This is the latest installment in a series of "Character Insight" articles regarding the rich history of characters in the Star Trek universe. An audio version will appear on the This Week in Trek podcast, available for direct download here.
Welcome back to Character Insight! This week, we profile Rom, Quark's brother on Deep Space Nine.
Rom serves as a waiter in Quark's bar for several years, and this process teaches him that he will likely always be a failure as a businessman. However, Rom does succeed in being a father to Nog and is a mechanical genius, which leads him to be an engineer in the Bajoran Militia.
Quark is not the first Ferengi to swindle and take advantage of Rom, as his childhood and later marriage to Nog's mother Prinadora also were littered with Rom losing all his money. Of course, this process still leaves Rom with Nog, which becomes the most important thing that keeps him moving on to become a better Ferengi.
Despite the constant fights and swindling from Quark, Rom's brother is his most treasured ally when adventures put Rom's life in danger. Quark saves Rom on multiple occasions, showing his true feelings for his brother.
Rom's tolerance of his family allows him to be named successor as the new Grand Nagus of Feringinar, as his mother is the companion of the prior Grand Nagus and serves an important role in getting him promoted to that high role following his service with the Bajoran Militia. Just like his son in Starfleet, Rom would end up making a huge difference, leading the charge in a Ferengi Alliance undergoing massive social policy changes.
Rom's best genius idea likely came during the Dominion War, when his idea for self-replicating mines effectively locked off the Bajoran Wormhole from Dominion incursion for quite some time. Even when the Dominion briefly takes over Deep Space Nine, Rom finds usefulness on the station while being a spy for the Federation. He reminds us of Barclay, an unappreciated genius who finally comes of age after a number of irritating episodes.
Our notable quote this week comes from the episode The Emporer's New Cloak:
Rom: I told you, cloaking the cloaking device was a good idea.
Quark: Brilliant. But couldn't you have done something about its weight?
Rom: Uuh... nope. But if it makes you feel any better, the cloaking device on the Defiant is a lot heavier.
Quark: Tell it to my hernia.
Actor: Max Grodenchik played Rom, and he played minor roles on other shows such as TNG, Six Feet Under, and CSI, and in the movie Apollo 13.
Until next time, live long and prosper...