"In the beginning ..."
Below is an excerpt from the DS9 Writer/Director Bible, as read before the
show's premiere by Majel Barrett at a convention ...
[Editors Note: The following ran in issue #24 of CCSTSG Enterprises, the
monthly newsletter of the Central Connecticut Star Trek Support Group (7
Quarry St./Vernon, CT 06066, for more info). At Shore Leave 14, in Hunt
Valley, MD, on the weekend of July 11-12, 1992, Majel Barrett Roddenberry
addressed the large audience on the subject of Deep Space Nine by reading
extensive excerpts out of the writers bible and answering questions. She
also made some interesting comments on other issues surrounding Trek in
the post-Gene era. I captured Majel's presentation on tape and transcribed
it for my newsletter. Note: I have verified the spelling of proper names
where possible, but some discrepancies may exist.]
[...excerpt...] Odo, an alien male, middle-aged curmudgeon, and a shape-shifter.
In his natural state he is a gelatinous liquid. He was a Bajoran law enforcement
officer on the space station under the Cardassians. Starfleet decides to
have him continue in that role, since he's extremely savvy about the Promenade
and all who frequent it. His back story is: 50 years ago, with no memory
of his past, he was found alone in a mysterious space craft that appeared
in the Denorios asteroid belt. He was found by the Bajorans and lived amongst
them. At first he was sort of an Elephant Man, a source of curiosity and
humor as he turned himself into a chair or pencil. Finally he realized he
would have to take the form of a humanoid to assimilate and function in
their environment. He does it, but resents it. As a result, Odo performs
a uniquely important role in the ensemble: he is a character who explores
and comments on human values. Because he is forced to pass as one of us,
his point of view usually comes with a cynical and critical edge. But he
can't quite get it right, this humanoid shape, though he continues to try.
So he looks a little unfinished in a way. He's been working on it a long
time. Someone might ask him: Why don't you take the form of a younger man?
His answer: I would if I could. He has the adopted child syndrome, searching
for his own personal identity. Although he doesn't know anything about his
species, he is certain that justice is an integral part of their being,
because the necessity for it runs through every fiber of his body -- a racial
memory. Thats why he became a lawman. He has a couple of Bajoran deputies;
he doesn't allow weapons on the Promenade, and once every day he must return
to his gelatinous form. [...]
[The following detailed listing of various facts about Odo (as
established in the series STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE
NINE) comes to us courtesy of Tracy Hemenover and her wonderful DS9 Encyclopedia & Lexicon, a
must bookmark for any fan. If you have any questions about any of the different people, places, or
episodes listed below, go check out Tracy's work. You're sure to find the answers.]
Significant Events in the Life
of Security Chief Odo
Chief of security on DS9, a Changeling who for the first two seasons did
not know what he was or where he had come from. He had been sent away
from the Great Link as one of 100 infant explorers, and at some point,
he passed through the wormhole to the Alpha Quadrant, where he was
discovered (in the Denorios Belt by Dr. Mora Pol). The name he
ultimately went by, Odo, was derived from the label on the beaker he
rested in: "odo'ital", Cardassian for "unknown sample", or, literally,
"nothing". Odo was studied by Mora, who saw to his education, and he
tried to fit in by using his shapeshifting abilities to entertain
others. Eventually Odo learned to take humanoid form.
After being the main attraction at a reception for the Cardassian High
Command, Odo had an argument with Dr. Mora, and left the research
center. He apparently spent some time in the mines, where he was often
asked to settle disputes among the Bajorans, as he was considered a
neutral observer. Then Odo was forced by Gul Dukat to investigate the
murder of Vaatrik; his first criminal case. Kira was the prime suspect,
but he let her go when she convinced him she was elsewhere committing
sabotage at the time. Odo became chief of security on Terok Nor, and
once arrested three Bajorans -- Timor, Ishan, and Jillur -- for an
assassination attempt on Gul Dukat. After they were executed, Odo
discovered evidence that they had been innocent. He deeply regretted the
incident, which probably motivated his dedication to justice above the
rule of law.
Odo remained as security chief when Starfleet took the station over
("Emissary"). In "A Man Alone", when Ibudan, a black marketeer Odo once
arrested, was found murdered in a locked holosuite, Odo was accused of
the crime, and ostracized by station residents, until it was found to
have been a frameup. Odo was later tantalized by the claims of a
prisoner, Croden, that he knew where other "Changelings" lived. He never
totally believed this, but ended up letting Croden go ("Vortex"). Odo
was the unwilling recipient of Lwaxana Troi's affection in "The
Forsaken"; and in "Dramatis Personae" was the only officer not affected
by the Saltah'nah matrix, which he managed to find a way to neutralize.
In "Necessary Evil", Odo recalled his first murder case, and realized
that Kira had killed Vaatrik after all, a fact which strained their
friendship. Soon after that, he was reunited with Mora, who had news of
the discovery of DNA similar to Odo's in the Gamma Quadrant. During an
expedition there, Odo was affected by a volcanic gas which caused him to
unknowingly go on shapeshifting rampages; but he was eventually cured,
and reconciled with Mora ("The Alternate"). In "Shadowplay", Odo went
to the Gamma Quadrant with Dax, and investigated mysterious
disappearances in a village that turned out to be made up of holograms;
one of them was a little girl named Taya whom he befriended.
On the mission to locate the Founders in "The Search, Parts I and II",
Odo finally found his homeworld and people. However, when he learned
that his people were the Founders of the Dominion, he rejected them and
returned to DS9. Odo hoped to correct some of the wrongs committed by
his people when he tried to teach a young Jem'Hadar boy to curb his
violent tendencies, but he failed and finally returned him to the
Jem'Hadar ("The Abandoned").
At around this time, Odo came to realize that he had fallen in love with
Kira, who was unaware of his feelings. He acknowledged it to himself in
"Heart of Stone", when Kira was trapped in a crystal; thinking that she
was about to die, he confessed his feelings, but then learned to his
chagrin that she was actually the Female Changeling, impersonating Kira
to try to sever his allegiance to the solids. Odo continued to keep his
secret until "Children of Time" in the fifth season.
In "Improbable Cause"/"The Die is Cast", Odo's investigation of an
explosion in Garak's shop led to the discovery of a massing joint fleet
of the Obsidian Order and the Tal'Shiar. Although he was tortured by
Garak while a prisoner on a Romulan ship, Odo saved Garak's life during
the battle and escaped with him. Some time after this, while Odo was
"hosting" Curzon Dax in Jadzia Dax's zhian'tara, Curzon decided to stay
(apparently with Odo's consent), but was eventually persuaded to return
to the symbiont. Then, in "The Adversary", Odo killed another Changeling
to save his crewmates on the Defiant, thus breaking the Changelings' law
against harming others of their species.
While guarding Shakaar during the First Minister's visit to the station,
Odo watched in secret agony as Kira and Shakaar entered into a closer
relationship. Surprisingly, it was his enemy Quark who realized what Odo
was going through and gave him counsel ("Crossfire"). Odo withdrew from
Kira, and later, in "The Muse", aided a pregnant Lwaxana by marrying her
as a legal technicality to help her keep custody of her unborn
half-Tavnian son. (The marriage was assumed to have been annulled in a
few months.) Then, in "Broken Link", the Founders gave Odo a deadly
illness to force him back to the Great Link to be judged for having
killed another Changeling. They punished him by taking away his
shapeshifting abilities, locking him into solid form as a human, though
still with his "unfinished" face.
In "Apocalypse Rising", Odo was disguised as a Klingon for the mission
to Ty'GoKor, along with Sisko, O'Brien, and Worf; and he was the one who
realized that Martok, not Gowron, was the Changeling. A bit later that
year, after passing through a space anomaly, Odo telepathically "linked"
with Sisko, Dax, and Garak, causing all four of them to relive a
shameful incident in Odo's past -- the incident where he had unjustly
arrested the three Bajorans ("Things Past"). Then, Odo was stranded with
Quark on a hostile planet, and the two of them had to climb a mountain,
carrying a subspace transmitter, and fighting all the way ("The Ascent").
When Odo came into possession of an injured baby Changeling, he tried to
teach it to shapeshift, with unwanted help from Dr. Mora. They met with
some success before it eventually died, but in its last moments it
integrated itself into Odo's body, and he was able to shapeshift once
more ("The Begotten").
In "A Simple Investigation", Odo fell in love with a woman named Arissa
who came under his protection as she was trying to leave the Orion
Syndicate, and who became the first humanoid woman he was ever intimate
with. He eventually learned that she was a deep-cover Idanian agent.
When Arissa regained her true memories, she realized she was married,
and left Odo to return to her life. It was not long after this that Odo
was on a mission of the Defiant in the Gamma Quadrant where the crew
encountered their own descendants. Odo was unable to take humanoid form
through most of the adventure, but learned through a link with an older
version of himself that Kira now knew of his feelings for her. Their new
understanding, however, was shadowed by the fact that the older Odo had
wiped out the existence of 8000 colonists to save Kira's life ("Children
Odo remained on the station when the Dominion and Cardassia took over in
"Call to Arms"; and in "A Time to Stand", he joined Dukat and Weyoun on
the station's ruling council, in exchange for re-establishing Bajoran
security. In "Behind the Lines", when the Female Changeling visited, Odo
linked with her, and under her influence ceased to care about the solids
or the war. Thus, he failed to aid in the plan to prevent the minefield
from being destroyed, leading to Rom's capture. Kira was furious with
him for this, which only vaguely disturbed Odo, until finally, in "Favor
the Bold"/"Sacrifice of Angels", he learned that Kira had been arrested
and would be executed. He then broke free of the Female Changeling's
influence and led a Bajoran security force which prevented Kira's and
Rom's recapture after their escape.
Odo's reconciliation with Kira was (frustratingly) handled offscreen in
"You Are Cordially Invited". Finally, in "His Way", Odo began consulting
Vic Fontaine for advice on how to win Kira's heart. At a "practice" date
with what he thought was a hologram of Kira, Odo learned that she was
the real thing. He left the holosuite in mortification; but the next
day, she confronted him, and their argument led to an impulsive and very
public kiss, which was the beginning of their romantic relationship.
After paying back his debt to Quark for his role in aiding his love
life, by deliberately ignoring a smuggling deal (in "The Sound of Her
Voice"), Odo had his first argument with Kira as a couple in "Tears of
In "Treachery, Faith and the Great River", Odo went to meet a Cardassian
informant, but instead encountered Weyoun 6, who said he wanted to
defect to the Federation. Odo then found himself fleeing the Jem'Hadar.
Among other things, he learned from Weyoun 6 that the Founders were
dying of a disease which had spread through the entire Great Link;
Weyoun believed that Odo, as the last of his kind, could reform the
Dominion. When escape seemed impossible, Weyoun 6 finally suicided to
save Odo, who blessed him as he died.
Later that year, in "Chimera", Odo encountered Laas, one of the other 99
Changeling explorers, and was torn between his love for Kira and his
desire to join Laas in a quest for their siblings, and live as
Changelings "were meant to". When Kira freed Laas from a holding cell
and directed Odo to a rendezvous point, Odo finally realized that she
loved him enough to let him go, and he chose to stay with her.
Just before leaving with Kira on a mission to aid Damar, Odo provided
Bashir with a sample of "goo". On the way to their destination, Odo
learned from Bashir via subspace that he had contracted the Founders'
disease. Later, he noticed the first symptoms ("When It Rains..."). Due
to frequent shapeshifting over the next weeks, in "Tacking Into the
Wind", Odo's condition deteriorated rapidly, though he tried to hide
this fact from Kira. He was unaware that she knew the truth. After they
captured a Jem'Hadar ship, Odo finally collapsed. (Note: in this
episode, Odo imitated the Female Changeling; the only time we ever saw
him impersonate a specific sentient being.) Kira brought him back to
DS9, and left again at his insistence; eventually, Odo was finally cured
by Bashir ("Extreme Measures"). He learned in "The Dogs of War" that he
had been deliberately given the disease by Section 31, who used him to
introduce it into the Great Link.
In "What You Leave Behind", Odo was on the Defiant during the final
assault against the Dominion. After Kira and Garak had captured Dominion
headquarters on Cardassia Prime, Odo beamed down and linked with the
Female Changeling, curing her and in return gaining her agreement to
cease hostilities and stand trial. This brought the final end of the
war. Odo chose to rejoin the Great Link in her place, so that he could
heal his people, and also in the hopes that he could teach them not to
fear "solids" any longer. Kira took him to his homeworld, and they
parted on the shores of the Great Link.
Miscellaneous Odo Facts
"Family" members: Technically, the entire Great Link counted as Odo's
biological "family". However, Dr. Mora Pol was essentially a father
figure to him in his early years. By another technicality, due to Odo's
marriage to Lwaxana, the baby she was pregnant with at the time would be
legally Odo's son according to Tavnian law; this was most likely
nullified along with the marriage.
Friends off-station: An unnamed Bajoran peace officer (seen in "The
Circle"), and a couple of friends in Starfleet Intelligence.
Other: Odo was known to go kayaking with O'Brien, and to read detective
novels. Quark also once caught him reading a romance. A speech of Odo's
in "A Man Alone" might be interpreted to mean that he liked Karo-Net and
Earth jazz. Odo never learned to gamble, and apparently did not care for
Klingon opera. He was an adept reader of body language, and never
carried a weapon even as part of his job. For the first two seasons, he
had no quarters, resting instead in a bucket in the back of his office.
Spiritually, he was an agnostic. His blood type, while he was human, was