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The Trek Nation - Business as Usual

Business as Usual

By Michelle Erica Green
Posted at January 13, 2004 - 10:36 AM GMT

See Also: 'Business as Usual' Episode Guide

Quark becomes involved in selling weapons to an unscrupulous arms dealer, but when he learns that the man is involved in a potential genocide, he wants to get out of the deal.

Analysis:

I'm not sure I can review this episode. It was in such bad taste that...no, I can't think of an analogy, not even from recent Trek. I hated "Prophet Motive" because it trashed Bajoran religion, and by extension all religion, I hated "Looking For Par'Mach" because it made jokes about domestic violence. But this episode used mass slaughter as a frivolous backdrop in a story about Quark Becoming A Better Person. This DS9, with its weapons demonstrations and Dabo girls, is just like The Sentinel and all those other crap shows with high death counts. The hell with Quark and his conscience, and the hell with this Trek if I have to sit through anything like this again.

At the risk of sounding callous myself, I want to understand why Quark is a good person for stopping the slaughter of dozens of millions of people when he had no qualms about participating in the slaughter of two or three million. The sale of illegal weapons only becomes a moral issue for him when he hears the expected huge body count and starts envisioning the deaths of his family and friends. Why should 20 million people weigh any more heavily on his conscience than 20,000, or even 20 people? To its parents, a dead baby is a dead baby, whether it's the only dead baby on its block or one of dozens.

I have a hard time believing his ultimate decision to betray his employer stemmed from Quark's moral conscience so much as his cost/benefit analysis spreadsheets - and his sense that he was better off getting someone to knock Mr. Evil German Accent off before Quark himself got, uh, demoted. Asking Dax for forgiveness...contrived, silly, meaningless. And the ending, with Sisko giving him what amounts to a slap on the wrist--pathetic. So Quark lucked into a solution that got only a handful of people killed...and risked dragging the station, Sisko, and by extension the Federation into a war with potential casualties in the millions...hey, just another day at the office. Doesn't Ben Sisko have a moral conscience?

I'm glad O'Brien at least is a devoted father to his son, considering that his interest in his daughter has seemed almost nonexistent. Maybe if the kid grows up to do Boy Things like play darts and tinker with engines, instead of coloring and dolls as we've seen Molly play with, he'll want the kid around instead of on Bajor with Keiko whenever possible. I was surprised that Sisko was so adamant about having Yoshi out of Ops, considering that he knows firsthand what it's like to be a single father. There could have been some interesting discussion among himself and O'Brien as well as Worf's token memory that he used to have a son on that other series...but that would have distracted too much from the Ferengi "genocide is not profitable enough" plot.

Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Michelle Erica Green reviews 'Enterprise' episodes for the Trek Nation, for which she is also a news writer. An archive of her work can be found at The Little Review.