“Come on, Nog! Tell me,” booms Commander Benjamin Sisko, grasping the arms of the young Ferengi standing before him. Throughout the episode “Heart of Stone,” Sisko has refused Nog’s request for a letter of recommendation to Starfleet Academy. When it’s clear that Nog won’t give up, Sisko forces the issue, demanding to know why a Ferengi would want to serve. With his powerful voice echoing through the chamber, Sisko asks, “Why is it so damned important that you get into Starfleet?”
After sputtering for a moment, Nog finally spits out the answer— “Because I don’t want to end up like my father,” he shouts.
It’s not hard to understand Nog’s complaint. In the earliest seasons of Deep Space Nine, his father Rom was no more than Quark’s bumbling brother, who couldn’t embody Ferengi values. When the Grand Nagus chided him for sending Nog to a human school, Rom immediately relented, giving no thought to his son’s wishes. When Rom tried to be a good Ferengi and plot against his brother, Quark easily discovered the culprit and exposed him as a fool. Even earlier in the episode, Nog watched his father take the brunt of his brother’s anger when Rom could not meet Quark’s impossible expectations.