Ishka, Daughter of Adred, Wife of Keldor was a Ferengi heroine first introduced in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode Family Business. Ishka was the mother of DS9 bartender Quark and his brother Rom, and was grandmother of Nog - the first Ferengi Starfleet offier.
Ishka was initially portrayed by Andrea Martin and then by the late Cecily Adams for all subsequent appearances.
By tradition Ferengi women were to be extremely subservient, not wearing clothing, not offering to chew the food of family members, nor speaking to strangers. Ishka defied all of these traditions, wearing clothing around the house, refusing to chew food of male relatives, and speaking to strangers. Married to Keldor, she gave birth to Quark followed by Rom. Both of them affectionately referred to Ishka as Moogie. Ishka had a very sharp mind and dearly loved Keldor, but was frustrated when he would not accept financial advise from her. Keldar for his part also deeply loved Ishka, but was also frustrated with his wife. Ishka would later state that Keldor was much like Rom, a kind hearted man who did not know much about business but knew how to be a good family man. She told Quark that he was much more like her, with his sharp and sometimes devious financial mind.
After Keldor died and her sons set out to seek their own fortune, Ishka began conducting business throughout the Ferengi Alliance, which was illegal at the time as females were not allowed to make profit. This brought her to the attention of Agent Brunt of the Ferengi Commerce Authority. Quark was able to convince Ishka to return the money the FCA knew she made, however she hid a large amount of the money she had made and only gave the FCA enough to satisfy Brunt.
She would later meet the Grand Nagus Zek after giving him anonymous help in a Tongo tournament. At first, Zek was angry to discover the person who had helped him was female, but he soon fell in love with Ishka.
Due to her influence, Zek championed many reforms in the Ferengi Alliance that allowed women to leave the home, wear clothing, and earn profit. With the assistance of her family she was able to fight off conservatives such as Brunt who sought to destroy Zek, her, and her family. When Zek decided to finally hang it up and retire to Risa, she arranged for her son Rom to be named the next Grand Nagus, feeling that he would be perfect for shepherding Ferenginar into a new age.
- Andrea Martin was first cast to play Ishka, but because of the discomfort she experienced with the makeup she declined to continue with the role. She was only a few years older than Armin Shimerman, who played her son Quark on the series. Because of this the makeup needed to make her appear older was quite extensive.
- The late Cecily Adams was next brought in to play Ishka, and played her on all the other DS9 episodes in which Ishka appeared. She was six years younger than Armin Shimerman and nine years younger than Rom actor Max Grodénchik.