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DS9 "In Purgatory's Shadow Part-1":

GARAK: When were you brought here?

BASHIR: Over a month ago. I was attending a burn treatment conference on Meezan Four. I went to bed one night and woke up here.

This episode first aired two weeks after "The Begotten". I know that the time between the airing of two episodes does not necessarily reflected the amount of time that passed in-universe.

I can't seem to find stardates for either of these episodes to know how much time passed.

So: during the episode "The Begotten", when Odo tries to raise a baby changeling and eventually got his shape shifting back, was the Doctor Bashir on the station the real Bashir or his changeling replacement?

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The Changeling Bashir was on the station in that episode.

As confirmed by writer / producer Ronald D. Moore, Bashir was captured and replaced before the episode "Rapture" (see Memory Alpha).

"Rapture" is the 108th episode of DS9, while "The Begotten" is the 110th. We learn that the real Bashir is in a Dominion prison in the 112th episode — "In Purgatory's Shadow (Part 1)" — and the Changeling Bashir's ruse is foiled in "By Inferno's Light (Part 2)", which is the 113th.

Putting all of this together, it was the Changeling Bashir who was on the station in "The Begotten".

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  • Just because episodes come a week apart for us doesn't mean that they're a week apart in-universe. Do either of the episodes give stardates to enable one to pin down the amount of time between them? – Emsley Wyatt Nov 28 '20 at 18:39
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    @EmsleyWyatt : I don’t understand your comment. The reasoning has nothing to do with the elapsed time between episodes, whether it is in or out of universe. A writer / producer confirmed that Bashir was replaced prior to episode 108. The episode in question is number 110. Therefore, it is the changeling Bashir in episode 110. – Praxis Nov 28 '20 at 23:17
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All in-universe evidence indicates that Bashir was himself during this episode. The only way his visit to Meezan Four "over a month ago" fits in is after the events of "The Begotton."

As far as him wearing the old style uniform, that is as expected, since he was visiting Meezan Four where the old-style was still the common uniform.

Doctor Bashir was the real doctor and not a changeling during "The Begotton."

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    Can you amplify as to what the "in-universe" evidence is that makes your answer better than the existing accepted answer? – user888379 Mar 29 '20 at 17:40
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Regarding the uniform-change, one theory is that when Dr. Bashir was initially kidnaped, his evil replacement stole his new-style uniform to wear around the DS9 station, meaning that Bashir would then need something else to wear during his imprisonment. Hence, when the impostor arrived on the station, he went into Bashir’s closet and fished out his old-style uniform and beamed it up to the cloaked enemy ship that was transporting the captive doctor to the prison camp.

Alternatively, since it’s logical to assume that the prison was equipped with replicators so that the prisoners could replicate food, one may assume that the same machines could also have been used to replicate another uniform for Bashir to wear so he wouldn’t need to walk around all day in his jammies or undies. If that were the case, then it’s also logical to assume that those particular replicators had not yet been updated with the patterns for creating the new-style Starfleet uniform, thereby requiring the doctor to replicate an old-style uniform to wear instead.

In either case, the bait-and-switch event could very well have happened well after the events of “The Rapture” when the uniform change occurred and possibly even occurred after “The Begotten.”

Now after reading the above explanations, you might be wondering why a shape-shifting Changeling would need to steal Bashir’s uniform in the first place since he/it could just mimic the uniform in the same way that Odo always mimicked a Bajoran uniform. For this, I propose that Bashir’s evil replacement was not a Changeling at all but rather a flesh-and-blood replicant. My reasons for believing this are as follows:

First, there was an earlier episode in the DS9 series called “Whispers” where Chief O’Brien was kidnaped and replaced by a replicant who possessed all of the real O’Brien’s memories and even actually thought that he was the real O’Brien. The dialogue of that episode’s closing scene then revealed that the replicant would only have discovered his true identity and carried out his evil deadly mission after it was triggered by a code word. Prior to that though, anyone hanging around the replicant would, technically, have been just as safe as if they were with the real O’Brien.

Now since the alien race which created this replicant came from the Gamma Quadrant, it’s very logical to assume that the Dominion gained access to their technology and were thus able to create replicants of their own. They also would have had a very logical reason to replace Dr. Bashir with a replicant instead of with an actual Changeling since the evil replacement was ultimately on a suicide mission. For if the fake Bashir had actually succeeded in blowing up the Bajoran sun, he too would have also surely died in the blast himself. So we need to ask ourselves then if the Founders would really have been willing to sacrifice one of their own for something like this since, technically, doing so would make them guilty of murdering one of their own which is the very thing they judged and punished Odo for.

Assuming the replicant-theory is true, and I believe it is, then even if Bashir had been replaced prior to the “Rapture” episode, the replicant there who operated on Sisko would have, at that particular time, most likely not yet have realized that he wasn’t the real deal, just like in the previous case of the O’Brien replicant. This means that Sisko and anyone else who the replicant may have operated on during this time would have been just as safe on the operating table as if the real Bashir was caring for them.

Any thoughts? Let me know.

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    So it was the changeling? You've said a lot, but it's not clear what evidence you're giving for this. – DavidW Nov 27 '20 at 1:48

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