Garak chuckled in triumph, as the last thread was put into place. The seam was sealed. Taren’s trousers were intact.
Now, to send him the fortunate news.
He went to his console, and opened a link to the man’s quarters. “Taren Mal, this is Garak—your tailor.”
The young man’s face appeared on the screen. “This is Taren. Are the pants ready?”
Garak nodded, beaming. “As I said…it wouldn’t take a day!”
“Thank you. I…won’t be able to pick it up, tonight. Could—you hold it for me, and I’ll pick it up in the morning?”
“Why—of course! I will see you then.”
The line closed.
Garak carried the trousers to the back…as the nagging feeling occurred to him, again.
are you? I pride myself on my memory—it’s frustrating not to remember: where have I heard your name…?
When the day was over, Garak returned to his quarters, the question still unanswered.
What was it she said: “If you’re going to go down that road, Garak…it means you’re going to have to face a lot of memories—memories you’ve been able to handle before now…but only because you’ve been able to detach yourself from them, emotionally
“I’m not saying you won’t be able to cope with those memories
now…but you’re going to face them with new eyes—emotions that you suppressed with your training. The trouble is…you training won’t be able to help you, this time.”
As he entered his rooms, he wondered.
Could it be the
name that is traumatic? A Bajoran name…a
Bajoran who had such an effect on me. Someone I assassinated, perhaps…? But why would I wish to suppress
that? The name—perhaps someone I developed a bond with, of some sort?
No…a bond with a Bajoran? Of course not—not during my days in the Order.
But perhaps…perhaps I assassinated an innocent man, with that name? Taren…Taren…
No—I don’t recall that name—at least not from my years as an operative.
A Bajoran…perhaps in my years on Terok Nor? Under Dukat—
Yes…yes, that must be it! But a Bajoran…did they ever make use of my shop?
A collaborator, then?
Taren…a collaborator named Taren? No—as the humans would say, it fails to ring a bell.
Hmm. Garak sat down at the console in his quarters. Some of his time in exile was a blur—probably due to the narcotic effect of that cranial implant.
The implant…the good counselor had wondered about what had caused him to break, and to use it. To be frank…Garak had often wondered, too. He had, after all, taken a kind of pleasure in failing to provide Dukat with the satisfaction of a broken soul. Garak had made it a point to enjoy
his work as a tailor—a challenge!
But what had happened?
Oh, come now: I know full well. I came to realize that the “challenge” would be eternal—that my exile would
not end, if Dukat would have anything to say about it. And the thought of never being able to return to my home…it became too much for me.
had brought about that realization? His memories, his recollections of what had brought him to that point…a blur.
No—perhaps I could simply look this man up. Who is Taren Mal? Who were the members of his family? Perhaps I could remember more, were I to see a face…
He spoke up, “Computer…could you access the record behind a name, for me?”
“Please state name of subject.”
“Taren Mal…a Bajoran.”
After a moment, the computer responded, “Records found: Taren Mal. Bajoran national, born in Federation Standard Year 2352, on stardate—”
“Oh, don’t bother me with stardates—just state the names of his…his immediate family.”
“Mother: Taren Lisem. Father: Taren Korel. Sister—”
“Hold.” Garak leaned forward, staring at the name on the screen. “The father—access his records.”
The computer paused for a moment—and a new face appeared on the screen…a face Garak knew.
“Taren Korel: Bajoran national, born in Federation Standard year 2325. Joined the Bajoran Resistance in the year 2341, enlisting in the Eldon Resistance Cell. Highly regarded by leader Eldon Ralin, and became successor to leadership of the cell upon the death of Eldon in battle against a Cardassian force, in the year 2359. Led many successful campaigns against the Cardassians, including the liberation of the labor camp at—”
“Yes, well and good—what was his fate?”
“Reported to have been killed while attempting to evade capture by Cardassians in the year 2368.”
Garak nodded. “Thank you, Computer. That is all.”
As the screen turned black, Garak sat still…feeling nothing.
did recognize a face, after all
[QUOTE=St. William of Levittown;5489011]
“His name is Taren Korel. He led one of the older—and more effective—cells in the Resistance…until his alleged ‘death’ at our hands.”
Garak nodded at the glinn. “I see. I take it he’s proven most…resistant to your normal forms of interrogation.”
“That is correct.”
As they walked down the dark hall, to a room isolated from the rest of the station’s activities, the glinn continued, “He seems to have developed a most…notable level of internal strength. Many of my colleagues have suggested he cannot be broken.”
Garak stopped, turning to the glinn with a smile. “Indeed?”
The glinn hesitated, as if remembering who he was talking to. “Of course…”
“Yes…of course, your colleagues have never witnessed the Obsidian Order, when they
glean information,” Garak said dryly. “Naturally…they’d be ignorant.”
Garak resolved not to allow the newfound respect being shown to him to go to his head. “However, they may be somewhat justified in thinking so—to an extent. How old is the man?”
“At least sixty years, sir.”
“I see…. Then, as he has doubtless fought Cardassians all his life…he certainly must
have developed the sort of bitterness which would not allow him to break easily—regardless of…” Garak chuckled inside, “…the amount of brute force imposed upon him by military methods.”
“Yes, sir. Shall we go inside?”
“Is all the equipment ready?”
“Yes, sir—as you requested.”
“Very good. Now…” Garak raised a finger, “One more thing: This terrorist—does he have any family?”
“He has one son and one daughter.”
“I see. They’re both accounted for, I imagine?”
“And the wife?”
“She died in a retaliatory strike by our forces.”
“Oh, that is excellent
,” Garak said, as he resumed his walk. “Hardly left him much to lose, did we?”
“He still has the children, sir.”
“Yes, indeed he does,” Garak sighed. “Well, we’ll have to make do….”
They arrived at the entrance of the room. The glinn pressed the controls on the wall’s panel…and the door opened.
The Bajoran was sitting on a chair…his legs and torso strapped to it. His hands were free—as Garak had requested.
He was an older man—his hair greying, his face filled with lines. Still, there was a certain strength to his features…and contemptuous determination in the set of his jaw.
Quite a respectable fellow. I can see why he would be a leader of his own cell.
Garak turned to the glinn. “You and the guards must wait outside. Understand…our methods are not for the observation—or the mimicry—of the military.”
The glinn nodded, and gestured to the two guards standing on either side of the Bajoran. All left—the door rolled shut…and Garak and his new assignment were alone.
Garak sat down in a chair of his own, a small table between him and the Bajoran. He observed the other man…and consulted his tricorder. Yes…all was ready.
He reached down to the floor…and pulled up a bottle of kanar, and two glasses.
“Would you care for a drink, sir?” he said.
The terrorist didn’t respond.
“As you wish,” Garak said, as he poured himself a cup. He took a sip…and smiled. “Quite an excellent vintage,” he said, “Should you change your mind…I highly recommend it.”
He returned his gaze to the Bajoran…and leaned forward, a smile on his face, as he set the drink down. “Do you know who I am, Taren Korel?”
The terrorist stared at him for a long time, and shook his head. “No….”
“I am your Khost Amojan
—the Dark Lord of the fire caves,” Garak replied, internally chuckling at his own cleverness.
The man stared blankly, saying nothing.
Garak shrugged. “They say that you never see evil personified so much, as when you look into the eyes of the man who holds the rest of your life within his grasp…. Wouldn’t you agree?”
“Well—if you wish to remain silent, that is your choice. I sincerely
hope you will not regret it. My name is Elim Garak, of the Obsidian Order. I am sure, as you are old enough to have fought in the Resistance for some time…you have at least heard
The man nodded. “I’ve heard of the Order, yes.”
“Good. Then you know that we are relentless and without mercy, in our quests for what we want. Thus—at the risk of sounding redundant…kindly answer my questions with nothing less than complete accuracy—if you please…?”
The man chortled.
Garak tilted his head, smiling. “You find my words amusing?”
The man shook his head, saying nothing.
“Well…” Garak said, as he pressed a control on his tricorder.
The man let out a gasp—and pressed his lips together, as if desperate not to allow any noise to escape.
Garak pressed the control again…and the man let out another gasp, panting for breath…but he finally relaxed, as the burst of pain had been shut off.
“Perhaps you would find that
amusing,” Garak said. “Frankly, I have never understood methods involving beatings, or…elaborate combinations. Neither has the Order—we prefer simplicity. You see…with simplicity, comes efficiency. What you’ve just encountered was an electromagnetic pulse sent directly to one of the more sensitive pain receptors in your body. I have a control here for each such receptor—and in case you’re wondering…yes, I do know them all.”
The man clenched his teeth, his eyes blazing.
“Oh, that’s good…from what I’ve been told, you have made it a point to say nothing to your previous interrogators—give no expression, no reaction whatsoever. You’re quite strong, Taren—your will, as well as your body. Nonetheless…there are things that even the strongest will cannot possibly endure. And I can assure you, Taren: what you have just experienced…is the least painful setting.”
Garak pressed the control. The terrorist clenched his teeth, and a grunt escaped.
Garak turned off the pulse. “As you could feel, that was in a different place. This will be in random sequence, so you will have no defense against it. And of course…that was more painful than the first.”
The Bajoran said nothing.
“Frankly…we’ve heard of the self-righteousness of so many intellectuals—in the Federation, mostly, but there are those on Cardassia who say it, too. Their mantra is that interrogations centering on causing pain—‘torture’, if you will—has…has never been an effective means of gaining information.”
Garak chuckled. “Naturally…my experience tells me otherwise. You see, the key is not the amount
of torment…so much as its proper application. You apply it, so that the barriers of the mind—including creativity…or ‘lying’, if you will—all break down…until the information the subject possesses is all he has left. Understand—creativity requires mental energy, either to lie, or to merely resist. Once a will is drained, so is one’s creativity.”
The Bajoran bit his lip.
“Now,” Garak said, “You will kindly tell me…the identities of all the members of your cell. You will tell me your cell’s hideaway locations, their attack strategies…”
The man spat. It missed.
Garak didn’t bat an eye. “Charming…and noble. I admire your resolve, Taren. However, it is also pointless. Furthermore…you are not the only one whose well-being you should be concerned about.”
“You see…I don’t think a brilliant tactical mind such as yourself would be unaware of the weakness you possess. Yes, your wife has been killed—by Cardassians, which would naturally fuel your rage toward your…Occupiers, as you’d call us. However, you committed a great tactical error, good sir—an error which you committed while
fighting in the Resistance. Namely…you gave your wife sufficient nights of passion, to culminate in her bearing for you a son and a daughter.”
The Bajoran’s face gave no reaction…but Garak could see the rage in his eyes, as the man understood all too well.
Garak shrugged. “Regardless of your feelings for her—something I can imagine, family being absolutely central to Cardassian culture—still, that was a great mistake. Otherwise, with your wife’s passing, you would have had nothing to lose in your resisting to the bitter end. As it stands…we know who and where your offspring are. So, perhaps your heroic silence becomes less noble, now…wouldn’t you say?”
“You’re lying!” the man shot back.
Garak smiled. “Am I?”
He pressed the control—and the man grunted again, but it was clearly becoming more difficult to suppress the scream.
Garak let it run for a moment longer…and pressed another control. A second pulse shot out…and thus, the pain was doubled. The man tightened the clench of his teeth…and his grunts became louder.
I must give him credit…most of my victims would have been weeping for mercy, by now.
At last…Garak turned it off.
“Whether you believe me or not, is of minor importance,” he said. “What is important is whether I believe you
…and what you tell me.”
The Bajoran shook his head, breathing heavily. “I…I knew the risks, all right? My children are old enough—they know the risks. They don’t want you here—I don’t want you here. They’re…they want to fight, too. They want to fight every one of you, like I do. So, if you send your spoonheads to kill them, they’ll take it. They…they understand. They’d rather fight than live under spoonheads, all right?”
Garak chuckled silently, nodding. “A noble sentiment, Bajoran. However…saying you can live with your children’s death is one thing. It is quite another…to actually undergo such a tragedy.”
The man smiled, with no small amount of effort. “You think I can’t take it?”
Garak sighed in amusement, with a smile. “If I may,” he said, “It’s quite ironic you should accuse me of lying. Cardassians are absolutely superb
in the skill of deception—the best in the galaxy, if I say so myself. In fact…my mentor, the great Tain, is renowned among the Order as the galactic champion of Cardassian liars—and so, of course, he is now our leader. From studying under him…I learned the art of the pantomime. Do you know what that is?”
The Bajoran frowned, and shook his head.
“Well…allow me to explain: regardless of race, there are seventeen different things a man can do when he lies, to give himself away. A man has seventeen…‘pantomimes’, if you will. A woman has twenty, in fact—you should consider yourself fortunate that it is you
we have, and not your wife. Anyhow…if you know these ‘tells’, like you know your own face—they become lie detectors of the highest degree. Thus, what we have is what humans refer to as a little game of ‘show and tell’. You don’t intend to show me anything
, but…you tell me everything. As is stands, the more pain you experience, the more pantomimes your face will give away. Now…kindly tell me what you know, before we cause damage which…physically or socially, you will not
“I told you…Spoonhead…you can do what you want—”
“Strong words, Taren…” Garak said—as he pressed the control.
He set it for three bursts…adding to one another, in sequence. The man struggled to maintain control, with everything he was…but at last, it clearly became too much for him. The scream escaped his mouth—more one of frustration than despair.
Garak shut it off—and the man slumped, weakened.
“…but to be frank,” he continued, “You’re protesting too much. You were far
more impressive before…when you remained silent. The fact that you’re so expressive now, by its very nature, indicates that your mental barriers have been weakened. I’m getting close,” Garak leaned forward, “Quite
The terrorist’s hand rose a bit. “A…a moment…please….”
Garak spread out his hands. “We’re in no particular hurry.”
The man gathered himself…and at last, he straightened up. He asked, “Could…could I have some of that kanar?”