Thursday, November 1, 2012

Body Parts

**** (4 stars out of 5)
In the words of Captain Janeway, "weird is part of the job". Runabout struck by a meteor, Keiko loses her baby. But not for long- Dr. Bashir performs the ol' quick switcheroo and now Kira's the first Bajoran to carry a baby human!

Bajoran pregnancy lasts five months, and there's multiple blood vessel links much more difficult to sever than an umbilical cord. So no take-backsies!

No take backs is the problem over in the 'A' story, too. Thanks to the malpractice of Dr. Orpax (coupled with unwillingness to get a second opinion from a hu-mon) Quark mistakenly thinks he is dying. In order to get out of debt before he goes to that great Scrooge McDuck money bin in the sky, Quark pre-sells disks of his corpse on the Futures Exchange.

Even though he was Grand Nagus for a week, Quark is not collectible enough to bid on (except by Rom, whose life-savings is a paltry sum). Salvation comes from an anonymous bid... but when it turns out Quark's NOT dying, the bidder wants his pounds upon pounds of flesh anyway.

The bidder is our old pal Brunt of the FCA. It seems that even though Quark is still clearly a monstrously greedy, venal, and self-serving troll, he's not monstrous ENOUGH to satisfy the demands of his culture. Brunt thinks Quark has become a "humanitarian" and hopes to censure him for breach of contract... or collect 52 vacuum-desiccated Quark hockey pucks.

Desperate to prove himself a true Ferengi, Quark hires Garak to kill him "by surprise". But none of the murder/death/kill methods they practice on holograms are comforting for some reason. Quark's heart just isn't in this Suicide Season.

The Vulcans had Surak. The Klingons had Kahless. The Ferengi had Gint. Gint, the First Grand Nagus, wrote those almighty Rules of Acquisition Quark can't bring himself to break. "Of course they matter. That's why they're a bestseller!" 

But in Quark's nocturnal vision, Holy Man Gint's a fraud, rule breaker and cheat. Which is probably as it should be. He looks a lot like Rom and, just like Rom, he urges Quark to live.

The assets of Quark and his family are seized, and no Ferengi may do business with him henceforth. 
With nothing but (temporarily) the shirt on his back, Quark is at a low ebb when he learns what humans have been willing to do all along.
"Body Parts" is awesome. Again, your mileage may vary with Ferengi, but I love these little orange freaks. My heart grows three sizes when I see the end of this tale, and I hope it chips a little piece of cynicism off your hearts, too.

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