Oh, Quark. You are in deeper trouble than you've ever been in your entire life.
With all his debts about to catch up to him at once, a desperate Quark agrees to enter the dangerous world of weapons trading with his treacherous cousin Gaila and a feared Bajoran weapons merchant named Hagath. But can he stomach the immorality of such a racket?
Tropes in this episode:
- A Million Is a Statistic: Gaila tries to invoke this in his "one star in the sky" speech to Quark, but Quark disagrees. Later, Quark considers the death of the Regent (and the narrow escape of Hagath and Gaila) to be a small price to pay for the lives of 28 million people—a sentiment Sisko agrees with.
- Ambiguously Gay: Hagath may have Talura as his sexy female arm candy, but he's also very... affectionate towards Quark, gifting the Ferengi with jewels and touching him on the lobes (the Ferengi erogenous zones) while telling him "I love you."
- Arms Dealer: Gaila and Hagath, who do business with a number of interplanetary factions.
- Badass Boast: Quark gets off thanks to Hagath's old connections with the Bajoran government due to his business with the Resistance during the occupation. But Sisko makes sure he knows he's skating on super thin ice.
Sisko: You'd better hope there isn't a next time, mister. I have cut you a lot of slack in the past. I even looked away once or twice when I could have come down hard on you, but those days are over. Now we may not get you for selling weapons, but you so much as litter on the Promenade and I will nail you to the wall!
- Batman Gambit: Quark decides to turn against both Hagath and Gaila by arranging for the Regent and his mortal enemy to run into each other in the Cargo Bay.
- Benevolent Boss: Hagath is a kind boss to his associates while they do their jobs right. He pays well, and will use his connections to keep his subordinates out of jail. Just, do not screw up a deal. You will meet with an an accident.
- Berserk Button: For the love of God, do not do anything that will hurt Hagath's profits
- This is not the first time that Gaila and his weapons business have been mentioned. Dax also brings up that time he tried to kill Quark.
- The Metrons are mentioned as being among Hagath's potential customers, though it seems a bit odd that that a species previously shown to abhor violence would want to buy weapons. Perhaps the Metrons weren't so much buying the weapons as confiscating them?
- Chew-Out Fake-Out: Quark contacts the Regent's chef to prepare a sumptuous dinner of all his favorites. Hagath pretends outrage, asking if Quark is trying to scuttle the deal.
"This?! He's going to enjoy this?! [samples a plate] Well he should, it's delicious."
- Chewing the Scenery: It's a miracle DS9's hulls are still intact with the way Hagath articulated his lines.
- Cuteness Proximity: Everybody in Ops is distracted by Kirayoshi sleeping.
- Didn't See That Coming: Quark tries to pull this with regards to the firefight that he caused in the cargo bay between the Regent's and Nassuc's forces, claiming that all he wanted to happen was for the two groups to both pull a Screw This, I'm Outta Here!. Sisko doesn't buy this for a moment, but whether or not Quark was being sincere, it's clear that the latter definitely didn't intend for the Regent to end up dead; not that either he or Sisko minds.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Quark, while not evil per se, has done some pretty reprehensible things over the course of the series, but even his conscience can't justify ending 28 million lives.
- Everyone Has Standards: While the crew is usually content to roll their eyes at Quark's greedy nature, his entry into weapons trading is the straw that breaks the camel's back. All of the Starfleet crew immediately stop coming to the bar. Even Jadzia freezes him out.
- Evil Brit: Hagath. He is played by Steven Berkoff, after all.
- Evil Is Hammy: Hagath sells weapons, not subtlety.
"So let's forgo any further attempts at jocularity, shall we? And get down to THE BUSINESS!!"
- Faux Affably Evil: Hagath, again. He appears jovial and kind, seeing to it that all of Quark's debts are settled and gives him a set of rare glass beads as a token of his appreciation. Just don't make him lose his temper. Because he will actually have you murdered.
- Hero Insurance: Averted for Quark, who finds himself in debt to Sisko at the end of the episode for the firefight that caused damage to part of the station. Sisko is open to a payment plan, thankfully, and Starfleet is not a creditor that is liable to resort to thuggish measures unlike his previous ones.
- I Can Live With That: Quark's reaction to the narrow escape of Hagath and Gaila from the station. He also has this reaction to the death of the Regent:
Quark: I can live with that, too. And I can think of twenty-eight million other people who won't mind either.
Sisko: Twenty-eight million... and one.
- It Will Never Catch On: Hagath and Gaila reminisce about how people said they were crazy for wanting to sell weapons to the Bajoran resistance.
Hagath: "What chance do they have? Invest in a winner, sell to the Cardassians."
- Let's You and Him Fight: How Quark sets things up to get out of the weapons deal while forcing Hagath and Gaila to flee for their lives.
- Loan Shark: Quark is facing a lot of business debts about to come due, with what are implied to be dire consequences if he doesn't pay up.
- Loophole Abuse: Quark knows that Odo would never allow any weapons onto the station, so buyers are given demonstrations using holographic replicas instead. All the actual shipping takes place outside Federation territory, so they can't get busted by Starfleet.
- Make It Look Like an Accident: Hagath has Farrakk killed in a warp core explosion. It's implied that this how he deals with everyone who makes a screw up that hurts his profit.
- Mood Whiplash: The A-Plot is Quark wrestling with his conscience as his new employers openly discuss ending thousands to millions of lives for profit. The B-Plot? O'Brien's baby won't stop crying.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Quark, when he realizes what he's gotten himself involved in. He even whispers "What have I done?" after waking up from his Guilt-Induced Nightmare.
- Oh, Crap!:
- Quark has one when the Regent wants 28 million people killed.
- Gaila has one when he realizes Quark invited General Nassuc (the Regent's mortal enemy) to the station.
- Opinion-Changing Dream: Quark's nightmare of all his dead friends blaming him for getting them killed by the weapons he's selling.
- Pet the Dog: Hagath sends Quark's earnings directly to his creditors, telling him he won't be able to enjoy his profits until all his debts are settled. But to make up for it, he gives him a set of rare glass beads that are worth a fortune so that he can enjoy some fruits of his labor.
- Playing Both Sides: Hagath and Gaila occasionally do this during planetary wars, but note that it's very risky. Quark decides to exploit this by inviting General Nassuc to the station and telling Gaila that is exactly what he is planning, while leading her to a potential standoff with the Regent.
- Properly Paranoid: Just before meeting Hagath, Quark shakes the seats in his bar, worried that Odo is eavesdropping as an inanimate object, just as he has done in previous episodes. Gaila has to remind Quark that they watched him leave the promenade five minutes earlier.
- Rejected Apology: Quark tries to make amends with Dax before sabotaging the deal, knowing he will likely die, but she rebuffs him. She's much more receptive, though, afterwards when everything is back to normal.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Odo brings Quark in when he suspects him of arms dealing, but as it turns out, his new employer Hagath helped the Bajoran Resistance and made their independence possible. As such, the Bajoran government, owing a boon to Hagath, lets Quark walk. Nonetheless, Sisko warns him that it would be the last favor he would get.
- Afterwards, Quark asks Hagath and Gaila why they sold to the Bajorans if they didn't have much money. They point out that sometimes, cultivating a connection is more valuable than money.
- Gaila's speech to Quark about whether Quark should care about some people he doesn't know and will never meet is very similar to Harry Lime's speech in The Third Man.
- The Breen weapon that Quark demonstrates is designated CRM-114, which was the B-52 radio encryption set in Dr. Strangelove.
- Hagath's dialogue with Quark parralels an exchange from Scarface:
Hagath: Don't cross me, Quark. Don't you ever cross me.
- Special Guest: Steven Berkoff as Hagath.
- Suddenly SHOUTING!: Hagath tends to do this at points, particularly when he tries to distract from Quark's horror at the Regent's wish to commit mass-murder by quickly saying "Let's get down to THE BUSINESS!" — more than likely a Shout-Out to Steven Berkoff's prior role in Octopussy as General Orlov, who had much the same habit.
- Take a Third Option: Before the climax, Quark has two choices: continue to be part of the weapons deal and allow for the deaths of 28 million people, or risk getting killed by Hagath and Gaila. He chooses to set things up so that all parties involved are involved in a shootout and both Hagath and Gaila are forced to flee.
- Villain Has a Point: Hagath sends Quark's pay to his creditors to remove his debt to ensure Quark doesn't want any of his associates comprised. Given the business he is in, it's hard to fault his logic.
- War for Fun and Profit: Subverted - Quark acts like he's willing to sell to both sides, but he's really setting it up so that the leaders of both sides will "accidentally" run into each other and start shooting.
- Worth It: Implied several times regarding Quark's screwing of the deal at the climax. If Quark died in the execution, it was worth it to stop the slaughter of 28 million people. (As he himself puts it: "One life for 28 million. Best deal I ever made.") He sheds no tears over the Regent's death when it's revealed, and he doesn't even try to wiggle out of being sent the bill for the damage dealt in the firefight, only asking for a payment plan that Sisko agrees to.
- You Have Failed Me: Hagath is extremely displeased with Farrakk, who was vacationing on Risa instead of conducting a weapons deal. Needless to say, Farrakk doesn't leave the station alive.