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Prophet Motive (episode)

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Quark receives oo-mox from Emi

Grand Nagus Zek has become a philanthropist, and Quark worries that he may have gone insane; Bashir is nominated for a prestigious medical award.


A young woman named Emi is grasping Quark's ears from behind, presumably giving him or leading up to oo-mox, as he is obviously enjoying the experience. She is attempting to get Quark to finalize a deal whereby she will purchase self-sealing stem bolts from him, but he says it can wait since Emi's family will not return to Deep Space 9 for another week. Rom enters Quark's quarters and ruins the party, telling his brother that they need to leave. However, it is too late; Grand Nagus Zek and his servant Maihar'du enter behind Rom moments later. Although Zek's head is covered and Maihar'du does not speak as usual, it seems the Nagus plans to move in with Quark.

Elsewhere on Deep Space 9, Doctor Bashir is called to the wardroom, where he learns from Sisko that he has been nominated for the Carrington Award, the Federation's most prestigious medical award, and finds the entire senior staff waiting for him to congratulate him on being the youngest nominee in the award's history. Despite the honor he seems less than enthusiastic, to everyone's surprise. He later confides in Dax (who submitted his name for consideration) that the Carrington Award honors a lifetime of achievement in the field of medicine and, as such, most people nominated are far older than he is. As a result, he knows he has no chance of winning due to his youth.

Meanwhile, Quark has moved into Rom's untidy quarters and has found living with his brother unbearable. He decides that the two of them – or rather, Rom – will go to the Nagus to find out what is going on. As soon as he observes that Zek is more than happy to see Rom, Quark comes out from his nearby hiding place and greets the Nagus. Quark and Rom find that Zek has composed his "crowning achievement": The Rules of Acquisition: Revised for the Modern Ferengi. Zek gives them a copy and leaves them to read it; Quark is excited, until he reads the first rule in it: "If they want their money back, give it to them." The two then notice Maihar'du crying in the corner.

Quark attempts to find some sort of master plan in the Nagus' work, looking for a secret code hidden within the "new rules" – he and Rom attempt to "discover" the code by reading one word from each page (which, naturally, translate as gibberish), but the two are hilariously unsuccessful. Still convinced the new rules are part of a scheme, he decides to go along with it for now. He and Rom find the Nagus in Quark's, where Zek buys a round of drinks for everyone. Quark is horrified to learn that Zek has told Emi where she could buy self-sealing stem bolts at wholesale; much less than what he was offering.

Upon returning to his quarters that night, Quark finds that Zek has turned it into the new headquarters of the Ferengi Benevolent Association, of which Rom is the head. Contrary to normal Ferengi values, the association seems to have been created for the same purpose its name implies: helping other people, free of charge. Finally, Quark takes Zek to Dr. Bashir, who examines the older Ferengi thoroughly but finds nothing wrong. While in the infirmary, Zek mentions that he will be giving a gift to the Bajoran people that night at the Bajoran shrine.

Quark and Rom sneak onto the Nagus' shuttle to find what the "gift" is, and there they find Maihar'du waiting for them. He reveals that the gift is a Bajoran Orb. After an odd orb experience, Quark learns that the new rules were a "gift" from the Bajoran Prophets to Zek. Together, he and Rom discover that, as soon as he received the Orb from his contact on Cardassia III, Zek headed for the Bajoran wormhole, apparently intent on using the Prophets' ability to see the future for financial gain. Quark determines to go in himself and find out what happened.

As all of this has transpired, Dr. Bashir has to put up with the buzz about the Carrington. Even Odo is caught up in the craze, offering a "revelation" from a distant contact on one of the candidates who supposedly will not win the award. Despite the fact he is apparently certain he is not going to win, Odo manages get Bashir to accidentally admit he's been working on an acceptance speech.

Quark swears, Prophet Motive

Quark swears to the Prophets inside the wormhole

Maihar'du helps Quark and Rom kidnap Zek and take him into the wormhole aboard his ship. Throughout the ordeal, he remains extremely pleasant and not disturbed at all. Once inside the wormhole, Quark opens the Orb of Wisdom (as Zek reveals it is called), instantly gaining the wormhole aliens' attention. The aliens inform Quark that they found Zek's goals to be "adversarial" and "aggressive." As a result, they "restored" Zek to a more peaceful state. Quark demands that they change Zek back, but the aliens decide to change him as well. However, Quark manages to convince them that doing so will only bring more Ferengi who will want to know what happened. He proposes that if they change Zek back, they will never have to speak with his people again. The Prophets agree and set Zek back to normal. Quark is very pleased when states that he plans to sell the Orb of Wisdom to the Bajorans, and intends to make them pay a lot for it.

In the wardroom, people have gathered for the announcement of the Carrington Award recipient and everyone is disappointed to find that it has gone to Henri Roget, someone who was never considered a serious contender. Although Bashir acts like he's not surprised, he admits to Dax even though he felt he wasn't going to win he's still disappointed he didn't.

Zek leaves the station, making sure that Quark and Rom have destroyed every last copy of the new Rules of Acquisition and will tell no-one that he donated to charity. Quark laments that despite going through a lot, he didn't manage to make some kind of profit. Rom admits to having made enough of a profit from both of them by embezzling from the Nagus. Quark congratulates him and says that this piece of theft would make their father proud.

Memorable quotesEdit

"Are you accusing my son of being a thief?"
"No. I'm accusing you of being a thief!"

- Rom and Quark

"It must be some kind of code. Read me the first word of every Rule."
"If... never... keep... profit... a... good... smile... honesty..."
"Aha! If never keep profit a good smile honesty."
"What does it mean?"
"It means... absolutely nothing."

- Quark and Rom

"Actually, I've lost my taste for beetle snuff. It might be fun for you and me, but it's no fun for the beetles!

- Grand Nagus Zek

"There's nothing beyond greed! Greed is the purest and most noble of emotions!"
"'Greed is Dead', that's the tenth Rule of Acquisition.".
"No it isn't the tenth rule of Acquisition is 'Greed is Eternal'!"
"Not anymore."

- Quark and Rom

"Zek said the new rules were a gift."
"A gift from Zek to the Ferengi people."
"No. A gift from (looking up) them. Don't you see? They did it. They put the idea for the new rules into Zek's head. They changed him somehow."
"They did? How dare they... who are we talking about brother?"

- Quark and Rom

"I have a friend at Starfleet Intelligence. And she has a friend who has a cousin who's married to the assistant of one of the members of the Federation Medical Council."
"And according to my friend, her friend heard something from his cousin that his wife heard from this council member that I thought you might find interesting."
"Which is?"
"Doctor Wade is not going to win the Carrington."

- Odo and Bashir

"Yes, the Zek explained the value of gain. How more is preferable to less."
"He taught you about profit."
"We found the concept... aggressive. Adversarial. Dangerous. We could not comprehend how any species could lead such a barren existence."
"It has its advantages."

- Prophets and Quark

"Your argument is specious; changing you will not result in the termination of all corporeal existence."

- Prophets to Quark

"Rom! I have got a plan."
"Does it involve me brother?"
"Not really."
"Ah... I like it."

- Quark and Rom

Background informationEdit

Story and scriptEdit

  • The origins of the teleplay for this episode are to be found in Ira Steven Behr's early career. When he was trying to make it in Hollywood, he wrote a teleplay for the TV show Taxi, entitled "Uncle Sylvester", to try to demonstrate his writing abilities. The plot revolved around Sylvester, uncle to the main character Louie. Sylvester had built up a reputation for being a shameless womanizer and an altogether unpleasant individual, and he was Louie's hero. Louie was dying to meet him to impress him with his own womanizing abilities, but when Sylvester arrives he no longer enjoys womanizing, and now just wants to get back with his wife. Louie is heartbroken and becomes convinced that Sylvester has undergone some kind of deep psychological trauma. The teleplay was not purchased by the producers of Taxi. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
  • The origins of the plot line involving Bashir's nomination for the Carrington Award are to be found in real life, with this plot actually being something of an in-joke. During its seventh year, The Next Generation was nominated for Best Dramatic Series at the Emmy Awards. Nobody gave it the slightest chance to win, because generally speaking, science fiction shows didn't win awards like that. Everyone expected NYPD Blue to win. However, despite the unlikely event of a victory, some members of the TNG team became convinced that they were actually going to win. As it turned out, they didn't, but neither did NYPD Blue. Instead, the award went to the unexpected Picket Fences. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
  • This episode introduces the dartboard used by Bashir and O'Brien, which soon became a permanent fixture in Quark's. Originally, the producers wanted to use a pool table, but they were told that Voyager had the same plan. It was next suggested that they play cards, but that had already been done on The Next Generation. As such, darts was settled on as a game the two could play together and still engage in conversation. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
  • "Prophet Motive" is the first Star Trek episode to mention Andoria, the homeworld of the Andorian species. (Star Trek Encyclopedia)


  • This is the first episode to be directed by Rene Auberjonois. On his first time directing, Auberjonois commented: "It's incredibly hard work. One has to make so many decisions and I'm not a person who particularly likes to make decisions. That's what you have to do when you're directing. It's like you're answering one question and someone else is asking you another question. It's endless. A bit like leading an army into battle. It's just more than I ever expected". ("The Changing Man", Star Trek: The Official Fan Club of the UK Magazine issue 8)
  • To recreate the same visual style for Quark's scenes in the wormhole as had been seen in the pilot episode, "Emissary", director Rene Auberjonois and director of photography Jonathan West went back to the original shooting method as developed by "Emissary" director David Carson and then director of photography, Marvin Rush. As had Rush in the pilot, West overexposed the images and used diffusion filters to create the dazzling white which seems to 'bleed' onto the actors' faces. However, while the white is the same as in "Emissary", there is a subtle difference to the rest of the wormhole footage. Visual Effects Coordinator David Takemura used two versions of every shot: a slightly out-of-focus version, and a clean version. He layered the clean version on top of the out-of-focus version to create an effect that is not quite out-of-focus, but is not quite focused correctly either. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
  • On the scene where Zek is taken aboard his shuttle, Rene Auberjonois commented "His man-servant is carrying him around the corner in a sack, and as they come around the corner, Quark sticks his head out first, then Rom sticks his head out underneath, and they both tiptoe down the hallway. When we staged it, I thought 'This is so Marx Brothers!' and that Ira [Behr] would be horrified, but in fact he was delighted with it. There were several times that I wondered, 'Am I going too far with it?' because humor is a pretty tricky thing in Star Trek." ("Ferengi Direction", Star Trek Monthly, issue 14)



  • William N. Stape, who concocted the TNG episode "Homeward", was an uncredited story source for this episode.
  • Referenced Rules of Acquisition: #10 ("Greed is eternal")
  • For brief time, a new set of Rules of Acquisition replaces the old ones. Some of the new Rules are:
    • 1: If they want their money back give it to them.
    • 10: Greed is dead.
    • 21: Never place profit before friendship.
    • 22: Latinum tarnishes, but family is forever.
    • 23: Money can never replace dignity.
    • 285: A good deed is its own reward.
  • Bashir is the youngest of the candidates for the Carrington Prize of 2371. The others are April Wade, Senva, Henri Roget, and Ghee P'Trell.
  • This is the only episode in which Tiny Ron, who plays Maihar'du, speaks, albeit as a Prophet represented in the image of Maihar'du.
  • After the pilot episode "Emissary", this is only the second time we have seen the Wormhole Aliens/Prophets. They became far more important throughout the sixth and seventh seasons.
  • This is the first episode where the Wormhole Aliens refer to Sisko as "The Sisko".
  • When the Wormhole Alien (in the form of Sisko) says that Zek was trying to find out who wins the game before the game begins, it is a reference to the pilot episode, "Emissary", where Sisko teaches the Aliens about linear time by using the example of a baseball game.
  • Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko) does not appear in this episode.

Video and DVD releasesEdit

Links and references Edit

Starring Edit

Also starring Edit

Guest starsEdit



Uncredited co-starEdit

Stunt doubleEdit


acceptance speech; Aldebaran whiskey; Alpha Quadrant; Andoria; Bajor; Bajorans; Bajoran sector; Bajoran Shrine; Bajoran wormhole; bar tab; biomolecular replication; Cardassia III; cargo bay; Carrington Award; central nervous system; chirurgeon; Central Hospital of Altair IV (Altair IV); champagne; contract; courier; dabo; Dax, Curzon; darts; embezzlement; Emi's species; endocrine system; exploratory surgery; Federation; Federation Medical Council; Ferengi; Ferengi Alliance; Ferengi Benevolent Association; Ferengi shuttle; Ferenginar; gerontology; Grand Nagus; healer; Hupyrian beetle snuff; Hupyrians; insanity; Ishka; Keldar; Kohlanese barley; latinum; Milky Way Galaxy; millipede juice; mucus membrane; Nog; O'Brien, Keiko; Orb of Wisdom; P'Trell, Ghee; Pakled; Promenade; Prophets; quack; Quark's; racquetball; refuse merchant; replicator; Replimat; reverse-ratcheting routing planers; Roget, Henri; Rules of Acquisition; Rules of Acquisition: Revised for the Modern Ferengi, The; Sacred Marketplace; Saurian brandy; self-sealing stem bolts; Senva; solar flare; spire; Starfleet Intelligence; thief; ton; Tower of Commerce; Trixian bubble juice; University of Nairobi (Nairobi); vascular damage; vow of silence; Vulcan (planet); Vulcan Medical Institute; Wade, April; wholesale; Zek's shuttle

External linksEdit

Previous episode:
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Season 3
Next episode:

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