"I don't see why we should have to go, sir." I say with a protesting air.
"In the interests of intergalactic harmony, Picard." replies Admiral Sawyer with a tired sigh, "The Ferengi may well be a thorn in your side, but we can try to be friendly with them."
"But attending a lecture on how to make a profit is a bit much, sir." I counter, "After all, traditionally, we don't use currency any more, but trade items of value."
"You'll have to use bars of latinum, Picard." Sawyer tells me, "These lectures don't come cheap."
"You mean we have to PAY to go to these lectures!" I say with surprise, "I thought we were only going to be friendly to the Ferengi."
"So we are." the Admiral replies, "But you don't expect a profit-mad race like the Ferengi to be giving them away free, do you?"
"I suppose not." I concede, "I hope we can claim all the money we pay on Expenses."
"Er...no, Picard." Sayer says quietly, now take the senior staff along to the lecture."
Some time later, we are awaiting the Ferengi to beam aboard.
As he beams on with an entourage and several boxes, I go forward to introduce myself and the staff. He rushes by.
"Yes, I know you're Picard." says the Ferengi, "I'm Damon Tik, now let's get to where I'll be giving the lecture. Valuable profit-making time is being lost while I'm here talking to you."
Tik is quickly taken by Worf to the lecture hall, while the others follow them, struggling with their boxes of materials, which I see are items to sell while entering and leaving the lecture.
Half an hour later, the crew are outside the entrance, all grumbling that they won't be let in until they have paid their Admission Fee. Tik comes out to see why they are not in yet.
"Time, like latinum, is a highly limited commodity." Tik reminds his underlings, "Dont forget that Rule of Acquisition."
"Get them in, Number One." I say, "I'll try and get Starfleet to reimburse them later."
Soon we are all ready to listen.
"Remember, making money is all you should be thinking of." Tik starts, "Us Ferengi are masters of making a profit out of anything that moves. If you have a family, don't let them stand in the way of opportunity (ROA 6) . It's so important, as greed is eternal (ROA 10)
Suddenly he stops and shouts to one of his underlings.
"Dak! Have you sold all the Entrance Tickets?"
"Nearly, Damon Tik." he replies.
"Only 'nearly'." says a livid Tik, "Remember, enough is never enough." (ROA 97)
We are forced to wait ten minutes until Dak has sold all the tickets, who has grabbed a few unwilling crewmen and forced them to give Dak some latinum.
"This is ridiculous." complains an irritated Riker, "I was forced to give this Ferengi a bar of latinum to see this!"
Riker walks over, and complains to Tik about the situation.
"The First Rule of Acquistion, Commander." Tik declares with a smug smile, "Is 'once you have their money, you never give it back." (ROA 1)
Finally, they are ready to start....again.
"Now then, everybody." Tik says, "As I was saying, opportunity plus instinct equals profit (ROA 9), so keep your ears open (ROA 7). Don't be afraid to deal with those higher in your chain of command, after all, employess are the rungs on the ladder of success. Don't hesitate to step on them" (ROA 211)
"Is moneymaking all you think about, Damon Tik." asks Deanna.
"Yes." replies Tik, "After all a Ferengi without profit, is no Ferengi at all (ROA 18). now we really must break for lunch. One can never begin a negotiation on an empty stomach." (ROA 214).
"This is intolerable." moans Worf, "We have all had to pay latinum to hear this Ferengi quote his Rules of Acquisition and how much he likes profit."
"I understand what you mean, Mr Worf." I reply, "He should guard against the 192nd Rule of
Acquisition....'never cheat a Klingon unless you can get away with it.'"
To be continued...