The Enterprise is after a Ferengi ship which has pinched some sort of generator. They know almost nothing about the Ferengi, despire a bunch of them taking over the original Enterprise *cough*cough*
The Ferengi ship stops and shoots at the Enterprise a bit, then the Enterprise crew realise something odd's happening. The ship grinds to a halt, and Picard laments that the Ferengi have stopped them dead. Ahahahaha! This would have actually been believable at the time. :P
Data explains that the Ferengi are like traders (yes, sorta in the same way that Klingons are a bit grumpy). Riker and La Forge womble about in engineering looking for a solution and think they've come up with one, making use of the force field's delay in reaction. What's "point three hundred milliseconds"? .3 of a millisecond? 300 milliseconds?
With the solution ready, Picard contacts the Ferengi ship, but gets no response, and then their cunning plan fails. Picard swears in French. Hehehehehe
They have a conference which boils down to the fact they haven't got any course of action left other than surrender. Gah, all this build up for Armin Shimerman in butthead prosthetics!
No one's bothered to ask why, if the Ferengi are so advanced, they stole a Federation power generator?
Picard radios over to ask for terms. Daimon Taar radios back, but it's obvious that the Ferengi think they should be the ones surrendering. Picard calls another conference, during which Data humorously gets caught in a finger trap. They establish the force field holding them is coming from the planet. Finally! It only took them half the episode. How the hell did they survive the next 6 seasons?
Picard has another argument with Taar. Seriously, did they have to shoot Taar so close up? I can almost see his pores.
Riker beams down with Data, Worf, Yar and LaForge to Planet Polystyrene, where they find themselves seperated and go looking for each other to fill another 5 minutes of episode. God, this is slow moving. Data makes use of more slang to pass the time. They locate La Forge who's hanging upside down, then the Ferengi turn up with energy whips and stun them all. So that's... about 30 minutes in, and about 10 minutes of plot, at most.
Six hours later, the Enterprise's power systems are shutting down, causing the ship to grow cold. On the planet, the two landing parties fight. The Ferengi express disgust that the humans allow women to fight and wear clothing and things. Then they discover that the big crystals scattered around prevent their weapons from working. Then a big face appears and bitches at them. Yay! Plot has arrived!
Big Face says he's a guardian of the Tkon empire who asks if they want to join the empire. Riker and Data try to point out the empire is long gone, but the guardian doesn't believe them. The Ferengi offer to join in return for the release of their ship and start badmouthing the Federation. Eventually, Riker starts chatting amiably with the guardian about Sun Tzu, and releases the Enterprise.
The Ferengi return the energy converter, and Riker sends over a box of chinese finger puzzles in thanks (seriously). Teh end.