To Boldy Sew: Star Trek Deep Space Nine S02E22: “The Wire”

To Boldly Sew is a recap of DS9 episodes, with a specific focus on the fashions of the many aliens and other characters that make up the series. Feel free to discuss matters of plot and general Star Trek things in the comments. 

All screenshots come from, which is the same place as the original TNG fashion blog (

Garak and Bashir are walking through the promenade, and Garak is complaining about a recent business transaction that failed to happen. Bashir yawns in the middle of it and says he was up late reading a book that Garak lent him. Garak says it’s the finest Cardassian novel ever written. Bashir does not share the opinion.


Garak is wearing an outfit he’s worn previously. It’s kind of a dark gray color with a lighter pattern on the sleeves. I like it.

They get to the replimat and there’s a huge line, which is discouraging. Bashir suggests going to Quark’s but Garak says he’s not in the mood for noisy, crowded, and vulgar. They return to their discussion of the novel while waiting; Bashir saying it’s the same story over and over. Garak says this is the point – the repetitive epic is common in Cardassia and  this is one of the best examples. He’s impatient with the line.



Behind them, there’s a guy wearing what looks like oversized blue pajamas, with some shiny big earrings. He’s talking to a woman in green – we don’t get a clear look at her face, but I like whatever it is she’s done with her hair. Is it a hat? Some braiding with shiny thread?

Garak suddenly winces and places a hand on his forehead, but claims to be fine. Bashir doesn’t believe him. Garak brushes him off and tries to return to their discussion but then pauses to wince again. Bashir tries to take him to the infirmary but Garak refuses, insisting there’s nothing wrong with him, and then, rather grumpy, says he wants some peace and privacy and leaves.

Kira comes up and asks Bashir what’s going on. Bashir has no idea.


Bashir and Dax study a plant that seems to be “sick.” Sadly, Bashir has no idea what’s wrong with it, and Keiko is away at a conference and not able to help. None of Dax’s previous hosts have been good at gardening, so she’s at a loss.


The plant is shiny, with tendrils coming out of it. I didn’t recognize it as a plant at first.

The plant came from Ledonia III. Bashir studies it for a bit and discovers that Ledonian soil contains a benevolent fungus to help the native plants retain soil, but the plant doesn’t have enough of the fungus left in its pot. He thinks they can take some of that fungus and cultivate more in a lab.

Dax is grateful, but Bashir laments that his humanoid patients aren’t as easy to treat. He tells Dax about Garak. She says maybe he doesn’t like doctors, but Bashir says it’s more Cardassian evasiveness. Dax says he’s taking it personally, and he agrees, but they’ve been having a weekly lunch for more than a year and was hoping for a bit more trust. Dax says they’re not really friends and Bashir admits he doesn’t quite trust him either.


Bashir goes out on the promenade. It’s late and there aren’t many people around. From the second level, he sees Garak and Quark talking to one another.

Garak says they’ve come to an understanding. Quark says he has never let Garak down. Garak points out they haven’t done business together before this. Quark says this is why the deal is important – he wants their business relationship to get off on the right foot. He will have his merchandise soon. Garak is again impatient and says he can’t wait much longer, then leaves.

Bashir, descending a staircase behind Quark, reveals that he’s overheard the conversation. Quark says he’s getting Garak a new sizing scanner for the shop. The best, from Merak II, calibrated to be accurate down to the micrometer, and at a reasonable price. Bashir is skeptical and says Garak sounded a bit upset.


Quark is wearing his green upholstery jacket. Nothing remarkable here.

Quark says he didn’t notice. He asks Bashir if he can get him a drink. Bashir declines and heads to bed.

In the infirmary, Bashir treats Sisko for a sore throat of some sort, telling him not to yell at too many more admirals in the near future. Sisko thanks him for the help and leaves, just as O’Brien comes in.

Bashir says he’s been trying to access old Cardassian medical files without success and wants O’Brien to help him. O’Brien says the Cardassians did a general system sweep before leaving and medical files would have been deleted at that time. Bashir asks if they can recover them. O’Brien pushes some buttons on the screen and says he might be able to help with some technobabble. It might take two or three weeks. Bashir is disappointed.

Quark calls Bashir at that moment and says he needs him in the bar right away. Bashir grabs his medical bag and heads out.

At Quark’s, Garak opens a large bottle as Quark asks if he’s had enough. Garak denies it. He speaks loudly, clearly upsetting some other customers, who leave.


Drunk Garak is wearing a mustard colored outfit, with some purplish accents and what I originally thought were polka dots but on closer inspection appear to be more nuanced shapes, almost like a leopard print.


The departing customers are some Bajorans in red uniforms, who I suppose are quite distressed about a drunk Cardassian shouting at them.

Bashir comes in, and Quark tells him that Garak came in complaining about a headache and drank half the stock of kanar.

A drunken Garak apologizes to Bashir for his outburst at lunch and invites the doctor to join him. Bashir sits beside him but then says he’d like to drink somewhere a bit more quiet, as it’s a bit noisy there. Garak says this is an excellent idea and invites Bashir to his quarters.


Quark has switched to his dark green paisley jacket, which is slightly more interesting to look at compared to the upholstery variants. The beverage appears to be a neon blue, which doesn’t make it appealing to me but maybe it’s delicious.

Bashir agrees, but says that he must make a stop at the infirmary. Garak laughs and says Bashir must think he’s a fool. He demands his bottle back, which Bashir was carrying out the door, and then says it even louder. Bashir says he will…in the infirmary.

Garak loudly says he’s not going to the infirmary and he doesn’t want to play this ridiculous game and starts to demand the bottle back. Then he tenses up all over like he’s in extreme pain and collapses to the floor.

As Bashir bends over to examine him, Garak mumbles “make it stop.” Bashir calls the infirmary and orders them both beamed over.


In the infirmary, Garak has been dressed in patient clothing and has some metal thingies on his forehead. Odo is there. Bashir has discovered an implant in Garak and wants Odo’s take on it, since he worked with the Cardassians for five years.


The usual patient clothes on DS9 are purple, with orange trim. I suppose it’s slightly better than a backless paper gown.

Odo says he’s never looked inside a Cardassian skull. He asks if the implant has caused Garak’s condition. Bashir replies with some medical technical talk about where it’s located and says it connects to his entire central nervous system. Odo wonders if it’s a punishment device. Bashir says he considered that, but the implants been in there for years, and it seems as though Garak has only been in pain for a few days. Odo has no answers.

Bashir says he was hoping Odo could help him. He thinks Quark knows what the thing is, because he heard them talking the other day, Garak negotiating to buy something from Quark and he seemed desperate. Odo says this might answer some of his own questions, as Quark has sent some coded messages to Cardassia Prime in the last few days. He monitors all of Quark’s subspace transmissions. Bashir is hesitant about the legality of this but Odo is not concerned.

Odo invites Bashir to come to security at 0200 hours, saying that Quark always makes clandestine calls after the bar closes. Bashir agrees to come.


Quark talks to a Cardassian on a small screen behind the bar. The guy asks him about a particular woman working the Dabo tables. The Cardassian reminisces fondly about the woman and how he misses her.


Nothing interesting to say about this guy. He’s wearing the boring military uniform.

They get down to business. Quark asks if he’d like to earn some more latinum. He wants a piece of Cardassian bio-tech and schematics relating to its installation. The guy says it shouldn’t be too difficult. He asks what it is. Quark says he has the requisition code number. The guy says he’ll see what he can do.

From security, Odo and Bashir watch it all go down. Bashir says he hopes Odo doesn’t have one of these little bugs in his quarters. Odo asks if he should.

Quark sends over the code number to the guy rather than reading it, so I guess it’s a long number. The Cardassian searches. His screen starts flashing red and beeping, and he calls Quark an idiot. Quark asks if something is wrong. The guy says he’s ruined and his career is over as the code is classified, and even the number is classified. He asks where he got it, then says he doesn’t want to know.

He then says that maybe if he’s lucky he can escape with his skin intact, maybe they won’t trace the request back to him. Who won’t? Quark asks. The Obsidian Order.

Quark addresses the guy as Boheeka and says it’s been nice talking and they’ll have to do it again some time. He then ends the call.

Back in Security, Odo says that the Obsidian Order complicates things. Bashir has never heard of them before, so Odo explains they’re the ever vigilant eyes and ears of the Cardassian Empire. They say a Cardassian citizen can’t sit down to a meal without each dish being noted and recorded by the Obsidian Order.

Bashir asks what happens if you eat something they don’t approve of, and Odo says people have been known to disappear for less. He says you can’t help but admire their efficiency and even the Romulan Tal Shiar can’t compete with them on covert operations.

What does this have to do with Garak? Odo says he wishes he knew. Bashir wonders if the order put the implant in Garak? Odo says that if the implant is a punishment device, why is Garak trying to get his hands on another one?

Bashir says that since he asked for specifications maybe he’s looking for a way to remove it. Odo says he wants to talk to Garak when he wakes up either way.

Bashir goes back to the infirmary and asks the computer to update him on Patient Garak. The computer says he’s not in the infirmary. When did he leave? 0320 hours.

Bashir goes to Garak’s quarters and rings the bell. Garak doesn’t answer. He shouts out and there’s no response. He orders the computer to open the door with an Emergency Medical Override. The door opens.

Inside, Garak has been giving himself a hypospray in the neck. He greets Bashir saying it’s a pleasant surprise and he’s sorry for missing the door chime. Bashir asks how much of the medication he’s taken. 30 ccs – not nearly enough, Garak says. Bashir says 30ccs would anesthetize an Algorian mammoth. Garak says he barely feels it.


Closer view of the mustard and purple outfit here reveals that the pattern is definitely more subtle than polka dots. There are diamonds and circles in the mustard and purple colors. It reminds me a bit of playing cards, actually.

Bashir is angry and says he’s had enough and Garak is coming to the infirmary. Garak refuses again, and says there’s nothing he can do for him. Bashir asks if Quark can. Garak is taken aback and says he thought he was supposed to be the spy. Bashir says Quark isn’t coming.

Garak asks how he knows. Bashir says he overheard Quark talking to his contact, and he wasn’t able to get the item requested. Garak says his is distressing but not all that surprising. He says maybe it’s for the best. He asks for his hypospray back. Bashir refuses, saying it will kill him. He says he’s there to help. Garak says he doesn’t think he can, and then collapses to the floor in pain. He says he’s experiencing deterioration in his cranial nerve cluster.

Bashir says it is more than a slight deterioration and wants him to return to the infirmary. Garak refuses, saying he doesn’t want to be on display for the Bajoran inhabitants of the station. Bashir says he’s not worried about that, he’s worried about the implant. He asks if it’s a punishment device.

Garak laughs, getting to his feet, and says that’s what it’s become. Bashir asks what’s it for and says he wants to know what it’s for so he can try to find a way to remove it. Garak says it’s hopeless and can’t be removed. If it could be, it would be useless.

He says that on Cardassia he was entrusted with certain information that needed to be kept safe regardless of the situation. His implant was given to him by the head of the Obsidian Order, Enabran Tain himself. If he was ever tortured, it was designed to stimulate the pleasure centers of his brain, and release massive amounts of natural endorphins. It was to make him immune to pain.

Bashir asks why it’s malfunctioning. Garak says it was never meant for continuous use. He says living on the station is torture. The temperature is always too cold, lights too bright. Every Bajoran looks at him with loathing and contempt. One day he decided he couldn’t live with it and took the pain away. He created a device allowing him to trigger the implant whenever he wanted it. At first it was a few minutes a day, but then he relied on it more and more and then he just turned it on and never turned it off.

How long has it been on? Two years. And now it’s breaking down. Bashir asks why he doesn’t turn it off. Garak says his body is completely dependent on the higher endorphin levels generated by the implant. Bashir says that’s it – he’s going to give up and let them win?

Garak asks what he means by “them?” Bashir says whoever exiled him there. Roll over and die, let them destroy him, give up hope of seeing Cardassia again. Garak asks if anyone ever told him he was an infuriating pest? Chief O’Brien, all the time, and he doesn’t pay any attention to him either. Garak asks if he thinks he’s getting what he deserves.

Bashir says no one deserves this. Garak says he’s suffered enough without having to listen to his smug Federation sympathy. He asks if Bashir thinks he knows him because they have lunch once a week? He couldn’t begin to fathom what he’s capable of. Bashir says he’s a doctor and Garak is the patient and that’s all he needs to know.

Garak disagrees and says he needs to know who he’s trying to save. During the Occupation, he was a Gul in the Cardassian mechanized infantry, stationed just outside the Bajoran capital. Just before the withdrawal, a handful of Bajoran prisoners escaped his custody. His aide, a man named Elim, tracked them to a shuttle about to depart for Terok Nor. He got aboard but the Captain wouldn’t let him search the ship because he said he was under strict orders from Gul Dukat to depart immediately.

So he had the shuttle destroyed, killing the escapees, Elim, and 97 Cardassian civilians.

He says he followed orders and didn’t let the prisoners get off Bajor alive. Unfortunately, one of the victims was the daughter of a prominent military official. He was stripped of rank and commission and exiled. So now Bashir knows. He hopes he hasn’t shattered too many illusions.

Bashir says he doesn’t care what did in the past, he’s not going to walk out and let him die. They need to turn the implant off and whatever withdrawal symptoms or side effects he experiences, Bashir will help him through it. He needs to know where the triggering device is.

Garak says it’s in the desk. Bashir goes to get it.

Garak is asleep with the medical doohickeys on his forehead again. Bashir tells his assistants to leave, but he’ll be there for at least the next 26 hours if they need him. He notes an erosion of tissue in the patient’s lymphatic system and asks the computer for assistance, but the computer says it has insufficient data on Cardassian physiology to determine a cause. For now, he tells it to monitor the implant and inform him if it shows any sign of reactivation.


I’m sure there’s a technical term for the medical forehead doohickeys, but I don’t remember it.

Odo comes in. He wants to ask Garak some questions. Bashir says he’s asleep and has been since Bashir turned off the implant.

They go outside to talk. Odo says he wants to talk to Garak about some murder cases in his files he thinks were committed by the Obsidian Order. If Garak was a member, he might shed some light. Bashir says the questions will have to wait as Garak’s body has undergone a severe shock and he doesn’t know when or even if he’ll recover.

Odo says he wants to talk to him now, then. Bashir refuses. Odo says these are murder cases and Garak might be a suspect. Bashir says that he’s still his patient and he doesn’t want him to be disturbed, so his quarters are off limits to all but emergency medical personnel. Odo doesn’t argue.


Garak, lying in bed, does some moaning and groaning and rolls over. Time passes. Bashir hangs out in the room. He drinks something from the replicator. He walks around the room. He sits in a chair nearby. He uses a medical tricorder to check on Garak. He falls asleep in the chair.


Garak’s quarters seem to like the color red.

Bashir is woken up by Garak crying. He has sat up. Bashir tries to help him but he doesn’t want to be touched. He walks away and says he doesn’t want to be calm any more, he has been calm long enough. He insults his quarters and then breaks a vase. Bashir says he’s obviously just experiencing side effects from the deactivation of the implant.

Garak disagrees, saying he’s more clear-headed than he has in the past two years. Which have been a waste. He upends a desk.

there needs to be a gif of this

He says he once had power and was the protégé of Enabran Tain himself. Do you know what that means? Bashir says he does not. Garak says he doesn’t know much of anything, does he?

Tain was the Obsidian Order, not even Central Command dared to challenge him, and Garak was his right hand man, so his future was limitless. But he threw it away. When he shot the shuttle down? Bashir asks. Garak says he wishes that he had stopped the prisoners from escaping. No, his disgrace is worse than that. He let them go.

It was the eve of the withdrawal. He and Elim were interrogating five Bajorans. They were children, none older than 14, and they knew nothing. They lived in bombed-out rooms and scrounged for food on the streets. The room was cold and the exercise seemed meaningless. He wanted a hot bath and a good meal. He starts laughing and says he let them go. Gave them whatever latinum he had and flung them out into the streets. Elim couldn’t believe his eyes and looked at him like he was insane.

Bashir says there was nothing wrong with that. Garak says, no, he should have turned them over for execution, but because he was chilly and his stomach was growling, he failed in his duty and destroyed everything he worked for. So they exiled him? Bashir asks. Yes. They left him with nothing to look forward to but having lunch with Bashir. Bashir says he’s sorry he feels that way, but he thought Garak enjoyed his company.

Garak says he did and that’s the worst part. He can’t believe he enjoyed eating mediocre food and staring into his smug, sanctimonious face. He hates the place and he hates Bashir.

Bashir says that’s his prerogative and he thinks he should lie down. Garak yells at him to get away from him and pushes Bashir into a table. Then he throws him onto the ground, smashing through more furniture. They grapple on the floor for a bit and then Garak is debilitated by either a bit of pain or maybe a seizure. Bashir calls for medical assistance.


In the infirmary, the nurse gives an unconscious Garak a hypospray of something, and Bashir orders cardiostimulation. His heartbeat is stabilizing. But his lymphatic system is unstable and he doesn’t know why. The implant was shut down, so that can’t be affecting his blood chemistry, but toxins are still accumulating.

He has the computer display an analysis of biochemical samples from the last 39 hours, does some more analysis, and then realizes that the molecular structure of Garak’s leukocytes has been altered, causing the buildup of toxins.

suddenly, it all makes sense!)

The nurse asks if they can synthesize Cardassian leukocytes. Bashir says it could take weeks to do so, and they have three or four days. She suggests they turn them implant back on and keep him alive another week or two. Garak interrupts to say no.

Bashir and the nurse go over and Garak says he doesn’t want it turned on again. Bashir says he understands, but isn’t sure what else he can do. Garak says he’s done more than he deserves. He also says there’s something he has to know – the truth.

Bashir sighs and says he’s given up on learning the truth. Garak says patience has its rewards.

He says that Elim wasn’t his aide, he was his friend. They grew up together and were closer than brothers. For some reason, Enabran Tain took a liking to them. Before long they were both very powerful men, called “The Sons of Tain,” and even the Guls feared them.

But then, there was a scandal. Someone in the Order was accused of letting Bajoran prisoners escape, and there were constant rumors and fingers pointed at Garak. By then, Tain had retired. He couldn’t protect Garak, so Garak panicked. He did everything in his power to make sure Elim was accused instead of Garak – altered records, planted evidence – only to discover that Elim had beaten him to it. Elim destroyed him. Garak was exiled.

He says he deserved it – not for the reasons they claimed, but because of what he’d tried to do to Elim.

Bashir asks why he is telling him this. Garak says he needs to know that someone forgives him. Bashir takes his hand and says he forgives him for whatever it is he did. Garak thanks him, then goes back to sleep. Bashir tells the nurse to keep Garak comfortable and he’s going to find the man responsible for this.


The nurse’s uniform on DS9 is terrible – a blend of mustard orange and blue – but this nurse is rocking the hairstyle. Perfectly sculpted, and with a bun made of a braid circle. I kind of love it. How much gel do you think went into making that? Or aerosol hairspray, more likely. No wonder the ozone layer depleted.

Bashir takes a runabout from the station and flies out into space. He beams down to a space that looks kind of like a religious place, with stained glass windows and wood on the walls. He goes over to a computer terminal that’s beeping and bends over to push a button.

Before he can do so, a Cardassian man enters the room. Recognizing Bashir, he welcomes him and says to make himself at home. He says that Bashir has come all this way to see him and asks if he’s going to say anything. Bashir asks how he knows his name, and the man says that information is his business.


I guess this is what retired Cardassians wear. Oversized sweater over sweater, over sweater, with what looks like kind of baggy pants. Cardassians have pretty thick, but short necks, I’ve realized, so I’m not sure a turtleneck would have worked on him, which is good because I hate turtlenecks. Kind of getting the easy-going professor vibe here.

Bashir says he is Enabran Tain. Tain says that he is Dr. Julian Subatoi Bashir. He hopes he wasn’t greeted rudely upon entering Cardassian space. Bashir says not too rudely. Tain says good; he alerted them that Bashir was coming. But what he did was very brave and he’s impressed.

Tain offers Bashir a drink, maybe Tarkalean tea, which is Bashir’s favorite drink. He says a good host knows the needs of his guests. He also orders a glass of kanar for himself and passes the drink to Bashir. He asks about Garak.

Bashir brings up Boheeka, the Cardassian Quark was talking to, and says he did have a reason to fear the Obsidian Order. Tain says that everyone has reason to fear the Order. Bashir is confused, and says Garak told him he was retired. Tain says he has been for years, but likes to keep informed on current events.


Closer view of the sweater here. Definitely looks thick and heavy. No complaints of cold wearing that.

He says he thinks Bashir could tell him things he wants to know. Bashir says he’ll tell him anything he wants to know about medicine, biology, or tennis, and offers to share his opinion on the newest type of racket. Tain declines, and asks if all Starfleet lieutenants are as brash as he is. Bashir says he doesn’t know but doubts it.

Tain asks about Garak. Bashir says he’s dying and he’s trying to save him. Tain says he thought Bashir was his friend, and he should let him die, as for Garak, a life in exile is no life at all. Bashir says his job is to keep him alive, and he needs Tain’s help.

He says the molecular structure of Garak’s leukocytes has been disrupted and he needs to synthesize replacements to save him, but his knowledge of Cardassian biochemistry is severely limited. Tain concludes that Bashir thinks he has access to that kind of information. Bashir points out that his business is information, and that he is probably the one who ordered him to put the implant in his head.

Tain says he never had to order Garak to do anything, that’s what made him special. He agrees to transfer the necessary data to DS9’s computers. Bashir thanks him. Tain says not to thank him. He doesn’t want Garak to die quickly, but wants him to live a long, miserable life, and grow old on the station, surrounded by people who hate him. Bashir says this is a lovely sentiment. Tain says it’s from the heart.

Bashir says he has one more question – about a friend of Garak’s from the Obsidian order. He was wondering what happened to him. What was his name, Tain asks. Elim, Bashir replies. Tain laughs. He says Garak has not changed – never tell the truth when a lie will suffice. Elim is Garak’s first name. He says to tell Garak he misses him.


Back on DS9, an alien emerges from an airlock and walks out into the promenade, passing by Bashir, who has stopped for some tea at the replimat.


I don’t even know what fabric his shirt is made of. Folded, faux silk? With faux leather suspenders? It does work for him.

Garak comes up and asks to join him, holding a drink of his own.


Garak is back to the outfit from the beginning of the episode. For a tailor, you’d think he’d have more outfits. Anyway, the collar is knitted, suggesting that this is also at least partially a sweater. Maybe if he wore thicker clothing he wouldn’t be cold all the time.

Bashir scolds Garak, saying he should be in bed. Garak says he couldn’t stand being in the infirmary for another second and he feels fine. He asks about the spice pudding. Bashir asks if that’s all he has to say for himself, and is surprised he could pretend the last ten days haven’t happened.

Garak says he’s perfectly satisfied with how things turned out and sees no need to dwell on what was a difficult time for the both of them. Also, he’s just had an interesting conversation with Odo, who’s under the impression Garak was a member of the Obsidian Order. Garak said he was mistaken. Odo said something about keeping a closer eye on him in the future, and Garak said to go ahead as he has nothing to hide.

He gives Bashir a small stick of what he says is a bit of Cardassian literature, saying this will be more to his tastes. It takes place in the future, while Cardassia and the Klingon Empire are at war.

Bashir says he has a lot of questions about Garak’s past. Garak says he’s given all the answers he’s capable of. Bashir says all the answers were different. He wants to know which of the stories were true and which weren’t. Garak says they were all true. Even the lies? Especially the lies.

Stray Thoughts:

* This was a good episode for Bashir. No romantic entanglements, no attempting to be something he’s not, no trying to be a hero or pretending to know more than he knows. Just him and Garak working out the details of their friendship and him being a doctor, which he is.

* Related, I appreciate how the show shifts between character focused episodes. The last two episodes, it seemed like Bashir had maybe two lines and the focus was on Sisko. This episode, Sisko had two lines and nothing to do.

* Of course, Garak does the real dramatic heavy lifting here. His withdrawal symptoms, including half-destroying his own quarters, are given real weight, and we get a sense of the real Garak while at the same time allowing the character to remain pretty mysterious.

* I do find it odd that Bashir knows so little about Cardassian physiology. Are they so insular a species, encountering Starfleet so rarely, that there’s nothing in the medical databases to allow Bashir to help Garak more effectively?

* According to Google, leukocytes are: “a colorless cell that circulates in the blood and body fluids and is involved in counteracting foreign substances and disease; a white (blood) cell. There are several types, all amoeboid cells with a nucleus, including lymphocytes, granulocytes, monocytes, and macrophages.” So, basically, Garak’s white blood cells were mutated, which (I think) means that rather than trying to fend off diseases as white blood cells ordinarily do, they were attacking his own body. I’m not sure if I feel happy the show didn’t bother to explain this, or confused. I guess it depends on if the viewers know what “leukocytes” are, or care enough to try to understand the medical part.