It's 0-nine-hundred hours and I hear the music flowing through the streets as I enter Star City, the XTERN1TY fleet starbase famed for its large meetings and gleaming wide halls bustling with the hardest working, fun loving residents in the galaxy. I follow the sound up the avenue to the Mall, regularly filled with bargain shoppers and tourists. I enter the mall and take off my trenchcoat. Place is strangely empty. I walk past delicious smells of fresh-baked pizza filling the air from Ristorante DiGregorio and the see the disco ball revolving above Paris Records Dance Studio. Ahead, two signs flash in neon, rising above gilded arches: Anni's Nightclub & Lounge and Vorik Department Store. I glance longingly at the club, but shake my head. Not yet baby. I take the door to the right, down the ramp.
The music stops. Such eerie quiet grips the walls, even the silence makes no noise. I head to the Recreation department and a few isles in, find what I'm looking for. A brand new Fleet Pleasure Assault Blaster [Satisfaction]3x. The label reads: Guaranteed to give 360 Degrees pleasurable satisfaction for however long you want it, or they'll die tryin'. Yeah, I'm thinking; just the gift she needs.
Going to the automatic checkout I slide out my Galactic Express card. Can't leave home without it since they included it in the holoemitter attached to my wrist, along with the rest of my virtual wallet. 1,000 fleet credits subtract before my eyes. I look to see the store tally add up, instead all stays the same. I start thinking. I thought the Fleet was getting these credits of mine, but no. Then it hits me. Fleet credits are being spent by players in every quadrant of the galaxy, but no trace has been seen of them since. Heading to the transporter, I whip out my autotransmitter: File 9032, Case of the Disappearing Cre ehh... before I can finish my report, a pain in my head knocks me to the floor. All goes black.
I wake up to the smell of rotgut and cheap cigars. The room is dimly lit by a window shining from somewhere in the darkness. I'm on a weathered sofa covered in tribble hair. On both ends stand 2 honchos in pant-suits, wielding Tommy-Phasers; one a grim looking fellah and the other a broad with hair tied back into a ponytail. My head throbs as I lift myself off the sofa, and face the desk in front, behind which sits a guy in a tie pulling on a stogie. The plaque on the desk reads: Boss Brandoni, Manager. He lets out a long puff.
"James, James, the pain in the pelvis private eye, always sticking your nose in none of your business." The accent is earthy, Chicago, maybe Boston.
"Kinda long like that. Sorry if it gets in the way."
"I hear this time your investigating Company affairs." I rest my head in my hands. Should have known not to file my report inside the building. The Company has airspace vibration monitors running 24/7. "I wasn't, until you told me." I lift my head and get up slowly. The guards shuffle uneasily. I watch them from the corner of my eye.
"See Brandoni, when my nose smells something stinky, it starts itchin' like crazy and I can't help myself but go berserk..." At that moment I notice the guard on the left turn his head slightly to his companion. In the flash of a nanosecond I'm on him, my knee in his belly. I grab his gun as he crumples to the floor. The other guard turns to fire but I'm quicker and level the Tommy-Phaser square at her "Drop it!" The guard drops the wep and unclasping her suit, raises her hands. "Who are you? I never seen a man move that fast before!" "Name's Burn, James Burn." Without lowering the gun I walk over, straightening my tie. I reach up and loosen the clasp behind her head, letting her shimmering hair fall over her shoulders as I wrap my arm around her waist. "Burn me up, baby." She looks into my eyes, panting. Without a word, she reaches for me, kissing me like there's no tomorrow.
The door behind him slides open and and lights flood the room as a sensual female voice booms over the overhead speaker. "Holodeck Scenario 21 complete."
I lower the gun as the Chief walks in the door followed by a retinue of data crunchers. The nameplate on his chest reads: Danny Boy. He puts his hand over my shoulder. "Special agent Xean, you missed a part." "I'm getting old for this," I sigh, nodding my head. "Not really," I turn to the Manager, scanning the data on his pad. "Your reflex timer came in an at .007 nanoseconds less than last time." "Well, that's why I get paid for ain't it, to get it right to the last detail? What will you have me doing next, Dirty Hairy?" The chief grins. "Actually, I got just the assignment for you. Disappearing Credits, case is all yours." "Of all the shoot jobs...," I whisper under my breath.
"Actually," raising my voice, I announce matter-of-factly, "I thing I solved the case for you." "Really?" Chief looked surprised.
"Yeah see, Fleet marks are being spent by people all over the galaxy. They buy stuff in countless fleets with it, but where does it go? It makes no sense they just disappear into thin air, but you know what? It actually does. Now I know what you're thinking, Credits need to be spent for items and if you get an item, your credits are converted for it. But you gotta ask yourself one question."
"Why don't I feel lucky?" The Chief wiped his brow with his palm which flickered in the light.
"No, The question you should be asking is instead of letting fleet credits just disappear don't you think it would enhance the game experience by putting spent credits to use for fleet projects or into a fleet credit bank that totals the amount of fleet credits spent on a fleet or accumulates there for opening up special fleet rooms, abilities, or access. Now, don't you feel lucky you have me around to solve the case, punk?"
They hadn't noticed I still held the Tommy-Phaser in my left hand. In seconds the room is clear, a dozen Undine bodies lying dead on the floor. All but one. The manager at the desk was gone. On the desk lay a folio pad, on which a name was scribbled: Who is John Gaunt?
The fizz of an airlock makes me raise my head. The lights dimmed and the Holodeck door slid open. A familiar figure entered. "Hey Anni, pretty long training session huh." She looked at me quizzically. "How did you know it wasn't me?"
"You never kissed me like that."
"I never kissed you at all." Anni rounds the desk, her body snug in a skin-tight holo-suit. The thought strikes me, she could be naked under under the holoemitter. "Well there's always a first time." I move closer. "Where's your burn, baby."
She looks at me, fire in her eyes. "You don't want to know, just pass me the Preparation-H."
This is special agent Xean, deep in the heart of Covert Operations. Maybe I'll make it out alive and maybe I won't. But rest assured either way, they're screwed.
The story above stemmed from an idea I had a while back to raise awareness for issues/improvements for STO through stories. It's been lingering around on my notepad and I thought I'd post it. Despite the overlaying layers of totally wacky, complex story, the theme is to highlight a use for Fleet Credits that go to waste currently without benefitting the fleet they're spent in. If you have other ideas/like to raise awareness for other issues in STO and would like to highlight them in story form, feel free to post your story in this thread.
Oh, and yes, XTERN1TY is a real fleet, uniquely designed for longterm players in mind. Our facilities are named after the main member(s) who helped to build it. XTERN1TY's currently looking to grow it's player base and has a unique open door policy, so feel free to drop by or pm me if you have any fleet questions (This is not a recruitment thread so please don't post them here).
Also, kind of silly for me to remind this, but just in case, any references to real persons and/or scenarios are totally for fun and not to be taken seriously.
If you like the story, let me know. I might mix some more illogic defying zanyness. 'Till next time, have a good one!