- 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.
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.
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.
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.
- Astraea • Julian Bashir • Bornar • Calyx • Two Charaban • Crenal • Nal Dejar • Procal Dukat • Skrain Dukat • Rokan Du'Lam • Corbin Entek • Aman Evek • Elim Garak • Tolan Garak • Alon Ghemor • Hadar • Hans Jordt • Kira Nerys • Jabara • Pythas Lok • Barkan Lokar • Kel Lokar • Krim Lokar • Kronim • Londar Parva • One Lubak • Two Lubak • Three Lubak • Six Lubak • Seven Lubak • Madred • Maladek • Mahmoud • Merrok • Toral Merrok • Mila • Korbath Mondrig • Morn • Miles O'Brien • Malyn Ocett • Odo • Oonal • Palandine • Kelas Parmak • Parn • Pelek • Limor Prang • Quark • Rilon • Rom • Saurik • Benjamin Sisko • Enabran Tain • Tameenar • One Tarnel • Mindur Timot • Tir Remara • Toran
- Referenced only
- Tret Akleen • Asha • Maran Bry • Byla • Corat Damar • Ezri Dax • Jadzia Dax • Erud • Vic Fontaine • Tekeny Ghemor • Hippocrates • Jack • Karn • Joran Kine • Kira Taban • Koval • Natima Lang • Leeta • Draban Lokar • Turat Lokar • Martok, son of Urthog • Minok • Oralius • Cylon Pareg • Jean-Luc Picard • Revok • William Shakespeare • Tahna Los • Tir Berin • Tir Karna • Tora Ziyal • Weyoun • Worf, son of Mogh
- Akleen Sector • Alpha Quadrant • Archival Center • Ba'aten Peninsula • Barvonok Sector • Blind Moon • Cardassia • Cardassia • Cardassia City • Cardassia II • Coranum Sector • Deep Space 9/Terok Nor • Diplomatic Service building • Garak's Clothiers • Hall of Records • Institute for State Policy • Lakarian City • Mandara • Mandara Valley • Mekar Wilderness • Morfan Province • Morfan Sea • Munda'ar Sector • Paldar Sector • Promenade • Quark's • Romulus • Tarlak Sector • Taluvian Constellation • Tohvun III • Torr Sector
- Referenced only
- Arawak Colony • Arawath colony • Badlands • Boltar War Memorial • Barzan wormhole • Celtris III • Chin'toka system • Corillion Nebula • Dorvan V • Hall of Memories • Kobixine • Kora II • Lamenda Prime • Loval • Mihan settlement house • Orias III • Prime moon wormhole • Rogarin Province • Singha • Singha refugee camp • Tzenketh
Starships and vehicles
Races and cultures
States and organizations
- Bajoran Occupational Government • Bamarren Institute for State Intelligence • Brotherhood • Cardassian Central Command • Cardassian Empire • Cardassian Science Ministry • Cardassian Union • Charaban • Civil Service Institute • Civilian Assembly • Directorate • Dominion • Drabar • Federation Starfleet • Furtan • Ketay • Khon-Ma • Lubak • Obsidian Order • Oralian Way • Ramaklan • Reunion Project • Romulan Star Empire • "Sons of Tain" • Tal Shiar • United Federation of Planets
Science and classification
- air • assault probe • Black Death • cloaking device • cranial implant • energy • enhancer • escape pod • holosuite • information chip • lung • probe • time • uridium • volcano • wormhole
- animal • brangwa • Edosian orchid • gum tree • honge • indigo sunsearcher • Mekarian sawtooth • plaktar • plant • regnar • riding hound • Romiian striker • sandworm • sleg corgan • starlight sweetness • targ • tortubial • white star of night
Ranks and titles
- archon • Chief Archon • constable • dabo girl • docent • doctor • First Prefect • general • Guide for the Oralian Way • gul • legate • Lower Prefect • major • prefect • senator • soldier • student • terrorist
- Age of Emergence • angel • arboretum • Bamarren saber • bar • baseball • basketball • Battle of Cardassia • boxing • cane • Cardassia Forever • Cardassian Institutes of Higher Education • Cardassian language • Choban tea • city • Competition • cricket • crinox • dabo • dabo wheel • darts • day • desert • Dominion War • Earl Grey • empire • Eternal Stranger • fabric • Federation-Cardassian War • First Battle of Chin'toka • football • Foundations of Cardassian Law • garden • glass • Habburitic Code • Hamlet • Hebitian Records • history • I'danian spice pudding • Jeffries tube • Julian Bashir, Secret Agent • Julius Caesar • kanar • Klingon-Romulan alliance • kotra • latinum • mask • Mogrund • moon • mug • The Never-Ending Sacrifice • nightmare • Oralian recitation mask • Paean to Kunderah • parade • planet • poetry • red leaf tea • restoration cadre • rock • rokassa juice • Romulan ale • sand • soccer • Solar Winds • "Spoonhead" • storeroom • Tarkalean tea • tea • tojal • uniform • war • wheel • wood • wrestling • yamok sauce • year
- 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". 
- 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". 
- Along with The Final Reflection, Spock's World and The Romulan Way, A Stitch in Time is one of Marco Palmieri's favorite Star Trek worldbuilding novels. (Voyages of Imagination)
- Heather Jarman commented that A Stitch in Time was "the penultimate ST fiction". (Voyages of Imagination)
- 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.
|DS9 novels||Next novel:|
Avatar, Book One
|DS9 numbered novels||Next novel:|
Last numbered novel
|Stories by Andrew J. Robinson||Next story:|
New Worlds, New Civilizations
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:
The First Virtue
Part 1; Chapters 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19
The Red King
Wildfire, Book 2
Chapter 8, Section 6
Part 1; Chapters 21, 23
Part 2; Chapters2, 4, 6, 8
First and Third stories
Third and Forth entries
Part 2; Chapters 10, 12, 14
Part 2; Chapter 16
"Flashthen", Garon II
Part 2; Chapter 18
Part 2; Chapter 20
Part 3; Chapter 1
Cause and Effect
Tenth and Twelfth entires
Part 3; Chapters 3, 5
Cardassian withdrawl from Terok Nor
Tears of the Prophets
Part 1; Chapters 5, 9, 11, 14, 17, 20
Triangle: Imzadi II
Part 2; Chapters 1, 3, 7
Part 2; Chapters 11, 15
When It Rains...
Part 2; Chapter 19
The Future Begins