I'm still reading about space aliens.
Garak is now a politician trying to reassemble a world that has fallen to division, plague, and blame. A crowd he is addressing wants revenge. Against whom? Anyone will do. He is giving an ill-received speech. But this part is true:
“Alright,” I answered the voice. “But let me ask you a serious question, my fellow long-suffering Cardassian; have you thought about what this world is going to look like if you do strike the last blow?”
Complete silence. Stillness. They stood looking at me like stunned animals.”
The planet Cardassia is grappling for normal. It has been destroyed deeply, not only by the war that took the infrastructure and so much life, but by a harrowing lack of what is needed to rebuild: vision, hope, trust; all those words that mean, if you are in a downward spiral, look up. There is no "up" on Cardassia, so the hopeless look to vengeance to save them.
This hits close to a war between two people in my own life. For me, there is this repeating sentiment that comes whenever I am angry: There is not enough time to fix everything, just enough time to forgive.
Garak is put into the Vinculum, which if I could describe with words is like the tesseract in "A Wrinkle in Time." It's like being awake in a dream. Like hearing the voice of God. Like knowing something you have no way of knowing. Like a song you hear for the first time, but know the next note. I wish I could describe it with words. Somehow the author did it, but I am not quite.
He meets people he killed.
"But they marched in the procession with such pride of place, in the fullness of their youth and power, and with a dignity that’s traveled far beyond my murderous acts.”
He also sees friends, an enemy who became his friend, and his real father. Are they really there or is he seeing only what he thinks these people to be?
This is how he describes the woman he loved:
"And Palandine…so open and alive. The great empty place in my heart.”
He is finding peace within. Is this how he will save Cardassia?
"In the minds of the living, we think we can interrupt the flow of life with acts of alienation that we justify and rationalize. War is a logical extension of diplomacy, someone once suggested. One can argue that murder is a moral act, even an extreme form of friendship. After all, I killed a person I loved. But here, in this Vinculum, as I watch all the souls who have gone before, it’s clear that this separation, this alienation from the continuum, is our greatest illusion."
Oh, my God!
Then he is pulled out and can't find the words to explain to his non-believing friend what has happened to him.
"I looked at him, wondering how I could ever explain. Parmak was a scientist; he believed that we can reconstruct a society based solely on a rational model. He had no idea that before he could even get to that point, we had to surrender everything."
We can't rebuild with just bricks and mortar. We have to have something more.