There is a similar question here that was closed for some reason as being opinion based. My question is not a general question about whether or not the Founders are able to establish a telepathic link with solids, but a specific one about this episode and the mechanism for how Odo was able to establish a link with the other crewman, if that's how it happened.

DS9 "Things Past":

BASHIR: As far as I can tell, the four of you were locked into some version of the Great Link.

ODO: The Link? How is that possible? I'm a solid now.

BASHIR: Well, it seems you're not as solid as you think. When I ran a neurochemical scan of your brain, I found residual traces of morphogenic enzymes which I've only detected before in changelings.

ODO: When the plasma storm hit the runabout it activated the enzymes and initiated a telepathic response.

BASHIR: Your mind reached out to find other changelings to form the Link, but all it could find was Sisko, Dax and Garak.

ODO: And just before the accident, I was thinking about the executions. Somehow being in the Link must have forced me to relive it, and admit the truth about what I'd done.

I was really confused by this episode.

My understanding is that although Odo did have a certain calling for the lake early on that is not indicative of outright telepathy. It certainly could have been a past memory or something planted there by the founders. In any event physically being in the lake created the link between the changelings.

Although Bashir infers somehow that there was a link between the four of them there is no precedence for this or mechanism explained other than Bashir simply stating that Odo's mind (as you'll see below, even though Odo is now a solid, changelings don't have brains, so it couldn't be his mind reaching out telepathically, right?) "reached out."

An additional fact to consider is that we have no example of a changeling creating a link with a solid. There is no in-canon mechanism or example of this that I know of. If this ability existed then the dominion would have used this as a weapon or strategy over and over again during the Dominion wars.

Solids are not morphogenic and changelings appear to be immune from telepathy thereby precluding the possibility for a telepath to initiate a link.

DS9: "Dramatis Personae":

BASHIR: Possibly. What are you getting at?

ODO: Doctor, I believe the Klingon brought the matrix with him and everyone in Ops was affected except me. Without a humanoid brain, my system rejected it.

Was Odo connected to the great link in this episode or was Odo just connected to the other three solids with him? If he was connected to the great link, how could a link be established from so far away without being in physical contact with the lake? If he was just connected to the other three solids how was he able to establish a link subconsciously with solids (and without being in physical contact with them)? Or is there some other explanation for how this connection occurred?

If you want to include in your answer an explanation of how the various characters were controlled, the narrative occurred, etc. that'd be helpful as well.

Any star trek manuals, reference materials, or writers notes are welcome.

(Richard you gave me a link before that had some good writers notes in it. I was wondering where that reference material came from maybe there's an answer there.)

  • 1
    Considering the amount of solids that have had telepathy in the series, it's just hand waved telepathy of a slightly enhanced solid brain.
    – user16696
    Jun 17, 2015 at 13:55

1 Answer 1


It would seem that, in certain other situations, Changelings may have formed telepathic links with solids.

Apart from Odo's incident in "Things Past":

Evidence of Changelings Creating Telepathic Links with Solids

1. The Bashir Changeling

From StarDestroyer.net:

Founders can also mimic human beings to an unbelievable degree. The Founder that replaced Bashir for 4 episodes (from the change in uniform in "Rapture" to "By Inferno's Light") was completely undetected by changes in personality and even performed complicated brain surgery on Sisko that saved his life. Ron Moore confirmed that it was the Changeling impersonator that did this.

The implication here is that the Changeling who replaced Bashir likely had access to Bashir's mind, to an extent great enough to copy his personality, knowledge, and technical skills.

2. The Strategic "Simulation"

You say,

"An additional fact to consider is that we have no example of a changeling creating a link with a solid. There is no in-canon mechanism or example of this that I know of. If this ability existed then the dominion would have used this as a weapon or strategy over and over again during the Dominion wars."

Actually, there could be an in-canon example of a Changeling creating a link with solids, and in this case it would have been used strategically.

In "The Search (Part 2)", the Founders involve Sisko, Bashir, Dax, and O'Brien in a shared dream designed to extract strategic information about the Alpha Quadrant and to learn which kinds of concessions the Federation might make to ensure peace.

It's true that there is some technological intervention involved, but otherwise, the experience is identical in detail, depth, and realism to the link experienced by Odo, Sisko, Dax, and Garak in "Things Past".

The technology being used in "The Search" could be for recording the happenings in the shared experience and also for monitoring vitals and physical responses (especially to detect lying), rather than to create the experience itself. There is no evidence that the devices actually initiated the link between the Defiant crew members. It could be that a Founder initiated the link, and then the devices maintained the link while the Founder was away from the room, while also recording the link and monitoring vitals.

The Upshot

There is evidence in canon of other possible occurrences of telepathic links between Changelings and solids, and between solids and each other initiated by Changelings. Odo's creation of a link with solids in "Things Past" may not be so unprecedented.

  • I think the ritual which temporarily created Odo Dax might also count, although the Curzon part of Dax was rather the dominant personality in that scenario. IIRC Jadzia/Dax melded with others too in that episode.
    – AJM
    Apr 17, 2023 at 12:43

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