Chapter 22

Roberta Lincoln was standing next to her bed in the station's infirmary with assistance from Dr. Bashir and Mr. Seven. Quark still lingered and Roberta, not being accustomed to this much attention and thinking that the Ferengi was eyeing her like a piece of meat, felt a bit nervous. Dax and Worf had gone back to OPS together, holding hands. Bashir explained to Roberta that they were newlyweds. Seven was eager to get his least experienced MIB agent home to twentieth century Earth so she could begin her next assignment of helping two Bajoran refugees get accustomed to life in her era. Captain Sisko knew who they were, and knew they had been classified as deceased. Because the young woman named Sito Jaksa had been a Starfleet officer, it was imperative that their current real status as refugees be kept top secret, so the Cardassians did not find out and attempt to go back in time and kill them.* Seven was also aware of the need for top security in this matter and did not divulge information to Roberta about her next assignment. Captain Sisko made an appearance as Miss Lincoln was getting to her feet. He had been given a new desk by a Bajoran vedek who had been in the same monastery as the late vedek Bariel. Sisko knew that winter was approaching on Bajor, so offered his servo damaged desk to the clerics as firewood. They gratefully accepted. As Roberta was regaining her strength in her legs and began to stand on her own, Constable Odo the shape shifter entered the room. He scowled at Quark.

"Quark, why are you still hanging around?"

"It's all right, Mr. Odo." Seven answered instead, having been introduced to the constable during his tour of the station. "He's here because he and I have business to discuss. I am going to sell him Roberta's Avon sample case."

"I see. Why would Quark want this stuff? It's mostly women's cosmetics and toiletries."

"I could make a tidy profit selling these things to our females." Quark answered with a toothy grin.

"Mr….uh...Quark, these products are for ladies and there isn't enough here for an entire planet." Roberta added thoughtfully.

"They can easily be replicated. I am sure the females on my planet would enjoy a taste of the twentieth century."

"No offense, sir, but I don't think you would be able to get much money from these things."

"Roberta, the Ferengi could sell ice to Eskimos." Seven said with a smile. Roberta returned the smile and felt her legs return to normal. The numbness and tingling had finally subsided. She considered their words carefully.

"I have a better idea. Why not let your women sell these products to each other? They would probably welcome a chance to contribute to the Ferengi economy."

Quark snorted with derision.

"Our females do not have the lobes for business. They wouldn't be able to handle it."

"Are you saying that the girls on your planet are less intelligent than human girls? In my century, it is mostly women who sell these things. Besides, what do earlobes have to do with anything? I don't think they would have much of a problem selling Avon. Heck, if I can do it, anyone can."

"Well, I don't know…."

"We human females are fairly intelligent. From what I have learned of your people, your society is not that much different from twentieth century Earth, where men rule the roost. I am sure that at least some of your women would be grateful to be given the opportunity to establish a fairly lucrative business for themselves. Isn't that what Ferengi culture is all about?"

"Yes, but these are females…."

"So what? Big deal. So they aren't men. Is that a crime?"

"No..." Quark paused in thought as Seven smiled proudly at his protegee. "All right. You make a good argument. I can think of one female who might be able to handle it. My mother could do it. I could put her in charge of sales. She's the most intelligent female I know. I find that I have no real objection to this, but I would have to get approval from the Grand Nagus."

"What's a grand Nagus?"

"He's like a king, Roberta." Seven answered with a smile.

"Okay. Mr. Quark, let this be strictly a girl thing. That way, your females will stay out of your hair...oops. Sorry." She smiled as the men chuckled with amusement. After a few moments, Roberta's expression turned serious. "On another subject, Mr. Seven, will we ever be able to retrieve the stolen items or the blueprints from Kirk's ship?"

"I doubt it, Miss Lincoln. I think they are lost forever. The Q will not tell me where the items ended up and I have learned that Mr. Roykirk launched the blueprints into space inside his famous Nomad probe.** In doing so, the human race might have indirectly been responsible for the creation of the Borg."

"How is that possible, sir? You told me that the NASA probe launched in the nineteen seventies took forty years just to leave our solar system."

"I believe the Nomad probe was accidentally drawn into a wormhole and ended up in the Delta quadrant. Historical data reveals that Nomad's programs had been altered to search for perfect life forms. I am sure that you recall that the Borg are very interested in obtaining mechanical perfection."

"Yes, and they give me the creeps. I think the Q was very unscrupulous when he allowed Roykirk to put those blueprints inside his probe."

"I agree. He was. I wouldn't worry about the items. Despite certain alterations in the time line, I can see that things worked themselves out in time."

When Miss Lincoln and Mr. Seven were ready to return home, they thanked the Deep Space Nine crew for their hospitality and with Roberta's servo, they stepped onto the OPS transporter pad and bid them all adieu as they dematerialized.

The End


** "The Changeling"