From The Back Cover:
FERENGINAR: Quark's profit-driven homeworld is rocked with scandal as shocking allegations involving his brother's first wife, the mother of Nog, threaten to overthrow Rom as Grand Nagus of the Ferengi Alliance. Making matters worse, Quark has been recruited by Rom's political adversaries to join their coup d'etat, with guarantees of all Quark ever dreamed if the succeed in taking his brother down. While Ferenginar's future teeters on the edge, the pregnancy of Rom's current wife, Leeta, takes a difficult turn for both mother and child.
Quark is contracted by Chek, CEO of Chek Pharmaceuticals, to host a secret meeting for some of Ferenginar’s wealthiest men. They want to oust Rom and restore the old Ferenginar, and they want Quark’s help to do it. The bartender-turned-ambassador is torn between self-interest, family connections, and a deep nostalgia for the glory days of greed. He decides to visit Ferenginar to see the situation firsthand, inviting Ro and Nog along as well.
Rom is overwhelmed by running the government, instituting mass social reforms, facing the cutthroat Congress of Economic Advisors, and dealing with Leeta’s hospitalization due to her difficult interspecies pregnancy. His First Clerk, Krax (son of Zek), and Ishka (who temporarily leaves Zek and retirement) help him run the government. Congressman Liph is fired for stealing government funds and investing them poorly, paving the way for Brunt’s appointment to the Congress over Rom’s objections. Brunt presents evidence that Rom is in breach of a Ferengi contract, claiming that Rom signed an indefinite extension of his first marriage contract (to Prinadora, Nog’s mother) and that Rom’s abandonment of a “dutiful Ferengi wife” in favor of an alien woman and a “half-breed” child should result in his removal as nagus. Rom is too distracted by Leeta’s poor health to dispute Brunt’s claims, leaving Quark, Nog, and Ro to deal with the crisis. Ro finds Ferenginar’s weather and culture distasteful.
Gaila brings Zek back to Ferenginar and coerces him into publicly denouncing Rom. Nog is spurred to reconnect with his mother, but is disappointed to find her a simpleton raised in “traditional Ferengi values.” Ro and Nog are unable to prove the contract as a fake through conventional means, but Ro does find evidence that Investigator Rwogo (hired by Brunt to investigate the matter) was likely bribed with large shares of stock in Chek Pharmaceuticals. That company is heavily promoting Brunt for nagus and Eelwasser Soda over competitors Rom and Slug-o-Cola (CEO Nilva is also on the Congress). Their only option is to compare Brunt’s copy of the contract with its official copy filed in the Glat Archive, the final word in the sanctity of all Ferengi contracts. However, only two people can access the Archive and it takes months to get a response. Quark hires Eliminator Leck to break into the Archive, a fortress hidden within a highly toxic swamp and employing state-of-the-art security. Using a high-tech protective bog suit and an Orion codebreaker, Leck breaks into the Archive and steals an official copy of the contract, proving Brunt’s copy to be a forgery. Ro and Nog link Brunt, Rwogo, Dav (Prinadora’s father), and Chek to Gash, the prolific forger who created the false contract. Quark confronts Rom about his failure to denounce the fake contract, and Rom reveals that he didn’t read the contract before signing it. He’d been beaten down by Keldar, Quark, and all of Ferengi society his whole life, and only started to make his own decisions because of Leeta. She’s more important to him than anything else, and he refuses to leave her side until she awakens from her coma. Quark calls him an idiot for abandoning all of the social reforms he’s built in favor of a female.
The Congress agrees to hear Quark’s evidence before voting on Rom’s removal (Rom himself is absent). He presents the official copy of the contract, proving that its limited term has expired, reveals the conspiracy between Dav, Chek, and Brunt, and even has Gash confess his forgery. Ro takes it a step further, citing the 17th Rule of Acquisition that “a contract is a contract is a contract—but only between Ferengi.” No one has presented Rom and Leeta’s marriage contract as evidence of his breach of the first contract, and even if they had, it’s not a Ferengi contract and therefore not recognized. As Brunt makes a final impassioned speech, Rom arrives with his own speech—championing the new ways, promising profit for all, and leading their people away from their poor (yet deserved) caricature. He reminds everyone that the Alpha Quadrant nearly fell to the Dominion because the various powers were divided, and those who stood with the Dominion now lie in ruin. For Ferenginar to survive, it must become an important contributing member of the galactic community. Rom retains the nagushood and shares the news that Leeta and their newborn daughter are healthy. They name the baby Bena, after the Emissary, though the word means “underflooring” in the Ferengi language.
Brunt is ousted from the Congress and stripped of all power and wealth, though he does win ten bars of latinum in the baby raffle, correctly guessing the sex, date, and time of Bena’s birth. With no other options, he agrees to a partnership with Gaila offworld. Chek and Eelwasser suffer huge financial losses for their involvement in forging a Ferengi contract. Quark realizes that Krax helped to engineer the plot against Rom, but Krax claims he did it to solidify Rom’s power. He discovered the plot already underway and forced the conspirators to act before they could build support and a stable foundation, thus enabling all of them to be discredited in one move. Quark keeps Krax’s secret but promises to collect on this debt one day. Zek and Ishka return to their retirement, though Ishka brings Prinadora along as her personal assistant, promising to educate and “retrain” her.
Back on the station, Ro questions Quark’s values and practices and admits to her total disgust with Ferengi culture. She compliments Quark as the embodiment of the modern Ferenginar, earning profit without generally hurting others (much), but she also calls out his lasciviousness and constant scheming. She ends their romantic relationship, agreeing to remain friends but vowing to hold him accountable for any illegalities she discovers.
A businessman named Fram bought the rights to the concept of a latinum receptacle (used in great quantities across the Ferengi Alliance) for a pittance, then patented the device and made a fortune. He later used that fortune to build the Fram Spaceport, the largest on the planet, bringing in even more revenue.
The Ferengi earing-necklace combination is known as a neckframe.
This story establishes five new Rules of Acquisition: #20—He who dives under the table today lives to profit tomorrow.
#25—You pay for it, it’s your idea. #88—It ain’t over ‘til it’s over. #200—A
Ferengi chooses no side but his own.
#280—If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Leeta grew up a servant girl in the home of a Cardassian man named Gallek. As she grew older, he was attracted to her but never touched her. She used his infatuation to influence him to treat all of his servants better. He died shortly before the end of the occupation.
- Azeni Korena • Julian Bashir • Bena • Bindu • Broik • Brunt • Chek • Dav • Ezri Dax • Fal • Fallert Kon • Frool • Gaila • Gash • Geln • Helk • Hetik • Ishka • Joq • Kain • Kira Nerys • Krax • Leck • Leeta • Liph • Maihar'du • Nik • Nilva • Nog • Nurt (Ferengi) • Orpax • Prinadora • Quark • Ro Laren • Rom • Jake Sisko • Simon Tarses • Treir • Elias Vaughn • Vol • Zek • Zoid
- Referenced only
- Thirishar ch'Thane • Chu'lak • Jadzia Dax • Vic Fontaine • Fram • Gallek • Gint • Glat • Grilka • Hagath • Keldar • Fallit Kot • Natima Lang • Malic • Martok, son of Urthog • Willie Mays • Morn • M'Pella • Keiko O'Brien • Miles O'Brien • Odo • Pembleton • Quoop • Retaya • Rionoj • Rwogo • Senkowsky • Benjamin Sisko • Joseph Sisko • Smeet the Oblivious • Prynn Tenmei • Torf • Worf, son of Mogh • Kasidy Yates
- Andor • AR-558 • Badlands • Bajor • Balancar • Dahkur Province • Deep Space 9/Terok Nor • Earth • Fallert's • Ferenginar • Fram Memorial Spaceport • Geln's Tongo Parlor • Glat Archive • Gleb Jungle • Great Marketplace • Grisellan system • Kope • Mayak Swamp • Mizar • Museum of Plundered Art • Nagal Residence • Quark's • Risa • Sherman's Planet • Sidau • Sisko's Creole Kitchen • Tower of Commerce • Trill • Volon VI • Zalp Building
- Referenced only
Starships and vehicles
Races and cultures
- Bajoran • Bolian • Borg • Boslic • Deltan • Ferengi • Gallamite • Grisellan • Human • Hupyrian • Klingon • Kobheerian • Lissepian • Lurian • Minosian • Nausicaan • Orion • Petraw • Prophets • Risan • Sulamid • Tellarite • Vulcan • Yridian
States and organizations
- Bajoran Militia • Chek Pharmaceuticals • Depruu Grub Emporium • dom-jot • Dominion • Doremil Drugs • Economic Congress of Advisors of the Ferengi Alliance • Ferengi Alliance • Ferengi Commerce Authority • Ferengi Commercial News • Janx Outerwear • Lakwa Clothiers • Noh-Jay Consortium • Orion Syndicate • Sorv Spacesuits 'N' Things • Starfleet • Starfleet Intelligence • Tal Shiar • United Federation of Planets
- Aldebaran whiskey • amra • asnor fish • Attainment ceremony • baseball • baseball card • Blessed Exchequer • bog suit • Cajun • dabo • dabo boy • dabo girl • Divine Treasury • dom-jot • Dominion War • Dorek Syndrome • duranium • Eelwasser • Eliminator • Emissary of the Prophets • energy whip • Ferengi language • Ferengi Rules of Acquisition • frimja dust • frippering • fungus fizz • glebbening • gold • Grand Nagus of the Ferengi Alliance • Grand Nagus Campaign • gree worms • Grisellan parchment • Grisellan totem icon • hasperat • Hrabotnik period • Hupyrian beetle snuff • jumja stick • kanar • kava • latinum • melnering • Minosian rifle • Mizarian nugget • Occupation of Bajor • oo-mox • oolmering • Orion Codebreaker • orvats • President of the Economic Congress of Advisors • Prime Bank • prune juice • quadrotriticale • rilaj lotion • rok-jewel • seola gem • Slug-o-Cola • snail juice • Spican flame gems • Sporak • spore pie • synthale • syrup of squill • swamp eel • Tarkalian tea • Tholian silk • tongo • tooth sharpener • Tzartak aperitif • Vault of Eternal Destitution • vinkling • Waivers of Property and Profit • wine • yamok sauce • yorra beads
- This is the first of two stories in Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Volume Three and was written by Keith R.A. DeCandido. The second story contained in this book is The Dominion: Olympus Descending.
- This story establishes five new Rules of Acquisition:
- 20. He who dives under the table today lives to profit tomorrow.
- 25. You pay for it, it's your idea.
- 88. It ain't over 'til it's over.
- 200. A Ferengi chooses no side but his own.
- 280. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.