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The Wire


Production no.: 442
Written by: Robert Hewitt Wolfe
Directed by: Kim Friedman
Stardate: not given 
First satellite airdate: May 7, 1994
 
Andrew Robinson ....
Jimmie F. Skaggs .....
Ann Gillespie ...........
Paul Dooley .............
Garak
Boheeka
Nurse Jabara
Enabran Tain


Bashir and Garak discuss the fine points of Cardassian literature as they wait in line at the crowded replimat. Garak has lent Bashir a novel, which the doctor admits he found a little dull. Disappointed, Garak doesn't seem to be quite in his usual serene mood today, and rubs his temples a couple of times, as if struggling against a headache. When he grabs his forehead in an intense stab of pain, Bashir immediately becomes concerned. But suddenly Garak's expression clears. "I assure you, I'm in perfect health." He starts to go back to their subject, but winces at another wave of agony.

Bashir has seen enough. He tries to take Garak to the infirmary, but Garak refuses. When Bashir suggests that he humor him, Garak retorts, "Frankly Doctor, I'm a little tired of humoring you. There's nothing wrong with me that a little peace and privacy wouldn't cure." With great dignity, he walks away, leaving Bashir wondering what is going on.

The doctor describes Garak's unusual behavior to Dax as he diagnoses a sick plant for her. He is frustrated. "It's that damned Cardassian evasiveness of his. I mean, keeping me guessing about his past is one thing, but when it comes to his health, I don't know. Why can't he just tell me what's going on?" Dax observes that he seems to be taking this rather personally. Bashir admits he probably is. He and Garak have been lunch companions once a week for more than a year; he would think Garak would trust him by now, at least a little. "Why should he?" asks Dax. "It's not like you two are really friends." "No, of course not," Bashir admits. "I suppose when it comes right down to it, I don't trust him either. I mean, for all I know, the man is a Cardassian spy."

Late that night, however, Bashir is on the Promenade when he overhears a conversation between Quark and Garak. It seems that they are doing business together, for the first time, only Bashir can't ascertain what the deal is for. Quark promises Garak that he'll get his merchandise. "Soon, Quark," Garak says. "I can't wait much longer." After Garak leaves, Bashir confronts Quark, who says he's helping Garak get a new sizing scanner. Bashir doesn't believe him, but decides not to pursue the matter.

The next day, Bashir is finishing up treating Sisko for a minor sore throat when O'Brien comes in, responding to Bashir's request to see him. Bashir has been trying to access the old Cardassian medical files; O'Brien tells him they would have been deleted along with everything else when the Cardassians purged the system before they pulled out. He might be able to recover them, but it would take two or three weeks. Which is too long for Bashir's purposes. Just then, Quark calls him to the bar.

Garak is there, swigging kanar, quite drunk and obviously still in pain. Bashir gets him to give him the bottle, and surreptitiously hands it back to Quark while he suggests that he and Garak go somewhere quiet. But first he has to stop at the infirmary. Garak is not too drunk to realize what he's up to, and refuses again to go. However, he then crashes to the floor, the pain hammering him into unconsciousness as he pleads, "Make it stop...make it stop." Bashir orders an emergency transport to the infirmary.

Finding a small implant deep inside Garak's brain, Bashir turns to Odo, who worked under the Cardassians, for a possible answer as to what it's for. Odo doesn't know, and guesses that it might be a punishment device, but Bashir says that based on the amount of scarring in the surrounding tissue, the implant has been there for years; as far as he knows, Garak has only been in pain for the last few days. However, he has a feeling Quark may know what it is, and tells Odo about the conversation he overheard. Thoughtfully, Odo says Quark has sent several coded messages to Cardassia Prime in the last few days. He tells Bashir to meet him in Security after the bar closes, which is when Quark always makes his calls.

Right on schedule that night, Quark speaks to Glinn Boheeka, an old friend of his who was once assigned to the station. Odo and Bashir listen in as, after a bit of reminiscing, Quark tells him he needs a piece of Cardassian bio-technology and the schematics relating to its installation. Boheeka is agreeable, and Quark sends him the requisition code. But when Boheeka tries to look it up, his eyes widen in alarm. "I'm ruined! My career is over." The code is for classified biotechnology. Boheeka can only hope that "they" won't trace the request back to him. When Quark asks who, Boheeka looks up with an expression of dread. "The Obsidian Order." Quark quickly cuts the transmission.

The Obsidian Order, Odo tells Bashir, is the eyes and ears of the Cardassian Empire. "It is said that a Cardassian citizen cannot sit down to a meal without each dish being duly noted and recorded by the Order." "What happens if you eat something that doesn't meet with their approval?" asks Bashir. "People have been known to disappear for less," Odo says ominously. Bashir wonders if the Obsidian Order put the implant into Garak's head, while Odo has another question: if it's a punishment device, why is Garak trying to get hold of another one? Bashir speculates that maybe he's trying to find a way to get rid of it. In any case, Odo wants to have a talk with Garak when the Cardassian wakes up. So does Bashir -- but when he gets back to the infirmary, Garak is gone.

Bashir uses his medical clearance to enter Garak's quarters, and finds him there, looking like hell and injecting himself with 30 cc's of triptacederine -- an incredibly massive dose, yet it does nothing to relieve Garak's pain. Bashir insists that Garak come back to the infirmary. "Oh, I don't think so," the Cardassian replies. "Believe me when I tell you there's nothing you can do for me." Revealing his knowledge of the deal Garak made with Quark, Bashir informs him that Quark couldn't get the requested item. "Ah, well," Garak says. "Maybe it's for the best." Then he crumples in agony once more.

"I think you'll find that I'm experiencing some slight deterioration of my cranial nerve cluster," he tells Bashir, who scans him and notes that it's not so slight. The doctor wants to get him to the infirmary, but Garak says he has no intention of putting himself on display for the Bajorans on the station. "It's not your pride I'm worried about," Bashir informs him. "It's that implant you're carrying around inside your head...It's some sort of punishment device, isn't it?"

Garak laughs hollowly. "Punishment device? I suppose in a way that's what it's become." He is reluctant to say more, but Bashir says if Garak will tell him what it's for, maybe he can figure out a way to remove it. "It's hopeless, Doctor," Garak says heavily. "Believe me, it can't be removed...That's the whole point. If it could be easily removed, it would be useless." Garak finally explains that the implant was given to him by Enabran Tain, head of the Obsidian Order. Its purpose is to trigger vast amounts of natural endorphins, in order to enable him to withstand torture. "I do hope you appreciate the irony, Doctor. The sole purpose of the implant was to make me immune to pain." Bashir asks why it's malfunctioning now, and Garak tells him, "It was never meant for continuous use."

Asked what he means by that, Garak levels with him. "Living on this station is torture for me, Doctor. The temperature is always too cold, the lights always too bright. Every Bajoran on the station looks at me with loathing and contempt. So one day I decided I couldn't live with it anymore. And I took the pain away." He created a device to enable him to trigger the implant at will, which he only did for a few minutes a day at first, but his need for it grew greater and greater until finally he turned it on and never turned it off. Now, after two years of continuous usage, it is breaking down. And Garak can't shut it down because his body has become dependent on the unnaturally high level of endorphins created by the implant.

Bashir tries to exhort him not to give up hope, but Garak already has. "Has it ever occurred to you that I might be getting exactly what I deserve?" he asks. "No one deserves this," Bashir says. Garak rolls his eyes. "Please, Doctor. I'm suffering enough without having to listen to your smug Federation sympathy. You think because we have lunch together once a week, you know me? You couldn't even begin to fathom what I'm capable of." "I'm a doctor," Bashir tells him. "You're my patient. That's all I need to know." But he's wrong, Garak says. He tells Bashir a little story, of when he was a gul stationed outside the Bajoran capital during the Occupation, when, shortly before the withdrawal, some Bajoran prisoners escaped his custody. His aide, Elim, tracked them to a shuttle about to depart for Terok Nor. Elim was aboard it when Garak had the shuttle destroyed. Because one of the passengers happened to be the daughter of a prominent military official, Garak was stripped of his rank and commission, and exiled from Cardassia. "So now you know, Doctor. I hope I haven't shattered too many of your illusions."

Bashir doesn't care about anything Garak's done in the past. He won't let him die. He will help Garak through the withdrawal, but he needs to turn off the implant. Garak, resigned and barely hanging on, at last tells him where the triggering device is.

After turning off the implant, Bashir sets up some monitoring equipment in Garak's quarters while his patient sleeps. He fends off Odo -- who wants to question Garak about some old murders he suspects were committed by the Obsidian Order -- and spends the next several hours in that room. He wakes up from a doze to hear Garak awake and crying; the tears are replaced by a gradually building rage as the Cardassian suffers through the height of the pangs of his withdrawal.

"Look at this place," he sneers. "It's pathetic. To think that this is what my life has been reduced to. This sterile shell, this prison." He smashes a vase and violently turns a desk over. "What a waste these past two years have been! There was a time, Doctor, oh, there was a time when I was a power. The protege of Enabran Tain himself. Do you have any idea what that means?" Garak goes on to rant about how he threw his future away. He didn't have a shuttle shot down to stop a prisoner escape, he now claims. He and Elim were interrogating five Bajoran children when he simply got cold, hungry, and tired of the whole exercise, and let the prisoners go. He was exiled. "They left me to live out my days with nothing to look forward to but having lunch with you."

"I'm sorry you feel that way," Bashir says calmly. "I thought you enjoyed my company." "Oh, I did," says Garak, still raving. "That's the worst part. I can't believe that I actually enjoyed eating mediocre food and staring into your smug, sanctimonious face. I hate this place, and I hate you!" Bashir tries to get him back into bed, but Garak utterly loses control, his attack turning physical. As Bashir defends himself while trying not to hurt him, Garak finally seizes up, and Bashir calls for an emergency medical team.

He works to stabilize Garak, whose lymphatic tissues are accumulating toxins even though the implant has been turned off. By studying computer analyses of all biochemical samples taken from Garak in the past 39 hours, Bashir determines that the molecular structure of his leukocytes has been altered. There isn't time to synthesize them, and Nurse Jabara suggests turning the implant back on to keep Garak alive another week or two.

"No," Garak says, waking up. "I won't allow it. I never want that thing turned on again." Bashir says he understands, but he doesn't know what else he can do for him. "You've done enough, Doctor," Garak says warmly. "More than I deserve." He offers to tell Bashir the truth, and Bashir smiles. "I've about given up on learning the truth from you, Garak." But Garak tells him earnestly, "Don't give up on me now, Doctor. Patience has its rewards. Now listen carefully."

This time, the tale he tells is of himself and Elim, who wasn't his aide but a friend, closer than a brother. Together they became very powerful within the Obsidian Order, until there was a scandal over escaped prisoners, with rumors flying that Garak might be accused. By that time, Tain had retired to the Arawath colony. Garak did everything he could to make Elim look guilty, only to discover that Elim had already done the same to him. He was destroyed, sentenced to exile. "And the irony is, I deserved it. Not for the reasons they claimed, but because of what I had tried to do to Elim. My best friend."

Bashir, moved despite his skepticism, asks why Garak is telling him all this. "So that you can forgive me, why else?" Garak says simply. "I need to know that someone forgives me." Bashir takes his hand. "I forgive you, Garak. For whatever it is you did." As Garak thanks him and falls asleep again, Bashir tells Nurse Jabara that he will be back within 52 hours. He's going to the Arawath colony, "to find the man responsible for this."

Some time later, Bashir beams down into the library of Enabran Tain, a graying Cardassian who greets him amiably by name. Bashir is startled that Tain knows it, and Tain says, "Information is my business." He is the reason for Bashir's lack of trouble getting here; he alerted the military that the doctor was coming. Bashir is taken aback to realize that Tain even knows his beverage preference, not to mention the fact that Garak is ill.

Tain asks just how sick Garak is, and Bashir tells him he's dying. "And you're trying to save him?" Tain asks. "That's right," Bashir says. "Strange," muses Tain. "I thought you were his friend." He says that Bashir should let him die. "After all, for Garak, a life in exile is no life at all." But Bashir has come this far. He tells Tain that he needs to know how to synthesize replacement leukocytes for Garak. "And you think I'd have access to that kind of information?" Tain asks. "Information is your business," Bashir responds coolly. "Besides, you're the one who ordered him to put that implant in his head, aren't you?"

"I never had to order Garak to do anything," Tain counters. "That's what made him special. So, you're saying if you don't get this information, Garak dies?" "That's right," confirms Bashir. Tain seems to come to a decision. "Well, we can't allow that, can we?" He will make sure the data is transferred to the station's computers. Bashir thanks him, but Tain tells him not to. "I'm not doing Garak any favors. He doesn't deserve a quick death. On the contrary, I want him to live a long, miserable life. I want him to grow old on that station, surrounded by people who hate him, knowing that he'll never come home again." "What a lovely sentiment," Bashir says sarcastically. "And it's from the heart, I assure you," Tain tells him.

There is just one thing Bashir has to ask before he goes: what really happened to Elim? Tain chuckles. "I see that Garak hasn't changed a bit. Never tells the truth when a lie will do. That man has a rare gift for obfuscation. Doctor, Elim is Garak's first name."

A few days later, Bashir is eating lunch by himself when he is joined unexpectedly by Garak, who was supposed to be still in bed. The Cardassian explains that he couldn't stand being cooped up in the infirmary any longer, and blithely asks how the I'danian spiced pudding is today. Bashir is incredulous. "Is that all you have to say for yourself? How can you just sit there and pretend that the last ten days never happened?"

Garak smiles. "I for one, Doctor, am perfectly satisfied with the way things turned out. And I see no need to dwell on what was doubtlessly a difficult time for both of us." He adds that he just had a talk with Odo, who seems to believe he was once in the Obsidian Order, but of course Garak told him he was mistaken. Then Garak presents him with a dataclip containing another Cardassian novel.

Bashir still would like to know the true answers about Garak's past, and Garak says he's given him all the answers he's capable of. "You've given me answers, all right," says Bashir. "But they were all different. What I want to know is, out of all the stories you told me, which ones were true and which ones weren't?" And Garak gives the doctor his familiar knowing smile. "My dear Doctor, they're all true." "Even the lies?" asks Bashir.

"Especially the lies."


  • This episode was modified from a pitch by Robert Hewitt Wolfe, in which it would be revealed that Kira had an addiction to stimulants taken for battles during the Occupation.