Ferengi Love Songs
Production no.: 518
Written by: Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler
Directed by: Rene Auberjonois
Stardate: not given
First satellite airdate: April 19, 1997
Cecily Adams ..........
Max Grodénchik ......
Chase Masterson .....
Tiny Ron .................
Hamilton Camp ........
Jeffrey Combs .........
Wallace Shawn ........
A depressed Quark is pacing outside his bar. The door is closed, and phaser fire can be heard inside. There has been a vole infestation, which O'Brien's crew is now endeavoring to eradicate. "I know, I know," Quark sighs to the sympathetic Dax. "This is just a temporary setback. The bar will open again and I can get back to my life...The trouble is, I hate my life."
Unable to stand anymore, Quark goes to his quarters to brood. His funk is interrupted by Rom, who announces that he has some news that will cheer his brother up. Excitedly, he beckons Leeta inside. "We're getting married!" "I wish I was dead," groans Quark. Seeing his state of mind, Rom and Leeta both tell him that he needs someone to talk to. "There's only one person in my life," says Rom, "who's always been there for me, who's never too busy to listen, who reassures me when I'm scared, comforts me when I'm sad, and who showers me with endless love, without ever asking anything in return." "I'd like to meet this person," remarks Leeta. "So would I," Quark agrees. Rom tells him, "You already know her. And she'll always be there for you, brother, with open arms."
Some days later, on Ferenginar, Ishka answers her door to find Quark standing there. "Hold me," he whimpers, hugging her. For some reason, Ishka doesn't look exactly thrilled.
Rom has announced his engagement to everyone in general. He tells O'Brien and Dax that he has been studying ancient Bajoran texts, as Leeta wants a traditional Bajoran wedding. O'Brien jokingly asks if Leeta is learning how to be a Ferengi wife; Dax puts in that Leeta's not the type of woman who would quit her job and stay home naked. "That's okay," Rom says. "I just want her to be happy." Dax finds that a very enlightened attitude. "You're probably the least Ferengi-like Ferengi I've ever met," she approves. But Rom looks vaguely bothered by this observation. "That's not a bad thing, Rom," Dax assures him. "No traditional Ferengi male could ever marry a non-Ferengi and be happy. He could never trust her."
Quark pours out his tale of woe to his mother, who is not unsympathetic but wonders why he came here. "You and I both know we've never really gotten along. You disapprove of me, Quark. You always have." Quark acknowledges that living together won't be easy, "but you're my mother, and I love you." This makes Ishka a little apprehensive over how long he intends to stay. "I don't know. I guess until I start feeling better," Quark says. "Unless of course, you don't want me." "You're my son, how could I refuse you?" Ishka replies. But when he starts for his room, she tries to stop him. However, he's determined, and finally gets past her.
All Quark's possessions are gone from the room. "If she's thrown out my Marauder Mo action figures..." Quark opens the closet door, hands his bag to Grand Nagus Zek, and closes the door. Then he does a double take. Grand Nagus Zek? Sure enough, when Quark reopens the door, there's the Nagus, big as life, with Maihar'du, his huge servant, behind him. "Quark, what are you doing here?" Zek barks, tossing back his bag. "I'm visiting my mother," Quark says. "That's no excuse," the Nagus declares imperiously. "You've been banned by the FCA. You must leave Ferenginar at once." Quark actually starts to leave the house before it hits him. "Wait a minute. What's the Nagus doing in my closet?" he demands of his mother.
Ishka sighs. The jig is up. She calls "Zekkie" out of the closet. "Next time you visit, I'd really appreciate it if you called first," she adds pointedly to Quark. As Zek and Maihar'du come out into the living room, Quark tries to make sense of this strange event. He thinks at first that his mother has gotten herself in trouble again. But that doesn't seem to be the case, as the Grand Nagus puts an arm around Ishka. "It's all really quite simple. You see, Quark, your mother and I are in love."
The two lovebirds explain how it happened. They were playing in the global Tongo championships -- Zek in the Golden Masters division, Ishka in the basement with the other females. When she passed him some tips that helped him win for the 27th year in a row, it started a correspondence between them, which turned to a romance when they finally met, even though Zek admits he almost had a stroke when he learned she was a female. Quark asks if anyone else knows. "Of course no one knows," Zek says. "And you're going to keep it that way." "My lips are sealed," promises Quark, thinking of the possibilities as his mother and the Nagus trade endearments. Finally Zek leaves, after Ishka lovingly reminds him to take his appointment calendar.
"Quark," Ishka begins once they're alone, "if you're going to give me a hard time about this -- " "Give you a hard time?" grins Quark. "You and the Nagus -- I couldn't be happier! For all of us," he adds to himself as he hugs his mother.
Back on DS9, Rom has been thinking about what Dax said. He asks O'Brien for a long lunch hour, so he can get Leeta to sign a WP&P (Waiver of Property and Profit), which states that if the marriage ends, the female gives up all claim to her husband's estate. O'Brien is dubious, but Rom is determined. "Either Leeta signs this or the wedding's off. I may not be a traditional Ferengi, but I'm still a Ferengi." "It's your life, but I think you're making a big mistake," says the Chief. This doesn't sway Rom. "I think I'd be making a bigger mistake if I didn't. Besides, Leeta loves me. You'll see, Chief, she'll sign it."
"Are you crazy? I'm not going to sign this," exclaims Leeta when she sees the document. To her, a marriage is about sharing everything, including money. Rom adamantly declares that it's not that way on Ferenginar, and he is a Ferengi. Leeta just as adamantly says that they're not on Ferenginar, and she's not a Ferengi. Finally, Rom accuses her of being just like his first wife, only after him for his money. "Rom, I love you, not your latinum," Leeta protests. But she won't "prove it" by signing the waiver. "Then the marriage is off!" Rom announces. "You bet it is!" Leeta agrees heatedly, and storms out.
When Zek visits Ishka again, Quark sees a golden opportunity. But he has barely even begun to suck up when the Nagus dashes his hopes. "Forget it, Quark. I'm not going to reverse the FCA's decision. They revoked your business license, and they're the ones who are going to have to reinstate it." He's not about to intervene on Quark's behalf and thus encourage others to violate the law. Quark gets no help from Ishka, either. They leave him to help Maihar'du with the clearing up. Finally Quark goes back to his room, depressed again. Suddenly he hears the sound of a transporter beam, from inside his closet. He opens it to see a familiar, smug face. "Brunt. FCA."
Brunt claims he's conducting official FCA business. "In my closet?" demands Quark; Brunt says he didn't want the happy couple to see him. He knows all about their "perverted little love affair". And since Ishka is Quark's mother, that makes Quark responsible. "She's endangering the very foundation of Ferengi society. I can see her now, whispering in the Nagus's ear, contaminating his very thoughts with her twisted, female philosophies." Brunt goes on to paint a chilling picture of clothed females in the streets of Ferenginar. He would love to denounce Ishka from the top of the Tower of Commerce. "But we must spare the Nagus even a hint of public disgrace. We've got to put an end to their relationship, but privately. Quietly." This task he lays squarely on Quark's shoulders. "Why should I help you?" asks Quark indignantly. "You revoked my business license." "I'll give you a new one," Brunt promises. Instantly, Quark answers, "You've got a deal."
In the Tower of Commerce, after the Grand Nagus has just gotten done advising a Ferengi named Leck, Quark arrives, full of flattery. "My mother is a very lucky woman." "And I am a very lucky man," agrees Zek. "I guess the only one around here who isn't lucky is you, Quark." "I just think it's great that she's found someone who cares for her so deeply that he can ignore all those vicious rumors about her," Quark continues innocently. What rumors? Why, the ones that say she never gave back all the profit she earned, and that she's going to use her fortune to finance a political revolution.
"It's crazy, isn't it?" Quark chatters. "I mean, so what if she wears clothing? Or that she's managed to worm her way into the heart of the most influential Ferengi alive. Those aren't crimes, are they?...And what if she's as cunning and ruthless as any male? That doesn't mean that she's not to be trusted, does it? The important thing is that she loves you, and that you're not some pawn in her plans for world domination." By the time Quark leaves, the seeds of doubt he has planted are already in full bloom. "Now that he mentions it," Zek tells Maihar'du worriedly, "she really has no business wearing clothes in front of her Nagus."
Quark is holding a phaser to his head when Ishka enters her living room. "Quark, the power cells are empty." "I must have been too depressed to notice," Quark says. "...You don't know what it's like to be denied the opportunity to earn profit." "Oh, yes I do," Ishka reminds him. "I know exactly what it's like." "It's worse for a male," he claims. Ishka relents and finally agrees to talk to Zek, to try and get him to intercede on Quark's behalf. Quark happily makes himself scarce for Zek's visit.
On DS9, Odo has arrested Martok for throwing one of his men off a crossway, and Worf protests to Sisko. Once that matter is cleared up, Sisko and Odo come across Rom sobbing as he works on a monitor. Odo explains to Sisko about the wedding being off. "I'm sorry," Sisko tells Rom. "Don't be, Captain," the Ferengi says. "These are tears of joy." He goes back to wailing.
Meanwhile, Kira is listening patiently to Leeta, who insists that she hates Rom, all he cares about is latinum, and she's glad he's out of her life. Kira responds with, "No, you don't", "No, he doesn't", "No, you're not". "Major, you haven't been listening to me," Leeta complains. "Yes I have," counters Kira. "That's how I know you love him." Leeta bursts into tears.
Ishka is also crying when Quark returns to the house, innocently wondering how it went. She tells him broken-heartedly that Zek left her. "All I asked him was to reinstate your license, and the next thing I know, he's accusing me of plotting to overthrow the government!" Quark pretends to be outraged. "Oh, Quark," his mother says, "I don't know what I'm going to do without him. I don't know what he's going to do without me." Quark tries to comfort her. "Moogie, I'm sorry. But these things happen. It's probably better this way." Ishka looks at him with dread. "No, it isn't. It's a disaster, for all of us."
After Ishka leaves the room, Quark contacts Brunt, who, after learning that Quark has carried out his end of the bargain, grants him his business license. "Congratulations, Quark. You're a Ferengi again." "I always was," says Quark to the empty screen.
The next morning, Quark, planning to go back to DS9, offers his mother some food, which tells her his conscience must be bothering him. "You feel guilty about leaving me alone. Well, don't. I don't need you. I don't need anyone." "Okay," Quark shrugs. Then there's a call from Zek, who tells Quark he wants to see him in the Tower of Commerce right away.
When he gets there, Quark is surprised and honored to learn that Zek is making him his First Clerk, as a reward for "saving" him from Ishka. He starts work right away, but Zek gives him the wrong access code for the PADD containing today's list of briefings. Then he gets another digit wrong in the number of points gained in duranium stocks. Quark begins to realize that something is not right with Zek, who seems confused and forgetful.
Rom stacks up all his latinum and divides it into two piles, explaining to O'Brien that he's thinking of giving half of it to Leeta, in exchange for her signing the WP&P. "But if she signs the waiver, then she can't own anything, so she'll have to give it all back to you," O'Brien points out. Rom slumps in defeat; he hadn't thought of that. O'Brien asks if he wants Leeta back or not. "'Latinum lasts longer than lust'," Rom quotes. "Rule of Acquisition, two-twenty-nine." "Maybe, but lust can be a lot more fun," O'Brien tells him, and asks the question again. "I'd give anything to hold her in my arms again," Rom admits. O'Brien picks up a piece of latinum. "Anything?"
Leeta is working the jumja kiosk when Rom comes up and orders a stick, though he doesn't like them. He tells her he wants her to marry him. She doesn't have to sign the waiver, because he no longer has any assets to protect. He gave it all to Major Kira, for the Bajoran War Orphans fund. Leeta is surprised and touched. "Now we have nothing but our love," Rom declares. "That's all we need," Leeta agrees. "That, and my salary from Quark's." They kiss happily.
Quark returns home after a miserable day at the Tower of Commerce; Ishka, watching the stock exchange, notes that it's down 199 points. When Quark starts to tell her that something's wrong with the Nagus, Ishka reveals that she knows. She tells Quark that stroking Zek's lobes helps focus him. Quark is astounded as he realizes, "You two weren't just lovers. You were been helping him run things. You're the power behind the throne!" "Well, I wouldn't go that far," Ishka demurs. "I just helped him a little, guided him -- a leveraged buyout here, some momentum investing there." "Why didn't you tell me?" Quark asked. "If I'd known what was going on, I never would have -- " He stops himself. But it's too late. Ishka realizes what happened -- that Quark turned Zek against her, after being put up to it by Brunt. "Congratulations, Quark. You've not only destroyed my life and Zek's life, you may have triggered the destruction of the entire Ferengi economy. I hope it was worth it."
Brunt visits Quark at the Tower of Commerce the next morning. The Liquidator is gloating over the stock market fiasco. He hasn't seen that steep a slide since the time of Grand Nagus Smeet -- the only Grand Nagus to be assassinated in office, right alongside his First Clerk. Now, the market exchange is closed while the FCA Board of Liquidators holds an emergency meeting with the Grand Nagus to ask him some questions. "And by the time we're through, you'll both be out of a job."
"Why are you picking on me?" Quark demands. "I've done everything you asked, haven't I?" "Everything," agrees Brunt, and sits on the Nagus' throne. "Grand Nagus Brunt. Daddy will be so proud." Quark realizes that Brunt knew about the Nagus' failing memory; Brunt confirms it. And he's "almost" grateful to Quark for helping make Zek's exposure possible, which is why he's letting Quark keep his business license.
Back home, Ishka asks why Quark is still here when he should be back on DS9, celebrating. "You've proven yourself a true Ferengi. You've betrayed friends and family for personal gain." "It sounds so good when you say it," Quark says sadly. But his victory is hollow. "I think I've been hanging around hew-mons too long. I think I'm developing a -- " "Conscience?" Ishka asks. Quark can't deny it. "It's been coming for a long time. I've fought against it, I really have. But living with those people, day in and day out, being exposed to their ethics, their morality -- it's like I've been brainwashed."
Ishka is fresh out of sympathy for him. They've got bigger problems: the prospect of Brunt becoming Nagus. "He was willing to throw our entire economy into chaos just so he could grab power," Quark notes. Ishka plays devil's advocate. "Sounds like a true Ferengi to me." "A Ferengi, maybe," replies Quark. "But not a Nagus. A Nagus has to be better than that. His personal greed has to reflect the public's greed." On that, they're both agreed. "So what are we going to do about it?" Ishka asks.
Somewhat later, the meeting with the FCA Board is over, and a triumphant Zek emerges. He answered every question, and brilliantly. "For a moment there, I actually thought that Brunt's head was going to explode with frustration," Quark exults. The Grand Nagus notes happily that Brunt underestimated both of them. But he's quite aware that his memory isn't what it used to be. Quark mentions the advances the Vulcans have made in treating memory loss, and Zek has Maihar'du make an appointment. He also offers to let Quark stay on as First Clerk.
Quark demurs, sending Maihar'du out of the room. "Quark," says Zek, "I must say I find your newfound modesty very annoying. I need a financial advisor, and you're it." "If you insist," Quark tells him. "But first, let me introduce to you my financial advisor." Maihar'du brings in Ishka. "The Nagus deserves to have the best financial advisor there is," Quark declares. "And that's my Moogie. All the advice I gave you today came from her." "I'm not going to lie to you, Zekkie," Ishka puts in. "I believe in equal rights for females. And someday, I hope you will, too. But I'd never do anything to hurt you."
Quark confesses to the lies he told Zek about the "rumors". Zek promptly fires him, and asks Ishka what he's going to do with her. "Anything you want," Ishka smiles. Zek cackles. "What man could resist an offer like that?" The couple is reunited.
As Quark is packing to leave Ferenginar, Ishka brings him his Marauder Mo action figures. She's been keeping them in storage for him. "Do you have any idea how much these are worth?" Quark asks, happy to see them. "Not as much as if you'd kept them in the original packaging, which is what I told you at the time," Ishka reminds him. Quark smiles. "Even then, you were handing out sound financial advice. Thanks, Moogie."
He goes back to packing after she leaves the room; there's the sound of a transporter beam in his closet. Quark opens it up to find..."Brunt, FCA." "But for how much longer?" Quark smiles. Brunt has lost this round; he can't expose Zek to the people now, because the Nagus is ready for that. "I may not be able to destroy the Nagus," Brunt says, "but you are a different story." He doesn't, however, plan to revoke Quark's license again, because that way he can keep an eye on Quark. "One day, you are going to make a mistake. And on that day, you're going to lose more than your license." "But that day is not today," Quark tells him. He shoves Brunt back into the closet. "It's not over, Quark," Brunt threatens. "Don't make me come in there after you," Quark calls.
Then he begins playing with his Marauder Mo.
This episode was first announced in Paramount press releases under the title "Of Love and Profit".