JEM’HADAR: Cultural Index


“I am dead. As of this moment, we are all
dead. We go into battle to reclaim our lives, This we do gladly because we are Jem’Hadar.
Victory is Life.” The Jem’Hadar. The forces of the galaxies
mightiest military power, the Dominion. Genetically bred warriors fit for only one purpose, to
war and to win. Hi all, Ric here with another cultural index this time on the scaled soldiers
bound to the will of their Gods from the Gamma Quadrant and one of the races that caused
the most trouble to the Federation. So let’s look at the Jem’Hadar shall we?
The Jem’Hadar are another species whose natural evolution has been completely overwritten
by the Dominion’s control. Like the Vorta, the Jem’Hadar are an all cloned race under
the complete control of the Founders. They are an all-male species which is by the Founder’s
design, they can no longer reproduce outside of the cloning facilities under Dominion control.
They reach full adulthood within around three days and during this period their digestive
system processes food in the same way as many species. Upon maturation however, they no
longer require sleep nor ingest food. Their whole metabolism is fuelled by Ketracel White.
Physiologically, the Jem’Hadar are a sort of a mix between a Reptilian and mammalian
species with traits from both. Their skin is scaled and grey yet they are warm blooded
and far more mammalian in infanthood than adolescence. The tougher scales and horns
develop as they age with older Jem’Hadar sporting longer horns around their head. They
are stronger than humans too and have excellent vision. An interesting fact is that stun settings
have little effect on them and most weapons have to be tiered up to lethal, a side effect
being that capturing them is very difficult. They also have a biological ability to shroud
themselves, a sort of cloak that allows them to camouflage themselves. They are able to
detect one another through their enhanced eyesight that allows them to see, what they
call the Di’teh aura. In terms of mental ability, they are very tactically minded and
can learn languages rather quickly, which they often do as it allows them to understand
their enemy’s commands in the heat of battle. The Ketracel White is a chemical compound
supplied by the Dominion hierarchy and produced by factories controlled by them. This substance
contains all the nutrition needed for a grown Jem’Hadar as well as a critical enzyme that
the Jem’Hadar lack. This was another form of control from the Dominion who deliberately
engineered this lack within the genetic makeup of their soldier and the Founders were the
sole provider of the drug. Without the White, a Jem’Hadar would begin to suffer a breakdown,
both physical and mental as their organs shutdown. This led to them becoming increasingly erratic
and hostile against anyone until they go mad and finally pass.
The original homeworld of the Jem’Hadar has been long buried by the Founders but some
describe it as a world shrouded by clouds and a rather bleak M class surface. It is
also rumoured that the pre-Dominion Jem’Hadar volunteered themselves to the alien superpower
in order to become better warriors. The extensive genetic modification of the Jem’Hadar has
eliminated much of their natural traits so it’s also impossible to speculate on how
their environment shaped them. They had been brought into the Dominion by 2100 although
they were in the midst having their genome refined still. A series of rebellions occurred
during this time from some Jem’Hadar who were too independent but this was all quashed
and buried by the Dominion. Now they serve as shock troops and ship crews
making them the bulk of the Dominion’s military and naval might. This is their sole function
and as such entirely developed around a military lifestyle but without any R and R. They had
no entertainment, no arts or relaxation as they had no need of it, their entire existence
was designed to serve the Dominion and the Founders.
Jem’Hadar units are entirely rank based and one of the only things that the Jem’Hadar
themselves have control over. After being “born” and matured they are assigned to
a unit where they earn rank based on merit and experience. Every member of the unit is
assigned a level, Fifth, Fourth, Third culminating in the top rank of First. They unquestioningly
follow the orders of their superiors but can be demoted and promoted in tier by the First
(or acting first) of their unit. Each unit answers to a single Vorta, the Dominion’s
middleman species who relay the orders of the Founders to the Jem’Hadar and manage
the day to day operations of the organisation. I’ve already done a video of them, sufficed
to say that the Jem’Hadar have no love for the Vorta, who treat them as disposable slaves.
They only obey the Vorta’s orders as they have been conditioned to believe that the
Vorta act on behalf of the Founders, whom the Jem’Hadar are genetically compelled
to obey. Jem’Hadar did name themselves however, despite
being clones and ranked by number. Such names were two words however they were not familial
names as the Jem’Hadar had no family units. Again, nothing to conflict with their loyalty
to the Founders. Despite all this restriction imposed on them
a culture has evolved among them based around the life that they know. First off, their
genetic compulsion to obey the Founders has led to them deifying the Changelings into
gods. As their literal creators and sculptors of their genetic code, in a way, they are
correct. A light ritualistic mindset grew around their interactions with the Founders,
however indirect, and this applied to the taking of the Ketracel White too.
Bred for combat and fanatically loyal to the Dominion, they enter combat with a pledge
to win or die. Victory is Life. To get them in the mind-set, they stated that they were
dead on the eve of battle and only through victory would they live again. This was all
bolstered by their natural taggression; they lusted for combat and were driven to pit themselves
against an adversary with some enjoying combat or the prospect of engaging a new opponent.
With the amount of combat that the Jem’Hadar see, their average lifespan is around 15 years
although they are capable of living much longer. Those over the age of 20 were seen as honoured
elders, proof of their ability in combat to survive and win, worthy of respect.
This level of appreciation for combatants also extended to other races, often to the
chagrin of the Vorta. Being an entirely military society, they are judgmental of their opponent’s
tactics, courage and warrior ethos, the only criteria they are familiar with. To this end,
they seem especially respectful of the Klingon society and show this by beating their Klingon
prisoners. Not great and perversely this mistreatment of prisoners of war was in their mind, a sign
of respect although many other races would disagree.
The Jem’Hadar are trusted with the operation of the Dominion starships and fighters which
strike fear into many of the Dominion’s subjugated races. The Dominion fleet included
Fighters, battleships and battlecruisers which could be produced at an alarming rate, mirroring
the rapid repopulation of their Jem’Hadar crews themselves.
They favoured Polaron based weaponry for ship to ship combat as many species had a deflector
shield weakness for this specific energy type and would routinely sacrifice their lives
and vessel to take out an enemy ship, employing collisions even when there were alternatives
available. On board Dominion ships, they had no windows nor viewscreen with only two personal
eye-screens for the Vorta and First so that no other on the ship could question orders
as they did not have the full picture of events and had to trust in their commanders.
The Jem’Hadar military outfit is lightweight, dark and has several modifications for the
Jem’Hadar’s biology. The uniform can be shrouded when its user cloaks and has a special
intravenous connection to which the Ketracel White could be affixed.
The Dominion wanted the other races to see the Jem’Hadar as just another weapon of
the interstellar superpower, a living extension of the Dominion’s might and as such sculpted
their technology and tactics to reflect this. If the Jem’Hadar were deployed en masse,
the Dominion wanted you dead. They were completely fine with the use of biological weapons and
even their plasma rifles left behind an anticoagulant to ensure their target’s death.
Ultimately, the Jem’Hadar are soldiers, but nothing more and without choice. Everything
about them is artificially amped up to 11 at their expense as a culture, but they would
have it no other way. Genetically they have no choice but to fight, they need to, they
need the structure even when raised away from the Dominion’s influences and for the most
part, only further genetic tampering would allow them the ability to grow naturally as
a species once again. Occasionally, there are Jem’Hadar that, due to the required
genetic diversity to maintain the clone race, are born without the need for Ketracel White,
however such individuals are usually never aware of their naturality as they too are
supplied with the White and folded into the regimented units of the Dominion.
I wonder if it’s true that the early Jem’Hadar did indeed volunteer to be augmented by the
Dominion so they could become fierce warriors. If it is true, I have to question whether
it was worth it? When you strip away everything deemed unnecessary for warfare, what you are
left with is a warrior, but nothing else. Some semblance of a culture can be seen in
their strange honour system, but even that is all orbiting their singular purpose. What
is left of them to fight for aside from the Dominion’s goals? These soldiers never return
to their homes, they only find fulfilment in combat and even that isn’t their choice.
Only Victory is life. Thanks for watching this index on the Jem’Hadar,
the super soldiers of Star Trek. So the next index video can be aimed to explore one of
two more sci-fi soldier species, the Vaadwaur, the out of time military from the Star Trek
universe, or the Unggoy Grunts as used by the Covenant military in from Halo. Votes
are over on the community tab now so let me know or leave suggestions for more species.
Until the next video, I’ve been Ric, thanks again for watching and goodbye!

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