It's a slow night at Quark's, and a drunken Klingon who is close to passing out is making matters worse by not paying for his drinks. When Quark tries to talk to the Klingon about his tab, the mean drunk suddenly draws his dagger and lunges at him, only to fall over and stab himself by accident.
The Klingon's death draws a large crowd to the bar, people curious as to what exactly happened. Seeing an opportunity to drum up business, Quark weaves an elaborate lie of how he fought the Klingon and killed him in self-defense. It's enough to get the bar buzzing with customers once more. Odo warns Quark, however, that it wasn't just any Klingon who died in his bar, but Kozak, a Klingon of considerable power and influence. Quark, however, sticks to his story. When Rom asks why he would continue to commit to the falsehood after turning a profit, Quark explains that it's no longer just about making money, but having respect and prestige as a Ferengi who managed to slay a Klingon in mortal combat.
Later on, however, Quark finds himself confronted by another Klingon: D'Ghor, who claims that Kozak was his brother. He is enraged that Kozak was dead and demands to know the circumstances behind his death. Fearful, Quark tells the truth. D'Ghor expresses further rage at the idea of Kozak dying in a drunken accident, as there was no honor in such a death...but if he had died in combat, it would be honorable, and he could accept that. Quark recommits to his lie and claims once more to have defeated Kozak in battle, placating D'Ghor.
Later in the evening, while Quark is counting his earnings, he is approached by another Klingon: Grilka, Kozak's widow. When she draws her dagger, Quark instinctively runs for cover. Grilka is displeased to learn that the man who allegedly killed her husband in battle was a cowardly Ferengi with a gift for lying...but that gift would be a great boon to her. Thus, she sedates and abducts Quark.
Quark awakens on the Klingon homeworld of Qo'nos in the company of Tumek, Grilka's advisor. Tumek explains that D'Ghor was no brother of Kozak, but a hated enemy who had long sought to conquer the House of Kozak and seize its power and property. D'Ghor had gained considerable influence over the years, and with Kozak dying without a male heir, the house was doomed to being taken over by D'Ghor. Had Kozak died in an accident, the Klingon High Council might have seen fit to grant special dispensation to Grilka and grant her control of the house, even though she would normally not have that right under Klingon tradition. Grilka, however, has a contingency plan: she forces Quark to wear a ceremonial robe and recite Klingonese chants, then very reluctantly kisses him. A very confused Quark learns that he and Grilka are now officially wed!
When D'Ghor makes his petition to take over the House of Kozak, Grilka interrupts the meeting to announce that she had completed the brek'tal ritual, wherein a warrior who slays the leader of a house is granted the right to marry the widow. Because D'Ghor claimed Kozak died in honorable combat, he had opened the door for the ritual to be conducted. The council, and D'Ghor in particular, are shocked to find that this warrior is actually a Ferengi. Chancellor Gowron, in particular, is flabbergasted by these developments and announces that he would need time to consider how to proceed. For the time being, the House of Kozak would be rechristened as the House of Quark.
Things are not panning out quite the way that Grilka hoped. When Grilka admits that she hadn't planned this far ahead, Quark asks what exactly was happening. Grilka explains that D'Ghor is seeking to claim a position in the High Council, increasing his influence and political clout at the expense of Kozak's. Intrigued, Quark proposes a new strategy: look through the financial records of the house for evidence of D'Ghor's acts of financial sabotage. Grilka is less than pleased with looking through some "filthy ledgers", but at a loss of any other recourse, agrees to Quark's proposal.
Quark's idea bears fruit as a look through the ledgers reveals over five years of plots and schemes to devalue the House of Kozak's property and take on Kozak's debts for his own. Grilka is outraged: D'Ghor was sabotaging her house like a Ferengi, instead of challenging her for the house's property. Quark thinks the idea ingenious, however: challenging Grilka would risk destroying the prize that he sought. With this evidence, Quark convenes with the High Council. When Gowron demands D'Ghor answer for these allegations, D'Ghor counters that Quark is lying, explaining that Kozak died in an accident and having an eyewitness to verify this: Quark's bumbling brother, Rom. Claiming his honor was insulted by Quark's "lies", D'Ghor challenges Quark to a duel.
With everything unraveling, Quark and Rom prepare to make a hasty escape. They are confronted by Grilka, who demands Quark answer D'Ghor's challenge, as it was the honorable thing to do. Quark shirks at accepting the duel, disgusting Grilka with his cowardice. She dismisses him, granting Quark an opportunity to escape...
As Gowron prepares to rule in favor of D'Ghor and permit him to take over the fallen House of Kozak, Quark suddenly returns to accept D'Ghor's challenge. The two take up a bat'leth and prepare to fight, but then suddenly, Quark throws his blade aside and launches into an impassioned speech about how this duel was a sham. He never had any hope of winning against D'Ghor, and forcing him to fight was nothing more than an execution. As such, he would not participate in this farce, and would leave himself to D'Ghor's mercy, daring him to kill an unarmed Ferengi who couldn't fight back. D'Ghor happily accepts Quark's offer, but Gowron stops him: disgusted at D'Ghor's willingness to kill a weak and unarmed Ferengi and realizing how truly cowardly he was, Gowron announces that D'Ghor has no honor and no place in the High Council. He crosses his arms across his chest and turns his back, the other Klingons in the High Council following suit: D'Ghor is summarily discommendated and ejected from the premises.
Impressed at Quark's bravery and recognizing that the circumstances are indeed peculiar, Gowron rules that special dispensation would be granted to Grilka, allowing her to lead her own house. Grilka, genuinely grateful to Quark, asks if there is anything she could do for him. When Quark suggests a divorce, Grilka grants it, slapping him across the face and loudly declaring their marriage dissolved in Klingonese. Afterwards, she gives Quark a kiss as thanks for his invaluable help.
Life returns to normal for Quark and Rom as business hits another slump. While Quark would prefer to have some more latinum, Rom assures him that at the very least, he has respect - genuine respect from the Klingon High Council and Grilka. Afterwards, at Rom's request, Quark regales his brother with a (heavily embellished) retelling of his adventures on Qo'nos.
- Accidental Misnaming: Gowron initially mishears Quark's name as "Quirk".
- Amicably Divorced: Grilka ritualistically slaps Quark and spits on him to signal the divorce. But then they part amicably.
- Asshole Victim: Downplayed with Kozak, who, while not a particularly bad person, was a drunken idiot who led his house into financial ruin and who pulled a knife on Quark for demanding that Kozak pay for his drinks. His own wife doesn't particularly miss him and is more annoyed that the circumstances of his death threaten the future of their House than she is affected by the death itself.
- Batman Gambit: How Quark gets out of having to fight a duel with D'Ghor. Instead of attempting to put up a fight, he throws away his weapon, pointing out that him against D'Ghor is basically an execution anyway. By refusing to fight, he removes all pretense of D'Ghor defeating him in 'honorable combat'. When D'Ghor attempts to kill him anyways, Gowron summarily rules against him. (If you're wondering what D'Ghor should have done, since Quark refused to fight, D'Ghor should have offered him the chance to withdraw his accusation. If Quark refused, D'Ghor then could have "reluctantly" killed him.)
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Mostly one-sided, as Grilka has no love for this weak Ferengi she has to marry in order to keep her House safe from D'Ghor's treachery. But by the episode's end, Grilka is genuinely grateful for what Quark did and recognizes Quark's bravery in coming back to fight for her (House's) honor.
- Big Damn Heroes: For a split second, it almost appears as if D'Ghor will kill Quark before Gowron intervenes.
- Big Ol' Eyebrows: Grilka has some downright impressive eyebrows.
- Blatant Lies: Quark plays up Kozak's death, initially to drive up business, and later, because D'Ghor threatened him to. Odo doesn't buy that Quark killed a Klingon, even a drunken one, for a second, and both Grilka and D'Ghor see through the lie with ease.
- Book Dumb: Judging from the reactions to Quark's explanation, a knowledge of mathematics and economics is not one of the requirements for serving on the Klingon High Council. Subverted by Gowron, who either does understand what Quark is explaining or is at least willing to accept that Quark wouldn't be going to all the effort if his claims about D'Ghor weren't true.
- Call-Back: The Klingon High Council turn their backs on D'Ghor just like they did to Worf.
- The Comically Serious: The Klingon High Council trying to wrap their heads around Quark's explanation about how D'hor had been trying to bring down the House of Kozak. Gowron quickly decides he's heard enough, walks up to D'Ghor and delivers this gem;Gowron: The charge has been made. That you have used... MONEY TO BRING DOWN A GREAT HOUSE!
- Curb-Stomp Battle: What is expected to happen between a Ferengi who barely passes the chest of a Klingon warrior. Quark, knowing this, takes a third option.
- Didn't Think This Through:
- Standing up to a drunken Klingon and telling him to leave was not a smart move, Quark.
- Attempting to execute an unarmed Ferengi in plain view of the Klingon High Council was also not a smart move, D'Ghor.
- Dirty Coward:
- D'Ghor. No respectable Klingon uses money to defeat his opponents. And no respectable Klingon would be so eager to perform an execution of an unarmed Ferengi in what was supposed to be an honorable duel.
- Initially played straight and then averted with Quark- when he is confronted with a duel with D'Ghor, he initially decides to cut his losses and run. He later changes his mind: despite his reputation as a Ferengi, and thus as people who would rather wheel and deal, or outright run- Quark uses this reputation to stand up to D'Ghor and deliver one of the best "The Reason You Suck Speeches" in Star Trek.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Kozak's brief screentime starts with him downing mug after mug of bloodwine, lamenting his dismal financial state.
- Everyone Has Standards:
- In Klingon society, dueling and war for property, lands, and titles are perfectly fine, but using money to achieve one's aims is a step too far for the Klingons.
- Bluntly pointed out from Gowron to D'Ghor when the latter is ready to execute an unarmed Quark. Honor really is paramount in Klingon society.Gowron: D'Ghor, what are you doing? I did not want to believe the things he said about you yesterday, but if you can stand here and murder this pathetic little man, then you have no honor and you have no place in this hall!
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: In this case, it is the "good" for Klingons. While Quark has made the claim of dishonorable behavior on D'Ghor's part, his response fails to consider what an honorable Klingon would do against a man who refuses to draw his weapon but still holds firm to his claim of dishonorable action. The "good" Klingon would have looked at Quark and asked him to withdraw the claim because while there is no physical weapon in his hands, Quark's words wound him and his family's honor. When Quark refuses, and perhaps the Klingon asks again to make sure, the "good" Klingon would then make clear his reluctance in killing Quark. By going for the quick kill, by showing no respect for Quark, D'Ghor exposes his vileness to the council and Gowron.
- Five-Second Foreshadowing: Quark is confused when D'Ghor claims to have a witness to what really happened to Kozak. After all...Quark: quietly to Grilka The only other person who was there was—
(Rom gets shoved into the Great Hall)
Rom: Hello, brother.
- Funny Background Event: When Gowron gets tired of trying to follow Quark's explanation of D'Ghor's financial trickery, he tosses the padd off to the side somewhere.
- Good with Numbers:
- Quark's business mind is able to piece together how D'Ghor has been attacking Grilka's lands by financial means.
- Averted with the Klingons- well, most of them (D'Ghor obviously an exception). Watching Quark attempting to explain profits to them is hilarious. At least one turns the Ferengi PADD sideways in an attempt to understand it.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: Neither Odo nor anyone else on Deep Space Nine seems to notice that Quark and Rom are abducted and taken to Qo'nos. Then again, it is Odo we're talking about. He was likely relieved to be rid of Quark.
- Honor Before Reason:
- Played VERY straight with Klingon Honor this episode. Any like minded Ferengi would have pulled Screw This, I'm Outta Here! And Quark nearly did so.
- It's also made VERY clear that Klingon honor is not like what the modern viewer thinks of as honor. It's very much in the medieval knight/Samurai vein of reputation and Might Makes Right, with no value placed on fairness or good sportsmanship. Thus the fact that another house challenged D'Ghor's honor with its accusations is what mattered, not whether the evidence Quark provided is true.
- I Am X, Son of Y: Quark gets to use this introduction before his fight against D'Ghor."I am Quark, son of Keldar and I am come to answer the challenge of D'Ghor, son of...whatever."
- Irony: Quark - A Ferengi - outwits and bests D'Ghor - A Klingon who had become as Greedy as Ferengis are known to be - by being better at having a Klingon sense of Honor.
- Klingon Scientists Get No Respect: They don't much care for accountants, either.
- My Rule-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: D'Ghor plots to use Quark's embellished tale of Kozak's death as justification he died in honorable combat. This would deny Grilka's claim for special dispensation that would allow her to rule the house despite being a woman. Grilka then uses that fact to marry Quark under a ritual that would keep her house from becoming dead.Grilka: All I have done is follow the brek'tal ritual. If the leader of a House is slain in honourable combat, the victor may be invited to take his place and his wife. You're the one who made this possible, D'Ghor. You certified before the Council that Kozak died an honourable death at the hands of this man. I am simply exercising my rights as an honoured widow.
- Oh, Crap!:
- Quark realizes he goofed up bad when he finds Kozak dead, then once more when his widow comes to marry him.
- This is D'Ghor's reaction when Gowron has him discommendated.
- Planet of Hats: Very interesting subversion/deconstruction. Quark (a Ferengi) and D'Ghor (a Klingon) both take off their race's hat. D'Ghor acts like a typical Ferengi (using MONEY to try to bring down a Klingon house), while Quark shows Klingon honor and stands up to a challenge with a "The Reason You Suck" Speech that is so good even Gowron (the Klingon chancellor) commends him. "A brave Ferengi, who would have thought that possible?"
- Put On A Runabout: Keiko is forced to close the school as all the other families have relocated to Bajor due to the Dominion threat. O'Brien is able to pull strings to get her assigned to an agrobiology expedition.
- Reality Ensues:
- The fear of the Dominion has frightened many of the families away from the DS9.
- Quark is a known conman from a race of people who specialize in financial and economic crimes and exploitation. When Gowron hears his petition of D'Ghor's crimes are backed up with only a complicated financial summaries and paperwork that Gowron can barely follow, he is smart to not trust Quark's papers alone. This is the exact type of con a Ferengi might pull. So, Gowron moves the case to the Klingon Justice System for resolution: prove the validity of one's claim by combat.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Gowron shows his good side by listening to Quark's claim, seeing D'Ghor's murder of a defenseless man for the cowardice it is, and will grant Grilka the special dispensation she sought. His facial expression also suggests even he knows this whole incident is crazy and best left hand-waved off.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Two of them.
- First Grilka gives one to Quark when he attempts Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:Grilka: I thought you were different. I thought you had something in here (points to chest). But all you have in there is a piece of Latinum. And it is a pretty small piece at that.
- Quark gives a grilling one to his would-be executioner:Quark: Go ahead, kill me. That's why I'm here, isn't it, to be killed? Well, here I am, so go ahead and do it. You all want me to pick up that sword and fight him, don't you? But I don't have a chance and you know it. You only want me to put up a fight so that your precious honour will be satisfied. Well, I'm not going to make it so easy for you. Having me fight D'Ghor is nothing more than an execution, so, if that's what you want, that's what you'll get. An execution. No honour, no glory. And when you tell your children and your grandchildren the glorious story of how you rose to power and took Grilka's House from her, I hope you remember to tell them how you heroically killed an unarmed Ferengi... half your size.
- Not just D'Ghor- Gowron and the High Council are perfectly willing to let D'Ghor steal Grilka's house, despite Grilka and Quark exposing the plot- as long as the letter of the law is followed. Quark is calling them out by removing any pretenses of honor.
- First Grilka gives one to Quark when he attempts Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
- Most of the Bajoran families living on DS9 move back to Bajor in the face of the Dominion threat, forcing Keiko to close her school.
- Rom and Quark attempt this after D'Ghor's challenge but Grilka initially stops them both and chews them out for trying to do so. This leads Quark to his Batman Gambit.
- Shipper on Deck: After D'Ghor is discommendated, Gowron gives special dispensation to Grilka and tells her she can be head of house. Then adds "If that is what you want", while nodding at Quark.
- Slap-Slap-Kiss: Grilka is affectionately grateful to Quark for his defense of her House.
- Soap Punishment: When Rom says that latinum isn't everything, Quark replies that their father would've used the Ferengi equivalent on him.
- So Proud of You:
- Grilka says this about Quark before the duel begins.
- Hell, even Gowron basically says this to Quark, a Ferengi, while summarily dismissing a fellow Klingon.
- Swapped Roles: Quark, a Ferengi, behaves honourably like a Klingon. Meanwhile, D'Ghor, a Klingon, goes through shady dealings like a Ferengi, and is later found to have zero honour.
- Take a Third Option: Quark is forced into a duel of honor with D'Ghor, which would end either with him killing D'Ghor (very unlikely), or with D'Ghor killing him (quite likely). However, Quark comes up with a solution where he manages to point out the hypocrisy of the Klingon honor code without needing to fight at all.
- Title Drop: Played for Laughs when Gowron has trouble saying "Quark" properly.
- Undignified Death: Kozak dies because he fell on his own knife in a drunken stupor.
- You Got Guts: Gowron is quite impressed by Quark's action.Gowron: A brave Ferengi. Who'd have thought it possible?
- You Kill It, You Bought It: The brek'tal ritual amounts to this; if a Klingon is slain in honourable combat, as D'Ghor is claiming that Kozak was, then the slayer of said warrior may marry the deceased's widow. Quark is forced to go through the motions under threat of death.
- You Wouldn't Shoot Me: Quark evokes this when forced to duel D'Ghor, stating that this fight was little more than D'Ghor executing a Ferengi that couldn't defend himself. D'Ghor was willing to carry through, but Gowron decides that he couldn't abide this and has D'Ghor discommendated for his (dishonourable) financial dealings and attempting to murder Quark.