(written from a Production point of view)
With the sudden death of Grand Nagus Zek, Quark becomes the new leader of the Ferengi Alliance, but he also becomes a target for murder.
An airlock door opens, and a Ferengi, Krax, steps out and looks around carefully. Once satisfied, he gestures, and a hunched-over obscured figure, Zek, emerges leaning on a taller humanoid, Maihar'du. In his other hand, he clutches a staff with a golden Ferengi head.
In Commander Sisko's quarters, Jake is getting ready for school gathering his many PADDs when his father enters. Sisko informs his son that they're going to Bajor for the Gratitude Festival. After the festival, Sisko suggests visiting the Fire Caverns that Jake had wanted to see. They'll be leaving at the end of that day's school day and going for three days. Jake asks if he has to go because he and Nog have plans for the next day.
In his bar, Quark is dealing with a customer and sends her on her way. When she is gone, he grabs Rom by the lobes and questions him as to why he had returned her purse against the First Rule of Acquisition and insists that Rom polish every rail in the bar that night. Rom runs off to find Nog, who is building a tower out of PADDs and knocks them over accidentally when his father arrives. Rom insists that Nog polish all of the rails in the bar that night. Nog sighs and heads off to school.
Meanwhile, Quark is telling Morn and some other customers a joke about an Andorian and someone's wife. Just after the finish of the joke, Krax, Zek, and Maihar'du enter the bar looking for Quark. Krax then introduces his father, Zek, as the Grand Nagus. Quark and Rom move to kiss Zek's staff and ask if they're visiting on business or pleasure, and of course, to a Ferengi, there is no difference between the two. Krax demands the use of a holosuite from Quark for his father and takes Quark's five favorite programs for use there.
In the classroom at the school, the students are all sitting around talking loudly with no sign of their teacher, Keiko O'Brien, in sight. Her husband, Miles, rushes in as their substitute teacher, but only for another two weeks before Keiko is due to return from Earth. The older students had a homework assignment to write an essay on ethics. Nog is chosen to present his first, but claims that his PADD had been stolen by some Vulcans in Quark's. He gets Jake to corroborate his story, and O'Brien lets Nog hand in his essay the following day.
In Quark's, Quark and Krax watch the holosuites and Quark wonders how much longer the Grand Nagus would be. Quark suggests they should check on Zek in case he has somehow injured himself, but Krax strongly disagrees, as Zek left orders not to be disturbed. Quark wanders down the bar to where Rom is standing, thrilled to have the Grand Nagus there, but Quark points out that Zek is likely there to purchase the bar for a price far lower than it is worth. Meanwhile, Zek has emerged from his holosuite, and proclaims it to have been a "good program". Quark offers up Rom's quarters for the Nagus' use while he is at the station and then invites him to dinner... at the Nagus' request.
Sisko approaches O'Brien and asks how school is. The chief mentions that he can't wait for Keiko to get back. O'Brien suggests that Sisko find another friend for Jake, one besides Nog, who seems to be a bad influence. Sisko appreciates the advice, but points out that if Jake were forced to choose between his friend and his father, he likely would choose his friend. When O'Brien expresses doubt at this, Sisko suggests that O'Brien will understand in another eleven years, when O'Brien's own daughter will be Jake's age (14).
At dinner, Zek enjoys the tube grubs, and informs Quark that his cousin Barbo has been released from the Tarahong detention center and that Zek is quite impressed with their sale of defective warp cores to the Tarahong government. Zek also brings up how Quark had left Barbo to "rot behind bars while Quark kept all the profits..." to which Quark quotes the Sixth Rule of Acquisition. Zek compliments Quark on his brilliance at opening a bar so close to a stable wormhole. Nog brings over a tray of instruments, and Zek chooses one to pick his teeth with. Nog asks if he could go to do his homework, to which Krax points out to his father's disappointment that a "hew-mon fee-male" is teaching at a Federation school on the station, and Rom tells his son that he will not be attending school anymore. Zek tells Quark that he needs his bar... and his services to host a Ferengi conference to discuss business in the Gamma Quadrant.
Meanwhile, in Ops, Major Kira informs Sisko that the Ferengi ship Sepulo is docking at bay five, the third Ferengi ship in the last eighteen hours. Dax suggests that it might be Quark's birthday. Sisko contacts Odo to ensure that the situation will be looked after.
In Quark's, none of the regular patrons are around, and the dabo tables have been replaced with a large conference table. Krax informs Quark that the seating had to be changed to separate rivals Turot and Hoex. Meanwhile, Morn arrives at the bar, and Quark sends him away since the bar is closed for the impending conference. Gral, one of the other Ferengi, threatens to leave when the Grand Nagus enters, supported by Maihar'du. Rom and Nog leave, but Zek tells Quark to stay.
Out on the Promenade, Jake runs into Nog, who is quite firm in his belief that he did not belong in the school and that school is a waste of time for a Ferengi because there is no profit in it. Nog stomps away after calling Jake a "stupid hew-mon".
Back in Quark's, Zek salutes Nava for taking over the arcybite mining refineries in the Clarius system. However, he points out that the reputation of the Ferengi is making it more and more difficult to do business in the Alpha Quadrant, and that in the Gamma Quadrant, their word could be their bond... until they chose to break it. Zek declines to lead the venture, claiming that he is "just not as greedy as [he] used to be"—and informs the group that the new Grand Nagus is Quark. The other Ferengi complain loudly and storm out of the bar, while Zek congratulates Quark on his new job, commenting that he is sure he will do great. Quark laughs in disbelief.
At breakfast in their quarters, Sisko and Jake discuss Nog being pulled out of school over their oatmeal. Jake points out that Nog can't even read and that school wasn't going to be as much fun. To Sisko's comment that they could still get together after school, Jake expresses his worry that Nog no longer wants to be friends because Ferengi and Humans don't get along. Sisko agrees, noting that Human and Ferengi values are very different, and suggests playing some baseball after school, but Jake insists that he has something else to do.
On the Promenade, Grand Nagus Quark and his brother are walking along when Gral approaches Quark and formally introduces himself as Quark's "new best friend," but in ominous tones. Gral suggests that he will protect Quark if Quark would be grateful enough to allow Gral his pick of the more profitable opportunities in the Gamma Quadrant. Though Gral is outwardly polite and respectful, his demeanor suggests to Quark it is more like a threat than an offer.
In Rom's quarters, Zek is trying to figure out where to take his retirement, either Risa or Balosnee VI, as he hasn't taken a vacation in eighty-five years. Quark bursts in and asks Zek what he should do since Gral just seemed to threaten his life. Zek points out that more threats would follow, and that to survive, Quark must surround himself with loyal men, but none too loyal, and that he should be ruthless. Then, without warning, Zek's head slumps onto his chest. Maihar'du checks him, but he is already dead.
Later on, at a private funeral service held at Quark's, Krax is selling small discs with powder, Zek's vacuum desiccated remains, each for twenty bars of latinum. Quark asks Rom to be his bodyguard, because Rom is his closest associate, friend, and brother. Rom expresses his dismay, hoping that he could take over the bar. Quark bursts into laughter at this, until interrupted by Odo, who has questions to ask. Krax explains that his father died from "a massive infection of the tympanic membrane – a chronic condition." Odo wants to have Doctor Bashir examine the body, but of course, the body has already been vacuum desiccated for sale.
Out on the Promenade, Jake and Nog are sitting by their usual railing, but neither says a word. They both try to speak for a moment before the silence descends again. Jake suggests that Humans and Ferengi don't have much to talk about, but notes that they always had stuff to talk about previously. They agree to continue to be friends, despite the fact that it won't please either of their fathers.
The funeral continues in Quark's, where Odo questions Quark about his new status. Quark offers his staff to be kissed by Odo, who grunts at it before leaving. A coin rolls across the floor and Quark steps on it, glancing around to ensure that nobody is watching him, bends over to pick it up, when something zips by overhead and explodes against the wall behind him – an obvious assassination attempt.
In Quark's, O'Brien, Odo, and Sisko investigate the explosion and O'Brien points out traces of argine and sorium, a sign of a Ferengi explosive. He notes that it appears to be a Ferengi locator bomb designed to lock onto a target's body odor. If Quark hadn't bent over at the last minute, he would have been fried.
Outside the bar, Bashir informs Sisko that Quark is fine, but a bit shaken up. As they head to the infirmary, Sisko spots his son and Nog running along the upper level and laughing together.
In the infirmary, Odo questions Quark, who tries to hide his fear behind his position as Grand Nagus. Sisko informs Quark that the next time he might not be so lucky, but Quark blows off his concern, although admitting that Krax would benefit most from his death. Rom brings up Gral's threat, but Quark notes that neither could have set off the explosive, both being at the funeral along with all of the other Ferengi. Odo notes that Maihar'du is absent and recalls the devotion of his species to their employers.
Back in Sisko's quarters, Jake is preparing to leave for school when Sisko questions him on his whereabouts the previous night, as he returned home after midnight. Jake responds that he was with Nog, not doing anything wrong, but that it's private. Sisko tells Jake that he wants him home in time for dinner.
In Quark's quarters, Nava is telling Quark that he wishes to find profit in a new field, introducing synthehol to the Gamma Quadrant. Quark points out that Nava was not pleased on Quark's ascension, nor did he congratulate him at the time, but wants this opportunity. Nava suggests a fifty-fifty split on the profits, so Quark grants him the opportunity. Quark, tired after all of his work, heads to his bar to count the day's take and leaves Krax and Rom behind. They note that he is going to become very popular with the way he is handing out such good opportunities, so they need a new plan to kill him, one that could not fail.
Sisko sits alone in his quarters at the dinner table, dinner for two cooling. Dax enters and mentions that she was going to inquire as to whether he would be interested in a round of Jokarian chess, but that Sisko is obviously otherwise occupied with his dinner of aubergine stew. Sisko says that he has been waiting for half an hour for Jake, but that he hadn't made an appearance as yet since he was with Nog. Dax suggests that he have a talk with Jake to set boundaries, having "been a mother three times and a father twice," but notes that she was not particularly successful with any of them. Sisko decides to go find Jake and bring him home to eat and finds out from the computer that he's in one of the cargo bays. He thanks Dax and heads out while Dax takes a plate of the stew to eat.
Sisko heads to the cargo bay, not stopping by anything. In the poorly-lit cargo bay, he hears Nog and Jake's voices from ahead, and quietly makes his way through the stored materials. When he sees Jake and Nog, he stops and watches as Jake teaches Nog to read from a PADD. Sisko watches the two quietly.
In Quark's quarters, Rom is helping Quark finish dressing, but seems distracted. Quark says that he is looking forward to traveling through the wormhole to the Gamma Quadrant to Stakoron II to negotiate for mizinite ore, negotiations that Zek had previously started, despite Quark not knowing about Zek's prior visit. Rom comments upon Quark having so much and he so little, and that maybe Quark could let him have the bar, but Quark states that's how things are meant to be. Quark and Rom head out and met up with Krax. Quark suggests bringing a dabo girl along for the appearance, but Krax compliments Quark by pointing out that he is so imposing he won't need one.
As they arrive at the airlock for the Ferengi ship, Krax steps aside and lets Quark make a regal entrance into the airlock, only to find that there's no ship, only space through the window, and that the airlock door is sliding shut behind him with Rom and Krax on the other side. He begins to panic, but this only makes Krax smile as he indicates that Quark has been "voted out" of the office of Grand Nagus. Rom also seems to be quite ready to open the airlock and rename the bar to Rom's, saying it's a nice name for a bar.
Just as they are about to release the outer airlock door (Rom had in fact paused briefly), a voice from down the corridor says, "Release him." It is Zek, still alive, standing there with Mairhar'du and Odo. Both Krax and Rom are stunned, and Odo lets Quark out of the airlock. Zek explains that he had entered a Dolbargy sleeping trance taught to him by Maihar'du to test Krax and see if he would be a worthy successor. However, despite the attempt by Krax to grab power, he is disappointed because "you don't grab power. You accumulate it, quietly, without anyone noticing." and that Quark's was the key and a prime location to quietly gather information on the Gamma Quadrant from those who passed through.
Back in the bar, Quark returns Zek's staff, and Zek comments that he had been looking forward to retirement, and before leaving jokes that he might return and buy the bar next time he passes through. Quark catches up with Rom and says that he was pleased with Rom's show of treachery and makes him the Assistant Manager for Policy and Clientele, a position he'd just made up.
Out on the Promenade, Jake and Nog agree to meet up again at the end of Jake's next school day. Sisko steps out of the Replimat and calls Jake over to give him a hug and a kiss on the head before sending him off to spend time with Nog.
"Tell me, is the Grand Nagus here on business or pleasure?"
"Is there a difference?"
"No, of course not."
- - Quark and Krax
"Hold on... you're saying Vulcans stole your homework?"
"Any idea why?"
"Because they don't have ethics?"
- - Nog, telling O'Brien what happened to his essay on ethics
"My father requires rest!"
"Please feel free to use my own... brother's quarters for as long as you're with us."
- - Krax and Quark
- - Quark, telling Morn his bar is closed
"There's a Federation school here. Run by a Human. A female."
"And you allow your son to attend such a place."
(to Nog) "Nog, I never want you to step foot in there again! Now go to your room! And no studying!" (to Zek) "My apologies, Nagus. It's those Federation do-gooders, always sticking their ugly noses in other people's business."
"Yes, Nagus. Most distressing. Yes, yes."
- - Krax, Zek, and Rom
"Now look here, Quark-"
"Ah ah ah! Grand Nagus Quark."
- - Sisko and Rom
"So, you were going to toss me out an airlock!"
"I never meant it!"
"Well, I do. Rom's. Nice name for a bar, don't you think?"
- - Rom and Quark
"You failed! Miserably!"
- - Zek, speaking about his test of Krax's readiness to become Grand Nagus
"It's like talking to a Klingon!"
- - Zek, frustrated with Krax
"So, you were going to toss me out an airlock."
"Forgive me, brother."
"Forgive you? Why brother, I didn't think you had the lobes!"
- - Quark and Rom
Story and scriptEdit
- Two working titles for this episode were "Friends & Foes" and "Friend Like Me".
- The original story featured Klingons, Romulans, Vulcans, and several new races visiting Deep Space 9 to establish a new criminal syndicate. Ira Steven Behr modified the story to specifically feature the Ferengi. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- David Livingston pitched the original story idea for this episode, dealing with Quark acting as some sort of a businessman, with the B plot having Jake teaching Nog how to read. The producers liked the B story idea, but disliked the A story. Finally, on a story meeting, Michael Piller came up with the idea of "doing The Godfather", and Ira Steven Behr was assigned to write the script. Livingston's only contribution to "The Godfather story" was the name "Zek". 
- Ira Steven Behr commented, "David Livingston pitched me an idea for a meeting of the great criminal minds of the galaxy, similar to The Godfather. I said to him, 'Maybe we should do a Ferengi episode', so his idea evolved into 'The Nagus'. I looked through the thesaurus for a good expression for leader and found negus, an Indian word, which I changed to nagus and Grand Nagus Zek, leader of the Ferengi empire was born. With the Ferengi being intergalactic capitalists I also knew that we needed a financial bible for them and after some thought I came up the Rules of Acquisition." ("Behr Necessities", TV Zone special #34)
- According to Ira Behr, the writing of this episode was somewhat daunting, as he was keeping the budget in mind and the fact that speaking roles were paid more than guest performers without any lines. "As I wrote my first script," he said, "one of the things I thought as I was going over it was dare he speak? Dare they speak? Well, dare I take out this optical so this person might be able to speak?" (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 27)
Cast and charactersEdit
- Armin Shimerman commented that this episode was "a fun and different type of Star Trek episode, like the 'Tribbles' episode of the original." (The Deep Space Log Book: A First Season Companion) He also said, "'The Nagus' was interesting, but also nerve-wracking for me because it was the first episode where they told me, 'OK, you're going to shoulder this; everybody else can go home', and it was my responsibility to make the episode work. Suddenly, I was the key member doing the work." (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 19)
- Armin Shimerman joked about Max Grodénchik's role in this episode, stating, "In 'The Nagus', he had a chance to kill me and fulfill whatever fantasies he had." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, No. 3/4, p. 90)
- John Debney composed the music for the episode, and the score was recorded on 2 March 1993. Debney commented, "There was a sound that Dennis [McCarthy] and Jay [Chattaway] had established and you adhered to that. But those shows had a comedic edge to them, so I could be a little quirky and comedic with some of the hijinks that Quark was engaged with." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Collection)
- The scene where Quark meets Nava was an homage to the opening scene of Francis Ford Coppola's 1972 movie The Godfather. Quark's Corvan gilvo, the way he scratches his ear, the blinds on the windows, even the dialogue ("Yet now you call me Nagus") were all allusions to the film. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- The Ferengi face seen on the Grand Nagus' staff was originally sculpted to resemble Armin Shimerman's Quark.
- Although the Deep Space Nine writers and producers had feared that fans might reject comedic episodes that focused on the Ferengi so heavily as this one does, "The Nagus" was surprisingly successful with viewers, to the point that Armin Shimerman cited this episode as the one that convinced the producers that DS9 would be able to produce comedic episodes as well as serious ones. Shimerman commented, "Whatever success we had on 'The Nagus' convinced the writers, and, more importantly, the producers, that we could have purely comic episodes and the audience wouldn't leave us in droves. There are probably many people who grimace when they see there's going to be a Ferengi episode next week, but I think there are even more who are looking forward to the comic episodes, and that was something Rick Berman and company learned from 'The Nagus'. William Shakespeare taught us that – whenever he had a history play like Henry V, he made sure to have a character like Falstaff in there to lighten it up." (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 19)
- Michael Piller commented, "It's a very funny episode, and Wally Shawn is something you've never seen on The Next Generation. He's certainly a character that is the most different from anything you'd find on The Next Generation." (The Deep Space Log Book: A First Season Companion)
- This episode features the first appearance of Wallace Shawn as Zek and Tiny Ron as Maihar'du.
- Krax, Zek's son, was not seen or mentioned again after this episode.
- In their book Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages (p. 36), writers Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman commented that this episode "firmly established Rom, along with Jake and Nog's relationship." However, both elements were previously established in the series. While not the first episode to feature Max Grodénchik as Rom, his voice and mannerisms are completely changed in this episode to the ones he became known for the rest of the series.
- The Rules of Acquisition are mentioned for the first time in this episode. The two Rules mentioned are the first, "Once you have their money, you never give it back" and the sixth, "Never let family stand in the way of opportunity." That last one is arguably the most broken rule in the show.
- This episode is the first to mention the Fire Caves on Bajor (home of the Pah-wraiths), although Sisko calls them the "Fire Caverns".
- The Gratitude Festival is later celebrated on Deep Space 9 in "Fascination" and "Tears of the Prophets".
- Chief Miles O'Brien returned in this episode. His last appearance was in "Q-Less", after which, as is mentioned in the episode "Dax", he and Keiko O'Brien went to visit Keiko's mother for her 100th birthday on Earth. O'Brien returned sooner than his wife, since he took over her class in school while she was gone.
- This episode is not given a stardate, but the above reference suggests that it happened even later than "Dax" (which, according to its own stardate, occurred later than most other episodes of the season).
- Commander Sisko mentions, in this episode, that Jake is fourteen while Molly is three. Molly's age is questionable, as she was born in TNG: "Disaster" and that episode took place only a year and a half previously.
- The screen behind O'Brien in the school scene includes a figure of the puppet aliens from the TOS: "Catspaw", as well as tribbles.
- Morn is seen laughing in this episode. He never opened his mouth again throughout the series.
- At the beginning of Act 1, there appears to be a model each of a Miranda-class and a Nebula-class vessel in the rear of the school room. The two models lack the upper hull attachments that usually adorn the respective ship classes. There is also a poster containing dorsal views of the five USS Enterprise vessels commissioned by the Federation Starfleet to date, along with two other unknown diagrams.
- A rivalry between two Ferengi businessmen, Hoex and Turot, over Volchok Prime is mentioned, but neither of them are credited as making an on-screen appearance.
Video and DVD releasesEdit
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 6, 4 October 1993
- As part of the DS9 Season 1 DVD collection
Links and references Edit
Also starring Edit
- Rene Auberjonois as Constable Odo
- Siddig El Fadil as Doctor Julian Bashir
- Terry Farrell as Lieutenant Jadzia Dax
- Cirroc Lofton as Jake Sisko
- Colm Meaney as Chief Miles O'Brien
- Armin Shimerman as Quark
- Nana Visitor as Major Kira Nerys
Guest stars Edit
- Max Grodénchik as Rom
- Lou Wagner as Krax
- Barry Gordon as Nava
- Lee Arenberg as Gral
- Aron Eisenberg as Nog
- Tiny Ron as Maihar'Du
Uncredited co-stars Edit
- Scott Barry as a Bajoran officer
- Ivor Bartels as a Human security officer
- Robert Coffee as a Bajoran officer
- Brian Demonbreun as a science division officer
- Jeannie Dreams as a Human female operations division ensign
- Judi Durand as Deep Space 9 computer voice
- Robert Ford as operations officer
- Randy James as Lieutenant Jones
- Mark Lentry as a Human command division lieutenant
- Mark Allen Shepherd as Morn
- Theresa St. Clair as a Vulcan girl
- Unknown performers as
accomplice; adolescence; afternoon; airlock; Alpha Quadrant; amateur; Andorian; Andorian freighter; anti-gravity tractor; anti-grav sled; arcybite; argine; Assistant Manager of Policy and Clientele; aubergine stew; Bajor; Bajoran Gratitude Festival; Bajoran language; Bajoran system; Bajoran wormhole; Balosnee VI; bar; Barbo; baseball; baseball glove; beetle; best friend; birthday; bodyguard; body odor; brain; brother; businessman; cane; Cardassian language; Cardassian Union; cargo bay; cargo port; chopstick; Clarius system; coin; Corvan gilvo; cousin; crab; currency pouch; dabo girl; dabo table; Daedalus-class; daughter; day; daydream; death; dinner; disk; docking bay; Dolbargy sleeping trance; ear; Earth; elders; essay; ethics; evening; examination; faking death; father; Federation; Ferengi; Ferengi Alliance; Ferengi death ritual; Ferengi language; Ferengi ship; Ferengi tooth tools; Ferengi wine; fire; Fire Caverns; fish; food taster; fork; funeral service; Gamma Quadrant; gold-pressed latinum; gouge mining; Grand Nagus; Grand Nagus' staff; hallucination; holiday; holosuite; homework; hour; Horizon, USS; Human; Human language; Hupyrian; Jokarian chess; joke; jumja stick; Klingon; lobe; locator bomb; midnight; Miranda-class; mirror; miszinite; molecular imaging scanner; money; moon; morning; Nebula-class; night; oatmeal; O'Brien, Keiko; O'Brien, Molly; "old man"; ops; orange drink; orange juice; ore; PADD; painting; pheromone; pheromonic sensor; polishing; Quark's; quarters; rail; Rawlings; receipt; replicator; Replimat; Risa; Risian; "Rom's"; Rules of Acquisition; school; scepter; seating arrangement; Sepulo; servant; shoes; silverware; socks; son; sorium; spoon; Stakoron; Stakoron II; strangulation; substitute teacher; synthehol; Tarahong detention center; Tarahongian; Tarahong government; three-dimensional chess; transporter; tribble; tube grubs; tympanic membrane; vacation; Volchok Prime; vacuum-desiccation; Vulcan; waffle; warp drive; wife; wormhole
- Comparative Xenobiology: Deneb IV; Denebian slime devil; flying parasite; Excalbia; Excalbian; Horta; Iota Geminorum IV; Large Magellanic Cloud; Ornithoid life form; Pyris VII; Regulan bloodworm; Regulus II; tribble
- Starship Chronology: Ambassador-class; Bonaventure; Constitution-class; Excelsior-class; Galaxy-class
- "The Nagus" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "The Nagus" at Wikipedia
- "The Nagus" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "The Nagus" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
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