In which Quark pulls off a heist.
Quark’s is bustling, with Leeta behind the bar because of that time she agreed to work for free. Quark comes in with a special shipment of a rare syrup, which everyone is pleased about. The source planet had cut off the supply to drive up prices. Quark impresses the whole bar about his business lobes. Of course, in so doing he also gives away the secret that he extorted the commodity for, so… good job, Quark. Fortunately, our Federation friends are here to save us all from a story of economic conquest. Miles, Dax, and Julian are back from the first successful mission behind enemy lines, stealing his thunder with stories of excitement. Quark is called away to speak to the Nagus. He stops by Rom afterwards to tell him the bad news – their mother Ishka has been captured by the Dominion, and Quark has been tapped to rescue her.
Quark is, of course, counting on Rom for assistance. There’s even a reward of 50 bars of gold-pressed latinum. The Dominion grabbed her while she was en route to Vulcan to have her ears raised. Also, Quark finally tells Rom that Ishka and the Nagus are getting wrinkly with each other. Since the two of them are nowhere near tough enough, they decide to assemble a commando team, and Quark has this whole pride thing where he wants it to be all Ferengi. They set about recruiting. Nog agrees to do it for a fancy title and the chance to put the other two through boot camp. Quark taps Lek, an ‘atypical’ Ferengi, as the muscle. Lek doesn’t care about latinum, he’s doing it for the chance to go up against the Dominion. Next up is Quark’s cousin Gaila, who’s in Federation holding after his falling-out with his business partner, and who’s on board in exchange for payment of the fine and the chance to earn a little money.
Rom starts out way too big for his britches and nearly dissolves the party insisting on being called ‘sir.’ The next sticking point is the want of a ship, but luckily Ex-liquidator Brunt, formerly FCA, is here to… help. That is to say, to hire out his ship. Sadly, training isn’t going well at all. Everyone but Lek gets holo-slaughtered, and Lek mercy-kills Ishka. Quark begins to despair of their chances, Rom has an idea – don’t rescue her the Human or the Klingon way, rescue her the Ferengi way – with negotiation.
Kira and Sisko help out with the seed funds, thanks to Quark’s assistance back when the Dominion controlled the station. They give him over a prisoner as a bargaining chip. I wonder who it could be? They’re meeting the Dominion negotiators on Empok Nor – they know the layout, Nog’s been there before. Kivan advises everyone to make their final arrangements, as they’re all doomed due to this terrible plan of ‘straightforward prisoner exchange.’
Empok Nor is still dramatically sideways when they make approach. Looks like they managed to disarm all the traps last time, so nobody gets killed or blown up this time. Quark has to motivate his squad with microtransactions, but it’s hard to say whether his quip about paying soldiers this way is normal for Ferengi or not. I don’t think the Ferengi have much of a standing army, although they do have marauders, if you’ll recall, that function on something of a privateer basis that might get called into active service, in an emergency, on contract basis.
They clear out the infirmary for a base camp, and it looks like the stasis pods holding the super-solider projects have been cleared out. Kivan is not happy to be going home – Vorta are supposed to commit suicide rather than be captured, so all he has left to look forward to is torture, interrogation, and execution. And he assures them that the same is true for the Ferengi squad. In the night, they’re all woken up by Gaila, screaming, because Kivan left while the watch commander wasn’t watching.
They race towards Brunt’s shuttle and get there before Kivan can un-disable it from Rom’s sabotage. This gets us to the Dominion showing up, and they race back through the station to get to base camp to bunker down. The Dominion show up in force with as many Jem’Hadar as will fit on the balcony, and our heroes are pinned down. It’s only then that they realize everything is going as planned. The vorta with the Dominion party calls them out to negotiate. Quark takes Rom and Nog with him to meet the negotiator, who is Iggy Pop.
Vorta Iggy/Yelgrin has the same grasp of condescending sarcasm as the rest of the Vorta we’ve come to know and love as Quark lays out terms. Do you think the Founders generated a gene for that, or is it part of the training. Once it’s clear that they won’t be able to debrief Kivan if they storm the infirmary by force. The negotiations go pretty well. They celebrate their good fortune, Rom lets slip the amount of the full reward, and in the ensuing fracas, Gaila shoots and kills Kivan, which will rather put a crimp in the exchange.
They’re all about to give up, but Quark gives a pep talk, referencing the Ferengi Alamo. They agree to go down fighting, and Nog accidentally triggers some residual muscle potentials with a brain scanner. He was making sure Kivan was dead. This gives them an idea. They have very little time to jury-rig a puppeteer rig.
Yelgrun is fed up with the stalling almost before it’s begun. Quark manages to successfully negotiate for five minutes and a change of venue, so they can run right to the shuttle. Ishka, meanwhile, passes the time giving financial advice to Yelgrun, and Quark shows up with Kivan’s corpse. The puppeteering isn’t that great, but what can one really expect. Fortunately, the backup ambush goes off successfully, and Quark and his cadre even get to give back a Vorta to Starfleet command, in addition to the war story.