JC Denton: And if I do? What becomes of me?
Helios: You will be who you will be. We are our choices. And we can choose to lead Humanity away from this... darkness.
JC Denton: This is what I was made for, isn't it? This is why I exist? (beat) All right, let's do this.
Two or more characters willingly create a Psychic Link in order to do amazing things.
This trope can be pulled off many different ways. A common one has mystics and magicians use Super Empowering to give one among them their combined power. Telepaths may subsume themselves into a group entity for greater psychic power and reach. Technopaths can "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 and 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 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 the goal of The Plan is to create this on a universal scale. Compare Hive Mind, which is when a usually involuntary and permanent version of this happens and all sense of self or individuality is lost. If one dies while in the link is in effect it's a Psychic Glimpse of Death. May coincide with Fusion Dance. See also Mind Link Mates and Twin Telepathy. Side effects may include creation of a Living Memory inside participants' minds, speaking in unison, Glowing Eyes, Battle Aura, Power Floats, and drowsiness.
- In both the manga and the first movie of Ghost in the Shell this is the point of the plot! Project 2501 was trying to lure the Major to it so it could offer her to fuse their minds. Her interpersonal behavior remains the same (which wasn't much to begin with), but her abilities as a hacker and to 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."
- 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 (with one fusee dominant, as Piccolo was in both his fusions), 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.
- In Rosario + Vampire, Lady Oyakata transforms into a giant plant monster and then absorbs Moka, Kurumu, Mizore and Ruby. The girls are fused with Oyakta both physically, as they become part of her body, and mentally, since their minds get linked to hers.
- 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.
- In the DCU, Checkmate Rooks are injected with Starro DNA in order to create this. It has to be used carefully, or there's a fair risk Starro itself will start listening...
- Near the end of his ongoing solo, after a lot of Character Development, the mutant multiple personality David Haller learns to trust himself enough that he starts merging with his personalities rather than forcibly draining their powers. Eventually he effectively cures his DID by merging with them all.
- Of a fashion in Pacific Rim. The dual pilot system used by most of the Jaegers has both pilots neurally linked in order to heighten synchrony (also, as said by Guillermo himself, because the neural strain of directly controlling a body twenty five stories tall would be too much for a single human). One pilot controls the left side, the other the right. The Chinese Jaeger Crimson Typhoon bucks the trend by using three pilots to control its three arms. Only two pilots in the world have ever managed to run one solo and not be horribly brain-damaged.
- 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.)
- In Spider Robinson's Callahan's Crosstime Saloon series, this happens more than once. In "The Mick of Time", the regulars at Callahan's 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 is able to do this with vast swaths of the crewers of the Imperial Fleet, picking things out of each mind in the process. He can 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 are generally exhausted and somewhat horrified; unsurprising, since C'baoth is insane. At one point in a power-grab he does this to the entire Imperial fleet except for Thrawn and Pellaeon, who are in a ysalamiri field. C'baoth, sent after that stunt to Wayland to be put under guard, does a one-person version where he basically destroys the mind of an officer, making him into a sort of puppet that dies not long after they are mentally separated.
- We don't find out if he's right, but Thrawn has a theory that the Emperor was doing this all along (it's why he seeks out C'baoth in the first place).
- 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 are assigned to the weapons systems and trained to do the Meld. They are very good gunners, but unfortunately it doesn't work out.
- Zahn also uses this in the Hand of Thrawn books, where Luke and Mara's growing emotional affinity allows them to effectively mind-meld when faced with a deadly trap. The meld is almost immediately followed by Luke proposing to Mara.
- 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 novel A Fire Upon the Deep includes 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.
- In The Obernewtyn Chronicles farseekers are able to form a mindmerge to increase their range. The traditional method uses a group of farseekers pooling their energy to boost the signal of one member, and is limited by the number of minds the sender is able to link with simultaneously (Rushton's one Talent is the ability to combine many minds in this way, although he can't farseek himself). Then Aras comes up with a new method whereby trios of farseekers link to each other then to two other groups, forming a conduit for an unlinked mind to 'slide' along without using up their own energy. In this way, Elspeth is able to farseek all the way from just outside Obernewtyn to Sutrium, half way across the Land.
- 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.
- In Edmond Hamilton's Return to the Stars, alien invaders resort to that in order to get details about a superweapon after a normal Mind Probe fails to get them from the main character. Since all he knows is how to use it, they don't learn anything useful... but the hero learns the location of their fleet.
- In Andre Norton's Ordeal in Otherwhere, Shann Lantee and Charis Nordhalm, with their Bond Animals form this to achieve various things.
- In the Patternist series, the Pattern is a mental fusion of telepaths controlled by a single individual, the Patternmaster. Before it was created, telepaths could not endure being around each other as their thoughts would inevitably start to merge.
- In the Darkover novels, telepaths often form "circles" to combine their psychic powers and perform major feats.
- Stingships, small space-fighters of the Humanx Commonwealth, are always piloted by a human/thranx two-person team, electronically linked to one another and to their ship's computers. When combat ensues, battle-drugs are administered to evoke the human's killing instincts and the thranx's dispassionate calculation, which are evaluated and merged via the ship's systems to pick out the tactically-optimal instant for a devastating strike.
- Seamus Harper in Andromeda
- 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.
- 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.
- Mind links have been used several times in Doctor Who, including in "The Girl In The Fireplace" (between the Doctor and Madame de Pompadour), in "Planet Of The Ood" (between the Doctor and Donna, so she can hear the Ood singing), and in 'Bad Wolf' (between the Controller and her masters, the Daleks) Physical contact was used in the first two examples, which were also temporary.
- The Dollhouse episode "Stop-Loss" has Rossum using its active technology to create a commando squad in which all the members share each others' thoughts.
- 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. She uses this ability a handful of times throughout the series to share knowledge or intimacy, or to simply help sooth a a close friend's mind and emotions in times of great stress.
- In Star Trek: The Original Series 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 penultimate episode of Season 4 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer featured a four-way link between Buffy herself, Willow, Xander, and Giles, with Buffy as the focal point.
- Angels in Supernatural have a mental link, which Dean refers to as Angel radio.
- Fusions combined the minds of their components, but required immense concentration on their part to keep the combination up. Some involuntary merges, such as Takutanuva (the temporary fusion of the good Takanuva and evil Makuta Teridax) were different: when recalling the event, Takanuva considered his and Teridax's minds to have merely occupied a shared mental space rather than actually merging into one — their minds chose to work together.
- Brutaka, after tumbling into a vat filled with Antidermis, the substance that Makuta are born from, soaked up so many Makuta spirits that their minds became permanently merged.
- Inverted by the Makuta's assimilations: these only merged the bodies but not the minds, so in order to retain the control over their fused bodies, Makuta had to repress end destroy the minds of those they consumed — as Teridax put it, they made quite literally disagreeable meals.
- In the 1st Edition of Dungeons & 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.
- In the pre-4.0. lore, the Illithid race of the future linked their Elder Brains together and then detonated them to create a psionic storm that opened/will be opening a temporal rift, sending the surviving Illithid to the past. The common Illithid doesn't have this ability, though.
- 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.
- 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.
- Shadowrun. Ritual spell casting allows magicians to mentally join together to cast powerful magic over long distances.
- In Warhammer 40,000, the Imperial Guard can field a unit that consists of a "choir" of psykers. Individually, they would be too weak to be useful in combat, but by combining their psychic powers, they can still serve. In the fluff, astropaths (who use telepathy to send messages between star systems) can also work in choirs to boost their range, efficiency, and clarity.
- 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. This is replicated in the Spiritual Successor, Civilization: Beyond Earth.
- In City of Heroes we have the two psychic members of the Freedom Phalanx, Sister Psyche and Aurora Borealis, the former was dying from injuries and the later was an Unskilled, but Strong young psychic who agreed to let Psyche possess her to cheat death. In this case, Psyche' going into a comma allowed doctors to stabilize and attempt evasive medical techniques to save her body, mean-while Psyche's continued to patrol the city in Aurora's body, she shifted the situation from Grand Theft Me to Sharing a Body. As a single being Psyche'/Aurora was/were able to do phenomenal things. Psyche' willingly returned to her body a few decades later, once medical technology advanced enough to reconstruct her tissue damage. She was willing to give up the fusion, so as not to impose on Aurora. The two are still able to coordinate remarkably well, with or without telepathy, just from previously existing on the same mental wave-length and completing each-others sentences is not uncommon when the two are in the same room.
- On the City of Villains side we have the Arachnos Seer Network, obviously used for more sinister purposes. The Seer Net is the collective minds of all Arachnos psychics, some of which are mutant, but most of which just receive a remarkably specific mental training program for anyone with even a hint of a sixth-sense. To ensure loyalty the network not only acts as a communication and training program, but also a Psychic Block Defense, achieved by beaming their loyalty to Arachnos over and over again into their subconscious. When Fortunata's and Seers access the network to communicate with the others of their station, they are effectively syncing-up as a country wide Mental Fusion with every other Arachnos psychic to problem-solve complex issues in seconds. This only becomes more terrifyingly efficient when added to the fact, that the guy giving them orders, though not a psychic himself, has more thought-processing power than the entire rest of the network put together! Needless to say, despite just being a communication network, this is one of Arachnos's most potent tools.
- On a similar note, this is what apparently happens in the Helios ending in Deus Ex: Invisible War. All humans are united by/in a global network where they can share their minds with each other. How much of their identity do they retain is uncertain, but according to the JC Denton humanoid terminal of the A.I., "Helios will communicate, not assimilate. Life will go on as usual."
- 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 terrifying 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 consciousness 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). "Sever" is rather literal in this case, since they accomplished this by cutting off their hair-like nerve cords. And it turns out this communal mental link was nothing more than Amon's leash. When he is revived he psychically dominates most of the Protoss barring those whose nerve cords were severed.
- 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. A single program only has a limited intelligence, but several operating in parallel can collectively have the intelligence of a sentient. Also happens in groups of geth via a wireless network, they combine their programs' computing power to think and strategize by load-balancing their processes across all the platforms, allowing for less redundancy of thought and more time to think a plan through. This has been described as less of a collective consciousnesses and more of a "collective unconsciousness". When not occupying "mobile platforms" for combat, maintenance, or construction, the geth exist in large servers which host large numbers of individual programs. This is called the "Geth Concensus" and is the closest analogue they have to a government. Their long term goal is to construct a server vast enough to hold all geth programs simultaneously, this being their own version of The Singularity.
- 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.
- It turns out that the Reapers are similar to the Geth except the individual "programs" are what's left of the minds of the people used as the raw material to create Reapers. The so-called "Heretic Geth" are Geth who wanted to take a shortcut to the Geths' long term goal by serving the Reapers in exchange for a Reaper body that can host all of the Geth programs at once.
- 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. Effect gets subverted somewhat, however, once the blow is taken by Volechek instead of her.
- The Skritt in Guild Wars 2 work on a similar principle. They can apparently communicate vast amounts of information with each other extremely quickly through their rodenty chirps and squeaks, to the point that they are effectively exponentially more intelligent the more of them are around. Lone Skritt have trouble managing abstract thought. A group of five or so working together in an entire city of them managed to figure out how to reassemble a golem from spare parts — though not how to avoid setting off its tampering failsafes and have it immediately attack upon activation.
- There's a scene in ElfQuest 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.
- A Miracle of Science has a single massive mental fusion forming the gestalt mind of Mars. Unusually, it's one of the good guys.
- The above picture is from Sequential Art and the squirrels are forming Think Tank, a biological processor with super...squirrel inventive and strategical abilities.
- In Metamor City telepaths can form these to combine their power, or whenever they have sex. Unfortunately if a teep has sex with a "mundie" they can't break off the fusion and even if the psychic link is severed they each retain a combination of their two personalities.
- 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.
- 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 possessed) into a Kaiju sized water elemental that obliterates the attacking Fire Nation fleet. And it was good.
- In the second season finale of Justice League Unlimited, Lex Luthor fuses with Brainiac. The latter is initially hesitant since its experiences with Darkseid gave it trust issues, but Luthor assured it that if they were truly one then trust wouldn't be an issue. Both parties are pretty pleased with the result: Luthor gets Brainiac's vast power and knowledge, and Brainiac gets Luthor's ambition.
- How the literal Fusion Dance of Steven Universe works. At one point, Pearl describes how fusions are completely unique individuals; she uses the metaphor of water being much more than just hydrogen and oxygen stuck together.