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Family Business

Production no.: 469
Written by: Ira Steven Behr & Robert Hewitt Wolfe
Directed by: Rene Auberjonois
Stardate: not given 
First satellite airdate: May 13, 1995
Penny Johnson .......
Max Grodénchik ....
Jeffrey Combs .......
Andrea Martin .......
Mel Green .............

As Sisko and Jake sit down to dinner one night, Jake mentions that he has some good news: Captain Kasidy Yates is back on the station. She's the freighter captain he told his father about (in "Explorers"). Jake offers to invite her over for dinner tomorrow night. "I know you want me to meet her, and I will," Sisko tells his son. "Just let me handle it my way."

It's busy in Quark's, and Quark is disgruntled because Rom gave Nog the night off to study for his Starfleet Academy entrance exam. "Don't you see? That's how it begins. All it takes is for one impressionable youngster to join Starfleet, and the next thing you know, a whole generation of Ferengi will be quoting the Prime Directive and abandoning the pursuit of latinum. It's the end of Ferengi civilization as we know it, and it's all your fault." "Relax, brother," says Rom. "Nog isn't going to destroy the Ferengi way of life. He just wants a job with better hours."

At that moment, a Ferengi with an air of importance enters the bar. "Brunt, FCA," he announces. The FCA is an abbreviation for the Ferengi Commerce Authority, and Brunt is here to serve Quark with a Writ of Accountability, which he puts on the wall. Rom quickly shoos everyone out of the bar.

Some time later, Quark and Rom watch nervously as Brunt goes over their finances. Quark even decides to come clean about his profits for the tulaberry wine franchise. But that's not what Brunt is here about. After Quark bribes him, he announces that Quark is charged with violating the Ferengi Trade Bylaws, subsection 1027, paragraph 3. Which, Quark learns after buying a copy of the bylaws, involves improper supervision of a family member. "You are being held accountable for the criminal activities of one Ishka, daughter of Adred, wife of Keldar." Ishka -- who is Quark's and Rom's mother -- is charged with earning profit.

Quark goes to Odo's office to tell him he's holding the constable personally responsible for the safety of his bar and possessions. He's going to Ferenginar to take care of some business: he's required by law to get his mother to admit wrongdoing, make reparations, and name her accomplices. "I have no intention of spending my latinum to make restitution for her crimes. I will wring that confession out of her if I have to." "This is your mother you're talking about?" Odo asks. "Don't remind me," Quark says.

Sisko is in Ops when Dax slyly asks him if he's met Captain Yates yet. Dax herself has been introduced to her by Jake. "What did you think about her?" Sisko asks. Dax smiles. "Let me just put it this way, if I were Curzon, I'd have stolen her from you by now." "That's one of the reasons I'm glad you're not Curzon anymore," Sisko remarks.

Rom joins Quark as he is about to leave the station. He wants to come along, but Quark is against it. He's sure Rom will only take their mother's side. "Somebody has to," Rom says. "After all, she is our mother." Quark gives in, but tells Rom to stay out of the way.

They arrive at their family home on Ferenginar with Brunt. Quark is less than enthusiastic about being here; he hasn't been back in twenty years, and if he had his way, he would have been gone another twenty. Rom looks around at the well-appointed room. "Mother certainly has been acquiring quite a few new things -- doubtless with the generous stipend you give her," he adds quickly for Brunt's benefit. Brunt presents the formal list of Ishka's infractions, and tells Quark that if he can't obtain a confession, she will be placed in indentured servitude, and Quark will be required to make restitution for her crimes.

Ishka enters then. To Quark's shame and Brunt's horror, she is wearing clothes. "Mother, get undressed this instant!" Quark orders her, but Ishka does no such thing. She has no qualms about speaking directly to a strange man (Brunt), and she certainly has no intention of signing any confession. "You have three days to get your house in order," Brunt warns Quark, and exits. Quark tries, but Ishka is defiant. Rom smiles fondly as she leaves the room. "Same old Moogie."

Back on DS9, O'Brien and Bashir are trying to get through the lock on the door of the bar, so that they can get their "lucky" dartboard, while Odo looks on. When Sisko comes along, the conversation turns to Kasidy Yates. "Exactly how many people has Jake told about this woman?" Sisko wonders. "Everyone," replies O'Brien.

Rom serves dinner, saying that Moogie isn't feeling well. "Wait a minute, that's not bad," Quark says. "We could say she's having emotional problems. We might even be able to get the FCA to drop the charges in light of her illness." But Rom tells him she only has a slight rash due to the clothing. Quark is reminded of the many things he resents about his mother. "Remember how the other children used to tease us about her? 'Your mother won't chew your food. Your mother talks to strangers.' It's like she went out of her way to embarrass us. Not to mention Father. Oh, I remember there were nights when I would find him sitting, slumped in this chair. He'd say to me, 'Quark, I don't know what I'm going to do about that female.' No wonder he never earned much profit. He was too busy worrying about her." "I thought Father did all right," protests Rom. "He could've done a lot better, if she'd just behaved herself, showed him the respect he deserved," Quark shoots back. "She may have dragged Father down, but she's not doing the same to me. It's time someone put her in her place."

"Have anyone in mind for the job?" Ishka taunts, entering. Quark tries a slightly different tack: "Imprinting the confession doesn't take away from your achievement. Just admit to what you did and tell the FCA the name of any male who might have helped you." Rom asks what exactly she did, and Quark says she took some of the monthly stipend he sends her and invested it in a Hupyrian beetle farm. She made three bars of gold-pressed latinum. "Isn't the FCA overreacting a little?" asks Rom. Quark replies, "It doesn't matter whether it's one slip or a hundred thousand bars, females are not allowed to earn profit...Because it's the law. And without law, society would descend into chaos." "If you ask me, this society could use a little chaos," Ishka shoots back. "Not if I have anything to say about it," Quark declares, and mother and son glare at each other. Rom smiles. "Gee, I wish Father were alive. Then it'd be just like old times -- sitting around the family table, eating tube grubs, discussing important issues of the day."

Quark tries reasoning with his mother. "Mother, please, for our family's reputation, for your sons' financial future, please, imprint the confession." "I can't," Ishka says. "I wish you could understand, Quark." "I understand perfectly," Quark says angrily. "You're a selfish female, who never cared about this family, about Father, or about me!"

Rom has a talk alone with his Moogie, who takes her clothes off just for him, to make him more comfortable. He tells her it would mean a lot to Quark if she imprinted the confession. "I know he can be headstrong and overbearing -- not to mention mean, and insulting, and rude -- but he's not all bad. He works hard. You should see the bar. It's thriving." "I'd like to," says Ishka. "But Ferengi tradition doesn't allow females to travel." Rom pleads with her, saying this could destroy everything Quark has worked for. "You always were a good boy," Ishka tells him. "I don't think Quark knows how lucky he is to have a brother as loyal as you." "He knows," replies Rom. "He just doesn't like showing it." He offers to convince Quark to increase her monthly stipend, but Ishka says it's not about money. "It's about pride. And knowing I'm just as capable of earning profit as any male. Don't you see, if I imprint that confession, I'll admitting that what I did was wrong. I'm not going to do that. I'd rather be sold into servitude." Tenderly, she offers to sharpen his teeth for him.

Sisko finally goes to meet Kasidy Yates, who is supervising her crew as they load some cargo into her ship. The cargo is unstable biomatter, and she can't beam it aboard since her transporter is behind the times. "My son has told me a lot about you," Sisko says at last. She smiles. "Well, I think Jake fancies himself something of a matchmaker." Kasidy has to take care of something, but suggests that they have coffee tomorrow evening.

Early in the morning, Rom finds Quark at a computer, looking bleary-eyed and grim. "Mother's been busy," he comments. It turns out Ishka earned a lot more than three bars of latinum -- she's been conducting transactions all over the Ferengi Alliance, using dozens of aliases. "Do you know what this means?" "It means Moogie's got the lobes for business," says Rom. "Even if I sold everything I have," Quark finishes, "I couldn't come close to paying back what she's earned. I'm ruined."

Then Quark goes quiet. "I'm so proud of you, Quark," Rom offers. "I mean, other people in your situation might overreact and lose their temper, make a bad situation worse. But not my brother. You're too smart for that. You're going to sit there and study the problem, and then come up with a clear, simple solution." Quark says he already has. "I'm going to kill her."

He stomps off toward their mother's bedroom, and catches her working on a PADD, trying to hide some more assets. But she boldly admits to her activities. "Since when does a Ferengi have to make excuses for making profit?" she challenges. She claims that Quark is jealous of her, just like his father, who never amounted to much because he wouldn't take her advice. It deteriorates from there, and Quark finally turns to leave. He's going to the FCA with what he knows.

Rom chases after him, determined not to let him hurt their mother. But Quark is enraged because Ishka insulted their father. Rom, though, points out angrily that she's right. He stayed home a lot longer than Quark did, so he knows the truth about Keldar. "He went from one bad deal to the next, one failure after another. He couldn't hold onto latinum if you sewed it into his pants!" Quark, furious, tackles him, and the two of them get into a huge knock-down-drag-out, letting out years of pent-up frustration and sibling rivalry. Finally Ishka comes in and breaks it up. "If your brother wants to go to the FCA, let him," she tells Rom. She looks at Quark. "Go on. What are you waiting for?" Quark leaves.

In the antechamber of Brunt's office in the Tower of Commerce, Quark performs all the requisite bribery before being allowed to sit down. "Tell Brunt I need to talk to him now. I have information that could shake the very foundation of the Ferengi Alliance." Rom then enters, out of breath, saying he has a message from Moogie. She will share her profits with Quark, fifty-fifty.

Quark goes back home with Rom and apologizes to his mother; she accepts. When he mentions dividing the profits fairly, however, she is surprised. Rom had told her Quark would let her keep all of it. "So I lied to both of you," Rom says. "I had no choice. It was the only way to get the two of you talking again." He tells both of them off. "Quark, you should be ashamed of yourself. I've seen you treat Cardassians with more respect than you show your own mother. And Moogie, if Quark can uncover your hidden investments, eventually the FCA will too. And then all that profit will be lost. Think about that for a moment. Now, neither of you is going to leave this room until you've settled things. Is that clear? And no shouting!!! I'm going to take a nap." Both Quark and Ishka look after him in astonishment.

Ishka notes how much like their father Rom is. "You enjoy insulting Father, don't you?" Quark says. "I'm not insulting anyone," Ishka replies. "I'm just being honest. Rom's a lot like his father. And you, I suppose, are a lot like me." She was the one who helped Quark memorize the Rules of Acquisition, after all. "Rom knows them just as well as I do," Quark points out. "But you understand them," Ishka tells him. "Rom never did. And neither did his father. But even if Keldar didn't know the first thing about profit, he knew everything about family. He was a good husband, and a wonderful father. And I loved him for that. The way I love Rom -- and the way I love you." She then says finally that if it will make Quark happy, she will give back the money and imprint the confession. Touched, Quark hugs her. "Oh, Moogie, I love you."

In the replimat on DS9, Sisko and Kasidy have their coffee, and it appears to be going well, but he can't help but notice that she seems a little preoccupied. She admits that when they made their plans she had forgotten she had a previous engagement. Her youngest brother is a colonist on Cestus III, and she had promised to listen to the subspace transmission from him that she's expecting tonight. Kasidy mentions that last time, he had torn some ligaments in his knee. "He was doing something called sliding into second."

Sisko perks up in astonishment. "Sliding into second?...That sounds like baseball." "You know about baseball?" she asks. And finally the conversation takes off. It turns out Kasidy's brother is participating in a revival of baseball on the colony. They go to her quarters to listen to the transmission, which is an audio recording of a game her brother played. From an upper railing, Jake watches with a triumphant smile.

Brunt is there as Ishka, naked and mockingly subservient, imprints the confession and gives him the PADD. "No one can outsmart the FCA," Brunt intones, satisfied, and adds, "Your mother's confession will serve as a warning to females all over the Alliance." "Oh, I don't think anyone has to know about this," Quark says, putting a sack of latinum on the table. "After all, what would people say if they knew a female had earned that much latinum?" "I shudder to think," says Brunt, pocketing the latinum. "Goodbye. I sincerely hope I never see any of you again." "The feeling is mutual," Quark tells him.

As soon as Brunt is gone, Ishka puts her clothes back on, and Quark makes ready to leave, promising to call once in a while. When he goes out, Rom stays behind a few more minutes. "I'm glad to see you two are finally getting along," he says. Ishka agrees that things will be a lot better between them now. "As long as he doesn't find out you only gave the FCA a third of your profits," Rom grins.

Ishka is philosophical. "If you ask me, a third was too much. But it's my own fault for not hiding it better." As for the rest, "I've got it hidden so well, I'll be lucky if I can find it." She tells Rom to take care of his brother, and watches with affection as he departs.