In her quarters in Deep Space Nine, Counselor Ezri Dax stirred at the chime of the com link—and the desperate voice on the other end.
“Garak to…Garak to Counselor Dax.”
Ezri sat up in her bed. “Garak? Garak, I’m here—are…are you—?”
Ezri shot to her feet, grabbing a robe, putting it on, tying it securely around her waist. “Don’t worry, Garak, I’ll call Julian—”
“No…don’t bring…anyone else into this.”
His voice still sounded weak…but she could hear the resolve in his voice.
Ezri nodded, and gently said, “Don’t worry, Garak—I’m coming. I’ll be right there, okay?”
“Thank…thank you. I’ll
—I'll be here. Garak…
Ezri nodded, grabbing her combadge—and rushed out into the hall, praying that he was right…that he needed no one else.
She found him on the floor, staring up at the ceiling. He wasn’t writhing…his head wasn’t jerking—he didn’t show the desperation of a claustrophobic attack. But…
Ezri knelt beside him. “Garak…?”
The Cardassian swallowed, his eyes still fixed upward. But he said, in a calm, low tone, “Counselor…thank you for coming.”
Ezri nodded. “What happened?”
He smiled ironically. “A memory.”
Ezri shook her head. “How bad?”
“Enough that…that a name drove me to…” his smile grew, “to this.”
Ezri froze…and nodded slowly. “I take it, the man with the order—”
“—was Korel’s son…the son of a man—man that I…interrogated. For Gul Dukat.”
“Dukat? I thought—”
“Counselor—you remember when you asked me…what had caused me to…to drug myself?”
“I…Dukat had—he had assigned a Resistance leader to me. To interrogate. Didn’t want…to humiliate the Occupation further. Needed—a victory.”
Garak turned to her…the pain in his eyes showing. “I…failed to give it to him.”
Ezri frowned. “You, working for—”
“A…a long story, Counselor.”
Ezri put a hand on his shoulder, smiling warmly down at him.
“Don’t worry, Garak,” she said. “I’m here. Tell me everything.”
Garak smiled…and did.
Dukat shot to his feet, anger burning in his eyes. “Dead
Garak nodded. “Apparently…his heart wasn’t in it.”
“You were supposed to question
him, not kill him!”
failed to provide me with his medical records. Had I known of the strength of his heart—or lack thereof—he would still be alive. Of course…you would have still slandered me, for not pressing him hard enough.”
“Isn’t it obvious? He was a man with nothing else to lose. Now, if your brainless minions had done the intelligent
thing—capturing his wife, instead of killing her—”
“You think you can excuse your incompetence with that
“Of course, Dukat! The man behaved as if he didn’t have much regard for the well-being of his children. Or, more likely…he felt we wouldn’t keep our word not to kill them anyway
. And to be blunt, Dukat…I hardly
blame him for thinking so.”
Dukat bit his lip, staring into Garak’s eyes. Garak held firm, meeting his gaze.
At last…Dukat said, “Due to…the Obsidian Order’s demands, I cannot punish you as I would anyone under my command. Remember that.”
…I won’t forget this. You will remain a tailor—and only
a tailor. And I promise you, Garak: I will do everything in my power…to ensure you will never
exceed that. Is that clear?”
Garak gave a smile he wished he could feel. “Perfectly.”
And he turned, and left the Prefect’s office…all too certain about the future ahead.
Garak closed his eyes, his story complete. When he opened them, he looked up into the soft, kind face of Ezri Dax.
She sighed, and shook her head. “I…I’m sorry, Garak.”
Garak felt a smile. “Counselor…as far as Dukat was concerned, it was on my account that he left Bajor in disgrace.”
“And…you think he was right?”
“In a sense. I couldn’t…I allowed my rage to overcome my better judgment.”
Ezri looked off for a moment.
Disgusted, aren’t you, Counselor? I tormented a man…and it’s not for
that that I feel remorse.
When she looked back to him, she said, “Well…you didn’t have them killed.”
“They’re still alive, aren’t they?”
“Counselor, what need would be served by killing them? He was already dead.”
Ezri smiled…and Garak felt her hand tighten on his shoulder.
“Garak,” she said, “You’re going to be all right.”
“Yes,” she said. “You are.”
does understand, doesn’t she? For all the repulsive things I’ve done…she’s still able to…to bring comfort to me
Garak nodded his thanks…as the calm of sleep reassured his tortured soul.
Garak’s journey is only beginning….