21 EXT. CITADEL - NIGHT
Very dark, since there is little in the way of artificial light. A large and imposing building, like a mansion or castle, looms in the darkness, crumbling from damage and disuse. Surrounding it are sparse and crabby attempts at grass, again blasted and ruined by fire and destruction.
Garak stands in the even darker shadow of one of the few remaining trees. He looks up at one of the towers of the Citadel, pondering whether to emerge from hiding.
Before Cardassia City was built
to be a more appropriate seat of
power for the empire, Lakarian
served the role of centralizing
planetary government in a more
subtle and aesthetic manner. Many
of the buildings dated back to
the early Republic, and there
were even Hebitian ruins that had
somehow survived the almost total
eradication of that culture. The
old Republican Citadel was one
such, itself partly constructed
from the ancient volcanic rock
the Hebitians used to build with.
I couldn’t think of a more
suitable place to conceal the
remnants of the Oralian Way.
Finally, Garak steps forward out of the deepest shadow of the tree, and towards the stone walls of the Citadel.
But was that really what was
going on here? Or had I just
walked, willingly and innocent
as a child, into an elaborate
trap? Damn it, Elim – has your
caution and common sense died
along with everything else?
Garak gently, reverently lays a hand on the stone of the Citadel’s walls.
The first people also touched that.
Garak looks to the side – Cronal stands in the shadow of another tree, just as he himself had. He’s been there all along. Garak isn’t surprised - it fits the situation.
It has an almost plasmic quality.
We’ll never find a better
Why wasn’t it used for everything?
It’s not as imperial looking as
obsidian stone from the Toran
But that’s on the other side of
Yes, but they had plenty of...
Please, Elim Garak, come with me.
Cronal emerges from the shadows and begins to lead Garak through the grounds, around the building.
22 EXT. LAKARIAN CITY - NIGHT
The gardener in me wanted to stop
and study what was left of the
plantings. It would take time to
restore the soil, but it could be
done, and well worth the effort.
Cronal leads Garak through dark, beaten down city streets. Buildings jammed together in cramped, hive-like fashion. Despite the many buildings, the streets are deserted.
Of course. They wouldn’t hide in
the Citadel itself. If I knew
that was the obvious place,
others could figure it out just
as easily. Honestly, Elim, you
really are losing your touch.
Cronal notices Garak’s glances around at the dead streets.
The plague was especially cruel
here. Almost no-one remains...
except, of course, for those
who have no choice.
Not just the dead.
Cronal stops at a door that looks just like all the others. They cross the threshold, there’s a HUM and Garak shivers – he’s just passed through a forcefield of some kind.
Cronal goes to another door among many – the door opens as they approach, despite there having been no signal. Garak gasps slightly as he sees who is there – NEL. She smiles at him openly, no artifice or judgement.
Elim Garak. Please. Come in.
We’ve been waiting for you.
Garak and Cronal both enter the room, and Nel closes the door behind them.
23 INT. STONE ROOM
The room is small and dark, empty and bare except for half a dozen low stools. The walls and floor are built of the same volcanic rock as the Citadel, which almost seems to flow and move in a visual illusion, forming shapes which dissolve again before they can be identified. Garak, Cronal and Nel all take seats.
You’ve become an Oralian Guide.
When it’s not a danger to others.
It’s difficult for people to
gather and celebrate the Fates.
That’s my fault, isn’t it? You’re
being caught up in a stratagem
that’s directed against me.
What a strange man you are, Elim
Garak. I assure you, you don’t
have to take responsibility for
our problems. You have plenty
of your own.
But I was under the impression –
I know. But even if you never
existed, those people who hunt
us now would still be doing so.
Of course, Cardassian efficiency
would dearly love to eliminate
us both at the same time.
Nel chuckles, wryly amused at the very idea. Garak gazes at her in wonder.
You have so much of both your
mother and father in you... I
You loved my father, didn’t you?
Obviously I know you loved my
mother... but him too.
Nel turns to Cronal, as if pondering a hypothetical.
Has it ever occurred to you,
Cronal, that we seek out that
person who... how shall I say
this... gives us our death?
There are precedents in nature.
The balteen, at the end of its
cycle, offers itself at the
lair of its greatest predator.
Even Garak’s pet regnar chooses
Nel turns back to Garak, smiling and clapping with glee.
Mila! Your tiny lizard friend
at Bamarren Institute, named
after your mother.
What don’t you know about me?
It’s only information.
My father would have disagreed.
But he waited for you, before
he died. Just like the regnar.
Garak cannot breathe – Nel is saying all the things he has never dared to admit to himself. Nel seems to understand.
My father had been looking for
the person who would give him
his death. He also chose you
for that moment.
FLASHBACK – 10x06 “THE DREAM BOX”
Men who want to lead are often
conflicted. Does one have a
calling? Or merely a lust for
power? And if it is a calling,
how does one answer?
At the cocktail party, Bashir hands Garak the padd with the vaccine information it, urging Garak onwards...
BACK TO SCENE
Garak looks at Nel in wonder...
You know about the Vinculum.
Of course we know. It’s a great
gift, Elim. A source of wisdom
few are allowed to experience...
and be able to return and share.
And surely you must know by now
the reason you were sent there.
Garak looks back at her blankly. She chuckles again, amused and exasperated at his naivety.
Before an ancient Hebitian
could be appointed as leader,
he had to make a pilgrimage to
it. The Vinculum is a place
where the living and the dead
find common ground. After all,
unless you’ve made your peace
with the dead, how can you
lead the living?
I don’t understand...
You made the pilgrimage, Elim.
You have been called.
If that’s the case, why would a
human – Julian Bashir – be the
one to encourage me to lead the
Reunion Project? Shouldn’t that
message – that call – have come
from one of our own?
Are you sure it was really him?
Once again, Garak has the breath knocked out of him.
But... why –
Elim, you’re an extraordinary
person. You’re also a stubborn
one. Perhaps you received the
information from someone who
appeared to be Julian Bashir
because you wouldn’t accept
it from anyone else.
Then who was it?
Only you can answer that.
When I was in the Vinculum, your
mother – or someone who appeared
to be her – told me to save you.
Am I in danger?
I think we all are.
Then you have to save us all.
As Garak sits, gazing at the shifting patterns on the stone walls, trying to absorb what she’s telling him...
24 EXT. TARLAK GROUNDS
Present. Garak is on the stage, looking out at the gathered Cardassians from all over the planet.
And so I called for the speech.
To attempt to reconcile all the
scattered tribes of our world.
The crowd is still, prepared to listen for the moment.
My fellow Cardassians...
He trails off, looking at their faces, at the various groups still separate and distrustful.
As I prepared to thank them for
coming, urge them to lay aside
their differences, the faces of
the past intruded even more. In
the Obsidian Order, we are taught
to operate on two or more levels
of conscious intent at once. The
mind has complete control over
each level. But I had no control
over the imagery now flooding my
mind. The speech I had wanted
to give, the words of healing
and hope... wouldn’t come.
He is blank and emotionless, speaking without inflection.
We’ve all gone mad.
They all look up at him, confused...
Or we’ve reached the final stage
in our evolution, where we’ve
outlived our reason for being
here at all. Perhaps all that’s
left is the final implosion.
Some in the crowd don’t like this. They begin to shout and protest. Garak shouts over them...
No no no no! Not your fault!
You were only reacting to the
circumstances that he created,
and the injuries and insults
that she committed. And every
one of us is so wronged and
insulted and inflicted with
the deaths of those closest to
us that we righteously believe
we have the right to strike
the last blow!
Yes! We do!
Alright. But let me ask you
a serious question, my fellow
long-suffering Cardassian. Have
you thought about what this
world will look like if you
do strike the last blow?
Silence. They are actually thinking about what he said.
Suddenly I hated them. I hated
them all. I hated what we had
become. The best of us had
already been sacrificed, and
the sooner the end came for
the rest of us the better.
Garak looks down at them, sneering with his distaste.
Think about it. It’s very simple.
Whichever one of you does strike
the last blow, imagine the satis-
faction as you stand all alone
in a wasteland of dead bodies.
All the barbarity and madness
of our civilization devolves on
you. And at that point, all I
can wish for you is that you
have the strength to bury the
rest of us. That is, if there’s
a shred of decency left in you.
The crowd is starting to respond, and they are not happy. On the stage behind him, Parmak murmurs a gentle warning.
This was not the calling Nel had
spoken of. I knew that. Perhaps
it was exhaustion... perhaps I
was seeking my death. But I was
facing a reality that defied
all political idealism... and
it had finally driven me mad.
The crowd boils over. The people surge forwards, ready to attack. Garak stands there, not caring anymore as they push towards him, baying for his blood...
END OF ACT TWO