Good morning, Constable.
And what can I do for you... today?
It's my back.
Let's take a look.
It happened this morning when I got out of bed.
I have Alvanian spine mites, don't I?
I'll be in pain for the rest of my life.
you have a pinched nerve.
It comes from bad posture.
You've never seen anyone sit so straight.
You carry yourself too rigidly.
This is how I've always carried myself.
You haven't always had a spinal column.
You're not a changeling anymore.
Now that you're a humanoid, you have to learn to relax.
Well, that's what you said last week.
And it helped.
That and the prune juice.
There. You see?
I know what I'm talking about.
It's none of your concern, Quark.
Will you get out of here?
What you need is a good stretching regimen.
Worf's morning exercise class should be just the thing.
I've got a holosuite program that'll take care of him.
Three Orion slave girls strap you...
Go ahead... suffer.
What do you want?
A Yridian I've been dealing with
sold me something that might interest you.
I don't think so.
You don't even know what it is.
I know I don't want it.
In that case, can you tell me
how to get in touch with the Founders?
I know they'll want it.
What are you talking about?
It's a changeling...
or it was anyway.
Since it's dead
I'll let you have it for five slips of latinum.
It's not dead.
In that case, make it ten.
Eight and we'll call it even.
It's a pleasure doing business with you.
If that is a changeling
maybe we should get it into a security field.
That won't be necessary.
But if it gets out of that container
it could be dangerous.
It's not going anywhere, Doctor.
It doesn't know how.
It's just a baby.
A baby changeling?
Mmm. Centuries ago, my people sent
a hundred of us out into the galaxy
so we could learn about other races.
When I was found, I looked very much like this.
You were this small?
Like a humanoid child, it will grow.
Its mass will increase
as its shape-shifting abilities develop.
As far as I can tell, it was exposed
to a massive amount of tetryon radiation.
I'm going to have to purge the isotopes
with an electrophoretic diffuser.
Get on it.
Are you sure it poses no danger to us, Constable?
When I was first discovered, I didn't know what I was.
I had no memory of where I was from.
I didn't even know I had the ability
to mimic other forms.
Why would the Founders send
such helpless creatures out into space?
To find out if the species
they encountered posed any threat.
What better way to gauge another race
than to see how it treats the weak and vulnerable.
I see your point.
How long before it is able to take humanoid form?
Several months. Why?
Well, there's still
a lot we don't know about your people.
The changeling could provide Starfleet
with invaluable information about the Dominion.
Well, that being the case
I'd like to be allowed to work with it...
to teach it how to shape-shift.
Oh, I can't think of anyone better qualified.
You might just want a little help.
Maybe you should contact Dr. Mora.
Well, he managed to find a way to communicate with you.
He obviously knows what he's doing.
Maybe so, but...
I prefer to do this alone.
It's your call.
But it's, uh, always nice to have someone around
to help change the diapers.
I'll keep that in mind.
The purge was almost 100 percent effective.
The concentration of isotopes is nearly negligible.
Well, it certainly looks healthier.
Well, I better go and check on Kira.
Did you hear?
She's in labor.
But I guess you have your own baby
to think about.
There is still a small degree of instability
in its morphogenic matrix.
I'm hoping it'll level out.
I've set the computer to monitor for biomimetic fluctuations
just in case.
Thank you, Doctor.
How do you feel?
I realize you can't understand a word I'm saying
but that doesn't matter.
I know you're aware of me.
You see, I was once like you.
I spent months in a lab being prodded and poked
by a scientist who didn't recognize
I was a life-form.
He thought I was a specimen...
a mystery that needed to be unraveled.
He never talked to me.
It didn't occur to him.
I didn't know what I was...
or what I was supposed to do.
I was lost.
But it's not going to be that way with you.
No, I'm not going to make the same mistakes
that were made with me.
I want to show you something.
Kira said this would only take about an hour.
For Bajoran women
giving birth is all about being relaxed.
He's right, Miles.
That's why it's so important for us
to keep the rhythm.
She's not going to relax until Shakaar gets here.
I called him almost six hours ago.
Only takes half that time to make the trip from Bajor.
He's the First Minister of Bajor...
he's a very busy man.
And so am I.
I have three surgeries scheduled this afternoon.
I'll try and pop by later.
the baby is moving.
It won't be long now.
Sorry I'm late.
How are you?
I threw you off, didn't I?
It's all right. I'll get back on track.
I'm glad you're here.
This is the Replimat.
Humanoids come here to eat.
we, rather, need to ingest nutrients.
This is my home.
It's a space station.
People of many different species live here together.
After you've learned to take humanoid shape
I'll show you everything.
You can live here, too, if you want.
It's a fascinating place.
Constable, why are you talking to your beverage?
It's not a beverage.
It's a changeling.
Excuse me, Commander.
There we go, huh?
Now, doesn't that feel better?
Nothing like spreading yourself out
after being cooped up in a jar, huh?
You have no idea of the marvels that are in store for you.
Do you know what you are?
You're a changeling...
You can be anything...
a Tarkalean hawk soaring through the sky
or a Filian python burrowing deep beneath the ground.
It's all yours for the taking.
I was never a very good shape-shifter.
If you could see the face I'm stuck with
you'd know what I mean.
But I think I can be a good teacher.
You'll be better than I ever was.
And I promise I'll never treat you the way I was treated.
What are you doing here?
Well, I heard about the changeling.
I came to help.
You know, i-i-it's much larger than you were.
What is that... about a quarter of a liter?
I suppose so.
You didn't measure it?
What difference does it make how large it is?
It could make a great deal of difference.
Size could be an indication that it's
already exercised its ability to shape-shift.
I thought you were on Earth working with Starfleet
on new ways to detect changeling infiltrators.
Mmm. Fortunately, I was visiting my parents on Bajor
when I got the news of your find.
How are you, Odo?
I've been worried.
I heard that your people
took away your ability to shape-shift.
Thank you for your concern, but I'm fine.
I knew you were going to say that.
You never want to give anything away
even though it's all right there in your face.
Well, let's get started, hmm?
We have a lot of work ahead of us.
I told Starfleet I wouldn't be coming back
for a couple of weeks.
That may have been premature.
No, it'll take at least that long
to get the changeling to respond.
Don't do that!
Well, I see you still have trouble
controlling your temper.
I was just trying to determine its mass.
Dr. Mora, I understand that you want to help
but I'm going to do this alone.
Odo, you don't know the first thing
about teaching a changeling how to shape-shift.
Well, then, I'll just muddle through somehow.
It's too warm in here.
You know, a changeling's
morphogenic matrix is most malleable
at 17 degrees Celsius.
I used to be able to change shape
in almost any temperature.
That's true, but why not make it easy for the changeling?
It took me weeks to figure out the optimal temperature
the humidity, even the light levels.
Now, don't you think that's information you could use?
suppose I could look at your reports.
Oh, well, feel free to, of course...
except I was never one to keep extensive records.
I always wanted to move on to the next test.
Oh, believe me, I remember your tests
So that's what this is about.
You still resent the things I did to you
in order to induce you to shape-shift.
Well, I know they weren't pleasant for you
but really, Odo, I would hope
that you would get past that by now.
I am disappointed.
I have my own ideas
about how to teach the changeling.
I imagine they're less invasive.
You don't think that I can do it, do you?
I didn't say that.
As a matter of fact
I'd be fascinated to see what you have in mind.
Well, in that case, why don't you stay... and observe?
If you insist.
I... I don't know.
It was like a cramp or something.
You shouldn't be feeling any pain.
Well... it appears you're not going
to be having the baby today.
You were in labor too long.
I wonder why.
For whatever reason
you weren't able to fully relax.
Your system had to stop producing endorphins
before they accumulated to toxic levels.
When will she have the baby?
It could be a few more days...
or a few more weeks.
Oh, if I don't have this baby soon,
I'm going to go out of my mind.
Well, if you want, you can go see Dr. Bashir and have him...
No, no, I...
I want to have this baby the traditional Bajoran way.
We're a hundred percent behind you, Nerys.
Can you stay?
I'll have to rearrange my schedule
but I think so.
Nerys, return to your quarters and rest.
I'll come by and see you later.
Be punctual next time or don't come at all.
This... is a sphere.
It's one of the most basic forms in nature.
See how it rolls?
Interesting, isn't it?
You're in my light.
this won't hurt a bit.
Here we are.
Here we go.
this is also a sphere.
Feel... its symmetry
the softness of its shape?
The sameness, huh?
There we are.
that you prefer to remain shapeless.
Believe me, I remember how relaxing it could be.
But you have to learn to take other forms.
That's what changelings do.
It can be immensely rewarding.
I remember the first time Dr. Mora here coerced me
into taking the shape of a cube
with one of his electrostatic gadgets.
Once I did it, and he turned the infernal thing off
I was perfectly content to stay a cube for hours.
It was fascinating... all those right angles.
Of course, he had other plans.
Before I knew it
he had me spinning around in a centrifuge.
if you're not interested in a sphere right now
we can always try...
What do you think?
All right. Now...
this is a pyramid.
It's one of the most mysterious shapes in nature.
What are you doing?
I'm measuring its volume.
It's been here a week, and it's only grown 17 percent.
After three days in my lab, you were twice that size.
Well, maybe I was anxious to grow up
so I could get out of there.
My point is, you've made no progress.
By this time, I'd already gotten you
to mimic half a dozen simple forms.
I am trying to gain its confidence
not teach it tricks.
It's a shame you're not a changeling anymore.
You could link with it
and teach it everything it needs to know.
You make it sound like it's my fault.
It might very well be.
Let's face it, Odo.
Your shape-shifting ability was somewhat limited.
Maybe that's why your people were able to force you
to take a humanoid form.
That is pure speculation.
Let's run a few tests and find out.
Oh! You are just dying to get me
into one of your contraptions, aren't you?
I'm trying to help.
I am not about to submit myself
to another round of your experiments.
Everything I did to you was for your own good.
True, some of the tests that I subjected you to
The vacuum chamber springs to mind.
The cytoplasmic separator...
Come to think of it, the protein decompiler as well.
How could I know until I tried?
By the Prophets, Odo
I wasn't even sure you were a life-form.
I wasn't sure about you either.
Once I realized you were sentient
oh, the Cardassians wanted to know
everything about you.
I was under enormous pressure
to come up with results, and I did.
My technique worked.
The fact that you are standing here, whining about it
You enjoyed watching me suffer.
You really believe that?
If it wasn't for me
you'd still be sitting on a shelf somewhere
in a beaker labeled "unknown sample."
If it wasn't for me, you'd be a nobody.
Starfleet wouldn't hire you to judge a science fair.
I'm getting a little tired of sitting around watching you
but I can't seem to pull myself away.
I can't wait to see what next preposterous thing
you're going to try.
Who knows? Maybe in a couple of months
it may get so tired of your incessant chatter
that it might actually do something.
Oh, you'd just love to get your hands on it
You could sell tickets on the Promenade.
"Dr. Mora's Chamber of Horrors... open for business.
Right this way!"
How's it going, gentlemen?
Making progress, sir.
I'm glad to hear it.
I was just talking with Starfleet Command.
They want you to establish communication
with the changeling as soon as possible.
At the rate we're going, that is still a long way off.
Better not be too long.
Otherwise, Starfleet is going to want
to take over the project.
As long as you're making progress
there's nothing to worry about.
Oh, by the way...
Starfleet wants you to file daily reports for their review.
Now you understand the kind of pressure
I was going through.
I brought my old equipment from Bajor.
Maybe it's time we started unpacking.
Anytime you're ready.
You're going to get through this all right.
Oh, no... no, no.
I'm just an observer here.
Odo, the changeling won't respond
to anything less than six millivolts.
There must be some other way.
Spare the rod, spoil the child.
Odo, without discomfort
the changeling will be perfectly comfortable
to remain in its gelatinous state.
It'll just lie there...
never realizing it has the ability to mimic other forms...
never living up to its potential.
Odo, six millivolts is not going to hurt it.
Once it realizes there's no charge in the center
the procedure will be finished.
Checking to see if I'm enjoying myself?
You've found it.
I smiled the first time you did that.
Little did I realize you would end up hating me for it.
Well, shall we move on?
How you feeling?
I'm all right.
My feet are a little swollen.
They've never been this bad.
Well, there's a zero-grav tumbling performance
on the Promenade tonight.
Do you want to go?
You can't go standing around for an hour.
Chief, would you mind leaving us alone for a minute?
I'm almost done.
Well, I'll take over.
I think it's time.
You got to do it harder.
I know what I'm doing.
- It's time. - And you got to work
up the legs.
Now, if I were you, I'd hold this shape.
Otherwise, you'll be in for a little shock.
Wait a minute.
I had to try that three times before you caught on.
Actually, the first two times
I didn't hold my shape on purpose.
You're not serious.
I suppose I didn't want to give you the satisfaction.
Well, someday, if you're very lucky...
will give you the satisfaction of saying
"Thank you very much.
You did so much for me."
it may leave...
the way you did.
It will announce
that it's striking out on its own
and you will never...
hear from it again.
I'm going to get something to eat.
- I mean, the eyes... - When he rose up...
...the eyes are incredible. ...for a minute there
I thought he was going to say something.
Oh, put that down. We're celebrating.
Oh, uh, it's just that I've fallen behind
in my security reports over these last few days.
Well, you can catch up later.
Aren't you excited by what happened?
Of course, I'm excited.
You know, tomorrow, we can expose the changeling
to some simple life-forms
so it can mimic them... some algae, some fungus.
In a few more days, maybe even an invertebrate.
I can't wait until I can actually communicate with it.
There's so much I want it to see
so much I want to share.
Well, you may get that chance sooner than you think.
The changeling is developing far faster than you did.
L-l-I don't mean that as a criticism.
If anything, it's a compliment.
I mean, I was wrong.
Your approach to communicating to the changeling was sound.
I mean, don't you see?
It's reaching out to you.
It's curious about you.
The first time you ever did anything
like that was when you formed a tentacle
to slap my hand away from the control panel.
I wanted you to stop zapping me.
You formed a connection with this changeling.
That is something I was never able to do with you.
That's not true.
I respected you.
You feared me.
You didn't know what I was.
You were experimenting
on what looked like a lump of organic residue.
That's what I'd still be if it weren't for you.
You don't know how much it means to me
to hear you say that.
I know this kind of talk makes you uncomfortable.
But I suppose it's all my fault.
If I hadn't poked and prodded you so much
you may have grown up with a less forbidding disposition.
Well, something tells me
no matter what we do to that changeling
it's going to have a more pleasant disposition than mine.
It's just the way I am.
I'll leave you to your work.
Two glasses of champagne, please.
The baby has turned.
We await you with love.
And welcome you into the world.
Why don't you stay there?
I can't see from here.
It's my baby.
I think it would make Nerys uncomfortable.
What are you talking about?
She's been living in my home for the last five months.
What's that supposed to mean?
Look, I missed Molly's birth.
I am not going to miss this one.
I'm trying to have a baby.
I am sick
of this ridiculous little competition
between the two of you.
Now, if one of you says one more word
you're going to have to leave.
- Fine, just tell him to... - Just tell him to...
All right, that's it. Out, both of you.
- Kira... - Nerys...
Does it look like she's joking?
Oh, do me a favor.
Next time you have a baby
leave my girlfriend out of it, huh?
three hundred and twenty-four.
I'm going to have to start watering the drinks again.
What are you doing back there?
What does it look like I'm doing?
Have a seat.
You're in a good mood.
Yes, I am.
Which means you're probably about to arrest me
on some trumped-up charge.
Not at all.
I am buying you a drink.
Dr. Mora has gone to sleep, and I...
still feel like celebrating.
What are you up to?
I am happy, Quark.
Can't you just accept that?
It doesn't fit.
If you're happy
there's something very wrong in the world.
The center cannot hold.
There we go.
I've got it.
You're getting back at me
for selling you that sick changeling.
Actually, I should thank you.
If you want the money back, just say so.
It changed my life.
Here's to you, Quark.
All right, all right, I confess.
I don't know what I did, but I did it.
Just stop. I can't take it anymore.
Do you ever think about having children?
See, I never did.
It just seemed like too much trouble
but then fate...
dropped one into my lap...
and I couldn't be happier.
Over the past few months, I came to accept the fact
that I'd never have any contact with my people again.
They rejected me.
They turned me into a humanoid and...
part of me was lost forever.
little ball of goo back in the lab
I feel as if I'm...
experiencing what it is...
to be a changeling again.
being a solid doesn't seem so bad anymore.
Fill me up.
Computer to Security Chief Odo, please acknowledge.
The life-form being monitored is displaying
biomimetic fluctuations beyond stated parameters.
Have Dr. Mora meet me in the Science Lab.
Its morphogenic matrix is destabilizing.
Its life signs are fading.
The radiation must have damaged its cytoplasm
in a way we weren't able to detect.
There must be something you can do.
You might try an enzymatic induction.
That might stabilize the biomimetic fluctuations.
It's worth a shot.
It has to work. It has to...
Odo, please, wait outside.
We'll do everything we can.
You're doing great, Nerys.
Here he comes.
would you do me a favor?
Kira said you can both come back in
if you promise to behave.
Oh, after you.
Oh, no. After you.
Will you two get in here?
You're going to miss everything.
That's it, Nerys.
Let it come.
That's right. Breathe.
Look at him, Miles.
There's nothing we could do.
I'm sorry, Odo.
It won't be very long now.
There's so much I want to show you.
I was going to teach you how to be a Tarkalean hawk
What happened? Where did it go?
It somehow integrated itself into Odo's body.
Odo, what's wrong?
It can't be!
This, uh, might be a good time
to take some leave and come down to Bajor.
Mmm... maybe in a few weeks.
Right now, I feel like staying here.
So you can be close to the baby.
He's a good-Iooking boy.
He is, isn't he?
Shuttle 4709 for Bajor now departing.
You'd better go.
I have a few minutes left.
How does it feel to be yourself again?
I just... wish it hadn't happened the way it did.
I am sorry.
If it helps...
think of it as a gift...
something the changeling wanted you to have.
I finally understand how much I meant to you...
and what you must have gone through when I left.
You had to find your own way in the world.
I should have included you in my life.
You still can.
Take care of yourself, Odo.
Uh, I thought the O'Briens were having a party.
Shakaar and I stopped by.
I didn't feel much like celebrating.
I got into this because the O'Briens
needed my help.
I never wanted a baby.
I just wish I could hold him in my arms...
and never let him go.
I think I know how you feel, Nerys.
Want to take a walk?