Little Green Men
Production no.: 480
Teleplay by: Ira Steven Behr & Robert Hewitt Wolfe
Story by: Toni Marberry & Jack Trevino
Directed by: James L. Conway
Stardate: not given
First satellite airdate: November 4, 1995
Megan Gallagher ............
Charles Napier ...............
Max Grodénchik .............
Aron Eisenberg ..............
Conor O'Farrell ..............
James G. MacDonald .....
Rom looks out at the crowd of people standing before the bar, which is covered with a large assortment of items. "When a young Ferengi goes out on his own, he traditionally raises capital by selling his boyhood treasures. As you know, my son Nog will be leaving shortly for Earth and Starfleet Academy. I'm going to miss him. And I know you will too. And what better way to remember him than to purchase one of his very own personal belongings?" The sale begins, with Nog looking on proudly, having endured months of work, training, and testing to get to where he is now. Almost everyone is present, even Worf, though he isn't too happy about it.
Dax buys Bashir a holosuite program, while Kira recognizes her own springball racquet among the goodies, and Worf actually finds an item that appeals to him -- a tooth sharpener. Quark comes in at that moment. "I'm not here for the sale," he tells Rom. "Nog has no business going to Starfleet Academy. And I'm not doing anything to encourage him." He wants Rom to come with him. "The ship -- it's here." The ship Quark is talking about is the shuttle his cousin Gaila promised to buy him for helping him start his munitions consortium, ten years ago. "But why do you need me?" asks Rom. "Because knowing our cousin, it's probably defective merchandise," says Quark, who wants Rom to take a look at it.
Reluctantly leaving the sale, Rom checks out the ship and pronounces it perfect. "Maybe it's time you considered that early retirement we talked about," he suggests hopefully. "I could take over the bar, and you could fly off into the great unknown, never to return...unless you wanted to." Quark decides to take it for a test flight -- to Earth. "If the boy wants to go to Starfleet Academy, he might as well do it in style." Rom is excited. "A trip to Earth. This is going to be fuuun!" He leaves to go tell Nog, and Quark looks around. "Not to mention profitable," he says to himself. "All I ask is a tall ship -- and a load of contraband to fill her with."
Quark gives some last-minute instructions to Morn, who will be running the bar in his absence. Odo looks on cynically. "I'll be counting the days until you get back," the constable quips. Meanwhile, Jake and Nog are standing at their old hangout spot on the Promenade. "You know," Jake says, "aside from playing dom-jot and watching the Bajoran transports dock, it seems like we spent most of our time doing nothing." "Maybe so," replies Nog. "But I can't think of anyone I'd rather do nothing with than you."
At that moment, O'Brien and Bashir approach with a going-away present for Nog -- a guidebook to Earth. "Everything you ever wanted to know about Earth is right there in that PADD," Bashir says. Nog perks up. "You mean it'll teach me how to attract human females?" "Well, almost everything," O'Brien smiles. After the two men leave, Jake and Nog pause as they're about to head for the airlock. They look back. "It was a good spot," says Jake. "The best," Nog agrees. Shortly thereafter, the shuttle, Quark's Treasure, leaves the station. "Only one thing that worries me," Sisko comments to Kira. "No one warned Earth that they're coming."
Rom pilots while Nog finds interesting trivia in the guidebook. Quark is impatient for the ship to go faster. "Relax, brother," says Rom. "I know kemacite is unstable, but another day or two won't make any difference." He's found out that Quark has smuggled aboard a shipment of kemacite -- a dangerous but highly profitable substance which Quark plans to sell at Orion on the way back. "When did you get so smart?" Quark asks irritably. "I've always been smart, brother," Rom tells him. "I've just lacked self-confidence." In exchange for keeping silent, he'll take 20%, and Nog deals himself in for 10%.
As they approach Earth's system, Quark has Rom take the ship out of warp. But the warp core doesn't respond; the command sequencer has been disabled. "I don't understand. I tested everything. The only way this could've happened is -- if the command sequencer was designed to fail." They realize the awful truth: Gaila deliberately sabotaged the shuttle before sending it to Quark. Now, the ship will accelerate until it tears itself apart. Unless... Rom spouts a stream of technobabble involving using the kemacite. "Rom, you're a genius," declares Quark. "You think so?" Rom asks, pleased. "How should I know?" Quark replies. "I have no idea what you're talking about. Just do it." Rom does so, and the ship is enveloped by a burst of light.
Quark comes to in a strange-looking room. Nog and Rom are beside him, still unconscious. They're all on surgical-type beds. As Quark gazes around in puzzlement, a man is watching from behind a two-way mirror. He picks up the phone. "Get me General Denning. Tell him one of the Martians is awake." The man hangs up, and beside the phone is a calendar dated July 1947.
A little later, the man, Captain Wainwright, stands there watching the Ferengi alongside General Denning, Nurse Garland, and her fiance Professor Carlson. Also present is a German shepherd dog. The farmer who found the ship is locked up in the BOQ, and the man in Roswell who leaked word of it to the press has been convinced to issue a retraction, that it was only a weather balloon. "You can't keep this from the public forever, General," Carlson remarks. "Beings from another planet have landed on Earth. This is one of the most important events in human history."
Quark berates Rom; the humans hear it in untranslated Ferengi. None of them know where they are or what happened to the ship. Quark starts banging on the door, causing guns to be raised in the other room, but Nurse Garland and Professor Carlson argue for trying to communicate. Since those are the President's orders, General Denning tells Carlson that's what he's here for, to try to find a way to talk to the "Martians". Meanwhile, the Ferengi have fallen to blaming each other, until Rom gets the idea that maybe they're dead, and this is the Divine Treasury. Then Carlson, Garland, and Wainwright enter the room.
Carlson begins speaking to the Ferengi in slow English. "Welcome to Earth. We mean you no harm." The Ferengi hear it as gibberish, and realize that their universal translators (located inside their ears) are malfunctioning. They try banging on them. The humans see them banging their heads, and figure it's some kind of greeting, so they start doing it too, causing the Ferengi to wonder what the hell is up with them. Rom speculates that maybe their universal translators are broken too. Then Nog makes a frightening connection. He recognizes the military uniforms as being from the 20th century, in one of the old nation-states ("Australia or something"). They've traveled back in time.
Realizing that the humans are just mimicking them, Quark goes up to Wainwright, grabs his own nose, and wiggles it. Wainwright does it too. Quark turns back to Rom and Nog. "I always heard primitive humans lacked intelligence, but I had no idea they were this stupid." Nog is worried. "They weren't just stupid. They were violent, petty, bigoted, and selfish." "And we're stuck here with them, maybe for the rest of our lives," Rom moans. But Quark smiles, seeing the possibilities. "The three of us and millions of primitive humans. I like those odds."
Nurse Garland gives them medical examinations as Rom looks into Nog's ear, which Carlson thinks is some sort of grooming ritual. They speculate that Rom and Nog are father and son, and Quark may be the mother. Rom, meanwhile, believes there is some interference disrupting the translators, perhaps from beta radiation produced by nuclear fission. Quark scoffs, but Nog tells them about the atom bombs the humans here used to build and set off. "The sooner we start talking to these savages, the better off we'll be," Quark decides. Rom goes over to Nurse Garland and manages to get her to give him a hairpin, which he uses to poke inside Nog's ear, trying to reset the translator, as the two humans watch in amazement.
But Nurse Garland believes in her fiance's ability to find a way to communicate. "Imagine the possibilities. Who knows what they could teach us? A few years from now, mankind could have rocket ships of our own. We could travel the galaxy, exploring new worlds and new civilizations." "Always the dreamer," he smiles. They talk some more, and smoke; Nog tells Quark about the incomprehensible human habit at the time of deliberately inhaling a deadly drug called tobacco. "If they'll buy poison, they'll buy anything," Quark muses. "I think I'm going to like it here."
"Uncle, I hope you're not thinking of doing anything that would disrupt the timeline," Nog warns. "...Changing the history of Earth could affect the entire galaxy. The Federation, Deep Space Nine, your bar could all cease to exist." "Wouldn't that be a shame," Quark says dismissively.
Outside later, Carlson pets the dog as he updates General Denning. Then Nurse Garland comes out to tell them to come in right away. They do, and find Quark looking at them with supreme confidence, and now speaking in perfectly understandable English. "My name is Quark, Chief Financial Officer of the Ferengi Alliance. And I've got a business proposition for you."
Quark holds audience with Denning, and tells him he's here to open up a new market for advanced Ferengi technology: warp drives, transporters, medical knowledge, replicators, even weapons. He's willing to let Earth have it for a couple million bars of gold. Denning is skeptical; there's something about Quark he doesn't trust. Quark mentions casually that he could do business with one of the other nation-states, which Denning takes to mean he'll make the same offer to the Russians. He temporizes, saying he'll have to consult with the President. Just to show his good faith, Quark gives Denning some advice, about not poisoning their bodies with tobacco and atom bombs. "What do you know about atom bombs?" Denning demands. "My people have been watching your world for years," Quark says mysteriously. "We know all about you. Baseball, root beer, darts, atom bombs. It's quite a fascinating culture you hew-mons have here. And with a little Ferengi technology, it could be even better."
Garland and Carlson are talking to Rom and Nog, with the dog also present; Nog manipulates Garland into innocently giving him oo-mox. Quark enters, and the two humans leave to give them some privacy, but the dog stays. Quark is reassuring Rom and Nog that everything is under control when the dog suddenly approaches Quark, rears up, and plants its paws on Quark's shoulders. Bemused and nervous, Quark watches as the dog morphs into Odo.
Odo is here because he hid on the ship to catch Quark smuggling the kemacite. Now, he's stuck back in time along with the Ferengi. He tells them their ship is in a hangar on the base, damaged but with engines still functional. Rom believes he can use the remaining kemacite, in combination with a sufficiently powerful energy source, to trigger another time warp and return home. "We're not going anywhere," Quark announces. "We're staying right here." Within a year, he's confident he'll be running the planet. "These hew-mons, they're nothing like the ones from the Federation. They're crude, gullible and greedy...These are humans I can understand, and manipulate."
"But Uncle," Nog protests, "what about the timeline?" "Forget this timeline!" Quark says. "The one we're going to create will be better." He'll take over here, contact the Ferengi homeworld and sell them the ship, and the Ferengi will have warp drive before anyone else, establishing an economic empire. "And I'll control it all!" "You do have a vivid imagination," Odo says dryly. "But the only place we're going is back to our own time." He will prepare the ship to leave in six hours, and they'll all be on it. With that, he becomes the dog again.
Denning and Wainwright confer that night; the President wants them to find out more, and he has left the details to them. Meanwhile, Quark is still trying to convince the others of the soundness of his plan. "'The riskier the road, the greater the profit,'" he quotes, but Rom asks, "What about Rule of Acquisition two hundred and three? 'New customers are like razor-toothed gree-worms. They can be succulent, but sometimes they bite back.'" As they are talking, Wainwright and four MP's burst in and toss sacks over their heads.
When Quark is unsacked, he finds himself strapped to a chair in a dark room, along with Rom and Nog. "This is an outrage! I demand to see General Denning! If I don't get satisfaction, I'm taking my business to the Russians!" "The Russians," says Wainwright. "That's a good place to start. Why don't you tell me everything you know about the Russians?" Reluctantly, Nurse Garland approaches with a needle.
But the sodium pentothal doesn't work on Quark. "Captain, this is wrong," Garland objects. "These people are our guests." Wainwright sneers. "They're not people, they're things. Invaders from another world. It's up to us to put an end to whatever they're planning." He picks up a knife, threatening to vivisect them. "Don't you people have laws against this kind of thing?" demands Nog. "Not when it comes to national security," Wainwright declares, and wonders aloud which one to start with. When he comes to Rom, Rom spills his guts. "It was an accident! We're from the future! The warp core was sabotaged! It's all Cousin Gaila's fault! I want to go home! I want my Moogie!"
As Rom continues to wail for his mother, Nog begins spinning a preposterous tale about being advance scouts for an invasion fleet. "We've been studying you puny Earthlings for centuries and you're ripe for conquest." Quark protests that it's not true. "We're helpless! We're harmless! We just want to sell you things!" But Nog goes on talking. "When the appointed hour arrives, the Marauders will deactivate their cloaking devices and begin transporting Klingon shock troops directly to the landing zone...Your feeble weapons will be useless against us. We will kill all your males, and take your females to mate with." He gets Wainwright to untie his hands so he can show him the landing zone on the map. And then he decks Wainwright with an elbow to the gut. "It was an accident! I tripped! I didn't mean to do it!" he babbles to the guard. But then Carlson slugs the guard, and Nurse Garland brains a recovering Wainwright with a tray. They untie the Ferengi.
"Won't you get in trouble for this?" asks Rom. Quark has an answer. "Why should they? We forced them to help us, by using our...?" "Your insidious mind control powers?" suggests Nurse Garland. She gets rid of the MP's outside, and they hurry out to head for the hangar. But Denning stops them, backed by two more MP's. Quark sticks his finger at Nurse Garland's head. "Stay back, or I'll disintegrate this hostage." "With your finger?" the general asks. "With my death ray," Quark declares. Denning still thinks it looks like a finger, but he has no more time to ponder the matter, as Odo morphs from his disguise as a tire on a nearby jeep and knocks him flat along with the MP's. "Who's he?" asks Carlson. "My hero," replies Quark.
They reach Hangar 18, where their ship is. There is an atom bomb supposed to be detonated today, which should provide the energy needed to react with the kemacite. Quark thanks Carlson and Nurse Garland. "You don't have to thank us," she says warmly. "I only hope that one day, mankind will travel to the stars, and take its place in a vast alliance of planets." "Federation of Planets," Rom corrects. "Excuse me?" Garland asks, but Quark tells her, "Don't pay any attention to him, he's an idiot. Trust me, the galaxy is a pretty rough place. You people are much better off staying right here on Earth." The time travelers go into the hangar. Carlson looks fondly at his future wife. "A vast alliance of planets. You get the craziest ideas."
Denning gets to his feet, helped by Wainwright, and they watch the shuttle go by over their heads. "What do we do now, General?" "About what, Captain? All we ever found was a crashed weather balloon."
Rom flies the ship into the atomic explosion, and when the light flash fades, they are hailed by Starfleet's Earth Orbital Control. They're home. "Well, son," says Rom, "it looks like you're going to get to Starfleet Academy after all." "Just remember," Quark cautions, "under that placid Federation veneer, humans are still a bunch of violent savages." Nog smiles. "Maybe. But I like 'em."
Finally, they get back to DS9. Quark isn't very happy. He's stuck with a bar, when he could have ruled the galaxy, and he doesn't even have the ship anymore; he had to sell it for salvage to get passage home. And on top of that, Odo decides to arrest him for the smuggling, evidence or no evidence. Quark calls out to Rom to get him a lawyer. "I'll contact Cousin Gaila," Rom offers. "I'm sure he'll know a good one." "Rom, you idiot!" yells Quark.
"See you in a few weeks, brother," says Rom, and smiles to himself.
This episode, a satire of stories about the "Roswell incident", is also an homage to the science fiction B-movies of the 1950's. There are several references, including the fact that the characters Nurse Garland, Prof. Carlson, General Denning, and Captain Wainwright were named after some of the stars of these movies. The original concept had been pitched to TNG. The building that doubled for Hangar 18 was actually Paramount's construction mill.