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There's something inherently sinister and threatening about a Hive Mind, especially when it forcibly kidnaps people and forces them to join. What happens to those souls trapped inside? Are they still individuals, or have they suffered so much Loss of Identity that nothing remains? It doesn't help matters that there's usually a Hive Queen or The Virus behind such things.

This isn't always the case though. If the characters willingly create a Psychic Link in order to do amazing things, then a lot of the Squick factor goes away (though those involved may blush afterward if they swapped embarrassing memories). This trope can be pulled off many different ways. A common one has mystics and magicians not just cast a cooperative spell, but use Super Empowering to give one among them their combined powers. Telepaths may subsume themselves into a group entity for greater psychic power and reach. Technopaths can simply "plug in" directly to a greater AI or a group of other technopaths.

This comes in a few flavors: Usually, a single person is "elevated" and made first among equals. The other magicians, telepaths or what not give the first the full benefit of their individual powers, as well as telepathic advice, etc. while they meditate and stay immobile. While in this weakened state, enemies can attack these powerful Mental Fusions by going after the supporters. An equally common variant has the "mob", where the group has no one mouthpiece, but moves with perfect synchronicity and jointly use their powers and combat skills in beyond perfect teamwork to devastating effect. The downside to these is that they usually severely drain everyone once the spell is over.

Compare Assimilation Plot, where a humanity wide, usually involuntary, permanent version of this happens. May coincide with Fusion Dance. See also Mindlink Mates and Twin Telepathy. Side Effects Include creation of a Living Memory inside participants' minds.

Examples of Mental Fusion include:


Anime and Manga

  • In both the manga and the first movie of Ghost in the Shell this is the entire point of the plot! The entire time Project 2501 was trying to lure the Major to it so it could offer her to fuse their minds. Her interpersonal behavior remains pretty much the same (which wasn't much to begin with), but her abilities as a hacker and dive directly into computers increased greatly.

 "I want a guarantee that I can still be myself."

"There isn't one. Why would you wish to? All things change in a dynamic environment. Your effort to remain what you are is what limits you."

  • Several characters from Serial Experiments Lain do this.
  • The Enterrans in Shinzo turn to cards when killed and can be absorbed for power, or can do it voluntarily to give another Enterran Super Empowering, returning to normal afterward. Sago and Kutal would later on do this to give Mushra enough power to enter his (near) final form.
  • In Dragon Ball Z fusions created by the fusion dance and Potara earrings combine the personalities of the fusees. The Namekian fusion method also combines the two fusee's personalities somewhat, and Buu's absorption also gives him personality traits of the people he absorbs.
  • Happens in Soul Eater with the Soul Resonance, a link between a meister and his or her weapon; and the Chain Resonance, a link between all the individuals (both meisters and weapons) of a team. This resonances not only increase the power of the group overall but also increase each individual's power and, in the case of Soul Reasonance, it's a prerrequisite for certain attacks.


Comic Books

  • In the Transformers comic books, Headmasters are Transformers who have mentally fused with a human (or Nebulan) partner. The combined minds work in tandem, usually giving Headmasters faster reflexes and/or better tactical assessment skills. They are usually depicted as a single entity, though sometimes the two personalities will discuss and argue with each other as the story requires.
    • Gestalts use this as well, although the product more likely than not will be less than the sum of its parts. As in, the only things their minds can process are things all the parts agree on. Most of 'em end up Dumb Muscle that'd be hard pressed to produce a coherent sentence.


Literature

  • The Sailor on the Seas of Fate, an Elric of Melnibone novel by Michael Moorcock. Erekose, Elric, Corum and Hawkmoon mentally join together to form the "Four Who Are One" to fight Agak and Gagak.
  • In E. E. "Doc" Smith's Lensman series, the Arisian Mentor was actually 4 Arisian minds joined together.
    • Several Lensmen create temporary "wide-open [insert number here]-way" mental fusions during the series. (The number before "-way" being the number of minds involved.)
  • Spider Robinson story The Mick of Time. The regulars at Callahans Bar join together telepathically to defeat a deadly alien threat.
    • They do so again in Callahan's Legacy to stop the last servant of that threat, making him do a Heel Face Turn. Ironically, they broach the idea of doing this AGAIN in Callahan's Key, but decide not to.
  • Dairine does something sort of like this in the third Young Wizards book and it's a side effect of group spellcasting in general.
  • It's also used by starship pilots in the Vorkosigan Saga.
  • In The Thrawn Trilogy, the cloned Jedi Master Joruus C'baoth was able to do this with vast swaths of the crewers of the Imperial Fleet, picking things out of each mind in the process. He could control them like this, making for something like a thirty percent increase in efficiency and also making a ridiculous degree of synchronicity possible. Crewers released from his control were generally exhausted and somewhat horrified; unsurprising, since Joruus was insane. At one point in a power-grab he did this to the entire Imperial fleet except for Thrawn and Pellaeon, who were in a ysalamiri field. C'baoth, sent after that stunt to Wayland to be put under guard, did a one-person version where he basically destroyed the mind of an officer, making him into a sort of puppet that died not long after they were mentally separated.
    • The multi-person version is now called Battle Meditation. In the New Jedi Order it was shown that an all-Jedi group could make a Jedi Meld to act with reflexes and synchronicity that even they couldn't match normally.
    • Outbound Flight's complement of Jedi were assigned to the weapons systems and trained to do the Meld. They were very good gunners, but unfortunately it didn't work out.
  • The Revelation Space trilogy by Alastair Reynolds features Conjoiners, individual humans with machine-interface implants that allow them to communicate essentially telepathically across their shared wireless network. Some degree of direct mind reading is also possible, limited by social courtesy and the degree of mental firewalling in place. There is also still a hierarchy of individuality in place, with higher ranking individuals having a little autonomy, but to be a Conjoiner means always answering to the collective, and to take action otherwise is treason.
  • Vernor Vinge's novels include an alien race called Tines. Each one is only as smart as a dog, but when they assemble in packs, they link up into a single larger mind. A pack of four is about as smart as a human. The link is made not with telepathy or magic, but with high-freqency sound, and several plot points hinge on the implications of that.
  • Eragon and Saphira
  • In the Earth's Children series, Neanderthal shamans (known as Mog-ur) are able to control and direct the minds of the men during religious ceremonies. A particular preparation of datura is used.
  • In Clan Ground Thistle-chaser has the ability to "hear the song" - that is, to join in the hive mind that unites True-of-Voice's clan. Unlike them, she also has the ability to tune the song out. In a later book, her brother is shown to have the same ability.
  • In The Wheel of Time series, channellers (magic users) often do this to multiply their power.


Live Action TV

  • Seamus Harper in Andromeda
  • The Final Five Cylons attempted to do this in Battlestar Galactica, however it also let them all see each others' memories which revealed to Tyrol that Tory killed Cally. Cue the killing.
  • That blind/albino/whatever chick in the new Doctor Who episode "Bad Wolf"
  • Farscape's Delvians can "Share Unity", where two people join minds and Soul. It's described as better than all the best sex and drugs you've ever taken. ... and it can drive you insane if you kill someone while sharing unity, Zhan did to her former lover for betraying their people to the Peace Keepers. Despite the madness being considered incurable and being incarcerated, she got better after years of soul searching and meditation.
  • In Babylon 5, the renegade telepaths led by Byron and eventually by Lyta Alexander use this extensively to fight off PSI Cops and other authorities. It's also used during sex.
    • It's used earlier by Talia and a group of rogue telepaths (none higher than P12) to overwhelm Bester (a strong P12) and give him Fake Memories of killing them.
  • In Star Trek TOS episode "Is There In Truth No Beauty," Spock Mind Melds with a Medusan to save the Enterprise.
    • In Star Trek: Voyager, a group of ex-Borg could temporarily become a mini-collective to pool their mental power for various purposes.
  • The Dollhouse episode Stop-Loss has Rossum using its active technology to create a commando squad in which all the members share each other's thoughts.


Tabletop RPG

  • In the 1st Edition of Dungeons and Dragons, psionic characters could join their minds together to boost their total power.
    • In AD&D, psionicists do this via 'convergence' power. The group's power points are pooled together, and if one participant knows a power, everyone can use it. Mental attacks on the group affects all of them... but only after overcoming all their defences (so they also can take advantage of the telepathic Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors).
    • They can do this in 3.5 too through the 'metaconcert' power.
  • Shadowrun. Ritual spell casting allows magicians to mentally join together to cast powerful magic over long distances.
  • In Nomine has the Ethereal and Celestial Songs of Unity, the first just allows skill sharing among a group, the second creates a full-fledged Mental Fusion of the "mob" type, each body can act separately and the mass mind can use all their skills and abilities (although it can only take one *supernatural* action at a time) and can see, hear and so on from the point of view of all bodies simultaneously. The problem with the Song is that if the participants don't get along, the massed entity created from them may dither and delay due to the conflict. Also, the participants memories of the actions taken by the mass mind will be sketchy.
  • In Exalted, the Terrestrial Exalted have the Charm "With One Mind", which allows a group of Dragon-Blooded to coordinate tactics and automatically block attacks aimed at their allies.


Video Game

  • In Ar Tonelico 2, the various modes of the Infel Phira amounts to this. Replakia combines dozens of spellcasters to boost the damage of attack spells to an impressive levels, while Metafalica is a more through Mental Fusion that is used to get enough power to create a Flying Continent . A few other modes are used for mind control instead.
  • The Transcendence victory in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri involves humanity voluntarily forming a planetwide collective consciousness. And the planetary consciousness then plans a second transcendence: some people volunteer to be reinstated in individual bodies and head off to colonize other worlds, with the hope that between them the planets will devise a way to escape entropy's cruel grip and thus allow life to flourish indefinitely.
  • On a similar note, this is what apparently happens in the Helios ending of the endings of Deus Ex Invisible War. All humans are united by/in a global network where they can share their minds whith each other. How much of their identity do they retained is uncertain.
  • The Advent in Sins of a Solar Empire. Following the game's emphasis on Grey and Gray Morality, it has both good and bad applications.
  • In Psychonauts, an accidental version of this is the final level of the game. The "Meat Circus" is caused by Raz and Coach Oleander's minds fusing together in the brain tank, combining Raz's childhood memories of the circus with Oleander's memories of his father's butcher shop. The result is as Nightmare Fuel as you'd expect.
  • In Starcraft, this is the basis of the Protoss religion, called the Khala. Protoss are universally psychic, and evolved a super-powerful collective conciousness that manifests as magic-like abilities. Communion with this "Khala" is actually touching all the minds, thoughts, and emotions of the Protoss race at large. However, there is a small group of heretic protoss who fear that this will, one day, completely subsume their personalities, and take steps to sever themselves from it permanently (they evolved their own culture).
  • In Mass Effect, the geth function similar to this, on two levels: each of the flashlight-headed robot guys is a hardware "platform" for 100 or so programs which work together to control it. Also happens in groups of geth, they combine their programs' computing power to think and strategize, as otherwise a single geth has animal-level intelligence, aside from Legion.
    • Also, in Mass Effect 3, one of the colonists from Feros says that they use the remnants of their fusion with the Thorian to fight the Reapers, as they can still feel each others' thoughts and feelings.
  • Played straight in Golden Sun Dark Dawn at the finale when Matthew, after being beaten down three times by the excessive light on the Apollo Lens firing platform, gives the last of his power to Sveta so she can make her Heroic Sacrifice.
    • Made even better by the fact that Matthew's ethereal silhouette follows her around for the brief period you get to control her.


Web Comics

  • A Miracle of Science has a single massive Mental Fusion forming the gestalt mind of Mars.
  • There's a scene in Elf Quest where the Wolfriders' telepathy allows them to think and act as one in order to defeat the monster Madcoil. Curiously that's the only time that particular ability is discussed, although it's probably used in other battle scenes.
    • Well, although it's not en masse like that, the ability comes up during the troll war, when each experienced warrior bonds with an inexperienced warrior so that the amateur would instinctively know how to use the unfamiliar weapon (longsword).
  • In Erfworld, a Thinkamancer can form a mental merge with another caster, so the Thinkamancer can boost the other caster's abilities well beyond what they can normally do at that level. In rare (and extremely risky) cases, a Thinkamancer can merge with two other casters, allowing them to wield new magic that no individual caster could dream of using. Breaking such a link without assistance can cause catastrophic damage to the minds of all the casters involved, possibly killing them, although the Thinkamancer can redistribute the harmful effect, protecting the others by accepting the brunt of it, or vice versa.
  • The above picture is from Sequential Art and the squirrels are forming Think Tank, a biological processor with super...squirrial inventive and strategical abilities.


Western Animation

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender caps season 1 by having Aang and La, the spirit of water and the oceans, fuse (or Aang allowing himself to be possesed) into a Kaiju sized water elemental that obliterates the attacking Fire Nation fleet. And it was good.
  • Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers had a wicked tactic where all of the Series 5 team could pool their strength through Niko's psychic abilities, either to create a very strong shield or an equally strong power blast. It usually did the trick, though it would often drain the charge and/or knock Niko unconscious afterward.
    • A nastier version is the Slaverlords: they are all psychically linked to the Queen, possibly linked to one another, and in most cases, it takes 3-4 beings to make one.
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