At the end of Deep Space 9, Odo beams down to the surface of Cardassia to negotiate with the Female Changeling. She argues that

If I [surrendered], it would be a sign of weakness... an invitation to the Solids to cross into the Gamma Quadrant and destroy the Great Link. [...] The Dominion has spent the last two years trying to destroy the Federation... and now you're asking me to put our fate in their hands? [...] I can't do that, Odo. I don't share your faith in Solids.

In response, Odo asks her to link with him, and after a little cajoling, she does. Immediately afterward, she orders the Breen and Jem-Hadar to stand down and agrees to stand trial for war crimes. What could Odo possibly have told/shown her? It had to be something pretty damn powerful, since it would have been offset by the knowledge that the disease was Federation-created genocide. It also had to be something that happened (or he learned) since the last time they linked, when the Dominion controlled DS9.

Two possibilities that I can think of, really. Quite likely a bit of both.

Odo shared his faith in the solids. Quite literally.

The Great Link was described waaay back in Season 2 by the female changeling as "A merging of form and thought, the sharing of idea and sensation." When Odo linked with her, their minds melded in a much deeper way than the Vulcan mind meld. He showed her everything, from his perspective. For example:

  • The morphogenic virus implanted into Odo was created by a small subset of the Federation that only cared because the Dominion was the enemy. The greater whole of the Federation (the part not working outside the public eye) worked to cure it, and succeeded.
  • The Federation is all-inclusive, former enemies (Klingons) and exiles of their current enemies (Garak) included.

It wasn't a faith thing, it was a negotiation

Odo was cured of the morphogenic virus. No one from the Dominion had the same skill. So he cured the female changeling during that link, but didn't pass the cure on to her - he held it back, and the Great Link continued to suffer until after he returned in the finale episode.

So he made a deal with her: Stop the war, or all the Changelings would die, regardless of whether or not they trusted the solids. And believing themselves to be "above" the solids - presumably including "more honorable" - they couldn't go back on the peace treaty.

  • Good answer otherwise, this is just a quibble: I was with you on this until the last paragraph. I seem to remember that Changelings have said something along the lines of "a promise to a solid means nothing." Maybe this was something the female changeling said to Odo when she was trying to convince him to join the Link? (Does anyone else remember this?) – neilfein Jan 17 '13 at 4:29
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    @neilfein Could be. I don't remember that, but it has been a while. It maay also be able to be interpreted as "you can't trust a solid to keep their promises", in which case - Odo wasn't a solid. – Izkata Jan 17 '13 at 12:05
  • Although this is probably what the writers intended, I'm not a huge fan of this rationale. How did he have more faith in the solids than he did less than two years previously? (He had last linked with her at the beginning of season 6.) – Plutor Feb 2 '13 at 1:41
  • @Plutor He went to war and helped save an entire race such builds faith. – user24562 Apr 7 '14 at 17:55
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    @Izkata believing themselves to be "above" the solids - presumably including "more honorable" - I never thought they believed themselves above the solids in terms of honor or integrity or morality, just more ruthless. They come across as sociopathic genocidal megalomanics. Hardly the honorable type. – RichS Jan 2 '17 at 4:37

The female changeling said earlier in the war that returning Odo to the great link meant more than all the Alpha quadrant. And indeed in this he agrees to return home to the link. Seems they got want they wanted most, even if it’s not what they intended for the war

Well, a lot of factors as mentioned above, and also that the Dominion really had no choice in the matter. What where they going to do? Everything they had in the Alpha Quadrant was destroyed and retaken, the Federation was in charge of Cardassia, Weyoun even said himself that the war was a drain on the Dominion as well, and to control the Federation would take a significant drain on the Dominion. The Federation adapted the Breen weapons (no info on the Breen society status), but I would imagine a lot of their resources were maxed out as well. Garak knew how to stop the changlings from shifting, so just blanket the planet with those devices and they could never leave the Great Link. The only thing the Dominion had were the Jem'Hadar, so just by taking over the enemy base of operations all the strategic locations would be known, then a couple ships could fly freely to the Gamma Quadrant to destroy the Jem'Hadar breeding facility. And Odo could / did relay all to the Female Changeling.

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