Profit And Lace
Stardate: Unknown
Original Airdate: 11 May, 1998

[Quark's]

QUARK: I am truly impressed. And I'm not easily impressed. In all my years as proprietor of Quark's Bar, Grill, Gaming House and Holosuite Arcade, I have never seen such a glowing employee performance report. I mean, look at this. In three months, no customer has filed a single complaint against you. You haven't spilled a drink, mixed up a food order or short-changed a bill.
ALUURA: I take my job very seriously.
QUARK: And yet you always manage to wear a friendly smile.
ALUURA: That's because I like my work. I'm happy to be here.
QUARK: And it shows. The customers love you. Your fellow dabo girls love you. Even the Ferengi waiters sing your praises. And you know why? Because you're nice.
ALUURA: I try to be.
QUARK: You're nice to the customers. You're nice to the dabo girls. You're nice to the Ferengi waiters. You're nice to everyone. Almost everyone.
ALUURA: You mean I've offended someone?
QUARK: Look closely, Aluura. Can't you see the pain in my eyes?
ALUURA: But I'm always nice to you.
QUARK: I think you could be nicer.
ALUURA: How much nicer?
(Quark hands her a PADD.)
ALUURA: Oo-mox for Fun and Profit?
QUARK: It's a quick read.
ALUURA: Oh. You want me to be nice.
QUARK: Let's face it. The customers, the dabo girls, the Ferengi waiters, they didn't hire you. And they can't fire you.
ALUURA: You wouldn't. Would you?
QUARK: Read the book.
(Rom enters.)
ROM: Brother. We need to talk.
QUARK: Go away. I'm in the middle of a meeting.
ROM: But it's important.
QUARK: So is this meeting.
ROM: It's about our mother.
QUARK: How many times have I told you not to mention Moogie when I'm working.
ROM: Sorry. But I tried contacting her this morning and I couldn't get through.
QUARK: She's probably off visiting the Grand Nagus.
ROM: I tried the Tower of Commerce. There was no answer there either.
QUARK: They're probably on vacation. Now leave me alone. I'm trying to concentrate.
ROM: Brother, you don't understand. I can't get a hold of anyone on Ferenginar. Not Cousin Gaila, not Lek. I tell you, something's very wrong.
QUARK: All right. We will continue this later. In the meantime, you have some reading to do.
ROM: Hello, Aluura. She's so nice.
QUARK: We'll see.

[Ops]

SISKO: A Dominion invasion of Ferenginar?
ROM: Think of the terrible repercussions to the Alpha Quadrant.
WORF: I cannot think of any.
KIRA: How could the Dominion invade Ferenginar without first conquering the surrounding systems like Clarus and Irtok?
ROM: Brother, did you hear that? They've captured Irtok as well.
KIRA: That's not what I said.
WORF: There are no reports of Dominion activity anywhere near that sector.
QUARK: Why can't we get through to Ferenginar?
ROM: Moogie, the Nagus, Cousin Gaila. They're all dead.
QUARK: We don't know that, Rom. But something is definitely wrong on Ferenginar.
SISKO: We'll see what we can find out.
DAX: Captain, a Ferengi ship is approaching the station requesting permission to dock. It's Grand Nagus Zek. And your mother's with him.
ROM: They're alive! Nice work.

[Airlock]

ZEK: Quark! Rom! It's good to see you, boys.
QUARK: It's good to see you too, Nagus.
ZEK: Come along, my dear.
(Instead of a loose dress, Moogie is in a figure revealing catsuit.)
ROM: Moogie! I was so worried.
ISHKA: You're a good son.
QUARK: I was worried, too.
ISHKA: And you're a good liar.
ROM: Moogie, do you think it's a good idea to be wearing clothes in public?
QUARK: He's right. What if one of my Ferengi waiters sees you?
ISHKA: I hope they do. Tell them, Zekkie.
ZEK: No, you go right ahead, my dear.
ISHKA: It should really come from you.
QUARK: Would somebody please tell me what's going on?
ISHKA: It's one of those good news bad news type of things. Give them the good news first.
ZEK: If you insist. Three days ago, I added a new amendment to the Ferengi Bill of Opportunities giving females the right to wear clothes.
ROM: In public?
ISHKA: Anywhere we want.
QUARK: That can't be the good news. If Ferengi females can wear clothes in public, then they can leave their homes. If they can leave their homes, they can go to work. If they can go to work, they can make profit.
ISHKA: What's the matter, Quark? Afraid of a little competition?
QUARK: You're sure that's the good news?
ROM: It sounds good to me.
ISHKA: Oh, now you see why I like him best.
ZEK: Face it, Quark. It's good business. For thousands of years, Ferenginar has allowed a valuable resource to go to waste.
QUARK: Females? A valuable resource?
ZEK: They make up fifty three point five percent of the population and contribute virtually nothing to gross planetary income. I say it's time they started pulling their own weight.
QUARK: Better tell me the bad news. It might cheer me up.
ISHKA: I doubt it.
ZEK: The moment fully clothed females started appearing on the streets of Ferenginar, financial chaos erupted all over the planet.
ROM: That explains the communications blackout.
ZEK: There was so much buying and selling throughout the Alliance that the entire planetary communications grid shut down.
QUARK: If there's trouble on Ferenginar, what are you doing here?
ZEK: I've been deposed. I'm no longer Grand Nagus.
QUARK: Then who is?
ISHKA: Who do you think?
QUARK: Brunt.
ROM: Grand Nagus Brunt?
ZEK: Acting Grand Nagus Brunt.
ROM: Brother, we're in trouble now. Brunt hates us.
ISHKA: Well, don't start panicking. The Ferengi Commerce Authority hasn't confirmed him yet.
ZEK: And they won't for three more days. Boys, together we're going to reconquer an empire or die in the attempt.

[Quark's quarters]

ISHKA: What lovely quarters you have, Quark. Small, but lovely.
ZEK: As of this moment, I declare this site to be the headquarters of the sole legitimate government of Ferenginar.
QUARK: I still can't believe it. Brunt is the new Nagus?
ZEK: Acting Nagus.
QUARK: For three more days. Then it becomes official.
ZEK: I'm not worried. I have a secret weapon. Your mother. Now here's the plan. One, we contact every FCA Commissioner and invite them to the station for a meeting. Two, Ishka runs the meeting.
QUARK: Oh, they'll love that.
ZEK: Maybe not at first, but she'll win them over. Using her vast financial knowledge and her keen instinct for profit, she'll prove once and for all that allowing females to wear clothing is the first step toward a healthier and more prosperous Ferengi economy. And three. What was three again, my dear?
ISHKA: The FCA Commissioners reinstate you as Nagus.
ZEK: And who can ask for a happier ending than that.
ISHKA: But that's only the beginning, lobekins. I predict that one day, a female will enter the Tower of Commerce, climb the forty flights of stairs to the Chamber of Opportunity, and take her rightful place as Grand Nagus of the Ferengi Alliance.
QUARK: Don't look at me. It was your amendment.
(Rom enters with Nog and Leeta.)
ROM: Nagus, you remember my son, Nog, don't you? He's the first Ferengi to join Starfleet.
ZEK: I'll try not to hold that against him.
ROM: And this is my wife, Leeta.
LEETA: I've heard so much about you.
ZEK: Would you like to hear more?
ISHKA: Remember, she's Rom's wife.
ZEK: Meaning what?
ISHKA: Meaning she's broke.
ZEK: She doesn't look broke to me.
ISHKA: Zekkie.
ZEK: Just having a little harmless fun, my sweet. Now Quark, you and your brother get rid of some of this furniture. And you, (Nog) get three subspace transceivers off my ship and set them up in here. And where's my beetle snuff?
(Maihar'du hands the box over.)
ZEK: Grand Nagus Brunt. (sneeze)
(Later, everyone is making calls over subspace.)
QUARK: Good afternoon, I'm calling on behalf of Grand Nagus Zek.
ROM: The Nagus summons you to a meeting here on Deep Space Nine.
NOG: He's counting on your support.
QUARK: You'll be presented with some very interesting financial data.
ROM: There's profit to be earned.
NOG: And the Nagus wants you to share in these lucrative opportunities.
ROM: Yes, I'm talking about the Grand Nagus.
QUARK: No, not Brunt.
NOG: Grand Nagus Zek.
QUARK: Who said he was dead?
ROM: Wait. Don't end the transmission.
NOG: Hello? Hello? Where'd he go?
QUARK: I know all about the ninety fourth Rule of Acquisition.
NOG: I know. Females and finances don't mix. But that can be interpreted in many different ways.
QUARK: Hello? Hello?
ROM: That's not a very nice thing to say about the Nagus.
QUARK: I beg your pardon?
NOG: There's no need to be insulting.
ROM: Hello? Hello?
QUARK: That female happens to be my mother! Hello?

[Quark's]

ZEK: Are you sure you contacted every Commissioner on this list?
QUARK: All four hundred and thirty two of them.
ZEK: And you could only convince one of them to attend the meeting?
ROM: Maybe if we made some follow up calls.
ZEK: I helped every one of those people earn a fortune, and this is how they repay me?
NOG: What a bunch of ingrates.
ISHKA: Well, the news isn't all bad. The Commissioner who's agreed to come. It's Nilva.
QUARK: The Chairman of Slug-o-Cola.
ISHKA: He's a very powerful and influential voice within the FCA.
ZEK: Unfortunately, he's a influential voice for the status quo.
ROM: I don't think Slug-o-Cola has changed it's advertising slogan in three hundred years. Drink Slug-o-Cola.
ALL: The slimiest cola in the galaxy.
QUARK: Why would Nilva agree to come to the meeting?
ISHKA: I don't know. But if I can convince him to support Zek, other Commissioners will follow.
ZEK: Well, it's a start, at least.
ISHKA: See? I told you it was too early to panic.
BRUNT: Care to place a wager on that?
(Enter the new Nagus with his own Hupyrian servant.)
ROM: Grand Nagus Brunt.
ZEK: Acting Grand Nagus Brunt.
ISHKA: Now you can panic.
(Quark goes up to Brunt to order him out.)
BRUNT: I'll take an Eelwasser. No ice.
ZEK: What are you doing here, Brunt?
BRUNT: That's Grand Nagus Brunt.
ISHKA: Acting Grand Nagus.
(Uri'lash and Maihar'du glare at each other.)
BRUNT: Would someone please tell that female to take off those clothes. It's disgusting.
ISHKA: Get used to it, limp lobes. This is the future.
BRUNT: Over my dead body.
ZEK: If that's what it takes.
ROM: I don't suppose you're here to reminisce about the time you helped my brother and me rescue Moogie from the Dominion.
BRUNT: You're right. That's not why I'm here. Though I find it ironic that helping to rescue your mother was the first step on my road to becoming Nagus.
ISHKA: Don't remind me.
ZEK: I never should have given you your job back with the FCA.
BRUNT: But you did. And as a Liquidator, I was able to bribe my way back into a position of power.
ROM: That is ironic.
BRUNT: Face it, Zek, it's over. You're finished. Bankrupt. I'm going to liquidate you. Cancel that Eelwasser and get me a Slug-o-Cola instead. On second thought, I'll just wait till Chairman Nilva gets here. I'm sure he'll be happy to provide his new Nagus with all the Slug-o-Cola I can drink.
ROM: How did you know Nilva was coming here?
BRUNT: Because it's my business to know. Go on, have your little meeting. Whatever you offer Nilva, I'll double it.
QUARK: That's it. Get out of my bar.
BRUNT: You dare threaten your Nagus?
QUARK: Acting Nagus. You may liquidate us tomorrow, but right now this is still my establishment. Now get out before I kick you out.
BRUNT: I'm going to make you a pauper. Uri'lash, we're leaving. Say goodbye to these poor people.
QUARK: Out.
(Brunt and Uri'lash leave.)
ZEK: My boy, I'm proud of you.
ISHKA: So am I.
ROM: Me too.
QUARK: I just kicked the Grand Nagus out of my bar.
ALL: Acting Grand Nagus.
QUARK: Whatever. I need to lie down.

[Rom's quarters]

ISHKA: You busy, Quark?
QUARK: Busy? Me? Nah. I'm just lying here wondering if it's not too late for me to start a new life somewhere.
ISHKA: Oh, Quark, there's nothing wrong with your life.
QUARK: I'm sorry. I stand corrected.
ISHKA: You're overreacting.
QUARK: Whatever you say.
ISHKA: Reminds me of when you were a lobeling. You were always such a miserable child.
QUARK: Moogie, leave me alone.
ISHKA: I'm your mother, I can't leave you alone.
QUARK: Try.
ISHKA: Come on, on your feet. Zekkie's waiting for you in the bar.
QUARK: Now what?
ISHKA: He feels like playing a game of tongo.
QUARK: We're all facing banishment from Ferengi society and he wants to play tongo?
ISHKA: He wants to play tongo, I want to have a late night snack, you want to lie here feeling sorry for yourself. We all deal with stress in different ways. Any fresh tube grubs around?
QUARK: How can you eat at a time like this?
ISHKA: It's simple. You put one end of the tube grub between your front teeth, and you suck 'em right up.
QUARK: You want tube grubs? Fine. Enjoy.
ISHKA: These are minced. I wanted fresh.
QUARK: You know, this is all your fault.
ISHKA: It's my fault you don't have fresh tube grubs?
QUARK: I'm not talking about tube grubs. I'm talking about Ferengi females wearing clothes and earning profit. I'm talking about Grand Nagus Brunt.
ISHKA: Acting Grand Nagus Brunt.
QUARK: You're not fooling me, Moogie. You've been plotting this all along. Ever since you met Zek, you've been working on him, manipulating him, whispering things in his ear. Things like equality for females.
ISHKA: What's wrong with that?
QUARK: I'll tell you what's wrong with that. You've ruined Zek's life, your life, Rom's life.
ISHKA: As if you cared about any of us. It's your life you're worried about.
QUARK: You bet I'm worried. Nobody else seems to care what happens to me. You come here to my station, take over my quarters, make me a part of your subversive schemes.
ISHKA: What's the matter, Quark? Are you afraid you picked the wrong side? You can always go crawling to Brunt, beg his forgiveness.
QUARK: I don't want anything to do with Brunt. I want my old Nagus back.
ISHKA: Do you.
QUARK: I want Zek to be the way he used to be, before he met you, before you twisted his thinking with your feminine wiles.
ISHKA: Before he met me, Zek was a lonely, unhappy man.
QUARK: But he was rich. He was the most powerful Ferengi alive. Now what is he? A puppet. And you're the one pulling the strings, making him dance to your evil, feminist tune. You're the worst thing that ever happened to Zek. You're the worst thing that ever happened to me. In fact, you're the worst thing that ever happened to the entire Ferengi Alliance.
ISHKA: Maybe I am, but at least I'm not like you. A selfish, spineless, ungrateful
QUARK: Don't forget miserable.
ISHKA: Miserable excuse for a son!
QUARK: Is that the best you can do?
ISHKA: I haven't even begun. You should be ashamed of yourself. Why, you are nothing but a. Why, you are, you
QUARK: Go ahead. Say it.
ISHKA: You're a
QUARK: I'm still waiting.
ISHKA: You're a. You're a. You're a
QUARK: A what!
(Ishka suddenly falls backwards onto the floor.)
QUARK: Moogie. Moogie? Moogie! Moogie. Moogie. Moogie!

[Infirmary]

ROM: Moogie, please don't die.
QUARK: She's not going to die. She's going to get better.
ZEK: I hope so, for my sake, for her sake, for the sake of the entire Ferengi Alliance. And most of all I hope she gets better for your sake, Quark. Because if she doesn't
QUARK: What did I do?
ZEK: That's exactly the question I keep asking myself. What did you do to her?
QUARK: I told you. She said she was hungry. I gave her some tube grubs. She thanked me, and then she collapsed. I wish you'd stop making me relive it.
ROM: Are you sure you didn't do or say anything that might have upset her?
QUARK: I don't want to talk about it anymore.
(Bashir is in the background, in red C24 scrubs.)
ZEK: What's wrong, Quark? Your conscience bothering you?
QUARK: I haven't done anything wrong!
BASHIR: That's not what your mother says.
ROM: Doctor, how's Moogie?
QUARK: Will she live?
BASHIR: Oh yes, she'll live. She needed a new heart and it's functioning normally. But she's going to need a few days complete rest. And she'll need to be kept far away from him.
ZEK: And why is that, Doctor?
BASHIR: I'm not sure exactly. All I do know is that she keeps repeating the same phrase over and over. It's all Quark's fault. It's all Quark's fault.
QUARK: I wonder what she means by that?

[Quark's]

QUARK: And then I accused her of being the worst thing that ever happened to the Ferengi Alliance and she clutched her chest and collapsed. Moogie and I argue all the time. It's our way of showing affection.
ZEK: Well, if you ask me, Quark, the worst thing that ever happened to the Ferengi Alliance is you.
QUARK: I'm sorry.
ROM: Well I suppose we should contact Nilva and tell him the meeting has to be postponed.
ZEK: We can't postpone the meeting! In two days, the FCA is going to confirm Brunt as the new Grand Nagus.
ROM: Boy, when things go wrong.
BRUNT: The only thing to do is get down on your knees and beg for mercy. Who knows? You might find me in a charitable mood.
ZEK: By the time I get through with you, you're the one who's going to need charity.
BRUNT: Such brave words, yet so empty. I was very relieved to hear your mother is going to be all right. Of course, it doesn't do you much good. Nilva will be arriving tonight expecting to meet a brilliant Ferengi female. Do you know any? I mean, besides Ishka? I certainly don't.
(Maihar'du stops Zek from attacking Brunt.)
BRUNT: How pitiful. One day you're the Grand Nagus of the Ferengi Alliance, and the next you're nothing but a common barroom brawler. You see what happens when you put your faith in a female?
(Brunt and Uri'lash leave.)
ROM: What about Leeta?
QUARK: What about her?
ROM: Maybe she can meet with Nilva. She handles my finances and she's a female.
ZEK: And a very beautiful one at that. But Nilva's expecting to meet with a Ferengi female.
QUARK: We'll never get one here in time.
ROM: We're doomed.
ZEK: No, we're not. You think if Ishka were here she'd give up?
ROM: If she were here, we wouldn't have a problem.
ZEK: That's not my point. Your mother would never accept defeat. If she couldn't find another female, she'd, she'd, she'd
ROM: She'd what?
ZEK: She'd make one.
QUARK: You mean a hologram?
ZEK: Better than a hologram.
QUARK: What could be better than a hologram?
ZEK: You.

[Rom's quarters]

(Rom is putting ear decorations on someone.)
ROM: Doctor Bashir certainly did a wonderful job on you. I'd call the operation a complete success.
LEETA: It must have been a very delicate procedure.
QUARK: (soft voice.) Tell me about it.
LEETA: There.
(Now Lady Quark is revealed.)
QUARK: Well, how do I look?
LEETA: You look nice.
QUARK: Nice? That's all?
ROM: Very nice.
ZEK: You may look like a female but you have to do something about that voice.
QUARK: I'm trying! I mean, I'm trying.
ZEK: Well, try harder.
LEETA: And stop looking down.
QUARK: I need to see what I look like. Someone get me a mirror.
(Maihar'du gets a cheval mirror from behind a curtain.)
ROM: You see, brother? You look lovely.
(Quark bursts into tears.)
LEETA: There go his hormones.
ROM: You mean, her hormones.
QUARK: Take it away, take it away. I'm sorry. I just feel so different.
LEETA: Would you stop staring at your chest.
QUARK: I'm not staring at my chest, I'm staring at my hips. Aren't they too big?
ZEK: Your hips are fine. Now let's get down to business. These are your mother's notes for her meeting with Nilva. Study them carefully.
QUARK: Female apparel for a new source of latinum for a new Ferenginar. Hypicate cream for smooth skin and healthier profits. All these facts and figures. They're too much for me to remember.
ZEK: Oh, nonsense. You just need a little time to practice your presentation.
LEETA: And while you're at it, we need to practice your walk.
QUARK: What's wrong with my walk?
LEETA: You're lumbering.
QUARK: This is never going to work.
ROM: Don't cry, Brother. Here, let me show you. Watch carefully. (does a ladylike walk) You see? It's more of a glide.
LEETA: That's good.
ROM: And when you sit, make sure your knees are touching. And don't forget to relax your shoulders, but keep your bottom tight.
(Leeta looks worried.)
ROM: What?
QUARK: He's the one who should be wearing the dress.
ROM: Why me?
LEETA: You're so adorable, and complicated.
QUARK: Maybe it's not too late. Come on, brother, I'll take you to Doctor Bashir.
ZEK: Forget it, Quark. Rom may make a better female than you, but when it comes to business, you're the better Ferengi.
QUARK: Looks like your stupidity has saved you again.
ROM: It comes in handy sometimes.
QUARK: I can do this. Its only one meeting. I can be a female for one meeting, can't I?
LEETA: Not if you're lumbering.
QUARK: I'll conduct the meeting sitting down.
ROM: Tighten your bottom.
ZEK: (stroking Quark's thigh) I think you're doing wonderfully, my dear. I'm proud of you. (slap) I'm sorry. You know, you may walk like a man, but you make a very attractive female. Confusing, isn't it?
QUARK: Not to me.
(The door opens.)
NOG: He's here. He's on the station.
ZEK: Who is?
NOG: Nilva.
QUARK: But he's not supposed to arrive until tomorrow.
ZEK: That Nilva, he's a tricky one. But he makes a good cola.
ROM: What do we do?
QUARK: I can't meet Nilva now, I'm still lumbering.
NOG: You look very nice.
ZEK: Nog, I want you to escort the chairman to his quarters. Tell him I'll meet him for dinner tonight.
NOG: What if he asks about Ishka?
ZEK: Tell him that Ishka is sick, but that tomorrow he'll be meeting with my other female financial advisor, er, er, Lumba.
NOG: Right.
(Nog leaves.)
QUARK: Lumba?
ZEK: You'd better start memorising those notes.
LEETA: First, we need to practice your walking.
ROM: And your sitting.
ZEK: And you'd better work on that voice.
QUARK: Any other comments?
ZEK: Has anyone ever told you that you have lovely eyes?

[Airlock]

NILVA: Here, have a Slug-o-Cola.
NOG: Thank you. Welcome to Deep Space Nine, Chairman Nilva.
NILVA: You drink Slug-o-Cola, don't you?
NOG: The slimiest cola in the galaxy? Doesn't everybody?
NILVA: Good boy. Now, take me to Zek.
NOG: Zek wanted me to take you to
NILVA: Don't argue with me. Drink your cola and lead the way.
(Nilva stalks off with Nog trying to catch him up.)

[Corridor]

NOG: You're sure you don't want to stop by your quarters and freshen up?
NILVA: Not before I meet this female advisor of Zek's.
(Around a corner.)
BRUNT: Nilva! How nice to see you again.
NILVA: Grand Nagus Brunt.
NOG: Acting Grand Nagus Brunt.
NILVA: Well, I had a feeling I might find you here.
BRUNT: I thought after your meeting with Zek, we could have a little chat.
NILVA: Oh of course. But I've really come to meet this Ishka female.
BRUNT: Haven't you heard? Ishka's in the Infirmary. She's in no position to meet anyone.
NOG: Which is why you'll be meeting with another one of Zek's financial advisors. Her name is Lumba.
BRUNT: Never heard of her.
NILVA: Oh, Zek has two female advisors?
BRUNT: I didn't know there were two Ferengi females on the station.
NILVA: Well, what are we waiting for? Let's go meet this other female.
NOG: You're sure you wouldn't like me to show you around the station first?
NILVA: I want to meet Lumba.
BRUNT: Lumba?

[Rom's quarters]

LEETA: Let's try it again.
(Quark enters, glides across the floor and sits nicely.)
QUARK: My name is Lumba. You must be Chairman Nilva. Zek has told me so much about you. Ow.
LEETA: What's wrong now?
QUARK: It's these earrings. They're killing me. Do I have to wear them?
ROM: No woman is complete without earrings. Why does everyone keep looking at me?
QUARK: I'm going to bed.
ZEK: Now?
QUARK: I'm exhausted. If I don't get any sleep I'll never make it through tomorrow's meeting.
(Doorbell.)
LEETA: Who could that be?
ROM: Come in.
(Nilva enters with Nog behind him.)
ZEK: Nilva!
NILVA: Zek. Here, have a Slug-o-Cola. Don't worry, I brought enough for everyone.
NOG: He insisted on seeing you immediately.
NILVA: Why, you must be Lunga.
QUARK: Lumba.
NILVA: Oh, a clothed Ferengi female. And with your approval, no less. Either you've been inhaling too much beetle snuff or you're the greatest visionary ever to sit atop the Tower of Commerce.
ZEK: Well, why don't you and I have dinner tonight and try to figure it out. We can go to Quark's and get some nice, juicy snail steaks. You can meet with Lumba tomorrow.
NILVA: I'm afraid that's not possible. You see, I have to leave first thing in the morning. I'm due back on Ferenginar for an important stockholders meeting. Oh, but those snail steaks do sound tempting. I know. Why don't I have dinner with Lumba?
QUARK: With me?
ZEK: Won't you feel uncomfortable being seen in public with a clothed female?
NILVA: Well of course I will, but you and I have made a lot of latinum together over the years. That should be worth some small discomfort. But Lumba better be all you claim she is, or I'll have to liquidate you myself. Let's eat.
ROM: Have fun.

[Quark's]

(Quark and Nilva walk to a corner table. Quark is still having problems in high heels. A waiter comes over.)
NILVA: Two snail steaks, lightly seared. Now, tell me something. Doesn't wearing all those clothes make you feel like a deviant?
QUARK: Not really. And I'll tell you why. Because under all these clothes, I know I'm totally naked.
NILVA: I'll try to remember that. Now, you'd better explain to me how allowing females to wear clothing is going to make me richer than I already am.
QUARK: I was hoping you were going to ask me that. You see this dress I'm wearing? Have you any idea how much it would sell for on Ferenginar?
(The rest of the gang are watching from the balcony.)
LEETA: Would someone please tell me what they're saying.
ZEK+ROM+NOG: Shh.
(The meal is over.)
NILVA: Let me see if I understand. Giving females the right to wear clothes allows them to have pockets. Once they have pockets, they're going to want to fill them with latinum.
QUARK: Which means they're going to need jobs.
NILVA: And once they start earning latinum, they're going to want to spend it.
QUARK: Which means Ferenginar will be expanding its work force and its consumer base at the same time.
NILVA: There will be plenty of profit for everyone.
QUARK: When it comes to profit, I'm your girl. And I'm sure you could use some extra latinum.
NILVA: Meaning what?
QUARK: I read the beverage trades. Sales of Slug-o-Cola have flattened out and Eelwasser had a very impressive third quarter.
NILVA: They were lucky, that's all.
QUARK: I know a way you can increase sales of Slug-o-Cola by fifty to sixty percent.
NILVA: I'm all ears.
QUARK: Target the new female consumer. Make Slug-o-Cola her drink.
NILVA: Nothing's stopping her from drinking it now.
QUARK: But you're not encouraging her either. The slimiest cola in the galaxy. That kind of slogan doesn't appeal to women.
NILVA: Well, what would?
QUARK: Let me see. Slug-o-Cola contains forty three percent live algae, right?
NILVA: In every bottle.
QUARK: Well, how about something like, Drink Slug-o-Cola and keep your teeth a sparkling shade of green.
NILVA: Oh, Zek was right about you. You're very intelligent.
QUARK: For a female?
NILVA: I think it's time for dessert now.
QUARK: Good idea. (Nilva stands and offers his hand.) I thought we were going to have dessert?
NILVA: Oh, we are. In my quarters.

[Nilva's quarters]

NILVA: I never ever thought I'd find a clothed female so enticing.
QUARK: Enticing? Me? Don't be silly.
NILVA: It's so good to finally be alone. Without all those people staring at us.
(Quark takes off his heels, backing away.)
NILVA: Although I must admit, I did find it someone stimulating.
(Nilva chases Quark round the table.)
QUARK: Maybe a little too stimulating.
NILVA: Can I help it if my lobes burn for you? If you don't believe me, just touch them. Touch them.
QUARK: I'll take your word for it.
NILVA: You said you'd do anything for me.
QUARK: I lied.
(Quark goes behind a curtain.)
NILVA: Come to me, my little love slave.
(Nilva goes behind the curtain. Sounds of breaking ornaments, squeals and lecherous laughter. Quark reemerges holding a chair for defence.)
QUARK: Stay away! Stay away!
NILVA: Marry me!
QUARK: I don't think your wife would approve.
NILVA: Who cares? She hasn't touched my lobes in months.
QUARK: I can tell.
NILVA: Oh, I need you.
QUARK: What you need is a cold shower.
NILVA: What a good idea. Why, you can scrub my back.
QUARK: What if
NILVA: Yes?
QUARK: I told you
NILVA: Yes?
QUARK: I hate Slug-o-Cola.
NILVA: So do I.
(Nilva gets the chair off Quark.)
NILVA: Oh, you torture me.
QUARK: Stay away.
(Quark climbs on a table.)
NILVA: Stay away or what?
QUARK: Or I'll jump.
NILVA: I'll catch you.
(The table collapses, Quark grabs a ceiling brace and hangs on. Nilva takes hold of his/her waist. Brunt and Uri'lash enter)
BRUNT: Let go of that man!
QUARK: I'm trying.
NILVA: Would you please leave. You're making Lumba nervous.
BRUNT: His name's not Lumba, it's Quark, and he's a male.
NILVA: A male?
BRUNT: How pitiful. Zek must be truly desperate.
NILVA: Is this true? You're a man?
QUARK: Do I look like a man?
BRUNT: Nice try, Quark, but it's not going to work. He's the station's bartender.
QUARK: Don't listen to him, hot lobes. I'm as female as they come and I'll prove it to you.
(Quark kisses Nilva.)
QUARK: Well?
NILVA: Well, I'm not sure.
QUARK: Oh, all right.
(With his back to us, Quark opens his dress to show Nilva his full monty.)
QUARK: Now are you sure?
NILVA: Oh, completely.
BRUNT: I tell you that is not a female.
NILVA: Well, she's close enough for me. Come, my dear. Let's go tell Zek that I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure he remains Grand Nagus.
BRUNT: But why?
NILVA: Because that's what Lumba wants.
(Quark blows Brunt a kiss.)
BRUNT: His name's Quark!

[Quark's]

(Quark is back to full male, but holding a ring.)
ODO: Interesting ring.
QUARK: It was a gift. Poor Nilva. Such a lovely man, but so lonely.
ODO: Really?
QUARK: There was a sweetness to him, and also a strength. Sometimes he'd get this little glint in his eye. You know what I mean.
ODO: Not really, but I'm glad you had a pleasant evening.
QUARK: You're mocking me, aren't you?
ODO: And you're being a little overly sensitive.
QUARK: I've only been a male again for six hours. My hormones must still be out of balance. My emotions are raging out of control.
ODO: Is there anything I can do?
QUARK: Would you mind giving me a hug?
ODO: A hug?
QUARK: Just a small one.
(Odo nods, Quark rushes into his arms, crying.)
QUARK: Thank you.
(Odo spots Morn watching and breaks it up. Zek, Ishka, Rom and Maihar'du enter.)
ZEK: I hope we're not interrupting anything.
ODO: Excuse me.
(Odo leaves.)
ZEK: We just wanted to say goodbye before we go back to Ferenginar.
ISHKA: Where the rivers run with muck and the streets are swarming with happy females.
ZEK: And where, if all goes according to plan, the FCA commissioners will once again proclaim me Grand Nagus.
ROM: That would be nice, but Brunt's going to fight you at every turn.
ZEK: I wouldn't have it any other way.
ISHKA: I'm glad we have Nilva on our side. And we have you to thank for that, Quark.
QUARK: Will you forgive me, Moogie?
ISHKA: Of course I do. You may be a lousy son, but you made a wonderful daughter. I hope the experience taught you something.
QUARK: It made me more compassionate, more empathetic, more nurturing. I feel like I'm trapped in my worst nightmare.
ZEK: Don't worry. I'm sure it won't last. You'll be back to your old self in no time.
(Zek, Ishka and Maihar'du leave.)
ROM: You are so lucky. No man ever gave me a ring.
ALUURA: Quark?
QUARK: Aluura.
ALUURA: I read the book.
QUARK: What book?
ALUURA: You know, Oo-mox for Fun and
QUARK: You shouldn't be wasting your time reading that kind of trash.
ALUURA: But you told me to.
QUARK: Forget what I told you. It was wrong and I apologise. You are a wonderful employee and I'm lucky to have you working for me. In fact, as of today, I'm giving you a raise. Another two slips of latinum a week.
ALUURA: Really?
QUARK: It's the least I can do.
ALUURA: That's too bad.
QUARK: All right, make it three.
ALUURA: No, it's not that.
QUARK: Then what?
ALUURA: It's just that Oo-mox sounded like fun. The tympanic tickle, the eustachian tube rub, the auditory nerve nibble. But if that's the way you feel about it.
QUARK: That is exactly the way I feel about it.
(Aluura leaves him.)
QUARK: What am I saying? Aluura? Wait.

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