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This question is mainly about if there was any canon occasion when the Borg tried to infect a founder/shapeshifter with nanoprobes and if there was, what was the result. If it did not occur, I'm also curious about educated guesses on if it is possible for the borg to assimilate a shapeshifter, or the entire Great Link. I know borg nanoprobes are mostly capable of assimilating humanoids but not exclusively. Also nanoprobes work on a cellular/subcellular level, so they might effect Changelings too.

marked as duplicate by user16696, Community Jun 26 '15 at 14:42

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I believe we don't have any instance of the borg interacting with the founders. Mostly because the changelings primarily inhabit the gamma quadrant, while the borg are primarily in the delta quadrant.

Because we have no known encounters, we now must speculate. The changelings are one of the most advanced lifeforms that interacts with the federation (yes there are many advanced life forms in startrek, these are active players however). Their abilities make them highly resistant to physical damage, as well as being able to shape-shift almost perfectly.

Another race we encounter Species 8472 have very similar abilities as the changelings in that their bodies are highly resilient, as well as being able to shape-shift again almost perfectly. This is the only know species that we know of that the borg cant assimilate.

So based on the similarities between the changelings and species 8472 i would hazard that the changelings would be extremely difficult if not impossible to assimilate. The fact that the changelings primary form is a liquid, it would seem that they could simply liquefy and shrug off all nanites.

As a side note, Species 8472 are from fluidic space, and the changelings are primarily a fluid, and they both shapeshift hrmmm lol.

  • Are 8472 really shapeshifters? I mean, we see them in human form, but we don't know how the change happened (if it happened at all). – mg30rg Jun 26 '15 at 14:50
  • @mg30rg the fact that they were able to "perfectly" turn themselves into other species, leaves us to believe they have the ability to shapeshift. especially since the other alternative would be some form of procedure, that completely rewrites their entire genome to make them human,(while somehow keeping their own minds?) which is far more out there then them simply being able to shapeshift. also most expanded universe that includes them solidified them as having the ability to shape shift. – Himarm Jun 26 '15 at 14:57
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    Well I could think of lots of alternatives like a surgery (actual brain transplant), some sort of a mind transfer, remote controlled drone bodies, the rewriting of their genome with chemical procedures (That would not be "real" shapeshifting, would it?) and so on. – mg30rg Jun 26 '15 at 15:01
  • which is far more out there then them simply being able to shapeshift lol :p – Binary Worrier Jun 26 '15 at 15:06
  • @BinaryWorrier shapeshifting was already an acceptable thing for aliens to have in-universe lol, and the borg even call species 8472 the Ultimate biological lifeform. – Himarm Jun 26 '15 at 15:09
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Canon / Extended Universe

There are no encounters between the Borg and the Changelings in any of the the television series or the films.

It is worth noting that the Borg were unable to assimilate Species 8472, a species living in fluidic space that may have exhibited shapeshifting abilities (Voyager "Scorpion", "In the Flesh").

However, there is a Borg / Changeling encounter in the extended universe, in a novel titled Lesser Evil. See @Richard's answer here. (Thanks to @PaulD.Waite for pointing this out.) The conclusion about the likelihood of assimilating a Changeling is this:

"Borg nanoprobes are designed to assimilate life-forms on a cellular level. But a changeling’s morphogenic matrix has no cellular structure in its natural state. In essence, it was as if the nanoprobes were trying to assimilate a body of water.”

Thought Experiment: Changeling Assimilation Scenario

Given the lack of canon material on Borg / Changeling interaction, here are some educated guesses, as you requested. (This is my attempt to run through the scenario in more detail than the extended universe instance above.)

  • Even if a Borg were to use its nanotubules to pump a Changeling full of nanoprobes, a Changeling has no bloodstream for the nanoprobes to use for reaching various areas of the body (the nanoprobes would have to burrow through the solid form of the Changeling, and there is no evidence to suggest that nanoprobes can do this)
  • Even if the nanoprobes could proliferate through a Changeling when it is in solid form and begin to create Borg organelles, the Changeling could just revert to its liquid form, either partially or fully, and drain out all of the nanoprobes and organelles
  • Perhaps the most pertinent feature of assimilation is that one's brain is given a subspace link to the Borg collective, so that can begin to "hear the Borg", integrating the victim's consciousness into the Borg's hive mind; however, a Changeling has no apparent brain or central nervous system of any kind

Given these points above, it seems quite unlikely that a Borg drone could assimilate a Changeling, at least not without a significant re-design of the Borg assimilation technique.

  • About the 8472 - I never thought about them as shapeshifters. If I recall correctly, we never see them actually changing shapes. We see them in human form, but that human form can be a result of surgery, some sort of mind transfer, or even telepathic connection between the body and the 8472 instance. Other than that you are more than likely right, thanks for your answer. – mg30rg Jun 26 '15 at 14:48
  • @mg30rg : I think you're right...I'll edit to make the statement about 8472's shapeshifting abilities less certain. – Praxis Jun 26 '15 at 15:08
  • we actually seem them revert to their original form, when they die, or when injected by a special thing the dr cooked up. – Himarm Jun 26 '15 at 15:10
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    @mg30rg : Edits done. – Praxis Jun 26 '15 at 15:17
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    @PaulD.Waite : Thanks! Will append to answer above. – Praxis Jun 26 '15 at 15:52

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