TITLE: Langue D'Amour
AUTHOR: The Plaid Adder
CODES: G/B, Ophidia, the rest of the DS9 gang
RATING: R
SUMMARY: When the station's translator circuits are on the fritz, Garak and Bashir discover that they don't need language to communicate.
DISCLAIMER: All rights reserved except for the ones Paramount owns already.
COMMENTS: This is it folks!  The last story....

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PROLOGUE

(The infirmary. BASHIR is treating WORF for a minor Klingon-calisthenics related injury)

BASHIR: Flex it and see if it still hurts. (WORF moves his arm)

WORF: It appears to be back to normal. Thank you, Doctor. (BASHIR smiles)

BASHIR: All in a day's work. (Looks up at the chronometer) Which, thank God, is just about over. (Cheerfully tosses his gadgets into a drawer and shuts it, whistling. WORF watches his chipperness, irritated but also somewhat fascinated)

WORF: You are one of many humans who appears to be unwontedly...cheerful...today. (BASHIR laughs) Has something happened that I am not aware of?

BASHIR: No, Commander, it's a holiday. Valentine's Day. (Starts walking out) Ever heard of it?

WORF: No.

BASHIR: Why does that not surprise me. (As we follow them out onto the Promenade we pass a grumpy Odo. Cheerfully) Good evening, Constable!

ODO: Hmph. (He goes into Ops.)

WORF: I have noticed that an equal number of people seem to be...unusually irritable.

BASHIR: Well, Valentine's Day takes everyone differently. For some people, it's a chance to take some time off and be happy with someone they love. For others, it's more like beating yourself up with a pain stick.

WORF: (interested for the first time) Indeed. I was not aware of this.

BASHIR: Didn't they celebrate it on the Enterprise? (WORF shakes his head.) Wonder why.
 

(Cut to SISKO's office, where he is staring moodily into space. DAX enters)
 

DAX: Benjamin? (SISKO snaps out of it and looks at her)

SISKO: Hello, old man.

DAX: I don't generally keep up with the Terran calendar, but Bashir has been just un-shut-uppable this week, so I couldn't help but notice it's Valentine's Day. (SISKO smiles sadly) I know you still miss her, Benjamin.

SISKO: Most of the time I don't remember that. It's just a part of what I am now, I forget that's why...(trails off and looks out the starport)

DAX: Come on. (Pulls out a large bar of solid chocolate) Let's go down to Quark's and see which one of us can eat more of this. (SISKO smiles and gets up.)
 

(We cut to GARAK's shop. OPHIDIA struggles into it, just as he is about to close, with a huge pile of clothing, mostly pants, and drops it on the counter. GARAK looks at her.)
 

GARAK: Are you planning to move in?

OPHIDIA: What? Oh, no no no. Alterations.

GARAK: Excuse me?

OPHIDIA: Every pair of pants I have ever bought has been too long. Until now I've never gotten motivated to get them shortened because I never have time and besides I'm scared of tailors.

GARAK: That's a strange phobia.

OPHIDIA: My psychic past is a dark and murky place where you don't want to go, Garak.

GARAK: I'm sure.

OPHIDIA: But I trust you. (GARAK smiles) Don't laugh. Anyway, I thought before I leave--(GARAK is starting to look a little down) Something wrong?

GARAK: No, no, I'll be happy to--

OPHIDIA: Oh, crap. I forgot--it's, like, Clementine's Day or something like that--

GARAK: Something like that. The doctor explained it to me. I'm not sure I understand the history but I find the concept charming, in a cloying, senitmental kind of way.

OPHIDIA: Anyway, I won't bother you--hang onto the clothes and I'll come back--

GARAK: Don't be silly, it won't take long if it's just trousers. Bring your haul into the fitting room and we'll get started.
 

(Ops. KIRA, ODO and O'BRIEN watch SISKO and DAX leave.)
 

KIRA: I wish her luck. (O'BRIEN looks at her)

O'BRIEN: You don't think--(ODO snorts)

ODO: She's been trying since the day she arrived; I don't predict success today or any time soon.

KIRA: Are you and Keiko celebrating, Chief?

O'BRIEN: (grumpily) We would be, if she weren't in a rain forest on the far side of Bajor.

KIRA: Forget I asked.

O'BRIEN: What about you and Shakaar?

KIRA: What about him?

O'BRIEN: Aren't you--(KIRA becomes irritated)

KIRA: I don't know *how* that rumor got started but you can stop spreading it, Chief.

O'BRIEN: I could have sworn--

KIRA: Yes, I know, so could everyone, but we're not. I don't understand it, it's like there's a changeling on the station.

ODO: (snappishly) There is.

KIRA: I'm sorry, Odo, I meant a different changeling.

O'BRIEN: You know--a changeling granna.

ODO: Excuse me?

O'BRIEN: An changeling granna. (As they stare) Granna. Nil go deas.

KIRA: Chief, *what* are you saying? (Now it's O'BRIEN's turn to look puzzled)

O'BRIEN: Ceard duirt thu? (Perplexed stares all round. We cut to a stall on the Promenade where BASHIR is buying flowers)
 

BASHIR: (taking the bouquet) C'est combien?

ANDORIAN FLOWER SELLER: Haptrak?

BASHIR: C'est combien les fleurs?

ANDORIAN: Gamot fhwatlpokk, Edait. Wrod? (BASHIR looks at WORF)

BASHIR: Tu le comprends, toi?

WORF: [something in Klingon, which I don't speak]. (Cut to OPHIDIA and GARAK in the fitting room)

GARAK: Do you want these shorter than that? (OPHIDIA looks in the mirror)

OPHIDIA: Nil, ta se go--

GARAK: Beg pardon?

OPHIDIA: Duirt me--

GARAK: Dirt may what?

OPHIDIA: Duirt me go na phanta bhfuil--

GARAK: Ophidia, whatever your native language is, I don't speak it. (OPHIDIA stares) Just...as you don't speak Cardassian either. What is going *on* here?
 

(By mutual consent they give up the alterations business and walk out onto the promenade. Chaos reigns. A clamor has arisen that surpasses the original Babel. DAX and SISKO come out of QUARK's.)
 

DAX: Ketrik sfilta, Benjamin.

SISKO: (tapping his comm badge) Sisko to O'Brien.

O'BRIEN: O'Brien anseo. (SISKO looks surprised and dismayed)

SISKO: Chief...(takes a deep breath) All right, let's try this in Federation standard. (Wracks brain) Not right with...universal translator...broken...

O'BRIEN: (similarly haltingly) Y...yes, I...comprehend. Am working. ( Cut to the shop, where GARAK takes a bunch of flowers and a heart-shaped
box of chocolates out from behind the counter, waves to a still-puzzled OPHIDIA, and heads for his quarters. Moments later we cut to BASHIR, having
finally concluded his transaction with a lot of gesturing and latinum-waving, taking the flowers and heading for home. He enters, smiling)
 

BASHIR: (Brandishing the flowers) Elim, me voila! (At about the same time, GARAK emerges with his bouquet)

GARAK: Wnotpa Valentine's jiqua, Julian! (They look at each other. Simultaneously)

BASHIR: Merde.
GARAK: Fnaa.

End Prologue.