28 EXT. SPACE
In Earth orbit. The great mushroom-shaped Starbase hangs in space. But we’re looking at a shuttle that has just left the station, and is travelling down towards the planet.
29 INT. SHUTTLE
Faded, hasn’t it?
Bright and clean and advanced, a comfortable Federation passenger shuttle, filled with happy travellers sat in rows like a standard commercial airliner. We are looking out of one of the portholes towards the approaching planet.
Then our POV turns in response to the voice speaking to us, and we see an ATTENDANT smiling down at us, as we sit in one of the rows. He noticed us gazing out of the window.
According to the accounts of the
first astronauts, the intensity
of the blue was almost too much
to bear. But I think the more
often you see it, the more you
get used to it.
Yes, I suppose so.
We’ll be landing at Charles de
Gaulle in just a few minutes,
With a polite smile, the attendant moves on. Our POV moves back to the window. Reflected in the glass, superimposed over the planet, is a human face. Our focus shifts to look at the reflection...
MATCH CUT TO:
30 INT. MEDICAL SUITE
Our POV turns back to look at another smiling face - the affable and chatty older Cardassian surgeon TIMOT. He pulls off his surgical mask, and smiles with pride at his work.
Now, Elim, relax. Everything
has worked out fine. But before
you look at yourself, just
remember that humans have an
entirely different sense of,
how shall we say... physical
attractiveness. Now I’ve taken
as a model someone I’ve been
assured is a perfectly average
example of the human male.
But what am I? There are so
Elim, with these humans, there
is no such thing as a pure
racial type. Regardless of how
repellent the idea of mixing
races is to us, on Earth any
given mixture is possible...
especially with the French.
Friendly and cheerful, Timot turns away and grabs a mirror. He holds it up, but Garak doesn’t really want to look.
Come now, my boy. You’re going
to have look at your new face
eventually. I’m eager to know
what you think of my handiwork.
Grudgingly, Garak looks closely at his reflection, and we finally see Garak’s new face clearly.
Oh Mindur... where am I?
31 INT. PARIS ARRIVALS
You’re right here, my boy! But
you look like Emile Tranger of
Paris, France, Earth. Thankfully
I’ve ironed out some of the
kinks since I did this for Gul
Dukat. You look marvellous!
Among the surging crowds of humans and other species, Human-Garak emerges into the arrivals hall. He’s a little thrown by the sheer numbers of people rushing back and forth. He spots a name-card with his name, held by a young female chauffeur, MILA. Garak approaches her...
Please follow me.
The chauffeuse turns away and leads Garak through the crowd. NOTE
: This is the same actress who played Nel earlier, although Garak doesn’t seem to recognise that.
I hope you don’t mind, Monsieur,
but the fastest way into town
is the Metro. I’ve arranged for
your baggage to be picked up and
delivered to your apartment.
What is your name?
Garak stops in the crowd, amazed. After a moment, Mila realizes Garak is not with her, and turns, surprised.
Monsieur? Are you alright?
Garak fumbles and fakes looking for something in his coat.
Yes... for a moment, I thought
I’d forgotten... ah, here it is.
We haven’t met before, have we?
...Perhaps it’s just that you
remind me of someone.
Giving him a curious look, Mila turns and carries on. Off balance, Garak follows through the throng as best he can.
Mila... the name of my mother.
The name of my first pet, my
first friend. And now, this
strangely familiar young woman
guiding me through the tumult
of my first trip to Paris. I
couldn’t believe how clumsy I
was. It was as if I’d never
known something unexpected to
happen before. Political life
had made me obvious and stupid.
Under the above, Mila slices a straight line through the crowd with no problem. But following her, Garak is buffeted from all sides. A native Parisian man bumps into him in one direction, swearing at him MOS to get out of the way.
As Garak gapes in astonishment he’s knocked again the other way by a woman with a baby carriage, who doesn’t bother to even acknowledge his existence. Realizing he needs to keep moving or be trampled, he chases after Mila as best he can.
32 EXT. CHARLES DE GAULLE SHUTTLE PORT
Mila and Human-Garak are now outside, standing by the taxi rank outside the shuttle port. The crowd are just as heavy and chaotic out here as inside. Garak is sweating and breathing in short gasps – even outside, the claustrophobia is kicking in. With one hand out to hail a taxi, Mila notices Garak’s distressed state.
Do not worry, Monsieur. It’s the
beginning of the holiday, and
everyone wants to get away.
A taxi finally stops for them – one of a line of individual pods that swing below a monorail track. The door opens and Mila clambers in. A little bemused, Garak follows her.
33 INT. PARIS TAXI
Garak collapses into one of the seats, with Mila perched primly in another. The DRIVER looks through the partition.
Menilmontant, s’il vous plaît.
Près de la Gard du Nord.
The driver pulls away, jerking Garak back into his seat. NOTE
: the driver is played by the same actor as Cronal earlier, although again Garak doesn’t recognise him.
Garak resettles into the seat, the air conditioning calming his claustrophobia. As they travel on, he looks out of the window at the city passing by. Mila stays quiet, trying not to look like she’s watching him.
The city is a motley collection of old stone buildings and modern glass and metal constructions, seemingly totally random. And yet the people filling every square inch seem to be able to move through it all smoothly and easily. The golden sunlight makes the chaos seem warm and happy even. Garak watches all of this, intrigued and spellbound.
It’s not how you remember it?
Yes... for the most part. But
I’m always surprised at how
different it is from... some
other places I’ve been.
The Americans and Germans call
us obstinate. They call Paris
the ‘museum city,’ because we
wouldn’t make the changes they
have made to their cities.
The driver turns in his seat and looks directly at Garak with piercing eyes. The taxi continues to drive itself.
But they keep coming here, don’t
they? And do you know why?
Uh... because they like museums?
Au contraire, m’sieur! They live
in sterile boxes. But they don’t
want to forget what real life
is like. So they come and eat
our real food and walk our real
streets and begin to feel real
feelings again. They remember
what it is to be a human being!
Why do you think the Federation
chose us to build their centre?
Uh... because they want to be
in a real city?
Satisfied, the driver turns back to his job. A little baffled, Garak goes back to looking out of the window.
34 EXT. PARIS APARTMENT BLOCK
I remember you once describing
the French to me, Doctor, as
“different.” I saw that I was
being introduced to a diehard
culture that wasn’t featured
in Federation propaganda.
The taxi glides to a halt on its monorail, outside a block of apartments, housed in a fairly old building of classical Parisian design. Not exactly crumbling, but far from 24th Century Federation modern. The kind of place that you can imagine hasn’t changed in centuries.
Garak clambers out of the taxi and gazes up at the building while Mila handles the fare. Then she joins him on the pavement and the taxi zooms off.
Garak stands there, absorbing what to him is an astonishing experience. People just going about their lives. The sounds of children happily playing. Washing hanging out on lines. Neighbours greet neighbours with a warm kiss-kiss and chat openly about their day. Garak almost can’t handle it.
35 INT. PARIS APARTMENT
Garak opens the door to enter the apartment, finding a room that suits the building’s outside perfectly. Wooden floors, white painted walls, wrought iron fittings, stucco in the corners. As Mila carries in his bags behind him, Garak goes to the already open window.
OUT THE WINDOW
There’s a courtyard in the centre of the apartment block. All the other apartments open onto it, and most of their windows are open too, allowing all their neighbours to see inside, into their lives. People go about their business in their apartments, enjoying each other’s company.
Looking down to the ground several floors below, there’s children tossing a ball about among the plants and flowers. The delicious smells and happy sounds echo up to him.
BACK TO THE ROOM
Garak is astonished at all of this. It’s almost enough to make him cry. He turns back to Mila, only see to see that she has been watching him closely. He clams up a little.
Who arranged for these living
Monsieur Sharib. I thought –
I know who my contact is. I just
want to know who he used as an
Ah – an estate agent, you mean.
Yes, whatever you call it.
I only know of Monsieur Sharib.
His information is on the data
padd, just there. He told me to
tell you welcome, and he’ll be
She points across the room to a sideboard, where a standard Starfleet data padd sits. Garak nods, trying to bring his jittery behaviour under control. Mila just waits politely.
I tried to repress my anger at
my own ineptitude. I was losing
my control. I had to be more
careful. I knew that Mila was
picking up everything. She was
too good to be just a tourist
guide. And she was too careful
to reveal any kind of reaction
to my ridiculous behaviour.
Well... is there anything else,
No. Thank you, Mila. You’ve been
very kind. How do I find you...
if I need you for some reason?
That information is also on the padd.
She gives him a sly smile, and leaves.
Alone now, except for the sounds of life going on outside, Garak stands in the middle of the room, pondering. He looks around at all the old architecture, the old fittings. Opens his suitcase, begins to move things, organise his space.
Mila had said that the building
was nearly five-hundred years
old. A conservative estimate, I
thought. Never in my life did I
imagine I would be living in an
alien culture’s ancient history.
I wondered if I hadn’t died and
been transported to some bizarre
Garak pauses in his thoughts...
Then a more frightening question
took shape. What if I had come
to this place to die? What if
this was me... seeking my death?
A few days before I would have
welcomed the thought, but now,
with new hope on the horizon...
Shaking off the thought as ridiculous, Garak moves to the sideboard and picks up the Starfleet padd. He looks at its screen, which features a picture of BASHIR. Garak frowns at this, somewhat confused...
Around him, the sounds of life, of conversations and food cooking and children playing, begin to grow louder. They echo, swirl, blend and separate. Garak looks up, confused.
The walls of the apartment have begun to move. Patterns play over the surfaces, like in Nel’s basement hideout. Shapes form and dissolve. The entire apartment seems to be moving around him, flowing, circling.
He looks back down to the padd in his hand, and it MELTS. The padd and the hand both flow like liquid, like a Dali painting. They are caught up in whatever is happening to the rest of the room.
Garak is terrified. The noises and sights and colours swirl around him. The padd has become a tiny black hole, and everything orbits it before being inevitably sucked in.
Garak finds himself bent into impossible shapes, his belly being sucked towards the black hole in front of him as his head tries to pull away. Eyes flared, confused, panicking.
As all the room swirls tighter and tighter, disappearing into the ever growing black hole at its centre, Garak is the last to be pulled in. He has nothing to grab on to. He’s falling down the hole, like it or not.
And then, he’s gone. The blackness is all there is.
36 BLACK OUT
Gradually, and slightly FADE UP...
Until we recognise the face of Garak, gazing out at us. Not the human version, but the original Cardassian. The face is ghostly in the darkness, watching, confused but curious...
What is going on here?
END OF ACT FOUR