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The House of Quark

Production no.: 449
Teleplay by: Ronald D. Moore
Story by: Tom Benko
Directed by: Les Landau
Stardate: not given 
First satellite airdate: October 8, 1994
Rosalind Chao ..............
Mary Kay Adams .........
Carlos Carrasco ............
Max Grodénchik ...........
Robert O'Reilly .............
Joseph Ruskin ...............
John Lendale Bennett ....

Quark is depressed. The bar is nearly empty, and even Morn finishes up his drink and heads out with a companion. "When Morn leaves, it's all over," sighs Quark, making up a new Rule of Acquisition. "It's twenty-one hundred hours, the bar's open, there's a sale on synthehol, and there's no one here!" But there is one customer left, a drunken Klingon, slumped over a far table, who demands more blood wine. Quark is not encouraged. "I should have gone into insurance. Better hours, more money, less scruples." He bemoans the fact that due to fears of the Dominion, less people are visiting the station, which means less people are coming to the bar.

Rom comes back from the Klingon with more bad news. The Klingon is out of money and is asking for credit. Quark's not worried; he says once a Klingon realizes you mean business, they back down. He goes over and bangs a mug on the table. "My name is Quark," he says firmly. The moment the Klingon looks up, though, Quark caves. "I'd like to discuss arranging a line of credit," he laughs nervously. The Klingon lunges at him, roaring, with a knife in hand. But he can barely stand up, and finally trips over his own feet, crashing down on top of Quark. Then he rolls off and onto his back, his knife sticking up out of his chest.

As Bashir and Odo examine the scene later, a large crowd gathers at the entrance, straining to get a glimpse inside. Rom wishes they would hurry up and get rid of the body. "I wish we could put him on display," says Quark, looking at the crowd. "Look at them. They're consumed with morbid fascination. They can't wait to get in here. They all want to know what happened. Was it a bar fight? What started it? And most of all, who killed the Klingon?" "But no one killed him," Rom says, confused. "It was an accident." However, Quark has made a decision. "I killed him in a bar fight," he informs a surprised Rom.

Rom doesn't get where the profit is in lying about this incident, but Quark sees it as an opportunity to turn things around. "This is insane, brother," Rom protests. "What if his family comes looking for the killer? What if they want revenge?" "If push comes to shove," Quark says, "we tell the truth and no harm done." He puts it another way: if things don't improve, he will have to make cutbacks, starting with Rom's salary. At that moment, Odo comes over and asks Quark to start at the beginning. "My brother fought a desperate hand-to-hand battle with the Klingon and was forced to kill in self-defense!" Rom declares instantly.

Odo is skeptical. But Quark takes over the tale, playing to the crowd, who stand mesmerized. "He pushed me, I pushed back. I was about to call for security to throw him out of my bar when suddenly he pulled a knife on me!" He describes the made-up battle with zest. "I will never forget the look on his face when his life drained away...I'd rather not talk about this anymore," he ends, as if the very memory upsets him.

O'Brien comes home after a hard day as a subdued Keiko is trimming one of her bonsais. He finally asks Keiko how school was. "I closed it," she says. Her last two Bajoran students are gone, and now her class consists of Jake and Nog. O'Brien expresses sympathy, but Keiko tries to put a brave face on it. People are afraid of the Dominion, so they won't be bringing their families to live on the station any more. "Don't look so upset. It's not like I was planning to be a teacher for the rest of my life. I'm fine. Really." But O'Brien knows his wife, and he is concerned.

Business is good once more at Quark's. Odo is watching, of course, and Quark reassures him he won't be killing any more customers today. Odo, though, is here to let Quark know who the Klingon was: Kozak, who by all accounts was a notorious drunkard and disreputable character. He was also the head of a powerful Klingon family. Odo asks if Quark would like to change his story before Kozak's family shows up. Quark, however, won't back down.

"It's not about profit anymore. It's about respect," he tells Rom. "You see the way they look at me now. I'm not just some venal Ferengi trying to take their money. I'm Quark, slayer of Klingons. I've struck a blow for Ferengi everywhere." Rom, scared, asks, "What about Kozak's family? What if they come here for revenge?" "If that happens," Quark says, "I'll stand up, look them straight in the eye, and offer them a bribe."

But later, as Quark is headed to his quarters, he is grabbed in the corridor by a huge Klingon named D'Ghor. "You killed my brother," he snarls. D'Ghor demands to know exactly how Kozak died, and Quark timidly starts to tell the true story. However, D'Ghor doesn't want to hear that Kozak died in an accident. "There would be no honor in such a death. And if Kozak died in disgrace, then that disgrace would be passed along to the rest of his family." He threatens to kill Quark and shove him out an airlock if that is the case. "On the other hand, if he died as a warrior, in personal combat, then there would be no dishonor for him or his family." Quark is confused, but willing to play along as long as it means he gets to live. "I wish you had been there," he says. "You would have been proud of your brother. He fought a brave and valiant battle right up to the end. It was an honor to kill him." "I'm sure it was," says D'Ghor, satisfied.

Keiko comes home to find her husband preparing a romantic dinner for the two of them. "It's I'm-Married-to-the-Most-Wonderful-Woman-in-the-Galaxy Day," he proclaims, and tells her it's a very irregular holiday. "Crops up all over the place. Sometimes twice a day." Keiko is charmed, and asks if this holiday includes fireworks. "Definitely fireworks," her husband tells her sexily, and kisses her.

The next morning, though, when he goes off to work and tells her he'll be on upper pylon two if she needs him, she says quietly, "I'll be here." And O'Brien realizes that while last night may have made her happy for a while, the problem still exists.

Quark is in the bar after hours when a hooded figure comes in and asks if he is Quark. Removing the hood, a striking Klingon woman stands there. "My name is Grilka. Kozak was my husband." Quark, not sure how to handle this, asks if he can get her anything. "I've been told that you are the one who killed my husband," she says, and asks if he died an honorable death. "Absolutely," says Quark. "He died like a warrior." When he asks if there's anything he can do, Grilka says calmly, "Actually, there is. Defend yourself!" With that, she whips out a dagger. Quark instantly dives behind the bar and cowers there.

"So this is the man who killed my husband in personal combat," Grilka says. She wants to know the truth about what happened, and, shakily, Quark tells her. Grilka observes that he must be quite a liar. "It's a gift," says Quark. She smiles. "I think it's time you put that gift to work -- for me." Without giving him time to protest, she knocks him out with a hypospray and barks a command to her communicator. The two of them dematerialize.

When Quark is brought back to consciousness, an old Klingon servant named Tumek is there, and tells him he is on Qo'Nos, in the ancestral home of what used to be known as the House of Kozak. Now, since Kozak left no male heir, the house no longer has a name. Quark asks what about D'Ghor, Kozak's brother. "That pahtak's name is not spoken in this house," snarls Tumek. "He is no brother to Kozak. His family has been a sworn enemy to this house for seven generations." He goes on to explain that D'Ghor wanted Quark to say that Kozak died honorably so that no special dispensation would be granted. "If Kozak died in an accident and left no male heir, the Council might have decided that this was an unusual situation, and granted special dispensation. That might have allowed Grilka to become head of the family even though she's a woman. But if Kozak died in an honorable fight, was defeated simply by a better opponent, then no dispensation would have been granted, and without a male heir, the House will fall."

"That hasn't happened yet, Tumek," Grilka says, striding into the room, wearing a ceremonial robe and carrying another one, which she thrusts at Quark, ordering him to put it on. Since she also threatens to kill him, he does as she says. Tumek begs her to consider what she's doing, but she says there's no other choice. She grabs Quark's hand and faces Tumek, speaking a ritual phrase in Klingon. Then she threatens Quark with her knife, forcing him to repeat after Tumek. Quark does so. And Grilka kisses him harshly. She then wipes her mouth in disgust. "It is done," says Tumek gravely. "The ceremony is complete. You are husband and wife."

Dax and Kira are in a meeting with Sisko when O'Brien enters awkwardly, with a personal matter. Easily guessing that it's "wife problems", Dax makes a graceful exit, dragging a puzzled Kira. Once they're gone, Sisko comments that Keiko must be upset about closing the school. "That's just it, sir," says O'Brien. "She's acting like she doesn't care, like nothing's wrong." He's tried to lift her spirits, but nothing seems to make a difference. Now, though, he has thought of converting a cargo bay into an arboretum. Sisko agrees. "There's nothing harder than knowing that the person you love is unhappy, and I know how important it is to do something about it. So if one empty cargo bay makes Keiko happy, then I'm all for it. I just hope it works." "So do I," says O'Brien, glad his commander understands. "She sacrificed her entire career to be here with me. I owe her."

In the Great Hall of the Klingon Empire, Gowron is presiding over a meeting in which D'Ghor is making his case, claiming the title and property of the House of Kozak. Gowron is ready to grant it when Grilka interrupts, entering the hall. D'Ghor says she has no place here, and asks that she be taken away, but Grilka announces that she has performed the Brek'tal ritual, and chosen a new husband to lead her house. "Enter, husband!" she calls, and everyone stares at the spectacle of Quark scurrying into the room in a robe much too big for him.

"A Ferengi cannot be allowed to rule a Klingon House!" D'Ghor protests. However, Grilka reminds him of the tradition that if the leader of a House is slain in honorable combat, the victor can replace him. "You are the one that made this possible, D'Ghor. You certified before the Council that Kozak died an honorable death at the hands of this man. I am simply exercising my rights as an honored widow." D'Ghor gives her a deadly look. "I will have your House and your title, Grilka. And when I am done, I will place your head and the head of this ridiculous Ferengi outside the gates."

Quark speaks up, suggesting that they make some kind of deal to get out of this. D'Ghor is ready to kill him right now, but Gowron says he can't challenge Quark without just cause. Until a final decision is reached, the Brek'tal will be respected. "The House of Kozak is gone. For the time being, it will be known as the House of..." Quark supplies his name; Gowron gets it wrong at first. "The House of Quark," he finally finishes.

Back in her house, Grilka is furious with Quark. She had told him not to say anything. "I was trying to avoid a lot of unnecessary bloodshed," Quark answers, not as intimidated by her now as he was before. "Like my own." "Just do as I say and there won't be any bloodshed," says Grilka. But when Quark asks her what they'll do next, she is silent, and he realizes she's making this up as she goes along. He has a suggestion: "Let's try having a more equal partnership, shall we?"

Finally, reluctantly, Grilka tells him what's going on. Kozak had squandered much of the family's wealth, incurring large gambling debts and making unwise investments; this has severely weakened the house. D'Ghor is the main creditor, and hopes to add Kozak's wealth to his own, making his family a powerful influence, and possibly earning a seat on the Council. Quark asks to look at the financial records of the house, and D'Ghor's too if possible, to see if he can find a way out of this. Grilka is contemptuous at first. "That is not how we do things here. We are Klingons. We do not dirty ourselves with filthy ledgers, looking for some financial trick -- " But Quark points out that they've been doing things her way so far, and now she's out of ideas. "It certainly can't hurt to let me look at some filthy ledgers." At last, Grilka agrees.

In the replimat on DS9, O'Brien is working on the design for the arboretum when Bashir comes in. On impulse, the Chief asks his opinion. Surprised to be consulted, Bashir looks at the design. "Do you think it'll work?" asks O'Brien. "Absolutely," says Bashir. "For about two months. Then you'll be right back where you started...It's been my experience that during any serious disagreement, a smile and sweet words will buy you two hours. Flowers will buy you a week. An arboretum -- well, that's at least two months. But in the end, you still have to solve the underlying problem." O'Brien is frustrated. He had hoped that an arboretum would give Keiko something to do. "Like a hobby," Bashir says, and O'Brien says exactly. That's why it won't work, Bashir tells him. "You can't ask her to turn her profession into a hobby...You're the chief of operations. I'm a doctor. Keiko's a botanist. And until she can be a botanist again, I'm not sure she's ever really going to be happy."

Quark has made some headway. D'Ghor, he tells Grilka, has maneuvered Kozak's house into its current sad state of affairs, by financial means. Grilka is disgusted. "You mean D'Ghor has been scheming and plotting like a -- " "Like a Ferengi," Quark finishes for her. Grilka is outraged by D'Ghor's methods; the honorable thing to do would have been to challenge the House to combat. "And risk destroying the very thing he wanted most, your lands and property," Quark points out. He can easily prove this, he says.

"Thank you, Quark," Grilka tells him sincerely. "You may have saved my family." She smiles at him for a long moment. "I really am very grateful for all you've done, Quark. That's why I'm going to let you take your hand off my thigh, instead of shattering every bone in your body."

In the Great Hall, Quark leads the Council through his proof of D'Ghor's deeds; the Klingons are all scratching their heads as they try to follow this financial maze. Finally Gowron has had enough, and asks D'Ghor how he answers these charges. "I say that he is a liar," D'Ghor declares. "That he has smeared my name. And I demand vengeance through personal combat." He goes on to announce that he has new evidence that Kozak did not die honorably. "I have a witness who will say he watched Kozak trip and fall on his own blade, and that Quark made up the entire story." "I don't know what he's trying to pull here," Quark says. "The only other person who was there was -- " And Rom is pushed into the hall. "Hello, brother," he says sheepishly.

That night, Quark and Rom try to make their escape from Grilka's house, but are caught by Grilka and Tumek. "Look," Quark says pleadingly. "I have done my part in this little game of yours, and I am sorry about your House and title, but there's a man out there who wants to kill me tomorrow." Grilka tells him there is no way to answer D'Ghor's charges except through personal combat. Quark replies that to a Klingon there may be no other way, "but there's an old Ferengi saying about discretion being the better part of valor." Grilka looks at him with quiet but profound disappointment. "Then what they say about the Ferengi is true. You're all lying, thieving, cowards who have no sense of loyalty or honor...I thought you were different. I thought you had something in here." She indicates her chest. "But all you have in there is a piece of latinum, and it's a pretty small piece at that." Grilka walks away.

Quark and Rom are free to leave, and they almost do just that. But Rom hesitates. "How can you let her get to you like this?" Quark rages, at himself as much as his brother. "Don't you see what she's trying to do? She's trying to make us feel guilty. Well, it's not going to work!" "You're right, brother," Rom says.. "You're a businessman. All you care about is profit...This was all just a ploy to boost sales at the bar. Who cares if some Klingon female loses her house?" "I certainly don't." "Me neither."

The Council, Grilka, and D'Ghor wait in the hall for Quark, but it doesn't seem as if he's going to show up. D'Ghor loudly proposes that the House of Quark be dissolved, its lands and property turned over to him. But then Quark enters the hall, trailed by Rom. "I am Quark, son of Keldar," he announces. "And I have come to answer the challenge of D'Ghor, son of...whatever."

D'Ghor prepares for battle as Grilka takes Quark's robe. "Whatever happens," she says softly, "I am proud of you." "I wish I could say that's comforting," Quark replies. But he faces D'Ghor, bat'leth in hand, as Gowron asks if they're both ready, then gives the signal to begin. D'Ghor swings his blade back for a mighty blow -- and Quark instantly throws his away.

"Go ahead. Kill me. That is why I'm here, isn't it, to be killed? Well, here I am, so go ahead and do it." As the entire room gapes at Quark in shock, he addresses the Council. "You all want me to pick up that sword and fight him, don't you? But I don't have a chance and you know it. You only want me to put up a fight so that your precious honor will be satisfied. Well, I'm not going to make it so easy for you. Having me fight D'Ghor is nothing more than an execution. So if that's what you want, that's what you'll get: an execution. No honor, no glory." Quark then looks at D'Ghor. "And when you tell your children and your grandchildren the glorious story of how you rose to power and took Grilka's house from her, I hope you remember to tell them how you heroically killed an unarmed Ferengi half your size."

"Whatever you say, Ferengi," says D'Ghor, and hauls back for a killing strike. But Gowron stops him. "I didn't want to believe the things he said about you yesterday, but if you can stand here and murder this pathetic little man, then you have no honor. And you have no place in this hall." He turns his back on D'Ghor in the ritual gesture of discommendation, and one by one, the other council members do the same as D'Ghor stares in disbelief. Finally the shamed Klingon is taken out of the hall, and Gowron looks down at Quark in what might be admiration. "A brave Ferengi. Who would have thought it possible?"

The circumstances are unusual enough, Gowron declares, to justify granting Grilka special dispensation to lead her house on her own. And with that, he leaves the hall, the other council members following suit. Grilka comes up to Quark, deeply grateful, and asks how she can repay him for saving her house. "I would like a divorce, please," Quark says. "No offense." Grilka agrees, and backhands him roughly, then spits on him. "You're a free man," she smiles. And she kisses him, hard, then releases him. "Qapla', Quark, son of Keldar." "Qapla' to you too," replies Quark, dazed.

In Quark's, O'Brien has something to tell Keiko. An agrobiology expedition will begin in the Janitza Mountains on Bajor for two weeks, and they need a chief botanist. The project is supposed to last for six months. Keiko, shocked but tempted, says she can't leave him and Molly that long, but her husband says she can take Molly with her, and he will be only hours away by runabout. "When we moved here, we made an agreement," Keiko begins. "And I'm not trying to back out of that agreement. Don't let this business about the school make you feel guilty." "This isn't about guilt," O'Brien tells her. "It's about you being happy, and me knowing that you're not." He takes her hand. "You're a botanist. That's what you're trained to do. That's what you love. Be a botanist, Keiko. Be the best damn botanist in the galaxy."

Quark and Rom are back at the bar, and business is dropping off again. "Money isn't everything," says Rom, trying to lift his brother's spirits, and earning himself a disgusted look from Quark, who says, "If Father were alive, he'd wash your mouth out with galcor." But Rom argues, "You can't buy respect, brother. And that's what you have now -- respect. After all, that's what you wanted isn't it?" "Respect is good," Quark concedes. "But latinum's better."

Rom then asks Quark to tell the story again of how he faced D'Ghor. "Everyone's tired of hearing it, Rom," Quark says. "It's not going to boost business anymore." "No," says Rom. "I mean, tell me. I want to hear it again." Touched despite himself, Quark tries to be gruff and tells him he's taking this time out of his paycheck. That's fine with Rom. So, with zest, Quark begins the tale.

  • The original title of this episode was "Fight to the Death".