(written from a Production point of view)
Bashir tries to help when Garak suffers painful headaches from an implant in his brain.
As he and Julian Bashir walk along the Promenade, Garak mentions that he had wasted his entire morning waiting for a Galipotan freighter to arrive. He explains that such is the price of dealing with a species that refuses to acknowledge the concept of time, although he adds that they make magnificent sweaters. Bashir yawns as Garak talks, having stayed up late the night before reading The Never Ending Sacrifice, a book Garak loaned him. Although Garak describes it as the finest Cardassian novel ever written, Bashir reluctantly admits he found it dull in parts. As he talks, they reach the Replimat only to find a line long enough that Garak suggests they will be finished with lunch only in time for dinner. Bashir suggests Quark's, but Garak is not in the mood for "noisy, crowded, and vulgar," which also excludes the Klingon restaurant. They resume their discussion of the novel while they wait in line and Bashir notes that the plot involves seven generations of a family, yet all of the characters spend their lives serving the state. Garak finds this to be a redeeming quality, as the repetitive epic is the most elegant form of Cardassian literature. When Bashir points out that there is more to life than duty to the state, Garak calls him a prisoner of "Federation dogma and Human prejudice."
Bashir seems hurt by Garak's harsh comment, and as he responds, Garak suffers a severe and sudden migraine. Although Garak insists he is fine, Bashir points out that his skin is clammy and his pupils have contracted. Garak claims to be in perfect health and attempts to return to the topic at hand but he is again interrupted by another bout of pain. Bashir rhetorically observes that Cardassian standards must be lower than his own and begins to lead Garak to the infirmary, but Garak refuses to go with him, believing there is nothing wrong that some sleep will not cure. He claims to have lost his appetite and walks off, agitated. Walking through the crowd in the Replimat towards Bashir, Major Kira observes Garak's sudden departure and asks Bashir what happened, but the doctor is just as confused as she is.
In her quarters, Jadzia Dax looks on as Bashir uses his medical tricorder to examine an alien plant of some kind, which looks like a miniature bush with a large cone growing from it. She asks if he can tell what is wrong with the plant. In his "expert medical opinion," it is sick; however, when she asks why, he points out that he's a doctor, not a botanist. Unfortunately, Keiko O'Brien is at a hydroponics conference on Rigel IV and the only Dax host to experiment with gardening was Tobin, who had even less luck with plants than he did with women. All she is able to tell him about the plant is that she picked it up on Ledonia III. Asking to use her computer, Bashir discovers that Ledonian soil contains a type of fungus that helps plants retain water. He estimates that there is enough fungus left in the plant's soil to harvest it and produce a new batch, which should cure its sickness and Dax tells him Keiko would be proud. However, he wishes his humanoid patients were more easy to treat. Dax instinctively asks if Chief O'Brien has dislocated his shoulder again, but Bashir is referring to Garak.
The doctor relates his lunchtime experience and how Garak seemed on the verge of a seizure yet refused to visit the infirmary. Dax suggests that Garak has a phobia associated with doctors, but Bashir believes it has more to do with Cardassian pride. While Bashir can understand Garak's desire to keep his past a mystery, he is at a loss for why Garak would be secretive about his medical condition. Dax observes that Bashir is taking the matter too personally, which he concedes may be true, but he points out that he and Garak have eaten lunch together once a week for over a year, which should garner a little trust in his view. However, Dax points out that Bashir and Garak are not actual friends, so Garak has no reason to trust him. It is obvious Bashir has feelings to the contrary, as he agrees with her and claims he does not trust Garak either. He abruptly leaves Dax's quarters upon getting a sample of the plant.
Later that evening, Bashir enters the mostly vacant Promenade and notices Garak talking to Quark, who holds a data pad. "So I take it we understand each other," Garak is saying to Quark. The Ferengi asks if he has ever let Garak down once in Garak's two years aboard Deep Space 9. As Garak points out, they have never done business until now, which Quark says is why their deal is so important to him; he wants their business relationship to start on the right foot. Quark reassures Garak that he will procure Garak's merchandise, which Garak warns he must have soon. Garak leaves and Quark has a satisfied grin on his face until Bashir makes his presence known, claiming he could not help but "overhear" the conversation. Quark claims Garak ordered a "reasonably priced" sizing scanner from Merak II, nothing more. Bashir asks why Garak seemed upset, but Quark claims not to have noticed, offering him some Saurian brandy to go or a late-night session in a holosuite. Seeing he will not learn anything from Quark, Bashir politely declines and leaves.
As Bashir administers a hypospray to Commander Benjamin Sisko in the infirmary, he jokingly tells the commander not to yell at any more admirals. "I wasn't yelling; I was just expressing my feelings – loudly," Sisko replies with a grin as he exits. He and O'Brien acknowledge each other as the chief passes by on his way in. Bashir asks O'Brien to help him find some old Cardassian medical files. O'Brien is not surprised Bashir has had trouble in accessing them, as the Cardassians did a general systems sweep before they withdrew from Bajor. Medical files would have been deleted along with everything else, but as he accesses Bashir's computer, O'Brien estimates he can retrieve the bulk of the data within two to three weeks. Bashir seems dismayed, but Quark interrupts on the emergency communications channel to announce that he needs the doctor to come to his bar immediately. Bashir and O'Brien exchange looks, unsure what to make of the request as Bashir grabs a medkit and leaves.
In Quark's, Bashir finds a heavily intoxicated Garak sitting at the bar with several empty bottles of kanar in front of him, opening another despite Quark's insistence that he has had enough. Garak is pleasantly surprised to see Bashir. He promises to reschedule their lunch date and asks Bashir to join him. Bashir accepts, reaching for the bottle, and suggests that they drink the kanar somewhere private. Garak agrees and suggests his quarters, but as they get up to leave, Bashir mentions that he must make a stop at the infirmary. Despite being intoxicated, Garak still has his wits about him. The Cardassian stops and laughs at Bashir's attempt to trick him, demanding the bottle back. Bashir slips the bottle to Quark behind his back. and the two of them debate the matter for a few seconds before Garak appears to suffer a seizure, grabbing Bashir's arm as he collapses in pain. Bashir contacts Ops to order an emergency transport to the infirmary and the two of them beam out of the bar.
Garak lies unconscious in the infirmary with a monitoring device attached to his forehead, and the Bajoran nurse Jabara attends to him as Odo and Bashir stand next to a screen on the wall. The screen shows a three-dimensional image of Garak's brain with a purple spot indicating a foreign object. Odo asks if it is an implant of some kind, but Bashir was hoping Odo could tell him since, Odo worked for the Cardassians during the Occupation of Bajor. However, Odo points out somewhat sarcastically that while he may know the Cardassians well, he has never looked inside their skulls. He asks if the implant is the cause of Garak's condition, which Bashir believes is possible, as the implant is connected to Garak's entire central nervous system. It may be a punishment device from the Cardassian government, but based on the scars surrounding the implant, Bashir estimates it has been in Garak's brain for years, whereas the Cardassian has only been in pain for just a few days. Neither of them knows for sure what the implant is, but Bashir mentions that Quark may know something, piquing Odo's interest immediately. When he hears of Bashir's encounter with Quark, Odo remarks, "The direct approach seldom works with people like him." The meeting may help explain why Quark has sent several coded subspace messages – Odo explains that he routinely monitors Quark's communications, which, while not entirely legal, is in the station's best interest – and the constable tells Bashir to meet him in the security office at 0200, as that is when Quark makes his clandestine calls.
That night, Quark goes to his terminal behind the bar after closing and contacts Boheeka, an old acquaintance from the time when the Cardassians occupied Bajor. Boheeka inquires about a dabo girl he knew, as he misses her company. In a mischievous tone, Quark replies, "I'm sure she misses you too!" They share a laugh before getting down to business. Quark enticingly asks Boheeka if he would like to earn enough latinum to buy himself a promotion, at which point Boheeka gives Quark his undivided attention. The Ferengi needs the installation schematics for a piece of Cardassian biotechnology, which Boheeka says should be relatively easy to obtain. Boheeka asks what it is, but Quark never asks such questions of his clients, so he simply transmits a requisition code to Boheeka.
Meanwhile, Bashir and Odo observe from a monitor in Odo's office. Bashir hopes Odo does not have a camera like this in his quarters, to which Odo rhetorically asks, "Should I?" When Boheeka puts the code into his computer, a red light flashes and he looks terrified. Calling Quark an idiot, he exclaims that he is ruined, and his career over. Quark wonders what happened and Boheeka furiously informs him that the code was for classified biotechnology; even the requisition code itself is classified. He demands to know where Quark got it but, once again looking frightened, thinks better of it and says he does not want to know. If he is lucky, the Obsidian Order will not trace the signal back to him. "Nice talking to you, Boheeka. We'll have to do it again some time," Quark panics.
As Quark terminates the transmission, Odo shuts off the camera feed and he and Bashir walk out to the Promenade. Odo explains to Bashir that the Obsidian Order is "the ever-vigilant eyes and ears of the Cardassian Empire." Common knowledge is that one cannot sit down to a meal on Cardassia without the Order noting each course; Bashir wonders what happens to people who eat something that is "not in agreement" with the Order, and Odo notes that people have "disappeared" for less. The Order's ruthlessness and efficiency are without measure, topping even the Romulan Tal Shiar. Bashir supposes that the Order put the device in Garak's brain, but Odo is more interested in why Garak wants to get his hands on another one. Garak may want to find a way to remove the device, but there is no way to know for sure without asking Garak himself. Bashir thanks Odo for his help and enters the infirmary as Odo resumes his patrol. Upon entering the infirmary, he queries the computer on Garak's condition. He is surprised to find out from the computer that Garak is no longer in the infirmary. Checking Garak's bed, all he finds is Garak's discarded hospital gown. Bashir then leaves to locate Garak.
Bashir immediately visits Garak's quarters, but there is no answer so he uses an emergency medical override command to open the door. Inside, he finds Garak administering triptacederine to himself with a hypospray. Although Garak seems pleased to see Bashir and observes that he must have missed the door chime, his speech is heavily impaired by the effects of the drug. Bashir finds that Garak has taken enough of it to anesthetize an Algorian mammoth, but as Garak barely feels anything, he claims Cardassians must be made of sterner stuff. Fed up with the games, Bashir orders Garak to come with him to the infirmary, and Garak assures the doctor that he is beyond help.
Cutting to the chase, Bashir tells Garak that Quark is not coming. A worried look crosses Garak's face although he tries to cover it up as he asks how Bashir knows this information. When Bashir tells him of Boheeka, a dismayed Garak says he should have expected as much. He concedes to himself that it may be for the best, requesting his hypospray back from Bashir. Bashir refuses, warning Garak that another dose could kill him. "Thank you for your concern," Garak says politely, "but I'd rather have the hypospray." However, Bashir refuses to let his Cardassian friend commit suicide. Garak demands it back, holding a small container of triptacederine, but falls to his knees in pain as the cranial implant acts up again.
Now Garak leans against a chair and allows Bashir to take the container from his hand. He informs Bashir that his cranial nerve cluster should have deteriorated slightly by now, and as he scans Garak's head with a medical tricorder, Bashir adds that the deterioration is not so slight. Nonetheless, Garak refuses to go to the infirmary because he has no intention of allowing the Bajorans on the station to see him in his present state. Bashir asks about the implant, so Garak explains that it is not a punishment device, although it has become one in a way. He avoids direct talk of the implant's nature, however, reassuring Bashir that it cannot be removed, because if it could, it would be useless. The implant was given to Garak by Enabran Tain, head of the Obsidian Order, and was designed to trigger the production of endorphins in the event that Garak was tortured, ironically making him immune to pain. However, it was not designed for continuous use.
Life aboard DS9, where the temperature is too cold, the lights are too bright, and the citizens loathe him, has been torture for Garak since he arrived. Not wanting to deal with the pain any more, he created a device that allowed him to trigger the implant on demand and used it for a few minutes each day. As time went on, he gradually began using it more and more until he left the implant on permanently. Two years later, the implant is breaking down, and while Bashir suggests turning it off, Garak's body has become addicted to the higher endorphin levels. Garak has essentially given up, a strategy which Bashir sees as letting "them" – the Central Command, Obsidian Order, or whoever exiled Garak to DS9 – win. The Cardassian calls Bashir an annoying pest, but he is used to hearing the insult from Chief O'Brien and claims he never listens to O'Brien either. In light of Bashir's undaunted optimism, Garak confronts the doctor with the fact that he deserves his punishment. Bashir insists no one deserves such treatment and all that matters is that Garak is his patient and he is Garak's doctor. "Wrong again," Garak corrects him. "You need to know who you're trying to save."
At the time of the Cardassian withdrawal from Bajor, Garak tells Bashir, he was a gul in the Cardassian Mechanized Infantry. When a group of Bajorans escaped from his custody, his aide Elim tracked them down and followed them aboard a Cardassian shuttle headed for Terok Nor. However, the captain of the shuttle claimed to be under strict orders from Gul Dukat to depart immediately and refused to let Elim search the shuttle. Garak had the shuttle destroyed, killing the escapees, Elim, and ninety-seven other Cardassians – one of whom was the daughter of a prominent official. Garak was subsequently stripped of his rank and exiled from Cardassia. As he finishes the story, Garak hangs his head in shame, having finally revealed the truth to Bashir – or so it seems. Bashir, now more compassionate than before, reaffirms that he is not concerned about what Garak has done in the past, and that he won't leave Garak to die. Whatever the side effects of turning the implant off may be, he promises to help Garak through them, but he needs to know where the triggering device is. Garak points him to a drawer and he takes it out and examines it.
Garak lies unconscious on his bed with a monitoring device on his forehead. Bashir and a nurse are at Garak's bedside and Bashir informs him that he will be with Garak for at least the next twenty-six hours if he needs him. He leaves and Bashir tells the computer to monitor Garak's implant for any signs of activation. Shortly thereafter, the door chime rings. Odo enters, hoping to ask Garak a few questions. However, Garak has been unconscious since Bashir turned the implant off, so he and Odo talk quietly in the corridor outside Garak's quarters. There Odo informs him that he has four unsolved homicides which he is certain are linked to the Obsidian Order. However, Bashir explains that Garak's body has undergone a severe shock and he is unsure when, or if, Garak will recover. Odo wants to talk to Garak immediately when he learns the Cardassian might not recover, but Bashir forbids anyone except emergency personnel from entering Garak's quarters for the time being. That night, Bashir remains in Garak's quarters, monitoring his progress and worrying about him, and eventually falls asleep in a chair near Garak's bed.
Garak awakens in the middle of the night and sits on the side of his bed sobbing out of both pain and sorrow when Bashir too awakens. The doctor approaches Garak comfortingly, but Garak wants to be left alone. The more Bashir attempts to comfort Garak, the more agitated Garak becomes, calling his life pathetic and DS9 a prison. He grabs a nearby vase of flowers and smashes it on the floor as he speaks. Although Bashir attributes this behavior to the side effects of the implant's deactivation, Garak claims he is more clear-headed than he has been in the last two years. Referring to his life aboard DS9 as a waste, he overturns a table in frustration. He claims he was once the protégé of the head of the Obsidian Order, Enabran Tain, a man more powerful than even the Central Command, until he (Garak) was exiled. Bashir refers to the incident with the shuttle, but Garak reveals that his disgrace is even worse than he previously claimed.
In this version of the story, on the eve of the Cardassian withdrawal of Bajor, Garak, and Elim were interrogating a group of five Bajoran children, none of them older than fourteen. The air was chilly and Garak's stomach was growling, and suddenly the entire exercise suddenly seemed meaningless – "all I wanted was a hot bath and a good meal." Garak gave the children whatever latinum he had and released them. "Elim couldn't believe his eyes. He looked at me as if I were insane." Bashir sees his act as honorable, but Garak claims he was a fool and should have turned the children over to the troops for execution. In one swift move, he was exiled to the station with nothing to look forward to but having lunch with Bashir. As Garak describes life on the station with contempt and claims he hates it, and hates Bashir, Bashir patiently tries to get Garak to lie down, but the Cardassian lunges at him. A brief struggle ensues before Garak suffers another seizure and goes into shock.
Once again in the infirmary, Bashir tells Jabara to administer more hyperzine to Garak, but Garak's body does not respond. They use cardiostimulation to stabilize Garak's heartbeat, but the Cardassian's lymphatic system still reads critical. A perplexed Bashir cannot understand why toxins continue to accumulate despite the implant being shut down, so he uses the computer to analyze previous biochemical samples. A comparative view of samples from the past 39 hours shows a pattern in the progression of Garak's leukocytes, indicating that the molecular structure itself has been altered. While it may be possible to synthesize Cardassian leukocytes, doing so would take weeks. Jabara suggests that they turn the implant back on, as it could keep Garak alive for another week or two. However, Garak awakens and forbids it.
Garak tells Bashir that he never wants the implant turned on again, and while Bashir empathizes, he is unsure of what else he can do. On hearing this, Garak gratefully assures the doctor that he has already done more than the Cardassian deserves. Garak announces that he wants to tell Bashir the truth, something Bashir has given up on finding. "Oh, don't give up on me now, doctor. Patience has its rewards," Garak replies softly. The truth is that Elim was not Garak's aide but his friend, closer to him than a brother. The two of them were powerful members of the Obsidian Order, referred to by many as the "sons of Tain" and feared by even the guls. When a scandal erupted over the release of several Bajoran prisoners, there were rumors of who would be implicated, and as Tain had retired to the Arawath Colony by then, he was unable to protect Garak. Panicking, Garak altered records and planted files in an attempt to frame Elim. However, only then did he discover that Elim had beat him to the punch. When Garak was subsequently exiled, he admits he deserved it, not for the reasons the government claimed, but for betraying his best friend. He confides in the doctor that he needs to know someone forgives him, which Bashir does, acknowledging for both of them that Garak is a good man despite past wrongdoings. Finally at ease, Garak falls asleep peacefully. Bashir informs Jabara that he plans to leave and will return within 52 hours, intending to "find the man responsible for this."
There is a somber feeling as Bashir leaves Deep Space 9 in a runabout and travels to the colony Garak mentioned. Bashir beams down to the surface, in an unoccupied room of a Cardassian-style dwelling. After glancing around to make sure that he is alone, he wanders over to a nearby computer console. Whatever is displayed on the console's monitor intrigues him, but as he reaches toward it, a Cardassian man emerges from a doorway behind him. "Doctor Bashir," the man interrupts in a friendly tone. "Welcome. Please, make yourself at home."
Bashir is speechless, unsure of what to say. The Cardassian observes that the doctor must have something to say to him after coming all this way, at which point Bashir identifies the man as Enabran Tain. Tain returns the favor, demonstrating his knowledge by identifying his guest as "Doctor Julian Subatoi Bashir." Although he explains that he informed the military that Bashir would be coming, Tain is nonetheless impressed by Bashir's audacity in making the journey. Tain walks over to a replicator and asks if Bashir would like anything, suggesting Tarkalean tea. The idea appeals to Bashir, who mentions that he always drinks Tarkalean tea before he suddenly realizes how suspicious it is for Tain to know such a thing. "A good host always knows the needs of his guests," Tain explains as he orders Bashir's tea – extra sweet, just the way Bashir likes it – and a glass of kanar for himself. He hands Bashir the tea and asks if Garak's condition has improved at all. However, Bashir is focused not on Garak but on Tain's incredible wealth of knowledge, observing that Boheeka had reason to fear the Obsidian Order. Tain affirms that, indeed, everyone has reason to fear the order. Tain claims that he likes to stay informed on current events despite his retirement, noting with amusement that Bashir could probably tell him many things he would be interested to know. Sarcastically, Bashir offers his opinion on the latest nillimite alloy tennis racket, but Tain respectfully declines.
Tain then steers the conversation back to Garak's condition. Bashir confirms that Garak is dying, and that he is trying to save Garak. Tain finds it strange that Bashir is trying to save Garak's life, since he thought Bashir was Garak's friend. Given the earlier exchanges Bashir had with both Dax and Garak, he thinks the matter over for a second before replying, "I suppose I am." In that case, Tain believes Bashir should let Garak die, noting that "for Garak, a life in exile is no life at all."
Bashir reaffirms that his job is to keep Garak alive. He says that Garak's leukocytes have an aberration, and he is not able to synthesize them due to his limited knowledge of Cardassian biochemistry. When the Cardassian feigns surprise at Bashir's belief in his ability to have access to such information, Bashir points out that information is Tain's business. When Bashir confronts him with the fact that he ordered Garak to put the implant in his brain, Tain fondly explains that what made Garak special was that he never had to order Garak to do anything.
Tain sarcastically weighs the options, and says he will have the information transferred to Bashir's ship. When Bashir thanks him, Tain deflects it, remarking that Garak doesn't deserve a quick death. Instead, he wants Garak to live a long, miserable life, growing old on a station with people who hate him, and knowing that he can never again return home. When Bashir sarcastically observes the lovely sentiment behind Tain's statement, the Cardassian assures him it is from the heart, and sends him on his way.
Before leaving, Bashir asks Tain about what happened to Garak's friend Elim. Laughing, Tain explains that Elim is Garak's first name, and that Garak hasn't changed a bit. Tain remarks that never telling the truth, when a lie would suffice, is a hallmark of Garak's talent for obfuscation. Despite the hatred Tain has expressed, he asks Bashir to tell Garak he misses him. When Bashir orders the runabout to beam him up, he pauses momentarily before he gives the energize command, Tain's words weighing heavily on his mind as he realizes none of Garak's stories were true.
Back aboard Deep Space 9, Bashir sits alone, deep in thought at his and Garak's table in the Replimat. He is stirred from his trance, surprised when Garak walks up and asks to join him. Bashir seems annoyed, albeit in a concerned manner, that Garak is not in bed. Bed is out of the question, as Garak could not stand being in the infirmary and feels fine anyway. Before his companion can respond, Garak asks how Bashir's Idanian spice pudding tastes. Bashir finds it incredible that Garak can simply go on with life and pretend the last ten days never happened, but as Garak is satisfied with the way things turned out, he sees no point in dwelling on such a difficult time for both of them. Perhaps because he agrees, perhaps because he does not want to argue, Bashir simply sips his beverage.
Garak seems surprised as he informs Bashir that Constable Odo is under the impression he was once a member of the Obsidian Order. Of course, he assured the constable this was untrue. Odo told Garak he plans to keep a close eye on him from now on, which seems fine with Garak as he claims he has nothing to hide. Taking out a data rod, he hands Bashir Meditations on a Crimson Shadow, a Cardassian novel by Preloc. The doctor is unenthusiastic by the notion of more Cardassian literature, but Garak believes this novel is more to Bashir's liking. He explains that it is about a futuristic war between Cardassia and the Klingon Empire. Bashir dryly asks who wins, to which Garak grins and responds, "Who do you think?" "Never mind, don't tell me, I don't want to spoil the ending," Bashir says sarcastically. As Garak laughs, Bashir obviously has something more serious on his mind. He wonders which of the stories about Garak's past are true and which are not. Garak reassures him they are all true – especially the lies.
"I'm a doctor, not a botanist."
- - Julian Bashir
"Listen to me, Garak. I've had just about enough of your nonsense. Now, you're coming back to the infirmary with me."
"Oh, I don't think so. Believe me when I tell you there's nothing you can do for me."
"And Quark can, is that it?"
"I thought I was supposed to be the spy."
- - Bashir and Garak
"I'm a doctor. You're my patient. That's all I need to know."
"You're wrong, doctor. You need to know who it is you're trying to save."
- - Bashir and Garak
"... And so they exiled you."
"That's right! And left me to live out my days with nothing to look forward to but having lunch with you."
"Well I'm sorry you feel that way. I thought you enjoyed my company."
"Oh, I did. And 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 and Garak ( file info)
"I've about given up on learning the truth from you, Garak."
"Oh, don't give up on me now, doctor! Patience has its rewards."
- - Bashir and Garak
"That Cardassian Quark was talking to, Boheeka. I suppose he really did have a reason to fear the Obsidian Order."
"Everyone has reason to fear the Order."
- - Bashir and Enabran Tain, on the Obsidian Order
"I want him to live a long, miserable life. I want him to grow old on a station surrounded by people who hate him, knowing that he'll never come home again."
"What a lovely sentiment."
"And it's from the heart, I assure you."
- - Enabran Tain and Bashir, on Garak's condition
"I can see that Garak hasn't changed a bit. Never tell the truth when a lie will do. That man has a rare gift for obfuscation. Doctor, Elim is Garak's first name. Now run along home. And doctor, tell Garak that I miss him."
- - Enabran Tain
"I've brought you something."
"What is it?"
"Meditations on a Crimson Shadow by Preloc."
"More Cardassian literature."
"I think you'll find this one more to your tastes. It takes place in the future during a time when Cardassia and the Klingon Empire are at war."
"Who do you think?"
"Never mind; Don't tell me. I don't want you to spoil the ending."
- - Garak and Julian Bashir, referring to the eventual events of "The Way of the Warrior"
"Of all the stories you told me, which ones were true and which ones weren't?"
"My dear Doctor, they're all true."
"Even the lies?"
"Especially the lies."
- - Garak and Bashir
Story and script
- Robert Hewitt Wolfe's original idea for this episode was to have shown that Kira had been addicted to battle stimulants ever since her days in the Bajoran Resistance. However, that idea was rejected because it would be difficult to do subsequent episodes with Kira without referencing the addiction, and it was felt that it could tarnish her character too much. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 141))
- At first, Ira Steven Behr took inspiration from a particular movie, during the writing of Garak in this episode. "When I was writing the story," stated Robert Hewitt Wolfe, "the movie Schindler's List had just come out and Ira was saying, 'Maybe he was Schindler; maybe he was the guy who let the prisoners go.' And then it was, 'Maybe he wasn't; maybe he was the Butcher of Budapest.' So we just kept telling all these lies, and I think the truth lies somewhere in there. Maybe he did let people go. Maybe he did shoot down the ship. Who knows?" (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 141))
- During the writing of this episode, the Obsidian Order was initially going to be the Grey Order until the producers learned that Babylon 5 planned to introduce a group called the "Grey Council" and felt the names were too similar. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 142))
- A line in the script but not contained in the finished episode would have revealed that Benjamin Sisko served at the Federation embassy on Romulus early in his career, where he befriended a Romulan member of the kitchen staff named "Stolpan". It was further revealed that Stolpan was arrested by the Tal Shiar for "political improprieties," and in response, Sisko was prepared to go to the Tal Shiar Headquarters and convince them to set him free. However, Sisko was eventually persuaded by Curzon Dax not to go. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion - A Series Guide and Script Library)
- David Livingston commented, "It's a bottle show. It's basically Andy Robinson in a room, but it's very compelling because it's one man intervening." (The Deep Space Log Book: A Second Season Companion, p. 43)
Cast and characters
- Andrew Robinson has said of this episode, "I wish there was more writing like that for television. I think we'd have a much healthier industry." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 141)) Robinson further remarked, "When you get moments like in 'The Wire', where he is in great emotional distress, even at those moments you don't know if what he is saying is the truth or not. But you know that emotionally he is telling the truth." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 103, pp. 52-53)
- Alexander Siddig considered "The Wire" to be an important episode for Bashir and his relationship with Garak. Siddig commented, "That was a prototypical character exploration episode for Andy and me. We spent so much time together, got to know each other and realized we liked working with each other. That's actually another episode that's close to me. Andy and I worked extremely hard on that one and it took a great deal out of both of us. We realized at that point that the relationship between Garak and Bashir was never to look back. The show itself was very real and very relevant." (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 14, p. 22)
- Avery Brooks (Benjamin Sisko), Nana Visitor (Kira Nerys), Terry Farrell (Jadzia Dax), and Colm Meaney (Miles O'Brien) appear in only one scene each in this episode. Brooks and Visitor's appearances are very brief, both actors having only a few lines. As noted above, a scene featuring Sisko meeting with Bashir before Bashir leaves the station to meet Tain was cut for time. Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko) does not appear in the episode.
- This was the first DS9 episode to be directed by a woman: Kim Friedman.
- Robert Hewitt Wolfe commented: "People still respond very positively to 'The Wire', which I think is one of the best things I’ve written". 
- Although the producers were extremely happy with how the episode turned out, they were disappointed to discover that many fans felt let down because they hadn't learned anything new about Garak. Ira Steven Behr later responded to this by saying, "That's such a misreading, a real refusal to see what the show was supposed to be about." Robert Hewitt Wolfe also felt that the episode revealed a lot more than fans gave it credit for. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 140))
- The producers were highly impressed with Kim Friedman's work on this episode. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 141))
Continuity and trivia
- Alexander Siddig compared this episode to "Armageddon Game", commenting, "['The Wire'] had the same function for Andy [Robinson] that 'Armageddon Game' had for me." (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 14, p. 22)
- Paul Dooley made his first appearance as Enabran Tain in this episode. This was originally intended to be his sole appearance, but, much like the situation with Andrew Robinson's Garak, the fans liked Tain so much, and the producers were so impressed with Dooley, that they decided to bring him back. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (pp. 141-142)) He later reprised the role in "Improbable Cause", "The Die is Cast", and "In Purgatory's Shadow".
- This also marks the first appearance of the Obsidian Order.
- The producers were so impressed with Kim Friedman's work on this installment that they brought her back to direct several crucial episodes, such as the season 2 finale "The Jem'Hadar", the season 3 opener "The Search, Part I", and the conclusion to the Michael Eddington/Maquis story arcs, "Blaze of Glory".
- When Tain first meets Bashir, he calls the doctor "Julian Subatoi Bashir", the first and only mention of Bashir's middle name in the series.
- Garak's claim that he and Elim were "the sons of Tain" hints at the fact that Enabran Tain is his father, which is revealed in "In Purgatory's Shadow".
- This is the first time that Cardassia Prime is mentioned and the first time that the Cardassian homeworld is actually named.
- The war between the Klingons and Cardassians in Garak's novel foreshadows the events of "The Way of the Warrior" and the Klingon-Cardassian War. This foreshadowing was not intentional, and was, in fact, included as a ridiculous premise to show what Garak thought of Bashir's literary taste, as the plan for the Klingon-Cardassian war was not conceived of until later.
- The kanar seen in this episode, both in Quark's bar and in Tain's house, appears quite different from its usual syrupy, brown look. In this episode, it appears blue and lacks the thick viscosity of kanar in other episodes, looking similar to Romulan ale.
- A script for this episode was sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay. 
- Remastered scenes from the episode are featured in the documentary What We Left Behind.
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 21, 5 September 1994
- As part of the DS9 Season 2 DVD collection
Links and references
- Rene Auberjonois as Odo
- Siddig El Fadil as Doctor Bashir
- Terry Farrell as Lieutenant Dax
- Cirroc Lofton as Jake Sisko
- Colm Meaney as Chief O'Brien
- Armin Shimerman as Quark
- Nana Visitor as Major Kira
- Sam Alejan as Starfleet sciences officer
- Scott Barry as Bajoran officer
- Ivor Bartels as Starfleet operations officer
- Patti Begley as Bajoran command officer
- Brian Demonbreun as Starfleet sciences officer
- Judi Durand as Deep Space 9 Computer Voice
- Sue Henley as Starfleet command officer
- Mark Lentry as Starfleet command lieutenant
- David B. Levinson as Broik
- Susan Lewis as Bajoran civilian
- Mary Mascari as Bajoran woman
- Mary Meinel-Newport as Bolian woman
- Michael Prokopuk as Human civilian
- Mark Allen Shepherd as Morn
- Michael Wajacs as Bajoran civilian
- Unknown performers as
- Jeff Cadiente as stunt double for Siddig El Fadil
- Unknown stunt performer as stunt double for Andrew Robinson
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- "The Wire" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "The Wire" at Wikipedia
- "The Wire" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "The Wire" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
"The Maquis, Part II"
|Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
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