Title: Dear Garak
Summary: Months after the series finale, "What You Leave Behind," Julian Bashir writes a letter to Garak.
Note: this was inspired by the first few paragraphs of Andrew Robinson's novel, A Stitch In Time, and the concept that it's a chronicle of Garak's life in the form of a letter to Julian, in reply to an unseen letter sent by Julian. When this story was written, the book had not yet been released; I'd read the first few paragraphs in the form of a preview on the Net.
Disclaimer: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is the property of Paramount. This story, written in 2000, never has been and never will be sold.
Feedback: Any and all. Criticism welcome.
Hopefully, this is understandable. As often as we've conversed in Kardasi, as often as I've read books in it, I've never had to write in it. I considered Hebitian, as we've read and discussed much more Hebitian fiction than Kardasi, but Hebitian is so dependent upon context and tone for its meaning, and so complex in the physical formation of the writing; I feared I'd make an utter mess of it. Kardasi, then... less familiar yet less intricate.
I've gone over and over this, but it will likely still contain a few of the eccentricities particular to my "charming human grammar."
First, my news. The research proposal I was thinking about before you left has been completed and accepted. For the next two Federation standard years I will map the DNA of the Founders in their natural state, and I will investigate the theory that they share a common ancestry with the various Preserver-seeded solid species.
A more concrete project I've been assisting with, and one which surely interests you more, is the continuing repatriation of Cardassian war orphans from Bajor. Most of the young adults are already home; those who are left on Bajor are generally the ones who were adopted, and who never had the benefit of meeting you during one of our charity missions to the orphanages. Understandably, they have more ties to Bajor than to Cardassia; asking them to leave would be as cruel as asking the others to stay.
Now, the younger children are contacting me. They are still minors, living in the orphanages, but they want to go to Cardassia and help. For the moment I've refused them as gently as I can; I will send them when conditions improve and arrangements can be made to place them with families who can feed and shelter them. It speaks well for your influence, Elim, that they feel such loyalty to a place they have never been, and to a culture they have seen only through your example. You have made them Cardassian in spirit.
They are so young, yet they love Cardassia every bit as much as you do, and long for the chance to rebuild, to restore their State and become part of Cardassian families. It makes me proud, to think that I had a part in giving them a piece of their own heritage. It fills me with excitement to know that I am helping to return them to their home.
Life truly is exciting these days. The end of the war has renewed the sense of adventure and excitement that I remember from my first few years here. The opening of the wormhole symbolizes new life and new civilizations again, instead of being the signal that the enemy is coming. We're recontacting many of the races we met years ago, before the Dominion. We're meeting new species, too, finally freed from centuries of oppression by the Founders, and trying to recapture their ancient ways of life. When I talk to them, I find myself thinking of you, and of Cardassia.
I hope this letter finds you well. The news coming out of Cardassian space is erratic and spotty at best, but I have gathered at least that life is very difficult. Frankly, I'm concerned, not only for the People but for you. I fear you will starve, as many are starving. More, I fear you are lonely.
I miss you, Elim, more than I ever thought possible. I have realized over the past few months that this station would never have felt like home without you. Yes, it's exciting, and my work is absorbing, but I crave the conversation of someone who can outmanoeuvre me in an argument, who can make me think about and defend my own point of view.
That's not really the truth. It's true, yes; you taught me that all the best lies are true. I do miss your intellect, your verbal skill, your different point of view. The truth is, though, that I simply miss you. I wish I could simply walk across the Promenade at lunch and pull you away from your design computer, force an F. Scott Fitzgerald story upon you, and listen as you tell me another improbable anecdote from your mysterious past.
You would tell me I'm being selfish and sentimental, of course. I know I am. My wishes are frivolous compared to the immediate and undeniable need of your people.
I still miss you. Our friendship was my most important and involving contact, and now I can't even be sure this letter will reach you.
I hope you will have the time and resources to answer this letter, and let me know how you and Cardassia are faring. I only wish I could see your face again, and hear your voice, but I know that's not possible right now.
If you could bear one more piece of human literature, my dear Plain and Simple Garak, Jake Sisko has just published his first novel, "Anslem". I've enclosed a paper copy for you. Jake and Ezri are dating now, which should be upsetting, I suppose, but actually makes me feel a good deal better. She seems happier with him than she was with me, more centred. She has even stopped allowing the absent Captain Sisko to influence her decisions to the point that she's completing her counsellor's training under Dr. Telnori.
Perhaps I've grown up a little, too, in the past few months, because I've stopped throwing myself at every sentient being who steps through the airlock. I think it's time I begin thinking about the sort of relationship I want, and risk my heart on something deeper than a fling. I want to end up with someone interesting and with depth, who can match me intellectually, a partner for the struggles ahead. I seem to have absorbed a few Cardassian ideals when it comes to marriage and family, Elim: I find myself thinking of a partnership defined by duty, shared suffering, good meals and good arguments.
One human ideal I stubbornly cling to, though, is shared secrets. I don't think I could really love someone I didn't know and trust completely. I'm sure you're chuckling indulgently at me now, thinking how unrealistic and sentimental I am, but I am still a human, and these things mean something to me.
I'm looking forward to your answer.