyes: Brown
Height: 4'10"
Weight: 102
Skin Tone: Orange
Telepathic and Empathic Status: None but resitant to the abilities of others due to the four lobed Ferengi brain
Body: Short
Face: Round with sharp teeth and large lobes
Marital Status: Single
Children: None

Habits: As with many of his species he has a tendency to twitch in a seemingly random uncontrolled fashion. This is normally only evident at times of stress or when he's agitated. It's partly due to his extremely sensitive hearing - at the first sign of overly loud noise, his hands are jumping to his ears before conscious control cuts in.

Quarters: Neat and uncluttered. He associates clutter with an over-concern over possessions and goes out of his way to avoid that association.

Likes: Grubs! Eating is a pleasure and his diet is one of the few Ferengi traits he claims to have truly inherited.

Dislikes: Most Ferengi, overbearing parents, chocolate.

Ambitions and Goals: Within Starfleet, his interests focus on one day taking the helm of a Starship

Temperament: Generally even handed but prone to bouts of selfishness which he puts down to a "species imperative"

Hobbies: None known.

Family
Mother: Dusha
Father: Baj
Siblings: 1 older brother, 1 younger sister

History:

2358 Born on Ferenginar to a traditional Ferengi family.

2375 Galdar leaves home at 18 taking a pilot 'apprenticeship' aboard the Glantor Class transport ship Depository under DaMon Glem. Gelm's trade route takes him from Ferenginar, via the Ferengi Alliance planet of Irtok, onto Fellebia and then into Federation space.

2376 Depository arrives at Altair VI but is ambushed by Orion pirates at the edge of the system Galdar saves the ship and the cargo by his piloting skills and attracts the attention of Starfleet Captain Adams of the Nebula class U.S.S. Leeds who approaches him to join the fleet. Galdar enters Starfleet Academy.

2380 On graduating Starfleet Academy, Ensign Galdar is assigned to the flight deck of the U.S.S. Tiberius under the command of Lt. Cmdr. Aeric James.

2385 Unaffected by the Lucas Virus, Galdar takes the helm of the Tiberius and keeps her flying while the crew get to the escape pods and the ship is scuttled. Escaping himself, Galdar is promoted to Lt. (j.g) as a result. On being let out of quarantine, Lt. Galdar is rotated to Starbase 416 near the Ogus system, as duty flight control officer and shuttle pilot.

2386 Bored with station service, Galdar transfers to the Saber Class U.S.S. Luxembourg as Beta shift Conn officer.

2387 Recalled at the request of Commander James, Galdar joins Arabella as Alpha watch Conn officer. Sad to leave the Luxembourg, Galdar is promoted to full Lieutenant to 'sweeten the deal'.

I know it's unnusual here but I don't have a podcast of my own.

Feathers

#1
"I'm going now." he shouted.

The sound of the closing door obliterated any response that might have come from the house but Galdar wasn't listening anymore. He'd said his private farewells to his mother five minutes before and didn't really expect the others to come and see him off.

As he shambled away from the only home he'd ever known, he breathed deeply in the damp air and actually started to enjoy the rain. Maybe it was the sense of freedom that had been growing on him as he neared his eighteenth birthday, although that had peaked a week ago with the event itself, or maybe it was simply a result of his current destination and all that it represented for his future. Either way, he walked with what felt like a new sense of purpose as he headed into town.

Last night hadn't been so easy. After waiting for as long as he could, he'd finally had to face his father with his plans. As expected Baj hadn't been happy. In his mind, any future that didn't involve an office in the Tower of Commerce wasn't a future worth contemplating for his son. Galdar had pressed on regardless, however, and explained that he would not be following his fathers wishes and taking a junior position in the family brokerage.

Privately, he suspected Baj had actually been relieved at his refusal to cooperate, regardless of the public rage. The prospect of having his son as a 'junior' anything would have stuck in the proud Ferengi's throat. In fact, Galdar was fairly sure that the offer had only been made at the behest of his mother, probably only to keep her quiet. Still, Baj had shown what appeared to be true upset and concern when he received the news and in a strange way, Galdar loved him for it. The whole family knew that Baj wasn't interested in his son's future any more, but for him to have made the effort to appear that he was, was...kind of him.

Galdar shook his head at the irony implicit in discovering some nugget of familial love in his father, however warped it was, on the day that he left home for good.

The transporter station wasn't far from the house and Galdar had splashed his way there within five minutes.

Passing his clearance to the operator but declining the attempt to garner a tip, Galdar stepped onto the platform and waited nervously. As the room dissolved around him and a more utilitarian version of the same facility appeared, he breathed a sigh of relief. As a first time transporter user it was easy to be nervous.

DaMon Glem was waiting for him at the door, nodding abruptly in greeting before turning on his heel and marching off toward the main docking bay of the orbital station. Galdar followed hesitantly, noting the sparse nature of the cargo facility as he went. Wide doors and high ceilings catered for the internal transport of cargo from one hold to the next while offices to either side handled the complicated tax and revenue processing for the ships and trading agencies using the station. Ferengi of all descriptions thronged the corridors, each ignoring the others as they moved self-importantly about their own business.

Galdar would have liked to have taken the opportunity to stop and look around the station but it was clear that the DaMon was in a hurry. Dropping his head, the young Ferengi hurried along in his wake, sidestepping others of his species where he could, pushing through groups of them where he had to. Given this new profession that he'd chosen, there would be plenty of time to gain familiarity with space-borne facilities of all kinds over the next few years.

Glem paused at the entrance to a vast docking and cargo processing hanger, waiting for Galdar to catch up. Paying the attendant his due, he processed both of their IDs and started to lead Galdar out onto the vast deck but, once clear of the station wall, the younger Ferengi simply stopped and stared.

The hanger was at least six decks high and ran the full width of the station. Galdar had nothing to scale this against, having never seen the place from outside, but he still had to admit that the hold was cavernous. In his eyes it was probably the biggest space he'd been in where it hadn't been raining. Cargo and shuttle-craft were laid out across the acres of space in front of him with some larger small ships off in the distance. The biggest ones remained outside, in orbit or docked with the station, transporting whatever goods and personnel were required in and out of this vast space.

Breaking into his wonder, Glem grabbed his arm and guided him silently across the bay, weaving through shuttles and even some pleasure craft, toward the bigger ships nearer to the space doors. Finally reaching the side of a Glantor class cargo vessel, Glem stopped and entered a code into the personnel access door panel. This, it appeared, was the Depository.

As the door opened Glem turned and barring Galdar's way, held out his hand. "Down payment", he demanded. The first words he'd spoken since they'd met.

Opening his mouth to protest, Galdar caught the look in Glem's eye and realised how tenuous his position here was. His mouth closed. Taking a position aboard this ship sight-unseen was a risk, but for Glem to take on an unknown quantity as a trainee pilot was also a risk and one that the DaMon clearly wanted to be sure would pay off, however it turned out in the longer term.

Sighing, Galdar pulled out a PADD he'd already prepared and pressed his thumb to the panel at the bottom. Passing it over to DaMon Glem, he waited. When Glem eventually appended his print, the agreement was sealed and both sides were committed to the transaction. With a grunt of acknowledgement, Glem stood aside and allowed his newest crew member to board the Depository.

I know it's unnusual here but I don't have a podcast of my own.

Feathers

#2
"I thought you said you could fly this thing," DaMon Glem shouted for what seemed like the fifteenth time. Swallowing back a retort, Galdar shuffled nervously from foot to foot and brought the Depository back onto its assigned course once again.

"I should never have accepted a pilot with nothing more than holosuite training experience", Glem groused as he moved aft.

In all honesty, Galdar could fly the ship as well as anyone aboard and Glem had acknowledged it more then once but his employer was a mercurial character and not one that could be easily predicted or placated when roused. It was true that he'd never flown a real ship before being taken aboard the Depository; that had been Glem's risk in accepting him aboard. Enough of his time had been spent obtaining ever more complex training programs, however, that by the time he reached seventeen he was more formally qualified to fly this ship than some pilots with years of service behind them.

The rub was in the words 'formally qualified'. Without any real experience, there was only his word as to his ability and for many, that had not been good enough. So he had ended up aboard the Depository having persuaded DaMon Glem to take a chance on him.

Glem muttered darkly as he strode around the bridge checking the various instruments and readouts. His gait was atypical for a Ferengi and demonstrated the time that he'd spend among other the other species in the galaxy. As Galdar was starting to learn, the Ferengi bow legged gate could become a subject of humour amongst other sentient races such that many Ferengi tried to eliminate that particular trait. In the privacy of his quarters, even Galdar was starting to practice the straight legged walk of many of the Federation and other races. The 'Hew-mon walk' Glem called it.

Back in the present, Galdar reached across the control dome and adjusted the course again. This problem was getting more frequent and unless Glem agreed to an overhaul of the port impulse engine when they reached Irtok it was soon going to get more serious. Galdar wasn't an engineer by any means but he was already finding that he had a fair grasp for some of the diagnosis and repair tasks required aboard ship.

"More trouble with the port engine, Galdar?", DaMon Glem was back, feeling more cheerful this time it appeared.

"Yes DaMon.", Galdar hesitated, "I think a maintenance sequence might be required at the next stop-over."

"Bah, more latinum.", the DaMon griped, "I was hoping to hold this off until we reached a Federation planet. They're much more...amenable to helping out with such things."

The first officer grinned a toothy grin, "What he means is 'more work for less pay'."

The three exchanged glances and chorused together, "Rule of Acquisition number 37, If it's free, take it and worry about hidden costs later."

Glem and his senior officer laughed heartily while Galdar lunged back to the control dome to correct another inadvertent lurch to port.

I know it's unnusual here but I don't have a podcast of my own.

Feathers

#3
As the Depository came out of warp just beyond the Fellebian system, Galdar relinquished the control dome to the second officer and moved to the back of the bridge where DaMon Glem had summoned him.

"Good, Galdar, good." the DaMon almost purred as his junior pilot approached. "I see you've been paying attention these long months of trading. You are becoming skilled as a pilot and are a quite a quick study in other areas too."

Galdar nodded, keeping his eyes focused on Glem's knees as a sign of respect. He'd come to feel comfortable aboard the ship, most especially when manning the helm, but his DaMon continued to be a cause for concern. Not only was he unpredictable, he was becoming a little desperate in some of his business ventures too.

One of the reasons Galdar got this opportunity appeared to be because Glem was not a rising star of Ferengi business having suffered some major blows to his interests since the start of the Dominion war. Longer term, some of the partnerships he'd invested in looked like they would turn into solid opportunities and Galdar was fairly sure that Glem would survive but the short term held a few problems for him.

"DaMon, why did you wish to see me?" Galdar asked nervously.

"Don't rush me, boy. I'll get to that when the time is right. Conversation is like Oo-mox. You need to take it at the correct pace to achieve the desired result!" Glem leered at Galdar, who smirked uncomfortably in response. "I've complimented you, now you say nothing until I'm ready to discuss our business." Lowering his head to the PADD in his hands, DaMon Glem made a few notations as Galdar waited, apparently compiling some form of cargo manifest. Finally, he looked up again, catching Galdar's eye.

"Before we reach Fellebia, we have a little side trip to make.", the DaMon said briskly, "I'm going to leave you in charge of the bridge while we do so.", Glem stared at his young protege.

"Thank you, Da..."

"Save it for later. Just be sure you understand the privilege I'm bestowing on you...we'll discuss its relative value later." Glem leaned in closer to Galdar and lowered his voice as he continued. "Now, before we make for the planet, you will take us to the far side of the Fellebian sun and shut down all external sensors other than those solely used for navigation. You hold us in position, absolutely still relative to the star, until I give you orders to move. Is that clear?"

Behind Galdar, a signal lamp started to blink, distracting Glem from his interrogative. Waving Galdar away, he headed for his bridge chambers, the door grinding shut behind him cutting the younger Ferengi off from whatever was being said. With nothing to do on the bridge now his shift was over, Galdar shrugged and headed for the door and then his quarters.

I know it's unnusual here but I don't have a podcast of my own.

Feathers

#4
Holding the Depository in a synchronous orbit of the Fellebian star was not a taxing issue for Galdar. Automatics handled most of the minor corrections required leaving the Ferengi with very little to do. With all external sensors shut down and most of the bridge screens blank as a result, there were very few distractions around to prevent Galdar worrying about what exactly they were doing here.

He'd already checked the data terminal as he did every couple of days. As the months had past he'd given up any hope of his mother contacting him but he still checked...just in case. Reaching a decision, he left the helm and the bridge and walked out onto the companionway behind. Sensors were shut down...but the ship still had windows.

"Two hundred and forty first rule", Galdar muttered to himself, "Never trust a hardworking employee". He pushed his way down to the port at the end of the corridor, edging past the small cargo containers stored there since their most recent spatial rendezvous. One thing that Galdar had noted about the Depository was that it spent a lot of time, when he was off shift, in open space between systems while Glem dealt with other ships and species. This was, presumably, another such run but it was the first time that they'd done anything in such close proximity to a star.

Finally reaching the window, Galdar pressed his nose to the transparent aluminium. He would see nothing if the ship they were meeting was aft of theirs but there was only a fifty percent chance of that and he may be lucky.

He was. As he watched, a ship dropped out of warp close in to the sun slowed for a moment, perhaps long enough to make a transport, then accelerated away and was gone before the Ferengi fully registered what he'd seen.

What are we doing receiving cargo from the Breen? thought Galdar. Shrugging, he worked his way back round the cargo and onto the bridge, arriving as a channel from the main deck crackled open and his DaMon's voice came through.

"Galdar, what are you doing? Get this ship moving. Take us away from the sun then out of the system. Once clear warp us round and come back in on the usual approach vector. We'll be up as soon as we've got this lot...we'll be up there soon. Glem out."

"Yes DaMon." Galdar muttered as he brought the impulse engines on line and turned the nose away from the sun.

I know it's unnusual here but I don't have a podcast of my own.

Feathers

#5
As his dreams meshed with reality, Galdar sat up abruptly. The alarm that had intruded into his sleep and been incorporated into a half remembered family party was still sounding in the real world.

"Galdar to the bridge, now!" Glem's voice over the intra-ship com-channel was insistent, verging on the strident and it was apparent that something serious was up.

Pulling on a jumpsuit, he scrambled from his quarters with his boots in his hand and hobbled up the companionway to the bridge, fastening the clothing as he went. Getting there, the door seemed to take forever to open and when it finally did, the noise that washed out was incredible. Everyone seemed to be there and everyone was shouting. The ship was accelerating rapidly and it was completely unclear as to exactly what was going on.

"Galdar, helm! Evasive manoeuvers - whatever you can think up." Glem was desperate but controlled. Whatever was going on was serious.

Dropping his boots on an empty console, Galdar pushed his way to the helm and shoved the first officer out of the way. Under other circumstances he may have been more diplomatic with Barfas but with the current air of urgency, he figured it didn't matter.

Checking the sensor displays caused the Ferengi pilot to pale. Someone was chasing them down and whoever it was, clearly had an advantage in terms of speed.

"Have you raised them yet?" Glem shouted at the haplass Ferengi at the communications console.

"No, DaMon. They do not answer." he cowered as he spoke.

"Then try them again! Make them answer!"

A bolt of disruptor fire sizzled against the shields and systems across the bridge blinked out for one or two seconds in turn. Galdar banked the ship desperately as a second bolt came in, evading it beneath the hull. Around him, Ferengi clung to their consoles as the inertial dampers completely failed to compensate for the strain they were being put under.

"Bah!", muttered Galdar, "They have the advantage in firepower as well."

Rolling the Depository, Galdar reversed course and dove back towards the oncoming ship, trying to weave around the incoming fire as he did so. As the vessel loomed on the forward screen, a number of Ferengi crouched and screamed as they sensed their date with the Divine Treasury getting closer. Barfas, at least, kept a clear head and had powered up the Depository's weapons array, such as it was, and was using it against the aggressor.

"Why are we still here?" Glem screeched. "Get us out of here! Move! MOVE!"

Clenching his teeth, Galdar almost hissed, "They're emitting a subspace field of some sort. We can't form a stable warp bubble."

The com system chirped.

"Let's see them", Glem snapped.

Instead of a picture, a voice broke through the chaos over the now open channel. "I believe you have something that's soon to be mine. Stand down your weapons, lower your shields and prepare to be boarded."

No-one answered but the noise and chaos increased. Glem and Barfas disappeared into a corner, apparently holding a heated debate.

With a blur of light, a new ship appeared on the viewer, dropping out of warp directly behind the marauder as it turned to persue them once more. The new vessel was round with underslung nacelles and a weapons pod of some sort mounted on the top. Someone cheered but Glem didn't look completely overjoyed. Apparently some things were more important than being rescued.

Grabbing the arm of the first officer, the DaMon gestured wildly at the hatch. "OK, OK. Get that Breen stuff off this ship and do it fast!", Galdar blinked. So much for secret rendezvous, he thought.

Barfas nodded and scurried to the tertiary engineering console. With a whine of overstressed systems that ought to have overloaded at least one power relay, the first officer hit a control and the Breen cargo, whatever it had been, was transported into space as a stream of directed energy. With no destination, the energy stream would flow until it lost power and dissipated into the background noise of the universe. It was as effective a way of getting rid of unwanted matter as Galdar could think of...and he got the impression that it wasn't the first time the crew of the Depository had used it.

Swooping in behind the unidentified vessel, what Galdar would later be able to identify as a Nebula class starship matched velocities with ease. The bridge crew of the Depository watched the screens, fascinated, as a series of photon torpedoes blasted from the upper weapons array and skewered the rear shields of their attacker. A beam of coherent phaser energy from the saucer followed, spearing the ship which now broke off its persuit and turned to face its new opponent.

With the breathing room provided and the subspace field neutralised by the efforts of the new combatant, Galdar steadied the Depository and engaged the warp drive, moving as close into Altairian space as he dared before returning once more to normal space.

I know it's unnusual here but I don't have a podcast of my own.

Feathers

#6
On Altair VI, Galdar stood at the top of a hill and looked out over the cityscape. Buildings rose to three sides but ahead was a swathe of green and blue, a vast open space amongst a mess of construction. The contrast was strangely beautiful.

Free of the ship for the moment, while Glem went off to do who knew what, Galdar was touring the city and enjoying the views. His father would have shaken his head in horror at the missed business opportunities but the son would not be swayed by such thoughts. Simply looking around this new planet and enjoying himself was enough for Galdar.

"Good evening", a human stood beside him, a red and black uniform marking him out from the numerous civilians of different species gathered around the hilltop.

"Er...hello?", Galdar stood back and looked at the stranger, a non-Ferengi to be sure, but one who was strangely intimidating.

The uniformed man smiled and some of that fierceness seemed to melt away. He settled his forearms onto the rail beside Galdar.

"Captain Paul Adams. U.S.S. Leeds. You were on the Depository when we finally caught up with it, I think?" The rising inflection at the end of the sentence was pure courtesy. Adams knew precisely whom he was addressing.

Galdar's guard came up anyway. "You're Starfleet. Yes, I was there."

Adams grinned, "Don't look so haunted! I'm not going to ask you about what was going on...or about the jettisoned cargo that your DaMon seemed so keen to avoid mentioning.", he nodded at Galdar's look of surprise, "Don't get me wrong, we're looking into it, but you're not an avenue of enquiry."

Relaxing a little, the Ferengi looked at the captain with a quizzical expression on his face. "If you're not here for the DaMon, you're here for...?"

"I'm here for you."

Galdar looked back at the parkland before him as a pair of Altairian swallows lifted from the trees to his left to dance a complex pattern across the sky. Lost in the intricate trajectories of the dance, Galdar almost forgot that Adams was present until the captain shuffled his feet and brought the shorter being back to earth with a bump.

"Wha...?", Galdar swallowed the lump that suddenly appeared in his throat and tried again, "What did I do?"

Adams laughed outright this time, a loud hearty, joyful sound that Galdar felt he could probably come to enjoy. It was completely different from the laughter of his people which was so often spiteful, callous and caused by the misfortune of others.

"You Mr...Galdar?", the pilot nodded, "You flew that big old ship like some sort of Romulan attack vessel. That's what you did! It was an extraordinary sight and one I will long remember." The captain laughed again until his eyes hardened, the laughter faded away and some of his earlier intimidating look returned. "I'm less impressed with the 'why' of your flight however. Be aware that your DaMon is not unknown to the Federation and is not the most...popular visitor. Is he family?"

It was Galdar's turn to laugh, a bitter, mocking sound when compared to that of the captain. "Family? No. Glem is my...escape route. Family is on Ferenginar."

Adams regarded him silently for a moment, head tilted to one side. "You want an escape route, Mr. Galdar?." Lapsing into silence again, the captain continued to regard the Ferengi. Finally, he shrugged. "Well, I've seen you fly a transport like a Reman fighter, how do you think you could do with a Federation shuttlecraft...or a starship?" Adams laughed again as he saw the effect his words had on the young pilot.

"Bu...Bu...But you don't know me," stammered his companion, "you know nothing about me, you don't trust my...colleagues, how can you be making such suggestions?"

Straightening, Captain Adams regarded him steadily. "No, I don't know you Galdar of Ferenginar but I do know Glem and the types of Ferengi he usually employs. You don't fit that mould."

"You've been following me." It wasn't a question, more a statement of resignation.

"Well...someone has." the Starfleet officer responded, "You've done an awful lot of sightseeing and very little business."

It was Galdar's turn to shuffle his feet. "Business isn't my thing."

"I'd figured as much."

Across the grassland before them, a group of school children burst from the trees, running and playing in the grass. Three adults hurried behind them, engaged in some serious conversation of their own. The sound of transport vehicles and the voices of others on the hill blended together to form a background bustle to Galdar's ears. A noise he had almost tuned out until it was broken by an unfamiliar chirp.

Startled Galdar looked to Adams, the question plain on his face.

"Adams to Leeds. Two to beam up. Energise."

I know it's unnusual here but I don't have a podcast of my own.

Feathers

#7
Materialising on the transporter pad of a Federation starship was another new experience for Galdar. Until the Depository he'd not been on any form of space vessel and even now, months later he'd only been on Ferengi ships. Sure, he'd visited a couple of orbital stations but, to the pilot, they never seemed to have quite the same atmosphere as a 'proper' space vessel.

As the annular confinement beam released him, however, the joy of being on a ship again was not at the forefront of his mind. Reflexively he crouched, backing away from the captain and the Tellarite transporter operator toward the gleaming rear wall of the large circular platform. For the first time in his life, he wished he carried a weapon of some sort.

"What sort of treatment is this? Kidnap?" he hissed, trying to clamp down on the panic welling up inside him. His heart, already quick by Hew-mon standards appeared to have doubled its rate in the last five seconds and beads of sweat were breaking out on his exposed orange scalp.

"Sir?" the transporter chief enquired warily, reaching for his communicator but looking to the captain for guidance.

"At ease, chief." Adams said quietly. "Prepare to send Mr. Galdar back to the coordinates we just came from...if that's what he wishes." Adams turned and looked questioningly at the Ferengi.

Hesitantly, Galdar straightened a little and edged back toward the front of the pad.

"I was serious in what I suggested down on the planet," Adams continued, "I think you have some skills that Starfleet could use and I don't believe you to be wholly against the idea."

Straightening further, Galdar eyed the captain carefully, glancing at the Chief now and then, waiting for the trap that he was sure was being sprung on him. "You can't expect me to believe you would sign me into your Starfleet simply on the basis of one evasive flight. I don't believe you're that naive...and I don't believe you believe I'm that naive!"

Adams smiled briefly at the convoluted sentence but maintained eye contact with his visitor. "No, of course not, you're completely correct.", Galdar relaxed slightly, "I'm playing a hunch here and one that may fail dismally or backfire spectacularly but I'm going to play it anyway. Come with me if you're interested, go back down to the planet if you're not." So saying, Paul Adams turned on his heel and strode from the room. Galdar's gaze turned to the Tellarite who was busy doing something at the console, ignoring him completely.

"Oh hang it.", he finally muttered.

Stepping from the transporter he straightened his crew jacket and headed for the door.

I know it's unnusual here but I don't have a podcast of my own.

Feathers

#8
"You know we're at war, Galdar?", Paul Adams asked. The Ferengi nodded but said nothing as he concentrated on flying the shuttle manually. A type nine wasn't the most complex Federation shuttle but it was fast and required fast reactions. Adams nodded too. "Good. Then you know that we need manpower and resources. Normally that sort of requirement is meat and drink to a Ferengi but what I've learnt from you over the past few days is that you really aren't like any other Ferengi I've ever met."

Passing full control back to the computer, Galdar turned in his seat. Out of the window, the stars around Altair VI were static with the planet growing in the forward view - they were flying at impulse today, Galdar's first run out in the type nine. From what he'd seen of the ship so far, he liked them.

"That is something I've been told many times, Captain. Normally by my father.", the bitter tones were not easily masked. "But given that this is the case, you must also assume that I am not as...emotionally stirred by your need for resources as are others of my species."

Adams sat back in his chair and steepled his fingers, "Pilots are also a resource and you, Mr Galdar seem to be quite an exceptional pilot."

The Ferengi inclined his head but his expression was deeply suspicious.

"You asked me the other day if I was going to sign you up and send you to the Academy instantly and of course I'm not. I'm starting to like you but there's no way I'd trust you that far this soon.", glancing out of the window, he saw that the dot that was the U.S.S Leeds was now visible against the planet. "All I'm proposing is that we...spend a little serious time together. Get to know one another properly, perhaps hone your skill a little and see where it goes from there. We have time before the entrance exams this year."

The captain reached out and tapped a panel on his console. "Adams to Leeds, request permission to dock.

"Cleared, sir." The response was crisp but respectful.

Galdar cleared his throat. "What you're proposing...captain...is that I walk away from my apprenticeship and the only opportunity I've had in Ferengi society on the off-chance that you decide you can get me a better flying career somewhere a lot more risky."

"Risky?", the starfleet officer leaned forward, his voice hardening perceptibly, "You think flying for Glem's not risky? Look back at your little escapade with the Orions last week", Galdar's surprise was evident, "Yes, that was a Syndicate ship you were playing with and it's not the first time we've seen it in this sector. I don't know what you were carrying or who for but you aroused some serious interest there."

Both men were silent as Galdar flew the shuttle neatly into the docking bay of the Leeds, Adams nodding in approval at the neat approach and landing. They left the shuttle together and continued in silence, walking back to the transporter and Galdar's 'ride home'. The pilot had taken a room in a hotel on the planet, as had a number of the Depository's crew, and Adams had begun beaming him directly to and from that location rather than risk being spotted beaming in and out in public. Not for his own protection but for Galdar's.

"The Depository leaves tomorrow Mr Galdar," Captain Adams stated as the Ferengi stepped up onto the transporter pad. "The Leeds will be in orbit for another three days after which we're going out on patrol. You can come with us on that patrol...if you want." The Starfleet officer turned to the Tellarite at the console. "Energise."

I know it's unnusual here but I don't have a podcast of my own.

Feathers

Standing beside Paul Adams on the bridge of the Federation starship Leeds, Galdar the Ferengi watched dispassionately as, on screen, the Glantor class Depository finally entered warp and departed the Altair system. They'd waited an hour beyond their planned departure, presumably looking for a missing pilot who was last seen leaving the ship with a bag of 'merchandise' earlier that morning.

From the Depository, Galdar had gone directly to his hotel to settle the bill and had transported from there to the Leeds. After half an hour settling into his new quarters, Adams had taken him on a more...detailed tour of the Nebula class ship than he'd had before, culminating with a visit to the bridge. There they had waited, monitoring the Depository and the increasingly strident communications traffic it was generating.

Finally, it had gone.

Turning to the Ferengi, Captain Adams held out a hand. "Congratulations Mr. Galdar. I'm glad to see you know how to apply the 277th Rule of Acquisition."

Galdar looked at the captain in surprise, taking the proferred hand but biting back his instinctive response. "Anything worth fighting for is worth hiding from?" he asked. "Ha. Acquisition is overrated." With a nod from the captain, he turned to the turbolift and left the bridge to find his quarters.

I know it's unnusual here but I don't have a podcast of my own.

Feathers

Joint backstory post by Feathers and Jen

Cadet Galdar sat at a quiet table in the corner of the cafeteria, trying to remain inconspicuous as he worked his way through a fairly generous helping of tube grubs. The place was quiet at this time of day, which was exactly why he was here. There were ten other people present in a facility that would seat many times that number, but none of them paid him any attention.

It would be unfair to say he was 'having problems', but there were a few 'unresolved issues' that he needed to find a way through. Apparently it was supposed to be character building, but sometimes it was simply easier to avoid flash points. In this case, he was not prepared to change his diet, nor retreat to his quarters to dine so eating alone at odd hours seemed to be the best compromise even though it severely limited the possibilities for social interaction with his fellow first years.

The old-style swing door crashed open, breaking into Galdar's reverie and making him jump. His pulse quickened perceptibly as a noisy bunch of primarily third year cadets entered. It looked like this particular form of 'resolution' has just failed spectacularly.

The Cadets, mostly human but with a Bolian and a Trill in their midst, stopped at the replicator bank while some of them ordered. After looking round the room, they moved in mass toward the Ferengi and took the next table.

"Galdar", said one in pseudo-respectful tones.

"Young", nodded Galdar in reply.

Cadet Young didn't look away after the greeting, but continued to watch the Ferengi as if waiting for something. Galdar sighed, nervously.

It always went down like this, no matter what Galdar did. He assumed it had started as general distaste at the prospect of eating live food, but it had grown from there into what he was sure was a great joke for the older Cadets but something that was beginning to unnerve him terribly.

Slowly, the other members of the group turned and stared at Cadet Galdar, waiting for him to take a handful of grubs. If he ate, they cheered. If he walked away, they booed. If he did nothing, they simply watched and waited.

They wouldn't talk to him other than in greeting and they never got bored.

I bet they wouldn't try this with a Klingon eating Gagh, he thought as he steeled himself to continue with his meal.

Ryla Emarrin turned back from the Ferengi to stare at her plate. She picked at it uncomfortably as the group laughed at Galdar. Danny Young's attitude toward the newcomer had become a source of contention between he and Ryla. The human was her boyfriend, though she wasn't really sure why. He was tall, dark and handsome...and rather pompous at times. The group laughed again as Galdar took another mouthful of tube grubs. The Trill sighed, shoved her chair back dramatically and rose from the table with her plate in hand.

The group turned to glance up at her. "A bit unappetizing isn't it?" Danny laughed.

The Trill flicked her eyes at Galdar and saw that he was watching. She couldn't ignore it anymore."Yes...your treatment of a fellow cadet turns my stomach."

Without another word, she strode out of the cafeteria to eat alone in the quad.

In the ensuing silence, Galdar turned his attention briefly back to his bowl and took an especially large handful of live grubs. Waiting until he caught the eye of the Trill's erstwhile friend, he opened his mouth wide and deposited the wriggling mass squarely in the centre of his tongue before closing his mouth and chewing vigorously. When that cadet eventually looked away, he turned his gaze to the occupant of the next seat and continued to eat.

I know it's unnusual here but I don't have a podcast of my own.

Feathers

Joint backstory post by Feathers and Jen

Galdar blinked as he left the confines of the Academy building and entered the relatively bright light of the surrounding grounds. As soon as he was clear of the doorway, he stepped to one side, taking himself out of the flow of people...and 'other' people. He smiled as he realized that he was reacting to the sheer number of different species, in this place where he himself was an alien. It amused him, but also saddened him in a way he couldn't quite define.

He made his way slowly across the neatly clipped grass to a patch of shade beneath an old oak and lowered himself to the ground. He had a an hour until his next class and not a lot to fill the time with. On such occasions he had taken to sitting outside with a PADD and looking across the well tended lawns and flowering shrubs, enjoying the simple lack of rain. Weather control was a marvelous innovation!

"Ryla! Wait up!"

The shout from behind him almost deafened Galdar and his hands jumped automatically to his ears; he clamped down hard with his jaw to contain the screech that was fighting its way out. The person who had shouted, oblivious to the discomfort she'd caused him, jogged past Galdar and down the path toward a Trill who'd stopped and turned at her call.

"Oh... Hi Kate," said the shorter female with yellow hair that was worn in a little 'tail' at the back of her head.

"Where have you been!?" asked the hew-mon, black hair pouring over her shoulders.

"Studying... I have an exam on Vulcan physiology in a few days."

"If I were a Vulcan, I would tell you that studying for exams is superfluous. Ryla Emarrin learns everything she knows through osmosis or something... You never make less than a 4.0 in any subject."

"That's because I study, Kate," said Ryla with a dimpled smile.

"Not this much! There's something else keeping you away...are you still mad at Danny? He's been moping about ever since you bailed on us at lunch last week."

"Good..." said Ryla in a victorious soprano.

Kate gave her a friendly shove, "you know we were just having a little fun..."

"...at another cadet's expense. I'm sure it wasn't fun for him," interrupted the Trill as she looked up at the hew-mon.

Kate changed the subject, "Are you going to the Sadie Hawkins dance?"

"Not with Danny," replied the spotted female with a tone that Galdar assumed was intended to be cold, but sounded strange coming from one who appeared so friendly.

"Oh, come on...this is silly. If you don't come, I'm going to be the only girl in our group to go."

"Make sure you save a dance for Danny," said the Trill as a Bolian cadet brushed past them.

As their conversation trailed off, Galdar was distracted by a polite throat clearing to his left. Turning, he found himself staring up at the same rotund Bolian, who was smiling nervously and extending a hand towards in his direction.

"Cadet. Excuse me. I was wondering if you might spare me a moment as I'm in the middle of studying the second year economics module and have reached the point of examining some of the specific commercial practices within the Ferengi Alliance and, being not so much of an expert in these areas as perhaps some others of my race are, I was wondering if you might be able to spare me some time to discuss some of the politico-religious ramifications of the..." The cadet broke off from his break-neck delivery and stopped in confusion as Galdar simply grinned at him. The Ferengi levered himself to his feet, took the proferred hand and shook it hew-mon fashion.

"Galdar." he said. "First year."

"Rolan", said the Bolian. Galdar assumed that was his name.

"Well, Rolan, I'm not the best Ferengi to speak of the workings of the economic and religious systems behind the Alliance, nor are they my favourite topics for discussion...but I have a free hour and would be happy for the company. Sit..." Gesturing to the grass beside him, he sank back down.

As Kate continued to petition Ryla, the Trill glanced over the other woman's shoulder and noticed the Ferengi. She had been meaning to make amends for the behavior of her 'friends', but hadn't found the right time to approach him. The last thing she wanted to do was embarrass him further by mentioning it around other people.  "I'll talk to you later, Kate..."

Ryla made her way toward Galdar, pausing only briefly to offer Boothby a kind word. The old gardener presented her with a daisy and a smile before she continued to Galdar's oak.

"You're sitting under my favorite tree, Mr. Galdar... But I'd be willing to share it if you are," she couldn't hold the straight face for long. The dimples she hated soon appeared in her cheeks as she offered him an outstretched hand. "Cadet Emarrin. Second year. But you can call me Ryla."

Galdar looked surprised for a moment, but quickly stood again. Bowing his head slightly, he took her hand and shook it gently. "It appears you know me already...Ryla," he said, still slightly hesitant, then nodded at the blue figure beside him. "This is Rolan. If you're happy to share the shade, feel free to take a piece of lawn...I was just expressing my desire for some company for a change."

Ryla laughed, "Oh...I'm perfectly willing to share." She then lowered her voice to a hush and glanced from Galdar to Rolan, "it's not really my favorite tree." The petite woman then pointed to a Trill Elm, "that one is...it reminds me of home."

Nodding to one another, the Ferengi and Bolian admired her tree from a distance as she sat on the grass beside them, "I'm pleased to meet you both. I hope I'm not interrupting."

The Bolian shrugged, a gentle, almost graceful movement in one so large. "Not at all Cadet Emarrin. I was asking Cadet Galdar to help with a study I'm conducting of some of the more difficult aspects of the...", he tailed off as he had earlier, looked down then back at the others with an embarrassed grin. Taking a deep breath, he started again. "No problem. I was asking Galdar's help with a study topic, but I have plenty of time to complete the assignment. I need not do it today."

Galdar grinned again. Rolan rushed out his words as if they might bite him if he didn't get through them quickly enough. Glancing at Ryla, he saw that she too had picked up on it and his grin widened in response.

"I'm happy to give you some pointers Rolan," he said, still smiling. "But I should warn you that in my education on these topics I was a severe disappointment to my family." His smile slipped as he spoke and he lapsed into a melancholy silence for a moment once he finished.

A breeze rustled the leaves above his head and someone laughed gently behind them at a whispered endearment he wasn't supposed to hear. He glanced from Rolan to Ryla and the unexpected company was enough to shake him out of his mood.

"So", he began slowly, "Rolan has an interest in macro-economics, I'm here to fly things and Ryla...is...a doctor." The surprise in her eyes brought a laugh to his voice as he tapped his right ear with an orange finger and said simply, "Vulcan physiology."

"I'm impressed," she said with a grin. "I assumed you noticed the division insignia on my jacket. Oh, I'm not a doctor yet, Mr. Galdar...but I will be." She looked up at the oak's massive canopy to watch the sparrows chittering above them. "I haven't had the honor of meeting a Ferengi until today, and I consider myself to be well traveled." She turned her gaze back to Galdar, " How about you? Has your love of flying taken you to many places?"

"Not yet...although I hope to be able to change that in a few years. No, at the moment, I think the sum of planets visited stands at...four." He solemnly raised four fingers of one hand and began to count them off as he talked.

"Not counting Ferenginar itself, where I was born, I've visited Irtok, which is in the Alliance so probably doesn't count, Fellibia which is an...interesting place, Altair VI and now Earth." Folding his last finger, he dropped his hands to his lap, idly toying with his forgotten PADD. "How does that compare with the planetfalls of a 'well travelled' Trill? Or a Bolian, Rolan?"

Rolan blinked a few times and shook his head, "that's why I enrolled in the academy."

"I'd say that's as good a reason as any," said Ryla as she stood and brushed the grass off her black uniform. "Well, this well-traveled Trill has a lecture to get to," she added with a wink.

As she reached for her bag, Galdar touched her wrist briefly, causing her to look back at him as he sat. "Thanks", he muttered, embarrassed now that he had her attention, "for..."

Ryla shook her head slightly and cut him off with another smile, "I'll see you around."

I know it's unnusual here but I don't have a podcast of my own.

Feathers

Joint backstory post by Feathers and Jen

Every day, weather permitting, Ryla Emarrin had her lunch beneath the large oak with Galdar and Rolan. It had been a couple of weeks since she first met the cadets, and afterward she decided that their company was much more enjoyable than that of Danny and Kate. For starters, her new friends were interesting. Galdar could recite the Rules Of Acquisition at the drop of a hat and Rolan had the unique ability to choose obscure words and use them in complete, rapid fire sentences. They were characters who had character and Ryla was never bored, embarrassed or offended by them.

"It's not a done deal by any means," said Ryla with a melodic chuckle. "Host initiates must pass all required tests and have their application approved by the Symbiosis Commission in order to become joined. And the competition is stiff... there are more hosts than symbionts... there's no guarantee that I'll be selected."

Galdar struggled to contain his feelings but some of them leaked into his voice as he spoke, "But to let them put some...thing inside you. How can that be such an privilege? It's like..."

Rolan leaped onto the end of sentence finishing it before the Ferengi could dig too big a hole for himself, "It's like strangely coloured people eating live food!" he exclaimed, pantomiming a disgusted face at his friend before collapsing into laughter.

A blue tinge rapidly climbed Galdar's cheeks, the blush spreading to his neck as he rewound the conversation in his head. "Sorry," he said contritely "What little I know of Federation members is what I've learnt here at the Academy. I guess we haven't reached the Trill yet."

"What do think your chances of selection really are?", the Bolian inquired once he'd recovered his composure.

Though Ryla was emotionally sensitive, she was not easily disgruntled; her slightly faded smile did not fall away completely at Galdar's comment. He was simply inexperienced with regards to other species. She patiently addressed Galdar before answering Rolan's question. "The symbionts are sentient beings, not 'things' and our two peoples are made whole when we are combined." Ryla turned to the Bolian and shrugged, "there are only 300 symbionts available for hosting each year. Because there are many more humanoid Trill than symbionts the chances that I would be chosen are very slim."

Colour returning to normal, Galdar tried to redeem himself. "Can you...talk to your...partner once joined? Do they become 'you' or do you take it in turns to use the shared body?"

Rolling his eyes, Rolan looked at Ryla. As a member of a Federation native species the Bolian had a leg up on his Ferengi friend but by no means did he knew everything about every member race. "It's called 'joining' for a reason, Galdar. From what little I know, both host and symbiont remain but not as individuals. More as a sort of 'blend' of the two characters. My uncle explained it to me once, he worked with a joined Trill for a while."

"I didn't know you had such an ample understanding of the Trill, Rolan," said Ryla with a broadening smile. She turned her brown eyes back to the Ferengi, "I'm still learning about it all myself."

A shadow fell across the petite blond as another cadet approached them. Without a word, Cadet Young gestured for Ryla to follow him. She leered at him a moment before getting to her feet. "Excuse me," she said to Galdar and Rolan, "I'll be right back."

She wandered a few feet away to hear what Danny had to say.

"What do you want?" Asked the Trill in a lowered voice.

"You've ignored all my communiques and avoided me for days. Since you haven't told me whether or not your going with me to the Sadie Hawkins dance, I figured you were made at me about something..."

"...You think?"

Danny smirked, "I hoped that you would accept my apology and let me to take you to the dance next week."

She glared up at the much taller cadet, "You don't owe me an apology. You owe Galdar one."

He laughed, "If that's what it takes to get you to talk to me again, I'll do it right now!" He turned on his heel and strode back to the oak tree. Clearing his throat he looked down at the Ferengi, "Cadet Galdar, I've been informed that I owe you an apology.... I'm... sorry." He forced the latter sentence out with great effort and flicked his gaze to the Trill. "Will you go to the dance with me?"

"You're too late," she replied nonchalantly. "I already told Galdar I was going with him." Ryla glanced at the Ferengi with an expression that he quickly translated as: 'just play along'.

Young looked down at the orange cadet and read the smile tugging at the corners of his mouth as confirmation of Ryla's words. Galdar raised a hairless eyebrow in a Vulcan-like inquiry but kept silent. After his slip-up about the symbiont, the least he could do was follow her lead. Besides, he'd heard most of what she'd said to the hew-mon despite their moving away and appreciated the point she was making.

What he wasn't so sure about was the dance, nor did he understand why Young seemed so insistent on talking Ryla to it. Over the past weeks he'd come to admire her for her personality and strength of character but those weren't characteristics that normally got one invited to parties.

Danny's face instantly turned beet red with frustration, "You're serious?!"

"Yes," she replied smoothly.

Cadet Young stared at her in shock a moment longer before storming away. Ryla watched him go in silence then turned back to Galdar. "You can dance... can't you?"

Looking at Ryla, Galdar slowly shook his head, the smile still tugging at his lips "I've never had the need to learn." he said.

She smiled, "By the way, thank you. You don't have to go, I was just trying to get out of going with Danny. I'd be happy to teach you both how to cut a rug... It could come in handy in the future. There will be instances where, as officers, we will be expected to attend formal events—dancing may be a part of the festivities. It's not required, but it's always more fun to take part rather than watching everyone else."

Galdar got to his feet and stood in front of Ryla Emarrin. Putting one hand flat on the top of his head, he moved it over toward the Trill to illustrate the height difference between them. When his hand touched her chin, he dropped it to his side having made his point. "I'm not sure I'm cut out for dancing", he said, "but I'm willing to learn if you're willing to teach."

"You'll be doing the Tango in no time."

I know it's unnusual here but I don't have a podcast of my own.

Feathers

Joint backstory post by Feathers and Jen

"Ouch! Careful where you put your boots Galdar..." said the Trill as she and her dancing partner clumsily moved about his dorm room. "Computer, pause music." The waltz abruptly ceased. "Don't watch your feet...it will trip you up. You have to look your partner in the eye and anticipate her moves." They began again without the music, "There you go...see...you can do it."

The Ferengi nodded but didn't speak, so hard was he concentrating on what he was doing. In truth, he didn't think he was too bad for a beginner and was surprised to find the lesson holding unexpected appeal. As a pilot and navigator, coordination of movement, direction and speed, was where he specialised and in an abstract sense, dancing was nothing more than a different expression of this discipline.

"But boots are maybe not the most appropriate footware for this exercise", Galdar muttered as he struggled round the room and looking down at his feet again. Realizing he'd spoken aloud, he looked back up at his partner "Sorry...stray thought."

"Not at all...actually many people dance in boots and have no problem at all doing so. It's just going to take a bit of practice, that's all. Before long, you'll be leading and I'll be following!"

"Whew! Let's breathe for a minute, I can feel muscles tightening that I didn't know I had. If nothing else I seem to be getting a good workout!" So saying, Galdar released Ryla and collapsed into one of the chairs that they'd pushed to the side of the room. Catching the disapproving glance from his teacher, he raised a hand. "Really, I just need five minutes."

I know it's unnusual here but I don't have a podcast of my own.

Feathers

Joint backstory post by Feathers and Jen

Five weeks later the Sadie Hawkins Dance had arrived. A very good holographic representation of the Glenn Miller Orchestra, was playing swing music on the stage within the great hall. "Sun Valley Jump" echoed in the hall as dancers shuffled past Ryla and Galdar's table. The Trill's smile spread as the trumpet and sax solos dueled one another for dominance in the piece. The rhythm was so intense that it seemed to pound in sync with her heart, but it didn't seem to bother the sensitive Ferengi. He was tapping the toe of his boot to the beat and patting his knees in time with the drums.

Many weeks of practice had made Galdar fairly confident. When "I want to Be Happy" began to play, he wasted no time in hauling Ryla to her feet and escorting her to the floor—spinning, dancing and laughing as they went. Almost instantly they began to a draw the attention of fellow cadets, distinguished guests and professors alike.

"I guess they've never seen a Trill and a Ferengi strut their stuff?" Ryla shouted over the cacophony of horns and drums. It wasn't necessary, what with Galdar's exceptional hearing, but she could barely hear her own voice. The fast pace required concentration so their chat was held to a minimum. They hardly noticed the fact that no one had followed them to the floor.

Their feet were a black blur of stomping and shuffling polished boots as they spun about one another, sometimes close, sometimes at the full length of their outstretched arms. Galdar grinned, exhillarated by the sheer freedom of the motion and surprised at the ease with which he'd thrown himself into it. It was one thing to practice in private, quite another to 'perform' in public.

It was probably the thought of performing that caused him to look about the room and discover their lone status on the floor. Stumbling briefly at the impact of the realization, he caught himself quickly and continued the dance but the surprise in his eyes soon communicated itself to his partner.

Ryla shrugged as they shuffled apart before dancing back together again. Their hands met and the Trill was spun then lifted and flipped backwards over the Ferengi's head. That was the moment that the applause errupted and the spotlight found them. The grin slowly returned to Galdar's face—he was begining to enjoy the attention. Dimples accompanied Ryla's quick smile and she winked at her friend. The big finish was coming and the crowd anticipated a spectacular ending. They inched closer together, palms up and shaking to the beat. Galdar and Ryla counted, waiting for the proper timing for their finale. "1, 2, 3" they mouthed in unison. Ryla aided his leap with a quick boost which allowed him to spring over her in a somersault. He pivoted and met his partner again before ending the dance with a dramatic dip. Ryla's hair swept the dance floor as she stared at the applauding crowd from her upside down vantage point. From that position, through the haze of the spotlight, she watched as Galdar nodded to the clapping spectators. An instant later, her eye began to track a round object, silhouetted by the light, that was rapidly growing in size as it sliced through the air. Ryla tried to pull herself up from the dip to avoid the projectile, but the object struck her in the face and splattered all over her partner's crisp dress uniform. The cheering instantly turned to sympathetic moans...

I know it's unnusual here but I don't have a podcast of my own.