From:Frool
To:*Galactic-Enquirer
Stardate:20020208.0835
Subject:A message from the Ferengi Alliance

The signal pops, then sputters, screen sliding to pure black as the signal is cut. After a moment or so a jade symbol, the banner of the Ferengi Trade Alliance, fades in over the darkness. A groomed masculine voice, precise in every language, interrupting the silence.

"And now a word from Grand Nagus Zek."

The screen flickers to reveal an opulent chamber, a single trollish figure sprawled upon a gilded throne. He might appear as an old mummy at first, wrinkled aged features, bald lumpy head, and oversized ears. Yet, as the camera zooms in upon his wise-yet-repugnant features he springs to life. The Nagus' squat body jerking, "We're on?" He asks no one in particular, "Excellent!" The Ferengi clears his throat loudly, smile moving across his lips as he prepares his pronouncement.

"Greetings galaxy, from the Ferengi Alliance!" His tone is creaky and high-pitched, his dark sagging eyes oddly youthful in their alert movements. "The talk of war has not missed the alliance." He says, as if there had been rumors to the contrary, "War may be good for business.." a pause, "..but so is peace!" He raises his gaudy staff in emphasis, "Our economic agreements do not entangle us in your affairs!" He reminds, "So leave us be!" The aging troll snaps, as if agitated.

"It is not our intention to meddle in your affairs. The Trade Alliance seeks what it has always sought.." dramatic pause, "..profit! And we are well aware that the destruction of our modest trade fleet would bring very little of that." Lips peel back to show crooked, pointed teeth. The smile expands from withered lobe from withered lobe, "So have your wars, but.." his smile wanes a bit, hairless brows sliding together a bit, "..do not bring your squabbles into our space unannounced!"

His pitched, vibrant, tone darkens. Voice turning gravelly with the skill of a great orator, "Rest assured that, despite our neutrality, we will not tolerate the interruption of our lawful trade in your space or your enemies! My vessels will steer clear of your war zones." He notes, "Just assure you steer clear of our trade routes. Piracy, in any form, will not be tolerated!" The end of the staff hits the floor with a sharp pang.

The withered, jovial, smile returns, "With that in mind.." His head tilts slightly, "..we look forward to doing business with you all." Sharp eyes hold the camera for a three-count, before sliding slowly aside and narrowing slightly towards something unseen, a touch of annoyance evident.

All at once the screen flickers back to the image of the Trade Alliance. This signal fading to give way to the old.