Production no.: 497
Teleplay by: Hans Beimler
Story by: Louis P. DeSantis & Robert J. Bolivar
Directed by: Avery Brooks
Stardate: not given
First satellite airdate: June 8, 1996
Rosalind Chao ............
Max Grodénchik .........
Hana Hatae ................
Jeffrey Combs ............
Andrew J. Robinson ....
O'Brien is a nervous wreck. Keiko has gone into the Gamma Quadrant to explore the "botanical mysteries" on Torad V. "It's as if I have to remind her that she's pregnant." "Yeah," says Dax. "I guess the extra weight, the morning sickness, the mood swings, the medical examinations -- they aren't reminders enough."
Quark, by contrast, is remarkably cheerful as he enters the bar, which is busy, and pours Rom a snail juice on the house, in celebration of his return from Ferenginar. He has been there closing a vole belly deal, visiting his mother, and making a pilgrimage to the Great Marketplace. "And, oh, yes, I found out...I'm...I'M DYING!!!"
Rom is shocked. Quark goes on to tell him that he had his annual insurance physical and learned that he has Dorek syndrome, an incurable, fatal disease which strikes only one out of every five million Ferengi. "I finally beat the odds." He has six or seven days, according to Dr. Orpax. "Is he sure?" asks Rom. "Of course he's sure," Quark snaps. "He's one of the most expensive doctors on Ferenginar. He charges two slips of latinum just to walk into the waiting room." Now, there are several things he has to do in his remaining time: see to his will, his mother's pension, funeral arrangements, and paying off his debts. He's only worried about the debts owed to fellow Ferengi, though. Rom remembers the relevant Rule of Acquisition: number 17, "A contract is a contract is a contract. But only between Ferengi."
When Rom has the idea that Quark could sell his desiccated remains on the Ferengi Futures Exchange, Quark is skeptical. "Who'd want to buy a disk of desiccated Quark? I'm nobody, just some bartender with a domineering mother and an idiot brother." Trying to come up with reasons that his brother's remains would have value, Rom points out that Quark was Grand Nagus, and he anticipated the change of administrations on the station. "And as a reward, I'm inextricably linked to the Federation," Quark counters. "I'm a joke on Ferenginar. Starfleet's favorite bartender. The Synthehol King. What a legacy." "You're not a joke here," Rom attempts. "You're a respected businessman, a pillar of the community, a man with many friends." "Friends?" sneers Quark. "Community? You sound like some sniveling hew-mon. The only opinions I care about are those of my peers -- Ferengi businessmen. In their eyes, I'm a second-rate, small-time operator."
But Rom won't let up. He urges Quark to go over to the comlink and offer his remains for sale, and bids will come flooding in. "Everyone will want a disk of Quark on their desk. In fact, there may not be enough of you to meet the demand." "You're a liar, but I love you," Quark says, allowing Rom to steer him over to the monitor, where he begins working. "Just wait," enthuses Rom. "When you see how much your body is worth, you're going to wish you'd died years ago. Or something like that."
O'Brien's fears are confirmed when the runabout comes back through the wormhole, damaged, with Bashir requesting emergency transport to the infirmary for two patients -- Keiko and Kira. The Chief rushes down to the infirmary, and finds Kira on a bed. She tells him Keiko is in surgery, but is going to be fine. "And the baby?" O'Brien asks. Kira hesitates, causing him to assume the worst, but then she reassures him that his unborn child is all right. "The baby just had a change of address, that's all." Kira removes the blanket covering her, to reveal that her abdomen is now slightly swollen. "Your son's living here now."
Bashir explains to O'Brien that the runabout was hit by an asteroid; Keiko was thrown against a bulkhead by an explosion, and severely injured. He needed to transfer the baby to another womb to save its life. "The only two people available were Major Kira and me." "I think you made the right choice, Doctor," says Sisko. The big question for O'Brien is when Keiko can take the baby back. However, Bashir breaks it to him that although Keiko will recover, Kira will have to carry the baby to term. The Bajoran gestation period is less than five months, and mother and baby very quickly form a complex network of interconnecting blood vessels. Severing those connections would mean massive hemorrhaging for Kira and respiratory trauma for the baby. "So what you're telling me," O'Brien says, trying to grasp it, "is that Major Kira is going to have my baby?"
Rom enters Quark's quarters, where his brother is monitoring the futures exchange. There has been exactly one bid for his remains. Not only is it "insultingly low", but it also happens to be the sum total of Rom's life savings. "I don't want your charity," Quark snarls. "...I knew this was a mistake." Rom tries to encourage him to give it time. "Oh, forget the bidding!" Quark exclaims in exasperation. "This has all been a mistake. My life, coming here, putting a bar on this Cardassian monstrosity of a station -- what was I thinking?"
He is still brooding when Rom excitedly calls him over to the monitor. A bid is coming in -- a huge bid, 500 bars of latinum, from an anonymous bidder. Quark is mystified as to who it could be, until he has the idea it might be Zek. Convinced of this, and afraid the Nagus might change his mind, he accepts the bid. "It took me my whole life, but I'm going to die a winner," Quark marvels.
Kira pays Keiko a visit as she is recovering in her quarters, trying to lift her spirits and reassure her. "You know," Keiko says with emotion, "what you're doing for me -- for us -- I don't know how to thank you." Kira takes her hand and lets her feel the child they are now sharing.
Quark is in the midst of settling his affairs and planning his funeral when Bashir stops by the bar. He's just had a strange message from a Dr. Orpax on Ferenginar. "He wanted me to tell you that he's very sorry, but you don't have Dorek syndrome. Does that make any sense to you?" Rom is ecstatic. "It means you're going to live!" "It means I get to sue Dr. Orpax for malpractice," says Quark exultantly. "And I'm going to live!"
Later he is awakened by a chime at his door, which opens to reveal... "Brunt. FCA." With his familiar malicious grin, Brunt lets Quark know that in fact, he was the bidder who paid 500 bars of latinum for Quark's desiccated remains. "Who did you expect, the Nagus?" Even though Brunt knows that Quark doesn't have Dorek syndrome after all, he says he's here to collect 52 disks of vacuum-desiccated Quark.
"Maybe I wasn't clear," Quark tells him. "I'm not dying." "Maybe I wasn't clear," Brunt retorts. "I don't care." Quark begins offering latinum on top of the full refund, but Brunt just smiles malevolently. He doesn't want latinum, he wants Quark, cut up into little dried-up bits. "What do you expect me to do, kill myself?" Quark exclaims. "Of course not," Brunt says. "You can have someone do it for you. I recommend strangulation. Leaves the body relatively unmarked for desiccation." He reminds Quark of the "contract is a contract" rule, but Quark protests, "We're not Klingons, we're businessmen." "This is not business, Quark," Brunt announces. "This is personal."
Quark is bewildered. "What have I ever done to you?" "Done to me?" Brunt echoes. "And you call your brother an idiot. Nothing you have ever done to me has been more than a minor inconvenience. No, protecting your mother from an FCA audit and secretly settling with your striking employees were nothing more than symptoms of a vile and insidious weakness. A weakness that makes me loathe you, not for what you've done, but for who you are, what you are." He accuses Quark of being that vilest of creatures: a philanthropist. "You give your customers credit at the bar. You only take a thirty percent kickback from your employees' tips, and you sold food and medicine to Bajoran refugees at cost." "That's not true," Quark protests. "It was just above cost." "Close enough. It was still a generous, humanitarian gesture. You've gone Starfleet. You might as well be wearing one of their uniforms. It's people like you that give honest Ferengi businessmen a bad name."
Quark promises to reform. "Look, I understand your anger. You're absolutely right about me, but there must be some accommodation we can make, something other than me killing myself." "Of course there is," Brunt agrees. "You can break the contract." Quark is appalled. "Me? Break a Ferengi contract? Never." Brunt sneers at him. "Never? I wonder if there's enough Ferengi left in you to stick to that. Part of me hopes you will break it, because then, everything you and your family own on Ferenginar will be confiscated and sold to the lowest bidder. Your mother will be forced to live on the streets, begging for scraps of food, and of course, no Ferengi will do business with you, or even talk to you. You'll be cut off from all contact with your own people." "I like Ferengi," Quark says, his worst nightmare coming true. "I feel comfortable around them." "Well, we don't feel comfortable around you," Brunt tells him. "You're a disease, Quark, a festering tumor on the lobes of Ferengi society. And it's my job to cut you off."
Keiko is released to recuperate at home, and her husband helps her to the couch. "Did you see Kira today?" she asks. O'Brien says yes; Keiko tells him she's thinking of inviting her to dinner. "Good idea," he enthuses. "Maybe she could come by every evening." Keiko sighs, realizing something. "Even if she came every evening, it wouldn't be enough. I know I'm being selfish. I should be grateful that my baby is alive and well. But I shouldn't have to make appointments to be with my own child. Miles, what are we going to do?" He holds her close, but has no solution for her.
Quark goes to Garak's shop, trailed by Rom. "I want to hire you," he tells the Cardassian. "Not as a tailor -- as an assassin." Garak, of course, at first denies that his skills lie in that direction. "You're going to have Brunt killed?" asks Rom, surprised. "I didn't think you had it in you, brother. What a bold, uncompromising move." But that's not what Quark has in mind. He tells Garak, "I don't want you to kill Brunt. I want you to kill me."
Garak is intrigued. "Well, that's different." To Rom's horror, Quark is adamant. "I'm not like you, or Nog or Moogie or the rest of our pathetic family. I'm a Ferengi businessman, and I made a contract. And a contract is a -- " "Don't quote Rules of Acquisition to me," pleads Rom. "This is your life we're talking about." "That's right, my life," says Quark. "What's the most important thing in my life?" "Business?" Garak chimes in. Quark nods. "That's who I am. That's what I do. I'm a businessman. And more than that, I'm a Ferengi businessman. Do you know what that means? It means that I'm not exploiting and cheating people at random. I'm doing it according to a specific set of rules. The Rules of Acquisition. And I won't disregard them when I find them inconvenient."
"Inconvenient?" echoes Rom, aghast. "You're going to die!" "Yes," Quark replies. "And when I arrive at the gates of the Divine Treasury, the Registrar will accept my bribe and usher me inside. And you know why? Because I died exactly the way I lived, as a Ferengi." He turns to Garak. "Let's talk about death."
Kira pays a visit to the O'Briens, who are solicitous. Keiko wonders if she's gotten nauseous yet, but Kira tells her that Bajoran women sneeze instead. After a bit more conversation, the O'Briens broach the subject of an idea they've been thinking about, although they don't want to pressure her.
Garak snaps the neck of a holographic Quark. The real one considers that method of death "awful". Garak's patience is being taxed; Quark has found something wrong with every option considered so far. "For a man who wants to kill himself, you are strangely determined to live," the tailor observes. Quark declares, "I'm going to die, don't you worry about that. I just want to find the right way...I don't want to see it coming, or hear it, or feel it, or smell it. I just want to go on with my life, and -- " (he snaps his fingers) " -- I'm dead." Garak gets it. "You want to be surprised." "Exactly," Quark tells him. "I want to wake up in the Divine Treasury and have no idea how I got there." Garak gives him his deadliest smile. "You have my word. You'll never know what hit you."
Later, Quark is extremely jumpy as he enters his quarters, expecting Garak to pounce on him at any moment. But when he lies down, he finds himself in a gaudy, latinum-covered room which a sign over a door identifies as the antechamber to the Divine Treasury. "I'm dead," he breathes. "Garak, you're good."
Suddenly an ancient Ferengi in splendid robes appears. "You're not just dead, Quark, you're an idiot!" he cackles. He introduces himself as Gint, the first Grand Nagus, although he looks remarkably like a very old Rom. Quark realizes he's not dead, he's asleep. "That explains why this place looks so tacky. I mean, the Divine Treasury? Please." "Don't blame me for your limited imagination," barks Gint. "Now, I'll make it simple. You have to break the contract with Brunt."
Quark is thunderstruck. "You wrote the Rules of Acquisition. The sacred precepts upon which all Ferengi society is based. You of all people can't expect me to break them." "Why not?" asks Gint. "They're just rules. They're written in a book, not carved in stone. And even if they were in stone, so what? A bunch of us just made them up." Quark is confused. "Are you saying they don't matter?" "Of course they matter! That's why they're a best-seller. But we're talking about your life here." Gint explains that the Rules are simply guideposts; they're called Rules only because it was a marketing ploy.
Quark is having a hard time with this. "I've built my entire life around these rules. How can I just walk away from them?" "Because I'm telling you to," Gint says. "...I wouldn't be here if you didn't want to break the Rules. You just need someone's permission. So I'm giving it to you." Quark mulls it over and is about ready to rationalize his decision, but then Brunt appears. "What are you doing here?" Quark demands. "This is a private vision." Brunt, though, reminds him of the consequences of breaking the contract. They argue, and finally Brunt starts strangling Quark. Gint can't help. "But if you want to live," he tells Quark, "break the contract. It's your only hope." Quark wakes up. "I'm alive," he says into the darkness.
Brunt is in the bar when Quark walks up to him to return the 500 bars of latinum, plus interest. He's breaking the contract. Brunt grins victoriously. "I knew it. You're just like the rest of your family -- weak-lobed degenerates. Another loser in a long line of failed Ferengis." "Look," says Quark, "I've broken the contract, so do your job. Take my assets, revoke my Ferengi business license, do whatever you have to do, then get out." He threatens Brunt that if Brunt ever walks into the bar again, he won't walk out. Brunt calls the attention of the crowd.
"As of this moment, no further Ferengi commerce may be conducted in this bar. No Ferengi may be employed by this bar. No Ferengi may eat or drink in this bar. And no Ferengi -- no Ferengi -- may do business with that man." He points at Quark, and slaps an FCA insignia on the wall. "Confiscation of assets will begin immediately." "Ladies and gentlemen," Quark says quietly, "this bar is closed until further notice. Thank you for your patronage."
Kira enters the O'Briens' quarters with her single piece of luggage. She's moving in with them for the duration of her pregnancy.
Quark sits alone on a step in the bar, which has been stripped of everything. Rom comes in and asks how he is. "How am I?" asks Quark. "I'm broke. Ruined. Destitute. A pariah. How are things with you?" The FCA has taken everything; Quark is even supposed to send Brunt the shirt he's wearing. "Brother," says Rom, "the way you stood up to Brunt -- well, I want you to know that I'm very proud of you." "Well then, I guess throwing my entire life away was worth it," Quark says sarcastically. Rom asks what he'll do now. "Well, Rom, I've been thinking long and hard. And you know what? I don't have a clue."
Bashir enters then with a case of Alvanian brandy, which he says a patient sent him as payment. "Nice try, Doctor," says Quark. "But I don't want your charity." "It's not charity," Bashir tells him. "I find it undrinkable. So do you want it or should I dump it?" Then Dax comes in, carrying a box of really ugly glasses that her sister sent her. "This is all very amusing," says Quark, "but I can't start a bar with a case of bad brandy and a set of ugly glasses."
At that moment, Sisko arrives, accompanied by Odo and a long line of people carrying various items of furniture. The captain says they're doing repair work in the habitat ring, and this furniture needs to be stored somewhere. "It looks like you have the room." Quark protests that he can't do this. "Not without paying a storage fee...a minimum storage fee. Practically nothing." "Send me the bill," Sisko tells him. And the people stream in, refurnishing the bar as Quark watches in astonishment.
"Look at them, brother," Rom says happily. "And you thought you had no assets." Quark is bewildered. "Sisko? Dax? Bashir, Morn? They're my assets?" "To name a few," Rom tells him. Quark decides he needs a drink. He moves over to the bar, looks around, and starts to say something to everyone, but for once finds himself tongue-tied.
When the producers learned that Nana Visitor was pregnant in real life, they preferred to somehow write it into the show rather than try to hide it. Yet they didn't want both Kira and Keiko pregnant at the same time, and they also didn't want Kira's pregnancy to predictably be the result of her romance with Shakaar. The solution of Kira carrying the O'Briens' baby was suggested by Ira Behr's wife Laura.