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Business As Usual


Production no.: 516
Written by: Bradley Thompson & David Weddle
Directed by: Siddig el Fadil
Stardate: not given 
First satellite airdate: April 5, 1997
 
Lawrence Tierney .....
Josh Pais ...................
Tim Halligan ..............
Steven Berkoff ..........
Eric Cadora ...............
Charlie Curtis ............
Regent
Gaila
Farrakk
Hagath
Customer
Talura [uncredited]


Dax is playing Tongo with Quark, but the Ferengi is distracted, watching stock quotes. Before his eyes, all his investments are falling apart. He's ruined. What's even worse, he has put the bar up as collateral to three different brokers. "The loans are due in a week. If I don't come up with the latinum, there'll be nothing left of me but a greasy spot on the Promenade." To top it off, he has lost the game, and now he owes Dax latinum as well.

That's when Quark's cousin Gaila arrives -- the cousin who once tried to kill him by giving him a sabotaged ship. Now, though, Gaila wants to talk. Once they're alone, Quark tells him he can't pay him back. "Spare me the sad story," Gaila says. "I'm well aware of your financial situation. And I'm here to help." "What are you going to do, loan me some exploding latinum?" Quark asks. But what Gaila has in mind is offering him a job. As for the FCA ban on Quark, he won't tell them if Quark won't.

"You want me to sell weapons, don't you?" says Quark. Gaila smiles. "That's what I do. Now I know you've had reservations about entering this lucrative field. It's dangerous, it's too technical, it's not a people business -- but let me tell you something, cousin, nothing could be further from the truth." Quark protests that he can't smuggle weapons through the station without Odo getting wind of it, but Gaila tells him they won't be bringing weapons here. Quark's job will be customer relations -- showing clients a good time. "I can do that," decides Quark. And with earning just five percent of every sale, within a year, not only will all his financial problems be over, but he'll be able to have his own moon. "Success or failure? What's it going to be, cousin?" "What do I have to lose?" Quark breathes, giddy at the prospect.

Jake visits O'Brien as the Chief is taking care of his infant son, Kirayoshi, while Keiko is on Bajor helping with a plant blight. O'Brien hasn't gotten much sleep; Yoshi has been waking up every couple of hours and crying. The usual babysitter had a family emergency. Jake offers to lend a hand -- he's done this sort of thing himself. But a moment after a grateful O'Brien hands the baby over, Yoshi wakes up and starts bawling. There's nothing for it. O'Brien has no choice but to take his son to work with him.

Quark is nervous as he and Gaila await Gaila's partner. Odo could be anywhere or anything. Finally the partner arrives. He is a man named Hagath, and he is accompanied by a beautiful alien woman, Talura. Gaila makes the introductions. Hagath's first impression of Quark seems favorable, especially since Quark agrees with him. They go up to a holosuite which Quark has turned into a weapons showroom. Hagath picks up a rifle, examines it with appreciation, and fires it at Quark. It's a hologram.

Hagath and Gaila remember selling weapons of this type to both sides in a war. "It's very dangerous," acknowledges Hagath. "If either side realizes what you're doing, it could be most unpleasant." He's very pleased with this solution to their problems. As Gaila points out, they won't be breaking any local laws, since there won't be actual weapons passing through the station, and Starfleet won't be able to touch them either, since shipping will take place outside Federation space. "It was all Quark's idea," Gaila declares. Quark is surprised, but keeps his mouth shut. "You really are quite a find," Hagath tells Quark warmly. "I'm sure we're going to accomplish great things together...Just one thing. Don't cross me, Quark. Don't ever cross me. Understood?" "Completely," Quark assures him, suitably intimidated. Once Hagath is out of earshot, Quark asks Gaila, "Why'd you tell him this was my idea?" "I want him to like you," Gaila replies.

Quark deals with his first customer, demonstrating a rifle. The customer is very impressed, and buys two thousand of them. Hagath and Gaila have been watching. "You're a natural salesman," Hagath notes happily. Quark smiles. "I am, aren't I? It's no different than selling sandwiches." They pop open a bottle of champagne to celebrate. "I'm going to like doing this job," decides Quark.

After about a week, Quark goes to see Hagath in his quarters. Hagath knows what it's about: Quark is wondering when he'll start seeing his share of the profits. He informs Quark that he's taken the liberty of transferring his earnings directly to his creditors. Quark can't help being a little indignant; he would have sent them the money himself. "I don't doubt your intentions," Hagath soothes. "But money does strange things to people. I can't afford to have one of my associates distracted with financial difficulties. So until your debt is paid, you won't be seeing any profit." After the debts are paid, Hagath promises Quark will get to do whatever he likes with his earnings, as long as he stays solvent. "Quark, do forgive me. You see, my associates are like family to me. And I feel it's my duty to keep them from getting into trouble." As a token of his "esteem", Hagath gives Quark a box of Andarian glass beads, which are worth a fortune.

O'Brien cradles Yoshi in one arm as he plays darts with Bashir, who looks at him somewhat askance. Shouldn't he put the baby down? O'Brien reasons that if he can carry Yoshi at work, he can do so here. Bashir says he can't hold the baby forever. So O'Brien demonstrates the problem. He puts the baby down. Yoshi starts to wail. "That's amazing," marvels Bashir. "No, this is amazing," says O'Brien, and picks Yoshi back up. Sure enough, the baby goes silent. Bashir has no choice but to back down.

Quark is happily receiving oo-mox from Talura when Odo appears and takes him down to Security. The constable knows perfectly well that Quark has been selling weapons; the fact that no weapons have passed through the station is a mere technicality. "We both know what you're doing. I promise you, you're going to face the consequences." "Not today, he isn't," says Sisko, entering the office with Kira; neither of them look happy. The Bajoran government has told them that Hagath's operations are not to be interfered with, because Hagath supplied arms to the resistance during the Occupation. "Without him or people like him," Kira says, "we'd all be dead, and the Cardassians would still be in power. We owe him." Odo is incredulous; Quark gloats. "Better luck next time."

However, Sisko gets in Quark's face. "You better hope there isn't a next time, mister. I have cut you a lot of slack in the past. I even looked away once or twice when I could've come down hard on you. But those days are over. Now, we may not be able to get you for selling weapons, but you so much as litter on the Promenade and I will nail you to the wall." "Something to look forward to," adds Kira darkly.

Gaila and Hagath are quite pleased with themselves. It's for just this reason that they sold weapons to the Bajorans back then instead of the Cardassians. "Not every deal is about making money," Hagath lectures Quark. "Sometimes, you have to look at the big picture, and at times gaining a friend is more important than making profit." "I admit it's not the Ferengi way," Gaila puts in, "but it's good business nonetheless."

They then receive a visit from another associate of Hagath's, a man named Farrakk, whom Hagath has called to meet with him in person. Hagath has heard that the Verillians no longer have need of their services. In fact, they have gone with another consortium. Instead of opening negotiations with them, Farrakk went on vacation on Risa. Farrakk tries to deny it, then to explain, but Hagath's not interested. "I put my faith in you, and you let me down. As from now, our relationship is terminated." Desperate, Farrakk pleads to talk it over; Hagath isn't listening. Finally Farrakk slinks off.

Quark's bar is half empty when Gaila comes in later. There hasn't been a single Starfleet customer all day. "I must be off limits." Gaila says that as long as the holosuite stays busy, there's nothing to worry about. He informs Quark that a special client is arriving next week: the Regent of Palamar, who is very wealthy and very particular. "I have to say, cousin, you've done well. And it couldn't have come at a better time. For both of us...I'm thinking about stepping back. Taking it easy for a change. You could take my place, run things with Hagath. You'd be earning a bigger share of the profit." Quark is amenable to this. "Then everyone's happy," says Gaila. "Except for Farrakk...Didn't you hear? His ship blew up shortly after he left the station. Warp core breach. That Hagath, what a temper." Quark's blood runs cold. "Hagath killed him?" Gaila smiles. "You heard what he said, cousin. He doesn't like to be crossed. Just make sure you don't forget that."

The next morning, Quark tries to join Dax in the replimat, but she pointedly ignores him. She wants nothing to do with him. Quark sits down anyway. "I have to admit, I'm a little disappointed in you. I thought you, of all people, would understand." "Understand what?" asks Dax. "That you've finally shown how despicable you truly are? That you don't care how many people die as long as you make a profit?" Quark reminds her of the balance of power, and how being well armed is a deterrent to war, but Dax isn't buying. "Jadzia, there was nothing else I could do. I was drowning. The waters were closing over my head. And just as my lungs were about to burst, my cousin threw me a lifeline. How could I possibly refuse?" Dax looks at him knowingly. "Feeling a little guilty, Quark?" "Guilty?" he echoes. "Me? I don't have anything to feel guilty about." "Then why come to me asking for forgiveness?" With that, Dax gets up and leaves him there.

In desperation, O'Brien takes Yoshi to be examined by Bashir, but the doctor can't find anything wrong with him; the baby is fine medically. He just won't stop crying unless his father is holding him. "What are you telling me, my baby is just sad?" O'Brien asks. Bashir makes light of it. "Perhaps he's become prematurely aware of life's existential isolation...Look on the bright side, he'll probably be a great poet."

Quark shows off to Hagath and Gaila the fabulous feast he has prepared for the Regent of Palamar. Hagath pretends to find fault with one of the dishes; his scary manner while doing so nearly gives Quark a heart attack. The Regent arrives not long after that. After they eat, he relates how one of his generals, Nassuc, betrayed him by declaring independence for her homeworld. In return, he wants to make an example of her by eradicating her capitol city -- seven to eight million casualties. Quark is shocked. The Regent goes on to say he would like the death toll to rise steadily after that, about 20 million more. Hagath and Gaila think they can do it with prions or a mutagenic retrovirus.

"Twenty-eight million dead?" gulps Quark. "Can't we just wound some of them?" Hagath glares at him, and quickly assures the Regent that Quark was only joking. They get back down to business.

Later, Quark is staring out a viewport on the Promenade when Gaila joins him. He points out that he wants to retire, but he can't "if my hand-picked successor can't control his conscience." "The Regent is insane," says Quark. Gaila, however, warns him to stop being judgmental. "It's his bank account, not his mental health, that you should be concerned with." Quark is still troubled. "But twenty-eight million people -- that just seems wrong." "If Hagath heard you talk that way, he would toss you out the nearest airlock," Gaila tells him, and indicates the stars outside. "Look out there. Millions and millions of stars, millions upon millions of worlds. And right now, half of them are fanatically dedicated to destroying the other half. Now, do you think if one of those twinkling little lights suddenly went out, anybody would notice? Suppose I offered you ten million bars of gold-pressed latinum to help turn out one of those lights. Would you really tell me to keep my money?"

Quark enters the bar to find Sisko there, with a huge chest wound, staring at him with lifeless eyes. He tells Quark he's dead. Quark looks over and sees Dax, who is in the same state as Sisko. So is everyone in the bar. A confused and frightened Quark turns to Jake. "Way to go, Quark," the young man says. "I had my whole life ahead of me." "I didn't do anything," protests Quark. But they begin to crowd around him, their accusing glares more than Quark can stand. "How much latinum did they pay you?" Dax asks coldly. "Enough to buy a new conscience?" Kira chimes in. Quark protests. "This isn't my fault!" But then O'Brien approaches, carrying Kirayoshi. "Why, Quark? Why did you kill my baby?" The Dabo wheel spins; Quark loses. "Nooooo!!!" he cries. Suddenly he wakes up, alone in the bar. "What have I done?" he whispers.

Kirayoshi has finally gone to sleep outside of the arms of his daddy. The only problem is that he's in the pit in Ops. Everyone stops what they're doing to look down at him. Sisko has had enough. He suggests that O'Brien take a few days off, but O'Brien says that's not necessary. "What I'm trying to say," Sisko says, "is that keeping Kirayoshi in the pit is not an acceptable solution. Find another one." O'Brien knows when not to argue, but asks if he can wait until Yoshi wakes up to move him. Sisko allows this, though he sternly orders everyone back to work.

Dax enters her quarters to find Quark there, holding a Tongo wheel. When she angrily demands to know what the hell he's doing in here, he says, "I want you to have this." Dax threatens to call Security unless he goes. "And take that thing with you." But Quark tells her it's a gift. "You think you can buy back my friendship?" she asks. "It's not a bribe," Quark replies. "Chances are I won't be needing it anymore. Goodbye, Dax." Dax advises him not to let the door hit him. Quark turns back as he's about to leave. "Don't you want to know where it is I'm going?" "Not really," she says. "What if I said it was dangerous?" he asks; no response. "Figures. It doesn't matter. Where I'm going, you can't follow. What I have to do, I have to do alone. One man who's had enough -- who's going to stand up and say -- " "Good-bye, Quark."

Outside in the corridor, Quark looks at his reflection in a com panel. "Nervous? The worst Hagath can do is kill you. What's one life compared to the lives of twenty-eight million people?"

Hagath is furious when Quark tells him their supplier of the mutagenic retrovirus sold all he had to someone else. The Regent, Hagath declares ominously, will not be happy. "I know," Quark says. "He'll be stuck with twenty-eight million people and no way to kill them." But he can get hold of a biogenic weapon called Varaxian LM-7, though he's not sure how much he can get. He suggests that Hagath tell the Regent they have something new to show him, and arrange for a demonstration. Hagath agrees. "Don't fail me, Quark." Quark assures him that he wants the deal to go through too, since he's now out of debt and will finally be able to keep his profits.

Then Quark brings Gaila to his quarters, and introduces him to none other than General Nassuc, there with her bodyguards. Gaila drags Quark back outside, alarmed. Quark tells him that they're going to sell the Varaxian LM-7 to both the Regent and the General. "Both sides will poison each other, we'll double our profits, and Hagath will be very happy." They can keep the two from meeting. Gaila's greed wins out over his caution, and he agrees to keep the General occupied and meet Quark with her in twenty minutes, in the cargo bay.

In that cargo bay, the Regent and Hagath wait impatiently as Quark struggles to open a sealed crate of what is purportedly a sample of Varaxian LM-7. Finally Quark says he'll have to go get a descrambler. And he scampers out, the door closing behind him just as Gaila rounds the corner with Nassuc. He assures them he'll be right back. The group goes on into the cargo bay. Quark stays just long enough to hear the first sounds of phaser fire.

On the Promenade, Quark sees Odo running past with a squadron of deputies, responding to reports of phaser fire in the cargo bay. Once they disappear into the turbolift, Quark allows himself a smile of triumph. His plan has succeeded, and his conscience is clear.

Worf visits O'Brien in his quarters; the Chief has finally taken up Sisko's suggestion of a few days off to care for Yoshi. O'Brien hands Worf the baby so he can go get a bottle. To the surprise of both men, the baby doesn't cry. After putting his son in the bassinet, O'Brien slumps down onto the couch in relief. "I never saw my son when he was this age," Worf reflects. "It is something I will always regret. You are a fortunate man, Chief. Chief?" O'Brien is as asleep as the baby.

Quark's role in the cargo bay incident has been discovered, and Sisko is furious as he lists the charges the Ferengi is facing. In his defense, Quark claims he had no way of knowing they were going to start shooting at each other. Now, one of Nassuc's purification squads is after both Hagath and Gaila. "I wouldn't count on seeing your former business partners again," notes Sisko, to which Quark says, "I can live with that." Sisko tells him that the Regent is dead, a purification squad having caught up with him this morning. "I can live with that, too," Quark declares. "And I can think of twenty-eight million other people who won't mind either."

Quark offers to come to some accommodation about the charges. In response, Sisko hands him a PADD containing the bill for repairs to the cargo bay. "Maybe we could come up with some sort of installment plan?" Quark suggests weakly, on seeing the amount. Sisko gives him a look. "Works for me."

Perhaps the best part for Quark is that Dax finally forgives him, and they can play Tongo together once more. "Nice move," says Dax after Quark wins a round. "But then you always had a knack for getting out of tight spots." And the two of them begin happily arguing about who the Tongo wheel belongs to now.