I’ve finally decided I’m ready to share the EPICNESS that is “The Garak/Bashir Mysteries” series by JA Ingram and along with it, do a video intro*.
I’ve wanted to rec this since I started the blog, but like many stories I like a lot, I wanted to wait until the blog had more of a following. Also, I kept thinking that maybe I needed to reread the whole thing, which is rather a behemoth task given that it’s over 300K words (basically 3 long novels) and quite emotionally involving. But now I’ve just about reached 550 followers and I realize that after a bit of review, I remember more than enough of this masterpiece to recommend it here, right now.
In addition to the basics I share in the video, a few points / warnings about this story:
- It’s great but HUGE and a giant (but rewarding) time-suck. For me, it was the kind of thing I couldn’t put down. At first it seems pretty standard G/B DS9, if very well done, but as you read on, you have just GOT to know what’s going to happen, what’s going on – with the mystery, with Garak & Bashir, with the other characters. The sheer tension in these stories is pretty incredible. So just a warning: If you have something to do, like a test or a wedding or a move or something you NEED to do, don’t start reading this right as you’re about to do it. A good strategy would be to bookmark the link and then take it on slow. If you can.
- The Mysteries include some plot elements and imaginative flourishes that I haven’t seen in any other stories, despite the fact it dates to almost 20 years ago. It’s super inventive. One of these unique points is how much of the story involves Bajor or is set on Bajor. So there are lots of points of Bajoran culture written into it. Almost all of “Meditations” is set on Bajor, for example.
- There are lots and lots of original characters, and all and all, they are really well done – probably whole spin-off stories could be written about just them. In “Meditations,” while there is a huge amount going on between G&B, there are a couple other OC couples who also have totally separate dramas going on between them. AND there is a another relationship between Canon characters that is there too. (Not naming, bc spoilers.) At times it was a bit distracting but I think it was because at that point I had read about 200,000 words and just wanted to follow the ONE relationship. But it was great, I guess if you are more patient than I was.
- This story starts in Season 5 and rapidly goes AU (Alt. Universe), first in what happens, and then in some backstory that’s revealed. It goes pretty full-tilt AU, to be honest, but that’s all I can say. Anything else would be spoiling it. I’m not sure if the series was even over when this was written, so honestly the author could’ve just been imagining their own “future,” really!
- Summary of the stories:
- “Cheap Date” is the intro story and has G/B teaming up to investigate their first mystery.
- “Sinless” is a novella-length mystery with G/B getting involved with politics down on Bajor and also with one another.
- “The Never Ending Sacrifice” is a novel that continues on from before, with G/B back on the station, together, with a whole lot of stuff I can’t put in without spoiling.
- “Meditations on a Crimson Shadow” is a big, big drama/mystery mostly set on Bajor, again following from before, at first in a personal drama but then in a crisis of planet-wide importance.
- “Red Uniform” is a drabble that only makes sense after part 4.
- “Kal-toh” is a story that describes a prior relationship Garak mentions earlier in the series and could be read as a stand-alone.
* Which has a HORRIBLE preview pic and contains a few mistakes, but bah. Corrections include: I don’t know why I didn’t say JA Ingram as the author, as THAT is how the author went at time of posting. Also, only three of the stories are novel-length, not four. One is a long stories, one a short story, and one is a drabble. The perfectionist in me wants to fix the video but again, bah.
Julian gathered their plates off the desk and put them back on the replicator pad for recycling then rose to his feet, “Well, let’s go ask then,” the Doctor looked up at Garak for a moment and grinned. “First a replicated dinner at home, now a replicated lunch at my desk-Garak, you’re turning into a very cheap date.”
“Excuse me?” Garak asked, a little taken aback. “What exactly is ‘a cheap date’?”
“It’s just something we say on Earth,” Julian shrugged. “It means that you’re happy with a simple and inexpensive meal and that you don’t have to be wined and dined to enjoy my company, that’s all.”
“I see,” Garak responded slowly, “well, I suppose that means that you also consider this to be a date, albeit a 'cheap’ one, then?”
“Well…” the Doctor suddenly appeared to be at a loss for words. His mouth hung open slightly as if he were trying to think of some response, any response to Garak’s question.
“I’m flattered, Julian,” Garak rose from his seat and grinned mischievously. “However, if this is your idea of seduction, next time let’s try for something a little less on the cheap. You are, after all, an up and coming Doctor, and I wouldn’t want to compromise my virtue for a mere sandwich and a glass of juice. I do have my standards, after all.”
“You are an terrible person, Garak,” Julian said, rolling his eyes.
“I can see why you’re still single if that’s how you talk to all of your dates, my dear Julian,” Garak chuckled. “Now, let’s go see about this mystery we have before us.”
Title: The Garak/Bashir Mysteries (SERIES)
Author: JA Ingram (LaDemonessa)
Year Posted: Late 1990s (AO3 2014)
Approx. Word Count: 320,000
Chapters: 6 Stories, (3 novel-length)
GB - Slash or Platonic: Slash
My Rating (1-5): 5
Keywords: DS9 Season 5, AU, Mystery, Thriller, Intrigue, Friends-to-Lovers, Intrigue, Bajor, Angst, Character Backstory, Section 31, Torture, Kidfic