Disclaimer: this is simply my interpretation of the plot danglers left at the end of Sale of the 24th Century, and how to wrap them up without preventing the 24th Century of Star Trek from coming to pass (hence, the Deceps can't go conquering the Alpha Quadrant). And, of course, if the Deceps ever brought back Binary Bonding...it could explain the Borg....}-> Dave Van Domelen, have fun! ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sale of the 24th Century Epilogue: by Dave Van Domelen, based on a story by Lizard ------------------------------------------------------------------------- "Life is good," sighed Swindle. Sales were hopping...the rebuilding of Cybertron after the final victory over the Autobots needed more resources than were available through conventional channels, and Swindle was master of the unconventional channels. And with the war over, he never had to go near his fellow Combaticons again. Yes, life was indeed good, and he had Quark to 'thank' for it. [flashback] Megatron stood towering over Swindle, having just asked to see what Swindle had cheated the squishies out of. Swindle smiled and prepared to transform and reveal the cubic meter of Dilithium crystals as a tangible sign of the information he had gleaned from the computers of DS9. His internal sensors shows it wasn't there. Instead, all that was left was a small pile of monatomic Lithium dust. Had travel through the rift destabilized it? Nonsense...their ships traveled through spacetime distortion as a matter of course...Dilithium had to be hardier. He'd been...swindled. "Well, Combaticon, I'm waiting..." was Megatron's cannon beginning to glow just a little? Better talk fast.... "Ah, yes, Mighty Megatron. Actually, what I got was not so much tangible. It was information. The secret of..<glrp!>" Megatron had siezed him by the throat. "erk...controlled anti-matter power! OOOF!" Swindle fell onto his backside as Megatron dropped him. "Are you *certain*? After all, they may have cheated you as you cheated them!" Swindle's fellow Combaticons seemed rather amused at the image of Swindle being cheated. "N-no...I mean, yes, I'm certain, no they didn't cheat me. You see, even in the future, humans have little concept of how to properly protect their data. I was able to gain most of what I needed from their computers before even making a deal. In fact, I bartered more for help in getting back here with the information than for the cube of Dilithium I made them fetch for me." "Cube of...Dilithium? What is that, and where is it?" demanded Megatron. "Had the circumstances of my departure been less dramatic, I might have brought the cube with me. However, I did not want to risk the Dilithium being destabilized...explosively...while fighting the Quintessons who came to collect me. However, before I left I took full subspace scans of the Dilithium, which I will gladly turn over to our scientists. Dilithium is similar to the normal light metal Lithium, save that it extends into subspace in a rather unique way that allows it to control antimatter reactions. And thanks to discussions with various...businessmen...on the human space station, I found the locations of several natural deposits of this unique substance." "WELL done, Swindle!" boomed Megatron. "Still, usually I have to bribe or threaten you for every scrap of information...why so solicitous now?" "Well, I might be interested in a concession on scrap Autobots..." grinned Swindle, thinking to himself of the 78th Rule of Acquistion: a good reputation can be worth your weight in Latinum. Megatron laughed, a fairly disconcerting sound under most circumstances. "If there's even so much as scrap, perhaps." [end flashback] Swindle never got that concession, mainly because there *wasn't* that much scrap left. With antimatter power cores, the Decepticons tore a swath through the Autobots. The Autobots did discover the secret of their foes' power, but too late to do much about it. And Swindle's reputation as the one who helped secure Decepticon victory did wonders for his business dealings after the war was over...even with Energon devalued by the plentiful antimatter power supply he was still a very rich Decepticon. Cybertron thrived, and daily scouts returned with reports on new planets they might colonize. Earth was left alone to fall apart under the stresses of their own civil wars...having no natural Dilithium sources they ceased to be of much interest to the victorious Decepticons. When Unicron had descended on Cybertron, Swindle had been pressed into military service once more, but only briefly...with all the Fusions and larger 'Cons outfitted with weapons that made Megatron's old antimatter gun seem puny, Unicron was torn to pieces in short order, although more damage was done to Cybertron, damage Swindle helped fix by procuring (at great profit) resources from Unicron's husk itself. Not that he did the scavenging himself, but many others were willing to do so for a few minicubes. Finally all the advance scouts had returned from their long-distance space bridge trips. They reported that the best place in the galaxy to colonize was on the far side, an area Swindle knew would eventually be called Delta Quadrant. Discussions were beginning on how to move Cybertron all that distance. Swindle knew this would be an excellent time to sell the information he had gleaned on warp drives...antimatter for free, warp drive for enormous profits. Swindle knew better than to lay all his cards out at once. Yes, life was good.