A/N:

This takes place during and is inspired by the episode "Way of the Warrior" from the 4th season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Apparently, only female Cardassians are supposed to have blue coloration in the "spoons"/teardrop-shaped-forehead-indentations, but Garak somehow ends up with it during certain scenes in this episode.

This fanfic is a ridiculous attempt to explain why this happens. Enjoy, and please review!


"Oh that Sem'hal stew was simply superb! I haven't had such a delicious meal in ages."

Garak swished his long hair out of the way whilst gathering his empty dishes and offering them to his hostess. He was ravishingly beautiful and he knew it, complete with vivid blue forehead-indentation.

"Are you sure you don't want help clearing up?" He offered.

"Oh no, don't trouble yourself—you're my guest!"

"Well, if you insist." Garak let out a contented sigh. It had all gone exactly as planned. He had met his contact—a long-lost female friend from another time he'd put on this disguise. He had even planned to spend the night; no one at Deep Space Nine would miss him. There was another of those Bajoran festivals going on and everyone was all too happy to forget the fact that a Cardassian lived and worked on the station. He had also tried to cover his tracks with the computer—if he'd done his job well, the computer would tell anyone who asked that he was either in his quarters or some other perfectly normal place on the station.

So, really, there was nothing to worry about, apart from the dreadful silence and rumors of civil unrest which had brought him to this last-ditch attempt at hearing news about Cardassia's fate.

"It was so kind of you to pamper me like this, Rekora," Garak sort-of giggled, as his female friend returned to the room.

"Oh, not at all, it's been ages since I've seen you, and it's good to see old friends. It's a bright spot in the middle of all this uncertainty. Would you like some Rokassa juice?" She poured him a glass.

"Oh thank you!" Garak gasped excitedly as he took it, then smiled knowingly at her. "My favorite! You remembered?"

"Of course! Temal?" She offered some to her male companion, a man whom Garak remembered as a mere acquaintance of hers from his last visit.

Garak took a sip of juice, and it was indeed delicious. A long, genuine, mmmmcame from him and he sat back contentedly in his seat. "Tell me then… how are things? I see you two have gotten to know each other!" He grinned with an insinuating raise of his eye-ridges.

"Oh, we're just friends at the moment," Temal said, looking at Garak in a way Garak knew quite well was meant to be flirtatious.

"Really? Is that true, Rekora?" Garak asked. "Warn me now so I don't get in the way."

"Oh don't worry, Temal's telling the truth."

"A pity I live so far away, then," Garak smiled. "But I have some very competent and intelligentmale friends back home so I suppose I'm not missing out on much." Before Temal could take his invitation to begin arguing/flirting, Garak turned back to Rekora. "But! Enough about me, tell me what's new in Cardassia? Any events of great importance?"

"Well, you know…I'm not sure what to think about all that's happened."

"You'll have to forgive my ignorance—I've been away too long. What's happened? Very little news of Cardassia reaches me."

"You haven't heard? Central Command has been overthrown! There was a civilian uprising after the Obsidian Order was destroyed, and now we have an entirely new government. It seems like it all happened overnight… I'd be more frightened if it weren't for the fact that many of our former military leaders are supportive and have been kept in command by the people."

"Central command… overthrown?" Garak took a long sip of Rokassa juice, grateful for its soothing effect. "How did this happen? I never thought I'd see the day. Which military leaders do the people support?"

"Oh, Gul Dukat is very popular at the moment, and so is Legate—"

"Gul Dukat? How interesting…. I always did like him. Handsome man, and so very…intelligent!"

"I know, isn't he?" Rekora laughed. "Well, as I was saying…."

Garak made a note of all the names Rekora mentioned, mentally filing them in order of previous and current rank. After lingering just long enough to casually turn the topic away from politics, he informed Rekora regretfully of his change in plans.

"I'd love to stay the night but I had really better go see my mother. You know, all this talk of civil unrest is getting me spooked—and it has already been too long since I've visited. But it was wonderful seeing you again! And nice to meet you as well, Temal."

Rekora was disappointed but understanding, and soon Garak was wandering the campus of the science academy, accessing news files and more before relocating some of his old contacts and arranging a transport back to the station.

...

Luckily or unluckily—depending on how one looked at it—Garak got back just in time to keep his breakfast appointment with Odo.

"Good morning constable!" He said brightly, setting aside his feelings of sleep-deprivation.

"Good morning," Odo said bluntly, with a slight nod.

"How go the security drills? Is the crew's response time getting any better?"

"Results are… somewhat discouraging, I'm afraid," Odo grumbled, following Garak while he placed his order and collected his breakfast. "I'm not the most skilled of Changelings, and even if they stand a good chance of catching me, I'm not so sure about the rest of my people."

"That is most unfortunate," Garak mused, carrying his breakfast to the table.

"No fish juice this morning?" Odo observed.

"It's best not to get too firmly entrenched in habit. It's not my favorite beverage anyway—I much prefer Rokassa juice."

"Hm." Odo rested a hand on the table and before Garak's eyes it changed shape into a glass mug full of brown liquid.

"Very convincing!" Garak said, studying it with his eyes as Odo swirled it around. But after a moment he realized Odo was staring intently back at him. "Something wrong?"

"Has your forehead always been that color?"

"What color?" Garak asked, a small smile masking the agitation he felt. "I'm not sure what you mean."

"It's sort of… blue…." Odo narrowed his already shady eyes and motioned at Garak's forehead. "I thought only female Cardassians—"

"Must be a trick of the light," Garak laughed. "I always did say that the lights here in the replemat do terrible things to colors. It might be this napkin is bringing out a blue shade that isn't really there." He smoothed the napkin he'd tucked into the collar of his shirt.

Odo frowned thoughtfully at him. "Maybe. I suppose there would be no reason for you to have a blue spot on your forehead, unless of course you either were, or were pretending to be, a female."

"A most humorous and preposterous idea if I ever heard one. And people say you have no imagination!"

Odo stared at him for a moment more, then abruptly changed the subject, demonstrating how he could give the illusion of drinking out of the cup which was really an extension of his body. They had a brief and uninformative exchange about the situation with Cardassia, in which Garak learned nothing he hadn't already gleaned from his visit. Before long, however, there was a disturbance on the promenade, and Garak followed Odo to investigate—but not before throwing his napkin onto the table. Just on the slim chance that it was bringing out some faint residual tinge of blue in his indentation, he didn't want it to show up in the middle of a conversation with grumpy Klingons.

...

A short time later, Garak returned to open his tailor shop. He took a moment to check himself in a mirror, in strong light this time, and realized in horror that the blue mark had not washed off completely! It was not as vivid as it had once been, but it was still clear, just soft enough to seem natural.

After applying a thin layer of flesh-colored makeup, he was about to try layering another on top of the first when he noticed the Klingons from breakfast heading toward his shop. He slipped the small container of makeup into a pocket and went to greet his customers.

Before he knew it he was in the infirmary with several broken ribs, a fractured clavicle, and the overwhelming, distracting need to cover up the blue on his forehead before doctor Bashir started asking too many questions as he was always liable to do.

"Doctor," Garak wheezed, wincing as his ribs were mending. "I reallythink you ought to look at that monitor over there! Isn't it doing something strange?"

"I don't know what you're talking about," Bashir muttered, after a quick glance at the screen. "Those readings are the same as they were last time I looked, and those are for a test I'm running on Ensign Havell's diseased tissue, it has nothing to do with you."

"My apologies—it's just—" Garak lifted a hand toward his head, very carefully concealing the container of powder in his sleeve. "The lights are too bright, they're giving me a headache. I hardly seem to be thinking straight."

"Understandable—you've got a bump on your head the size of…well… a Klingon's fist… or at least you did; the swelling's mostly gone down now."

"Oh!" Garak let out a dramatic sigh of disgust. "It must look hideous…!"

"Don't worry," the doctor smiled, still focused on mending Garak's broken bones. "There'll be no permanent damage. Once the bruises are healed, the dermal regenerator should take care of any other discoloration."

"I should hope so, doctor. I wouldn't want my face clashing with my outfit."

Bashir signaled one of the nurses to lower the lights and then gently forced Garak's hand away from his face. "Just let me have a look at it," he muttered under his breath, and Garak felt a rush of relief at the dull increase in pain when Bashir pressed on the bruises and reached for the dermal regenerator. In all likelihood the dyed skin would be replaced by new, normal colored skin and he would have nothing more to worry about. Except for dealing with the poor, naïve doctor lecturing him on the foolishness of starting fights with Klingons. And the possible descent of Cardassia into internal chaos while the Dominion stood waiting on the doorstep.

There was something about their short discussion which did not sit well with Garak, even after he returned to his quarters and noted with satisfaction that his indentation was no longer blue. He had done almost nothing to provoke such an attack. There was something more to the Klingons' hostility, and he had a feeling it was time to make use of his re-established contacts and find out what.

...

It had been a most frustrating few days. Although bad news and not-so-terrible news was now coming in regarding the state of things with Cardassia, Garak could not seem to figure out whether the Klingons had anything to do with Cardassia's uncertain future. After years as an operative it was second nature to be able to make connections between intent and outcome. People's emotions often showed where their actions would lead them next. Garak was sure that his run-in with the Klingons did not bode well for Cardassia's immediate future, but no matter how many excuses he found to pass them on the promenade, he hadn't found out anything, not even from the more intoxicated ones.

And what was worse, the blue pigmentation on his skin had returned! He had taken to putting triple layers of skin-toned makeup over it every hour or so, and even then it seemed inconsistent in when it began to show itself so that he was being driven mad by a constant sense of self-consciousness.

He had just returned to his shop after witnessing a fleet of Klingon ships cloaking and warping away from the station, and was brooding over a particularly problematic mending job when the message came from Sisko to come to the wardroom immediately—with his tailor's kit.

An unusual request to say the least but Garak knew better than to question it. Unusual circumstances were often all the better for opening doors, and besides, he had nothing better to do—this mending job was just as frustrating as everything else he'd tried to unravel lately.

Moments later he was rushing from the ward room, cold with dread at the news: Klingons invading Cardassia! It was just as he had feared—they were weakened from internal problems and now anyone with enough arrogance (and the Klingons certainly had enough and to spare) would see their home as fair game. He walked down the promenade as fast as he dared. Not fast enough, it seems; a customer took notice.

"Oh, Garak! I was looking for you—about my undergarments—"

"Ah!" He rearranged his face into a bright smile and turned sharply to face her. "They will be delivered to you soon, you have my word!"

"I know, it's just that I've decided I don't want them to be made of Tholian silk anymore, I want—are you alright? You look a little ill."

She was staring at his forehead.

"Now that you mention it, my dear, I do feel a bit under the weather… I think I'd better go lie down. I'll get back to you about the material as soon as possible." He clasped her hand in both of his and hurried off, but not before catching a glimpse of himself, reflected in a particularly shiny bulkhead. Was it just his imagination, or was his indentation blue again? Impossible! He had just put on the makeup minutes ago!

It only took him a matter of minutes to reach a private comm. link and send his brief message to Dukat—all the briefer because, despite the dark room he was transmitting from, he didn't want Dukat to see the dyed spot and have a chance to be amused. Even so Garak still managed to find the time to gloat a little—ah, the shock in Dukat's voice when he learned that Garak knew of his position with the Detapa Council. Taking others by surprise never failed to satisfy.

After hastily applying another layer of makeup he set about contacting a few more people who might be able to help prepare Cardassia for the worst—if things came to that.

...

At last, an opportunity to improve his situation a little! Gul Dukat was on the station, and while that did nothing to improve Garak's mood, it did mean one good thing: the Detapa Council was safe, which gave some hope that Cardassia would not be left leaderless. Although, with the way Klingons seemed to be walking around the station as if they owned the place, there was little to keep them from killing the Detapa Council members if they wanted to.

Garak applied five layers of makeup to his forehead, grabbed a phaser, and headed off to be a hero.

...

"Is that the last one?" Garak asked, voice hoarse from yelling over the guttural growls of Klingon warriors for the last hour. Dukat wrenched the stolen Bat'leth out of the last Klingon's back and leaned against the wall, panting and splattered with blood, as Garak knew he must also be.

"I think so… I wouldn't open the doors just yet," Dukat told the Federation guards, who were looking even worse—one was on the ground, barely conscious. "There may be more."

"Well, at least they'll be an easy target if they do come," Garak said triumphantly, letting his phaser drift slowly toward Dukat, who didn't miss the subtle movement for a second.

"I'd keep my eyes pointed in thatdirection if I were you!" Dukat growled.

"Of course!" Garak smiled insidiously. "Where elsewould I be pointing them?"

Dukat narrowed his eyes. "Perhaps at our wounded comrades. They deserve our thanks for protecting the Council members."

"Such a nobly generous sentiment," Garak said, but he did allow himself to glance at the wounded Starfleet officers. "We had better contact doctor Bashir, I think."

The more coherent officer nodded and tapped his comm. badge to contact the infirmary. Garak instantly turned his attention back to Dukat.

"Now—about the Council members."

"If you think I'm about to sing your praises to them—" Dukat began, but then cut off. Garak froze in the middle of wiping sweat off his forehead, realizing instantly what he had done.

"Your forehead…." A mystified expression came across Dukat's face, and then he began to laugh—such an obnoxious sound! "Shall I take a holopicture to send back to your old friends on Cardassia prime? If you have any friends left. What have you been doing? You must be absolutely bored out of your witsif this is the kind of thing you resort to for entertainment!" Dukat was laughing, grinning, amused beyond measure.

"Oh you only wish you knew what I've been up to. This was not out of boredom, I assure you. Your pitiful mind can't seem to conceive of the idea that I might have used such a simple tactic to get past the pathetic security forces you put in place after your rise to power, Dukat! If a little amateurish cross-dressing fooled your people, how do you sleep at night, knowing how easily someone as imbecilicas I could easily assassinate you?"

"Your tactics are as low as ever!" Dukat snarled, and Garak knew he'd hit a nerve. "You expect me to believe you masqueraded as a woman to get information? About what? About me?"

"You expect me to tell you what I learned? That would defeat the point of such a covert operation, wouldn't it? And besides—you have very few secrets which I didn't already know."

"You have no dignity!" Dukat scoffed.

"At least I'm not so absorbed in stroking my own ego that I make a fool of myself by allowing a so-called fool with no dignity to get the best of me! But if you're content to die as long as you die with your dignityintact—"

"You are in no position to make threats!" Dukat snarled, hefting the Bat'leth.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you!" Garak lifted his phaser and backed away.

"And why not?"

"Because I'm not the only one with a phaser aimed at you," Garak said pleasantly. Dukat glanced at the officer behind him. "And besides—someone's coming."

And indeed someone was. Doctor Bashir had rounded the corner a moment ago, and skidded to a halt with his hands in the air at the sight of Garak poised to shoot him.

"Whoa, easy! I heard there were wounded."

"Over here!" called the conscious officer.

"My apologies doctor—we almost mistook you for another Klingon."

"Well that would have been a first," Bashir mumbled to himself, fearlessly—or perhaps just obliviously—striding through the electrically charged murderous tension between Dukat and Garak to tend the guard on death's door.

After a moment of silence, Dukat cleared his throat. "Well. I think I'll go assure the Detapa Council that the Klingon threat has been neutralized. Why don't you run along back to your little tailor's shop and start sewing your next dress? Who knows when you'll be needing one again?"

"Who knows?" Garak responded, lifting his hands in a gesture of uncertainty. "You're welcome to place an order yourself whenever you like."

"I think I'd rather find other ways to patronize you," Dukat smirked before opening the door and stepping through.

"Garak, can I get a hand?" Bashir asked.

"Of course, doctor. How may I be of assistance?" Garak put his phaser away and knelt at Bashir's side.

"Help me lift him up."

Together Garak and Bashir hefted the wounded officer to his feet, and Bashir ordered him to be beamed to his quarters to rest, having done all he could for him. He then sent the other along to sick bay for the nurses to take care of before turning to Garak.

"Let me have a look at your injuries now."

"They're all quite superficial," Garak assured him, but Bashir wore a knowing smirk.

"That must be a very unusual bruise," the doctor muttered, his brow furrowing exaggeratedly. "It's positively blue."

"It is rather astonishing, isn't it?" Garak said uncomfortably.

"Embarrassing. I should remove it right away."

"That would be mostappreciated, doctor."

"I hear you've been dealing with this disfiguration for a while?" Bashir put a hand on Garak's shoulder and began steering him toward the promenade.

"Longer than I expected. I had hoped the effects of the dermal regenerator would have been more lasting."

"Well, Garak, I can't cure something I know nothing about. You should tell me when something unusual like this happens."

"Ask me no questions, doctor, and I'll tell you no lies."


Thanks, please review!