What you can control can’t hurt you… so many years ago we set ourselves the task of imposing order on a chaotic universe… What you call it, is no concern of ours.”
– The Female Changeling
Module BI-12T(f): Shapeshifters: Changelings
Odo, notwithstanding, Changelings are, of course, the worst of the shapeshifting lot. Creatures so malevolent and xenophobic even conjuring up passive interest in other lifeforms is too much for their brand of hubris. And Changelings live up to their nomenclature. Transforming not just into anything but anyone they find contemptuous. Something most shapeshifters are mercifully incapable of doing.
However, Odo, being a male liking gender-former, is one of the exceptions you are continuously warned about. He is egregiously unrepresentative of his kind. His species, not only, laments the existence of breathing vertebrae but generally hate solids of all classifications with a purple passion. Their mission, if you choose to accept it, is to wipe out all non-gelatinous lifeforms who refuse to bow to their unmalleable will. “Order” is their totalitarian goal. The despots even genetically engendered a couple of humanoid slave-species to help them accomplish it. But, fortunately for us all, a different set of gratuitous circumstances manifested, as you will soon see.
To understand Changelings, we must first understand their two appendages: the Jem’Hadar, militaristic drug addicts with an inferiority complex when it comes to Klingons. And the Vorta, obsequious clones who look amazingly like elfin bloodsuckers. As well as the swamp that all three consistently swim in, the Dominion, a Gamma Quadrant empire anywhere from two to ten thousand years old, depending on which limb you ask. And this is where the hierarchy gets even weirder. The Changelings’ designation shapeshifts into “The Founders” and their appendages worship them as gods. Shapeshifter gods. And you thought the Suliban were creepy.
Changelings, other than Odo, were first encountered in the Gamma Quadrant. Commander Benjamin Sisko, of Deep Space 9, had a powerful hankering to seek out this new civilization. Why? Because the Jem’Hadar taunted him mercilessly while attempting to tear Quark’s heart out. “Victory is life!” is the motto they chanted while doing so. Always followed by, “Unless you wish to continue to offend the Dominion, I suggest you stay on your side of the Galaxy!”
However, Sisko, who was not the type to wait for Dominion retribution, decided to meet them head on. And after much deceit and dilly-dallying on the part of the Founders, he finally located them by getting himself captured. Yet, Odo emancipated him from this near-permanent fate by commandeering a shuttle from the USS Defiant (aptly named), after it was attacked by Jem’Hadar fighters. And liberated Sisko in the roundabout way most solids do. With an unrequited love at his side (Major Kira Nyres!) and raging morphogenic hormones.
He did this all while listening to a boom box harmonic beacon blaring loudly inside him. Which led him to the Changelings’ homeworld where the Jem’Hadar stupidly took Sisko and crew for Odo’s eventual rescue. But first, he and Nyres beheld a wondrous sight. His people undulated like a tranquil placid ocean upon the planet’s surface. Pieces of them then separated from the “Great Link” lake and greeted him gladly, saying, “Welcome home.” But those were the last words of peace any Federation-related being heard from those bloodthirsty degenerates.
Upon learning of our existence, they did everything within their considerable power to disrupt our way of life in the Alpha Quadrant and even on Earth itself. They made it perfectly clear as near-gods that they planned to demote us to the level of sycophantic Jem’Hadar bootlickers. To put this in perspective, the Jem’Hadar’s first words regarding our species were, “A Ferengi and a Human. I was hoping the first race I’d meet from the other side of the Anomaly would be the Klingons!”
After weeks of watching the Dominion overlords send ships and supplies through the wormhole between the Alpha and Gamma Quadrants, Sisko decided to do something about it. Forget the mealy-mouthed diplomacy of Weyoun, the Vorta ambassador from the Dominion, it was time to make a stand. He and his crew laid down a plethora of cloaked mines just outside the wormhole to keep more of those psychotics’ golems from coming through. Weyoun demanded that we remove the mines. The answer was, “Nooo!”
Then the Dominion stopped procrastinating and started the war they long coveted. We thought we were ready for it. Not even close. Their Alliance deployed thousands of Jem’Hadar ships, outnumbering us two to one, with the treacherous Cardassians also joining their ranks. And still, in case there were too few malcontents to oppose us in this war, providence also introduced us to the Breen. Not as vicious as the Jem’Hadar but uncharacteristically more ambitious for a warrior race. The Founders promised them rule of the Alpha Quadrant with Earth as its crown jewel. Like we’d ever submit to those metal headed drones.
As you’ve surmised by now, we were on the losing end of this conflict for two years. Then something happened on the way to Armageddon. The Founders started dying. Yep! Everywhere they existed they slowly shriveled into the bloodless miscreants that they were. Flaking and peeling hideously because the flagrant sadists couldn’t shapeshift. Oh, fortunes delight!
But this wasn’t the result of fortuitous circumstances. The gelatin pieces of crap were infected with a morphogenic virus when their machinations made Odo’s return to their homeworld imperative. Ill with Founder poison as well as the virus, Odo was forced to kneel before the arrogant tribunal of the Great Leak. Just because he did something as trivial as kill another Changeling. In any case, a secret Starfleet black ops organization, Section 31, turned Odo into a shapeshifting carrier of disease to put the Founders out of their miserable existence. The only thing the Federation regretted was that it was taking so long. Odo called self-defense genocide. A seriously myopic response in regards to his people.
Millions were dying in the Federation Alliance from the war. The Dominion’s commander, the Female Changeling, as she came to be known, ordered the deaths of 800 million Cardassians when the reptilians finally woke up and turned on them. THIS was genocide. Her attempt to decimate the entire planet would have succeeded, too, if Odo hadn’t offered his gelatinous hand to cure her, with the promise that he’d also return to the Link to cure the rest of those deranged sociopaths. Finally, that stopped the Dominion-Federation war cold but, regrettably, saved the rest of the Changelings from mortal-inflicted oblivion.
So, you can see, as this series concludes, why the continued existence of shapeshifters in the universe is of grave concern to us. Consider this: one shapeshifter lifeform, Changelings, have single-handedly killed more Alpha quadrant humanoids than any other species in existence. Even the Borg’s invasion wasn’t as devastating. Think about that. Just one. I’m sure you’ll agree, that it behooves us to stay ever vigilant concerning these menaces. And remember this most of all. The wormhole to the Gamma quadrant is still open. Jem’Hadar and Vorta still exist. And the Great Link is still there.
Behr, Ira Steven. “The Jem’Hadar.” Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Paramount Television. 12 June 1994. Television. Retrieved: http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/The_Jem’Hadar_(episode)
Behr, Ira Steven. Moore, Ronald D. Wolfe, Robert Hewitt. “The Search. Part I.” Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Paramount Television. 26 September 1994. Television. Retrieved: http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/The_Search%2C_Part_I_(episode)
Behr, Ira Steven. Moore, Ronald D. Wolfe, Robert Hewitt. “The Search. Part II.” Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Paramount Television. 3 October 1994. Television. Retrieved: http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/The_Search,_Part_II_(episode)
Behr, Ira Steven. Wolfe, Robert Hewitt. “Call To Arms.” Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Paramount Television. 16 June 1997. Television. Retrieved: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Call_to_Arms_(Star_Trek:_Deep_Space_Nine)
Behr, Ira Steven. Beimler, Hans. “What You Leave Behind.” Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Paramount Television. 2 June 1999. Television. Retrieved: http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/What_You_Leave_Behind_(episode)