Elim Garak was a member of the Cardassian Obsidian Order until his exile to the space station Terok Nor in 2368. After the Dominion War, he became a political figure, then served as Cardassian Ambassador to the United Federation of Planets, and eventually Castellan of the Cardassian Union.
Garak was the illegitimate and only son of Enabran Tain, head of the Obsidian Order at the time, and Tain's housekeeper and confidant, Mila. Garak grew up believing that his father was a man named Tolan, who was in fact his maternal uncle. Tolan first introduced Garak to the teachings of the forbidden Cardassian religion, the Oralian Way. Garak learned the truth about his parentage from Tolan on the old man's deathbed. (DS9 novel: In Purgatory's Shadow, DS9 novel: A Stitch in Time)
Garak grew up in the home of 'Uncle' Enabran Tain, where he lived with his mother and father in Tain's basement apartment. Tain would often take Elim on taxing excursions and kept tabs on his school work, punishing him when he failed.
The Bamarren Institute
When Garak reached the Age of Emergence he was sponsored to go to the Bamarren Institute for State Intelligence to begin his education as a security operative and acquire the skills he would use in his career with the Obsidian Order. That kind of education was normally reserved for children of the ruling elite, but a few promising children from the lower classes, including Garak, were admitted.
At the Institute, Garak was assigned the designation Ten Lubak as using real names was forbidden. The Lubaks were a class in the First Level, with ten students. The Bamaran regime focused on cooperative alliances, military tactics, political strategies and physical activity, breeding the finest leaders of the Union. The redesignation of students was used to form a hierarchy, and would be reassessed at the end the first two years at the three-level institution. Alone and anonymous, the young Garak would at first be highly isolated. However, after one of Ten Lubak's training sessions in The Pit, he met a female student, Palandine. Palandine would secretly draw Elim's name out of him and tell him her own. The younger Elim would quickly fall for the charming older Palandine, who was head of the second-level female students.
As part of their education, classes were dispatched into the Wilderness surrounding the Institute to be hunted by other classes. Each member would attempt to reach Bamarran uncaught. In Garak's first Wilderness exercise, he was captured quickly and was put in solitary confinement as punishment. In his second Wilderness exercise, however. he caught a Desert Regnar which he named Mila and used him both as an inspiration for the ability to hide and a guide to sense and evade hunting parties. Garak would reach the Institute after evading his hunters, the senior second-level class, the Charabans.
He was never caught in a hunt again and gained quite a reputation for doing so. As he progressed through the First Level, Garak became characterized for being a resourceful and serious student only equaled in Lubak Group by Eight Lubak. Threatened by Garak's obvious ability, One Lubak and his subgroup moved to cut off Garak from the rest of the group, though Garak was quite content to separate himself off from anyone else without their intervention using Mila's inspiration to hide himself, even in plain sight. However, even those skills of stealth drew attention, so much so that One Charaban, the leader of the Second Level students, requested Garak's help in the planning of a mock battle competition between the Second and Third Level students. Garak, Palandine and One Charaban - who revealed himself to be called Barkan - would form a close group, hiding out and discussing Cardassian literature and society. Garak worked hard in the preparations and his only respites were spending time with Palandine and Barkan, who introduced him to the poetic works of Maran Bry.
Garak enlisted Eight Lubak into the efforts and the battle was a great success, if a little painful for some participants; Garak ended up using a walking cane for some time after, but his strategies worked perfectly. Barkan's position of power was secure and Garak was expecting to be rewarded; however, he was betrayed by Barkan. This resulted in him returning to solitude for much of the rest of First Level. At the end of First Level, he went to the lower prefect's office for review, hoping his efforts and reputation would move him up from the Ten position in the group. Instead, he found himself in the company of the First Prefect and Enabran Tain who informed him he would not be progressing to the Second Level but would instead be reassigned to another school. More so, Tain and the Prefect revealed they knew that he kept Mila, and Tain mocked him for naming a male regnar after a female.
Garak had little time to say goodbye to the Institute. He would confront Palandine, attempting to understand why he had been used and, blaming Barkan, dismissed from the Institute. Although he learned they were not responsible for his apparent failure, he could not forgive them at first. Barkan was shocked to find that Elim was being sent away, but immediately he dismissed Elim, seeing him as another Tarlak Sector service drone. Barkan would leave the two, already focused on his new nemesis (Eight Lubak). More so, Palandine informed Garak that she and Barkan were to be joined (married) after the Institute, and that they had formed a close friendship with Elim to appropriate his obvious talents. Garak left her in a consuming rage.
Following this, Garak had time to say goodbye to Eight - now promoted to One Lubak and head of the Second Year students - and they parted as friends, telling each other their names - Elim Garak and Pythas Lok, respectively. When Elim told Palandine he was leaving, she was sad, but Barkan felt content in dismissing Elim from his preparations for the next year, instead realising his political nemesis at the Institute would be the now-promoted Eight. Garak finally returned Mila to the wild before leaving the next day. (DS9 novel: A Stitch in Time)
A brief respite
After leaving the Institute, Garak returned to his childhood home to work with his father, Tolan, as a gardener in the state parks of the Tarlak Sector. In this short period, Tolan gave Garak his first glimpse of the unorthodox teachings of the Oralian Way. To maintain his physical skills, Garak found a training area near by and practiced regularly, often accepting and inevitably winning in challenges from ex-soldiers and martial students; he soon found himself teaching basic classes. This rewarding routine ended when Mila told him he was to be taken to visit Uncle Tain. (DS9 novel: A Stitch in Time)
The Obsidian Order
Garak was led by his mother to the Obsidian Order, where Garak learned that "Uncle" Tain was in fact the leader of the Order. Tain told him he was to begin his work as a junior probe, the basic intelligence officer in the institution.
Garak was again given a new designation, the code name Regnar. He was no longer to live at home, but instead was given residence in the Torr Sector and was only allowed to visit his family on holidays. He was to tell others only that he worked as an research analyst in the Hall of Records. He was given a comm chip by his superior Limor Prang which provided him with his life details and orders.
Garak's first instructions were to go to a meetings of his cell, a newly formed group of nine other Obsidian Order operatives. This was the first and last time the entire cell would meet. One member of the cell was Maladek, the former One Ramaklan of the defeated Third Level students at Barraman.
Garak's first assignment was to observe and provide credibility in an operation at the Cardassian Embassy on Tohvun III in Federation border negotiations. His cover was the identity of Alardig Ra'orn, the youngest son of Krai, the consul at the embassy. Maladek was to be his older brother Begom and Oonal, an older and more experienced agent, was to be Krai.
On Tohvum he soon "befriended" a Human, Hans Jordt, who invited Garak to play football. Through mathematical analysis, Garak mastered the game after one missed goal. Garak, disturbed by Hans subtlety probing questions and Maladek's erratic behavior, consulted Limor Prang, who was posing as an embassy employee. He was instructed to keep tabs on Maladek. Maladek was attempting to defect and bring down Garak in the process, but by the manipulation of higher powers in the organization Garak managed to convince Hans Jordt, who was a Federation operative, that Maladek was unreliable. This prevented the defection, maintained the cover of the operation, and disrupted the talks. Maladek subsequently committed suicide in disgrace.
Garak's career with the Order took him all over the Cardassian Union and beyond, each progressive mission taking him further away; Loval, Celtris III, Lamenda Prime, Kora II, Orias III. He eventually became Tain's most trusted and dependable operative. On a mission on Tzenketh he became trapped in a small room, a memory which would haunt him for years to come, as he was severely claustrophobic. During this time, however, the elderly Tolan came closer to death. It was only at the end of his life that Mila felt it appropriate to contact Elim to encourage him to visit the dying man. On his death bed, Tolan told Elim the truth of his parentage and gave him his Hebitian mask and a bag of Edosian Orchid tubers. Garak searched for a place to grow his orchids and eventually obtaining an apartment with a modest plot of land in the home of the Archon (and gardening-aficionado) Rokan Du'Lam. He also took to visiting the Tarlak Sector to take inspiration from Tolan's orchids. It was here that he first re-encountered Paladine with her and Barkan Lokar's (the former One Charaban) daughter Kel. After that first encounter his wanderings lead him into an Oralian Way meeting. On Cardassia he maintained various residences, leaving crops of Edosian Orchids in his wake (doubting that with the exception of Rokan Du'Lam any could maintain them. Around this time, Elim also developed a passion for well-tailored clothes and would spend much time deciding what to wear and pack for his mission.
Over the years Garak often visited the Tarlak Sector in the hope of once more sighting Palandine; he did so several times, but realizing Kel was getting too old for playing in the park he decided to follow Palandine home. She made contact after years of being entirely aware he was watching her and the two begin an illicit affair. Palandine also became a member of the Oralian Way during this time.
Garak was dispatched to Romulus where he took on the identity Elim Vronok, the gardener at the Cardassian Embassy. His mission was to assassinate Tain's arch-nemesis, Proconsul Merrok. To do so, the Romulan Senator Pelek requested his services to try and grow the Edosian Orchid in her arboretum, where 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 took the orchids to be planted in Merrok's garden, Merrok himself being a keen gardener, and he would inspect the implantation of the orchid at Pelek's house. At first Garak found himself sympathetic to the Pro-Consul, until the kindly old Romulan revealed his hatred of Cardassians, taking a toast with the seemingy dull-witted gardener and wishing to keep the "spoonheads" in their own space. Two days later Merrok was found dead, along with a few others who stopped to smell the flowers.
Garak rather ironically served under his old schoolmate, Krim Lokar (Nine Lubak), at the embassy. The dimmer Lokar never recognized Ten Lubak. However, during this time, Barkan Lokar and Skrain Dukat would visit the embassy. Lokar immediately recognized Garak and introduced him to Dukat. Seeing Elim as a simple service drone, after their conversation he essentially dismissed the gardener from his mind. He would, however, mention seeing Garak on Romulus to Palandine - a fact she would mention after Garak's return to Cardassia. (DS9 novel: A Stitch in Time)
In 2348 Garak first visited Bajor on an assignment to assassinate Agent Pasir, a fellow operative of the Obsidian Order who had been surgically altered to take the place of Bajoran Vedek Gar Osen. (DS9 novel: Night of the Wolves)
In 2362, Garak intentionally leaked false information about the Setlik III outpost (information that implied the outpost was being used to house and transport military equipment for an attack on Cardassia) to Laen Enkoa. Garak did this because the Order wished to discredit Enkoa's superior, Jagul Hanno. (ST novella: The Slow Knife)
Disgrace and exile
Garak's specialty for the Order was as an interrogator. Tain wished to obtain information about the potentially dangerous plotting of the Dukat and Lokar families, and sent Garak with Pythas Lok (the former Eight Lubak of the Bamarran Institute) to capture and interrogate Procal Dukat, the father of the same Skrain Dukat he had encountered on Romulus. However the interrogation left Procal a broken man, and soon cost him his life. Garak and Dukat remained bitter enemies until Dukat's death in 2375.
When Tain found out about Elim and Palandine's relationship, he ordered Garak to end it immediately, and never see Palandine again. Garak went to see her anyway, and was captured by Barkan Lokar. The resulting confrontation ended with Lokar's death.
Tain saw Garak's disobedience as a betrayal, and did nothing to help him with his resulting legal troubles. Instead of assuming Tain's office, his old friend Pythas Lok succeeded Tain. Tain had Garak exiled from Cardassia, to never return on the pain of death.
Lokar had worked with Skrain Dukat, funneling the proceeds of ore extraction and slave labour into private wealth. Tain or Dukat had Garak 'assigned' to Dukat's command on the space station, Terok Nor, in the Bajor sector. Dukat saw to Garak's humiliation by assigning him the tasks of a humble tailor. Garak was at first resistant and spent a great deal of time "preparing" Garak's Clothiers until Dukat threatened to have him working alongside the Bajoran slaves in the mining operations. Garak arranged for Quark to supply him with the necessary equipment and decided to take his punishment as a challenge, determined to become a vital element of Terok Nor. The business developed quickly and Garak was soon charging high prices for his repair work. He also began to design clothing for sale.
One day in 2369, Garak woke up to find that the Cardassians had abandoned the Bajoran sector. He was the only Cardassian left on the station. At first terrified, he accepted his situation, hoping to act as the eyes and ears to a world where he was no longer welcome in the chance of redeeming himself. (DS9 novel: A Stitch in Time)
Deep Space 9
After the Cardassian withdrawal, the Bajoran Provisional Government requested relief and humanitarian aid from the United Federation of Planets and gave occupancy of the station to Starfleet. Starfleet renamed the station Deep Space 9.
Garak would remain on the station, at first isolated. To cope he began to alter his "wire" implant, to provide increasing amounts of pleasure in the face of the changed situation on the station. He also quickly picked upon the young and naive, if brilliant, doctor of the station, Julian Bashir, to be his first friend amongst the Federation personnel. The two would become very close over the next seven years, meeting most mornings at the Promenade replimat and talking literature, history and other shared interests. It was with Bashir that Garak would do some of his most important acts on the station, with an early example in 2369 being the discovery of the kidnapping of the children of political opponents by Gul Dukat during the occupation, including Rugal Pa'Dar. Garak's intelligence background fascinated Bashir, also, and it was Bashir who was the first to obtain proof of Garak's past. Later that year, when Garak's "wire" began malfunctioning, causing excruciating pain and leading to his impending demise, Bashir would travel to Tain to find the schematics necessary to save his friend. (DS9 episodes: "Past Prologue", "Cardassians", "The Wire")
Garak's other closest friend on the station would be another outsider figure, Constable Odo. Their friendship would begin from a moment of adversity, when, briefly at peace with Tain and the promise of return to Cardassia, he interrogated Odo, learning that the Changeling deeply wanted to return to his autocratic and despotic people, the Founders. Both would, in the revelation of Odo's own desperate isolation and sense of exile, come closer, as they continued on in exile, ostensibly in opposition to their people. (DS9 episodes: "The Die is Cast", "The Way of the Warrior")
This moment of forgiveness was Tain's failed attempt to eliminate the Founders, when leading a fleet of Obsidian Order and Tal Shiar vessels, he tried to obliterate the Dominion rulers. Garak had observed that many of the cadre of excellent Order agents had disappeared, and staging an assassination, enticed Odo to help him discover what was going on. The two would be traveling to Cardassia when they were captured by Tain. Tain would forgive "Elim", and take him back - however Garak's grace was short-lived as Tain's plan failed and the spy-turned-tailor was forced to return to Deep Space Nine. (DS9 episodes: "Improbable Cause", "The Die is Cast")
Garak would, a few months later, attempt again at returning to his world. Learning of the impending Klingon Invasion of Cardassia, he alerted the Cardassian government and subsequently helped protect the evacuated members of Meya Rejal's government on DS9. However it was his nemesis Dukat who stole all the glory. (DS9 episode: "The Way of the Warrior")
A strange turn of fortune occurred a year later, in 2373, when he began a deep friendship with another outsider figure, Tora Ziyal - ironically the daughter of Dukat and granddaughter of the cause of his disgrace.
Garak would serve a brief prison sentence from the year's end, when he attempted to take revenge on the Founders who had told him his people were doomed because of Tain's actions the year before. Garak was stopped by Worf, and after a few months the tailor would be released. (DS9 episode: "Broken Link")
A crucial moment in his life occurred a few months later, when Garak would receive a comm signal from the apparently dead Tain. Eminating from the Gamma Quadrant, Garak realised his mentor was still alive and a Dominion prisoner. Starfleet would agree to send him to the Quadrant, accompanied by Commander Worf. The two would be captured, and find Tain, along with the also thought dead Klingon general, Martok, several other survivors, and - surprisingly - Doctor Bashir, whom Garak had last saw on DS9 days before. The imprisoned Bashir (replaced by a changeling) would share with Garak his last moments with Tain, as the dying spymaster at last accepted Elim as his son. Subsequently Garak would ensure the group escaped from Dominion captivity, earning the respect of both Worf and Martok. (DS9 episodes: "In Purgatory's Shadow", "By Inferno's Light")
When Starfleet was forced to abandon Bajor at the beginning of the Dominion War in late 2373, Garak shipped off with the crew of the USS Defiant, and he promised Ziyal that he would return to her. (DS9 episode: "Call to Arms")
Garak would serve with Starfleet on the Defiant and report to Starfleet Intelligence on Starbase 375. He would take part on Captain Sisko's succesful mission to destroy a Ketracel White facility in Dominion space, and later take part in Operation Return, the retaking of Deep Space Nine. His return was struck by tragedy, when he learned that Ziyal had been murdered by Gul Corat Damar as the Dominion's forces were evacuating the station. (DS9 episode & novelizations: Call to Arms..., ...Sacrifice of Angels)
In 2374, Garak assisted Captain Benjamin Sisko in his attempt to get the Romulans to join the war effort against the Dominion. Garak, using Sisko, assassinated Romulan Senator Vreenak, and through faulty evidence of a plot by the Dominion to invade the neutral Star Empire, suggested that the Dominion was to blame and brought the Romulans into the war against the Dominion. (DS9 episode: "In the Pale Moonlight")
Soon after, Garak accompanied Sisko to Earth for a conference to strategise with the Romulans. Members of Meya Rejal's former government were present, representing the Cardassian Government in Exile: Garak, contemptuous of the Detapa Council, ignored them. At the conference Sisko revealed the plot to recruit the Romulans to Admiral William Ross, who absolved him of his guilt. However Garak, who had been giving testimony to Starfleet Intelligence was approached by Commanders Jedburgh and Enderby. Immediately recognising his equals in the Federation's intelligence apparatus, Garak would find himself blackmailed by the two agents, who were secretly members of Section 31, to assassinate a pacifist agitator and friend of Sisko, Tomas Roeder. Confused about the order, Garak would approach Roeder, unsure of whether to murder the man. However, later, Roeder, who was suffering from a longterm mental collapse, made an attempt on Sisko's life and Garak would be forced to kill him. (DS9 novel: Hollow Men)
Following the failed invasion of Cardassia in late 2374, after the inconclusive First Battle of Chin'toka, Garak assisted Odo and Starfleet in cracking Cardassian military codes. (DS9 novel: A Stitch in Time)
The effect of contributing directly to the war and the deaths of loyal Cardassian soldiers, however, would cause Garak extreme stress and anxiety. He would be counselled out of this moment both by Councilor Ezri Dax and his burgeoning and curious friendship with Tir Remara. (DS9 novel: A Stitch in Time)
Garak's relationship with Remara began when he rescued the part time Dabo girl from the drunken attentions of a Klingon patron at Quark's in early 2375. Ramara had been close with Ziyal, and she and Elim became friends, despite the warnings of then-Colonel Kira. However, Remara's actual motivation for their relationship was to lower Garak's defenses. Remara was a member of the retaliation network, the Kohn-Ma. She hoped that she might murder him in revenge for her husband's and child's deaths years earlier in the shuttle-bombing incident during the Occupation. Having been present and prevented from boarding the shuttle carrying her family, she had seen Garak arguing with a Gul (Hanar), and for a long time thought Garak responsible. When Remera confronted Garak, her greater awareness of the man led her to believe the truth of the incident. Remera chose to let Garak go, but warned him others in the Kohn-Ma would seek him out if he stayed on Deep Space 9. She parted - Garak would later write of her leaving his apartment:
- "She turned and went through the opening door. A part of me wanted her to stay, but in my weariness I could only watch her leave." (DS9 novel: A Stitch in Time)
Return to Cardassia
Fortunately for Garak, after the threat of more assassination attempts, his situation was about to change permanently. Legate Corat Damar, leader of the Cardassian Union, had finally grown tired of the Dominion, seeing their alliance with the Union as an occupation in all-but-name. Damar and several military commanders had taken their units and gone underground, leaving announcements to resist the Dominion. The Federation Alliance would seize this opportunity by sending Garak, Colonel Kira (inducted into Starfleet and given the rank of Commander), and Constable Odo to assist Damar and his resistance movement against the Dominion. (DS9 novel: A Stitch in Time, DS9 episode: "When It Rains...")
Garak fully intended to murder Damar, who had himself murdered Ziyal. However upon encountering Damar, he saw a changed man, who fully embraced the potential of a new Cardassia. Garak would come to admire and respect the fugitive legate. (DS9 novel: A Stitch in Time, ST - The Fall novel: The Crimson Shadow)
The resistance movement was at first succesful, and would immensely aid the war effort when it successfully captured a Dominion fighter with a Breen weapon on it. Odo would be forced to leave the group due to the Changeling illness, which had crippled him. In the face of the growing success of the resistance, however, the Dominion seemed to destroy it when Gul Revok betrayed it to the Vorta, leading to the elimination of most of the rebel troops and commanders. Damar, Garak and Kira would be forced into hiding, making it to Cardassia City. Garak would prove instrumental in ensuring they survived, by taking them to Tain's house in Tarlak Sector. There, greeted by Mila, the three were hid by her in the basement. (DS9 - Prophecy and Change short story: "Face Value")
During this time, Garak would re-read Eleta Preloc's Meditations on a Crimson Shadow whilst the others slept. He would encounter in Preloc's seemingly patriotic text a vision of the Union's militaristic excess, and regain some hope in his species. (ST - The Fall novel: The Crimson Shadow)
Damar and the others would occasionally escape the house. On one occasion Damar was recognised and he used the opportunity to announce he was still alive and to announce again that Cardassians should resist the Dominion. Several days later a general strike would occur, leading to a total loss of communications and much power on Cardassia Prime, as well as cutting interstellar communications. Garak and the others would find out that Lakarian City had been levelled by the Dominion in retaliation.
The Dominion and their Cardassian troops had been attempting to find Damar. Eventually they came to Tain's house. Whilst they hid in the basement, Mila would fail to misdirect the soldiers, who would kill her. Shocked by the death of his mother and their protector, Garak as well as the others were captured by the patrol. As they were about to be executed, however, the Cardassian soldiers would turn against the Jem'Hadar and rescue Damar, Kira and Garak. The soldiers, Damar and Kira quickly planned together to reach Dominion Headquarters. Garak, lost in bereavement, would be forced to say goodbye to the last remaining piece of his old life.
At about this time, the final major fleet action was occuring as the Dominion, Breen and Cardassian fleets defended the central system from the Federation Alliance. When the strike's blackout was finally fixed, the last of Damar's commanders, Malyn Ocett, would use the destruction of Lakarian City to inspire the Cardassia fleets to turn against the Dominion. This act would, however, lead to the most heinous act of the war, as the Female Shapeshifter in retaliation ordered the extermination of all Cardassians left alive.
As the city came down about them and as the Jem'Hadar exterminated the population of the city, Damar, Garak and Nerys would reach the central command complex. Breaking in as the last Cardassian occupants were marched out for execution and shouting "For Cardassia", the final assault would see Damar die. Garak, Kira and one other made it to the Female Shapeshifter's command room. There Garak would murder Weyoun, but the changeling refused to surrender: too ill and too stubborn, she would rather see the Federation, Klingons and Romulans exhaust themselves fighting through the fortress-ruin she had made of Cardassia Prime. But Odo would rejoin them, and through the Great Link, cure her of her illness and inspire her to surrender. (DS9 episode & novelization: What You Leave Behind)
After the Dominion War
Garak and Bashir would meet at the Dominion Headquarters. There, depressed over and agahst at the initial 800,000,000 death toll from the Cardassian genocide, Garak would bid his friend farewell.
Following the end of the war, Garak settled into the ruins of Tain's house. Garak would begin a letter to Bashir, both accounting for his current life in a diary-like form, and also include an autobiography of his life. (DS9 novel: A Stitch in Time)
Garak would live in the garden shed of his uncle Tolan and would begin making stone sculptures as memorials to the dead. Garak joined a medical unit, where he was reunited with Enabrin Tain's doctor, Kelas Parmak. Despite their past, Parmak forgave him and they became good friends. Parmak, a political liberal, was a member of the political Reunion Project of Alon Ghemor. Attending Ghemor's rallies with Parmak, Garak would remain initially cautious of the Federation-inspired fledgling democratic movement. However he was surprised to discover that Ghemor, the nephew of Tekeny Ghemor, had been "Five Lubak" at the Bamarren decades before. When he was contacted by Gul Madred of the politically conservative Directorate, representing the old military and intelligence apparatus of the pre-Dukat state, Garak at first wondered if he had found familiar company. He would go to a meeting headed by Legate Parn at Madred's ruined Coranum Sector manse. There he would encounter solid if lost commanders like Guls Evek and Ocett, the conservative politician Korbath Mondrig, and his old friend, Pythas (now terribly disfigured) and his aide, Nal Dejar. Hearing the guls and legate argue with one another about the nature of the Union going forth, Garak would have an epiphany:
- "And then a strange sensation went through me, Doctor. I looked at the faces of these people. Here we are, I thought, sitting in the basement of a ruined civilization and conducting business as if nothing significant had changed. The enemies were still the same, somewhere “out there,” plotting how to “destroy our character” and colonize us with their political system. And we were down in the basement with our own plots and shifting alliances, tenaciously holding on to the very ideas that had brought us here. But what ideas, Doctor? There’s nothing left. Only fantasies of power. These faces with their masks. With the ironic exception of the disfigured face, the masks hadn’t changed. They reflected the usual range of hidden agendas, each competing for dominance and ascendancy with an energy commensurate to the amount of fear and self-loathing that fueled and motivated that person. I started to laugh."
In the face of the figures, Garak would commit to the democratic movement:
- “Are you willing to help us?” Parn asked harshly, his attention still focused on my loyalty to his cause. I remembered my conversation with Tolan about the price of “status.” “Or are you sympathetic with these people?”
- “Yes,” I replied, taking my eyes away from Pythas. “I am indeed.” I rose from my chair. “I shouldn’t be here. This is not my place. I apologize for the intrusion.”
Garak's reactions would convince Pythas of the Reunion Project's potential. The Directorate would have Mondrig and other leading figures publically debate with Ghemor and Parmak. After hearing Parmak especially, Pythas would come to Garak's at his memorial the day before the election and announce his support for them. Like Garak he realised too he had become very bitter, and that the Reunion Project represented for both of them, and the Union, “Healing on every level”. The next day the Reunion Project would win two-thirds majority in the first democratic elections on post-war Cardassia, forming a government under Ghemor.
In addition, Pythas and Garak would also forgive one another for their actions in the cause of Garak's disgrace and exile - Pythas had been Tain's spy who had observed Garak and Palandine's affair, and had wanted to warn his friend but did not. Garak, hoping that she may be alive, asked Pythas if he knew where she might be found - and was directed to the Oralian Way meeting they once attended. Garak would find instead that Palandine's daughter, Kel, was an assistant to the Guide of the meeting. Garak would not pursue a friendship with Palandine's daughter: "I wanted to introduce myself and ask her about Paladine—but I didn’t dare. I was afraid that if she knew the truth, she’d only be able to see me as the man who killed her father and destroyed her family." But, in a private letter to Bashir, Garak announced that he had become a follower of the Oralian Way both to see the daughter of his life's love, and to explore Tolan's heritage. More so, he began extending Tolan's shed, building in it his new home and an Oralian homage to his uncle and spiritual father:
- "I have expanded my shed in the never-ending quest to find my place. I feel that I’m getting closer, Doctor, especially as I continue to refine the structures. One, which began as a memorial to Tolan, has a crude but effective representation of the winged creature from the Hebitian sun disc—turned toward the radiating sun, reaching, striving, while the sun-fed filaments stream down from the body and connect with the bodies of people standing on a globe and looking up to the creature for this divine connection . . . . I’ve attached the recitation mask he gave me to the creature’s face, and somehow it has become my personal totem."
The Ghemor Government
When Captain Jean-Luc Picard contacted Cardassia in May of 2376 in hopes of getting Cardassian assistance in the Gateways Crisis, Garak had to politely refuse, as the post-war Cardassia didn't have the resources to spare. (TNG - Gateways novel: Doors Into Chaos)
Soon after the Gateways Crisis, Garak traveled to Earth in hopes of returning to Cardassia with more Federation relief efforts. Garak debated with Lwaxana Troi on the floor of the Federation Council over the matter with both Cardassia and Betazed having been devastated by the Dominion war. (TNG - The Brave and the Bold, Book Two novella: The Final Artifact)
By 2378, he had become the Cardassian Ambassador to the United Federation of Planets. The Federation would provide for him a residence in Paris that had been used by the Nazi regime of twentieth-century Germany (78 Rue de Lille), suggesting how they viewed the Cardassian Union. Garak would accept it, knowing the sins of the Union. (DS9 novel: The Never-Ending Sacrifice)
In October that year he would, with the testimony of Keiko O'Brien, help Rugal Pa'Dar become the first Cardassian Federation citizen. He viewed it as a chance to make up for his own sins regarding the boy, and for that of Skrain Dukat. (DS9 novel: The Never-Ending Sacrifice)
Years later, in 2385, he and Rakena Garan would reflect that his role of ambassador was his second exile - that Garak's troubled and terrifying past as a member of the Obsidian Order had forced Ghemor and his successors to keep Garak as far away from government as possible. (ST - The Fall novel: The Crimson Shadow)
In 2379, Alon Ghemor was assassinated, and Garak returned to Cardassia to aid the Reunion Project. He quickly became demoralized and depressed, and his poor mental health allowed the Directorate to orchestrate a riot at one of his speeches. Garak attempted to convince Pythas Lok that they needed to seek help from the Federation to stop the civil war, and planned to be surgically altered to visit Earth incognito. However, Garak was deceived into entering the Vinculum instead. According to a vision received by Garak in the Vinculum, Pythas ordered that he should be imprisoned there, after convincing Limor Prang that Garak should not be killed instead. After journeying through the Vinculum, he was rescued by and kept hidden by Kelas Parmak. (DS9 - Prophecy and Change short story: "The Calling")
In 2380 Garak was instrumental in getting the Andak Project green-lit despite stiff opposition from anti-Federation groups, including the True Way and a bloc led by Gul Akellen Macet. (STO website: The Path to 2409)
In 2381, he was summoned to an emergency summit on Earth by Federation President Nanietta Bacco, who was hoping to gather an allied fleet to defend from the Borg invasion. Garak initially refused to join the alliance, considering the Union too poor in land and food to allow them to commit to this costly action. However, President Bacco offered to have several Federation farming worlds in the Argaya, Lyshan and Solarion systems transferred to Cardassian control in return for the support of the Cardassian Union in the Federation's war against the Borg Collective. (ST - Destiny novel: Mere Mortals)
Following his tough dealing with President Bacco, Garak and she became close. He would consider her an equal and a good friend. (ST - Typhon Pact novel: Brinkmanship; ST - The Fall novel: The Crimson Shadow))
In November 2383 Garak would work with President Bacco on a number of issues concerning the Tzenkethi and the Venette Convention, and Cardassian and Federation agents implanted on Ab-Tzenketh. (ST - Typhon Pact novel: Brinkmanship)
In August 2385, Garak returned to Cardassia to finalise the agreement between the Federation and the Union about the removal of Starfleet personal in the Union. He travelled on board the USS Enterprise-E on its way to Cardassia, and became good friends with Captain Picard. As the starship reached the planet, Garak would give Picard a copy of Eleta Preloc's Meditations on a Crimson Shadow, which he believed represented the triumph of hope over nationalism and xenophobia.
Garak returned to Tain's house, now rebuilt in a composite of Cardassian and Federation materials and styles. He would with dignity hang a painting of Tora Ziyal's that he took with him wherever he went. Also on Prime, he was reunited with his good friend, Dr. Parmak, who had maintained his garden during his absence. With Parmak he could be vulnerable, and it was the doctor who was especially worried for Garak's state of health and security. The two would remain very close, and it was "my dearest friend Kelas" that Garak would include at a meal with Captain Picard and Dr. Beverly Crusher. There the four would discuss medicine, Preloc, the political situation and their hopes for Cardassia and the Federation.
On Prime, Garak hoped for a smooth transition, contacting Rakena Garan, the Castellan of the Cardassian Union, who was worried about her upcoming attempt to be reelected. A young conservative firebrand nationalist, Evek Temet, was increasing in popularity and there had been a riot in Lakarian City university, suggesting the instability of the homeworld. The Treaty Agreement contained potentially difficult policies, which could aid Temet's cause if revealed, and she wondered if she should return to Cardassia. Garak attempted to bolster her, saying that after appearing on stage with Nanietto Bacco, Chancellor Martok, Grand Nagus Rom, Praetor Gell Kamemor and the other interstellar leaders, Temet would appear insignificant compared to Garan. However when the Treaty Agreement was leaked, the press focused on Federation demands that there be only limited Cardassian militirisation. Garan was aghast at the reaction, which was stridently critical, and decided to return. In addition, she instructed Garak to speak on a newscast discussion show about the Treaty, against Temet. Garak would proceed to both angrily rubbish Temet in a studio discussion - comparing him negatively to both Damar and Ghemor - and resurrect the ghost of his past by subtly threatening Temet. Immediately the ambassador became a household name on Cardassia, and a figurehead for liberal politics - yet his reputation was complicated by his association with the Order and the monstrous things he had done in the past. Fearing for his safety, Garak attempted to warn the Cardassian Intelligence Bureau director, Crell, but was ignored.
However the situation came to a head when it was announced that President Nanietta Bacco had been assassinated at Deep Space 9 (II). The fateful death robbed Castellan Garan of her main interstellar ally, and both she and Garak realised how much more tenuous the situation on Cardassia was. The new Federation President Pro Tem, Ishan Anjar, was Bajoran and revealed his deep bias against Cardassia instantly. More so, riots threatened between nationalists and pro-Federation citizens. Garan, despite Garak's advice, declined to let Temet speak at a memorial to Bacco, and he and two of his associates would mime gagging movements at the event just as Garan was about to speak. Incensed, Garak whispered in rage "I will destroy him."
Months earlier, the Ambassador had dispatched Glinn Ravel Dygan to infiltrate nationalist groups in the Capital City on Cardassia Prime. Posing as Rakhat Blok, Dygan discovered that members of the gang of North Torr crimelord Velok Dekreny were claiming to be behind the assassination of President Nanietta Bacco. When Dygan was arrested by Arati Mhevet at the Battle for the Heartland he managed to contact Garak. Garak convinced Mhevet to release Dygan, and together they sought out to stop what seemed an impossibly deteriorating situation. Secretly, he realised this was the True Way, resurgent. When he confronted Castellan Garan about the accusation and suggesting the True Way, he learned she already knew about the claim whilst dismissing the True Way as part of Garak's paranoid ravings. More personally, she decided she could not trust Garak, who kept trying to interfere in government despite not being a member of it, and because she also felt that, like Temet, she did not compare to Corat Damar or Alon Ghemor for the ambassador. After a heated argument, Garak left the building, and got into his skimmer which subsequently exploded. The Assassination of Ambassador Garak by the True Way was intended to further their own political ends, not only by removing a troublesome opponent but allowing the insertion of conservative Cardassians like Temet into key government positions.
The assassination, however, was foiled by Captain Picard who had him beamed to safety at the HARF compound near the city before the explosion. When Dygan and Mhevet secured proof of the corruption within Cardassia, and were also rescued by Enterprise personnel, Garak would reveal himself to be alive. Following this, he had Garan brought to HARF, and convinced her that Temet and his allies would destroy her by revealing her complicity in hiding Bacco's death to the Quadrant if she continued to stand for reelection. Garan, realising her career was over, acquiesced. After this conversation, Garak would then have Dr. Parmak brought to his location, and surrendered his guilt to his closest friend and sought his forgiveness.
When Castellan Garan announced publicly that she was standing down, and Temet announced his own candidacy, Garak summoned the reporters, Edek Mayrat and Ista Nemeny to HARF. In an interview with them he announced both his survival and that he was going to run against Temet for her vacant office. Garak would inform his friend Julian Bashir soon after that that he was still alive and that he was running for Castellan. Bashir would write back to him a critical letter pleading with Garak to not become like his father or indeed his old self, but to surround himself with others who he could trust to offer him advice. Whilst angry at Bashir's words, Garak accepted them, and would read the letter continually throughout the election, musing that once he was castellan he would judge whether he was making the right decision by asking himself what Tora Ziyal would have approved of and then acting accordingly.
His announcement saw a sea of change in public fortunes on Cardassia. The secret agenda of the True Way seemed halted, as Temet's campaign foundered, and pro-Federation civil servants again came to the fore, for example Reta Kalanis taking over the Cardassian Intelligence Bureau. In the following weeks polls revealed that Garak would likely win the election. (ST - The Fall novel: The Crimson Shadow)
The Garak Government
Garak was elected Castellan in early September. With him was Dr. Parmak, who helped him to offset a panic attack and to face the people he had been elected to lead. After a tender and affectionate kiss on Garak's head by the doctor, the new Castellan went out to meet the people gathering at his residence. (ST - The Fall novel: The Crimson Shadow)
Following his election, his head of security advised Garak that he move from his house at Tain's residence to the Castellan's residence at the heart of the city. Although he regretted this, he did comply. (DS9 novel: Enigma Tales)
During October that year, Garak secured the capture of several True Way members, including a former Gul, Rakan Urkar. Unkar would provide evidence to Garak and the Federation that the True Way had assassinated Bacco in collusion with President Ishan Anjar's chief of staff, Galif jav Velk. More shockingly, Urkar would be able to reveal that President Ishan was an imposter, having originally been a well-meaning, if callous and utilitarian, Bajoran resistance fighter named Baras Rodirya. Baras had encountered Urkar during the occupation of Jevalan, and acted as a double agent, sacrificing other Bajoran elements to see his people ultimately freed. Garak was therefore instrumental in securing Ishan/Baras' downfall, and aiding the Federation's move to a more optimistic diplomacy and foreign policy under its new president, Kellessar zh'Tarash. (ST - The Fall novel: Peaceable Kingdoms)
Completing the "Reconstruction" of Cardassia (2385-8)
About a year into his castellanship, Garak commissioned Assemblyperson Cernis to lead a deep enquiry of the Bajoran Occupation, including suggestions about prosecutions. The inquiry would take two years, presumably hampered by the loss of records during and after the Fire. Cernis was a member of the Cardassian Assembly, the parliamentary body which had replaced the Detapa Council as the democratic house of the Union after the Fire. (DS9 novel: Enigma Tales)
Late in 2386, Garak assisted Bashir, Sarina Douglas, Data, Lal and Ozla Graniv in their attempt to expose Section 31. He hosted them at his official residence, and gave them resources and personnel to help track down the dangerous Uraei code. Garak appeared to be jealous of Bashir's relationship with Douglas. He also warned Bashir about being embroiled in this conflict, and the costs it could have. When Section 31 attacked the residence using local assets, including members of his own security detail, the group left Cardassia Prime. After the group's success in deleting Uraei and exposing Section 31, Garak would take on the duty of caring for Bashir, who had been rendered catatonic by losing Douglas. (Section 31 novel: Control)
Three years after his 2385 election, in 2388 Garak continued to serve as Castellan, and was living with Parmak at the official residence. Bashir was also present, catatonic, in the residence, although Garak was loathe to visit his dear friend. He wrote letters to Bashir, although never sent them, imagining guiding him through the rooms and districts of Cardassia City.
That year, Assemblyperson Cernis's report into war crimes by Cardassians during the Bajoran Occupation was complete. Both Parmak and Garak realised there needed to be prosecutions, but Garak was reluctant to set this in motion, given his own lack of moral authority as an ex-torturer. However, Parmak noted that:
It has to be done. It’s the last part of the reconstruction, isn’t it? Everything else—the rebuilding projects, the education and judicial reforms, the work done with the constabularies and the civil service, the Assembly, the press. It’ll all be worth nothing if we don’t confront this and make amendsLater Garak would open up the possibility of prosecutions, including of himself. He would admit to Parmak that prosecution of surviving war criminals was necessary for the Union to - one day, possibly after his own death - enter the Federation. (DS9 novel: Enigma Tales)
In 2389, journalist Jake Sisko visited Garak on Cardassia Prime for an interview. Garak tried to distract the reporter by hinting at the possibility of tailoring the suit for Jake's upcoming wedding. (STO website: The Path to 2409)
In an alternate universe accessed by an interdimensional Androssi device, Gul Garak was one of the highest Cardassian authorities in the Bajor system, known for his ruthlessness against his enemies. He was responsible for the executions of both Gul Dukat and Starfleet Captain Jean-Luc Picard. (SCE eBook: Lost Time)
|Castellan of the Cardassian Union|
|Castellans of the Cardassian Union|
|Alon Ghemor • Rakena Garan • Elim Garak • Natima Lang|