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For the mirror universe counterpart, see Ascendant (mirror).

The Ascendants were a humanoid species native to the Gamma Quadrant. They were a race of religious zealots that were intrinsically linked with the Eav'oq, the Bajorans, and the Prophets of Bajor.


Ascendants were typically taller than the average humanoid, they had a cool exterior body temperature and an exoskeleton which covered their entire body. Veins ran through the exoskeleton and when injured, the damaged parts became discolored. The armor itself was very fluid-looking, and was silver in color, matching the color of Ascendant skin, giving the illusion that it was made of expanding mercury.

The cloudy fluid seen in the Ascendants could be blood, or maybe some other biological fluid, potential some type of chitin regenerator fluid that is used to seal wounds in the exoskeleton.

Ascendants were surmised to have both male and female sexes, with mammary glands and more feminine features defining the female gender. Ascendants were also long lived. Raiq, the first Ascendant encountered by Opaka Sulan, was 112 and not nearly through half her life.

Ascendants usually wore a mask when piloting their spacecraft, one that was form-fitting and blended in with the rest of their exoskeleton, giving them an armored and menacing appearance. Their eyes were fluted and a brilliant gold color and seemed to be similar to the eyes of an insect in that they had a fixed type of vision. They also had ears which were described as small and delicate. (DS9 novel: Rising Son)

Society and culture

The Ascendants were best described as a race of religious zealots on a crusade to join with their gods called "The True". Ascendants roamed the known galaxy seeking out false worshipers and eradicating them from existence.

Two other cultures that had similar beliefs to the Ascendants are the Eav'oq and the Bajorans. There were many similarities which indicated that all three races worshiped the same aliens as gods, though each interpretation was different. The Ascendants had very menacing and frightening descriptions of their religion, such as referring to the True as having "eyes of fire," residing in a Fortress, and those who were worthy of the True burning for all eternity in the afterlife as a god.

Ascendants used to be numerous, but their numbers dwindled over the millennia and they began to rely more on technology than sheer numbers to achieve their goals. They arranged meetings every 50 years to exchange new technologies and make arrangements for the propagation of the species, but seemed to otherwise live in solitude.

Ascendants seemed to hold themselves as the only race relevant in the entire universe, seeing themselves as the sole children of a set of gods. Usually they had no quarrel with those who did not worship at all, but treated all other people and species as second class citizens. (DS9 novel: Rising Son)

However, by the late 24th century, there was a division among them on the merit of eliminating those who prayed to counterfeit deities. For example, races such as the Myshog, the Reskott, and the Anders-vint-Notalla, all of whom idolized their own pantheons of so-called gods, were eliminated as some Ascendants, such as Votiq, could not permit such odious cults to stand, even if such heresies did not equate with the desecration of aliens worshiping the True, like the Eav'oq. (DS9 novel: Sacraments of Fire)

Ascendant society was divided into Orders. Their highest office was that of Grand Archquester, leading the whole of their society in the pursuit of their ultimate goal. Regular Archquesters each leading one Order, each of which is comprised of Questers. (DS9 novel: Sacraments of Fire)


The Ascendants at some point in history lost their homeworld and became a nomadic species, spending their lives roaming space in their quest to seek the Fortress and purge blasphemers.

In the 23rd century, a group of Ascendants accidentally went through the Bajoran wormhole (which they called the "burning Eye") and encountered the Bajorans, whom they deemed to be falsely worshipping the True. In retaliation, they first destroyed the Bajorans' colony on Gelladorn, in which they left automated missile emplacements that the crew of the USS Enterprise destroyed. Later on, they attacked the colony on Velat Nol, where some of their ships got into a scuffle with the Enterprise. They finally met their end at the colony on Pillagra, where some of their ships rammed the USS Courageous and planned to do the same to the colony. Rather than being in the custody of the Federation, the last surviving ship self-destructed. (TOS novel: Allegiance in Exile)

Aside from this incident, not much was known of the Ascendant race's past. They were encountered by Opaka Sulan on the moon prison of the Ennis and Nol-Ennis in the Gamma Quadrant. The Ascendant, Raiq, was injured and landed upon the derelict moon due to an illness. After being nursed back to health by Opaka and the Ennis, Raiq soldiered on to find the True and conquer the Fortress as her culture dictated.

Later, when Jake Sisko and Opaka Sulan found the hidden Eav'oq planet, they found that the reason why the Eav'oq were hiding on a different dimensional plane was to escape the Ascendants' persecution. (DS9 novel: Rising Son)

When a nova appeared in the Gamma Quadrant, it was heralded as a sign which the Founders had been waiting for indicating the return of their god, The Progenitor. Odo, Laas, Indurane, and two other Changelings found the star system the nova originated from, only to find that the nova had not only killed the Founder "god", but that it was also artificially ignited by the Ascendants. (DS9 - Worlds of Deep Space Nine novella: The Dominion: Olympus Descending)

During Captain Kira's visions, the Ascendants were shown as an army out to destroy those who worshipped the Bajoran Prophets. They threatened the Eav'oq, calling them Unclean, and proceeded to destroy the fortress the Eav'oq occupied, thus (in allegorical fashion) fulfilling the prophecy that they will find the Fortress inhabited by The True and become one with their gods. (DS9 novel: Warpath)

Although this occurred in a dream, the historical facts of the Bajoran army were similar to past indications, so it can be assumed that the ancient Ascendants were outfitted in a historically accurate fashion when described in Warpath.

In 2377, Iliana Ghemor appeared before a gathering of Ascendants, becoming their leader. (DS9 novels: The Soul Key, Sacraments of Fire)

The situation with the Ascendants and Ghemor appeared to have been resolved by 2378. In 2381, Raiq was based at the Shikina Monastery. (ST - Typhon Pact novel: Rough Beasts of Empire)

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