Warnings: Playful use of plenty of profanity.
Disclaimer: Yeah, yeah, yeah, etc. All in fun, no profit.
A/N: Translations follow the story.
"That wasn't a bad movie," Rostov said, leaning across the table to reach into the bowl of pretzels. "At least, not as bad as people had made it out to be."
"I've seen worse," replied Travis, placing his pint on the table. "At least the special effects were good."
"Although the accents were horrible," said Malcolm, taking a quick sip from his beer.
Travis looked at him, puzzled.
Malcolm swallowed. "There's little worse than an American actor trying, and failing, to do a British accent. It distracts from the film."
Trip put down his beer. "I think the actor in question was Canadian, actually."
Malcolm shrugged and took another sip.
Hoshi leaned forward across the table, snagging a pretzel. "Why don't they just get a British actor to play an English person? And vice versa."
Trip nodded. "Bad accents can be distracting. Maybe not to a British person watching another Brit play an American, but certainly to the Americans in the audience." He smiled at Hoshi. "And vice versa."
Travis shrugged. "I didn't even notice."
Malcolm winced. "It really was quite glaring."
"I never pick up on stuff like that," Travis replied, smiling.
Hoshi cringed. "How could you not? It was awful."
Travis shrugged. "I don't know. I get caught up in the story. And anyway, Malcolm's the only English person I know, and I'm not too familiar with the accents from that part of Earth."
"I don't know," Trip said, swirling the beer in his glass. "The accents in this movie weren't so bad. I've heard worse."
Rostov smiled sagely. "Robin Williams in 'Good Will Hunting'."
There were collective groans and nods from the others at the table.
"Well, at least they had Ben Afflick and Matt Damon," said Hoshi. "It was one of the few times I've heard genuine Boston accents on screen."
"Like Mark Wahlberg in 'The Perfect Storm'." Malcolm added. "A perfect counterpoint to George Clooney's attempts at a Massachusetts accent in that same film. Even I could tell that there was a difference there."
Rostov nodded. "Yeah, that was just criminal. He had some kind of a weird, 'New York but not' thing going in that film."
Trip looked at him with surprise.
Rostov smiled. "I spent some summers in eastern Massachusetts. I can tell a real New England accent from a fake one."
Hoshi laughed. "Do you guys remember Jude Law in 'Cold Mountain'?"
Travis snickered. "Great actor, but even I could tell that…"
Trip interrupted. "So often, it's some weird generic southern that no one actually speaks."
"Although Renee Zellwegger was good," Travis said, smiling.
Trip nodded. "That's because she was from Texas."
"Oh, sure," Travis said, popping one of his pretzels into his mouth and chewing happily.
"The worst is bad Russian accents," Rostov said. "I remember one old scifi series, there was this one token Russian character." He turned to Hoshi. "It was weird, because they supposedly had these advanced universal translators, so why didn't he just speak Russian and get it translated automatically?" When Hoshi nodded, he continued. "Although in one of the related films, I really liked how they made fun of his accent with the 'nuclear wessels'," he said, snickering.
Malcolm slid his half-empty glass onto the table. "How about Dick Van Dyke's attempt at Cockney in "Mary Poppins?"
Hoshi laughed loudly. "I actually saw that film dubbed into Japanese. Even that actor did a bad Cockney accent." She paused. "In Japanese." She took a sip from her drink. " Anyway, your accent isn't always indicative of where you're from." She glanced at Malcolm, then away. "Some people choose their accent; they change it purposefully for one reason or another."
Trip nodded. "I've also heard that in some places, like in England, it's more a matter of class, sometimes more than where you live."
Travis turned to Hoshi. "Can you tell where someone's from based on their accent?"
Hoshi's brow wrinkled. "Excuse me?"
"Since you're the linguist," Travis continued. "Can you…"
Trip laughed. "I bet that she can." He took a sip of his drink, finishing off his pint. "Or at least get close."
Travis leaned across the table. "What'll you bet?"
Trip smiled, placing his empty glass on the table. "I lose, and you get to pick the next film at movie night."
Travis nodded, raising his pint. "You're on." He took a sip.
"But what do I get?" Hoshi asked, smiling slightly.
Trip leaned towards her, closing the distance between them. "I'll make it worth your while," he said suggestively. Then he whispered one word, just low enough that no one else at the table could hear, "Chocolate." He paused a second, then said in a rush, "And not just any chocolate."
Hoshi's eyes widened, and she leaned in towards Trip, their faces now inches apart, their hands almost touching on the top of the table.
Trip breathed, "Good chocolate." He ran one finger, delicately, along Hoshi's hand. "I have a stash from when I was last in Ireland. Cadbury's. I've got Flake, and Crunchie, and even some Crème Eggs. And I think one Milk Tray. You can take your pick."
Hoshi blinked, then sighed, "Oooh."
Trip smiled and leaned back. Louder, while looking at Hoshi, he said, "Rostov."
Hoshi nodded, and slid back in her chair, turning her eyes to the man in question. "Mr. Rostov, please say something."
He smiled. "Peter Piper proudly polished paper clips."
She nodded again. "I can hear a slight Russian accent, but…Can you say something in Russian, please?
"Ya ne gavareetye pa rooskee," he replied, smiling.
Hoshi laughed. "Cut it out."
Rostov grinned. "Eezveeneete."
"Neechevo, neechevo, pazhaloosta," Hoshi replied. She paused, thinking, then said, "You're not from mother Russia herself, right?"
Rostov raised his eyebrows in surprise. "Kazakhstan, actually." Turning to Trip, he said, "Not bad."
Trip smiled. "Not bad indeed. How 'bout Travis?"
"He's Boomer, through and through. But that's easy, since I know that already." Hoshi cocked her head to the side, pensively. "But he's probably from a family who originated in the American Midwest. Maybe Indiana?"
Travis shrugged. "My grandparents were from Indianapolis."
Trip grabbed a pretzel and started munching. "Malcolm?" he said, pointing another pretzel towards him.
Hoshi smiled and turned to the lieutenant. "Middle class English, with hints of, um, Leicestershire, maybe?"
Malcolm nodded, saying, "Indeed," as he raised his glass to her, then took a sip.
Trip leaned his elbows on the table. "How 'bout me, darlin'?"
Hoshi frowned. "Yours is harder. It's Florida, sort of, but there's something of a twist to it." She smiled. "I'm not sure, it's hard to place."
Trip smiled. "I am a man of mystery."
Travis looked at Trip, puzzled. "But you grew up in Florida, right?"
"Damn right I did," Trip replied, reaching for another beer.
"Nicely done, Hosh," Travis said.
Trip and Malcolm made their way down the corridor towards crew quarters, weaving a bit from the drink they'd had after the movie.
"That was cool with Hoshi, eh?" said Trip merrily. "I knew she could do it, with the accents and all."
Malcolm turned towards his friend as he walked. "But she didn't quite get yours."
Trip smiled enigmatically.
Malcolm stopped walking. Looking at his friend, his brow furrowed, he asked, "Are you really from Florida?"
Trip stopped beside Malcolm and gave him a wry smile. After a short hesitation, he said, "Well, actually…"
Malcolm's eyes went wide, and one eyebrow shot up.
"I did grow up there, mostly," Trip said. "But..." He leaned towards the other man and dropped his voice to a near-whisper. "Don't tell anyone this – I was actually born in Boston."
Malcolm raised both eyebrows. "You don't sound like it."
Trip smiled. "I wouldn't dare. Being a Yankee in northern Florida isn't exactly…um, cool."
"How long did you live in Massachusetts?"
"Not long, just until I was six or so."
Malcolm smiled. "Did you have the accent?"
"Oooh, yeah," Trip replied, slipping into an eastern Massachusetts accent. "Wicked bad." He laughed, and his voice went back to normal. "How 'bout you?"
"Me?" Malcolm replied, looking confused.
Trip started walking again, and Malcolm joined him. "Yeah. You're British, obviously, but you don't always use British turns of phrase."
"I've been around you Colonials too long," he replied with a touch of sarcasm.
As they reached a branch in the corridor, Trip stopped walking and turned to Malcolm. "Don't tell anyone about the Boston thing, okay?"
"Don't worry. Your secret is safe with me."
Malcolm slid forward in the narrow conduit, shimmying the last few inches on his stomach as he tried to reach the damaged circuit that was just ahead of him in the small space. He hummed softly to himself, enjoying the solitude afforded him by this type of work.
He slipped his hand down beside him, drawing it forward again, this time clutched around the tool he'd had in his pocket. Squinting at the circuit in front of him, he set to work adjusting it.
In the midst of one particularly delicate patch, his tool brushed against a lead. His eyes went wide and he gasped as he felt the connection, the shock travelling through his arm, and a blue flash sparked from the circuitry. "Chilaka!" he swore loudly, pulling his hand back quickly and dropping the tool. He coughed as smoke filled the space where he was working.
He shook his hand and arm in the tiny space, trying to get the feeling back into it. Then he flexed his fingers, and the lights in the conduit dimmed. "Taik," he swore, rolling his eyes. Then the lights went out. In a soft voice, he muttered, "Well, that's just brilliant."
Trip's voice, coming from the opening to the tube, echoed off the narrow walls."You all right in there, Malcolm?"
Malcolm coughed again. "I've been better, commander," he shot back as he pushed himself backwards through the conduit. Sliding out of the opening, he squinted at the brightness of the lights in the larger space as he stood.
"Something I can help with?" Trip asked, wincing as he saw a faint wisp of smoke trail out of the narrow tube.
Malcolm nodded. "Yeah, now that I've thoroughly manked it up, I suppose that I could use some help."
Trip smiled as he saw the smoke dissipate. He peered up into the darkened conduit, then pulled the emergency torch off the wall and flashed it into the opening, trying to evaluate the damage. As he looked, he asked, "What language were you speaking?"
"Pardon?" Malcolm replied, confused, trying to see past Trip's shoulder into the narrow tube.
"You were swearing a blue streak, but I didn't recognise the language."
Malcolm nodded. "Right. Malaysian, probably."
Trip stood up straight and looked at his friend. "Malaysian?"
Malcolm nodded again, and Trip placed the torch back into its slot in the wall, then picked up a tool and turned back to his friend. "How do you know Malaysian?" he asked, a touch of confusion in his eyes.
Malcolm shrugged, saying, "It's where I'm from," as he turned to a control panel on the wall. After a moment, he was able to turn the lights back on in the conduit.
Trip stared at him.
After a few moments of feeling his friend, unmoving, staring at his back, Malcolm turned to him again. "What?"
Trip put down his tool. "I thought you were British."
"I am British."
"I mean, I thought you were from England."
Malcolm smiled. "I did go to school in England."
"But you speak English…I mean…" Trip said, obviously flustered.
Malcolm simply looked at him patiently, his arms crossed in front of him.
Trip waved his hands in exasperation. "But you don't have an accent. I mean, you have an English accent, not a Malaysian one."
"I mean, you sound like you're from England."
Malcolm nodded. "Thank you."
Trip blinked at him, confused. Then he bent down and peered up into the conduit.
Malcolm stood there for a moment. He thought that he'd seen something cross his friend's face – disappointment, maybe hurt. He sighed, not sure what had just happened, and then began working at the panel again.
Trip sat alone at a table in the mess, hunched over his bowl of soup and thinking about his earlier conversation with Malcolm. He sighed, and put down his spoon, pushing his bowl away. If he was being honest with himself, he felt betrayed. It was silly, in a way, but couldn't help it - he felt hurt. He'd told Malcolm about his Boston roots, revealing a bit of himself, and he felt let down that his friend hadn't chosen to reciprocate.
He shifted in his seat, glancing up as the doors opened and Malcolm entered. Their eyes connected, and then Trip looked away, frowning. He stood, grabbed his dishes, and walked to the counter, pushing his bowl onto the surface. Then he turned and brushed past his friend, saying only "Lieutenant," as he left the room.
As Trip swept past him, Malcolm froze in the doorway. After a moment, he muttered, "Damn," then spun and tried to catch his friend.
Malcolm strode quickly to Trip's side. "Is something wrong?" he asked, walking apace.
Trip stopped suddenly, and turned to Malcolm confrontationally. "Why didn't you tell me about you being from Malaysia?"
Trip spoke over his friend. "I mean, I told you about Boston, and, I mean, I…" His voice trailed off.
Malcolm saw the hurt in Trip's eyes. Cautiously, he asked, "Why is this significant?"
Trip took a step back. "Because I shared something with you, on a related subject. And I don't understand why you didn't tell me about this. I thought we were friends."
Malcolm looked surprised. In a quiet voice, he said, "I didn't realise that it was important."
Trip sighed. "It's not this thing." He shook his head. "Or not just this thing." He threw up his hands in frustration, anger sparking his eyes. "I just don't understand why you don't ever tell me anything." He looked away, and then back, and his resentment was gone. "I thought I knew you, but…Damn it, Malcolm. You keep so much hidden, even when other people share with you. I'm not sure I know who you are."
Malcolm looked embarrassed. "I don't know quite what to say, Trip. I'm sorry."
Trip simply shook his head, then left, leaving Malcolm standing alone in the hall.
"Commander," Malcolm said, standing behind Trip as the engineer worked on one of the shuttles.
"Give me the scanner, please," Trip said, his voice cold and business-like. He looked up into the shuttlepod's circuitry, thrusting his hand behind him as he waited for the device.
Malcolm glanced to the toolbox at his feet, and reached down and pulled out the scanner, passing it to Trip.
Trip took it without a word, and continued working on the repairs.
Malcolm shifted uncomfortably. "Commander…"
"I'm busy, lieutenant," replied Trip.
"Trip, please, can we talk for a moment?"
Trip put down his tools, and then turned on Malcolm, expressionless, his arms crossed across his chest. He leaned back against the shuttle. "Fine, talk."
"I want to apologise."
When Trip didn't react, Malcolm sighed. He glanced around him to make sure that he couldn't be overheard, then he continued. "I don't mean to keep you at arm's length. I'm just, I suppose…" he shifted again. "I'm not used to being close to the people I work with."
Trip uncrossed his arms and pushed away from the shuttle. "Malcolm…"
Malcolm interrupted, taking a step forward. "Honestly, Trip. I wasn't trying to keep it from you." He smiled slightly. "I mean, I am British, I'm just not from England. I never said that I was, I just…" he shrugged. "A sin of omission. I'm sorry."
Trip nodded. Reaching over, he punched Malcolm's shoulder, hard. "Don't do it again."
Malcolm nodded and smiled, rubbing his shoulder. "Anyway, it is a real British accent." He shrugged. "I'm not faking it."
"Whatever," Trip replied, smiling slightly. "Anyway…I'm a tad knackahed," he said, with a terrible attempt at an English accent. "D'you fancy a pint and some crisps?"
Malcolm laughed. "Well, that'd be real nice," he replied in a horrible try at southern American. "And I'll tell you what, I'm starved too, d'you know what I'm sayin'? I'm fixin' to get me some sweet tea and grits."
Trip laughed, and in his own accent, he groaned, "That was awful." Then, in the British accent again, he said, "Um, sod off, you bloody wanka," and pushed Malcolm's shoulder.
Malcolm, using his own accent, replied, "Nice one." Then, in a wobbly American accent, he sneered, "Go blow, you tosser," and pushed Trip back.
Trip stepped back, and, confused, queried, "Tosser?"
Malcolm paused in thought. Then he smiled. "Um, jerk, I think?"
Trip laughed. Then he put on a scowl and, towering over his friend, barked, "Prat!"
Malcolm stepped forward confrontationally, and spat, "Fuckhead!"
"Excuse me, gentlemen. Is there a problem here?"
Malcolm snapped to attention at the sound of the captain's voice from behind him.
Trip slowly raised his eyes from Malcolm's, peering over his friend's shoulder. "Just joking around, captain," he said, smiling slightly.
"Lieutenant?" Archer asked.
Malcolm winced at Trip, then slowly turned to face the captain. He nodded. "Just sending him up, sir."
The captain nodded, a flash of merriment in his eyes. "Well, keep it down, please."
Trip and Malcolm both watched as the captain walked away.
Malcolm let out a deep breath and glanced at Trip. He whispered, "You Wanker."
Trip smiled. "You should talk, Shithead."
They burst out laughing.
Russian words used in text:
Ya ne gavareetye pa rooskee – I don't speak Russian
Eezveeneete - Sorry
Neechevo, neechevo, pazhaloosta – That's all right
I wrote these according to English pronounciation, rather than using theCyrillic, because it's more fun if you can sound them out, yes?
Malaysian words used in text:
chilaka – da-m it, fu-ing hell
taik – sh-t