Dear Auntie Ora,

Please tell me why "quark" is pronounced "quork"?

[SCENE - Quark's Bar, The Promenade Deck, DS9. Pythia enters and sits down at the bar, next to an anatoid Creature. Quark bustles over to her.]

Quark: Haven't seen you around here before, sweetheart.

Pythia: Shut up and get me a Romulan ale.

Quark: Okay, okay! I was only making conversation.

[He moves off to fulfil the order, grumbling. Pythia turns to the Creature.]

Pythia: Just out of idle curiosity, what's the barkeep's name?

Creature: Quark.

Pythia: [surreptitiously scribbling notes] You're sure about that?

Creature: Quark, Quark.

Pythia: Fine, no need to get all steamed up.

Creature: Quark!

[Quark returns with the ale.]

Quark: Why are you talking to that duck?

Pythia: You mean it's not a Star Wars canteen-style weird-looking alien? I mean, of course it isn't! I knew that all along, naturally.

Quark: I was going to paint it blue and pink and sell it off as a Rigelian parrot. See, it sounds just like it can say my name. Good scam, eh?

Pythia: So, umm... you pronounce your name the same way a duck does, do you? Not, purely by way of example, "Quork"?

Quark: [suddenly suspicious] Why the interest?

Pythia: Oh, nothing, nothing! It's not like anybody's paying me time travel field research expenses or anything! [laughs nervously] I'm a, er, student of phonetic linguistics, that's all.

Quark: Well, maybe you can explain something to me then. What's "rotherby" mean?

Pythia: "Rotherby"?

Quark: Yeah. It's a verb, I think. It's in that song from "My Fair Lady". This guy sings, "People stop and stare, they don't bother me. 'Cause there's nowhere in the world that I would rotherby". It sounds like it's something disgusting.

Pythia: It's a new one on me. I can find out if you like, but it'll cost you.

Quark: Hey, I'm not *that* keen to know the answer!

Pythia: Didn't think so. In that case, faq off.

[Enter Odo.]

Odo: [to Pythia] Is this Ferengi annoying you?

Pythia: [cunningly] Which Ferengi would that be?

Creature: Quark!

Pythia: I wasn't asking you.

Odo: [to Quark] Don't you know it's against regulations to keep wildlife on the promenade deck?

Quark: It's not wild - it's very even-tempered!

Pythia: [sotto] Something tells me this assignment is going to go over budget.