Dr. Lewis Zimmerman comes to Deep Space Nine with the intent of using Dr. Bashir's physical and personality likeness as a template for a long-term medical hologram (as opposed to the short-term Emergency Medical Hologram installed on such ships as USS Voyager and the Enterprise-E), which will provide medical care on distant and isolated outposts. In order to make the hologram as robust as possible, Zimmerman needs a complete personality profile on Bashir. In addition to questioning Bashir himself, Zimmerman interviews Bashir's colleagues and makes arrangements – against Bashir's wishes – to invite Julian's estranged parents, Amsha and Richard Bashir, to the station.
Julian is embarrassed by his father's tendency toward hyperbole, for example referring to the time he "ran shuttles" when, in fact, Richard was merely a steward who was fired shortly into his career. Bashir implores his parents at dinner not to reveal to Zimmerman anything about a secret from his childhood. Later, his parents go to the infirmary to try to assuage their son's fears, stating emphatically that they will not tell Zimmerman that they had Julian genetically modified when he was a child. They point out that they have kept the secret since he was a child, and that because such modification is illegal in the United Federation of Planets, they, too, are criminally culpable.
However, Bashir's parents are unaware that rather than speaking to their son, they are speaking to Zimmerman's new hologram; Zimmerman and Chief O'Brien, who is assisting Zimmerman, are right around the corner. O'Brien informs Julian about what he heard and Julian confirms that he had been genetically modified. As a child, he reveals, he was a poor student, with some form of learning disability and possibly mental retardation, and seemed destined to failure. His parents took him to Adigeon Prime for DNA resequencing, greatly improving his intelligence and dexterity. With the secret out, Bashir sees no alternative but to resign from Starfleet.
However, before Bashir can file his resignation, his parents take matters into their own hands. Richard strikes a deal with the Starfleet Judge Advocate General's Rear Admiral Bennett: Richard will spend two years in prison for illegal genetic engineering, and Bashir is allowed to retain his commission.
In the midst of all this, Zimmerman pursues Leeta's affections, to the point of asking her to accompany him back to Jupiter Station to open her own bar. Shy Rom is too scared to say anything to convince her to stay, despite it being clear that Leeta would welcome any reason to stay with him. She is on the verge of getting onto a transport with Zimmerman when Rom careens around the corner, in one long yell for her to wait (until he gets there). He finally gives her the long-awaited reason to stay: "I love you." Leeta reciprocates, and agrees to stay.