Star Trek: The Next Generation “The Last Outpost” (part 2 of 3)
Picard opens a channel to the Ferengi, and begins to discuss surrender in such an awkward, indirect, and unnatural way that he never actually specifies who he’s proposing surrendering to. Yes, that’s right, folks, we’re being set up for a Wacky Sitcom Misunderstanding, Star Trek style! And sure enough, on the other side of the next commercial break, the Ferengi captain Tarr comes back with the response that they’re willing to discuss terms, but that they’d rather die than submit to unconditional surrender. And that’s when, to borrow a British phrase that badly needs an American equivalent, the penny drops for the crew of the Enterprise.
With the realization that both ships are in fact sharing a common problem, and that cooperation might well be needed to resolve it, Picard naturally upholds the ideals of the honorable, noble Federation and takes ruthless advantage of the Ferengi’s ignorance of the situation. For starters, he demands visual contact, but that turns out to be against a Ferengi custom that we’ll never hear about again. But Picard plays hardball on the issue, and so we get our first ever look at the Ferengi.
And the first words out of Tarr’s mouth upon making visual contact with humans for the first time is a comment about how ugly they are. Charming. And not exactly smart, given the position they believe themselves to be in. Tarr offers to return the MacGuffin, and in line with another soon-to-be-forgotten Ferengi custom, offers to forfeit his second officer and a fourth-round pick in next year’s draft.
…Dammit. This is what I get for trying to write with an NFL game on in the background.
Data makes an aside to LaForge to the effect of he’s glad the Federation doesn’t have a similar custom. LaForge gives him a look like he’s thinking of proposing just such a custom.