- "Belong to them? Major, the Changelings are the Dominion." - Female Changeling.
Changelings are a species of shape shifting lifeforms from the Gamma Quadrant.
They were noted for their capacity to alter their form to levels that were beyond that of similar shape changing species such as the Wraith, Vendorian and Chameloid races. (TLE novel: Night of the Wolves) In their most basic state Changelings resemble a golden translucent liquid. (DS9 episode: "The Search") This gelatinous substance which was held in a morphogenic matrix that activated into different shapes and textures through the use of a special enzyme. This allowed a Changeling to adopt any shape and texture that they desired so long as they studied the shape long enough. They were unable to mimic an object through a simple glance and were required to see enough of the item or person they wished to copy in order to perfectly take its form. But, by doing so, they were able to create a sophisticated facsimile of flesh and matter; allowing them to even take on clothing. (Decipher RPG module: Aliens) Changelings can take on almost any form; liquid, solid, gas and even plasma such as flames. Their abilities are limited mainly by their mass: they comfortably take on humanoid forms, but can also take the forms of things somewhat larger, and a great deal smaller. (DS9 episode: "The Search") The level of mimicry was so accurate that no known scanning technology was able to detect a Changeling once it had adopted a chosen form. (Decipher RPG module: Aliens) When a Changeling takes a form - such as a rock - Federation scanners would read the Changeling as a rock. (DS9 episode: "The Adversary")
However, any piece of the mimicked item that was separated from the main body such as blood samples reverted back to their gelatinous state. (Decipher RPG module: Aliens) Any portion of a Changeling's body that becomes separated from the main body reverts back to its natural state. The fact that a person was bleeding was often accepted as proof that a person was not a Changeling as if they were their blood would've reverted to its natural state. (DS9 episodes: "The Adversary", "The Way of the Warrior", "Homefront"). Furthermore, phaser's that were set on heavy stun were able to force a Changeling to revert to its natural form, although if they were able to shift their surfaces, with enough warning to a mirror-like finish, they could become immune to phaser fire. (DS9 novel: The Siege) In addition, a Changeling that was killed also changed back to its true shape. (Decipher RPG module: Aliens) In addition, a special quantum stasis field was capable of preventing a Changeling from altering their form. (DS9 episode: "The Die is Cast")
Whilst they were capable shapeshifters, a Changeling was required revert to its liquid state every sixteen hours to regenerate. (DS9 episode: "The Search") At such a time, they had to spend least a single hour a day to revert back to its gelatinous form whereupon they rested and rejuvenated. They were able to resist this for a limited amount of time but they would eventually forcibly revert against their will and be unable to take a shape until they had rested. Some Changelings were capable of withstanding this reversion longer than others with some being noted as being able to last a week before changing back to their gelatinous state. (Decipher RPG module: Aliens)
Changelings often had an intense desire to merge together and join the Great Link; typically this was at least once a week if not more frequently. (Decipher RPG module: Aliens) In order to accomplish this, they simply reverted to their liquid based form and merged together whereupon a link was established as their forms blended together. (DS9 episode: "The Search, Part II") Only foundlings were usually able to resist this urge which was due to the fact that they had been raised without knowing of the Link and thus retained some degree of individuality. This was often an alien concept to the other members of the Great Link. (Decipher RPG module: Aliens) As such, they often thought of a single member of their race as a drop in a larger ocean and thus saw little sense in individual identity. (DS9 episode: "The Search, Part II")
The morphogenic matrix of a Changeling was not perfect and it was capable of suffering from instabilities that could threaten their lives. A Changeling was able of being infected by disease and could spread this instability to the rest of their race through the Link thus threatening the entire species with such an ailment. (Decipher RPG module: Aliens)
The thoughts and emotions of Changelings could not be read by telepathic races such as the Betazoids. (DS9 episode: "Fascination") They were also able to survive in the vacuum of space, and were highly resistant to disruptor fire. (DS9 episodes: "Chimera", "Apocalypse Rising") The unique nature of the species meant that were were resistant to Borg assimilation. A Changeling was simply able to compress themselves and eject any nanoprobes within herself without any ill effects to them being seen. (DS9 - Mission Gamma novel: Lesser Evil)
Changelings, especially those that made up the Founders, had a strong desire for order and discipline. They abhorred chaos and sought to control it by oppressing the races that foment it. Initially, they were a race of explorers that long ago had a natural curiosity that made them search the galaxy; however, relentless persecution and suspicion over their shape-changing abilities have made the Changelings a bitter species. They were noted as being one of the most secretive of races in the universe due to their natural distrust of Solids, the mono-form species that have persecuted them for centuries. Thus, they remained out of sight from all but their genetically engineered minions, the Vorta and Jem'Hadar, who worshiped them as gods.
A typical Changeling did not form an equal relationship with a member of another species as they were often a race apart with Solids. Being badly spurned by humanoids, Changelings were normally too bitter to ever trust the Solids. Thus, they found solace amongst their own kind, for only they could join them in forming the Great Link. It was even long said that no Changeling had ever harmed another, which was another reason for this explicit trust in their own kind.
Despite their mistrust of other races, the Changeling still maintained their curiosity of the universe around them. Thus they sent a Hundred infant members of their kind into the galaxy in order to learn more about it by being raised by Solids. However, they were also implanted with a desire to return home and share their experiences with the Great Link. Most of these foundlings often found their way back home where they joined their society willingly; abandoning their past lives along with the friends in order to share in the communal life of the Great Link. These young Changeling were sometimes victims of persecution amongst the races they ended up living with and their experiences often reinforced the Great Link desire to rule the Solids rather than be allowed to be hurt by them. Changelings rarely argued with one another and readily conceded their views to another's greater wisdom or insight. If there was ever any doubt than they simply Linked with one another and through the merger their thoughts and forms became one. In this state, it was easily determined he was fit to lead in a given situation.
Changelings were keen observers of solid behavior. This was not only due to their natural curiosity but also due to their need to protect themselves for they had to understand those they had to enforce order on or otherwise lose control over them. By deeply understanding a species and have intimate knowledge of them, a Changeling was capable of assuming a false identity amongst them with ease. Their time amongst these species does not color their views for deep down they understand that all solids are driven by fear and misunderstanding thus eventually leading them to turn on the Changelings if their existence were truly known. Thus, ironically, by attempting to defend themselves from persecution, the Changelings had become the very beings that Solids had feared.
Within the Dominion, the Changelings that make up the Founders know all the languages of their subject races. Thus, they knew Dominion Standard, Vorta and Jem'Hadar. The infiltrator Changeling also adopted the languages of the cultures they were targeting. Ultimately, however, Changelings had no need for language for their own and instead linked with one another giving them a greater level of communication than words could ever give them. The lack of a spoken language meant also that they typically did not have names for they had no need for them. However, in an attempt to better operate amongst Solids, a Changeling will adopt a name for themselves. (Decipher RPG module: Aliens)
The origin of the Changeling was unknown though according to the Female Changeling they were once a monoform based species until they evolved. According to the elderly Changeling Indurane, their race begun with a semi mythical being called the Progenitor which created the universe and everything in it according to their beliefs. This entity was noted to have taken a population of "solids" and imbued them with its own malleable characteristics which led to the creation of the Great Link. After which, the creature departed known space leaving the Changeling incapable of reproducing though with lengthy life spans. (DS9 novels: The Dominion: Olympus Descending, Warpath)
The race embarked on a period of exploration of the galaxy due to their natural curiosity. However, they found themselves hunted and killed by distrustful solids who feared their shapeshifting abilities. Thus, the population of Changelings came together on an unnamed planet in the Gamma Quadrant and called themselves the Founders. This group thus sought a chance to protect themselves by dominating the solids that would wish them harm. In order to accomplish this, they formed a mighty empire called the Dominion which they ruled as gods. (DS9 episode: "The Search") One Changeling was noted to have been wounded on an unknown world whilst being chased by an angry mob of solids. This Changeling was given shelter and cared for by a family of small primates and in gratitude the Changeling promised the creatures that they would be part of a mighty empire in the stars. Those primates were genetically engineered to become the Vorta who became important administrators of this empire. (DS9 episode: "Treachery, Faith, and the Great River") Similarly, the Jem'Hadar were genetically engineered to serve as the enforcers and soldiers of the Founders' will. (Decipher RPG module: Aliens)
Prior to and during the Dominion War the Federation and its allies used blood screenings in an attempt to ferret out Changelings. However screenings proved to not be very effective. The Martok Changeling cut himself and allowed blood to pool on Deep Space 9's wardroom table to make Captain Benjamin Sisko and Major Kira Nerys believe that he was actually General Martok. The Changeling that replaced Dr. Bashir remained undetected until the real Bashir escaped, despite blood screenings and other countermeasures. Joseph Sisko offered the opinion that Founders on infiltration missions would maintain a supply of real blood within them to use in such instances. (DS9 episodes: "The Adversary", "The Way of the Warrior", "Homefront", "By Inferno's Light")
The majority of the Changelings that made up the Great Link nearly faced extinction when they were infected with a morphogenic virus by a secret intelligence wing within the United Federation of Planets which was called Section 31. They intended to wipe out the Founders and end the threat posed by the Dominion by committing genocide and accomplished this by infecting Deep Space 9 security chief Odo with the virus in order for him to serve as a carrier for the disease. However, he was eventually cured by the efforts of Doctor Julian Bashir and Odo eventually cured the Female Changeling thus saving the race from extinction as well as ending the Dominion War. (DS9 episodes: "Extreme Measures", "What You Leave Behind")
In 2376, a Changeling was left stranded on a world after her vessel crashed onto the unnamed planet. When the USS Defiant led by Captain Elias Vaughn came to rescue her they noticed that an assimilated Borg vessel was on the planet as well. The drone attempted to assimilate the Founder but she simply compressed herself and the nanoprobes whereupon she ejected a ball of nanoprobes with no ill effects to herself. (DS9 - Mission Gamma novel: Lesser Evil) In the same year, the Changelings attempted to coax the Progenitor to return to them but witnessed its death at the hands of the Ascendants. Consumed with guilt over sending the Hundred away, the Changelings dispersed and decided to live in isolation, even from their own kind. This left only a small number of the race left behind to continue leading the Dominion. (DS9 novels: The Dominion: Olympus Descending, Warpath)
- Female Changeling
- Martok (changeling)
- Julian Bashir (changeling)
- Theodore Krajensky (changeling)
- Lovok (changeling)
|Gamma Quadrant races and cultures|
|Aarruri • Alorex • Amaralan • Anndii • Aresai • Argrathi • Ascendant • Bekkir • Calligar • Changelings • Cheka • Chiaran • D'Naali • Dosi • Drang • Eav'oq • Ecocid • Errikang natives • Eunacian • Groxxin • Horgin • Hunters • Iconian • Inamuri • Innerol V natives • Jem'Hadar • Karemma • Kendarayan • Kendo • Lampusan • Merakordi • Nyazen • Ourentia • Overne • Parada • Prentara • Rakhari • Rindamil • Saltah'na • Sen Ennis • Skrreea • Stakoron • T-Rogoran • Teplan • Thepnossen • Tosk • Trelian • Uradi • Vahni Vahltupali • Vanton • Verathan • Vorta • V'Xaji • Wadi • Yaderan • Yentis • Yrythny • Zarian • unnamed Gamma Quadrant races and cultures|