Scotch and Star Trek

Scotch… the final frontier.

Several years ago, I came to the realization that I have never actually seen much of the original Trek. This provided me with an excuse to go through from the beginning to see the process by which a cohesive, generation-spanning and inspirational setting is presented to viewers. In the end, though, it’s an excuse to get snarky and pick apart a show I’ve loved since childhood.

Why the drinking? Because every time I reflect on the scope of this project I realize there are over five hundred hours of Star Trek ahead of me.

Here’s to you, Scotty. 

Today’s feature:

DS9: S4E24: "Body Parts"

In which true wealth can’t be counted, a statement which would make Quark throw up in his mouth a little. 

"That's some damn good snail juice. Puff puff pass."

“That’s some damn good snail juice. Puff puff pass.”

If you thought you were going to get a nice quick wrap-up to Janeway’s predicament, boy did you not understand the premise of that show. Instead, we’re back on Deep Space Nine, where O’Brien is fretting over the very pregnant Keiko off on a mission to do a botanical survey in the Gamma Quadrant. Being pregnant doesn’t seem to slow her down very much, and he barely stopped her from going on a rappelling trip to get fungus despite the fact that rocket boots exist, and also anti-gravity. Quark is pouring Maintenance Worker Rom a tall snail juice, on the house, to celebrate being back from two weeks on Ferenginar. Oh, and he found out he’s dying. Not one to make a scene, is Quark.

Quark has the results back from his annual insurance physical, and he has the incurable and rare Dorek Syndrome. And the doctor can’t be wrong – he’s a very expensive doctor, after all. Rom is upset, and doesn’t want his brother to die anymore. He suggests Quark go to Bashir, but Bashir’s a terrible doctor – he doesn’t even charge. Quark’s got to arrange the disbursement of his estate, but at least he can write off the debts to non-ferengi. Rom suggests Quark sell his body, since he was the Nagus for a week, but apart from that, Quark is considered a joke among Ferengi. Still, Rom insists, and Quark puts up his desiccated remains for sale.

Keiko’s shuttle is coming through the wormhole, and it’s badly damaged. Keiko was injured and is still in surgery, but there were complications. She got injured and Bashir had to transplant the baby into Kira. Imagine how that conversation must have gone in the moment. They had been sideswiped by an asteroid after the deflectors failed, and Bashir had to decide between Kira and himself on whose womb to put the baby into. I… cannot tell if that was supposed to be a joke or not. There were compatibility issues, but Bashir was able to overcome those, but they can’t transplant the baby back, because instead of a single umbilical, Bajorans (who have a gestation period of five months) instead form a complex network of blood vessels that Bashir can’t sever without unacceptable risk. Kira’s carrying the baby to term. Bashir’s expression as he explains this is priceless.

Quark’s been watching the offers for a disc of dessicated Quark roll in. Well… trickle in. Well… Rom’s Life Savings-in, which is also an insultingly low bid. But just as he’s despairing, a second, huge bid comes in – 500 bars for the complete collection of 52 discs. Quark decides it must be the Nagus, because he’s unhealthily devoted. Before the offer can be withdrawn, Quark accepts the offer.

"Brunt, FCA."

“Brunt, FCA.”

Keiko’s awake and she and Kira share a moment. They’re going to become close, but let’s not dwell on that moment. Instead we’ll get back to Quark planning his death, and Bashir delivering a message from Quark’s doctor. Apparently, Quark doesn’t have Doark after all, which means he gets to sue a rich doctor, and is also going to live. Surely this is good news with no downsides in the form of pushy clients who want the product they’ve been promised. Brunt knows Quark wasn’t dying, and sealed a contract to make sure. A contract is a contract is a contract, after all… between Ferengi.

Brunt is making this personal – Quark protecting his mother, or settling with his employees are symptoms of the dieases of philanthropy, a vile cancer that Brunt believes must be rooted out and destroyed lest it spread through Ferengi culture. Once again, we find that the Ferengi philosophy doesn’t consider reputational currency as valuable among aliens, since among Ferengi that particular coin spends very differently. Since Brunt doesn’t understand that reputational actions are more valuable as rent to Sisko than cash is, Quark now has two options – kill himself or break the contract and let the FCA size his assets and sell them to the lowest bidder. This is clearly the Ferengi version of a Discommendation for extreme dishonor, since there’s no way that could possibly actually work. Clearly the only thing that would stop the first bidder from offering to blow the dust off a slip of latinum would be their Ferengi honor.

Keiko’s working on getting back on her feet, and Miles is helping out with physical and moral support. Keiko’s upset she’s not carrying the baby, that she’s not connected to it, and it’s a very sad and tender moment which is, again, wiped off the map by a smash cut to Quark dealing with his contracutally-obligated death, and Rom waddling after him. They’re going to see Garak, who’s exasperated at how much Morn has been arguing with him about the new pants. Quark wants to hire Garak as an assassin, not for Brunt, but for himself. Garak is way to excited about this, but it might just be the novelty. Killing Brunt would violate the contract, and when Quark dies, he’ll do it with integrity, and therefore be able to bribe his way into the Divine Treasury.

"Okay Armin, today we need footage of you facedown in a pile of mac and cheese."

“Okay Armin, today we need footage of you facedown in a pile of mac and cheese.”

Bajorans don’t have morning sickness, they have uncontrollable sneezing, and O’Brien is playing the doting pregnancy husband to butter Nerys up for he and Keko to offer something they think is going to be a little controversial. Smash cut to Garak snapping holo-Quark’s neck. The juxtapositions in this episode – yikes. Also yikes: every method of assassination Garak has showcased so far. Quark wants to be surprised, and Garak agrees to the terms. Cue the inevitable scenes of Quark darting around terrified for his life. It’s like the old logic puzzle about the death row prisoner being executed when he’s not expecting it, only in reverse.

Quark goes to sleep with a strip of latinum in his pocket, and wakes up in the Divine Treasury with no idea how he got there. Assuming this isn’t a dream and is in fact an end-of-season cast change (spoiler: it’s not) I’d guess hacking the environmental system and flooding it with nitrogen. Quark is met by Gint, who explains that it’s a dream, and demands that Quark break the contract, because the Rules of Aquisition are really more like guidelines, but nobody would have bought them with a title like that. Rule 239: Never be afraid to mislabel a product. Gint has Appeared to Quark in a Vision to give him permission to break the rules, and Brunt shows up in the dream to remind him of the consequences.

With this newfound lust for life, Quark decides to break the contract, accept the consequences, and tell Brunt to go to hell. Brunt shuts him down and begins formal procedures, and now that we’ve established a pattern, we smash cut from the serious heavy emotions to the happy bubbly Kira-Is-Moving-In-With-The-O’Briens scene.

With all of the furnishings gone, Quark sits in his undershirt in a desolate Cardassian room whose original purpose is unfathomable. In fact, Quark doesn’t even own the shirt – he’s obligated to send it to Brunt later. Happily, though, reputational effects do have their place. The Starfleet crew have organized a GoFundMe to get their favorite watering hole back up and running. I wonder if Brunt took the holosuites too. Either way, Sisko’s organized some storage of furniture in Quark’s.

Did we miss something awesome?