I was reading this post about whether a changeling could become a spacecraft while watching Vortex, an episode of DS9.

In the episode, while Odo is transporting a prisoner and comes under fire, he becomes worried that he will die if his ship is destroyed.

As we know that changelings can become spaceships, why would Odo be worried about having to abandon ship, or in fact have to use a ship at all, when he could just become the ship, and transport the prisoner himself?


  • 10
    Just because he might physically be able to, doesn't mean he knows how, especially in an episode that early in the series.
    – Radhil
    Commented Jul 30, 2017 at 0:12
  • @Radhil Good point, however any hermetically sealed craft would be suitable for transporting the prisoner, and as Odo and the rest of the changelings can survive in space, it should have been easy to form such a craft. Commented Jul 30, 2017 at 0:14
  • 6
    Simply sealing in the prisoner doesn't address things life life support and propulsion.
    – Politank-Z
    Commented Jul 30, 2017 at 1:09
  • 4
    Then Odo would have to worry about his ship-body being destroyed, as it wouldn't be invulnerable to weapons fire. Commented Jul 30, 2017 at 2:20
  • 4
    Don't forget Odo lived most of his life away from other changelings, some things they could do (impersonate humanoids more perfectly, for one example) he didn't learn while among the 'solids'.
    – Nu'Daq
    Commented Jul 30, 2017 at 2:20

1 Answer 1


Odo was originally found floating in space by the Bajorans, so it's clear that he can survive in space, and that he knows that he can survive in space. However, there are still many reasons why he might fear his ship being destroyed:

  • When ships are destroyed by weapons fire in Star Trek, they tend to violently explode. Even if Odo could survive in space, he probably couldn't survive the explosion that would have put him there.
  • Even if he did survive the explosion, he would be left vulnerable to continued attacks.
  • Even if he survived the fight altogether, he would then be stranded in deep space. It seems extremely unlikely that a changeling of Odo's limited abilities would be capable of forming a warp drive.
  • He is transporting a prisoner to meet his legal fate. It is therefore his duty to deliver Croden to Rahkar, alive, and he is more likely to be successful if they are not subjected to a ship-destroying explosion (see previous points).
  • Another possibility is that Odo is simply instinctively afraid of having his ship destroyed from having spent his life among humanoids. In the episode "Way of the Warrior" he appears to be afraid of a Klingon Bat'leth, despite the fact that swords should (by all conceivable logic) simply pass through him.
  • The previous point can also be interpreted as "lazy writing".
  • That makes sense, thanks for answering. Commented Jul 30, 2017 at 12:49
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    On the last point, we see Odo both being knocked out by physical contact, and allowing melee weapons to phase through hid body. It appears he needs to be aware of an attack to be able to let it pass through, so unless he is absolutely sure of his ability to predict an attacker (like the poorly coordinated attacker where we see it pass though him, I don't have the episode handy), it makes sense for him to still be wary of melee attacks.
    – ench
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 19:36
  • In the episode mentioned here, Odo also gets knocked unconscious by rocks, presumably for this same reason (unable to anticipate them). Presumably if he were in his gelatinous form, falling rocks would not cause him to become "unconcious" and perhaps not actually harm him, whereas if he were in humanoid form and if he were able to anticipate it in time, he could have shapeshifted to avoid getting struck unconcscious by the rocks.
    – Brandin
    Commented Sep 14, 2021 at 16:13

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