Rom was a male Ferengi engineer of the 24th century Ferengi Alliance and became its Grand Nagus. A failure as a businessman but a mechanical and engineering genius, he worked as a waiter for several years at Quark's Bar, Grill, Gaming House and Holosuite Arcade on Deep Space 9 before becoming an engineer in the Bajoran Militia. He was known for being a kinder, gentler Ferengi and kept that reputation as Nagus. He was the son of Keldar and Ishka, younger brother of Quark, and father of Nog. He was married twice, to Prinadora and then Leeta.
Rom grew up on Ferenginar with his family. As a child, Rom was always teased for having smaller-than-average lobes than the rest of the boys. Quark was the worst, telling everyone that Rom was adopted. On Rom's Naming Day, Quark substituted his brother's presents with old vegetables, and sold the presents for more than their father had paid for them, which actually earned him the praise of his parents. (DS9: "Rivals") When Rom was a child he had a latinum tooth sharpener. Quark resented this, as his tooth sharpener was a wooden chew stick.
Deep Space 9
Rom was employed at Quark's aboard Deep Space 9, holding several positions such as server, pit boss, and assistant to Quark, before being "promoted" to Assistant Manager of Policy and Clientele. He and his brother Quark had an odd relationship. Quark at times treated him like a servant, many times swindling him out of latinum. Other times Quark took care of Rom, and provided him with whatever he needed. Rom was very loyal to Quark and would do anything Quark asked - although it wasn't below him as a Ferengi to swindle, steal from or even sell his brother out at times. (DS9: "Emissary", "Babel", "The Nagus", "Prophet Motive")
When the Grand Nagus Zek visited the station, he admonished Rom for sending Nog to school and told him to stop it. Zek made Quark the new nagus so he could retire. Shortly after this, he died. Rom wanted Quark's Bar, but instead Quark appointed Rom as his bodyguard. Rom still wanted the bar, but Quark refused, and Rom along with Krax, Zek's son, decided to kill Quark. Rom escorted him to an airlock but instead of a ship waiting, there was empty space. Just before Quark would have been ejected into space, Zek appeared and stated that he faked his death to test his son's worthiness to be nagus – which he failed. Quark congratulated Rom on his treachery, since this made him a true Ferengi. (DS9: "The Nagus")
After Quark was appointed to open trade negotiation with the Gamma Quadrant, Rom became jealous of a Ferengi named Pel who became Quark's right-hand man in the negotiations. Rom exposed her as a female which got Quark in trouble. (DS9: "Rules of Acquisition")
He opposed his brother during the crisis their mother caused when she earned profit. Quark wanted Ishka to return all the profits, or he would have to and be ruined. When they stopped talking to each other, Rom arranged a meeting, and they resolved the issue. Ishka signed a confession and returned the profits. But she hid two-thirds of the profits with Rom's help. (DS9: "Family Business")
Rom was made senior administrator of the Ferengi Benevolent Association, a short-lived organization established by Grand Nagus Zek during a period in which the Prophets had replaced the Nagus' greedy philosophical perspective with a more charitable one. Rom's greed was unaffected, however, and he embezzled money from the association until it was shut down, after Quark convinced the Prophets to restore the Nagus. (DS9: "Prophet Motive")
In 2372, a mishap on their ship sent Rom and Quark back to Earth in 1947. This became known as the Roswell Incident. They were mistaken for invaders and were almost dissected by the military. They escaped with the help of Earth scientists and returned to their own time. On the journey to earth, Rom's engineering expertise saved them when their ship was in danger of breaking up; and his skills helped them return to the correct time in the future, too. (DS9: "Little Green Men")
A new career
Rom became sick due to being overworked. He became angry at the working conditions in Quark's and formed the Guild of Restaurant and Casino Employees. Brunt arrived at the station and threatened Rom, when this failed, he had Quark beaten and threatened to kill him. Rom ended the strike when Quark secretly agreed to his demands. He followed this up with an application to join the station's Bajoran engineering crew and joined Chief O'Brien's maintenance team, initially working in waste extraction as a Diagnostic and Repair Technician, Junior Grade. (DS9: "Bar Association")
Rom re-calibrated the deflector beam at O'Brien's request. O'Brien was ordered to do this by a Pah-wraith who had taken over Keiko O'Brien's body and had threatened to kill her. Rom informed O'Brien that the recalibration would send the deflector beam into the wormhole and kill the aliens inside it. O'Brien was able to rig the beam to hit the alien and save Keiko. As Rom kept O'Brien's secret safe until Keiko was no longer in danger, this endeared Rom to O'Brien, who promoted him to the day shift. (DS9: "The Assignment")
Rom was invited to join Captain Sisko's baseball team that was going to play against a Vulcan team coached by Solok, a rival of Sisko's since their Academy days. Rom couldn't hit a ball, and wasn't good at catching, either. Sisko cut him from the team. Later, Sisko felt bad and in the last inning with Nog on third, the team losing 10 to 0, Sisko sent Rom to bat. Rom missed the first two pitches. On the third pitch, as Rom leaned forward to try to see what the coach wanted him to do, he accidentally hit the ball. It rolled down the first base line and Nog slid into home, scoring his team's only run. The team rushed the field and lifted Rom up as the hero of the game. (DS9: "Take Me Out to the Holosuite")
Rom played an important role in the war against the Dominion, coming up with the idea of self-replicating mines to block the Bajoran wormhole, stopping the Dominion from being reinforced from the Gamma Quadrant. When the Dominion captured Deep Space 9, he remained on board as a "spy" for the Federation, and resumed his title of Assistant Manager of Policy and Clientele. (DS9: "Call to Arms")
During the Cardassian takeover of DS9, he was part of Kira's resistance cell against the Dominion. He helped cause dissension between the Dominion and Cardassians. After learning that Gul Dukat was going to use the deflector array to disable the mines, he tried to disable the deflector array, but was caught. He was sentenced to death by Dukat for his actions, but was rescued by Quark and Tora Ziyal. He failed to disable the deflector array in time, but disabled the station's weapons systems instead. The loss of the weapons systems left the Dominion-held station vulnerable after the loss of their reinforcements, allowing the Federation/Klingon task force to recapture the station easily. (DS9: "Behind the Lines", "Favor the Bold", "Sacrifice of Angels")
At first, the Nagus Zek ignored Rom, believing him to be of poor business sense and not very intelligent. Zek disagreed strongly with many of Rom's choices concerning his son Nog. Zek did not like the idea of Nog attending a Human school and was opposed to Nog entering Starfleet. But events and Ishka would influence the improvement of Zek's attitude toward Rom. (DS9: "The Nagus")
Rom helped restore the Nagus to the Ferengi ways after the Nagus had been influenced by the Prophets. He helped restore Zek as the Grand Nagus after Brunt had deposed him. (DS9: "Prophet Motive", "Profit and Lace")
He and Quark entered into the mirror universe and saved Zek from the Alliance. They helped the ISS Defiant in capturing the Regent, after disabling his weapon systems. They also killed mirror Garak who was going to kill them, although Rom was shocked at Leeta's counterpart offering to "debrief" Ezri's counterpart following her defection. Rom's counterpart in the mirror universe had been killed by the Alliance. This saddened Rom as he would have liked the opportunity to have met himself. (DS9: "The Emperor's New Cloak")
When Ishka became Zek's companion, she influenced him in trying to turn Ferengi society into a more tolerant one that allowed free commerce and women's rights. Her influence over Zek led to social reform and a Ferenginar that instituted democratic changes. Rom became the perfect choice for Nagus because he himself had never been a traditional Ferengi. Zek believed that he would be an excellent successor for the newly reformed Ferenginar. (DS9: "The Dogs of War")
|Grand Nagi of the Ferengi Alliance|
|Gint • Smeet • Zek (until 2375) • Quark (2369) • Brunt (2374, acting) • Rom (2375 onward)|
After Quark left Ferenginar in 2351, upon reaching his Age of Ascension, Rom lived at home for a further decade. During this time, he realized that Keldar was a poor businessman, going from one bad deal to the next. Rom finally left Ferenginar in 2361. (DS9: "Family Business")
In the early 2350s, Rom met his first wife, Prinadora. He signed a standard five-year marriage contract with her father in order to have a child. In 2353, they had their son, Nog. Rom, however, then fell in love with Prinadora and wanted to extend the contract. Unfortunately, he was so in love that he never bothered to read the extension before signing it. In the end, her father swindled Rom out of all of his money, and Prinadora left Rom (and Nog) for a richer man. (DS9: "Doctor Bashir, I Presume")
Quark was annoyed and irritated by his brother's stupidity and idiocy all of his life. Growing up, Quark often belittled Rom about his smaller lobes and about supposedly being adopted. He worked in Quark's Bar for low wages and was cheated out of his share of the profits.
When Grand Nagus Zek visited Deep Space 9, Quark made Rom give up his quarters for the Nagus. When Zek appointed Quark to be the new Grand Nagus, Rom conspired to kill Quark, and might have succeeded if Zek and Odo hadn't arrived at the last minute. Quark later praised Rom for his treachery. (DS9: "The Nagus")
At first, Rom did whatever Quark demanded. But as time went on, Rom began to resist his brother's demands. Rom became less afraid of Quark and confronted him over many issues. When Quark dropped Rom's share of the profits from 14.3% to 12.5% (from one-seventh to one-eighth share of profit), Rom left and joined Martus Mazur in opening a rival bar. When Martus began treating Rom even worse, he returned to Quark's where he could at least "be cheated by family." (DS9: "Rivals")
He opposed Quark over his treatment of their mother, who—against Ferengi law—earned profit. When Quark tried to forbid Nog's admission to Starfleet Academy in late 2371, Rom reminded him that he was Nog's father and Quark had no say in the matter. Later that year, Rom discovered that Quark sabotaged Nog's spatial orientation test to disqualify him from entering the Academy, under the belief that he was perfectly justified in doing so in Nog's "best interests". The infuriated father confronted Quark and in no uncertain terms warned him against interfering with Nog's happiness ever again, even threatening to burn down Quark's bar if he does. (DS9: "Heart of Stone", "Facets")
The following year, he single-handedly organized a union of Quark's employees after Quark had cut their wages. He defied both his brother and Liquidator Brunt, whom the Ferengi Commerce Authority had sent to resolve the situation. After the wages had been restored, Rom made the final break with his brother. Rom joined the maintenance crew on Deep Space 9. (DS9: "Bar Association")
But, throughout all the conflicts with his brother, he and Quark loved each other very much. This was evident when he became jealous of Quark's relationship with Pel. Rom exposed Pel as a female during a visit by Grand Nagus Zek in 2370. (DS9: "Rules of Acquisition")
For his part, Quark always took care of Rom if he was in need. Quark had always remained neutral in conflicts from the Cardassian occupation of Bajor to the retaking of Deep Space 9 by the Cardassians. When Rom was arrested for sabotage and sentenced to death, Quark risked his life and saved Rom. They had many adventures together, and many opportunities for profit.
After Quark had sold his bar to Rom for 5,000 bars of latinum under the miscommunicated belief that he was about to become Grand Nagus, Grand Nagus Rom gave him back the bar and let him keep the money as they were family. Quark called him an idiot, but then affectionately added that he loved him. (DS9: "The Dogs of War")
Rom's mother, Ishka, loved Rom very much and protected him. She saw that he was a good man, unsuccessful in commercial ventures, but with a good heart. Ironically, she saw Rom as being more similar to his father Keldar, whom Quark mistakenly idolized, although he too was a terrible businessman. Quark, conversely, was more like her.
Rom and Ishka were very close when he was a child, and they remained close when Rom moved away from Ferenginar. Rom never quarreled with her over her lifestyle, nor resented her for earning more profit than him. Ishka was his "Moogie." He supported her against both Quark and the Ferengi Commerce Authority. When he admitted to being somewhat uncomfortable with being in Ishka's newly clothed presence in a private discussion between them, she disrobed, but "only for him". (DS9: "Family Business")
Rom was part of the team that rescued Ishka from the Dominion. The Dominion agreed to a prisoner exchange, Ishka for the Vorta Keevan. Empok Nor was the site for the prisoner exchange. After a battle with the Jem'Hadar, Ishka was rescued. (DS9: "The Magnificent Ferengi")
Rom had a good relationship with his son Nog, although there were times that they did not see eye-to-eye.
Nog wanted to pursue career opportunities of a nontraditional Ferengi nature. Rom strongly disapproved and even attempted to prevent Nog from learning to read or attend Keiko O'Brien's school on the station. But he changed his mind and allowed (forcefully) Nog to attend the school. (DS9: "The Nagus")
Over the years, Rom's attitudes softened, and he encouraged his son in his goals. His ambition for his son grew to the point where he felt directly invested. When Nog wished to apply to Starfleet, Rom encouraged him, saying that he would be proud to have a son in Starfleet. (DS9: "Heart of Stone") Quark, however, remained opposed to the idea. When Rom discovered that Quark had altered the settings of the holosuite to sabotage the results of one of the exams so that Nog would fail, he reported the incident to Commander Sisko (who let Nog re-take the exam) and threatened to burn down Quark's Bar should he interfere again. Nothing was important to Rom than his son's happiness, not even latinum. (DS9: "Facets")
When his son became a cadet, Rom was extremely proud, although he always worried about Nog and the dangers he faced. Nog joined Rom in rescuing Ishka from the Dominion. He later had to deal with Nog's depression after his son was wounded in a battle with the Dominion and lost a leg. Rom opposed the idea that Nog would recuperate in the Vic Fontaine holoprogram. (DS9: "It's Only a Paper Moon")
In 2373, Rom fell in love with Leeta, a Bajoran woman who worked as one of the dabo girls at Quark's. Leeta admitted to having a crush on him to her ex-boyfriend, Julian Bashir. (DS9: "Let He Who Is Without Sin...")
Despite constantly planning to do so, Rom could never work up the courage to ask Leeta out. When Doctor Lewis Zimmerman visited the station to work with Doctor Bashir, he fell in love with Leeta. She was going to leave with him, and they planned to live together, Zimmerman offering to let her open a restaurant on Jupiter Station. Just as she was boarding a ship, Rom stopped her and confessed his love for her. Leeta admitted that she was in love with Rom and remained. (DS9: "Doctor Bashir, I Presume")
Rom learned about Bajoran customs to please Leeta but demanded that Leeta sign the Ferengi equivalent of a pre-nuptial agreement, called the Waiver of Property and Profit. Rom and Leeta broke up over the demand and that made Rom miserable. He decided to give his latinum to the Bajoran War Orphans Fund so that the pre-nuptial agreement was no longer necessary, and he and Leeta made up. (DS9: "Ferengi Love Songs")
- "Emissary" (Season One)
- "A Man Alone"
- "The Nagus"
- "The Homecoming" (Season Two)
- "The Siege"
- "Rules of Acquisition"
- "Necessary Evil"
- "The House of Quark" (Season Three)
- "Heart of Stone"
- "Prophet Motive"
- "Family Business"
- "Little Green Men" (Season Four)
- "Our Man Bashir"
- "Bar Association"
- "Body Parts"
- "The Assignment" (Season Five)
- "The Ascent"
- "Doctor Bashir, I Presume"
- "Ferengi Love Songs"
- "Call to Arms"
- "Behind the Lines" (Season Six)
- "Favor the Bold"
- "Sacrifice of Angels"
- "You Are Cordially Invited"
- "The Magnificent Ferengi"
- "Profit and Lace"
- "Take Me Out to the Holosuite" (Season Seven)
- "Treachery, Faith and the Great River"
- "The Siege of AR-558"
- "It's Only a Paper Moon"
- "The Emperor's New Cloak"
- "The Dogs of War"
- "What You Leave Behind" (archive footage)
Rom was portrayed by Max Grodénchik.
Grodénchik commented: "When this series started, Rom had no prospects. He was under his brother's thumb, he had no real sense of self, and he felt that he was a failure as a Ferengi. He was frightened, a scared little guy. But with the influence of all the different races that have come through the station — the Bajorans, the humans, the Klingons, and so on — he began to think about other ways of life and to reshape his own. He began to stick up for his son and then for himself, and to separate what was important to him in life, and what wasn't. And he developed to a point where he wanted to share his life with someone else. He fell in love and married Leeta and felt worthwhile. I think it began back in season one, when Rom returned a purse and Quark asked, 'Why did you do that? The First Rule of Acquisition says once you have their money, you never give it back.' He was trying to do a good thing, the right thing. And somehow that led him to the point where the guy who felt less like a Ferengi than any other Ferengi was suddenly head of the Ferengi Alliance! It's just like an American kid wanting to grow up to be President. I'm sure every Ferengi boy wants to grow up to be the Grand Nagus. If you're an American kid and somewhere along the line you start getting bad grades, you tell yourself, 'Well, maybe I'll just settle for being a fireman'. Your dreams get whittled down over the years. So I'm sure for Rom it's the last thing he ever expected. It's just been an amazing journey! Over the years, I've tried to outguess the writers. I've tried to imagine what's next for Rom and think of what's best for Rom. But they always come up with something better than I could ever imagine. I certainly can't complain and I've learned that maybe it's not my job to think about it. I should just leave it to the Blessed Exchequer!" (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. ?))
Max Grodénchik sees "Necessary Evil" as an important episode in the development of Rom as a character. Grodénchik commented: "I do think that these characters are continuing to grow. In "Necessary Evil", Odo says to me, 'You are a hero, Rom. You saved your brother's life'. That feels good. I think Rom is torn between both sides of that - being a good brother and wanting the bar. He is very conflicted, and I think that is a good thing. We are all conflicted about something. It is more sophisticated and true to life than just saying Rom just wants the bar, because I think Rom also wants his brother's approval. He even says in ["Necessary Evil"], 'I tried so hard to win my brother's trust, but now he is dead I can never earn it'. He wants the bar to prove to his brother that he can make great profit. When Quark went away to the Gamma Quadrant with Pel (in "Rules of Acquisition"), he did great business". (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p 66)
In the Deep Space Nine relaunch novels, Rom and Leeta went on to have a daughter, whom they named Bena, both for the Bajoran word for "joy", and after Benjamin Sisko for all he had done for them. Ironically, as Quark pointed out, the word "bena", in Ferengi, meant "underflooring", although Rom defended it by saying that it symbolized how children were always getting underfoot. At the time of Bena's birth, Rom was being challenged for his role of Grand Nagus on the grounds that he had broken his original marriage contract with Prinadora, but Ro Laren was able to clear him by pointing out that, according to the Rules of Acquisition, "A contract is a contract is a contract, but only between Ferengi", arguing that, since Rom's second marriage was to a Bajoran woman in a Bajoran ceremony overseen by the Bajoran Emissary, he technically didn't violate his original contract as the new one didn't "count" under Ferengi law.
Rom also opened diplomatic relations between Ferenginar and Bajor when Bajor joined the Federation. At the same time, he arranged to have Quark's Bar named as the official Ferengi Embassy to Bajor, resulting in Quark becoming the Ferengi Ambassador to Bajor. With his bar now as the Ferengi Embassy, Quark could still continue to charge latinum for his services - as the Embassy, the bar became Ferengi "soil" and therefore subject to Ferengi law, whereas under Federation law (and the Federation's post-scarcity, money-free economy), Quark would have been unable to charge.
In the novel A Singular Destiny, Rom accepted an invitation for the Ferengi Alliance, and the Cardassian Union, to join the Federation and Klingon Empire in an expansion of the Khitomer Accords, in response to the Typhon Pact: an alliance of the Romulan Star Empire, the Tholian Assembly, the Breen Confederacy, the Gorn Hegemony, the Tzenkethi Coalition, and the Holy Order of the Kinshaya.
In the video game Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Fallen, Rom made several non-speaking appearances on the Promenade between missions. He was also mentioned by name in the PC game Star Trek: Bridge Commander in his capacity as Grand Nagus.
In the video game Star Trek Online, Rom, as Grand Nagus, negotiated an agreement with the Cardassian Detapa Council to finance the rebuilding of Cardassia's cities and industry in 2391. Rom makes his official appearance in the game in the "Victory is Life" expansion, voiced once more by Max Grodénchik. He attends a conference called by Odo at DS9 to answer the threat of the Hur'q, remarking that Ferenginar was one of the planets attacked by the creatures, and enthusiastically supports joining the forces assembled to fight them. Both he and Quark also work to convince the Klingons to commit to the conflict by reclaiming the Sword of Kahless from the Iconians.