Quark (Star Trek)

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Quark
QuarkDS9.jpg
Quark in 2375
Species Ferengi
Affiliation Ferengi Alliance
Posting Owner of Quark's Bar on Deep Space Nine
Portrayed by Armin Shimerman

Quark is a fictional character in the American television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The character, which was played by Armin Shimerman, was depicted as a member of an extraterrestrial race known as the Ferengi, who are stereotypically capitalist and motivated only by profit.

Career[edit]

Before opening a bar, known as Quark's, on the station, Quark served as a cook aboard a Ferengi freighter for eight years. Quark came to the station while it was named Terok Nor during the Cardassian occupation of Bajor. Originally, Quark admired the Cardassian race for their version of morality, but later he seemed to take pity on the downtrodden Bajoran people, selling them food and equipment just above cost, which could have gotten him into serious trouble if the Cardassians had found out. When the station changed hands at the end of the occupation, Quark decided to leave the station. Commander Sisko, feeling that Quark's presence would encourage commercial tourism to boost the station's economy, extorted Quark to stay, using Quark's nephew, Nog as a bargaining chip, in the Deep Space Nine pilot episode, "Emissary". Quark nevertheless continued to conduct a variety of shady deals while on the station, but neither Sisko nor the Bajoran authorities took many punitive actions against him, perhaps because his contribution to station tourism outweighed the trouble caused by his activities, which were legal according to Ferengi law and, for the most part, harmed no one. A shrewd businessman, Quark often quotes the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition.

When the Bajoran wormhole was discovered, Quark helped broker deals between several Gamma Quadrant races and the Ferengi. The Alpha Quadrant's first knowledge of the Dominion came through business dealings that Quark and the Ferengi had in the Gamma Quadrant with the Karemma of the Dominion. Quark's role in these dealings came about as a result of the interference of Grand Nagus Zek. Quark became Grand Nagus for a brief period when it appeared that Zek had died; however, Zek's death turned out to be a ruse and Quark was promptly deposed. Along with Commander Sisko, Quark was also among the first to encounter the genetically engineered soldiers of the Dominion, the Jem'Hadar.

Quark repeatedly clashed with FCA (Ferengi Commerce Authority) liquidator Brunt, who believed that Quark was detrimental to Ferengi society and beliefs. The two met initially in a scandal involving Quark's mother Ishka, who had earned profit despite this being illegal for a female. Following this, Brunt was responsible for Quark receiving a savage beating at the hands of Nausicaan thugs. The attack was meant to coerce Quark into dissolving the employee union founded by his brother, Rom. Instead, Quark secretly honored many of the union's demands. Later, when Quark was falsely diagnosed with a fatal disease, Brunt anonymously bought the Ferengi bartender's remains six days in advance. When Quark discovered he was not dying and backed out of the contract, Brunt revoked Quark's business license with glee, but Quark's friends supplied him with all the equipment necessary to continue operating his bar anyway. (The license was later reinstated as part of a deal between Quark and Brunt to break up Zek and Ishka, who had begun a relationship.) When Brunt almost became Grand Nagus, Quark temporarily became a female named Lumba. This was in order to convince FCA commissioner Nilva that allowing Ferengi females to wear clothing was an opportunity for profit. Brunt did not believe the charade for a minute. Nilva, owner of Slug-O-Cola: "The Slimiest Cola In The Galaxy!", on the other hand, was more than convinced that Lumba was a woman, and chased "her" amorously.

Quark's involvement with underworld figures led him to become an important source of information for the crew of the space station, in the style of "Huggy Bear" from Starsky and Hutch.

Family, friends, and romantic interests[edit]

Quark was portrayed by Armin Shimerman (left); his brother Rom was portrayed by Max Grodénchik (right)

Quark loved his brother Rom, and occasionally even found him useful. Nonetheless, in true Ferengi fashion, he treated Rom with little respect and ordered him about like a servant. Quark was also fond of swindling Rom out of his share of the bar's profits. They were partners in many other business ventures, although Quark routinely made sure to keep Rom in the dark about the true nature of their dealings. Quark's nephew, Nog, also briefly worked in his uncle's bar, before departing for Starfleet Academy. Rom eventually succeeded Zek as Grand Nagus, largely through the machinations of Ishka.

Quark's relationship with his mother Ishka was tumultuous at best. She drove him to distraction with her untraditional ways. Ishka insisted upon wearing clothing and making profit. She was the financial mastermind in the family. However, Quark's father Keldar refused to listen to her advice simply because she was female. Ishka reluctantly revealed to Quark that he was a lot like her, while Rom was more like his father. She became Zek's lover and trusted advisor.

Throughout the series, Quark was often locked in a battle of wits with station security chief Odo, who regularly foiled Quark's criminal schemes. The two eventually developed a grudging respect for each other. When Odo finally left the station to rejoin the Great Link at the end of the series, Quark came to say goodbye, and made a toast to Odo. Quark also had a firm friendship with Jadzia Dax, with whom he often played tongo.

Quark has had his share of romances throughout the series. In the first season, he was involved with Vash, a corrupt archaeologist first introduced in Star Trek: The Next Generation. He was married to (and divorced from) a Klingon (Grilka) in an incident that also garnered him considerable respect from the Klingon community for his bravery, had a recurring Cardassian love interest (Natima Lang), was shown on several occasions to be attracted to both Major Kira Nerys and Lieutenant Commander Jadzia Dax, and once tried to seduce a Vulcan member of the Maquis. He also had a platonic affair with Pel, a female Ferengi posing as a male in order to make profit.

In the non-canon novels set after the series, Quark starts a romantic relation with Ro Laren who has taken Odo's place as head of security.

Guest appearances[edit]

Armin Shimerman reprised his role of Quark in the Star Trek: The Next Generation season seven episode "Firstborn" and in the Star Trek: Voyager pilot "Caretaker". He also played the character Quark on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Regis & Kathie Lee.

External links[edit]