When my husband was alive, we ran the business together
and l managed to put away a bit of latinum every year just for myself.
Now he's gone, well... l've got quite a little sum.
lt's not enough,
not for the way l want to live out my retirement.
So l've decided to invest it all in...
l can't believe l'm telling you this.
l just met you but l feel like l can trust you.
lt's like l've known you forever.
When hearts are in sympathy, time collapses.
l'm taking everything l saved and l'm purchasing
the mining concession on the entire Vlugta asteroid belt.
How ambitious, and such an adventurous undertaking
for a woman of your delicate sensibilities.
Prospecting can be risky.
Not this time. My father was a stellar cartographer.
30 years ago he conducted a mineral analysis of those asteroids
but he could never follow up on what he found.
And now you plan to carry out your father's dream.
When his survey results become public
l'll get seven times my investment back, overnight.
l still can't believe l'm telling you this.
My secret plan. l've been thinking about it for years.
l never even told my husband.
lt must be all this Gamzian wine.
How brave you are to do all of this on your own.
lt hasn't been easy.
There's so much to keep track of, so much to do.
Maybe l could help.
Would you consider some kind of partnership?
- Let's go. - Where are we going?
- l've done nothing wrong. - We were just talking.
You were talking, madam. He was listening.
Security chief Odo, isn't it?
- l've been watching you. - Should l be flattered?
Martus Mazur, a refugee from the El-Aurian system.
Everyone has to be from somewhere.
Where are you from, Odo?
- Don't pull that routine on me. - What routine?
l know all about you El-Aurians.
You're listeners. People like to talk to you.
Everyone needs someone to confide in,
someone to hear their stories.
lf they request my help, l give it to them.
A couple told me you asked for their financial access codes.
Helping an elderly couple invest their savings is compassionate.
Not when you invest it in your own business, which promptly folds.
l had a run of bad luck. l regret it.
You're a con man, and they've signed a complaint.
This isn't necessary. lt really isn't necessary.
l'm not going anywhere.
Let's have a drink.
Talk a bit?
Great job. You built it yourself?
Yeah. Just finished.
l missed playing.
l figured there would be
a couple of other players on board.
Didn't think you'd be one of them.
Captain of the team at the academy.
Against other medical students?
Against everybody. Played a Vulcan in the finals.
Talk about stamina. He never actually broke a sweat.
And you won?
With a back wall riser shot.
l can't say l've had much formal training myself
but it's been a serious pastime for years.
Some of the toughest players
don't really know what they're doing.
Formally, l mean.
Whatever works, works.
This exercise l picked up from a top player.
lt's a 5,000-year-old battle warm-up.
lt makes the heart a friend to the hand.
l don't know what that means but it gives me energy.
Fancy a game?
l guess you prefer the old-style rules?
l can play any style you like.
Traditional it is, then. Always been my favourite.
Pardon me, friend...
Friend, are you all right?
l thought you'd died.
lf only l could be so fortunate.
- You were snoring. - Please accept my apologies.
l didn't mean to disturb you.
But as you can see, my health is not so good.
Yes. Well, l'm sorry l had to wake you.
- l wasn't always like this. - Of course not.
l had youth, vigour, fame...
wealth beyond measure.
l'm not listening.
All because of this.
A gambling device?
Did you win?
Of course not.
You gambled away everything you had?
ln a manner of speaking.
Every trade deal l struck was a disaster,
every alliance l formed fell apart,
every endeavour backed, a failure.
What does this have to do with a toy?
- Sounds like you just had rotten luck. - Yes. Rotten luck.
ln the end, it all comes down to luck.
That's nice. What did you win?
You've got a dead prisoner in here.
How did it go?
Captain of the team at medical school.
Who are you talking about?
- You had a game? - He did.
l stumbled around the court and made a complete ass of myself.
- He didn't see it that way. - The hell he didn't.
That smug look on his face.
''l guess you prefer old-style rules.''
Like l was some kind of fossil.
- l could have wiped the court with him. - You're not a kid.
lt's nothing to be ashamed of. People just naturally slow down.
Like molasses in winter? Thanks.
You're taking this way too seriously.
l'm out of shape, that's all.
l just need to get me wind back. Sector champion, my eye.
He's vulnerable to every one of my best shots.
l just couldn't get them there.
- l thought he'd have a heart attack. - Was it really that bad?
l could have taken his pulse by watching his neck.
- Why didn't you stop? - l tried.
l said l had an appointment. He ignored me.
l said l was tired. He didn't believe me.
When his racket broke, l thought, ''Finally...''
He made me stay while he went and replicated another one.
So what finally happened?
While he was gone l called my assistant and told her...May l?
..to call me back after five minutes and say there was an emergency.
There would have been an emergency - Chief O'Brien's coronary.
At least it's all over.
That's just it. This is just the beginning.
The chief wants a rematch. lt's going to kill him.
Julian, you're exaggerating. O'Brien can't be a day over 38.
That's too young to die.
l guess l'm overstating the health risk.
That's not the point. The chief has a lot of pride.
l really respect him - the things he does, the man he is.
l just don't want to humiliate him.
Another winner. What luck.
The Pythron couple won't press charges. You can go.
Didn't l tell you? They're my friends.
All right. Double or nothing.
House always takes blue.
Sorry, the drink's on you.
- Can l help you? - Prosecco.
How do you plan on paying for this? With charm, perhaps?
- Double or nothing. - Double nothing is still nothing.
lf l lose, l'll give you this.
House always takes blue.
- Lucky. - My luck's running good.
So l've heard. Decided not to testify, did they?
l don't know what you mean.
The 4 7th Rule of Acquisition says,
''Don't trust a man wearing a better suit than your own.''
Either you're a con artist
or you're covering up an empty coin purse.
l happen to know it's both.
We can't all be as successful as you are.
Some kind of game? l've never seen it before.
- How do you play? - Just press the key.
As l told you, my luck's running good today.
Should l be impressed?
A little tinkering, some replication and expansion...
it might suit your casino.
Who would play this? lt's just a child's toy.
My nephew... lt might keep him out of my ears
for a couple of days.
l'll take it.
- That's a tidy sum. - l'm feeling benevolent today.
l might have accepted, but the offer of the drink?
That tells me you're very interested.
Nonsense. You read too much into nothing.
My benevolence is known far and wide.
lt's legendary, l'm sure.
l'll take 1 00 times what you've got here.
Not in this space-time continuum you won't.
Try to peddle this little triviality down on Bajor.
You might be able to trade it for a meal,
but it won't be a hot one.
You'll be in profit by the end of the week.
Final offer. Take it before my generosity fades.
Perhaps l'll hold onto it a bit longer.
But be under no illusion...
if l was serious, this would be mine,
and for less than what you had hoped for.
Overconfidence comes in small packages around here.
My track record speaks for itself,
just like your security file.
Thanks for the drink.
- Times are difficult. - lt's not that. Business was good.
Why are you shutting down?
My husband and l ran this place for nine years.
Before that, we had a shop on Bajor for 1 7.
But a few months ago he passed away,
and my heart's just not in it.
Not the same, is it, working by yourself?
lt's so much nicer working next to someone else.
You think l'm stupid too?
What are you talking about?
l don't need your charity.
Either play your best game or don't play.
He can't do this. l have an exclusive contract.
- l want him arrested. - Who?
Martus, that listener.
- What's he done? - Just look.
Welcome, friends. Welcome, welcome.
Welcome to Club Martus.
l have a contract for which l paid considerably.
All gambling at DS9 happens at Quark's or it doesn't happen.
A few bribes to the Cardassians doesn't constitute a contract.
- He's a con artist, a crook. - One more won't make any difference.
Without me, the other merchants would have abandoned the station.
You owe me!
You begged me to stay here and l did, against my better judgement.
l didn't beg. l blackmailed you. And it's paid off for you.
lt's paid off fine until now.
Martus is cutting into my profits.
l want him stopped.
- Too late for that, my brother. - What's this?
l've promised your underpaid sibling
a one-quarter partnership in my establishment.
- Make me a better offer. - A bidding war, over you?
Don't make me laugh.
Careful, Martus. He shaves the latinum.
l do not! Not much...
Martus, l've just received word
the Vlugtan government has accepted my bid.
They won't finalise the transaction until l commission a study
on the effects of asteroid mining
on inner-system navigation.
My money is committed to the bid.
l can't afford the study and l only have a week to get it done.
- How much do you need? - 1 0,000 isiks.
1 0,000 isiks? lt won't be easy to raise that kind of money.
No. l hope l can find an investor in time.
l might know someone.
But what kind of return can they expect on their investment?
Once l began mining, l'd pay back ten times 1 0,000.
Don't worry, Alsia. l'll do everything l can to keep your dream alive.
l don't know how to thank you.
ls there some problem, Rom?
No, but with my brother around you can never be too careful.
He'd poison the canapés?
Maybe not poison but a small intestinal bug?
- He might. - Don't worry.
l've had an astonishing run of luck.
l'm beginning to think l can do no wrong.
Neatness counts. Never think it doesn't.
A toast... to the queen of the Promenade.
A woman whose business acumen
is matched only by her beauty and charm.
Have l missed anything?
To you...my treasure.
- Are you pleased? - What do you think?
l think we make quite a good team.
Perhaps we should consider formalising our relationship.
Are you proposing to me?
What do you think?
You deserve nothing less.
And these are wonderful. Where did you find them?
l had them replicated from a hand-held version.
l've never seen anything like them.
No one has.
- ls this everything you need? - l think so.
- l don't believe it. - What?
l've looked for this for weeks.
lt was buried in the deep code level.
- How did you find it? - lt's more like it found me. Lucky.
- l'm so sorry. - What happened?
You served, l returned low, you slipped on the ball.
Stepped right on it, mid-flight.
- Let me check you out. - l'm fine. Serve.
Dr Bashir, report to the infirmary.
l'm sorry, Chief. l have to go.
- l'll get you next time, OK? - Look, about that...
l don't enjoy this game as much as l used to.
l'm sure you'll find another opponent.
Where is everybody?
My friendly competitor's place.
So what? So he listens.
l can listen as well as anyone.
- What happened? - l fell down.
See? l'm listening. Nothing to it.
How did you fall down?
- Playing racquetball with Bashir. - Where?
At the court. Where do you think?
- What was the score? - Who cares?
l care. Tell me your problems.
Nothing a good drop shot wouldn't cure.
- He beat you. - Only by half a step.
He's younger but l've got more experience.
- The ageing champion... - l've got spin shots.
- ...versus the daring challenger. - l had a few bad breaks.
- l needed one more game. - Come one, come all.
l could have thrashed him.
- Welcome to Quark's... - Thanks.
Don't mention it. Quark's house of champions.
- Damn! - Something wrong?
My terminal just self-destructed.
l lost a report l've worked on for weeks.
- Even the backups? - Even the backups.
l've been hearing a lot of bad luck stories.
The infirmary is full of minor accidents.
People walking into turbolift doors before they open, that kind of thing.
l've had a great day. Don't send your misfortunes my way.
You make your own luck. We all know that.
They all hit the jackpot at once?
Can l blame this on you?
- l don't think so. - No, l suppose not.
All right. Pay them all off.
Challenge of the galaxy.
Match of the century.
Wonder of the wormhole.
House always takes blue.
lf it's action you've wanted, you've come to the right place.
Excitement? We've got it all.
Thrills, spills, victory and defeat.
Look no further. We've got it all.
And here he is, the reigning champion of Starfleet, a legend.
Ladies and gentlemen, Miles ''The Mechanic'' O'Brien.
What's this all about? l got an emergency call.
So did l, but l don't see one.
And, the challenger.
He's fast, he's deadly, he's Julian Bashir.
They call him ''The Doctor''.
- The grudge match of the galaxy! - Get down here!
And all for a worthy cause.
Yes, these noble competitors have insisted
that l donate half the house's winnings
to the Bajoran fund for orphans.
The Mechanic versus The Doctor.
Tomorrow, 1 200 hours.
Only one will emerge victorious, so place your bets.
And in the meantime, the tables are open.
This is outrageous.
We haven't agreed to anything.
As your exclusive promoter l have the right to arrange matches.
- Exclusive promoter? - Just sign here.
- Forget it, Quark. - l understand how you feel.
But think of the children.
The monks have made a down payment on new blankets.
Oh, well. l'm sure the little ones can huddle together for warmth.
Looks like you're going to get that rematch after all.
l don't believe it. The programme l found. lt disappeared.
Have you checked the deep code level?
No luck. lt's funny.
lt's like the computer brought that programme up at random
then just swallowed it up again.
Major, you're all right?
No one else in the infirmary is.
- Still crowded? - Yeah. And it's a whole new batch.
- More minor accidents? - Dozens.
Could there be a connection between that and the system failures?
l didn't get hurt by a system failure. l tripped.
lt's just a coincidence.
There must be a logical explanation.
Maybe a virus or spatial disruption.
Something that affects both people and machinery.
Get on it.
l always had smaller lobes than the other boys.
Quark used to tease me about it.
- He told everyone l was adopted. - Things were going so well.
On my naming day
Quark substituted old vegetables for my presents
then he sold the presents...
l couldn't care less about your trivial childhood!
We've been virtually abandoned and l want to know why.
- A bad streak. lt happens. - Not to me.
l require the comfort of a compassionate soul.
l saw through you right from the start.
lt's a joke. Really.
l still hold the lease on this place.
l want you out of here by tomorrow,
and take those damn things with you.
l never should have left Quark.
- What's going to happen? - l'm not sure.
But l have an idea.
The profits from the club.
l believe it comes to just about 1 0,000 isiks.
Martus, you don't know what this means to me.
To me it means ten times as much in return.
You won't regret this. You'll see. We'll both be rich.
You can beat his backhand.
Keep the ball low and to his left.
Corner return on the serve.
Then kill shot left.
lf he returns again, high back wall.
- And remember... - Win or lose, tonight we celebrate.
A silk handkerchief,
medieval Japanese design...
scented with my perfume.
Kick his butt.
Doctor, l brought you something.
A gift from the monks to thank you for your participation in their fund-raiser.
Thanks. Put it over there.
Aren't you going to try some?
- What is it? - The monks say it's a medicinal brew.
lt's supposed to impart great energy and vigour.
Just the thing to have before an athletic competition.
But you're a man of science.
You probably don't believe in folk medicine.
Traditional medicine often turns out to have genuine value.
- Did they say what was in this stuff? - No but l'm sure it's natural.
The monks said you should drink the whole thing in one gulp.
- What are you doing? - Curious about its contents.
What about your exercises?
- This won't take a second. - Don't you trust the monks?
Water, sucrose, dextrose, general root extract,
grain particulates, yeast, synthehol...
and 1 7 milligrams of hyvroxilated quint-ethyl metacetamine.
Like l said, all natural.
lt's an anaesthetic, Quark.
lf l drank that, l'd hardly be able to stand.
You were trying to fix the match.
Because you had lots of latinum bet on Chief O'Brien.
No one's betting on Chief O'Brien. All the money's on you.
lf you win, there won't be any profits.
And if there aren't any profits l can't donate anything to the monks.
No donations, no winter blankets for the children.
But...if you lose,
then the house would win and the monks would get their blankets.
Are you suggesting that l throw the match?
- For the children. - Forget it.
- But the blankets... - Will be provided by you.
lf the monks don't get their blankets we will be very upset.
- Do l make myself clear? - Perfectly.
lf you'll excuse me, l have a match to play.
- You've found something? - Yes, but l don't know what it means.
- Solar neutrinos. - Notice anything unusual?
The spin. Given the laws of probability,
about half of them should be spinning clockwise
and the other half counter clockwise.
But over 80%/% of them are spinning clockwise.
People are having accidents because of the way the neutrinos are spinning?
No, but l think it's a symptom of the same problem.
The neutrinos outside the station are normal,
but inside the station something very strange is going on.
- Have a good game. - You too.
First point, O'Brien, breaking the serve. And so it begins.
Not a rousing start for The Doctor.
- Where is she? - Who?
Alsia. She was supposed to tell me how the bid went.
l still don't think it's fair, you investing my money without asking.
You promised me a share of the profits but then you gave her everything.
l promised you a share of the profits after expenses.
Expenses? What expenses?
Operating costs, overhead, recapitalisation.
That does it.
- Where are you going? - Back to Quark.
Then l'll get cheated by family.
Let's get out of here.
Another bad break for Bashir. 9-3, O'Brien.
Quark, l'm cutting the transmission.
- What? You can't. - Watch me.
Ladies and gentlemen, the players have called a three-minute break.
Betting is reopened. Three minutes, three minutes only.
- Why did you do that? - Something's wrong here.
You're having a great game.
The best ever. l'm making shots l couldn't have made 1 5 years ago
when l was playing every day. l can't miss.
And l can't hit the broadside of a Pygorian mammoth.
Throw the ball against the wall.
lt should have come back to me.
O'Brien to ops.
lt goes right into his hand every single time.
l've done it a dozen times.
That kind of luck is impossible.
Not impossible, just extremely improbable.
Like the neutrinos spinning the same way
or a few dozen people having minor accidents at the same instant
or a system failing just at the wrong time.
Exactly. Someone or something on this station
is distorting the laws of probability.
So incredibly unlikely things can happen regularly.
- Can we find out what's causing it? - l know a way.
98%/% of the neutrinos in this room are rotating clockwise.
- The games are open. - We're not here to play.
1 00%/% clockwise. lt's these machines.
My gambling machines? What's wrong with them?
These machines are altering the laws of probability.
So that's what he meant.
The alien who gave me the original said it all came down to luck.
That must be how it works.
When you win, it makes you lucky. When you lose...
These machines affect everyone, whether they're playing them or not.
lmpossible. You must be mistaken.
You said there was an original machine?
Yes, a smaller one.
When l opened the club, l replicated these larger ver...
So how do you turn them off?
l'm not completely sure.
- How did you turn them on? - l didn't exactly.
l just told the replicator to scan the original and make copies.
l think they have some kind of internal power source.
Wait, wait, wait! What are you doing?
Now as for you...
You can't blame me for this.
Unfortunately, l don't have anything l can charge you with.
Fortunately, l do.
That Pythron couple you ''assisted'' has had a change of heart.
They've decided to press charges.
Alsia! l knew you'd come to get me out.
- What's the meaning of this? - Ask him.
- Your lady friend just tried to scam me. - Scam?
To think anyone would believe that old trick.
But don't worry, Martus, l've come to get you out.
ln return for what?
Nothing. Pure generosity.
You're enjoying this, aren't you?
Taken in by one of your own victims
and no one to turn to but me?
l can't remember when l've been so entertained.
l'm glad you're enjoying yourself.
How about giving me 2,000 isiks to book passage out of here?
You want me to give you money?
Of all the ungrateful arrogance.
Unless you want me to stay here on the station.
All right. l'll loan you 500 isiks.
You can book passage on a cargo ship.
1 ,500. After all, l do have expenses.
- 600. - 1 ,200. l still have my dignity.
''Dignity and an empty sack is worth the sack'' - number 1 09.