Odo (Star Trek)

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Odo (pronounced /ˈoʊdoʊ/), played by René Auberjonois, is a major character on the science fiction television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He is a member of a fictional shapeshifting race, called The Founders, and serves as the head of security for the space station Deep Space Nine on which the show is set.



One of "the hundred" sent out by The Founders long ago to explore the galaxy, Odo was found adrift in 2356 in the Denorios Belt by Bajorans. It is unclear how long he had been adrift. Since Odo had not yet learned how to morph into a humanoid appearance, he appeared in his natural gelatinous form. Bajoran scientists, not sure of what Odo actually was, put him in a container and labeled it "unknown sample". The Cardassian overseers translated this into their own language as "odo'ital", which literally means "nothing". Even after it became clear that Odo was sentient, the scientists kept calling him that, giving him the name 'Odo Ital' (like a typical Bajoran name), which was eventually shortened to simply "Odo".

He was studied by Bajoran scientist Dr. Mora Pol, whom Odo disliked due to Mora's questionable (but effective) practice of inducing pain as a motivator in encouraging Odo to assume different shapes before, and even after, Odo was recognized as sentient. While Mora regarded himself as a father of sorts to Odo, Odo felt intense hostility toward Mora. Their relationship was difficult, but eventually they did reach a certain understanding. Odo modeled his humanoid appearance on Dr. Mora, but never had the skill to duplicate humanoid features with precision, making his humanoid appearance an approximation.

When others of Odo's species (the Founders) are later introduced, they share a similar 'unfinished' look, which they adopt to make Odo feel at ease around them—they are able to replicate humanoids exactly, whereas Odo, having grown up without others of his kind, never learned to master it.

Due to his status as an impartial outsider, he was sometimes employed by Bajorans to settle disputes. Odo later worked for the Cardassians during the Occupation of Bajor aboard the orbiting Terok Nor ore-processing space station, and later for the Bajorans/Federation aboard Deep Space Nine (the Federation name for Terok Nor), in both cases as chief of security. During the occupation, Gul Dukat had originally enlisted Odo to investigate the murder of one of the Bajoran station workers. Since Odo was seen as a neutral observer, sympathizing with no one, he was considered a valuable security officer.

Odo's early career on Terok Nor hit a snag when he investigated an assassination attempt on Dukat. Three Bajoran workers were initially linked to the attack, and Odo—eager to ensure the rule of law and quickly conclude the investigation—hurriedly convicted them and allowed them to be executed. Soon after, Odo discovered that all three men were innocent, and that his lax investigative procedures caused a serious miscarriage of justice. This prompted Odo to be much more insistent on actual justice, though not necessarily the actual letter of the law.

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