(written from a Production point of view)
When Quark learns that he is dying, he auctions his vacuum-desiccated body to raise capital. Meanwhile, an accident on a mission prompts Dr. Bashir to transfer Keiko's baby into Major Kira.
Dax, Chief O'Brien, and Worf are in Ops discussing the trip that Bashir, Kira, and Keiko are on to the planet Torad V in the Gamma Quadrant. O'Brien frets to Worf and Dax on how he didn't want Keiko to go to Torad V in the first place "in her condition". Meanwhile, in his bar, Quark treats Rom to a glass of snail juice uncharacteristically on the house, to celebrate his return from Ferenginar and to announce that he is dying to all of his customers.
Quark declares he has Dorek Syndrome with just six days to live, which he learned of after his annual insurance physical from Doctor Orpax. Rom takes some convincing that there's no other recourse, including suggesting talking to Dr. Bashir, but Quark doesn't think that will help. Quark soon turns to the significant debt he has and funeral arrangements to make. Rom suggests selling his vacuum-desiccated remains on the Ferengi Futures Exchange. Quark doesn't believe that will help, as he believes he is not viewed favorably by other Ferengi, "Starfleet's favorite bartender," a joke. Rom insists he try, so Quark agrees.
Shortly afterward in Ops, the USS Volga emerges from the wormhole with severe damage. Worf reports to Captain Sisko that Dr. Bashir has reported two injuries: Kira and Keiko. O'Brien rushes to the infirmary and learns from Kira that Keiko is still in surgery. Much to his surprise, he also learns that Kira is now carrying his son.
O'Brien is now with Sisko and Bashir, who is explaining Keiko was injured in the accident with a collision with an asteroid in the Gamma Quadrant. She was stabilized, but Bashir had to move the baby to Kira to save its life and, interestingly, that due to the short gestation period of Bajorans, Kira must carry the baby to term. O'Brien has to process this. Later, Keiko and Kira soon recover and Kira goes to visit Keiko in her quarters, both feeling the weight of what's transpired and Keiko expressing her thanks.
Rom goes to visit Quark in his quarters to hear about the sale. At first, it seems no one but Rom wants to buy a piece of Quark, which he of course finds insulting. He starts to dismay about his life choices in opening a bar on Deep Space 9, however, Quark is overjoyed to find that an anonymous bidder wants to buy all 52 discs for five hundred bars of latinum. Convinced the anonymous bidder is The Nagus and fearful that the bid will eventually be retracted, Quark accepts the bid and sells his remains. Rom congratulates him.
Quark begins to arrange paying off his debts and arranging his funeral when Bashir informs him that his doctor on Ferenginar, Orpax, had made an error and he is not going to die. Quark is excited about the prospect of suing his doctor for malpractice; the continuation of his life is just an afterthought. However, later, Brunt of the FCA arrives at his quarters and explains that he was the anonymous buyer. He condescendingly asks if Quark thought the Nagus placed the bid. The two laugh over that and agree that it would be a ridiculous idea. Quark explains that he is surprised that Brunt placed the bid and that he is not going to die. Brunt knows this already and has arrived to ensure that his merchandise, 52 discs of vacuum-desiccated Quark, will be delivered on time in six days.
Quark makes it clear that he is not dying, to which Brunt replies that he does not care that Quark isn't dying: he wants his merchandise. He intends to defile Quark's remains upon receiving them, and will not be talked out of the contract. Quark proceeds to offer Brunt a full refund and progressively larger amounts of latinum to try to convince Brunt to give up the deal. Brunt refuses all offers and tells Quark he will only accept his remains. When Quark asks what Brunt expects him to do, Brunt suggests Quark hire someone to strangle him – that way his body will be unmarked for desiccation. Quark is shocked and says they are not Klingons. Brunt tells Quark that this is personal. Brunt tells Quark that he considers him a menace to Ferengi society, citing the time he protected Quark's mother from an audit and when he secretly settled a strike at his bar. He loathes Quark for being a philanthropist. He doesn't gouge his customers as much as a Ferengi should. Selling medicine to Bajoran refugees has made him a generous humanitarian who has gone "Starfleet". All of this gives other Ferengi a bad name.
Quark begs that he can reform – that he can gouge his customers more and revoke his employee's vacation time. Brunt is disgusted by Quark's giving his employees vacation time and proceeds to start to leave the room. Quark cuts him off and tries to make another deal with him – surely there is another accommodation that Quark can make besides suicide? Brunt tells him the only way out is to break the contract. He wonders if Quark is Ferengi enough to keep the contract and hopes that he will break it. He wants to see Quark's assets sold to the lowest bidder, his mother begging on the street, and to have Quark cut off from all contact with his people. Brunt says that Quark is a disease, and that it is his job to cut him off.
Miles helps Keiko to a chair in their quarters. Keiko tells Miles that she has invited Kira over for dinner. The two agree that even seeing Kira every day would not be enough time for them to spend with their unborn child. She expresses frustration at having to make appointments to see her own child. Neither of them knows what to do.
Quark visits Garak's shop. He is busy helping Morn and informs Quark that his pants will not be ready for another week. Quark tells him he is there in order to hire him as an assassin. Garak feigns ignorance and says that before he was a tailor he was a gardener. Quark is not so easily dissuaded and tells him he still wants to hire him. Rom initially believes that Quark will have Brunt assassinated, but Quark reveals that he is the one that is to be killed.
Rom is upset about Quark's intentions to go through with the contract. Quark explains that he is like no one else in their family; he is a Ferengi businessman. He will go through with the contract. His life is about his business and that means that he follows the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition, and he will not stop following them if they are inconvenient. He is confident that if he continues to follow the Rules that he will find himself in the Divine Treasury after his death. Because he will have died the way he lived: as a Ferengi. He and Garak then leave to discuss the method of his death.
Kira visits Keiko and O'Brien to show them how much the baby is kicking. Kira is concerned but Keiko tells Kira that this is good, and that she thought Molly would kick her way of out. Keiko thanks Kira for sharing this with them. The two discuss the differences between Human and Bajoran pregnancies, and the fact that they do not know what Kira's symptoms will be because the baby is Human. Bajorans do not get morning sickness, but instead suffer from uncontrollable sneezing. Miles gets Kira a special pillow for her lower back. They invite her to remain for dinner and initially Kira does not want to impose. But Keiko insists that since Kira is carrying her baby she is now family and that besides dinner, the O'Briens also want to make a proposal.
Quark is eating dinner at the bar. Garak sneaks up behind him and breaks his neck. Quark walks over, and it becomes apparent that the dead Quark is only a hologram. Quark objects to the loud noise his neck makes when it is broken. Garak objects that is was not that loud. They are running out of options because Quark objects to all the methods that Garak has suggested (he couldn't be disintegrated because he needed his body, the disruptor ruined Quark's clothing, the knife was too savage, nerve gas smelled bad, hanging took too long, and Quark would not willingly eat poisoned food). Garak comments that Quark does not seem to want to die, to which Quark objects that he just doesn't want to see it coming. Garak promises that Quark will never know what hit him.
A jittery Quark heads to bed while trying to stave off death by yelling he won't be surprised before he enters his room. He quickly falls asleep and awakes in what looks like the Divine Treasury.
The first Grand Nagus, Gint (who looks suspiciously similar to Quark's brother Rom), comes to him and Quark realizes that he is dreaming. The Nagus (or at least Quark's conscience) tells Quark that he must break the contract. Quark asks how he can walk away from the Rules. To this, Gint explains that when he authored the Rules of Acquisition, he called them such as a marketing ploy, and considers them more like "suggestions". Gint explains that Quark is having this dream because he is looking for permission to break the contract. Quark realizes if Gint came to him in a dream and told him to break the contract, then it would be acceptable. Brunt then appears, and the three of them argue until Brunt begins strangling Quark, who wakes up in his sleep with his own hands around his throat.
The next day, Quark walks into his bar and refuses to honor the contract. Brunt, sitting at a table, smiles as Quark has proved himself to be just another failure in a long line of weak-lobed Ferengi. However, Quark threatens that if he ever returns to his bar, he will never leave. Brunt immediately revokes Quark's business license, and slaps legal documents on the walls preventing any Ferengi business to continue and seizes all of his assets. Quark is left with no other choice but to close the bar immediately and indefinitely, and is forced to ask his customers to leave.
Kira arrives at the O'Briens' quarters where she has agreed to live for the duration of the pregnancy. Kira tells Molly that she is her aunt Kira and that Molly is welcome to play in her room anytime.
Quark sits in a bare area at the bar near where the dabo table used to be, having been left with nothing, not even the shirt on his back which needs to be returned later to Brunt. Rom tries to cheer him up by offering Quark some of his old clothes, but to no avail. However, Bashir enters with a crate of Alvanian brandy, claiming that a patient gave them to him as a gift, and, as he cannot accept them, he is willing to give them to Quark. Then Dax arrives with a dozen glasses she was given as a gift by her sister that she claims are too ugly to keep.
Captain Sisko arrives and asks Quark if he can store several sets of tables and chairs from structural repair on level 2 of the habitat ring in the area, since it's currently free. Quark can scarcely believe what is happening, as the crew and residents start bringing in everything he needs to continue running the bar. Rom reminds his brother that Brunt didn't take all of his assets away, as Quark has apparently earned the loyalty and respect of many aboard the station. Despite being broke, Quark is left to ponder the thought that friends may be the most valuable asset of all. Overwhelmed by his friends showing their support, he attempts to thank them, but is literally speechless.
"So… what you're telling me is… Major Kira's going to have my baby?"
- - O'Brien, after Bashir tells him Kira will have to carry the baby to term
"It's as if I have to remind her she's pregnant!"
"Yeah. I guess the extra weight, the morning sickness, the mood swings, the medical examinations… they aren't reminders enough."
- - O'Brien and Dax
"I needed another womb for the baby, and the only two other people on board were Major Kira and me."
"I think you made the right choice, doctor."
- - Bashir and Sisko, talking about Bashir's "correct" choice to put the baby in Kira, not Bashir
- - Quark
"I have Dorek Syndrome."
"But that's incurable!"
"That's right! Which explains the dying part!"
"But Dorek Syndrome, it's so rare!"
"It strikes only one out of every five million Ferengi. I finally beat the odds."
- - Quark and Rom, talking about the former's illness
"Have Doctor Bashir examine you when he gets back from the Gamma Quadrant!"
"Bashir? How good could he be? He doesn't even charge."
- - Rom and Quark
"We're not Klingons. We're businessmen."
- - Quark
"I want to hire you. Not as a tailor. As an assassin."
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"Oh yes you do. You weren't always a tailor."
"You're right. I used to be a gardener. Now if you have something you want weeded, you let me know."
- - Quark and Elim Garak
"I don't want you to kill Brunt, I want you to kill me."
- - Quark, asking Garak to assassinate him to satisfy a contract with Brunt for Quark's remains
"Wait a minute. You can't do this. I thought you were going to break the contact."
"What are the key words there? You thought."
- - Rom and Quark, arguing over Quark's decision to have himself assassinated
"Garak, let's talk about death!"
- - Quark
"Snapping vertebrae is out."
"We're running out of options… You don't want to be vaporized because you need a body. The disruptor ruined your clothing, the knife was too savage, the nerve gas smelled bad, hanging took too long and poison… What was wrong with poison?"
"It doesn't work! If I know the food is poisoned, I won't eat it."
- - Quark and Garak
"For a man who wants to kill himself you are strangely determined to live."
- - Garak
"I'm going to die, don't you worry about that, I just want to find the right way."
"I don't want to see it coming. Or hear it or feel it or smell it. I just want to go on with my life and then [snaps his fingers] I'm dead."
"Ah, you want to be surprised!"
- - Quark and Garak, arguing over how Quark is to be assassinated
"You have my word. You'll never know what hit you."
- - Garak in regards of Quark's wishes to be die without knowing how or when
"Would you buy a book called Suggestions of Acquisition?"
- - The First Grand Nagus, about the fact that the name "Rules of Acquisition" was a marketing ploy
"I knew it. You're just like the rest of your family: weak-lobed degenerates. Another loser in a long line of failed Ferengis."
- - Brunt
"Look, I've broken the contract, so do your job: take my assets, revoke my Ferengi business license, do whatever you have to do, then get out. And if I ever see you walk into my bar again…"
"… you won't walk out."
- - Quark and Brunt
"May I have your attention, please? Brunt, FCA. As of this moment, no further Ferengi commerce may be conducted in this bar! No Ferengi may be employed by this bar, no Ferengi may eat or drink in this bar, and no Ferengi…no Ferengi may do business with THAT MAN! Confiscation of assets will begin immediately."
"Ladies and gentlemen, this bar is closed until further notice. Thank you for your patronage."
- - Brunt and Quark
"Look at them, brother. And you thought you had no assets."
"Sisko, Dax, Bashir, Morn? They're my assets?"
"To name a few."
"I guess you're right… I need a drink."
- - Rom and Quark
Story and script
- During the development of this episode, the writers spent a lot of effort exploring the character of Quark. According to René Echevarria, "We really dug down to find what this episode was about, and in the process, we managed to find out who Quark is, and how Ferengi he is." Similarly, Hans Beimler said, "The substance is that Quark has a line that we will not cross. He has a very clear ethical code and lives by it. This is comedy, but it deals with some very serious business. Quark is a very complicated guy with a lot of complicated issues. He's not just a silly Ferengi. The more you explore the character, the more you see that he's very sophisticated and complex." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- According to Hans Beimler, there is a political metaphor behind Brunt's somewhat irrational hatred of Quark; "Quark grates Brunt because Quark has been able to do things that Brunt doesn't think of as pure or quite right. It's the way certain people view expatriate Americans who may have traveled and had a different life experience. They say, 'How could you leave America?' So he spent fifty-five years in Africa, that doesn't mean he stopped being an American, he's just an American experiencing another life. And that's what Quark is. He's gone out of the Ferengi world, but it doesn't mean he's stopped being a Ferengi." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- The O'Brien baby "transplant" storyline was created as a solution to the production problem of actress Nana Visitor becoming pregnant in real life. The producers decided they did not wish to go down either of the two other solutions open to them; either having the character of Kira become pregnant by Shakaar, or 'hiding' the pregnancy by shooting Visitor in such a way as to never reveal her midsection, as had been done during the fourth season of Star Trek: The Next Generation with the character of Beverly Crusher and would be done again in most of the fourth season of Star Trek: Voyager with B'Elanna Torres. As such, the producers, thanks to the suggestion of Ira Steven Behr's wife, Laura Behr, came up with the idea to tie in Visitor's real pregnancy with the character Keiko O'Brien's fictional pregnancy. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion) This followed on from Nana Visitor having initially feared that, due to her becoming pregnant, her character of Kira might have to be written out of the series altogether. "It was maybe the next day the writers came up with this idea that there is a shuttle crash, and Keiko was carrying her baby, and we have to take the baby from Keiko, and I'm the only available womb," she recalled. ("Crew Dossier: Kira Nerys", DS9 Season 1 DVD special features)
- André Bormanis commented: "Sometimes we stretched the boundaries a little beyond my personal comfort level. In an episode of DS9, the writers wanted to transport a baby growing in the womb of one character, Keiko O’Brien into another, Kira Nerys. The actress who played Kira was pregnant, and this was a clever way of working her real-life pregnancy into the show. I didn’t think such a thing was scientifically credible, and a pathologist I consulted with agreed. He thought it would be incredibly unlikely to work, even with transporter technology. The whole “fetal placental complex” would have to be transported, and the new hosts’ immune system and blood would have to be modified to accommodate the fetus, or vice versa. We worked that information into the episode as best we could and hoped we wouldn’t get too much grief from obstetricians. But today, a mere fifteen years later, the idea of a fetal transplant is under serious study. It could become a reality in just a few years. My bigger concern when I was the Trek science consultant was making sure the show kept ahead of where real science is taking us". 
- The script mentioned Quark's uncle Pax, whom Quark admired for having made a fortune in waste extraction but whom Nog knew as "Uncle Stinky". The line did not make it in the final episode.
Cast and characters
- The idea of the transplant storyline was popular with both of the real parents to be: Nana Visitor and Alexander Siddig. According to Siddig, "Teleporting the baby was a great idea." Visitor was more vocal; "Suddenly my baby was part of the plot! I was very grateful that they thought of such a clever way to allow me to be pregnant on the show and not just be filmed from the neck up, which would have really limited everything I could do. I'm hugely grateful for that." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion) She also commented, "I thought that was damn clever, I really did. I thought that was a great way of handling it, without making Kira a mother, per se, and have to deal with that." ("Crew Dossier: Kira Nerys", DS9 Season 1 DVD special features)
- Armin Shimerman considered this a highly important episode for his character of Quark. The actor observed, "Quark had always believed he's an outsider on the space station, and that the only thing that's his own are his Ferengi ways. He believes in the Ferenginess of himself. So to give that up – because a contract is a contract is a contract – is a major moral dilemma." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Jeffrey Combs commented, "['Body Parts'] was a lot of fun, probably the best Brunt episode," and that "I love the scene where I insist, despite the fact that Quark is not going to die, that he fulfill the contract. That first scene where I show up in Quark's quarters was just so much fun to do. I loved that moment. It was such a delicious moment." (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 21, pp. 17 & 20)
- The FCA notice placed on the wall by Liquidator Brunt at the end of this episode remains in place until the fifth season episode "Ferengi Love Songs", at which time Quark has his license restored by Brunt.
- Brunt's references to Quark's mother and his union troubles refer to the episodes "Family Business" and "Bar Association", respectively.
- Rom recalls to Quark the latter's brief holding of the title of "Grand Nagus" – a reference to the first season episode "The Nagus".
- Referenced Rules of Acquisition: #17 ("A contract is a contract is a contract… but only between Ferengi") and #239 ("Never be afraid to mislabel a product")
- This episode also introduces a new runabout: the USS Volga. The episode "By Inferno's Light" later makes it clear that this is not a replacement for one of the other three runabouts, but a fourth runabout (three runabouts are used in the defense of DS9 while another was in the Gamma Quadrant. The others were the Rio Grande, Rubicon, and Yukon).
- From this episode onwards, Andrew Robinson (who plays Garak) is credited as "Andrew J. Robinson". According to Robinson, the "J" stands for Jordt – his grandfather's first name. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- The on-screen scene of the damaged Volga was later used to depict the damaged Rio Grande in "Apocalypse Rising".
- Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko) does not appear in this episode.
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 4.13, 18 November 1996
- As part of the DS9 Season 4 DVD collection
Links and references
- Rene Auberjonois as Odo
- Michael Dorn as Lt. Commander Worf
- Terry Farrell as Lt. Commander Dax
- Cirroc Lofton as Jake Sisko
- Colm Meaney as Chief O'Brien
- Armin Shimerman as Quark
- Alexander Siddig as Doctor Bashir
- Nana Visitor as Major Kira
- Rosalind Chao as Keiko O'Brien
- Max Grodénchik as Rom and "Gint"
- Hana Hatae as Molly O'Brien
- Jeffrey Combs as Brunt
Special guest star
- Sam Alejan as a Human medical officer
- Patrick Barnitt as a Bajoran officer
- Brian Demonbreun as a Human science officer
- Randy James as Lieutenant Jones
- Mark Lentry as a Human command lieutenant
- David B. Levinson as Broik
- James Minor as a Human security officer
- Robin Morselli as Bajoran officer
- Mark Allen Shepherd as Morn
- Armin Shimerman as the holographic Quark
- James Lee Stanley as a Bajoran security deputy
- Unknown performers as
admission; Alvanian brandy; amusement; assassin; asteroid field; audit; Bajor; Bajorans; Bajoran wormhole; bar; barstool; brandy; businessman; buyer; Cardassian; case; Cliffs of Undalar; concussion; Constable; contract; deflector; Divine Treasury; Dorek Syndrome; estrogen; eulogy; exile; family line; Federation; Ferengi; Ferengi Alliance; Ferengi Futures Exchange; Ferengi Rules of Acquisition; Ferengi wine; Ferenginar; fetal transport; financial almanac; footnote; fuel pod; fund; Gaila; Gamma Quadrant; gardener; gestation; gesture; glass; Gorad; Grand Nagus; Great Marketplace; Guild of Restaurant and Casino Employees; hanging; holosuite; humanitarian; insurance; internal hemorrhage; Ishka; Jadzia's sister; latinum; life savings; kickback; O'Brien, Kirayoshi; makara herb; malpractice; marketing; medical examination; mood swing; moogie; morning sickness; Nagal staff; nerve gas; Nog; Orpax; operator; padding; pariah; pension; philanthropist; pilgrimage; poison; precept; progesterone; Promenade; Quark's; refugee; registrar; rib; rock; room; runabout; snail juice; storage fee; strangulation; sue; tesokine; tip; Torad V; trousers; uncle; vacuum-desiccation (desiccation); vascularization; vertebra; vole; Volga, USS; waiting room; weight; Yridians; Zek
- "Body Parts" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Body Parts" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Body Parts" at Wikipedia
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