Monday, June 25, 2012

Rules of Acquisition

**** (4 stars out of 5)
When Odo orders lovable humanoid potato Morn to stop sleeping on the Promenade and go home, Morn's first stop is the bar. (Awesome.) But the bar's locked, because Dax is up all night beating Quark and his staff at gambling. Quark's staff loves Dax. (So to speak.)

Ferengi females, you see, never wear clothes, never talk back, and never play tongo. Perhaps unsurprisingly, male chauvinist Curzon Dax got along great with Ferengi. So does Jadzia, only she wins more.

New little waiter Pel brings the idea for sand peas, 'the Snack for perfect Dry Mouth', to the boss. Pel impresses Quark with knowledge of all 285 Rules of Acquisition plus commentaries. Including the 33rd Rule: "It never hurts to suck up to the boss".

And here comes Grand Nagus Zek now, for a conference with the Gamma Quadrant's belligerent Dosi people. In exchange for DS9's co-operation, he gives Bajor massive heaps of fertilizer. Zek spreads massive heaps of fertilizer wherever he goes.

Rom keeps firing Pel, and Quark keeps ignoring Rom in favor of the new guy. When Zek fobs the Dosi negotiations off on his underling, it's Pel who'll help Quark not screw up. Then Pel goes back to quarters, takes off the ears, and also her bulky jacket.

Zek bluntly bribes and propositions Kira, who does not share Dax's fandom of the Ferengi race. Dax rumbles Pel's crush on Quark easily, but was surprised to also uncover her secret gender: this is the first female Ferengi Dax ever met.

Zek's unreasonable demand for 100,000 vats of tulaberry wine makes the negotiations fail, and Pel and Quark chase the Dosi home to try again. In the hotel, Pel gets tipsy and does a little accidental lip-wrestling with the boss before they discover that business on any major level in the Gamma Quadrant will be business with the Dominion. Not lip-wrestling, though.

When Odo admits how important loyalty would be to him if he had relatives, Rom tosses Pel's room and discovers her synthetic lobes, trumpeting Pel's secret to his brother. Quark is too much a traditionalist to accept Pel's criminal reading and getting dressed lifestyle.

She angrily outs herself to the Nagus, and in a frenzy of mutual blackmailing the three of them avoid jail but Zek takes Quark's profits and Pel takes herself to Andorian space in search of opportunity.

"Rules of Acquisition" is a great Ferengi episode by Behr/Bader, if you like that sort of thing, which I obviously do. Pel never returns, but The Dominon turns out to be the punch-line that keeps on punching.

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