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A Stitch in Time was a 2000 Deep Space Nine novel released by Pocket Books, written by Andrew J. Robinson.


For nearly a decade Garak has longed for just one thing—to go home. Exiled on a space station, surrounded by aliens who loathe and distrust him, going back to Cardassia has been Garak's one dream. Now, finally, he is home. But home is a world whose landscape is filled with death and destruction. Desperation and dust are constant companions and luxury is a glass of clean water and a warm place to sleep.
Ironically, it is a letter from one of the aliens on that space station, Dr. Julian Bashir, that inspires Garak to look at the fabric of his life. Elim Garak has been a student, a gardener, a spy, an exile, a tailor, even a liberator. It is a life that was charted by the forces of Cardassian society with very little understanding of the person, and even less compassion.
But it is the tailor that understands who Elim Garak was, and what he could be. It is the tailor who sees the ruined fabric of Cardassia, and who knows how to bring this ravaged society back together. This is strange, because a tailor is the one thing Garak never wanted to be. But it is the tailor whom both Cardassia and Elim Garak need. It is the tailor who can put the pieces together, who can take a stitch in time.


"My dear Doctor..."

Elim Garak writes Doctor Bashir a letter and attaches his journals chronicling his life from childhood to a return from exile to Cardassia. The tale is written by Garak in an outbuilding next to ruins of Enabran Tain's former home which Garak has taken residence in, but much of the letter was written in Garak's time on Terok Nor/Deep Space 9.

Part One

Looking back from a life as a volunteer in an emergency med unit on Dominion-decimated Cardassia, Garak recalls his involvement in the invasion of Cardassia in the Dominion War, a time when he looked back into his childhood and his development into an adult...

On Deep Space 9, preparing for the impending invasion of Cardassia, Garak debates Cardassia's future with Doctor Bashir and Odo and takes out his frustrations on a flustered customer in his shop. Later, he engages a large Klingon in Quark's who was molesting a dabo girl, Tir Remara who was a friend of the late Tora Ziyal, a chase through the Jefferies tubes results in the Klingon getting stuck and suffering claustrophobia, Garak keeps him company until he is freed.

On Cardassia, as Garak comes to the end of his childhood at the Age of Emergence he is sponsored to enter the Bamarren Institute for State Intelligence, to begin his education as a security operative. After a somewhat unaccomplished start Garak soon gains a reputation for being a skilled student, so much so that One Charaban asks him to help plan in a mock battle between third and second level students. The battle was a great success and Garak readies himself to bathe in power he would receive for that success, but he is betrayed by Charaban and returns to solitude for much of the remainder of the first level. At the end of the first three years he goes to the lower prefect's office for reviewal in the hope his efforts and reputation would move him up from the ten position in the group. Instead he finds himself in the company of Enabran Tain who informs him he will not be progressing to the second level but will instead be reassigned to another school. Garak has time for goodbyes to his few friends and leaves the next day.

Part Two

On post-war Cardassia Garak takes to arranging the rubble of Tain's home into ornate patterns, unlike many of his neighbours he has no intention of rebuilding the house but instead dedicates his construction as a memorial for his mother Mila, who's corpse lies in the basement below and for all the other Cardassians who perished in the Dominion's departing blow. In the mean time his med unit is converted into a burial unit, having already saved anyone left alive they are now faced with disposing of the billion who did not.

Weeks before the invasion of Cardassia was a failure and Garak returns to Deep Space 9 where he helps the Federation crack Cardassian codes for the war effort. He has a continuing relationship with Tir Remara who turns out to be a terrorist planning to kill Garak in a misplaced mission of vengeance against Garak. Garak leaves the station with Kira on a mission to Cardassia to join the resistance.

In his youth, after leaving Bamarren, Garak returns to his childhood home to work with his father. In this short period Tolan gives Garak his first glimpse of the unorthodox teachings of the Oralian Way. This happy life is short lived, Garak is taken by his mother to the Obsidian Order to begin his work as a junior probe. His first mission is to Tohvun III to disrupt peace talks with the Federation, whilst there his partner, Maladek, attempts to defect, but by the manipulation of higher powers in the organization Garak manages to convince a Federation operative, Hans Jordt, that Maladek is unreliable, preventing the defection, maintaining the cover of the operation and disrupting the talks.

Garak's missions take him further from Cardassia for long periods of time. Tolan dies, telling Garak the truth of his parentage on his death bed and leaving Garak his Hebitian mask and a bag of Edosian Orchid tubers. Garak takes to taking up residence in various homes throughout Cardassia City, leaving crops of Edosian Orchids in his wake. Around this time he also reencounters Palandine (now the wife of Barkan Lokar) and the two eventually begin an illicit affair.

Garak is dispatched to Romulus where he takes on the identity Elim Vronok, a gardener at the Cardassian Embassy. His mission is to assassinate Tain's arch-nemesis proconsul Merrok. To do so the Romulan Senator Pelek requests his services to try and grow the Edosian Orchid in her arboretum, they would then pollinate the orchid with the White Star of Night to create a deadly toxic bloom. After three months cultivating the orchid, Garak and Pelek's Gardener Crenal take the orchids to be planted in Merroks garden, Merrok himself being a keen gardener. Two days later Merrok is found dead.

In a later operation Garak worked with Pythas Lok (his best friend Eight Lubak at Bamarren) in an operation to bring down The Brotherhood (a group of powerful political and military families) by interrogating Procal Dukat. Procal resists Garak and attacks him resulting in Dukat's death at Garak's hand.

Shortly after, Tain has a discussion with Garak. Shortly after Tain retires from the Order and Pythas Lok becomes the new head. Garak was implicated in Dukat's death and furthermore Tain was aware of Garak's affair with Palandine. He orders Garak to end the affair and to kill Lokar to maintain his cover as an Obsidian Order operative. He also demotes Garak back down to probe status.

Garak defies Tain's instructions and goes to see Palandine anyway. He is captured by Lokar and awakes to find himself being beaten, the prelude to a military interrogation. Lokar orders his men to leave them alone, and begins to interrogate and beat Garak himself, in the end Garak kills Lokar.

Part Three

Garak finds himself stationed on Terok Nor, where Skrain Dukat, wishing to humiliate Garak as vengeance for his fathers death, assigns him to be a humble tailor repairing the garments of the stations two thousand residents. He is, at first, resistant and spends a great deal of time "preparing" the shop until Dukat threatens to have him working alongside the Bajoran slaves in the mining operations.

Garak arranges for Quark to supply him with the necessary equipment and decides to take his punishment as a challenge, determined to become a vital element of Terok Nor. The business develops quickly and Garak is soon charging high prices for his repair work and begins to design clothing for sale.

Cardassian reign over Bajor comes to and end and over night the Cardassians left, leaving Garak on the rechristened Deep Space 9 - a lone Cardassian amongst Bajorans and the Federation, exiled indefinitely.

On post-war Cardassia Garak attends a meeting of the Directorate, a political group forming in the hope of restoring Cardassia to its former glory. He quickly realizes he is in the wrong place and leaves. The Directorate quickly mobilizes, establishing representatives in each section of Cardassia city. Tensions extend to there fullest when Directorate cronies start to dismantle Garak's memorial, but Garak and his associates in the Reunion Project, a counter political movement headed by one of Garak's fellow Bamarren students Alon Ghemor, resist. They had prepared for such an act and the local community soon surrounds the site in peaceful protest, refusing to fight, and remaining until the level of tension drives off the Directorate personnel.

The two parties eventually agree to hold a vote competition in each sector of the city to establish the power base as the people desire. Voting in the Paldar Sector takes place in Garak's memorial, which had become a prominent public space in the recovering city. Just prior to the vote Garak manages to re-establish contact with Pythas Lok. Pythas suggests Garak look to the Oralian Way in the search for Palandine's fate.

The Reunion Project wins the majority of the vote in four out of six of the sectors and a democratic government is formed. Garak takes to attending Oralian Way meetings, which are growing in popularity as they are no longer forbidden. Kel, Palandine's daughter, had become a prominent figure in the religion but Garak had yet to work up the courage to approach her.



AstraeaJulian BashirBornarCalyxTwo CharabanCrenalNal DejarProcal DukatSkrain DukatRokan Du'LamCorbin EntekAman EvekElim GarakTolan GarakAlon GhemorHadarHans JordtKira NerysJabaraPythas LokBarkan LokarKel LokarKrim LokarKronimLondar ParvaOne LubakTwo LubakThree LubakSix LubakSeven LubakMadredMaladekMahmoudMerrokToral MerrokMilaKorbath MondrigMornMiles O'BrienMalyn OcettOdoOonalPalandineKelas ParmakParnPelekLimor PrangQuarkRilonRomSaurikBenjamin SiskoEnabran TainTameenarOne TarnelMindur TimotTir RemaraToran
Referenced only
Tret AkleenAshaMaran BryBylaCorat DamarEzri DaxJadzia DaxErudVic FontaineTekeny GhemorHippocratesJackKarnJoran KineKira TabanKovalNatima LangLeetaDraban LokarTurat LokarMartok, son of UrthogMinokOraliusCylon ParegJean-Luc PicardRevokWilliam ShakespeareTahna LosTir BerinTir KarnaTora ZiyalWeyounWorf, son of Mogh


Akleen SectorAlpha QuadrantArchival CenterBa'aten PeninsulaBarvonok SectorBlind MoonCardassiaCardassiaCardassia CityCardassia IICoranum SectorDeep Space 9/Terok NorDiplomatic Service buildingGarak's ClothiersHall of RecordsInstitute for State PolicyLakarian CityMandaraMandara ValleyMekar WildernessMorfan ProvinceMorfan SeaMunda'ar SectorPaldar SectorPromenadeQuark'sRomulusTarlak SectorTaluvian ConstellationTohvun IIITorr Sector
Referenced only
Arawak ColonyArawath colonyBadlandsBoltar War MemorialBarzan wormholeCeltris IIIChin'toka systemCorillion NebulaDorvan VHall of MemoriesKobixineKora IILamenda PrimeLovalMihan settlement houseOrias IIIPrime moon wormholeRogarin ProvinceSinghaSingha refugee campTzenketh

Starships and vehicles

USS Defiant (Defiant-class escort) • Taklan (Cardassian shuttle)
Referenced only
Galor-class (shuttle) • Romulan warbird

Races and cultures

Referenced only

States and organizations

Bajoran Occupational GovernmentBamarren Institute for State IntelligenceBrotherhoodCardassian Central CommandCardassian EmpireCardassian Science MinistryCardassian UnionCharabanCivil Service InstituteCivilian AssemblyDirectorateDominionDrabarFederation StarfleetFurtanKetayKhon-MaLubakObsidian OrderOralian WayRamaklanReunion ProjectRomulan Star Empire • "Sons of Tain" • Tal ShiarUnited Federation of Planets
Referenced only
Bureau of Alien AffairsMaquis

Science and classification

airassault probeBlack Deathcloaking devicecranial implantenergyenhancerescape podholosuiteinformation chiplungprobetimeuridiumvolcanowormhole


animalbrangwaEdosian orchidgum treehongeindigo sunsearcherMekarian sawtoothplaktarplantregnarriding houndRomiian strikersandwormsleg corganstarlight sweetnesstargtortubialwhite star of night

Ranks and titles

archonChief Archonconstabledabo girldocentdoctorFirst PrefectgeneralGuide for the Oralian WaygullegateLower Prefectmajorprefectsenatorsoldierstudentterrorist

Other references

Age of EmergenceangelarboretumBamarren saberbarbaseballbasketballBattle of CardassiaboxingcaneCardassia ForeverCardassian Institutes of Higher EducationCardassian languageChoban teacityCompetitioncricketcrinoxdabodabo wheeldartsdaydesertDominion WarEarl GreyempireEternal StrangerfabricFederation-Cardassian WarFirst Battle of Chin'tokafootballFoundations of Cardassian LawgardenglassHabburitic CodeHamletHebitian RecordshistoryI'danian spice puddingJeffries tubeJulian Bashir, Secret AgentJulius CaesarkanarKlingon-Romulan alliancekotralatinummaskMogrundmoonmugThe Never-Ending SacrificenightmareOralian recitation maskPaean to Kunderahparadeplanetpoetryred leaf tearestoration cadrerockrokassa juiceRomulan alesandsoccerSolar Winds • "Spoonhead" • storeroomTarkalean teateatojaluniformwarwheelwoodwrestlingyamok sauceyear


Related media

  • DS9 novel: Avatar, Book One - Set three months after the end of the series, in one scene Dr Bashir is seen reading a several hundred page autobiographical letter from Garak, presumably the letter which this novel consists of.
  • Cardassia: The Lotus Flower (DS9 novel, in Worlds of Deep Space Nine: Volume One) - The continuing story of Garak and the Ghemor government on post-war Cardassian is told in this novel.
  • The Never-Ending Sacrifice (DS9 novel) follows the story of Rugal, the Cardassian boy taken home in the events of "Cardassians", following his life through the events of the series and into the post-series period. It continues also Robinson's world-building, exploring in depth the districts he established for the capitol city in A Stitch in Time, as well as the fringes of the Cardassian society he established. Rugal's tale begins and ends with Mr Garak's interventions, and includes also the activities of Alon Ghemor during the novel's period. The novel also explores Garak's continuing service to post-war Cardassia for Ghemor's government, and by 2378 he is ambassador to the Federation on Earth.
  • Star Trek: Destiny and Brinkmanship (Typhon Pact novel) continues the narrative of Garak as ambassador from 2381-2383.
  • The Crimson Shadow (The Fall novel) shows Garak's return to Cardassia in 2385, which is still haunted by the genocide committed by the Dominion at the end of the war. It explores in particular the legacy of Garak's life as the protege of Tain, the legacy of the security state, Garak's relationship with the idea of home and his now-close friendship with Dr Parmak. The novel concludes with a short a letter from Dr Bashir that forms a kind of reply to the 'letter' A Stitch in TIme is described as being. The narrative for Garak established in The Crimson Shadow is explored further by The Missing and Enigma Tales.
  • The series Star Trek: Terok Nor features the Oralian Way at its height, its brutal repression and its eventual rebirth.


  • Robinson commented that A Stitch in Time originated from: "A diary I started keeping, as if Garak were keeping a diary – it's all in the first person. And it happened because when I started going to conventions, I thought I wanted to do more than just answer questions about how long it takes to put on the makeup, and so forth. And so I started reading entries from the diary. The people at the conventions really enjoyed it, and this one guy, once, at a convention, David George, who co-wrote a book with Armin Shimerman about Quark (I think The 34th Rule or something like that). And David very kindly suggested, "You know, you should gather this material, contact the people at Pocket Books, and see if they'd be interested in turning this into a book". So I did, and they were very enthusiastic about it". [1]
  • In the first few pages of the novel, diagrams can be found of Charaban's attack plan, a plan of the Bamarren Institute and a map of Cardassia City and its Sectors. These maps were illustrated by Alan Kobayashi.
  • While A Stitch in Time is a numbered novel, the last DS9 one in fact, since its publication it has been retroactively added into the DS9 Relaunch. The Alon Ghemor government and the Oralian Way are particularly prominent aspects of other relaunch books, as well as in the Star Trek: Terok Nor miniseries.
  • Robinson later wrote a followup, the short story "The Calling" in the Prophecy and Change anthology.
  • Dukat and Damar's first names are revealed to be Skrain and Corat. Both have been used in the DS9 relaunch and in the Terok Nor series.
  • Margaret Clark served as the editor of A Stitch in Time.
  • The book contains Chapter ten of Michael Jan Friedman's serialized Novel Starfleet: Year One.
  • Cross Cult released a German language edition of A Stitch in Time in 2011.


  • S.D. Perry commented on A Stitch in Time, "I got to see an early copy, and it's total genius, seriously, and no ghost writer. He adds new dimension to a very unusual character". [2]
  • A Stitch in Time won a Psi Phi Award for the best Star Trek novel of 2000. In 2002, it was voted into the Psi Phi Award Novel Hall of Fame as one of the best Star Trek novels.


Cover images


Star Trek: Deep Space Nine relaunch publications and stories
Novels A Stitch in TimeAvatar, Book One‎Avatar, Book TwoAbyssDemons of Air and DarknessTwilightThis Gray SpiritCathedralLesser EvilRising SonThe Left Hand of Destiny, Book OneThe Left Hand of Destiny, Book TwoUnity • "Cardassia: The Lotus Flower" • "Andor: Paradigm" • "Trill: Unjoined" • "Bajor: Fragments and Omens" • "Ferenginar: Satisfaction is Not Guaranteed" • "The Dominion: Olympus Descending" • WarpathFearful SymmetryThe Soul KeyThe Never-Ending SacrificeThe MissingSacraments of FireAscendanceForce and MotionThe Long MirageEnigma TalesOriginal Sin
Miniseries and anthologies The Lives of DaxDivided We FallMission GammaWorlds of Deep Space Nine (Volume One, Two & Three)
Short stories and novellas "Horn and Ivory" • "The Officers' Club" • Lust's Latinum Lost (and Found)Rules of AccusationI, The Constable
Comics N-Vector • "Crossfire" • "No Quarter" • "All Fall Down" • "United We Stand"
Omnibuses Twist of FaithThese Haunted Seas
Related Star Trek: Section 31Star Trek: Terok NorStar Trek: DestinyStar Trek: Typhon PactStar Trek: The FallStar Trek: Coda


published order
Previous novel:
DS9 novels Next novel:
Avatar, Book One
Previous novel:
The Liberated
DS9 numbered novels Next novel:
Last numbered novel
Previous story:
First publication
Stories by Andrew J. Robinson Next story:
The Calling
chronological order
Previous Adventure:
New Worlds, New Civilizations
Pocket Next Adventure:
Previous Adventure:
The Left Hand of Destiny, Book Two
Deep Space Nine Adventures Next Adventure:
Living on the Edge of Existence
The above chronology placements are based on the primary placement in 2376.
The Pocket Books Timeline places events from this story in eleven other timeframes:
Previous Adventure:
The First Virtue
Part 1; Chapters 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19
Next Adventure:
The Red King
Chapter 4
Previous Adventure:
Wildfire, Book 2
Chapter 8, Section 6
Part 1; Chapters 21, 23
Part 2; Chapters2, 4, 6, 8
Next Adventure:
First and Third stories
Previous Adventure:
Final Entry
Third and Forth entries
Part 2; Chapters 10, 12, 14
Next Adventure:
Turning Point
Previous Adventure:
Lefler's Logs
Twelfth entry
Part 2; Chapter 16
Next Adventure:
Lefler's Logs
Thirteenth entry
Previous Adventure:
Flash Point
"Flashthen", Garon II
Part 2; Chapter 18
Next Adventure:
Previous Adventure:
Part 2; Chapter 20
Part 3; Chapter 1
Next Adventure:
Cause and Effect
Previous Adventure:
Future Shock
Tenth and Twelfth entires
Part 3; Chapters 3, 5
Next Adventure:
Cardassian withdrawl from Terok Nor
Previous Adventure:
Tears of the Prophets
late 2374
Part 1; Chapters 5, 9, 11, 14, 17, 20
Next Adventure:
Triangle: Imzadi II
Previous Adventure:
early 2375
Part 2; Chapters 1, 3, 7
Next Adventure:
Previous Adventure:
Strange Bedfellows
mid 2375
Part 2; Chapters 11, 15
Next Adventure:
Course: Oblivion
Previous Adventure:
When It Rains...
late 2375
Part 2; Chapter 19
Next Adventure:
The Future Begins
Situational Engineering

External links