It has been established that Dr. Bashir in the episode The Begotten of Deep Space Nine, the episode with the dying baby Changeling,

was actually a Changeling impostor.

Question: If so, why did the Changeling let the baby die? Is there a canon answer for this, or something a writer has said in an interview?

One theory I have heard is that Changelings treat their infants as dispensable, hence the sending of "The Hundred" out into deep space on their own, possibly to be beaten and killed and abused by strangers.

Another theory, which isn't necessarily mutually exclusive with the first theory, is that the baby Changeling was sent deliberately by the Founders to cure Odo.

In general, it is very confusing for me, because the Founders' lack of regard for infant Changelings seems to highly contrast with their extreme concern for the safety of adult Changelings, with it at one point being stated that Odo was more important to them than the entire Alpha Quadrant, plus their motto that "no Changeling has ever harmed another". Also, the idea of sending Changeling spies, thus jeopardizing their safety, also seems to contrast with their stated belief in keeping Changelings safe. Arguably the Changeling spies have far more dangerous jobs than the Jem'Hadar, who were genetically designed to be cannon fodder.

  • 5
    It's been a long time since I've seen that episode, so this may be a trivial question: what makes you think the imposter could have cured the baby? (Also, does your first link point where you wanted it to?) Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 1:36
  • Is your "it has been established" link wrong? It links to an answer that doesn't address Bashir at all (and neither does the question).
    – Plutor
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 2:00
  • 2
    I think your first link is supposed to be this one
    – Izkata
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 3:51
  • 8
    That would be my first though. Who says that impostor Bashir wasn't doing everything humanly (or rather Changelingly) possible?
    – Valorum
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 7:26

1 Answer 1


I think your question is fundamentally flawed as it assumes the infant 'dies', which we have no evidence that it did.

Granted the infant is ill, but it doesn't actually die as we know it. Given this there are 2 possible scenarios.

  1. The doctor is doing everything in his power to make the changeling better

ODO: 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.

SISKO: You were this small?

ODO: Like a humanoid child, it'll grow. Its mass will increase as its shape-shifting abilities develop.

BASHIR: 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.

SISKO: Get on it. Are you sure it's no danger to us, Constable? ODO: 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.


SISKO: It's your call. But it's always nice to have someone around to help change the diapers.

ODO: I'll keep that in mind. (And later again, the goo in the cylinder is orange.)

BASHIR: The purge was almost a hundred percent effective. The concentration of isotopes is nearly negligible.

Now there is a few important points here, Sisko is happy to save the changelings life: therefore there is no reason for the doctor to be lying about its condition or to do treatments behind anybody's back, so essentially he is trying to save the baby 'for real' and believes its worked, however it turns out it had the equivalent of a 'secondary infection' that was not caught in time. Later he say this:

BASHIR: Its lifesigns are fading. The radiation may have damaged its cytoplasm in a way we weren't able to detect.

There is no reason to believe this isn't true, like I said he had full permission to cure the infant if he could.

  1. Now this point adds to the first largely, Bashir knew the changeling was dying and knew there was nothing that he could do (or perhaps there wasn't enough time). Its possible that like all species changelings have a survival instinct - if this is true he would have known the changeling would absorb itself into Odo. Remember this is not death for a changeling, when they merge they become one they don't die, (the infant survives as part of Odo now, they are essentially one/merged). Therefore to save the infants life Bashir let it 'merge' with Odo.

So to summarize: Bashir did do everything possible (as he had permission to treat it there's no reason to lie), and the changeling didn't die as we know death - it did the same as linking with another. There are no single individual changelings in the great link -when they become a person they are essentially breaking off a representative (like the Borg with 7 of 9), the 2 merging doesn't kill either of them in exactly the same way as linking doesn't.

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