See PROLOGUE for disclaimer and comments.

ACT III

(The habitat ring. WORF is prowling the corridors, phaser out and at the ready. He stops at one door and rings the bell.)
 

WORF: This is station security. We are conducting a search for an intruder. Please open your door.

VOICE: (to someone else inside) What's he saying?

WORF: This is station security. I request that you open your door and allow us to inspect the premises.

SECOND VOICE: Sounds like a Klingon. Have they attacked?

WORF: Very well. Computer, override door lock, authorization Worf iota 4.

COMPUTER: Unable to comply. Please restate request.

WORF: (sighing) Computer...make door be not locked...command...

COMPUTER: Unable to comply. Please restate request. (WORF growls and bashes the door in with his sidearm, using the resultant dent to push it
open and enter the room, where its occupants, two Bajoran children and their mother, shriek in panic)

BOY: (grabbing his mother for safety) Mama! It *is* an invasion!

MOTHER: We're civilians and we have nothing of value!

WORF: Madam, this is merely a routine search procedure. Please inform your offspring they have no cause for concern.

BOY: What's he saying? What's he saying? Is he going to kill us?

MOTHER: Hush now. No one's going to kill you.

WORF: I must search your apartment. Please step aside. (The boy beings to cry)

BOY: He *is* going to kill us, he is he is he is!

GIRL: Leave us alone! (Grabs some building blocks that she had been playing with and starts hurling them at WORF, who ducks) We've already been
invaded once (starts walking forward, hurling as many objects as she can reach) and we beat *them* bad so you better just watch out! (The mother is
now advancing threateningly)

MOTHER: Get out of here at once and stop frightening my children!

WORF: (misinterpreting) Madam, I am...flattered, of course, but your daughter is *far* too young to being the traditional courtship rituals.
Please accept my apologies--(The mother picks up a nearby floor lamp and brandishes it; the girl continues hurling blocks; WORF decides to beat a
retreat)

GIRL: as WORF disappears) And *stay* out! (Comforting her weeping brother) It's all right, Tamson, he won't bother us any more. (Back with WORF in the corridor)

WORF: Worf at Odo.

ODO: Odo here.

WORF: Wrong language...makes...difficulty.

ODO: Is this a pithy quotation from Klingon philosophy or am I supposed to accept that as an analysis of our present situation?

WORF: (understanding enough to be irritated) People are un...un...complaisant. Compliant. Cooperative.

ODO: I'm sure you've evoked that reaction before. Keep at it. Odo out. (WORF growls and proceeds down the corridor)
 

(Chez G&B. Closeup of GARAK's head as he lies on his back on the glass table. He is severely vexed, and is shouting in some frustration)

GARAK: AAAARGH! Doctor! Exactly *what* part of "Oh gods, yes!" sounds like "Stop!" in your language? (BASHIR's head pops into view; he is clearly concerned)

BASHIR: Elim, are you all right?

GARAK: (exasperated) Why are you looking at me like that?

BASHIR: I thought you were in trouble--(Both talk at once, their dialogue overlapping)

GARAK: I *always* stop breathing for a few seconds before orgasm--

BASHIR: (Now irritated with himself) I know, I know you always stop breathing--

GARAK: --you *know* that, you've seen it happen a million--

BASHIR: I *know* that, it's a normal part of the Cardassian sexual--

GARAK: --times so in the name of all the powers why are you--

BASHIR: --response pattern but somehow it's--I worry, knowing--

GARAK: --getting delicate with me now when--

BASHIR: --that even if you wanted me to stop--

GARAK: --from the nonverbal context you should have been able to--

BASHIR: --you wouldn't be able to tell me. (The anxiety in BASHIR's voice gets through to GARAK, who stops talking. Upset) I just--after what
happened to you, I couldn't stand it if I--(GARAK puts a hand over BASHIR's mouth)

GARAK: Sssssh. (BASHIR stops. GARAK moves the hand up his cheek to stroke his hair gently) I'm sorry, Julian. (Continues stroking his head and neck as he talks, softly) You want me safe. I know. I'm sorry.

BASHIR: You understand?

GARAK: But, Julian, look at me. (Fixes him with that man-of-danger glance)If I want you to stop...you'll know it.

BASHIR: (smiling) Well, I'm very glad you decided in your mercy *not* to kill me. (GARAK kisses him)

GARAK: (gently) All right?

BASHIR: I'm sorry I'm an idiot. (GARAK laughs and puts his hands on BASHIR's shoulders. Lecturing him campily)

GARAK: Now you go right back and finish what you started, young man. (BASHIR has no idea what he's saying, but recognizes the inflections and
laughs. GARAK swats him playfully on the nose) And I don't want to see your sorry face up here again until you've bought matters to a satisfactory
conclusion, do you hear me?

BASHIR: Well. I'll just carry on then, shall I? (As he moves out of shot) I'll see if I can make any of your *other* vital signs fluctuate. (GARAK's
eyes close) Heart rate, for instance, or basal blood pressure...(GARAK hisses, arches his back, and stretches his arms out sideways to grip the
edges of the table)

GARAK: (delighted) You're being clinical, aren't you, I can tell by the intonation...

BASHIR: Accelerating pulse...(GARAK's head tosses as he hisses)...increased bloodflow to genitalia and resultant discoloration of the mesoderm...

GARAK: Oh Doctor--(GARAK's head turns sharply toward the camera as his hands tighten on the table edges)

BASHIR:...clearly visible through the translucent pearly epidermal sheath...(in the same clinical tone)...giving it that beautiful blue-lavender iridescent...

GARAK: Yessssssss...

BASHIR: ...sheen and making you...(GARAK shivers)...almost too pretty to eat...

GARAK: Go on...say more...

BASHIR: ...but also mnmphl...gloomphl...(BASHIR's articulation becomes less than distinct; GARAK throws his head back and laughs with relief)

GARAK: *Now* you're talking.
 

(Outside Quark's KIRA, ODO and SISKO are arguing as well as they can in Federation STandard.)

KIRA: There are Cardassian terrorisms on this station?

SISKO: You were--it was you who--said to look--

KIRA: WHy won't you *shorten* me when these things--

ODO: Brief, Captain, she means brief. Captain, I think you must have misunderstood her. Her theory involved a Gamma Quadrant species, as I
recall--

SISKO: All right. Terrorism wrong.

KIRA: (Defensive) Not always!

SISKO: I mean...there are not Cardassian...terror-making people--

KIRA: You caught them then.

ODO: *No,* Major! The whole story about Cardassian terrorists is a figment of your collective imaginations--

SISKO: Well then who is Worf looking for in the habitat ring?

ODO: I don't know. But I'm interested to see what he'll come back with.
 

(Cut to the conduit. O'BRIEN and DAX are in very bad moods and the situation seems to be no better. OPHIDIA is also in a bad mood because she
has just zotted something with the wrong end of a tool and O'BRIEN is chewing her out.)
 

O'BRIEN: Don't *do* that that's the wrong alignment!

OPHIDIA: Well, how am I supposed to know that?

DAX: I know you're not exactly a tech-head, Phidder, but since when did you become a *moron?* You've been using that thing for the past half-hour--

O'BRIEN: You've been using that thing for the past half-hour, you should know which end is which by now! You've done nothing but...(a thought comes to him) make it worse.

OPHIDIA: Well, thank you *very* much, you can just do it yourself if--

O'BRIEN: (hitting his commbadge) O'Brien to Guest Quarters Alpha 6.

COMPUTER: Unable to comply. Please restate request.

O'BRIEN: Computer...(concentrating very hard) O'Brien...to...guest quarters...alpha 6...

ALTARIA: Altaria here. (OPHIDIA looks wary)

O'BRIEN: I'm looking for Ophidia--is she with you?

OPHIDIA: (from the comm badge, in a broad Scots accent) Aye, Chief, I'm just settin' hame wi' ma pet--what can I do for ye? (O'BRIEN looks at the OPHIDIA next to him)

O'BRIEN: How long have you been there?

OPHIDIA: Except for a trip to Garak's wee shoppie, I've nae been fram hame all day--why? ("OPHIDIA" decides the jig is up, morphs into a bird, and
flaps away. O'BRIEN chases it a few steps down the hall, then gives up and hits the commbadge again)

O'BRIEN: O'Brien to Sisko.

SISKO: (infinitely tired) Sisko here.

O'BRIEN: The changeling--

SISKO: What changeling?

O'BRIEN: Changeling! Saboteur!

SISKO: Ah. A changeling. I'm so happy. (Sighing) Yes...what about it?

O'BRIEN: THe changeling is loose in...in...*shite,* what are these things called?

DAX: Benjamin, the changeling is...was...near where we are. Now it...isn't.

SISKO: Thank you, Dax, that's *very* helpful. SIsko out. (Cut to SISKO, KIRA and ODO) Well. Seem now we look for changeling. (ODO sighs)

ODO: Odo to Worf...
 

(Cut to a horizontal shot of a pair of feet, which belong to GARAK, who is lying face down on the carpet near the glass table. BASHIR's profile comes
into view from above as he leans down to kiss one of the small ridges that run from GARAK's Achilles tendons up his calves, which are as much of his
legs as we can see now. The camera follows BASHIR's head as he runs his mouth up the ridge to the back of GARAK's knee, talking as he goes)
 

BASHIR: The first time I saw these...(brings his hands forward, running them up the backs of GARAK's thighs)...was a very confusing day for me...

GARAK: The one thing I regret about those early days...

BASHIR: ...Jarelle and I were prepping you for the removal of the wire...

GARAK: ...is that I wouldn't let you do this...

BASHIR: (talking into the back of his thigh as he moves further up)...Being attracted to patients hadn't been a  problem for me...Despite what you might think. It wasn't an issue. Staff, yes. Patients, no.

(The camera rotates so that it is now shooting them from above, and we see that the ridges go all the way up his legs and over his buttocks, meeting
in a fork in the small of his back and turning into a spinal ridge, which branches out in multiple smaller rays over his shoulderblades. BASHIR, who
has been kneeling over GARAK as he fondles his butt, now presses himself forward. GARAK pushes himself up on his hands and knees. BASHIR runs his arms around GARAK's hips, drawing his chest and neck tight against him as his hands disappear under GARAK's pelvis. Closing his eyes and stroking the spot where the ridges meet with his cheek as his unseen hands continue working)
 

BASHIR: You have to learn not to see patients that way. Even Melora--when she was on the examination table, she wasn't my lover. (Turns his mouth to the join of the ridges; GARAK shudders)

GARAK: Have you guessed...

BASHIR: But then there I was--

GARAK: ...or do you try not to wonder...

BASHIR: --at the beginning of a major surgical procedure--

GARAK: ...that it was because of Inabrin...

BASHIR: --and instead of where to make the incision--

GARAK: ...because that's what he used to do...

BASHIR: --I'm wanting to touch these. Just--to put my hands, right here. And then looking up and seeing Jarelle staring at me...(GARAK squirms,
grinding his hips backward into BASHIR's; both break off panting for a while. BASHIR moves his mouth up toward GARAK's shoulders, his own back now stretching out under the eye of the camera)...appalled...

GARAK: (breathing raggedly, but wanting somehow to get this out) It's not sentimentality--

BASHIR: ...and with good reason...

GARAK: It's not that I miss him--

BASHIR: (moving one hand up to anchor himself on GARAK's shoulder and matching GARAK's motion as his torso writhes underneath him) ...I couldn't separate it...

GARAK: It's not even that he didn't love me, the word would have had--(long, shuddering intake of breath breaks the sentence; when he resumes his voice is strained)--no meaning for either of us--

BASHIR: ...not with you...

GARAK: But that he never let me--(breaks off shuddering and hissing as BASHIR moves in closer)

BASHIR: ...and that frightened me so much...

GARAK: (still not having much control over his breathing or volume) And I knew why--

BASHIR: ...that I blocked it out...

GARAK: Because I could feel his disgust--

BASHIR: (now as agitated as GARAK, and urgently into his ear) Elim, are you ready?

GARAK: Along with his need--

BASHIR: Tell me that means yes...

GARAK: How much he loathed me, every time he entered--

BASHIR: Elim, tell me, do something, tell me if you're ready...(We close suddenly in on GARAK's face as his head is flung back on his arched neck;
his eyes are closed and as he shouts his mouth forms an open smile of anticipation)

GARAK: You don't know what it means--

BASHIR: (From out of shot) I'll take that as a sign...(GARAK draws another long breath, which catches in his chest as he stops breathing)
 

(Cut to the conduit, where O'BRIEN and DAX are working)
 

DAX: I should have known, she's my friend after all...

O'BRIEN: (not listening to her) What kind of *moron* am I, of course she would speak *Scots* gaelic, not Irish--(from behind them they hear OPHIDIA entering the conduit)

OPHIDIA: Where is the beastie! Let me at the blastit worrat--

O'BRIEN: Good, you're here, grab a plasma charger and get to work.

OPHIDIA: D'ye no ken I've the technical expertise of a bowl of haggis, Chief?

O'BRIEN: You know more than you let on. Now pipe down and get started.

OPHIDIA: Aye, Chief. (Takes a pile of tools and crawls into the conduit) I'll gie it a guid try, anyhow.
 

(Down in the corridor we see WORF stopped outside another set of quarters. He rings the bell, waiting impatiently. There is no response. He rings
again.)

WORF: Station security. Please open your door.
 

(Cut back to the interior of the B&G living area, where we're looking at a side view from the waist up of GARAK and BASHIR in the throes. BASHIR's
head is turned sideways toward the camera as it rests on the space between GARAK's shoulderblades; his eyes are closed and his breathing is ragged.
GARAK is propped up on his elbows, with his head thrown back, and shouting with the joy of release)
 

GARAK: I can't hear you--

BASHIR: (his arms tightening around GARAK's chest) As close as I can--

GARAK: --but I know you love me--

BASHIR: --as close as I can be to you--

GARAK: --and you don't know what it means--

BASHIR: --my flesh yours--

GARAK: --to find I can do this--

(BASHIR's hands slide up GARAK's chest from beneath, hooking around his shoulders as BASHIR pulls himself suddenly forward, convulsively kissing
the nape and base of GARAK's neck with his open, panting mouth as his arms and hands clench around GARAK and they both shudder in time with the thrusts of his hips)

BASHIR: (shouting) God I love you, more than my mouth or--

GARAK: (as his arms start to tremble, also shouting) Without fear--

BASHIR: --body could tell you--

GARAK: Without shame--

(GARAK's arms slide out from under him and the camera pans along them as he collapses, focusing in on his opening, closing, clenching hands. BASHIR's hands come sliding down over the backs of their forearms to intertwine with them, tightening on them as both slip into ecstatic and high-volume expressions in their respective vernaculars. Over this we suddenly hear an equally loud, and completely traumatized, Klingon expletive.

Instantly we cut to a shot of WORF, who has just forced his way into the B&G living area and is standing appalled before the spectacle that greets
him. We cut quickly away from him to a shot of BASHIR and GARAK, looking up at him equally horrified and paralyzed. There is a moment of stalemate, and then WORF, in a display of Klingon pigheadedness that is almost admirable in its outrageousness, decides to try to brazen his way through this confrontation)

WORF: (to BASHIR, in Fed Standard) I am conducting a search for a changeling who we believe to be responsible for the breakdown of the
translator. (There is a pause while BASHIR nods in a sarcastic imitation of politeness that would wither anyone more sensitive or socially aware than
WORF)

BASHIR:(drawing on that British training and attempting, with more success than you might imagine, to pretend that he is not having this  conversation while astride of a buck naked Cardassian) I see. Well, Commander, as you can see, we're a little--

WORF: (taking out a tricorder and vial) I must take a blood sample from--

BASHIR: No need. I'm *quite* sure he's humanoid.

WORF: (not understanding) You have taken a blood sample yourself, then.

BASHIR: No, but I *have* been sampling a far more *vital* fluid--(WORF, mortified, turns to GARAK in Klingon)

WORF: I am looking for an intruder who is a changeling.

GARAK: (bitingly) Are you indeed.

WORF: Are you...certain...that your partner is...solid?

GARAK: (insinuatingly) *Oh* yes. *Quite* sure.

WORF: Thank you. (Awkward pause while they wait for him to leave and he doesn't.)

BASHIR: Something else we could help you with?

WORF: I suppose you could not...*both* be--(BASHIR and GARAK snap, shouting simultaneously in different languages)

BASHIR & GARAK: WORF, GET THE HELL OUT!!!

(WORF beats a hasty retreat and the door closes. As soon as he's gone, BASHIR slides off GARAK and contracts into a mortified ball. GARAK turns
over on his back, addressing himself to the ceiling)

BASHIR: That turtle-headed bastard.

GARAK: I wonder how Klingon testicles would taste fried in Trapsan olive oil.

BASHIR: Son of a...

GARAK: Minced up finely, with some tarragon and a little garlic...I think we could get an hors d'oeuvre out of it, even if there weren't really enough for an entree. (BASHIR laughs)

BASHIR: Garak, I don't know exactly what kind of revenge you're plotting, but please don't try to put it into practice, I have to work here.

GARAK: Poor Pookums. (Moves over and tries to get him to unball himself) It's all right, he won't be back. I wouldn't be surprised if he tendered
his resignation immediately.

BASHIR: Oh my God, that took *years* off my life. I'm afraid that's all for today, class...

GARAK: (patting him soothingly on the head) I understand, Doctor. I would have soiled my trousers, myself, had I been wearing any. (Nuzzling his neck anyway) But I do believe that, with sufficient encouragement, *I* might be able to rise to the occasion. (BASHIR finally stretches out and looks at him. They both laugh)

BASHIR: Are you trying to tell me you've still got something left?

GARAK: Today of all days, my love... (Moving in and kissing him)...it'll take more than a brick-stupid Klingon to discourage me...

BASHIR: You are an amazing being.

GARAK: What is it they say in that horrible poem you made me read? (Running his mouth down BASHIR's sternum) Amor vincit omnia?

BASHIR: (closing his eyes) Sic.

*end Act III*