- The usual, Odo? - Nothing.
The usual. lf all my customers were like you
my family would be begging.
l doubt that. Not while there is a Miradorn raider
for you to do business with.
You mean the Miradorn ship that just docked?
The raider.
lts reputation, like mine, has probably been exaggerated.
Anyway, l don't know the ship or its crew.
You didn't make your welcome call,
inviting them in for a free drink?
The Miradorns are quarrelsome.
l chose to forego the usual amenities.
He looks away whenever we make eye contact.
The new arrival that the Klingons brought back
from the Gamma Quadrant.
- Croden? He's harmless. - Really?
How is it you've come to know him so well?
A man comes in for a drink, he wants to talk.
He didn't want to talk to Sisko when he arrived.
Who would? All those Starfleet officers greeting him.
lt would scare me, too.
The Federation could learn from the Ferengi about hospitality.
- They scared him, huh? - Of course.
l wonder what he's scared about.
Well, now. l believe a pair of twinned Miradorn
just nodded your way.
l'm the man behind the bar.
Obviously, they want to use a holosuite.
You think the whole galaxy is plotting around you, don't you?
Paranoia must run in your species, Odo.
Maybe that's why no one has ever seen another shape-shifter.
They're all hiding! Don't harass my customers.
Order a drink, play the tables,
or vacate the premises!
Rom, bring a flask of my special langour.
1,000 bars of gold-pressed latinum. Non-negotiable.
Very nice.
Unfortunately, there's a problem.
- What problem? - The buyer backed out.
You guaranteed us a buyer.
A question has been raised about the origin of this bauble.
A similar one was taken during a raid
on a Vanoben transport two light years from here.
lf you had a bill of sale...
You didn't ask for any bill of sale when we contacted you.
You will find another buyer.
A buyer who asks no questions?
That could take a long time.
We don't have a long time.
Just stay. Stay where you are, please.
- What's this? - Don't fire!
What do you want?
No one will get hurt. Just give me that.
Whoever you are, you're making a mistake.
lt wouldn't be the first and won't be the last.
Give that to me.
Security and medical to holosuite one.
Five glasses for four people?
He's dead.
My brother.
Take them all to Security.
Yes, take them both to his office.
Thank goodness you were close by.
All of them. Get out. Go on.
Have you known any twinned Miradorn, Commander?
Not before now.
ln my species, we are not just twin brothers.
Together, we are a single self...
two halves of one being.
l am incomplete now.
You should have considered that before selling stolen property.
You have no proof.
Two people were killed on the transport this was taken from.
We purchased it from an Altairian trader.
- Name? Ship's identification? - My brother was killed!
Return to your ship now!
You have my sympathies, but there may be questions.
- Don't leave the station. - l want to deal with the killer!
The law will deal with him.
My only purpose in life from here on...
is to see him dead.
can't say l didn't warn you about Miradorns, Odo.
l assume we are free to go?
Do you have enough evidence to hold them?
As Odo will be happy to confirm,
l was concerned, too,
that this was a stolen objet d'art.
Yes. Curious, but it's true.
We'll be on our way, then.
lt's also curious that Croden had a Ferengi phaser.
Available in many a port.
And it's curious that he knew
the Miradorn were trying to sell you something of value.
How dare you suggest that my brother set up this robbery!
What an interesting theory, Rom.
lf that theory should reach the Miradorn,
l'd wake up dead one morning.
l'd appreciate your not spreading wild theories about.
Lobeless idiot, next time...
Don't you feed your prisoners?
Doesn't killing a man affect your appetite?
lt was him or me.
lf he killed me, l wouldn't be hungry.
l want you to understand what's going to happen.
A trial will determine your guilt or innocence.
We can assign an advocate or you can request one.
l doubt if anyone on Rakhar would much care.
lsn't murder a serious crime where you come from?
On Rakhar, all crimes are serious... only there are no trials.
lt's a shame our first encounter
had to take place under such circumstances.
l'm sorry if l made things awkward.
- l didn't have much choice. - Why not?
My needs exceed my skills.
Now, if l had his talents,
l would have no problems at all.
l've never heard of a changeling with such versatility.
- A what? - A changeling, like you.
You've heard of other shape-shifters in the Gamma Quadrant?
Haven't they come through the wormhole?
lt's a lie. He heard me talking in the bar to Quark.
Well, maybe l dissemble a little.
''Lie'' is a hard word.
But shape-shifters are harsh in their judgments.
Feed me
and maybe l'll tell you where l met someone
just like you.
We have to contact his planet.
Not the best way of introducing ourselves.
Homicide as a means to open relations -
it's not how they teach it at the Academy.
l think you're all wrong.
They're going to thank us. That's what l'd do.
He's probably committed all sorts of crimes in their system.
They'll be glad he's taken off their hands.
We can easily find Rakhar.
According to the logs, Croden was found in a damaged shuttlecraft
about three light years from the wormhole.
There aren't many M-Class planets in that area.
Major Kira, as long as the Miradorn ship is here
there's a threat to Croden.
l don't want him to be killed while in our custody.
l'll have Odo increase security.
Stop in to see if l'd run away?
l couldn't get that lucky.
That Croden is an interesting character...
l wouldn't know.
You said you got to know him rather well.
l never said that.
l merely said we chatted when he bought a drink.
People saw the two of you engaged in heavy conversations.
Morn, here, says you even bought the fellow a meal.
Morn should keep his big mouth shut.
So what were you talking to him about?
Just being friendly.
He was...
so out of place here, alone.
l felt sorry for him.
You should sympathise with my kindness.
There's no profit in kindness.
You attribute odious motives to my every charitable act.
Because your favourite charity is your own pocket.
Speaking of odious motives,
l hear you've been making inquiries
about a ship to go through the wormhole.
That has nothing to do with this.
You were trying to secure passage
to the Gamma Quadrant for Croden
in exchange for staging this tragic little robbery of yours.
This could turn into a bigger tragedy if you don't keep your voice down.
What did Croden tell you about himself?
Nothing. We only talked about business.
lnconsequential things.
What's inconsequential to you may not be to me.
- Did he talk about his home world? - No.
- Other species in the Gamma Quadrant? - No.
Security to Odo.
Go ahead.
Ah-Kel is blocking the entrance to your office.
Leave it. l'll handle him.
- You were told to stay on your ship. - Understand me.
He killed the part of me that made existence bearable.
- l cannot stop until l kill him. - You won't kill anyone.
Get back to your ship and stay there or l'll lock you up, too.
You've made a lot of friends in your short stay here.
Well, l guess you'd know how that feels.
We have a great deal in common, changeling.
We have nothing in common.
We are both aliens here...
the only ones of our kind.
Each of us is alone, isolated, shut out.
Others like us only exist in the Gamma Quadrant.
l have always wondered
why changelings are so distrustful of other species.
l doubt the changelings on your world would trust you.
Of course not. There are no shape-shifters on Rakhar.
You just said...
You implied there were.
l'm sorry if l misled you.
There were shape-shifters on Rakhar
but that was centuries ago.
- What happened to them? - They were persecuted.
Driven out.
But l know where there are some left.
Of course, that was a few years ago.
And if you could, you'd take me there.
Sure, l would. Why not?
- Tell me where it is, l'll have a look. - No, l...
l have to show you.
There is no way you could find it.
The next time you lie, l'll save Ah-Kel the trouble of killing you.
There's that hard word again.
There are times when l don't dissemble.
Whatever you call it, the truth isn't in you.
From the colony of the changelings.
- We're in orbit. - Open hailing frequency.
This is the Federation Starship Rio Grande,
attempting to make contact with the planet Rakhar. Please respond.
One of your people committed a homicide. We have him in custody.
His name is Croden.
l'm picking up a signal in the southern hemisphere.
- They're hailing us. - On screen.
l am the Exarch of Nehelik Province.
You will transport Croden to this location.
We haven't brought him with us.
Your communication stated that he was in your custody.
On our space station.
l should explain where we come from.
We are aware of the traffic through the passage.
We have no interest in contact with you.
l am sorry to hear that but we will respect your wishes.
We felt it was necessary after Croden was arrested.
Croden is our enemy!
We request that he be returned immediately.
He's scheduled to be tried on our station.
Croden has already been declared guilty in absentia
for myriad crimes on this world.
That judgement supersedes your charges.
Return him and his punishment will be appropriate
to your crime as well.
l would feel more comfortable if...
l do not know what kind of people you are!
But if your society respects the rules of our society
you will return him without delay.
Expect him to return in a vessel like this one within 52 hours.
lt's an amalgam of organic material and some sort of crystal.
- You mean...it's alive. - More or less.
lt's almost like a transitional phase
between organic and inorganic matter.
l've only seen one life-form that even remotely resembles it.
ln a way, this stone
might qualify as a distant cousin of yours.
Maybe it's a clue to your origins.
Where did it come from?
Unfortunately, the only one who can tell me
is less reliable than Quark.
How do you like my stone, changeling?
- Where did you get it? - What would telling you get me?
That's too bad. l was hoping you'd feel sorry for me,
since we're the only two here from the other side.
l feel nothing for you but contempt.
You're a thief and a killer, and who knows what else.
- lt's typical. - Of 'changeling' behaviour?
- Yes, l'm sure. - Excuse me.
There is a nebula called the Chamra Vortex.
There are millions of asteroids in it. l found this stone on one of them.
l could take you to it.
Others must know where it is.
No, the vortex is uncharted,
but as a thief and a killer, l hid there often.
l found this colony of changelings by chance.
And l know my way back.
Come in.
Yes, Commander?
l want you to escort the prisoner back to his home planet.
He's not to stand trial here?
Croden apparently committed crimes on Rakhar.
His government is adamant and the Bajorans will release him.
We'll have trouble getting him past the Miradorn.
l know. Ah-Kel screens every ship leaving this station.
How soon can you be ready?
l'm ready now.
There's a Rigelian freighter leaving here in an hour.
They can run interference between you and the Miradorn ship.
l'll move the prisoner to the runabout now.
Constable, once you're on the other side, you'll be on your own.
The Miradorn vessel can outrun any of our runabouts
and if they come after you, a warning from us will just point you out.
You're finally taking me up on my offer.
l'm taking you home.
The Rigelian freighter's ready for departure.
Signal Odo.
The Miradorn ship is scanning the freighter.
Doesn't look like they're reading the runabout.
How do you stand it, changeling -
living where you don't belong?
Are you happy?
l'm as much a part of here as anyone.
They tolerate you, but you're not one of them.
You can pour your square shape into a round hole.
But you don't fit. You're like my stone.
l figured out what crime you were found guilty of on your world.
- What's that? - You talk too much.
Maybe you're right.
Perhaps that is how it started.
Perhaps l asked one question too many.
Anyway, that's as good an explanation as any.
Explanation for what?
For why they came that night.
l was never told and to this day l don't know.
They broke into my home
and before l could stop them they had murdered my both wives.
You see, on my world,
the punishment for being an enemy of the people
is the death of your family.
l had no sophisticated weapon,
only a short slaughter knife
that l used for cutting the necks of fowl
that we would prepare for supper.
lmagine my surprise when l discovered
that the necks of the security officers
were no more difficult to cut than the birds'.
Even the sound they made
as the blade crossed their gullets was similar.
You expect me to believe this appalling tale?
- Would it make any difference if you did? - No.
Then believe it, because it's true.
My return will be celebrated, changeling.
They'll be very grateful. You'll be a hero.
Perhaps you might even exchange envoys.
l could sedate you for the rest of the trip.
Sorry. l didn't... l didn't know l bothered you.
He's going to kill us! He says we were in with Croden.
- Where is he, Quark? - Croden? He's in security.
You're lying!
He's gone! You're hiding him.
You're in this together.
You're as responsible for my brother's death as he is.
This is Odo's doing.
He wants to turn us against each other.
Why should l believe you?
Tell me where Croden is or you can die in his place.
l don't know where he is.
But maybe l could find out if you'll release me.
Get me the security chips.
Level four clearance.
lt isn't at all clear...
The coordinates are clearly stated
here in the log entry.
One more thing, little Ferengi,
you better be telling me the truth,
or l'll be back...
to finish this.
You are clever, brother.
Now Ah-Kel will rid us of Croden and Odo.
Unless Odo is sensible, and gives up his prisoner.
Oh, no!
Then Croden would tell Ah-Kel
the truth about our plan.
We're dead. We're dead.
You shouldn't have told him how to find them.
Be quiet. Odo will never give up his prisoner.
He'll just get himself killed.
- Do you really think so? - Get out of here, you fool!
- Yes, Chief? - The Miradorn ship is leaving.
Major, delay them.
Ops to Miradorn ship... please hold your position.
Stand by for departure instructions.
No response. They're still moving.
Dax, when does Odo reach Rakhar?
Just over five hours.
Miradorn vessel, you are in violation of Bajoran transit regulations.
Return to the docking ring.
- They've increased power. - On screen.
You'd save time going through the vortex.
lt's a long way around it.
Aren't you the least bit curious about your own people?
Of course l am.
Unfortunately, l don't have the liberty
of pursuing that curiosity right now.
They don't maintain a humanoid shape, you know.
They refused to assimilate on my world.
They're a proud species.
That's why they were so persecuted.
l will say this for them -
they treated me well enough when l landed at their colony.
l was wounded. They could have let me die. They didn't.
You're one of them. That's for sure.
You have the sense of decency, of justice...
You don't give up, do you?
Computer, what was that?
A temporary loss of stability
due to the impact of a plasma charge.
- We're being attacked? - Affirmative.
Pursuing vessel approaching from 181 mark 12.
Put it on the monitor and identify.
- Miradorn vessel, Theta class. - He's hailing us.
The first shot was a warning.
You will surrender the Rakhari prisoner to me.
l don't give up my prisoners, Ah-Kel.
Very well.
Then you can die with him.
Warning. Damage to shields.
Computer, evasive manoeuvres!
Warning. Shields at 41%.
- Your computer won't outsmart him. - l'm not a pilot!
Then give me the controls! l can get us through the vortex.
The gases would screen us from him.
Drop your suspicious nature for a minute.
Can't you see? lt's our only chance!
Why are we slowing down?
The vortex is riddled with volatile pockets of a gas
we call toh-maire.
lf we destabilise them they could blow this ship apart.
You really have been through here before.
Sometimes l do tell the truth.
How do you remember what's true and what isn't?
- You said they couldn't detect us. - He's following our impulse wake.
Computer, disengage impulse engines. Go to thrusters.
Acknowledged. Thrusters engaged.
What are you doing?
Once our impulse wake drops off
he might pick up the discharge of our thrusters.
We'll be better off if we land.
So, changeling, l'm going to take you home after all.
- Hurry! This way! - Croden!
Slow down, Croden! Stay where l can see you.
What's your hurry? What's in here?
- The colony. - Anxious to see them again?
Yes. Of course.
Whatever you came here for, forget it. We're leaving.
- No! - Now!
How much of it was true? Any of it?
No. No.
On Rakhar, we tell stories about changelings.
l thought they were myths until l met you.
- The stone! - l don't know where it came from.
Rakhari merchants buy stones like it
from off-world traders. lt's used as a key.
- A key to what? - To my only reason for living.
And it's ahead, in that cavern there.
Please, help me.
There's been a cave-in.
- What is it? - A stasis chamber.
lt's my daughter, the only member of my family l could save. Help me.
lt shapes itself to fit the lock.
l was dreaming about you.
l'm here now, Yareth.
You don't have to dream any more.
This is Odo. He's a security officer.
He's not going to hurt you.
He's going to take you to a place where you'll be safe.
Won't you?
Where are you going?
l'm going home.
- You can't! They'll kill you! - l must answer for my crimes.
But all you did was try to protect us.
Their sensors picked up our life signs.
We must get back to the runabout.
- ls he badly hurt? - There's no way to tell.
l don't know about his species. l'll carry him to the ship.
What's the matter, Father?
Nothing, Yareth. Nothing.
Go! Go!
You're heavier than you look.
- You could have left me behind. - Don't thank me. l regret it.
l haven't been able to lose them.
One of his photons
will trigger a toh-maire explosion and kill us all.
Let me have the controls.
Find us one of those toh-maire fields.
You don't want to go near one.
Find us the closest toh-maire field.
Six degrees to starboard.
Changing course.
He's chased us everywhere else.
Maybe he'll follow us in there, too.
He may not know how volatile the field is.
- The whole thing may ignite. - That's what l'm counting on.
Set a course along the interior perimeter.
Computer, shut down all engines.
Engines disengaged.
Maintain emergency readiness to re-engage impulse.
We're an awfully easy target.
- He's hailing us. - On screen.
Are you prepared to surrender your prisoner?
l have a full array of Starfleet weapons trained on you, Ah-Kel.
l don't know much about them,
but they equip this vessel with powerful stuff.
So l suggest you withdraw while you still can.
There will barely be a trace of your vessel
when we are finished with you.
He's coming about.
Powering his shields.
His starboard photon bank is armed.
Computer, engage!
He's firing photons.
- ls everybody in one piece? - Yes.
Take us out of your precious vortex.
l only have one last favour to ask.
Yareth is going to be alone on your world,
just as you've always been.
She'll need someone to look after her.
lf you're asking me what l think you're asking...
You could use some company. We both know it's true.
Or the stone would have meant nothing to you.
lncoming subspace signal.
Vulcan band frequency.
On screen.
Starfleet runabout,
this is the Vulcan science vessel T'Vran.
- Are you in difficulty? - Odo from DS9. We're fine, Captain.
We detected a major eruption in the Chamra Vortex.
l was afraid a ship like yours might have suffered damage.
l appreciate your concern. What's your course?
To the wormhole, then home to Vulcan.
l've beamed over two survivors from a ship.
l have to complete a mission.
Could you give them transportation to Vulcan?
Easily done. We will rendezvous with you shortly.
Prepare for transport.
Don't thank me. l already regret it.
How? How will you explain not delivering me?
l'll tell them you were killed
when Ah-Kel torpedoed the asteroid.
This dissembling must be catching.
You'll have to get used to an alien society.
Like you. But l know where my home is.
Perhaps someday l'll be able to go back.
l hope this helps you find where you came from.
T'Vran to Ganges. Ready for transport.
- Stand by. - Are you really a changeling?
l suppose l am.
Go on. We don't want to keep the Vulcans waiting.
Computer, set a course for the wormhole.
Course laid in.
Ready engines.
Where is it?
Someday we'll know...cousin.

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