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A Toss of a Coin Part III

Posted on Thu Jun 6th, 2024 @ 11:57pm by Lieutenant Vincent 'Ghost' Zandrell & Lieutenant Loktor & Pepper
Edited on on Sat Jun 8th, 2024 @ 8:21pm

1,522 words; about a 8 minute read

Mission: The Sins of History
Location: The Sidebar Lounge - Deck 5 - USS Artemis
Timeline: MD006 2300 hrs

Last Time on A Toss of a Coin Part II

Vincent chuckled softly. "Loktor is not your traditional Ferengi. He's given more to charity than anyone else I've even known. My own mother, who is a Betazoid socialite, hasn't given as much as he does. He may have big ears and nose, but I promise you, his heart is bigger."

"Hey." Loktor replied quickly. "Leave my nose out of this. It’s been through enough" He then chuckled, ending it in a subtle smile.

"I think Loktor Durante might be more appropriate," she said dryly. "For the rest, I'll take your word for it." She recognized a fellow telepath in Vincent, but didn't know he was from Betazed until he mentioned his mother. She had no idea where her own parents were from but often wondered if they were the couple that had been killed shortly before she was found or if her parents just abandoned her. But she'd come to accept that she would likely never know for sure. "What will you be doing on the Artemis?" she asked to change the conversation.

And Now The Continuation...

"ESU... Which stands for Emergency Services Unit. I'm not sure what they do, or how they do it, but I'm the XO of it so I need to learn it fast." He chuckled slightly. "They also have me working the Tactical Station on the bridge from time to time. Loktor is-"

"Criminal Investigator." Loktor quickly interjected before taking a sip from his drink like he said nothing important.

"I was going to say just visiting, but I guess not." Vincent said, looking over to his friend with a confused look. This was probably what Loktor was coming to talk to him about, but didn't get the chance to. Then again, he wasn't sure if this was something he asked for or was told to do. The Ferengi was never good on details unless he had to say it. "When was this?"

"Not too long ago. Figured... I got nothing else better to do... so why not stick around? Cause some trouble with my little marauder." Loktor smirked at Vincent, before quickly adding. "They were shorthanded and I needed a break from playing a greedy, rotten, no good stinkin' ne'er do well for a while. So, this is technically, a vacation."

"I'll be working with Lieutenant Corwin, or so I've been told." She glanced at Loktor. "I'm not sure if we'll be working on the same side or not." It didn't really matter because they were both on the side of justice.

Then, with an impish grin, Pepper turned back to Vincent. "But if you ever need an investigator who isn't a greedy, rotten, no good sticking ne'er-do-well of a Ferengi, let me know." He seemed like a decent sort and she wouldn't mind working with him.

Loktor put down his drink and looked to Pepper in an insulted way. He turned to Vincent and said calmly. "I guess she missed the part about me playing a greedy, rotten, no good sticking ne'er-do-well, not actually being one."

"I'm sure she didn't mean anything by it, Loktor."

"You know..." He said as he looked over to Pepper. "For an Investigator you're horrible at paying attention." He picked up his drink and added. "But I guess... seeing your inability to act subtle and not be noticed... I shouldn't be surprised." He then looked away and smirked.

"Stop it, Lok." Vincent said quickly. "You can't get offended every time someone treats you like they would any typical Ferengi given how your people have developed their reputation. She doesn't even know you. Give her a chance."

Loktor put down his drink and nodded. "You're right. I should apologize." He said softly before looking to Pepper and saying. "I'm sorry..." He paused for a moment before adding "That you're a xenospeciesist."

"I judge people on their behavior," she replied. "And you have no idea who I am or where I come from, so that comment is specious." She'd enjoyed the banter when it was more lighthearted, but now it had grown too serious for her liking and reminded her too much of her childhood. She also felt out of her depth, a clear indication it was time to go.

She left her drink on the table and stood. "Thank you for the drink," she said to the Ferengi.

She turned to Vincent and added, "It was nice to meet you." Then she pulled a coin out of her pocket and tossed it onto the table as she prepared to leave. When she was a thief, that was her calling card. Now, she used it more as a memento.

"Seriously, Lok?!" Vincent looked at him sternly before standing up to stop her. "Wait... please." He held his hand out to her and continued calmly. "Please... I'm sorry for Loktor. Sometimes, he just doesn't know when to stop." He took a step toward her and continued softly. "Loktor takes quick offense to be thought of like just another member of his species. They're greedy. Manipulative. Wouldn't hesitate to give up their own mother if it meant they could line their pockets full of latinum."

"He's serious. I know a Ferengi who gave up his own mother because it got him in with the right people. All because she insisted on wearing clothes." Loktor shook his head with a sigh. "My people suck."

Vincent sighed, looking over to Loktor, before looking back to Pepper. "Point being... while he spent a majority of his time pretending to be like them... he has hated every minute of it. So, please understand, it's a sensitive topic. Please, don't go... or else... you'll leave me with him and that would be unfair." He gave her a quick smile.

"He's right." Loktor added, looking up to her. "It's a button you didn't know you were pressing. I'm sorry. I meant it this time. And... I'm sorry for calling you a xenospeciesist. It was wrong of me to presume you were one without knowing you too well."

Vincent looked to Loktor before looking back to Pepper. "I know, like me you can't feel it, but he means it. Ferengi can't have their minds read or emotions sensed. I've learned, when it comes to them, you can't rely on what you sense but what you feel." He took a second and added. "Like, right now, I can sense you don't want to go but you also fell like uncomfortable. He's pushed a button for you too. We don't need to hear the story. You can tell one, or both, of us when you're ready or not at all. It's your choice. We won't push, but it wasn't on purpose. You're both good people, it’s just, some things are a bit too sensitive of a topic."

Pepper searched Vincent's eyes for a moment, then sighed. He was right, she had pushed a button she wasn't aware of. She nodded before sitting down. "I grew up on a world that had no Ferengi. It had no Federation, either, until I was an adult. That's when I finally left. I've spent more time on a starbase in the middle of nowhere than anywhere else since leaving. That's where I saw Loktor and where I learned to be a PI." Memories of her childhood on the streets flashed through her mind before she remembered to raise her mental shields. She was still earning that, too, as telepaths were few and far between growing up. "I apologize."

"I don't blame you for wanting to leave the moment you got the chance. Growing up on Ferenginar, wasn't that bad. You get used to the rain and the people constantly haggling over prices. I was raised in that and it was home. I even miss it sometimes. But... at some point, I got fed up with it. The constant betrayals and how easy it was to gain a friend only to have them turn on you at the drop of a simple strip of latinum. Money was too important, so to me, it became nothing but another material to own and throw away." He shook his head and smirked slightly, looking over to Pepper, before adding. "You know, the only joys I get are when I do something to help someone else or when I am spending time with my niece." He motioned to Vincent. "His daughter."
To Be Continued...

A Joiint Post By
Lieutenant Vincent Zandrell Tactical Officer, USS Artemis
Executive Officer, Emergency Services Unit Starfleet criminal Investigations Unit

Lieutenant Loktor
Criminal Investigations Officer, USS Artemis
Starfleet Criminal Investigations Unit

Private Investigator, USS Artemis
Starfleet Criminal Investigations Unit


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