Quark returns from Ferenginar having been diagnosed with a fatal disease. Desperate to clear his debts before his death so he can ascend to the Ferengi version of Heaven, he makes a deal to sell his corpse, delivery in six days (the time limit the doctor gave him).
Unfortunately for Quark, the enormous bid for his body that he accepted was from his old enemy Brunt, FCA. Brunt despises Quark for his "softness," and has trapped him in a catch-22. When Quark discovers that he isn't dying after all, he's left with an impossible choice: either break the contract, becoming an outcast from Ferengi society with all his assets and the assets of his family seized, or find a way to die within the six days so that his body can be delivered accordingly. As a proud Ferengi, Quark decides he would rather die than accept exile, and begins making arrangements to have Garak execute him.
Quark then has a vision of a visit to the Celestial Treasury, where his imagination supplies images of Brunt and the first Grand Nagus. The two argue, with Brunt telling him to go through with his plan and the Nagus (who Quark has imagined looking uncannily like Rom) telling him that his life is more important than any rules.
In the end, Quark decides to break the contract. Brunt declares him persona non grata on Ferenginar, and hauls off the entire contents of Quark's Bar as an opening payment. Quark collapses in the empty room, deep in depression over his complete lack of assets. Quark's Federation and Bajoran friends then arrive, bringing furniture and equipment from elsewhere in the station. Rom comments that with so many friends, Quark isn't without assets after all.
Meanwhile, Bashir, Kira, and Keiko O'Brien arrive home from an away mission after an accident has resulted in Keiko becoming badly injured. She'll recover, but the baby was in jeopardy; with no other options, Bashir transferred the fetus into Kira. The process is not reversible, so Kira will have to carry the child to term.
- Adult Fear: O'Brien is visibly worried when he hears that Keiko's been injured, and he looks devastated for a moment when he thinks that the baby didn't survive.
- All Just a Dream: Quark's time in the Divine Treasury. Dream!Gint, partway through the sequence, actually tells Quark that it's just a dream, which explains why the decorations fell short of Quark's expectations, and why Gint so resembles Quark's 'idiot brother'.
- And You Were There: In his dream, Quark notes that Dream!Gint looks like an older version of Rom.
- The Bad Guy Wins: Quark breaks his contract to save his skin, meaning Brunt gets to confiscate all of his possessions. However, Brunt didn't count on Quark having friends so generous that they would help him rebuild his life completely, and be free of F.C.A. influence.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: After rejecting various execution methods, Quark tells Garak he doesn't want to see his death coming, and would rather just go about his business until the ex-spy does the deed. Garak gives him an Evil Grin and says "that can be arranged", promising that Quark will "never see it coming". The next scene has Quark holed up in his quarters, jumping at every tiny noise thinking it's Garak come to kill him.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Under the sleaze, Quark is actually a pretty nice guy, even his insults and threats come off as funny. When he confronts Brunt at the end, no one is laughing.Quark: Take my assets, revoke my Ferengi business license. Do whatever you have to do then get out. And if I ever see you walk into my bar again...Brunt: (smug) Yes?Quark: (darkly) You won't walk out.
- Black Comedy: The wacky hijinks that ensue from Quark being diagnosed with a terminal illness, Ferengi death rites, and attempting to hire an assassin on one's own life!
- Blatant Lies: Everyone has one for giving stuff to Quark to help him restart his bar—Bashir has brandy that he can't drink, Sisko has furniture that needs to be stored there, etc.
- Brick Joke: Garak tells Quark that he used to be a gardener. Tune in next week for the payoff!
- Rom reminds Quark of his one-week stint as the Grand Nagus.
- Rom also brings up the time he successfully pulled off a union.
- When telling Quark why It's Personal, Brunt mentions the time Quark saved his mother from being made an example of the F.C.A.
- Central Theme: Quark faces a personal version of the early season Central Theme of whether its possible to break free from the past: does he want to be a good Ferengi and follow the Ferengi Law he's dedicated his life to? Who is he if he's not following the Rules of Acquisition?
- Deadly Euphemism: After telling Quark that he used to be a gardener, Garak says he'll be more than happy to have something weeded.
- Desecrating the Dead:Brunt: I have a thousand ideas about how to defile your remains. Want to hear my favorites?
- Digging Yourself Deeper: Quark tries to appeal to Brunt by saying he'll take away his employees' vacation time. Brunt is then aghast that he gave his employees vacations. He's also horrified that Quark sold food and medicine to Bajoran refugees at just above cost!
- Dirty Coward: Brunt delights in using his position to threaten Quark financially, but the moment Quark threatens him back with actual violence, Brunt's smugness vanishes.
- Everyone Has Standards: According to Quark, Brunt's actions here (insisting on following the literal letter of a contract even though it requires the other party's unintended death, especially as there's zero profit to be made in doing so) are low even by Ferengi standards. As Quark puts it, "We're not Klingons, we're businessmen."
- Explosive Instrumentation: Keiko runs afoul of this off-screen (though she survives). It's what kicks off the "surrogate pregnancy" plot.
- First-Name Basis: Kira encourages this with Miles and Keiko, since she's having their baby.
- Honorary Uncle: Well, Aunt. Aunt Nerys to be specific.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: Quark, when he sees that despite losing everything to Brunt, The Power of Friendship has come to his rescue.
- In the script (but not the finished episode), Sisko, Bashir, and O'Brien need a drink to help them start dealing with the Kira/Keiko pregnancy situation.
- Idiot Ball: If Quark had followed Rom's advice and consulted Dr. Bashir for a second opinion about his health, or if he included a provision in his contract in case he doesn't die, he could have avoided all this trouble.
- Rom actually points this out before Quark does anything rash, but Quark brushes him off. After all, how good can Bashir be, he doesn't even charge.
- Implausible Deniability: Garak denying that he was ever an assassin to Quark. You're not fooling anyone, Garak.
- It's Personal: Normally, even a Ferengi wouldn't be expected to die just to fulfil a contract. However, this isn't about business for Brunt — this is about his hatred for Quark.
- Loophole Abuse: Since the contract seemed to only specify a certain number of jars of "vacuum-sealed Quark", one wonders why Quark didn't just have Dr. Bashir clone enough of his own bodily tissue to fill the order and pass it on to Brunt, contract fulfilled.
- Mistaken for Afterlife: When Quark has his dream regarding the Divine Treasury, at first he thinks that Garak has done as Quark asked, killing him in a way that would mean he "simply woke up" there.
- Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: While nothing in the episode specifically states it, Dr. Orpax's incorrect diagnosis sure does seem like a Batman Gambit on Brunt's part to maneuver Quark into short-selling himself. It definitely wouldn't have been above Brunt to pay off Quark's doctor to give the misdiagnosis in order to kick off the plot.
- My God, You Are Serious!: Quark, when he realizes Brunt isn't going to be satisfied with anything less than his dessicated remains.
- Neck Snap: Garak demonstrates this possible method of killing Quark, who quickly rejects it.
- Not Afraid of You Anymore: Since Brunt took everything from Quark within the confines of Ferengi law, it means that Quark has nothing left to lose and threatens to kill him if he ever sets foot in his bar again.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: As Quark notes, Ferengi law relies on a certain amount of common sense when enforcing contracts and Brunt's actions are way out of line. They are, however, within the letter of the rules; Brunt is exploiting a loophole caused by being both the customer and the enforcer.
- Panicky Expectant Father: At the beginning, O'Brien is worrying about how Keiko's activities will affect the baby. (Turns out he's not entirely unjustified in his concerns.)O'Brien: Do you know what she wanted to do last week?... She wanted to go back to Bajor and rappel down the cliffs of Undalar to get a fungus sample. Rappel to get fungus! It's as if I have to remind her that she's pregnant.
Dax: Yeah, I guess the extra weight, the morning sickness, the mood swings, the medical examinations, they aren't reminders enough.
- Persona Non Grata: When Quark finally breaks his contract to him, Brunt uses his authority as an FCA liquidator to have Quark's bar shut down, further decreeing that no Ferengi may work for him, do business with him, or even talk to him.
- Power of Friendship: Quark learns what he truly has in assets when the entire crew of DS9 donates all he needs to restart his bar after Brunt ruins him.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: The B-plot of Kira becoming a surrogate for Miles and Keiko's baby was a cover for Nana Visitor's real-life pregnancy.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Brunt goes into detail about how he hates Quark, not for any slight against him personally, but for his un-Ferengi business practices: giving his workers vacation time, taking only a third of his workers' tips, and selling medicine to Bajoran refugees at just above cost.Brunt: It was still a generous, hoo-manitarian gesture!
- Repaying for the One: At the end of the episode, the community of Deep Space 9 bring in all of their unwanted bar-related items to start Quark's Bar up again (because how can Brunt enforce his jurisdiction to non-Ferengi?)
- Sadistic Choice: Quark is boned from the start. Either he breaks his contract and lives (as a pariah in Ferengi society), or dies so Brunt can claim the remains he paid for. He chooses life.
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Dream!Gint convinces Quark to break the contract by saying that the Rules of Acquisition were merely guidelines, but of course, no one would buy a book entitled "Suggestions of Acquisition."
- Skewed Priorities: When Bashir tells Quark that he's not going to die of Dorek's Syndrome, this dialogue ensues:Quark: Do you know what this means, Rom?
Rom: It means you're gonna live!
Quark: It means I get to sue Dr. Orpax for malpractice! And I'm gonna live.
- Stylistic Suck: The Divine Treasury set is intentionally designed to appear as gaudy and over-decorated as possible. The script even refers to it as a "Latinum-covered nightmare", while Quark himself describes it as "tacky".
- Suicide by Assassin: The reason why Quark hires Garek to kill him is so he can fulfill his contract with Brunt. However, all the different methods that Garek performs or suggests dont appeal to Quark.
- Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Brunt takes everything from Quark. Quark takes the chance to remind him having lost everything, it means Brunt has nothing left to threaten him with. Likewise if Quark does want to kill Brunt, he has nothing to lose.
- That Came Out Wrong: When Rom convinces Quark to have his soon-to-be desiccated corpse auctioned on Ferengi eBay:Rom: When you see how much your body is worth, you're gonna wish you'd died years ago!
(Quark gives Rom a Death Glare)
Rom: Or something like that.
- Wham Line:Quark: I'm—I'm dying!
- Wham Shot: Pregnant Kira.
- Whammy Bid: Quark is despondent when he sees that Rom is the only person to place a bid on his remains. Until he receives an offer of 500 bars for the entire set...
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Quark never seems to get around to cancelling Garak's hit on him...
- More likely, Garak simply knew better than to think Quark would really be willing to go through with it and just humored him. Very in-character for Garak. After all, all he actually did was demonstrate some assassination methods in the holosuite.
- Would Rather Suffer: When it turns out that Quark even lost his clothes to Brunt, Rom offers some of his old clothes. Quark's response?Quark: I'd rather be naked.
- You Look Familiar: In-Universe — Max Grodénchik plays both Rom and the Gint in Quark's dream. Quark lampshades this.
- You Make Me Sick: Brunt makes his feelings about Quark very clear (in Large Ham mode).Brunt: You dis-GUST me.