Warnings: Foreign phrases, which are translated at the end for your enjoyment.
Spoilers: None. Set in the first season.
Disclaimer: Yeah, yeah, yeah, etc. All in fun, no profit.
"This game is called 'Snap'," Malcolm said, glancing about at Travis, Trip and Hoshi as he shuffled the cards. He tapped them firmly on the round table's surface, the sound loud in the near-empty mess.
"Snap?" asked Travis. "I've never heard of it."
Trip leaned towards Hoshi, sitting next to him at the small table, and whispered, "Must be British."
At her soft giggle, Malcolm flashed them both an evil look, then turned to Travis, smiling slightly. "Yes, I believe that it's a British game." He began to pass out the cards. "As the cards go down, look to see if they match. When you see a pair, say, 'Snap!'" He slammed his hand down on the table. "And you win the pile that's been put down." He glanced up to Trip. "But don't get Snap happy - if you get it wrong, you lose a point."
"Seems easy enough," Trip said jovially, nodding as he reached into a bowl beside him, taking a handful of peanuts, still in their shells. He put a few next to him on the table, and cracked one open between two of his fingers.
Malcolm smiled at him, the smile not quite reaching his eyes. "Actually, it gets difficult – as the game goes, it tends to get rather fast."
"Hold up then," Trip replied, putting his peanut down. "I'm gonna need a drink." He slid his chair back. "Anyone else want anything?"
"Tea, please," Malcolm replied, as Hoshi and Travis shook their heads.
"Don't eat all o' that," Trip said in warning, waving towards the bowl. "I brought those special." He gave the group the evil eye before he stood and walked to the drinks dispenser. Humming to himself, he got his drink, then Malcolm's, tapping his foot as he waited for the liquid to pour into the glasses. He grabbed one cup with each hand and turned back to the table, taking a quick sip from his own drink as rejoined the group. Sliding into his seat, he saw the bowl, now empty, prominently placed centre table. "All y'all are a bunch o'…" Trip said, exasperated. "I was fixin' to eat on that!"
"You'd need to be a bit quicker," Malcolm said snarkily.
"Well, I hadn't figured on y'all eatin' all the damn goobers."
"Goobers?" Malcolm asked.
"Goobers!" Trip exclaimed in frustration, rolling his eyes towards the ceiling. "Don't any o' y'all understand English?" He looked around the table, seeing their uncomprehending stares. "Peanuts, damn it," he spat, pointing at the now-empty bowl. He pursed his lips, and muttered, "Hardly good, anyway. Weren't boiled."
Malcolm's eyes opened wider. "Boiled?" he said in amazement.
"Boiled goobers. Don't y'all know nothin'?"
Malcolm smiled, then nodded at Hoshi. As Trip's eyes moved to her, she raised her hands from underneath the table, revealing them to be full of peanuts, and she grinned.
Trip rolled his eyes as Hoshi replaced the peanuts in the bowl. "Funny, ha-ha," he said flatly, sliding Malcolm's drink over to him.
Malcolm peered down into the cup. After a long, silent moment, he looked up. "What is this?"
Trip frowned slightly, puzzled. "What is what?"
"Tea," Trip replied. "That's what you wanted, right?"
Malcolm raised both eyebrows, his eyes wide. "Erm, I'm not sure." His eyes moved back to his drink, and he picked up the cup, taking a tentative sip. He blinked rapidly. "That's not tea." He put the glass down.
Trip leaned forward, his brow wrinkling. "Pass that on over here," he said.
Malcolm slid the glass back across the table, and Trip picked it up, taking a tentative sniff, then a sip. "Nah, that's tea all right." He smiled and slid the glass back to Malcolm. When Malcolm simply stared into the glass, Trip cocked his head to the side. "Something wrong?"
Malcolm nodded. "I suppose that I was expecting something a bit, well, hotter. And with milk."
Hoshi leaned forward. "Malcolm, where Trip's from, when you ask for 'tea', you're asking for iced tea with sugar. If you want it without, ask for 'unsweet tea'. If you want it hot, specify "hot tea", as the default is iced." She smiled and turned to Trip. "God forbid you want hot tea with milk. That gets strange looks."
Trip smiled at her, then nodded to the drink. "Go on, try it," he said to Malcolm. "You might like it."
Malcolm frowned. "I think not, Commander." Standing, he said, "May I get anything for anyone?"
Travis shook his head, but Hoshi nodded. "Yeah, I'll have something."
"Nomimono wa nani ga ii desuka?" Malcolm replied, a slight smile on his face.
Hoshi's eyes widened. "Nihongo ga wakarimas ka?"
Hoshi smiled. "Um, I'll have some seltzer, thanks."
"Fizzy water, you know," she made a frothing motion with her fingers. "With bubbles."
Malcolm nodded, then moved away to get the drinks.
Trip turned to Hoshi. "What was all that?"
Hoshi shrugged. "Looks like Malcolm speaks Japanese."
Trip turned to watch Malcolm as he filled his cup. "What did he say?"
"He asked if I'd like something to drink. When I asked him about the Japanese, he said that he spoke a little."
Malcolm returned to the table, sliding Hoshi's drink in front of her as he sat with his own. "Dozo."
"Dom arigato, kozaiemas," replied Hoshi.
"You speak Japanese, Malcolm?" Trip asked.
Malcolm took a sip from his tea, nodding over its rim. Placing the cup on the table, he smiled. "Amongst other languages."
"Erm," Malcolm paused, thinking. "French, Spanish, Polish, a smattering of Russian, and…"
"Polish?" Trip asked, surprised. "That's kind of random, isn't it?"
As Malcolm opened his mouth to reply, Travis interrupted. "Say something in Polish."
Malcolm blushed slightly, but he smiled. "Nie mowie po polsku."
Hoshi snickered, and Travis turned to her.
"What?" Travis said.
"He just said that he doesn't speak Polish." She turned to Malcolm. "Nie, nie. Mowe po polsku bardzo dobrze."
"Dziekuje," Malcolm said with a smile.
"All right, enough with the language club," Trip said. "Can we play the damn game now?" He popped a peanut into his mouth, crunching happily.
Before Trip could pick up his cards, Travis asked, "How do you know so many languages, Malcolm?"
Malcolm shrugged. "A hobby, really."
"Some hobby," Trip said, slightly awed.
"Yes, I once had a job that required a rather long commute. I studied various languages whilst…"
"You are kidding, right?" Travis asked around a mouthful of peanuts.
Malcolm shook his head as he fidgeted with his cards.
Trip laughed. "Ya know, other people would read trashy novels, or learn to knit or something."
A blush flashed across Malcolm's cheeks and he looked down at his hands.
"Don't worry, Malcolm," Hoshi said, leaning towards him. Dropping her voice to a near-whisper, she said, "They're just jealous."
Trip reached over and punched Malcolm lightly on the shoulder. "You bet we are," he said, smiling broadly. At Malcolm's answering grin, he winked. He turned his eyes to the table. "Hey, we're out of peanuts. I can't play cards without snacks." Standing, he asked, "Anyone want anything?" Then he turned to Hoshi. "And I can't say that in Japanese or whatever…although I might be able to kind of say it in bad Spanish, so long as you don't mind that half the words are swears." He smiled.
"I believe there were some chips there…" Malcolm said vaguely.
Trip nodded and turned towards the serving area. He looked at the offerings, puzzled. "Um, Malcolm?" he shot back over his shoulder. "There's no chips here."
Hoshi laughed. "He means French fries, Trip."
Trip nodded. "Oh, right," he said, reaching for the fries. "Want ketchup for those?"
"Mayonnaise, please," Malcolm replied.
Trip turned back to the table so quickly that a couple of fries flew out of the bowl, his brow furrowed. "Mayonnaise?"
Malcolm nodded. "Please."
Cringing, Trip turned back to the food. "Right. Of course. Whatever," he said softly as he gathered the offending item. Balancing the two bowls, he returned to the table, sliding the foods in front of Malcolm.
"Thank you," said Malcolm as he reached for a fry, dragging it through the mayonnaise before he dropped it into his mouth.
Trip watched in awe as Malcolm chewed happily.
After a moment, Malcolm noticed Trip staring at him. "Yes?"
"Um," Trip said uncertainly. "Is that good?" He nodded at the mayo, trying not to grimace.
"Quite," Malcolm replied. "Have you never tried it?"
"Never even seen anyone…" Trip let his voice drift away.
Malcolm cocked his head to the side. "Would you like some?"
Trip hesitated, staring first at Malcolm, then at the mayo. "Um, okay…why not?" he said. He reached forward and grasped a fry, then dipped it delicately into the mayonnaise. He pulled it up to his nose and sniffed it.
Hoshi snickered, and Trip flashed her a look. Then he turned back to Malcolm, smiled sickly, and popped the mayonnaise covered French fry into his mouth. "Urm, odd," he said around his mouthful. Swallowing, he added, "But not bad."
Malcolm nodded and dragged another chip through the mayonnaise. He held it up. "Anyone else?"
Both Hoshi and Travis shook their heads.
"Ever try it on pizza?" Malcolm said to Trip, waving the mayo-laden chip at the man.
Trip looked shocked. "What, mayonnaise?"
Trip looked a bit pale. "On pizza?"
Malcolm nodded again, biting into his fry.
"Dear God, no," Trip whispered.
"You think that's odd," Hoshi added. "Before I joined Enterprise, I used to have a traditional Japanese breakfast every morning," she said cheerily as Trip turned his shocked eyes to her. "A raw egg on top of rice, sometimes with curry." She smiled, the devil in her eyes. "We also ate old duck eggs, fermented by soaking them in vinegar and then burying them underground for ten months."
"Sort of like Kim-Chee," Travis added, nodding. He smiled at Hoshi and raised one eyebrow. "Ever had really fresh sushi?"
"What do you mean by 'fresh'?" Trip asked warily.
Travis raised his eyebrows. "Fresh," he said bluntly.
Trip gulped. "You mean, like…" he hesitated. "Still alive?"
Hoshi nodded in delight, leaning towards Trip. "You get to pick the fish from the tank, and then the chef cracks it on the head with the handle of his knife to stun it. He cuts it open and cleans out the guts, but the fish still moves. He pours saki down its throat, which activates the nerves that make the tail and head wiggle, so they keep moving even if the fish dies." She licked her lips. "The rice wine makes it very sweet."
Malcolm smiled, popping another fry into his mouth. "Ever eaten horse?"
Trip twisted his head to face Malcolm. "Horse, as in, um, horse?"
"How 'bout Prairie Oysters?" Travis asked, reaching over to steal one of Malcolm's fries.
"How about Eyeball Treats?" Hoshi added, laughing.
"Um, guys…" Trip tried to interrupt.
"I had those once at a party," Malcolm said, swirling a chip in his mayonnaise. "I think that one was a pickled cow's eye."
"Shark eyes are nicer," Hoshi said.
"Guys!" Trip said, more forcefully, and three sets of eyes turned to him. "Enough, already, please," he said softer, one hand on his stomach, the other rubbing the bridge of his nose. "I don't feel so good."
"What, do these foods offend?" Malcolm asked.
Travis chimed in. "Don't you eat grits?"
"Chitlins?" Hoshi added.
"Hog maws?" Malcolm said.
"Mountain oysters?" Travis said.
Trip looked from Travis, to Hoshi, to Malcolm, leaning his arms on the table as he gaped in disbelief. Then he groaned and put his head down on his arms.
Hoshi reached over and rubbed Trip's shoulder. She leaned down, bring her lips close to his ear. "April Fool's," she whispered.
Trip pulled his head up slightly, looking at her, his brow furrowed in puzzlement. Then Hoshi smiled, and he turned to Travis. Who smiled. So he turned to Malcolm. Who offered him a fry wordlessly, his mouth quirked in a half smile. Trip pushed himself upright. "So, that bit about the eyes…"
"Never had them," Malcolm replied.
"They do exist, though," Hoshi added brightly. "The shark ones are a bit of a delicacy."
Trip grimaced. "And the mayo?"
Malcolm pulled out a chip and swirled it in the last of his mayonnaise. He held it up, smiled, then popped it in his mouth. Chewing, he said, "Delicieux."
Foreign words used in the text:
Author's note – please forgive my bad spelling and lack of accents and appropriate characters. Firstly, I speak most of these languages (some quite badly), but for the most part, I do not write them. Secondly, I don't have the appropriate characters on my keyboard for the alphabets.
And now the actual translations:
Nomimono wa nani ga ii desu ka? – Would you like something to drink? (Japanese)
Nihongo ga wakarimas ka? – You understand Japanese? (Japanese)
Eh, skoshi. – Yeah, a little bit (Japanese)
Dozo – Here you go (like the French use "Voila!") (Japanese)
Dom arigato, kozaiemas – Thanks very much (Japanese)
Nie mowie po polsku – I don't speak Polish (Polish)
Nie, nie. Mowe po polsku bardzo dobrze – No, no. You speak Polish very well (Polish)
Dziekuje – Thank you (Polish)
Delicieux – delicious (French)