Improbable Cause
Stardate: Unknown
Original Airdate: 24 Apr, 1995

[Quark's cafe]

GARAK: But I'm sorry, Doctor, I just don't see the value of this man's work.
BASHIR: Garak, Shakespeare is one of the giants of human literature.
GARAK: I knew Brutus was going to kill Caesar in the first act, but Caesar didn't figure it out until the knife is in his back.
BASHIR: That's what makes it a tragedy. Caesar couldn't conceive that his best friend would plot to kill him.
GARAK: Tragedy is not the word I'd use. Farce would be more appropriate. Supposedly, this man is supposed to be the leader of a great empire, a brilliant military tactician, and yet he can't see what's going on under his own nose. Doctor, are you in a hurry?
BASHIR: I've to get to the Infirmary. I've a lot of work to do this afternoon.
GARAK: Oh, you're fortunate. I have more time on my hands than I know what to do with.
BASHIR: Maybe you could finish those trousers I dropped off last week.
GARAK: Tomorrow.
BASHIR: Tomorrow.
GARAK: You're going to give yourself indigestion.
BASHIR: Well I only have you to thank for that. If you hadn't been so late, I could have enjoyed my lunch.
GARAK: This isn't the first time I've seen you rush through a meal. You never take the time to savour your food. It seems to be a human characteristic. Look over there. That Talarian is barely halfway through his meal, but his human companion's plate is empty.
BASHIR: Well maybe he and I can have dessert while you and the Talarian to wile away the afternoon.
GARAK: But it is a very interesting sociological phenomenon, don't you think? For generations now, humankind has had more than enough food and yet you go about your eating as if you were afraid someone was going to come along and snatch away your plate.
BASHIR: Garak, why don't you eat for a while and let me talk?
GARAK: Fear of starvation amid plenty. It points to some dark secret hidden in the human soul. A gnawing hunger. perhaps someone should do a study.
BASHIR: Why don't you do? You appear to have plenty of time on your hands.
GARAK: Doctor, if you want to have your dessert, please go ahead. I won't be offended.
BASHIR: I have to go. And I'm sorry to leave while you're still eating.
GARAK: No, no, I'm done as well.
BASHIR: But you've hardly touched your plate.
GARAK: If you really must know, I've been nibbling on Delavian chocolates all morning.

[Promenade - upper level]

BASHIR: How did you get Delavian chocolates?
GARAK: I promised my supplier I wouldn't tell, but since I deprived you of your dessert, I'd be more than happy to bring some by the Infirmary later this afternoon.
BASHIR: Why thank you, I'd like that.
GARAK: Until then, Doctor.
KIRA: Julian.
BASHIR: Major.
KIRA: Garak.
(Garak leaves.)
KIRA: About those atmospheric specifications you requested for the Yalosian Ambassador?
BASHIR: Sixty percent nitrogen, ten percent benzene, and the rest hydrogen fluoride, as I recall
KIRA: Well we ran a test in one of the guest quarters. The mixture is so corrosive it dissolved the carpet.
BASHIR: Don't look at me. It's what they breathe.
KIRA: Then I guess we'll just have to rip out the carpets.
BASHIR: Be sure not to replace it with anything red or orange
KIRA: Why not?
BASHIR: They don't see that part of the colour spectrum.
KIRA: Is there anything else I should know about the Yalosians?
BASHIR: As a matter of fact
BASHIR: Bashir to Infirmary. Medical emergency on the Promenade. It's Garak's shop!

[Garak's shop]

(Lots of flames and debris. Garak is on the floor, stunned.)
BASHIR: Are you all right?
GARAK: As well as could be expected. But I'm afraid your pants won't be ready tomorrow after all.
(After the opening titles, CSI DS9 aka O'Brien and his tricorder is at work.)
SISKO: Report.
O'BRIEN: The explosion was caused by a rupture in the power conduit behind that wall.
SISKO: What caused the rupture?
O'BRIEN: Probably an overload in the ODN juncture.
ODO: Ha.
SISKO: I take it you don't agree.
ODO: Well, let's just say I find it odd that a conduit running behind Garak's shop should just happen to overload.
SISKO: So you think someone ruptured it deliberately?
ODO: I wouldn't be surprised. It stands to reason that a man with Garak's past would have enemies.
O'BRIEN: I'm detecting traces of nitrilin.
ODO: Nitrilin is extremely unstable.
O'BRIEN: And very rare. It couldn't have come from the power conduit.
ODO: This could be the residue from a micro-explosive device planted on the conduit and rigged to cause a rupture.
SISKO: Making the explosion look like an accident.
ODO: Exactly.
SISKO: Sisko to Ops.
KIRA [OC]: Go ahead, Commander.
SISKO: Delay the departure of all vessels until further notice. I have reason to believe that someone may have tried to kill Mister Garak.


GARAK: But who would want to kill me, a simple tailor?
ODO: A simple tailor? A simple tailor who used to be an agent of the Obsidian Order.
GARAK: The Obsidian Order? Constable, you shouldn't put too much stock in the good doctor's flights of fancy. Are you sure this explosion wasn't an accident, because I can't think of anyone who would wish me harm.
SISKO: Someone tried to kill you, Garak. Whoever it was may try again, so if I were you I would give this matter some serious thought.
GARAK: Well, let me see. I mean, there's the Nausicaan whose wedding suit I misplaced, and that Yridian I owe money to. And of course, there's always Major Kira.
BASHIR: This is serious, Garak.
GARAK: I'm being serious. I don't think she likes me.
ODO: She doesn't. But if she wanted you dead, you would be.
GARAK: You do have a point.
SISKO: Could this attempt on your life have anything to do with the reason you were exiled from Cardassia?
GARAK: I seriously doubt the Finance Ministry would try to have me killed for failure to pay my taxes.
ODO: You expect us to believe that's the reason you were exiled?
GARAK: Do you think I would lie about a thing like that? It's not something I'm proud of.
SISKO: I don't like explosions going off on my station, Garak. Innocent people could've been hurt. You could've been killed. Now if there's anything you know you're not telling us, I suggest you start talking.
GARAK: I've told you everything I can think of.
ODO: All right, then. I'll investigate the leads you've given us. If there's anyone else you think I should talk to, let me know.
GARAK: I certainly will.
SISKO: We've assigned a security detail to you. I suggest you stay as close to them as possible.
(Sisko and Odo leave.)
BASHIR: Someone should do a study
GARAK: A study?
BASHIR: To try and figure out why some people can't bring themselves to trust anyone, even if it's in their own best interest.
GARAK: Why is it no one ever believes me, even when I'm telling the truth?
BASHIR: Have you ever heard the story about the boy who cried wolf?
BASHIR: It's a children's story about a young shepherd boy who gets lonely while tending his flock. So he cries out to the villagers that a wolf is attacking the sheep. The people come running, but of course there's no wolf. He claims that it's run away, and the villagers praise him for his vigilance.
GARAK: Clever lad. A charming story.
BASHIR: I'm not finished. The next day the boy does it again, and the next day, too, and on the fourth day a wolf really comes. The boy cries out at the top of his lungs, but the villagers ignore him and the boy and his flock are gobbled up.
GARAK: Well that's a little graphic for children, wouldn't you say?
BASHIR: But the point is, if you lie all the time, nobody's going to believe you even when you're telling the truth.
GARAK: Are you sure that's the point, Doctor?
BASHIR: Of course. What else could it be?
GARAK: That you should never tell the same lie twice.

[Security office]

GARAK: You wanted to see me?
ODO: I have bad news for you. Major Kira has an airtight alibi. I thought you might want to look over the passenger manifests of ships that recently came to the station.
GARAK: To see if I recognise anyone who might wish me harm?
ODO: Exactly. I suggest you start with the most recent arrivals and work your way backwards.
(Garak sits at Odo's console.)
GARAK: Don't worry about me, Constable. I can manage on my own.
ODO: I'm not about to leave you alone in here so you can look through my security files.
GARAK: What makes you think I haven't already looked through them? I'm joking, of course.
ODO: Of course.
GARAK: No, I'm afraid I don't recognise any of these names.
ODO: The bomb could've been planted days ago, even weeks. I suggest you keep going back just to be sure.
GARAK: This could take forever.
ODO: I should think you'd have plenty of time on your hands, now that your shop is no longer open for business.
O'BRIEN: Odo, I. (sotto) I finished running the biomolecular scan you asked me for. I found traces of living tissue on the bulkhead around the blast site.
ODO: This looks like the remains of a pheromonic sensor.
O'BRIEN: A what?
ODO: It's triggered when a person of a particular species gets within range.
GARAK: In this case a Cardassian. Me.
ODO: They're known to be favoured by Flaxian assassins, and it just so happens a Flaxian came aboard the station just this morning.


ODO: So, Mister Retaya, your papers indicate that you're a merchant.
RETAYA: I deal in fine wares, mostly fabrics and fragrances.
ODO: According to my information, you were a suspect in the murder of Dekora Assan, on Japori Two.
RETAYA: I was cleared of those charges. It was a case of mistaken identity.
ODO: This is your sample case, I take it.
(He opens the pyramidical case and Odo scans the contents.)
ODO: Ah. How fortunate. As it happens, I'm looking for a gift for a friend.
RETAYA: A lady friend?
ODO: Exactly. Unfortunately, I don't have a sense of smell. Perhaps you could describe this fragrance for me?
RETAYA: It has a somewhat floral bouquet.
ODO: We have a Cardassian tailor here on the station named Garak. There was an explosion in his shop not long after you arrived.
RETAYA: I felt the blast. Was he hurt?
ODO: Not seriously.
RETAYA: That one is more musky than the first.
ODO: Tell me, where were you when the explosion occurred?
RETAYA: The Ferengi's bar. I went there as soon as I arrived this morning. I suppose I'd have to describe that one as spicy.
ODO: I see. And how long were you at Quark's?
RETAYA: The rest of the day. Right up until your deputy came and brought me here. So, have you found something for your lady friend?
ODO: Almost. I think she would like something both floral and musky. Perhaps if we mixed these two?
RETAYA: Why not? (Odo puts a couple of drops onto a small dish and waves it under Retaya's nose.) Very nice.
ODO: But on the other hand, she's also quite fond of spicy things. Maybe we could add a drop of this as well?
RETAYA: I really don't think they would go well together.
ODO: Let's find out.
(Retaya puts his hand over the dish.)
RETAYA: I really don't think your lady friend will like the aroma.
ODO: Much less the fact that when these three fragrances are combined, they produce a gaseous mixture that can trigger a fatal heart attack when inhaled.
RETAYA: I had no idea.
ODO: Then why did you stop me from mixing them?
RETAYA: As I said, I simply didn't think your friend would like the aroma. Unless you have any more questions, I'd like to go now. I have deliveries to make on Cardassia.
ODO: I'll let you know when you can leave the station.

[Promenade - upper level]

O'BRIEN: Everything's set. The transponder is on board the Flaxian's ship.
ODO: You're sure he won't find it?
O'BRIEN: Not a chance, I've hidden it inside the ship's magneton relay. You'll be able to track him as long as you stay within half a light year. Who do you think he's going to lead you to?
ODO: If I knew that, I wouldn't have to follow him.

[Runabout Rio Grande]

(Odo enters to find Garak in the co-pilot's seat with a duffle bag on his lap.)
GARAK: I was wondering when you'd get here. The Flaxian left two minutes ago. If we're going to follow him, we'd better get moving.
ODO: What makes you think I'm going to follow him?
GARAK: I happen to know that you're too dogged an investigator to allow the only witness in this case to simply disappear.
ODO: Congratulations. Your powers of deduction are truly astonishing. Now, if you will kindly disembark, I will get on with my dogged investigation.
GARAK: I intend to go with you.
ODO: Forgive me, but are you making a joke? Cardassian humour escapes me.
GARAK: I'm quite serious. Believe me, when someone tries to kill you it's no laughing matter.
ODO: Perhaps, but I don't require your company on this trip.
GARAK: My presence could be most helpful, especially if the Flaxian goes into Cardassian space.
ODO: I am not interested in debating your usefulness to me
GARAK: I hate to interrupt you, but the Flaxian is getting farther away. Now I assume you've placed a tracking device on his ship, but if we don't get started soon he's going to get out of range.
ODO: Rio Grande to Ops. Request permission to depart.
KIRA [OC]: Permission granted.
GARAK: Trust me, Constable. I can be a most pleasant travelling companion. And this promises to be an interesting trip.
(The runabout leaves the station.)
ODO: The tracking device is working perfectly.
GARAK: If I'm reading this correctly, and I'm no expert, it looks like the Flaxian ship is about to go into warp.
ODO: Well. It seems that our interesting trip has just been cut short.


O'BRIEN: According to our sensor logs, the Flaxian ship exploded the moment its warp drive was engaged.
DAX: Was there a malfunction?
O'BRIEN: That's what I thought at first. Then I analysed the telemetry from the transponder I planted aboard the Flaxian ship. Just before the explosion, there was an interference pattern in the transponder's signal.
DAX: This interference could have been caused by a forced neutrino inversion.
ODO: The Romulans. They use neutrino inverters in their explosive devices.
SISKO: Why would the Romulans want to destroy the Flaxian's ship?
ODO: One possibility is that the Romulans hired the Flaxian to kill Garak and then killed the Flaxian when he failed in his mission.
DAX: Do you have any evidence to support that?
ODO: It's only a supposition, but it fits the available facts.
SISKO: All right, Mister Garak. Do you know why the Romulans might hire someone to kill you?
GARAK: I have no idea.
SISKO: I'm getting tired of hearing you say that. How long do you expect us to believe
ODO: He's telling the truth, Commander. He doesn't know why the Romulans would try to kill him.
SISKO: What makes you so sure?
ODO: Because if he did know, he'd already be spinning out an elaborate web of lies to cover up the truth.
GARAK: The truth is usually just an excuse for a lack of imagination.
ODO: Is it.
GARAK: If you want to know what the Romulans have against me, you'll have to ask them.
SISKO: I intend to. But I don't expect them to be entirely forthcoming.

[Commander's office]

(A youngish Romulan woman is on the office viewscreen.)
ROMULAN [on viewscreen]: Yes, we destroyed the Flaxian's ship.
SISKO: I have to say I'm a little surprised to hear you admit it so easily.
ROMULAN [on viewscreen]: Why should we hide it? Retaya was wanted for crimes against the Romulan Empire. His execution was perfectly legal.
SISKO: We have information that he may have worked as an assassin.
ROMULAN [on viewscreen]: I have nothing to corroborate that, though it wouldn't surprise me.
SISKO: Shortly after he came here, someone tried to kill a Cardassian who lives aboard the station.
ROMULAN [on viewscreen]: That would be Mister Garak. A cobbler, I believe.
SISKO: A tailor, actually.
ROMULAN [on viewscreen]: I'll correct our records. That is, if he's still alive.
SISKO: He is.
ROMULAN [on viewscreen]: Well, is there anything else?
ODO: One more thing. How long had the Tal Shiar been looking for Retaya?
ROMULAN [on viewscreen]: Nearly a year. Why?
ODO: Isn't it curious that you finally caught up with him here, just hours after he attempted to kill Mister Garak?
ROMULAN [on viewscreen]: We're just grateful to have found him at all. Now, if you're finished, Commander, I have other matters to attend to.
(transmission ends.)
SISKO: I take it you don't believe her either.
ODO: No.
SISKO: But the question still remains. Why would the Romulans want to have Garak killed?
ODO: I don't know. Considering those uniforms of theirs, you'd think they'd appreciate a decent tailor.
SISKO: So, where does this leave your investigation?
ODO: At a standstill. We don't know that the Romulans hired the Flaxian. We don't even know that it was Retaya who tried to kill Garak. All we do know is that a bomb went off in Garak's shop.
SISKO: All right, then let's start with him. What do we know about Garak? He was exiled from Cardassia. For what reason, we're not sure. He never leaves the station. He avoids contact with other Cardassians. And it's possible he was once an intelligence agent of the Obsidian Order.
ODO: A very strong possibility, Commander.
SISKO: Agreed. So we can assume that this attempt on his life had something to do with the Order?
ODO: Unfortunately, he's rather uncooperative when it comes to answering questions about his past.
SISKO: And the Obsidian Order is uncooperative when it comes to answering questions about their former agents.
ODO: Ordinarily, yes.
SISKO: What do you mean?
ODO: I have certain resources in the Cardassian Government.
SISKO: I take it you don't want to elaborate on that?
ODO: I'd rather not. But I would like to request the use of a runabout.
SISKO: Granted.
ODO: Thank you, sir.


(Don't you just love the way all tunnels are tall enough for a person to walk along easily? A shadowy figure stands on an upper ledge.)
INFORMANT: Stop there.
ODO: Where are you?
INFORMANT: Nearby. I've changed my appearance since we last saw each other. I don't want you to see me.
ODO: I need some information.
INFORMANT: Is this about the tailor's shop?
ODO: Yes.
INFORMANT: I didn't do it.
ODO: I wasn't going to ask you that. I think the Romulans tried to kill Garak.
INFORMANT: Very good, Odo. I see working for the Bajorans hasn't entirely dulled your instincts.
ODO: My question is why.
INFORMANT: You'd have to ask the Romulans. But I do know that you are investigating a very insignificant piece of a much larger puzzle.
ODO: What do you mean?
INFORMANT: There's been a great deal of unusual Romulan activity these past weeks. Cloaked ships believed to be warbirds have been detected near the Cardassian border. Troop movements. Communication activity.
ODO: Sounds like they're preparing for an invasion.
INFORMANT: It has occurred to us. And we're ready for it if it should happen. But it doesn't make any sense.
ODO: Does war ever make sense?
INFORMANT: Still the wry observer of humanoid folly. Tell me, do you still do the Cardassian neck trick?
ODO: No, I don't.
INFORMANT: Pity. You were so good at it. Garak isn't the only former operative in the Order who had an unfortunate incident yesterday. But he's the luckiest. The other five didn't survive.
ODO: Five operatives were killed yesterday?
INFORMANT: Killed? No. Three died from natural causes. The other two perished in accidents.
ODO: Quite a coincidence.
INFORMANT: If you believe in coincidence.
ODO: I take it you think the Romulans had something to do with their deaths.
INFORMANT: There were certain indications of their involvement.
ODO: That still leaves us with the question why?
(The Cardassian throws down a PADD.)
INFORMANT: Those are the names of the five dead operatives. I suggest you show that to Garak then ask him that question.
ODO: I'll do that.
INFORMANT: I trust you'll agree that this information satisfies my debt to you.
ODO: Agreed.
INFORMANT: However, if you do learn something from your tailor and wish to share it with me, I would be indebted to you again.
ODO: I'll consider it.

[Security office]

GARAK: They're all dead?
ODO: I take it you're not going to mourn their passing.
GARAK: Oh, quite the contrary. In fact, if these were different circumstances I'd be celebrating tonight.
ODO: So you did know them?
GARAK: Oh, yes. We were quite well acquainted.
ODO: In the Obsidian Order.
GARAK: Oh, Constable, we've been down this road before. I don't see why you
ODO: I've had enough of your dissembling, Garak! I am not Doctor Bashir and we are not sparring amiably over lunch. Now, you dragged me into this investigation and you are now going to cooperate with me.
GARAK: Dragged you in? I don't know what you're talking
ODO: You blew up your own shop, Garak! Well, I don't think I've ever seen that particular expression on your face. Is it surprise?
GARAK: Yes, Constable, it is. I'm surprised that you could come this unlikely conclusion.
ODO: Drop the pretence. I knew as soon as I spoke with the Flaxian. Assassins don't like varying their methods. He planned to poison you. I think you spotted him on the station and then blew up your own shop so that I'd begin an investigation.
GARAK: That seems like a very elaborate way to get you involved. If I needed your help I could have just asked.
ODO: But you couldn't be sure that I'd take you seriously. Or that I'd help you. Besides, I think you secretly enjoyed destroying your own shop.
GARAK: Well, I admit watching it burn wasn't exactly tragic.
ODO: Whether or not you want to admit it, you pulled me into this case and now you're stuck with me. I want to know who those men were and what your connection was to them.
GARAK: We were all associates of Enabran Tain.
ODO: Enabran Tain. The former head of the Obsidian Order.
GARAK: He retired some years ago. He was, I might add, the only head of the agency ever to live long enough to do so. For some time, we were his most trusted advisors.
ODO: Do you have any idea why the Romulans would want you all dead?
GARAK: I don't know. But Tain might.
ODO: That is, unless he suffered an unfortunate accident as well.
GARAK: That is a distinct possibility. May I use your communications system?
ODO: By all means.
(Garak starts tapping at the console.)
ODO: That's an interesting way of scrambling a signal.
GARAK: Yes, I thought you might appreciate it on an aesthetic level. Ah, here we are.
(An old Cardassian woman appears on the wall monitor.)
GARAK: Mila.
MILA [on monitor]: Elim. I never thought I'd see your face again.
GARAK: I need to speak to Tain. It's urgent.
MILA [on monitor]: You can't. He isn't here.
GARAK: Where is he?
MILA [on monitor]: I don't know. He left yesterday in a great hurry. He wouldn't tell me where.
ODO: Maybe he realised someone was coming after him.
MILA [on monitor]: He's in trouble, isn't he? You have to help him, Elim. I know you're still bitter because of what happened between the two of you, but you must help him, Elim.
GARAK: If you speak to him, tell him to contact me.
MILA [on monitor]: Promise me you'll help him.
GARAK: I promise.
(Transmission ends.)
GARAK: I'll need a runabout, Constable.
ODO: We'll need a runabout. I'm coming with you.


BASHIR: I hope you know what you're doing, Garak.
GARAK: So do I.
BASHIR: Is there anything you need me to do while you're gone?
GARAK: Like what?
BASHIR: I don't know. Any unfinished business?
GARAK: Actually, Doctor, there is something.
GARAK: If you go into my quarters and examine the bulkhead next to the replicator, you'll notice there's a false panel. Behind that panel is a compartment containing an isolinear rod. If I'm not back within seventy eight hours, I want you to take that rod and eat it.
BASHIR: Eat it? You're joking.
GARAK: Yes, Doctor, I am.
BASHIR: Very funny.
GARAK: I thought so. The answer to your question, Doctor, is no. There's nothing you can do for me while I'm away.
BASHIR: Then these are for you.
GARAK: Delavian chocolates. But these were meant for you.
BASHIR: I know. I thought you might need them more than I do.
GARAK: Thank you.
BASHIR: Good luck.

[Runabout Rio Grande]

ODO: We've cleared the station. Now if you'll be kind enough to let me know where we're going, I'll set a course.
GARAK: Head for the Cardassian border. We're going to the third planet of the Unefra system.
ODO: How do you know that's where Tain has gone?
GARAK: I don't, but he has a safe house there that no one's supposed to know about it. Especially me.
ODO: That woman, Mila. Who is she?
GARAK: She's been Tain's housekeeper and confidant for over thirty years.
ODO: She seemed almost fond of you.
GARAK: Is it so hard to believe that there's one person in this galaxy who could regard me with a certain affection?
ODO: I could believe there's one but I wouldn't expect it to be someone who worked for Enabran Tain. As I understand it, the two of you didn't part on the best of terms.
GARAK: You could say that. Tain was directly responsible for my exile from Cardassia.
ODO: Then I don't understand
GARAK: Why I would be risking my life to help him?
ODO: Exactly.
GARAK: Yes, I can see how that would be puzzling.
ODO: All right. You owe him something.
GARAK: A logical deduction. I see why you're the constable.
ODO: But it's more than that. He means something to you. Something personal?
GARAK: Ah, now you've just moved from deduction to supposition.
ODO: You're not the kind of man who would go to such lengths simply to repay a debt.
GARAK: Are you trying to say that I have no sense of honour?
ODO: That remains to be seen.
ODO: You wouldn't risk going into Cardassian space for just anyone. It would have to be someone important to you, someone you cared about. I think you were more than Tain's advisor. I think you were his protégé and he was your mentor. That is, until he sent you into exile. And yet, despite that, you care enough about him to risk your life for him. Or is all that just supposition?
GARAK: A very interesting analysis. Very interesting. Particularly coming from you.
ODO: Oh?
GARAK: It's been my observation that you always act from a sense of justice, or at least what you consider justice. There's no feeling behind what you do, no emotion beyond a certain distaste for loose ends and disorder. You don't know what it means to care about someone, do you? People are just interesting creatures to be studied and analysed.
ODO: Is there any point to this?
GARAK: Only that I find it interesting that you ascribe feelings and motivations to me that you know nothing about. Or am I wrong? Tell me, is there one person in this universe you do care for? One person who's more than just an interesting puzzle to be solved. Is there, Odo? Anyone?
ODO: If there were, I certainly wouldn't tell you.
GARAK: And that would be a wise decision.
(Garak heads into the back. Time has passed and he's back with a drink from the replicator.)
ODO: I'm taking us out of warp. We're approaching the Unefra system.
GARAK: What's that?
ODO: I'm detecting a subspace energy surge directly above us. A vessel of some kind is decloaking.
(A big green meanie appears.)
ODO: It's a Romulan warbird.
GARAK: In Cardassian space?
ODO: They've locked onto us with a tractor beam. Take the helm. I'm going to try to send out a distress signal.
GARAK: I can't pull away. The tractor lock is too strong.
ODO: They're jamming our transmission.
GARAK: Do you think you got through?
ODO: I don't know. I'm going to hail them, see what they want.
(Two armed Romulans beam in.)
GARAK: I think we're about to find out.

[Warbird Ready room]

GARAK: Tain.
TAIN: Ah, Garak. It's good of you to come. It spares me the trouble of having to send someone else to kill you. Come in, come in. It's been a long time, Elim. So, you're a tailor now. Is this one of your creations?
GARAK: A minor example of my work, yes.
TAIN: I don't think I like the neckline.
GARAK: Well you always did have a keen sense of fashion, but you seem to have let it go along with your once trim figure.
TAIN: Constable Odo, I've always wanted to meet you.
ODO: I wish I could say the same.
TAIN: Oh come now. Haven't you ever been the least bit curious about me, about my relationship with Garak, or our work in the Obsidian Order?
ODO: I seldom waste time speculating about retired spymasters and their associates.
TAIN: He's good. He hides his true feelings almost as well as you do, Elim. He'd have made a good operative in the old days.
GARAK: I had the same thought myself. But then, those days are long gone. At least they are for me. You, on the other hand, seem to have left your retirement far behind. Unless you're simply on a pleasure cruise with your pointed-eared friends.
TAIN: Cunning, isn't he? He makes a racial slur within earshot of two Romulans, putting me in the position of either defending them, thus giving away my allegiance to them, or letting the comment pass, in which case he's managed to plant a seed of discord between us.
ODO: Frankly, I don't find any of this interesting. You both go to such lengths to hide the true meaning of your words you end up saying nothing.
TAIN: I think you'll find when I have something to say, you won't have any trouble understanding it. To answer your question, Garak, no I'm not on a pleasure cruise. This ship is part of a fleet of Romulan and Cardassian vessels. A fleet that will very soon be travelling through the wormhole into the Gamma Quadrant.
ODO: I take it you're not on a mission of peaceful exploration.
TAIN: Not exactly.
ODO: You're going to attack the Dominion, aren't you. You're going to stage a first strike against them before they can come into the Alpha Quadrant.
TAIN: A clear and precise analysis. Commander Sisko must find you a valuable advisor.
GARAK: A daring plan. I didn't think there was anyone in the Central Command bold enough to take on the Dominion.
TAIN: Who said anything about the Central Command? This is a joint operation between the Obsidian Order and the Tal Shiar. We've been building a fleet of ships in the Orias System for months now.
ODO: If you attack the Dominion they'll certainly strike back. You'll be taking Romulus and Cardassia into war. A war you may not win.
TAIN: I don't think they'll be striking back. Our intention is to wipe out the Dominion in one single blow by eliminating the Founders. Without them, the Dominion will collapse. You seem disturbed by this, changeling. Why? After all, didn't you turn your back on your people.
ODO: You seem to know a great deal about me and my people.
TAIN: We know everything you know, including the location of their homeworld.
ODO: Starfleet has shared their intelligence on the Dominion with the Romulans.
TAIN: And the Romulans have shared it with me.
GARAK: You'll forgive me if I reduce the scope of this conversation to something a little more personal, but why was it necessary to kill me and the rest of our former colleagues, in order to embark on this excursion into the Gamma Quadrant?
TAIN: Because, Garak, I don't plan on going back into retirement when this is over. I plan on going back to my old job and my old life.
GARAK: And you were afraid we knew things, things that could be used against you, and so you decided to have us eliminated.
TAIN: Like I used to say. Always burn your bridges behind you. You never know who might be trying to follow.
GARAK: You always used to say as well that the Tal Shiar was sloppy. You never should have relied on them to burn your bridges.
TAIN: True. They should never have hired the Flaxian to blow up your shop.
GARAK: Actually, I blew up my shop. It was a way of piquing the interest of the good constable.
TAIN: You blew up your own shop? You, my friend, are a true original. If you hadn't betrayed me, things would have been very different.
GARAK: I never betrayed you! At least, not in my heart. Why do you think I'm here? I came because I thought the Romulans were trying to kill you. I came here to save you.
TAIN: I never thought I'd hear myself say this, Garak, but I believe you. You can go.
GARAK: Excuse me?
TAIN: The changeling of course will have to stay, but you're free to go. Your runabout is in launching bay three.
GARAK: Just like that?
TAIN: Just like that.
GARAK: Aren't you concerned that I might warn Central Command and Starfleet about your plans?
TAIN: It's too late. Central Command will have a war on its hands, whether it wants one or not. And as for Starfleet, this isn't their fight. They won't interfere.
ODO: It's a trick, Garak. After all this, he won't let you just walk away.
TAIN: It's not a trick, it's a choice. You can walk out that door, or join me.
GARAK: Join you?
TAIN: That is what you've been waiting for, isn't it? To end your exile, to come back into the fold. I'm asking you to serve Cardassia again, by my side.
GARAK: Well you'll pardon me if I appear a little startled, but are you saying that all is forgiven?
TAIN: I can't forgive what you did but I can try to forget, to put it aside as if it never happened. So, do you want to go back to your shop and hem pants or shall we pick up where we left off?
ODO: Garak, this is the man who put you into exile. This is the man who just two days ago tried to have you killed.
GARAK: Yes, he is. But it doesn't matter. I'm back.
(Garak and Tain shake hands.)

To be continued...

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