(written from a Production point of view)
Quark's cousin Gaila offers him a job as a weapons dealer.
Dax and Quark are playing tongo in Quark's while the latter is checking on his stock quotes. He then reveals he is practically ruined. Having been banned from doing business with other Ferengi, he is unable to invest or manage his money and owes money on multiple loans with the bar as collateral.
Since news of business failures travels fast among Ferengi, Quark's cousin, Gaila, arrives with a few mocking words and a business offer. Gaila asks Dax to leave so he can have a private conversation with his cousin. He is willing to defy the FCA ban and proposes to Quark to go into business with him as a weapons dealer. Gaila just needs Quark for his people skills, offers him 5% of any sales he assists with, and assures Quark that the industry is growing so fast that within a month, all Quark's debts could be paid off, within six months he could have his business license back, and within a year he could own his very own moon. Quark morosely says, "What do I have to lose?"
Meanwhile, Chief O'Brien is having problems with his baby son Kirayoshi. Jake Sisko pops by the O'Briens' quarters and O'Brien explains that while his wife is on Bajor attempting to get a blight under control, his regular babysitter has had an emergency and is unavailable for the time being. To make matters worse, every time he puts Kirayoshi down, he begins to cry. Jake offers to babysit, as he has had experience watching Vilix'pran's hatchlings, and O'Brien accepts, as he has to start his shift, but as soon as Kirayoshi is in Jake's arms he begins crying again. O'Brien takes the baby back and he stops crying as soon as he's in his father's arms. With no other choice, O'Brien takes Kirayoshi to work with him.
In the bar, Quark is rocking the chairs checking to see if Odo is around. He even looks carefully at Morn to make sure he is not Odo in disguise. Gaila tells him there is nothing to worry about as Odo just walked by. Gaila then introduces Quark to his partner, Hagath, the principal in their weapons-dealing business. Their new angle, they explain, is to conduct demonstrations inside Quark's holosuites with holographic replicas of the weapons they are peddling – thus avoiding any rules against bringing actual weapons aboard the station. Hagath seems to like Quark, but warns him, "Don't ever cross me." Quark is also troubled to hear Hagath and Gaila reminiscing over one of their past deals, in which they sold weapons to both sides in the same war.
Quark soon becomes a wizard salesman in the holosuites, and several deals are closed aboard the station. The three toast to the new relationship.
Quark's debts are being paid with his percentage from Hagath, who takes the liberty of transferring the money directly to his creditors. Quark protests, but Hagath says he doesn't like his partners to be encumbered by debt (which might divide loyalty or cause complications), which means Quark won't be seeing any actual profits for another few months.
In Quark's, O'Brien is having his weekly darts game against Doctor Bashir while still carrying Kirayoshi. Bashir urges O'Brien to put his son down as the chief already has a bad shoulder, but when he does set him down on a table, Kirayoshi cries again.
While having one of Hagath's female attendants, Talura, skillfully administer oo-mox, Odo arrives and arrests Quark for dealing weapons on the station. Quark defends himself saying that Odo can't prove a single weapon has been brought on board. Odo insists this is a mere technicality but before he can go further, Captain Sisko and Major Kira enter and reluctantly tell him that Hagath and his associates have been declared "friends" of the Provisional Government, since Hagath supplied arms to the Bajoran Resistance during the Occupation. Odo is outraged, but Sisko says their hands are tied. Quark begins to gloat, but Sisko and Kira furiously make it clear to Quark that the leniency he's been shown in the past is over, and the next chance they get they'll make sure he gets what's coming to him. "Something to look forward to," Kira tells Quark before leaving.
In Hagath's quarters, Hagath and Gaila are still chuckling over Hagath's coup. Gaila reminisces that all of their associates thought they were crazy for selling to the dirt-poor Bajorans instead of the wealthy Cardassians, but Hagath predicted that the occupation would end one day, and like any successful arms dealer, knows that having a friend in the right place at the right time is sometimes worth more than money. Their conversation is interrupted by one of Hagath's employees, Farrakk, whom Hagath berates for wasting time on Risa while he was supposed to be closing a deal. Hagath fires the man on the spot.
Later, Quark notices that his bar no longer has any Federation customers. Gaila comes and tells Quark that the Regent of Palamar is coming to the station. The regent is a rich man who is very particular about how he is treated. Quark says he can't wait to meet him. Gaila then compliments Quark and confides that he has decided to retire and offers Quark the chance to take his place. Quark states that he likes Hagath and would like a bigger share of the profits; but is frightened when Gaila remarks casually that Hagath wasn't satisfied with firing his slacking employee, so he sabotaged his ship and had him killed.
At the Replimat, Quark attempts to reconcile with Dax, but she refuses point blank to have anything to do with a weapons dealer. He tries to reason that the weapons he sells are strictly for defense, but Dax asks him that if he has no guilt, then why is he begging her for forgiveness.
Bashir tests Kirayoshi and finds that there is nothing medically wrong with him. O'Brien questions if his baby just gets sad, and then has some neck pain.
With Quark's catering services, Hagath hosts a dinner aboard the station for the Regent of Palamar. His former ally, General Nassuc, has rebelled against him, and the regent needs an appropriate weapon to "make an example" of her and her followers. Gaila asks how many casualties is he looking for. The regent wants eight million to start, but then wants the death toll to rise. Gaila again asks for a figure, to which the regent answers around twenty million. Hagath and Gaila discuss what is the best weapon and consider one that should kill twenty-eight million. Quark is very disturbed and asks if they can't just wound some instead of killing twenty-eight million people. The regent gets worried, but Hagath quickly steps in and writes off Quark's question as Ferengi humor.
On the Promenade, Gaila later confronts Quark. He wants to retire, but can't if his hand picked successor can't control his conscience. Quark thinks Hagath is crazy and that killing twenty-eight million seems wrong. Gaila then has Quark look out the window and says that at that very moment, millions of worlds are fighting each other; he asks that if one of those little lights went out, would anyone really notice? Would Quark really turn down ten million bars of latinum to turn out one of those lights?
Quark has a nightmare in which he is confronted by the ghosts of his former friends, including children like Jake and Kirayoshi, representing the people who have been killed by the weapons he is selling. As a dead Sisko spins the dabo wheel and tells Quark, "you lose," he wakes up screaming, then whispers, "What have I done?"
Captain Sisko enters Ops and sees Kirayoshi sleeping in the engineering pit. O'Brien explains, in a whisper, that as soon as he went down there, Kirayoshi fell asleep in his bassinet and O'Brien doesn't want to risk waking him. He doesn't know if it's the lights or the hum, but something in the pit pacifies the baby. Sisko, also whispering, tells O'Brien that he can't keep a baby in the pit and gives him a few days off-duty until his wife returns. O'Brien agrees, but asks Sisko if at least they can wait until he wakes up. Sisko reluctantly agrees. By this time, the entire Ops crew (including Dax and Kira) have drifted over to gaze adoringly at the baby's cuteness, and Sisko reminds them all they've got work to do.
Quark breaks into Dax's quarters to leave the unreceptive Trill his tongo wheel. She angrily asks him to return it. He tries to tell her what he's going to do, but she refuses to listen. After leaving Dax's quarters, Quark steadies himself in the mirror, reminding himself, "The worst Hagath can do, is kill you. What's one life compared with the lives of twenty-eight million people?" Quark has decided to sabotage the deal with the regent.
First, he informs Hagath that their supplier can't fill the regent's order in time, so he proposes that Hagath invite the regent back to the station to preview an alternative. Quark says the alternative will only kill seventeen million people, but that should be enough. (They also mention that all of Quark's debts have been paid, so this is the first deal where he will get his profits in cash.)
At the same time the regent arrives, Quark invites General Nassuc to the station to do a deal on the opposite side of the station. Gaila panics when he finds Quark with her, but Quark says that they have the chance to make an obscene profit by dealing to both sides, and all they have to do is make sure she and the regent never cross paths on the station. Then, he dupes Gaila into conducting General Nassuc into the cargo bay where Hagath and the regent are waiting. As Quark slips out, both sides begin yelling and shooting. Emerging onto the Promenade, Quark casually walks away as Odo and a squad of deputies thunder in the opposite direction towards the cargo bay, hearing reports of phaser fire. Quark smiles as the squad runs past him.
In his quarters, O'Brien is cradling his son when Worf enters, reminding the chief he was meant to make modifications to the USS Defiant's deflector array that day. O'Brien tells Worf that Captain Sisko gave him a few days off and asks Worf to hold his son while he gets his bottle, warning Worf that Kirayoshi will begin to cry as soon as he hands him over. However, as he is held by Worf, Kirayoshi doesn't cry – O'Brien is astounded and places the baby in his bassinet, where he remains quiet. O'Brien sits down as Worf voices his regret that he didn't see his own son at that age, and tells O'Brien he's a fortunate man. Worf then notices the chief is fast asleep and quickly exits the O'Briens' quarters.
In his office, Captain Sisko is giving Quark a severe dressing down for all the trouble he's caused. Quark defends his actions, saying he didn't know they were going to start shooting, he just wanted the deal to fall apart. Sisko tells Quark that the regent is dead and Gaila and Hagath have fled the station with a purification squad after them. Quark tells the captain he can live with the consequences of his actions, and can think of twenty-eight million people who won't shed any tears over the regent's death. Sisko says he can think of twenty-eight million and one, and Quark knows he is forgiven. However, this doesn't stop Sisko from giving him a bill for damages to the cargo bay, which Quark promises to pay in installments.
Quark and Dax later play a conciliatory game of tongo, friends once more. She comments on his ability to get out of tight spots, and he asks for the wheel back, which Dax refuses, saying it's hers now. She spins the wheel again, and they both laugh.
"You really are quite a find! I'm sure we're going to accomplish great things together."
"I can't wait!"
"Uh, just one thing. Don't cross me, Quark. Don't, ever, cross me. "
- - Hagath and Quark, while testing Gaila's weapons in the holosuite
"You owe me fifteen strips of latinum!"
"Take it… that's all I've got left."
- - Jadzia Dax and Quark, during their tongo game
"You want me to put the baby down? Fine – I'll put the baby down… (Kirayoshi begins bawling loudly)… Happy?"
"No, no… this is amazing… (once in his father's arms the crying stops) Now if you'll excuse me, it's my turn to throw."
- - Miles O'Brien and Julian Bashir, during their darts match
"I hope I'm not interrupting anything. I believe you know the way to the security office."
- - Odo, to Quark
"The Bajoran government insists that we not interfere with the 'lawful' transactions of Hagath or his associates… Hagath supplied arms to the Resistance – without him or people like him, we'd all be dead, and the Cardassians would still be in power… (making no attempt to hide her disgust) … We owe him."
- - Kira Nerys, stating that Quark must be freed
"Better luck next time."
"You better hope there isn't a next time, mister. I have cut you a lot of slack in the past. I even looked away once or twice when I could have come down hard on you, but those days are over. Now we may not be able to get you for selling weapons, but you so much as litter on the Promenade and I will nail you to the wall!"
"Something to look forward to."
- - Quark, Benjamin Sisko and Kira – file info
"But why? They couldn't have had any money."
"My dear Quark, not every deal is about making money. Sometimes, you have to look at the big picture. And, at times, gaining a friend is more important than making profit."
"I admit, it's not the Ferengi way, but it's good business nonetheless."
- - Quark, Hagath, and Gaila, explaining why they aided the Bajoran Resistance
"I've done every imaginable test. Eyes, ears, digestive, pulmonary, and nervous system. There's nothing medically wrong with him."
"What are you telling me? My baby's just sad?"
"Perhaps he's become prematurely aware of life's existential isolation."
- - Julian Bashir and Miles O'Brien, discussing Kirayoshi's sleeping troubles.
"Twenty-eight million dead? Can't we just wound some of them?"
"I am here to buy weapons. Are you here to sell them?"
- - Quark and the Regent of Palomar
"Look out there. Millions and millions of stars. Millions upon millions of worlds. And right now, half of them are fanatically dedicated to destroying the other half. Now, do you think, if one of those twinkling little lights suddenly went out, anybody would notice? … Suppose I offered you ten million bars of gold-pressed latinum to help turn out one of those lights. Would you really tell me to keep my money?"
- - Gaila
"How much latinum did they pay you, Quark?"
"Enough to buy a new conscience?"
- - Dax and Kira, in Quark's dream
"Where I'm going, you can't follow. What I have to do, I do alone. One man who's had enough, who's going to stand up and say–"
- - Quark and Jadzia Dax
"The worst Hagath can do… is kill you – what's one life compared to the lives… of twenty-eight million people?!"
- - Quark, to himself in the mirror, realizing what he must do
"What do I have to lose?"
- - Quark
"What I'm trying to say is that keeping Kirayoshi in the pit is not an acceptable solution."
- - Sisko, to O'Brien
"About my tongo wheel…"
"It's not your tongo wheel. You gave it to me, remember?"
"I know that I 'gave' it to you, but at the time, I…"
"I'm not giving it back – and that's final!"
- - Quark and Dax, after Quark's life has returned to normal
Story and script
- During their first pitch session Bradley Thompson and David Weddle were told by Ira Steven Behr that he wanted a story "where Quark runs up against the limits of his greed." This episode was the result. As Hans Beimler explains, "Quark is a Ferengi businessman. That's something he's proud of, that has significance to him. He's not a weasel. "Business as Usual" is a great story because it tells us how far Quark has been pushed, and to what depths he's willing to go, that he would take the role of an arms dealer. And he's never completely comfortable with it. He kids himself for a while. He's in denial, but when they start talking about killing twenty-eight million people, he becomes a man in tremendous turmoil." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 437)) This desire to get under Quark's skin and see the essence of his character echoes the writers' reason for making the fourth season episode "Body Parts".
- Bradley Thompson and David Weddle based the outline of this episode on real life events. As Weddle explains, "We'd heard that Russian scientists were pulling plutonium out of warheads and selling it. Knowing that Cardassia was, at this point in the series, falling apart, we wondered what would happen if the planet decided to sell off its weapons." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (pp. 437-438)) This was the second time since the Klingon invasion of Cardassian space that the writers had structured a story with historical parallels; in the episode "By Inferno's Light", Robert Hewitt Wolfe based Dukat's rise to power on Adolf Hitler's rise to power in the Weimar Republic of Germany. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 427))
- When asked if he thinks Quark would have gone ahead with the deal if fewer people were going to die, Bradley Thompson replied "We just found one line of Quark's greed that he wouldn't cross. We haven't found the bottom line yet." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 439))
- A line cut from an early draft of the script referenced a Vulcan science vessel named T'Pan, which had requested permission to dock at Deep Space 9, and was granted to put in at Docking Bay Three. It also referenced the USS Wellington, which was also docked at the station refueling. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion - A Series Guide and Script Library)
- Of Lawrence Tierney's appearance, Ira Steven Behr enthuses "It was one of the highlights of my year to have him on the show. He's one of my icons." Unfortunately, Tierney had suffered a stroke shortly before shooting this episode, and although he could deliver his lines perfectly, he had trouble remembering them. This caused quite a bit of stress for first-time director Alexander Siddig, but in the end, Tierney's performance was one of the highlights of the show. As assistant director Louis Race points out, "He really came to deliver one line: 'I'm here to buy weapons; are you here to sell them?' And he delivered that line like somebody calling to you from the other side of death. It was just chilling. So when the guy had to deliver, he did, and when he did his close-up, nobody stayed in their trailers. They all came over to watch." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (pp. 438-439))
- Some of the weapon props were from The Warlord: Battle for the Galaxy. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 439))
- This episode is a favorite of actor Armin Shimerman: "What I like about it is that there's a real, actual problem that Quark has to face, a true dilemma. Having lived with Starfleet for so many years, Quark's begun to acclimatize to their culture, as anyone would who lives in a foreign culture. Because if you live in that culture longer and longer, you begin to take on its characteristics. And certainly, Quark's feelings of remorse and justice and morality are beginning to loom larger and larger in his life." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 437)) This recalls the conversation between Quark and Garak in "The Way of the Warrior", where they talk about how the Federation is like root beer, bubbly and sweet and quite awful, but if you get enough of it, you begin to like it.
- Shimerman also commented: "I'm perhaps the proudest of 'Business as Usual' because that, I believe, was the most three-dimensional performance I've given as the character. It was actually a combination of elements. It had a well thought-out script, a non-comic script for Quark. Sid directed it and he was very amenable to my making changes in the focus, in the thrust of the character. We also had terrific guest stars. It turned out to be a very enjoyable experience for me, It's the single show, of all of them, I'm most proud of". (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 22)
- Alexander Siddig was "relatively" happy with the episode. Siddig commented "There's a hundred thousand things I'd love to go and do again but by and large I was very happy with it. Armin was fabulous. It was a technically complicated part for him. Thank God for him or I'd have been in all sorts of trouble!". ("Time for a Changeling", Dreamwatch magazine, issue 36)
- Bradley Thompson liked "Business as Usual" as "we actually got to write about the moral question of selling arms". ("It All Began With the Word…", Star Trek: Communicator issue 123)
- Worf's ability to placate Kirayoshi O'Brien was seen again in the sixth season episode "Time's Orphan", where he assumed baby-sitting duty.
- Hagath's verbal warning to Quark while testing weapons in the holosuite is an homage to the 1983 film Scarface, in which Paul Shenar's character warns Al Pacino's with a nearly identical threat, though the word "cross" replaces a much more colorful metaphor.
- Gaila's speech to Quark ("Suppose I offered you ten million bars of gold-pressed latinum…") is adapted from Orson Welles' speech in Carol Reed's classic 1949 film The Third Man.
- Quark mentions his futures in quadrotriticale, a reference to TOS: "The Trouble with Tribbles". The Metron Consortium may also be a reference to TOS: "Arena".
- This episode was directed by Alexander Siddig, using his real name of Siddig El-Fadil, under which he had previously acted. Steven Berkoff previously appeared in A Clockwork Orange along with Siddig's uncle, Malcolm McDowell.
- Midway through the episode, Quark is demonstrating a particular weapon to a customer, describing how the weapon is equally effective against moving vessels and surface emplacements. The weapon is said to be a "Breen CRM-114," a reference to the CRM-114 device found in the B-52 bombers in the film Dr. Strangelove.
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 5.9, 21 July 1997
- As part of the DS9 Season 5 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
Special guest star
- Patti Begley as Bajoran officer
- Ivy Borg as Rita Tannenbaum
- Charlie Curtis as Talura
- Brian Demonbreun as sciences officer
- Randy James as Jones
- Karlotta Nelson as Bajoran woman
- Mark Allen Shepherd as Morn
- Ken Gruz as Bolian bartender
- Unknown performers as
2333; amusement; Andarian glass beads; Annel; antimonium; armistice; arms dealer; assault skimmer; babysitter; Bajor; Bajorans; Bajoran Provisional Government; Bajoran Resistance; Bajoran sector; bank account; biogenic weapon; blight; Bolians; Breen CRM-114 (Breen); business partner; Cardassians; cargo bay; centimeter; champagne; chef; Clavisoa berry; collateral; constable; creditor; crib; dabo; darts; death toll; Defiant, USS; deflector array; descrambler; discount; Dopterian interceptor; drowning; empire; endangering the public safety; Farrakk's ship; Federation; Federation space; feldomite; Ferengi; Ferengi Commerce Authority; Rules of Acquisition; freedom; garlic; general; gigajoule; gratuity; grease; head; hologram; holosuite; incitement to riot; inheritance; installment plan; joke (jocularity); latinum; "lining one's pockets"; littering; low-level lifeforms; lungs; Manchovites; Matopin rock fungus; Metron Consortium; Minnobia; moon; moon grass; mutagenic retrovirus; neural modulator; O'Brien, Keiko; O'Brien, Kirayoshi; O'Brien, Molly; Occupation of Bajor; ODN relay; oo-mox; optronic emitter; palace; Palamar; Palamarians; Palamarian Freedom Brigade (brigade); Palamarian sea urchin; Parsion III; poison; powdered newt supplements; prions; Promenade; Proxcinians; Proxcinian assault skimmer purchaser; Proxcinian War; public relations; purification squad; quadrotriticale; Quark's; reactive armor; recipe; regent; Regent's palace chefs; Replimat; retirement; retreat; Risa; Rozhenko, Alexander; salesman; sandwich; Sepian Commodities Exchange; snail juice; tartoc; tongo; tritanium; Varaxian LM-7; Vek; Verillians; Vilix'pran; Vilix'pran's offspring; warp core breach; waters; weapons; Wentlian condor snake; Yridians
- "Business as Usual" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Business as Usual" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Business as Usual" at Wikipedia
- "Business as Usual" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
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