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Raiders of the Lost Vault

As the looting continues in Sick Bay, one of the Ferengi tries to open the bouncing cage of Phlox's Pyrithian bat, but it screeches and alarms the Ferengi, who jumps back and hurriedly slaps the lid back on. Trip observes all this from a ladder up a shaft.

Elsewhere, other Ferengi spend the next ten minutes looting everything from the ship that's not nailed down. And a few things that are. The brief time they spend on the bridge shows Reed slumped over his station and Mayweather slumped over his. But alas, poor Mayweather! While Reed's dopey face mugs at the camera -- so we can all dwell on his pink lips -- Mayweather's is turned fully away. In a crewman's cabin, one Ferengi (from the bugging eyes, it's Clint Howard, I believe) roots through a closet, pulls out a pair of boots, and smells the interior. Sitting down, he scuffs off one of his boots to reveal purple, red, green, and yellow striped socks (hee -- I really dig those socks) and measures the boot against his stocking foot. In the cargo hold, we get a shot of Hoshi, T'Pol, and other women stored with the rest of the loot.

Still not having found the time to get dressed, Trip flips on a viewscreen, which is tuned to a view of the bridge, and observes the Ferengi hijacking Quantum. The Ferengi handcuff Quantum to something and bring him around with a hypospray. Quantum mutters at them in English while the Ferengi modulate their Universal Translator. English finally prevails, but when Quantum attempts to stand up, Clint Howard smashes him in the gut with his weapon. After some introductory dialogue, in which the Ferengi refuse to reveal their species, the head Ferengi demands to be led to the ship's vault. Quantum tries to explain that Enterprise is an exploratory ship and doesn't carry valuables, so the Ferengi smack him around for his trouble. Quantum bites the big one. That is, he bites a blood packet and says, "Whoever you are, just take what you want and get off my ship." One of the Ferengi whimpers, "Cousin, maybe we should. We've made some good acquisitions already." The Clint Howard Ferengi thinks Quantum is hiding something, while a third agrees with "Krem" and thinks they should take what they've got and make like a tree. Clint Ferengi argues that what they have really isn't worth much, just as Quantum spies Trip watching them from above. "Don't forget about the females, some of them are worth their weight in latinum," Krem says. "If we leave now we can make the next slave market on Stameris." "'Slave market'?" Quantum repeats. The head Ferengi, played by Ethan "Nelix" Phillips, eyes Quantum with interest and says, "You're right, Krem. Pick out the females that will bring the best price." Ferengi-Nelix (oh, let's just call him "Felix," shall we?) turns to Quantum and says, "It was a pleasure doing business with you," and starts to leave. Quantum calls them back and says he'll tell them where the vault is if they let him keep half the gold. Oh, that Captain Quantum; he's just so darn sneaky. "Gold-pressed latinum?" Felix asks. "Gold bars," Quantum tells him. "Hundreds of them. But I keep half." Can they be converted into €? The Ferengi ohh and ahh in rapturous delight. Felix bargains with Quantum, and finally Quantum says, "Thirty-five percent and not a bar less -- you'll never find the vault without my help!" Felix offers twenty and says it's his final offer, but Quantum shouts, "No deal!" A Ferengi tries to convince Felix to accept the offer, but Felix says they'll find the vault without Quantum's help. "Krem," he says to Jeffrey Coombs's character, "start loading the merchandise." Krem whines -- in an abnormally high voice for Coombs -- "Why am I always stuck doing the menial labor?" "Make him do it," Felix laughs, pointing at Quantum. You know, at first, I actually thought he said "wienial labor."

Quantum -- his jumpsuit stripped to his waist, exposing a long-sleeved black shirt from J.Crew's Fall 2001 catalog -- carries packing cases under Krem's nervous eye and weapon. They chat a bit, and Quantum learns that Felix is Krem's cousin and captain of the Ferengi vessel. Quantum plays up to Krem, telling him he figured Krem to be the Lobe in charge. "This is only my first month on the job," Krem chuckles, and explains that he works for Felix. Quantum asks him why they need all the stuff from Enterprise "You already seem to have plenty of technology," Quantum says. "Oh, you can never have too much. The Rules of Acquisition say 'Expand or die.'" Hmm; so the Ferengi really are direct descendents of AOL Time-Warner. Interesting. I thought I noticed a little Steve Case in Felix -- it's the nose. Quantum asks Krem about The Rules of Acquisition and is told that Krem has memorized all one hundred seventy-three rules. "Including the most important one: 'A man is only worth the sum of his possessions,'" quoth the Krispy Krem. "Back on my homeworld, that kind of thinking almost destroyed our civilization," Quantum tells him, the Tones of Sanctimony creeping in. Krispy Krem's incredulous. "You should have managed your businesses better," he says in wonderfully surprised tones. Krispy Krem urges Quantum to keep moving stuff for him.

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