In the Star Trek DS9 episode 'The Die is Cast' (S3E21) Garak used a torture device against Odo which prevents him from changing form, including changing into a liquid state.

Since such technology's existence would then have been known to Odo and Garak after their rescue from the Jem Hadar ambush, then presumably they would have mentioned it in any debriefing to Starfleet afterwards.

It seems to me that such devices would have been very valuable indeed in fighting against the dominion, and very effective at preventing changeling infiltration in sensitive areas, including The Defiant, assuming they could be made either small enough to conceal or powerful enough to cover a wider area.

SO, can anyone think of an in-universe explanation of why the device is never even mentioned again? Even if knowledge of how to build one died with the Obsidian Order, there would have been some attempt to re-create it?

  • Odo is a very inexperienced shapeshifter. They may simply have proven ineffective against a Founder
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 12:01
  • 2
    The Federation did make at least one anti-shape shifter device, which Sisko and team tried to use to reveal Gowron as a shape shifter.
    – Xantec
    Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 13:48

1 Answer 1


There is no in-universe explanation - at least in the series.

However, I'm not sure they did mention it in their reports:

ODO: I just read the report that you wrote and I wanted to thank you.

GARAK: Me? For what?

ODO: For not mentioning my desire to return to my people.

GARAK: I consider the entire conversation as something best forgotten.

ODO: As do I. Quark has expressed an interest in renting this space if you're not going to be using it.

It's not clear how much "the entire conversation" consists of.

But even if they did, mere knowledge that the technology existed didn't mean that it could be reproduced. The device was, apparently, of secret Obsidian Order make, and whatever knowledge needed to create it was presumably lost in the ensuing battle with most of the Obsidian Order. We've seen several instances within TNG, VOY, and DS9 where people went to extreme lengths to steal technology via espionage, rather than just recreating it. I think it's entirely probable that the Federation did try to recreate the technology, but was unsuccessful.

But it may not have been highly prioritized. The technology only prevented shapeshifting - it may not have been considered tactically important, because you can't possibly cover everything within the anti-shapeshifting field. And even if you could, for all we know, there's health hazards to non-shapeshifters.

assuming they could be made either small enough to conceal or powerful enough to cover a wider area.

This is actually a very big assumption, one that generally only holds when it is necessary for plot reasons. ;)

The Federation did go on to develop more lethal anti-shapeshifting technology, at any rate. Perhaps they did use some of the insights from the Obsidian Order technology, if they were able to obtain any information on it. We don't know. But the Federation anti-shapeshifting was much, much more strategically important, so ultimately, the anti-shapeshifting field wasn't important.

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