**** (4 stars out of 5)
Casting some doubts on the strength and permanence of the Kira/Odo romance is a straight-up shapeshifter bromance which is neither straight nor terribly "bro".
When O'Brien and Odo meet a mighty space fish swimming merrily along in the vacuum, they welcome one of the 100 missing Founder-baby cosmonauts aboard. That welcome comes with some pleasant-if-awkward linking, as well as some just plain awkward intolerance and violence.
The new shifter, Laas, is two centuries more jaded than Odo, and has the moral superiority of a beast who knows humanity's flaws all too well on a very personal level. He's had the bad break-up when he couldn't be the breeder his "monoform" lady partner needed, and when he literally lived as an animal he was righteously indignant at the way humanoids obliterate the natural worlds.
Odo must choose between Kira (the best lover he's ever known) and the brutal honesty of a new partner with whom he has much, much more in common.
Throw in Quark's remarks about a 'Changeling Pride Parade' and the genetic-level horror that non-changelings feel toward the alien, and you've got yourself a 'hot issue' show. In fact, it's pure Star Trek.
"Chimera" is a well-performed, intelligent story I'm not qualified to judge in all its nuance. I enjoyed the more first-hand review of Carl Cipra on page five of this issue of the Gaylaxians Lambda SciFi newsletter, and a more detailed 2006 review by Stephanie Dutchen on Rene's Page. These days, I like to keep my mind open. I have less difficulty with unconventional relationships than I do with cheating on one's existing lover, so I'm dismayed more by Odo's wavering loyalty than the concept that he turns to jello for an older man.