Malcolm recites Shakespeare.
Warning: Serious damage to an inanimate object!
"Hey, Mal. Coming to the movie tonight?"
"Maybe, Trip. What's on?"
"You mean you haven't heard? My, you're slacking."
"I've been busy."
"I've noticed. It's time you took a break and had some fun."
"Your idea of a 'fun' movie is not always mine."
"I think you'll like this one. It's 'Richard the Third'."
"Really? Which version?"
"Which would you like it to be?"
"Well, the version Ian McKellan did was excellent. It was set during the Second World War. Guns and German uniforms and such. And some decent explosions at the end as I recall."
"Naturally you would remember that."
"But I much preferred the Olivier version."
"You mean men in tights?"
"There's more to it than that. I think Olivier put over Shakespeare's speeches much better, but I just prefer it done in contemporary costume. So all in all it would be my choice."
"You're in luck, then, 'cause Olivier it is."
"Great. I'll see you there."
The mess hall, which had been converted into a cinema for the evening, was abuzz with excitement. Trip and Malcolm sat alongside Travis Mayweather and Hoshi Sato, who had already claimed bowls of popcorn for them all.
Hoshi admitted that she had never seen this film, although she had heard about it, so Malcolm began to fill her in on a few points of interest.
"Look out for the scene where Richard persuades the Lady Anne to marry him. It's my favourite. He's so devious, she simply cannot turn him down."
"Ooh. I 'm getting shivers up and down my spine already." Hoshi squirmed in her seat. Further talk was quashed however, as the lights were lowered, the music began, and the opening titles appeared on the screen.
As the show finished and the credits rolled, people started to move towards the exit, discussing the film animatedly.
Travis turned to Malcolm and said, "I could see you were really enjoying that, Malcolm. Do you know the play well?"
"You could say that. I actually played the lead in a school production once."
"What?" gasped Trip. "You mean - tights an' all?"
"Yes. Tights, armour, sword. You name it."
"I'd love to have seen you in tights, Mal. Bet you looked pretty good, especially with those sexy legs of yours."
"I can't imagine they looked very 'sexy' when I was sixteen."
"You'd look really good in them now, though." Trip insisted.
Hoshi had other things on her mind.
"Could you still recite any of the speeches?" Hoshi asked. "You know, like the 'winter of discontent' speech."
"Probably." Most of the movie-goers were now standing around listening to this conversation, and Malcolm was getting just a tiny bit worried as to where it was leading.
"We'd love to hear it." Hoshi said what others would like to have said but wouldn't dare. But then, Hoshi's like that. She doesn't mind jumping in with both feet.
There was an immediate clamour of voices begging Malcolm to do it. And then Captain Archer's voice was heard above the others.
"I think that's a splendid idea. Come on, Malcolm, let's hear it."
"Is that an order, Sir?"
"No. It's a request."
"In that case it would be churlish of me to refuse. But I haven't done this for some time, so I might be a bit rusty. And if you're expecting anything like Olivier, forget it. I do it my way."
"That's fine with us, Malcolm. Wouldn't want it any other way." The Captain found himself a seat in the front row and settled down to watch. The other chairs were soon filled with an expectant audience.
Malcolm pulled a table forward clearing it of empty popcorn bowls and other paraphernalia, placed a chair in front of it, sat on the table and put one foot on the chair. He was very quiet and still for a few moments, as if gathering his thoughts.
The audience was equally quiet, waiting ...
Suddenly Malcolm was holding a vicious-looking knife, with a blade about twenty centimetres long. He must have had it in one of the many pockets of his uniform, but the ability to produce it seemingly from nowhere was due to the sleight-of-hand he had learned during his security training.
Malcolm huffed and then quietly but with bitterness spoke the first lines.
'Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this son of York.'
He looked upwards, then slowly down again.
'And all the clouds that lower'd upon our house in the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Now are our brows hung with victorious wreaths, our bruised arms hung up for monuments;
Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings; our dreadful marches to delightful measures.'
Toying with the knife his voice changed to more of a sneer -
'Grim-visaged war hath smoothed his wrinkled front; and now, instead of mounting barbed steeds to fright the souls of fearful adversaries, - he capers nimbly in a lady's chamber to the lascivious pleasing of a lute.'
He became angry, getting louder -
'But I - that am not made for sportive tricks, nor made to court an amorous looking glass;'
He raised the knife to look into the blade as if in a mirror.
'I, that am rudely stamped, and want love's majesty to strut before a wanton, ambling nymph;
I, that am curtailed of this fair proportion, cheated of feature by dissembling nature,'
His voice rose to a crescendo -
'Deformed, unfinished, sent before my time into this breathing world scarce half made up;'
At this point he angrily, viciously, stabbed the knife into and through the metal table-top. It went in up to the hilt. There was an audible gasp from the audience. This could have been from the very considerable force of the blow, or the fact that he had apparently wantonly damaged Starfleet property.
Lowering his voice a little, he continued -
'And that so lamely and unfashionable, that dogs bark at me as I halt by them.'
He carefully eased the weapon out of the table and examined the blade from hilt to tip for damage, then he looked at the hole and ran his fingers gently over it. He shrugged, as if to say 'What's done is done.'
'Why I, in this weak, piping time of peace, have no delights to pass away the time, unless to see my shadow in the sun and descant on mine own deformity.'
His attitude changed. He stood up and faced the audience, nonchalantly tossing the knife from hand to hand. The finely honed blade glinted and flashed in the light as it flew dangerously, in a high arc, from one side to the other. His voice became soft, silky - sly.
'And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover to entertain these fair, well-spoken days, I am determined to prove a villain, and hate the idle pleasures of these days.
Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous, by drunken prophecies, libels and dreams, to set my brother Clarence, and the King in deadly hate the one against the other.
And if King Edward be as true and just as I am subtle, false and treacherous, this day should Clarence closely be mewed up about a prophecy which says, that 'G' of Edward's heirs the murderer shall be.'
He all but whispered the last few words -
'Dive, thoughts, down to my soul. Here Clarence comes.'
For about five seconds there was absolute silence, then the hall erupted in a huge burst of applause. Somewhat overcome by this response, Malcolm took a bow, but the applause kept coming. Finally he stepped to one side as Captain Archer came forward.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I am sure we are all equally amazed at Lieutenant Reed's impromptu, but excellent rendition of one of Shakespeare's best known soliloquys. I never knew we had such a talented actor in our midst. Perhaps we can persuade him to do another - Hamlet or Henry V maybe. We must have those films among the 50,000 on the ship's database. Thank you for a great performance, Malcolm." This led to another outburst of applause. After a while Archer held up his hand for silence.
"I have a couple of questions, though, Malcolm."
"I thought you might, Sir."
Archer indicated the weapon in Malcolm's hand. "Firstly, about that knife - "
"What about the knife, Sir?"
"Where were you hiding it? I never saw you draw it."
"Ah, now. That would be telling, Sir."
"Are you refusing to tell me where you keep it?"
"This sounds like insubordination." A collective gasp came from the audience, but there was a hint of a smile on Archer's face, and Malcolm didn't seem too worried.
"Not at all, Sir. As your chief of security I am required to carry a weapon of some sort at all times, and I don't have to let you know where it is."
"Oh, so you won't be putting it away while I'm watching, then?"
"In your dreams, Sir."
"Hmm." Then - "Next question."
"Oh dear. I'd hoped that was all."
"No such luck, Malcolm. Did you deliberately vandalise that table?"
"Ah... Um... Not deliberately, Sir, no. It just seemed the appropriate action to take at the time. It was completely unpremeditated. I do apologise for that."
"But we still have a table with a great big hole in it."
"Cap'n." Trip Tucker stood up and came forward. "Engineering will be only too glad to put that to rights for you. I can have it good as new in no time."
"Thank you, Trip, but surely Malcolm should be doing that?"
"What, after that performance? Nah. It'll be my pleasure to do it. My way of saying how much we enjoyed it."
"OK, Trip. I'll leave it up to you. Now about that knife, Malcolm - by the way, where is it?"
"I've put it away, Sir."
"You're a real sneaky so-and-so, Malcolm."
There was a definite smirk on the armoury officer's face.
"If you say so, Sir."
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