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Family Business (episode)

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"Family Business"
DS9, Episode 3x23
Production number: 40513-469
First aired: 15 May 1995
68th of 173 produced in DS9
68th of 173 released in DS9
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries_Remastered}}}th of 173 released in DS9 Remastered  
367th of 728 released in all
Awkward Ferengi moment
Written By
Ira Steven Behr & Robert Hewitt Wolfe

Directed By
Rene Auberjonois
Unknown (2371)
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Quark's mother violates Ferengi law by earning profit.

Summary Edit

Teaser Edit

Sisko is in his quarters fixing chicken paprikash and humming to himself cheerily as Jake enters. As he only cooks Hungarian food when he is in a good mood, Jake deduces that he has convinced the Peljenites to exchange ambassadors with the Federation. As they begin their meal, Jake casually brings up Kasidy Yates, a freighter captain he is eager to introduce to his father. Sisko attempts to cool Jake's heels but acknowledges he will meet Yates soon enough.

In Quark's, business is booming but Nog is nowhere to be found. Rom reveals that his son is studying for school, much to Quark's chagrin. Nog, he claims, will cause the end of Ferengi civilization by joining Starfleet and abandoning the pursuit of profit. Although Quark claims Nog wants to be "hew-mon", Rom jokingly claims he simply wants a job with better hours. Quark is not amused.

Their business is interrupted as Brunt, a liquidator from the Ferengi Commerce Authority, enters to post a writ of accountability on Quark's wall. Panicking, Rom immediately tells all patrons to vacate the premises; the bar is now closed.

Act One Edit

Brunt is now behind the deserted bar, busily working a PADD as Quark and Rom sit nervously. Rom attempts to make smalltalk with Brunt while they wait but Quark is not amused. Suspiciously, Brunt asks if they have listed all of the bar's profits, reminding him of the severe fines they will face if they have lied to the FCA; on double-checking the figures on the PADD, Quark conveniently claims Rom has forgotten to add the profits from their tulaberry wine franchise. Once his brother leaves to retrieve the figures, Quark inquires about what he has been charged with, paying the customary bribes to first learn which law he has broken and then to borrow a copy of the law to read. By this time, Rom has returned, and Quark discovers his crime is improper supervision of a family member. Another bribe reveals that Ishka, Quark and Rom's mother, has been charged with earning profit.

Quark next stops by the security office to see Odo, his arch-enemy yet closest friend. He informs the constable that he will be taking a trip to Ferenginar and will hold Odo personally accountable for the security of his bar in the meantime. As Odo has already learned of Quark's trouble with the FCA, the Ferengi reveals that he will have to pay for his mother's crimes unless he convinces her to confess and make restitution for whatever she has done.

Meanwhile, Sisko and Kira arrive in Ops, where Sisko informs her he has decided to name Deep Space 9's newest runabout the Rubicon. The major teases him about his habit of naming runabouts after Earth's rivers before she goes to work. Dax intercepts Sisko on the way to his office to eagerly ask about Kasidy Yates; it seems Jake has told her already. Although Sisko has yet to meet Yates, Dax has, and she claims Curzon would have stolen the freighter captain by now.

On the way to the airlock, Rom catches up with his brother to announce that he too is going to Ferenginar. With the bar closed, he is eager to see "Moogie" again. Quark does not want Rom to accompany him, as he always takes their mother's side in arguments – even in calling her Moogie, a childish nickname Quark detests. However, he agrees to let Rom come along.

Act Two Edit

Quark and Rom bring Brunt to their boyhood home on Ferenginar, where Brunt pays the standard "admission fee" and signs a legal waiver to cover potential theft. Rom is glad to be home again, but Quark appears uneasy about the number of new items in his mother's house. Rom finds his old tooth sharpener, which reminds Quark of how he only had a chew stick when he was a child. Brunt interrupts them to give Quark a formal list of Ishka's crimes and inform him they have three days to obtain a confession. However, a clothed Ishka enters the room and informs Brunt that she has no intention of giving one. Rom is glad to see his mother, but Quark tells her to undress immediately; Brunt meanwhile shields his eyes from the clothed female and is taken aback as she addresses him, a stranger, directly. He takes his leave after reminding Quark of the three days. Quark attempts to reason with his mother, but believing she is standing up for all Ferengi women, she refuses. It is clear Ishka is pained to think of hurting her sons, whose reputations will suffer for her actions, yet she refuses to give in.

In front of Quark's, Bashir and Odo look on as O'Brien attempts to open the locking mechanism on the door. It seems their dartboard is locked inside, and though they could replicate another, Bashir claims it is "the principle of the thing". However, Odo is not optimistic given the convoluted lock Rom has put together. They are interrupted when Sisko stops by to inquire what is going on. O'Brien denies that the dartboard is lucky. Sisko observed that it will take a while to undo the tripartite microsealing mechanism Rom has constructed. He is on his way to a cargo bay; O'Brien is under the mistaken impression the commander is on his way to meet Kasidy Yates. Although this isn't the case, it seems Jake has told everyone about the freighter captain.

Rom comes to the table with a bowl of fresh tube grubs, having picked them himself since "Moogie" is not feeling well. Quark begins scheming to claim Ishka is mentally ill, but Rom reassures him she only has a rash from the newness of wearing clothes. The two reminisce about how independent their mother has always been, although Quark chooses to focus on the negative aspects. He claims she dragged their father down and that he will not let her do the same to him; right as he claims he will put her in her place, however, Ishka enters (fully clothed) and challenges him to do so. Rom is clearly proud of his mother's defiance. They sit down to eat, but Rom is surprised the FCA is making such a big deal when he learns that all Ishka has done is earn three bars of latinum by investing in Hupyrian beetles. Nonetheless, Quark is adamant that Ishka must repent, yet she remains equally adamant that Ferengi society is in desperate need of change. Additionally, Quark is worried about his mother, who will be sold into indentured servitude in addition to the stigma her sons will face. Although Ishka is acting from her heart, Quark accuses her of being selfish and not caring for anyone but herself.

Act Three Edit

Later, Rom visits privately with Ishka in her bedroom, which is bland and utilitarian as per Ferengi traditions with regard to females. Though he is glad to see his Moogie, Rom is uncomfortable, unaccustomed to seeing clothed Ferengi females, so Ishka disrobes for him. He is genuinely concerned about Quark and tries again to convince Ishka to pay back the bars of latinum she has earned. However, she reassures him Quark has always provided a generous stipend; the issue is pride rather than money. She is willing to be sold into indentured servitude rather than pay back the three bars. As they embrace, Ishka lovingly tells Rom what a good son he is for being so concerned for Quark. Ishka then offers to sharpen Rom's teeth.

Sisko finally meets Kasidy Yates in the cargo bay, where she and her crew are loading cargo onto her freighter, the Xhosa. He learns that Yates' equipment is outdated before formal introductions. The two mire over Jake's over-zealous match-making attempts, but Yates must attend to the inertia moorer on her ship. As Sisko leaves, he hesitates, and Yates suggests they meet for coffee the next day at 18:00.

The next morning, Rom emerges sleepily from his room, cleaning his ear, to find Quark has been up all night on the computer. It seems Moogie has conducted business transactions under dozens of aliases, proving she has the "lobes" for business but earning so much Quark will never be able to pay it all back.

Act Four Edit

Meanwhile, Quark is seated across the table from Rom, still in shock and with a faraway look in his eyes. Rom claims Quark is not the type to fly off the handle, that they will come up with a solution, but Quark claims to have found one: He will kill Ishka.

Quark enters Ishka's bedroom, where she attempts to hide a PADD she was using to try to hide still more earnings. As he confronts her, she claims he is jealous that a female is better at earning profit than he. She compares Quark to his father as Rom enters, but Quark refuses to believe that his mother did not receive help from a male or that his father was a business failure. Stubborn Ishka refuses to budge, so Quark storms out, headed for the FCA.

However, Rom follows him into the main room of Ishka's house and confronts Quark, claiming Ishka is right on both accounts. Quark is furious, yet Rom, who lived at home ten years longer than his brother, claims their father was a failure and only got by with Ishka's help. They each grab the other in the Ferengi equivalent of a brawl and knock over several pieces of furniture before Ishka enters to break it up. She reassures Rom she will be fine and tells Quark to do as he pleases. Once he leaves, she begins to cry.

Act Five Edit

As he enters a waiting room at the Tower of Commerce, Quark observes how steep the stairs are and remarks of the seven strips of latinum required for the elevator, "Talk about inflation!" He asks to see Liquidator Brunt and sits down, but several seconds later, Rom enters, exhausted from running up the stairs. At first uninterested in whatever Rom has to say, Quark perks up when he hears Ishka plans to give him half her profits. Cheerily, he leaves an extra slip for the Secretary and takes the elevator down.

Back at home, Quark apologizes to his mother for everything he'd said before and stunning Ishka, asks how much profit she made so that they can divide it fairly. It turns out that Rom had lied to both, telling Quark that Ishka would split the profits, and Ishka that Quark wanted none of them and had done so in order to get them talking to each other. Showing backbone, he berates both brother and mother pointing out that Quark shows no respect to his mother and that if Quark can uncover her profits, the FCA surely could too. He then insists that they settle things – without shouting – while he heads off to take a nap. Ishka tells Quark that he's a lot like her, and that Rom is like his father: Rom, like his father, never understood the Rules of Acquisition, but Quark, like his mother, does. She agrees to imprint the confession for him, since she can't refuse him anything.

Back on the station, Sisko and Yates are having coffee at the Replimat and discussing New Orleans, Sisko's home. However, Yates looks uneasy, and breaks the news that she had a prior engagement, but a family one, as she was waiting for a subspace transmission from her youngest brother on Cestus III. When Sisko questions what the transmission is about, she admits to Sisko that her brother plays a sport that was played on Earth centuries ago... baseball! Sisko literally can't believe his ears, and asks for more details about the team, the Pike City Pioneers and the Cestus Comets. Yates tells him that it's a six sided league but more teams are potentially forming, but she asks why he's so interested. Sisko, now like an excited child at Christmas, tells Yates that he loves Baseball, but he's doesn't know anyone apart from Jake who was interested in it, or even heard of it. Yates suggests that Sisko come and listen to the transmission with her, since it is an audio recording of her brother's game against the Cestus Comets. As they head off, Sisko pesters her with questions about the league; do they use a designated hitter (no), what about wood bats (of course), and whether or not they could use a right-handed pitcher (while flexing his right arm as though warming it up). As Sisko and Yates walk away, chatting about their shared interest, Jake smiles to himself from the top level of the Promenade, knowing that his matchmaking efforts worked.

On Ferenginar, Ishka imprints the PADD with the confession for Brunt. Brunt notes that she will be an example to all women that nobody could outsmart the FCA, but Quark bribes him with a small sack of latinum. After all, as he says, "what would people say if they knew a female had made that much latinum?" After Brunt exits, Quark says his goodbyes and follows. Rom and Ishka hug and disclose that she only gave up a third of her profits, but that the FCA wouldn't find the rest, since she hid it so well hidden, she wasn't sure if she'd be able to find it all!

Memorable Quotes Edit

"My house is my house."
"As are its contents."

- Standard Ferengi greeting


"If you want any suggestions, I'll be in cargo bay --"
"...four."
"Huh? Seven."

- Benjamin Sisko and Miles O'Brien


"Since when does a Ferengi need to make excuses for earning profit?"
"You're a female!"
"And when it comes to making profit, this female is a better Ferengi than you'll ever be!"

- Ishka and Quark


(Cheery tone) "I sincerely hope I never see any of you again!"
(Equally cheery) "The feeling is mutual!"

- Liquidator Brunt and Quark


"You know at the rate we go through runabouts, it's a good thing the Earth has so many rivers."

- Kira Nerys, referring to the new runabout USS Rubicon


"Look brother, the latinum tooth sharpener I used when we were children."
"All I had was a cheap wooden chewstick."

- Rom and Quark


"I'm glad to see you two are finally getting along."
"I think things will be a lot better between us from now on."
"As long as he doesn't find out you only gave the FCA a third of your profits!"
"If you ask me a third was too much. Well, it's my own fault for not hiding it better."
"Are you sure the FCA won't find the rest?"
"I've got it hidden so well I'll be lucky if I can find it!"
(Both laughing)

- Rom and Moogie

BackgroundEdit

Story and scriptEdit

  • This show originated from Ira Steven Behr's desire to do a more serious Ferengi episode than had ever been seen in Star Trek up to this point, and both cast and crew feel that Behr succeeded in this aim. Armin Shimerman calls it "a very heartfelt psychological study," while director Rene Auberjonois points out, "it's much more serious than the usual Ferengi story, even though there was a lot of comedic stuff in it. It's about a very painful thing, a son who has totally lost any sort of relationship with a parent." Behr himself was also extremely pleased with how the episode turned out, calling it "the Long Day's Journey into Night of Ferengi stories." Finally, co-writer Robert Hewitt Wolfe says, "There's a lot more to it than just the yucks. Underneath it all, it's a story about family." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
  • A deleted or unfilmed scene saw Sisko and Jake walking together on the Promenade while they discuss Sisko's upcoming date with Kasidy. Jake is excited but claims that "coffee" doesn't give much time for his father and Yates to get to know one another. Morn approaches, but before he can speak, Sisko reassures him that he will be the first to know if any news comes in. Jake attempts to prepare Sisko for the date as they turn a corner. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion - A Series Guide and Script Library)

ProductionEdit

  • This episode's music was composed by Jay Chattaway. The amount of music he wrote for this episode was notably minimal. Of the episode, Chattaway recalls, "The score for DS9's 'Family Business' was my lightest at only six minutes. I thought Andrea Martin did a wonderful job in that one as Quark's mother. It was one of my favorites, though to write an eight-second cue and make it funny is probably harder than any lengthy action sequence. It's very difficult to pull off. It's not just about how many minutes. I used an oboe and a bassoon as the musical voices of Quark and Rom. It was subtle, but the fans picked up on it. I see their comments in letters and on the Internet." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #4, p. 47-48)
  • Ishka's head-piece for this episode was based on that worn by Wallace Shawn as Zek, and was designed to look almost caricature-like, with drooping lobes and large jowls. For the scene when her knees are seen, makeup supervisor Michael Westmore even designed drooping kneecaps. For the shot where her shoulders and the top of her chest were exposed, Westmore didn't have time to create a proper foam-latex appliance, so he rubberized Kleenex, and wrinkled it, laying it across Andrea Martin's shoulders and on the upper portion of her chest. According to Westmore, Martin was not amused by the makeup. (Michael Westmore's Aliens: Season Three, DS9 Season 3 DVD, Special Features)

ReceptionEdit

  • Ira Steven Behr commented "I don't think it was quite the Ferengi version of Long Day's Journey into Night, but it's about as pure a Ferengi show as you can get. This year we've accomplished two very good episodes for the Ferengi. "Prophet Motive" was a flat-out comedy with nothing else but humor. Then we did "Family Business", which was much more serious. I thought there was some wonderful stuff between Rom and Quark, and the fight was good and surprising. I thought Andrea Martin was very good. The relationships were all nice, and it was an interesting look at the Ferengi homeworld". (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages p 97)
  • When Andrea Martin did not return to the role of Ishka in "Ferengi Love Songs", Cecily Adams was cast in the role. Adams watched "Family Business" to learn more about the role. Adams commented "I think it helped me understand the level of the comedy and of the work. I saw that I was allowed permission to go farther with the character. When I saw the episode that Andrea had done and I saw the work that all the actors had done, I realized that these characters take their world very seriously but from the outside looking in on them, they're very fun to watch". ("Ishka: Revolutionary Moogie", Star Trek: Communicator issue 122)

TriviaEdit

Video and DVD releases Edit

Links and references Edit

Starring Edit

Also Starring Edit

Guest Stars Edit

Special Guest Star Edit

Co-Star Edit

References Edit

Adred; Age of Ascension; anti-grav sled; baseball; baseball bat; biomatter; Cardassian; Cestus III; Cestus Comets; chewstick; chicken paprikash; beetle snuff; Dax, Curzon; Earth; Federation; Ferenginar; Ferengi; Ferengi Alliance; FCA; Ferengi Trade By-Laws; fine; Gorn; Hupyrian beetle; indentured servitude; Kasidy Yates Interstellar Freights; Keldar; latinum; liquidator; Mark V transporter; Mark VI transporter; Mark VII transporter; Nog; oo-mox; Petarian; Pike City Pioneers; polyduranide; Prime Directive; Promenade; Quark's; Replimat; Rules of Acquisition; runabout; Sacred Marketplace; Stol; tooth sharpener; Tower of Commerce; tube grub; tulaberry wine; wood; Writ of Accountability

External linksEdit


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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Season 3
Next episode:
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