(written from a Production point of view)
When Quark's mother Ishka is captured by the Dominion, Quark, Rom, and Nog lead a team of Ferengi into a meeting on Empok Nor with Keevan as their payment.
In Quark's Bar, Quark observes an incoming shipment of syrup of squill. It had been previously thought to be nearly unavailable for the last year due to a drought on the planet Balancar. Quark explains to his customers how he had learned there was in fact no drought and that it was merely a ruse to drive up prices. Quark had then demanded a shipment of syrup or he would "expose their deception to the entire quadrant".
Quark's customers are impressed, though his moment of glory is short-lived. Dax, Doctor Bashir, and Chief O' Brien enter, having just returned from taking the USS Defiant on a mission behind enemy lines in Cardassian space, the first reconnaissance mission into the area since the Dominion's retreat. Quark complains to Constable Odo about the Starfleet officers stealing away his audience. Odo points out they're not just Starfleet officers, they're heroes. Quark is then interrupted by Broik who comes with a message from Grand Nagus Zek from Ferenginar.
Quark explains that Moogie was returning home from a lobe-lift on Vulcan when her transport was attacked by Dominion forces, taking her prisoner. He says the Nagus offered a reward of fifty bars of gold-pressed latinum, which Quark will share with Rom for his participation: thirty bars for himself and twenty for Rom, the difference representing his finder's fee.
Rom suggests they hire the toughest mercenaries they can find: Nausicaans, Breen, Klingons. Quark has another idea, however: the rescue team will be made up only of Ferengi. Rom is nervous but Quark believes Ferengi can be just as tough as Klingons with the right incentive. Being a typical Ferengi himself, however, they'll say the reward the group will share is only twenty bars of latinum. With that, they seek out their first recruit.
Nog immediately declines, explaining that he's now a Starfleet officer and has duties to perform. Quark, however, points out that he could be the team's Strategic operations officer, just like Commander Worf. They suggest he could train the team for combat. Nog finally agrees, with the team becoming three.
Before contacting their next recruit, Quark tells Rom that Leck is not a typical Ferengi: his priorities are different. When the two reach Leck on a secure subspace channel, Rom learns that Leck is an "Eliminator". He initially has no interest in joining the team or even in earning latinum. He does, however, enjoy testing his abilities with a challenge and agrees to join when he learns they'll be facing the Dominion. The team is now four.
Next they travel to a starbase to pick up their cousin Gaila, who has fallen on hard times since they last met. The weapons dealer who was once so wealthy, he owned his own moon was recently arrested on Thalos VI for vagrancy. Gaila blames his misfortune entirely on Quark. When he learns Quark paid for his release and his offer to earn some latinum, Gaila's vengeance is overcome by greed and he too agrees to join. The team is now five.
Back at the bar on Deep Space 9, Nog attempts to show them a schematic of a Dominion internment center, but soon gets into an argument with Leck over Leck's refusal to call him "sir" and finally quits. As Quark urges him to stay, Gaila asks how they're supposed to get to the internment center anyway, since they have no ship. As Quark tries to soothe things over, a loud clapping is heard and Brunt emerges from the other end of the bar.
Brunt initially mocks the group but quickly announces his intention to sign up as well. Having lost his job as a Liquidator for the FCA after trying to usurp Zek, ("Ferengi Love Songs") he hopes that by helping to save Ishka, the Nagus would give him his job back. None of the others want him on board though; none of them like liquidators and it would mean smaller shares of the "twenty bar reward". "Fine," Brunt says, innocently. "I'll just get in my ship and leave." The team is now six.
In a holosuite simulation, Nog has the team engage a group of three Jem'Hadar soldiers guarding Ishka with disastrous results: Quark is shot in the leg, Gaila drops his weapon and runs away, Rom runs into a wall, Brunt tries to surrender but is shot as well. The only one to get off a shot is Leck, who instead shoots Ishka! "I saw we weren't going to rescue her so I put her out of her misery," he says. Brunt suggests starting off with something simpler like ambushing Bolians, but a frustrated Quark simply sends them all away.
Back down in the bar, Quark tells Rom they don't have a chance of rescuing their mother. As he reminisces about his impressive deal acquiring squill a few days earlier, Rom suggests perhaps instead of trying to fight the Dominion, they should negotiate instead. Quark agrees, deciding a trade is better since everyone goes home happy and alive. The two think about what they have to trade.
Quark later thanks Captain Sisko and Major Kira for talking to Starfleet on his behalf and giving him a prisoner to exchange. Kira tells him it is payback for freeing her from the Dominion. Kira also warns Quark not to turn his back on this prisoner; he's not to be trusted. "Neither am I," Quark says confidently.
Aboard Brunt's shuttle, Gaila questions why Quark still needs any of them now that the rescue mission has become a simple prisoner exchange. "Because he doesn't trust the Dominion, and neither do I," Leck says. Nog mentions that he has been at Empok Nor before and tells them Quark chose the deserted Cardassian space station as the location for the trade because it is the same design as Deep Space 9, therefore they know the layout.
Quark then enters with their prisoner: Keevan (the Vorta captured by Captain Sisko months earlier). Keevan urges them all to send final messages to their loved ones and make sure their wills are in order "because the moment we leave the station you'll have signed your death warrants."
The shuttle arrives at Empok Nor and Nog confirms the station being empty with his tricorder. He tells the others to set up base camp in the station's infirmary, though they're slow to respond until Quark offers two slips of latinum for the first man who makes it to the door. Nog tells Quark that one does not pay soldiers to do their duty. "You do if they're Ferengi," Quark responds.
Leck grumbles about the small size of the infirmary while Gaila complains about an upset stomach. Leck, noticing Keevan's glib responses, points out the Vorta doesn't seem happy at the prospect of rejoining his people. Keevan sourly informs them that, since Vorta are expected to commit suicide rather than be captured, the only things he has to look forward to upon rejoining his people are "a most unpleasant debriefing," followed by summary execution.
Hours later, five of the Ferengi are awaken by Gaila's screaming. During his shift to guard Keevan, Gaila had fallen asleep and let him escape. The Ferengi quickly rush back to the shuttle where Keevan is unsuccessfully trying to start it. Fortunately, Quark had Rom disengage the induction matrix after they arrived. He still ran, however, because "sometimes my brother gets things wrong."
Moments later, an alarm sounds, stating that a Dominion ship is approaching. The Ferengi, along with Keevan, hurry back to the infirmary and hide. After a few moments, Nog volunteers to take a look outside. Peeking out the door, he sees a legion of Jem'Hadar, their weapons all aimed at the infirmary. Immediately Nog shuts the door. Quark comes around the corner and asks if anybody's there. Nog tells his uncle that he could say that.
Nog finally asks the other Ferengi, still cowering in the corner why they're hiding from the Jem'Hadar. They did ask them to come, after all. Brunt agrees and tells Quark all he needs to do is negotiate the prisoner exchange. Keevan tells them their only hope to is to get back to the ship and escape, but Nog tells him they're not going anywhere without their Moogie. Quark then heads out onto the Promenade with Rom and Nog in tow.
As they three step out, they see Ishka, guarded by another Vorta named Yelgrun and flanked by two Jem'Hadar guards. Quark tells them, he's willing to arrange the trade, but needs some assurance first. He wants all the Jem'Hadar off the station, though he concedes to letting Yelgrun's two guards stay. Then, he'll have their ship head back to Dominion territory at warp nine. This will leave Yelgrun stranded on the station for a few days, giving the Ferengi more than enough time to get away safely before they return.
Yelgrun threatens to have the Jem'Hadar storm the infirmary and kill them all, but Quark tells him that Keevan would be the first to die. His fate may be sealed either way but Yelgrun likely wants to know what Dominion secrets Keevan revealed to the Federation first. Yelgrun is impressed with Quark's cunning and agrees to the deal, telling them to be ready in thirty minutes. Before they leave, however, Nog wants to know how they know it is really Ishka and not a Changeling impostor. Nog cuts her hand with a knife, proving it is her, and getting a few angry cuffs from his grandmother in the process.
Back in the infirmary, the Ferengi are in good spirits over the success of the deal. They reminisce about going home to Ferenginar, with its torrential rains, rotting vegetation, dampness, and rivers of muck, much to Keevan's disgust. Their good mood is interrupted, however, when Rom accidentally reveals the reward money is fifty bars instead of the twenty they were promised. This infuriates Brunt, Gaila, and even Leck, who may not care about latinum but doesn't like being cheated. An enraged Gaila raises his weapon and shoots at Quark. Quark and the others duck out of the way and the blast hits Keevan instead. With a smoking hole in his chest, the fatally wounded Vorta says "I hate Ferengi" before falling to the floor, dead.
The Ferengi all gather around the dead Keevan before looking back up at Gaila. "You idiot," Leck finally grumbles.
The Ferengi sit around lamenting their situation: they'll likely be killed when Yelgrun learns the truth. Gaila suggests surrendering, Brunt suggests trying to escape in his ship, and Rom suggests hiding. Quark is offended by this, reminding them of the Battle of Prexnak, the most important battle in Ferengi history, when ten Ferengi stood alone against two hundred seventy-three Lytasians. Gaila, however, points out that all ten Ferengi were slaughtered. Quark, unswayed, tell them this is their chance to prove that Ferengi are as tough as any species in the galaxy.
Leck soundly agrees, though Brunt and Gaila only join in on a condition of equal shares of the fifty bars of latinum. "Fifty bars it is, Quark says, "minus my usual finder's fee."
During all this, Nog has been examining Keevan's body, finally deciding that he can't be revived. As he places a neural stimulator on Keevan's head, Keevan's right arm swings around and hits Nog. Nog explains that the neural stimulator caused a reflexive impulse in his cerebellum. "If you think about it, medicine isn't that different from engineering," he says. "It's all about keeping things running, fixing broken parts." As the six Ferengi begin to form a plan, Yelgrun announces it is time for the exchange. Nog tells Quark to stall for time until he can get more neural stimulators.
Quark hurries out and tells them he'll need a few more minutes for Rom to do a sensor scan of the station to confirm the Jem'Hadar are gone. Yelgrun is furious at this latest delay and threatens to have Ishka killed. Quark begs him not to. "And I thought the Breen were annoying," Yelgrun says. Quark also asks if they can make the exchange at the docking bay since that's where his ship is. Yelgrun has no choice but to agree.
Quark hurries back in, where Nog is using the stimulators to animate Keevan's corpse. With a signal from his tricorder, the dead Vorta suddenly sits up and opens his eyes.
In a corridor at the docking bay, Ishka and Yelgrun are discussing investing in hypicate roots when Quark arrives with the upright Keevan. They each send their prisoners walking (Keevan with help from Nog, who is off to the side, sending signals from his tricorder). Yelgrun watches Keevan's stiff movements as he walks towards him. "What have they done to him?" he asks. Ishka makes it safely into Quark's arms, but Keevan walks into a wall and keeps walking into it again and again.
Quark and Ishka rush to find cover. Yelgrun yells for his Jem'Hadar to stop them, but before they can, a door goes up, revealing Leck and Gaila. Leck flicks his knife into the chest of one of the Jem'Hadar, killing him. As Yelgrun ducks, and the remaining Jem'Hadar soldier turns on Leck and Gaila, Rom and Brunt appear at the other end of the corridor and blast him with their phaser rifles.
Ishka tells Quark the Grand Nagus will be proud of him, as she is. Quark tells them they'll take Yelgrun with them. "He'll be our gift to Starfleet. They gave us a Vorta, we'll give them one."
Leck notes this was the sloppiest, most amateurish operation he'd ever seen, then adds, "If you ever do something like this again," he says, "count me in." Rom asks his brother how it feels to be a hero. "You tell me," Quark says. "It feels good?" Rom suggests. Quark smiles. "You bet it does!"
With that, they board the shuttle and head out, leaving Keevan's body still walking into the wall.
"You see, I once did business with the nephew of the cousin of the stepsister of a friend of the secretary to the Consortium's chief accountant. (to himself) Um… nephew-cousin-stepsister-friend… yeah, that's right."
- - Quark
"Who do you want eliminated?"
"It's not that kind of job."
"Then why call an eliminator?"
"What's an eliminator?"
- - Leck, Quark, and Rom
- - Gaila
"Something wrong, Quark?"
"Yes, something's wrong. A bunch of self-satisfied Starfleet officers just stole my audience."
"They're not just Starfleet officers, they're heroes. Let's face it, Quark, there's nothing heroic about earning profit."
"There is on Ferenginar."
"We're not on Ferenginar."
- - Odo and Quark
- - Brunt and Quark
"May I help you gentlemen?"
"Must've taken a wrong turn."
"It looks that way."
- - Sisko and Quark, after which Quark is stared out of Sisko's office
"We'll just use Ferengi."
"Then we'll all die!"
- - Quark and Rom
"Two slips of latinum for the first man who makes it to the infirmary. I mean base camp."
"You don't pay your soldiers to do their duty!"
"You do if they're Ferengi!"
- - Quark to Nog, on motivating their team members
"My son, the soldier."
"They've ruined him!"
- - A proud Rom, talking about his son, and Quark rebuffing him
"(Waving his hand) Hi, I'm Rom. This is Nog, Brunt…"
"Rom, he doesn't care."
"Truer words have never been spoken."
- - Rom, Quark, and Keevan, upon the latter's arrival on the Ferengi shuttle
"I hate Ferengi…"
- - Keevan (his last words)
- - Leck, to Gaila, after the latter shoots Keevan
"Family. You understand."
"Not really. I was cloned."
- - Quark and Yelgrun
"This isn't a ship, it's a closet!"
- - Leck, about Brunt's shuttle
"Oh, to stand once more in those rivers of muck."
"Oh, I only wish I could be there with you."
- - Leck, eager to return to Ferenginar, and Keevan wishing he wasn't there
"According to these readings, this man is dead."
"Thank you, Doctor Nog."
- - Nog and Quark, at least five minutes after Keevan was shot
"Say you'll join us. Please!"
"I'm a Starfleet Officer, I can't go running off with you on some half-baked rescue mission! I have duties to perform."
"But you know how to fire a phaser!"
- - Rom and Nog
"(Quietly) Straighten him out. Straighten him out."
- - Quark and Nog, trying to move Keevan's dead body with neural stimulators during the trade-off
"[Sigh], I thought the Breen were annoying."
- - Yelgrun, negotiating with Quark
"I know, I know. You hate us."
- - Yelgrun and Quark, after Yelgrun is captured
"How do we know that's really Moogie and not a Changeling?"
"I think that uniform is too tight on you, Nog. It's cutting off circulation to your brain."
"Sounds like Moogie."
- - Nog, Ishka and Rom
"Seventy-five hundred lots of hipecat futures?"
"The hipecat root is very versatile. It's used in certain medicines, defractive optics, and even some beauty supplies. Here, feel how smooth my head is. (After he feels her head) Cream of hipecat. I apply it twice a day. You see a diversified financial portfolio can mean greater profits and healthier looking skin."
"Fascinating! I'd love to hear more. But, if your son doesn't show up soon, I'm gonna have to kill you."
- - Yelgrun and Ishka, while they're waiting in the corridor for Quark and Keevan
"You couldn't ambush a Bolian if he were blindfolded and tied to a tree!"
- - Nog
"Just be careful you don't turn your back on him, Quark. He's not to be trusted."
"Neither am I."
- - Kira and Quark
"This is the sloppiest, most amateurish operation I've ever seen. If you ever do something like this again, count me in."
- - Leck
Story and script
- Although the episode title and the use of counting fingers to count up the number of team members are obvious references to the classic 1960 John Sturges' film The Magnificent Seven, in which a small village hires seven gunmen to protect them from bandits (The Magnificent Seven is itself a remake of Akira Kurosawa's seminal 1954 film, The Seven Samurai), the writers say that any similarities between the film and the episode are coincidental; "We never really thought about The Magnificent Seven at all when we were writing. It has nothing to do with the film in terms of plot or structure. Nothing." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. ?))
- All of the Ferengi seen in this episode have been featured on the series before; aside from the obvious recurring characters, Gaila appeared in "Business as Usual", while Leck was an unnamed Ferengi who was seen exiting the chamber of the Grand Nagus in "Ferengi Love Songs". Zek is the only Ferengi recurring character not to appear in this episode. This was due to Wallace Shawn's unavailability. This changed the identity of the person who was kidnapped by the Dominion, as it was originally to be Zek, not Ishka. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. ?))
- According to Ira Steven Behr, although this episode is primarily a comedy, like the episode "Family Business", it was an attempt to do something a little more serious with the Ferengi; "The whole thing about heroism in this episode, the questions of 'What is a hero?' and 'What value does that have?' basically had to do with the fact that the Ferengi needed to show that they could be heroes." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. ?))
- The phrases 'syrup of squill' and 'hipecat root futures' are taken from the 1934 Norman Z. McLeod movie It's a Gift, starring comedian W.C. Fields. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. ?))
- Iggy Pop's role as Yelgrun was the realization of a personal goal of Ira Steven Behr, who is a fan of the musician. Behr had tried to cast Pop as Grady in "Past Tense, Part II", but their conflicting schedules had made it impossible. Although Behr was thrilled to work with Pop, he was a little annoyed with himself for casting him as a Vorta; "His physicality is certainly part of who he is, and unfortunately we cast him as a Vorta, one of the most immobile of characters." Ultimately however, Behr felt that Pop brought something wonderful to the role; "He really got that demented quality the Vorta have, like Weyoun has – think Caligula! He was just a delight." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. ?))
- Despite the writers' claim that the episode had nothing to do with The Seven Samurai or The Magnificent Seven, both Armin Shimerman and Max Grodénchik studied the films prior to shooting their scenes. From The Magnificent Seven, Grodénchik saw Rom as a "wimpy Steve McQueen", with Shimerman seeing Quark in the Yul Brynner role. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. ?)). They inserted a bit of business from the movie -- the showing of the number of recruits to their cause, as each one was added, by the showing of that number of fingers.
- This was the first episode of the series that Chip Chalmers directed. He watched past Ferengi episodes to get up to speed with the differences between the Ferengi of Star Trek: The Next Generation and those in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He also read The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition and Legends of the Ferengi. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. ?))
- Dennis McCarthy composed the score of the episode. Author Jeff Bond praised the music. (The Music of Star Trek, p 213)
- Armin Shimerman commented "["The Magnificent Ferengi"] was a hoot. We were surrounded by these wonderfully comedic actors playing the other Ferengi – Jeff Combs, Josh Pais, Hamilton Camp, and Cecily Adams. I stood back half-a-step and let them do their stuff and just responded to their antics because they were so funny. I can't tell you what a treat it was to watch each of these truly talented performers chew up more scenery than I'd ever seen chewed before and make it all work beautifully". ("A Profitable Venture", TV Zone special #34)
- Jeff Combs also enjoyed working on the episode: "As far as behind the scenes, I would say that one was the most fun. because you had seven character actors in this Ferengi makeup. Some of the things that we were doing just sitting around, or waiting for the camera to roll, some of the dialogue was really cool. It was great fun. I made some friends on that show. Josh Pais, and Hamilton Camp. I thought those guys would come back. They just ran out of time in terms of doing everything they wanted to do. I’m sure they would have loved to have ‘The Magnificent Ferengi’ return". (Cinefantastique, Volume 29 Number 6/7)
- This is Nog's second visit to Empok Nor, the first occasion was in an episode of the same name in season 5, when Nog and O'Brien were hunted by a chemically deranged Garak. The station would again be seen in the seventh season episode "Covenant", where Kira would discover that Dukat has established a Cult of the Pah-wraiths there.
- Kira helps Quark's operation in gratitude for rescuing her earlier, in the events of the episode "Sacrifice of Angels".
- Christopher Shea returns to the role of the Vorta Keevan, who he had first played earlier in the season in "Rocks and Shoals". In that episode he surrendered himself to the Federation, and he had been kept as a prisoner after that.
- Yelgrun's comment about the Breen could be an extemporaneous remark in relation to pre-alliance negotiations between the Breen and Dominion.
- This is the only episode in which Rom kills someone (in this case a Jem'Hadar).
- This is the second episode of the series whose title is an homage to a classic film starring James Coburn. The first was "Our Man Bashir" and the film in question was Our Man Flint.
- Michael Dorn does not appear in this episode, though Worf is mentioned briefly. Other than Quark and Sisko, none of the regular cast are in more than one scene, with Dax, Bashir, O'Brien, and Odo seen only in the teaser. Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko) does not appear either.
- This is the first episode in which Quark, Rom, Nog and Ishka all appear.
- The alarm sound programmed by Nog is a higher-pitched variant of the red alert sound used aboard Intrepid-class starships.
- Remastered footage from the episode is featured in the ending credits of the documentary What We Left Behind.
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 6.5, 1 June 1998
- As part of the DS9 Season 6 DVD collection
Links and references
- Rene Auberjonois as Odo
- 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
- Jeffrey Combs as Brunt
- Max Grodénchik as Rom
- Aron Eisenberg as Nog
- Cecily Adams as Ishka
- Josh Pais as Gaila
- Christopher Shea as Keevan
- Hamilton Camp as Leck
- Chase Masterson as Leeta
- Patti Begley as Bajoran officer
- David B. Levinson as Broik
- Chuck Shanks
- Mark Allen Shepherd as Morn
- Chester E. Tripp III
- Unknown performers as
23rd century; 2362; 2363; 2373; ability; accountant; Agricultural Consortium; Alpha Quadrant; backbone; Balancar; Battle of Prexnak; Bolian; Breen; Cardassian; Cardassian space; cerebellum; closet; cosmetic surgery; debriefing; Dominion territory; dozen; drill instructor; drought; ear; eliminator; Empok Nor; engineering; Federation; Ferengi; Ferengi Alliance; Ferengi Commerce Authority; Ferenginar; financial advisor; finder's fee; fine; groatcake; hide and seek; hipecat; holosuite; Jem'Hadar; kilometer; Klingon; landing pad; latinum; Lytasian; medicine; medical tricorder; mercenary; Milky Way Galaxy; moogie; moron; nap; Nausicaan; neural stimulator; prisoner exchange; Promenade; Quark's; rain slippers; reconnaissance mission; rescue mission; rotting; special dispensation; squill; Starfleet Academy; stepsister; stomach; strategic operations officer; suicide; synthale; syrup of squill; Thalos VI; transceiver; tricorder; Vorta; Vulcan; weapons dealer (weapons merchant)
Akira-class (starship); Defiant-class; Defiant, USS; Empok Nor; Excelsior-class (starships); Ferengi shuttle (Brunt's shuttle); Ishka's transport; Miranda-class (starships); Saber-class (starship); Starbase 375-type (Gaila's prison starbase); Steamrunner-class (starship); Yeager-type; Yeager, USS; Yelgrun's ship
- "The Magnificent Ferengi" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "The Magnificent Ferengi" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "The Magnificent Ferengi" at Wikipedia
- "The Magnificent Ferengi" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
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