- "As of this moment, we are all dead. We go into battle to reclaim our lives. This we do gladly, for we are Jem'Hadar. Remember: victory is life."
- —First Omet'iklan, 2372[src]
The Jem'Hadar were a reptilian humanoid species native to the Gamma Quadrant. They were genetically-engineered to serve as shock troopers for the Dominion and were feared throughout the galaxy as the brutal face of Dominion oppression. Aggressive and independent, yet honorable, the Jem'Hadar were kept loyal to their creators by means of a congenital addiction to the Founder-controlled drug ketracel-white (DS9 episode: "The Jem'Hadar").
Jem'Hadar were a humanoid race that stood somewhat taller than an average Human, with a wider build. Their skin was a leathery grey arrangement of scales with many horn-like protrusions across and around their face and back. The species was engineered by the Dominion for strength and durability, to perform as the ultimate soldier. (Decipher RPG module: Aliens)
Jem'Hadar had amber colored blood. (DS9 novel: Warpath) They also did not possess any form of junk DNA within their genome which was a highlighted nature of their genetically engineered origin. (DS9 novel: Objective: Bajor)
Part of the Jem'Hadar's genetic programming was an addiction to the isogenic enzyme ketracel-white, which they were not capable of producing themselves. The drug was supplied to the Jem'Hadar by their Vorta, thus ensuring loyalty, through addiction, to the Dominion. The drug also boosted the level of aggression in the Jem'Hadar making them more ferocious warriors. (DS9 episodes: "The Abandoned", "Hippocratic Oath"; Decipher RPG module: Aliens)
Without white the Jem'Hadar circulatory system would break down resulting in their eventual deaths. However, there were rare anomalies allowing some Jem'Hadar to produce the enzyme internally. The Jem'Hadar Taran'atar and Goran'agar both had this ability. Starfleet autopsies of Jem'Hadar found that it was a trait in some older Jem'Hadar, ten years or more, to begin to develop the means to naturally produce the enzyme in small quantities. (DS9 episode: "Hippocratic Oath"; DS9 - Avatar novel: Book Two)
The founders developed the Jem'Hadar to have only the male gender - this allowed them to breed armies of emotionless soldiers who possess no emotional attachment to their parents or siblings to distract their loyalty. (Decipher RPG module: Aliens)
Jem'Hadar were created in birthing chambers and had an incredibly high metabolism that allowed newly created Jem'Hadar to fully mature, and be ready to fight, after just three days of life. (DS9 episode: "The Abandoned")
Most Jem'Hadar died at a young age in battle and it was uncommon for a Jem'Hadar to reach fifteen years. Those who lived as long as twenty years were given the title Honored Elders. (DS9 episode: "To the Death")
Starfleet analysis of the Jem'Hadar revealed that as they aged they tended to become less violent and more thoughtful and disciplined, even starting to question the status-quo of "the order of things". (DS9 - Avatar novel: Book Two)
With the exception of ketracel-white, which was administered through feeding tubes, the Jem'Hadar had no other needs - they did not need to sleep or require any additional form of sustenance. Actions such as eating and sleeping were considered a weakness and distraction from a constant state of combat readiness. (Decipher RPG module: Aliens)
One of the Jem'Hadar's most unique abilities was the shroud, which, like a cloaking device, made them invisible to the naked eye and to most sensors. They were born with this ability but it required most of their concentration which meant they were incapable of fighting while shrouded. Jem'Hadar could detect other shrouded Jem'Hadar in the vicinity by a unique ability to detect the aura given off by the shroud called the di'teh. (DS9 episode: "The Jem'Hadar"; DS9 novel: Demons of Air and Darkness; DS9 - Avatar novel: Book Two)
The homeworld of the race that would become known as the Jem'Hadar was unknown. Some Dominion subject races speculated it was a bleak place with a dark sky and roiling clouds that admitted little sunlight.
Early Jem'Hadar developed their own language, but later developments were guided by the hand of the Founders. In the 22nd century, the Dominion was still tampering with the Jem'Hadars genetics in order to create a perfect shock trooper. Isolated pockets of rebellion lead the Founders to institute harsh crackdowns which tightened the need for ketracel white and reinforced the genetic sense of loyalty as well as unit structure. These early Jem'Hadar were stalkers and trackers that relied more on natural stealth and guile rather than their primitive technology. They lacked the capacity to shroud at this time.
By the 23rd century, the Dominion had perfected the genetic engineering process that reformed the Jem'Hadar into the Founders vision of the race - lethal killing machines easily adapted to multiple aggressor species and completely pliant to the Founders. The Jem'Hadar soon established themselves as the terrifying face of the Dominion. By this time Jem'Hadar and their vessels were equipped with powerful polaron weapons. (Decipher RPG module: Aliens)
In the latter half of the 24th century the Federation discovered the Bajoran wormhole, linking the Alpha Quadrant to the Gamma Quadrant. Federation first contact with the Jem'Hadar and the Dominion came in 2370. Relations between the two powers got off to an immediately bad start with the Jem'Hadar attacking and destroying the USS Odyssey. (DS9 episode: "The Jem'Hadar")
In 2373 Dominion-Federation relations had become war. Dominion forces in the Alpha Quadrant were cut off from Gamma Quadrant reinforcements so in response began to develop and grow a new breed of Jem'Hadar designed specifically to fight the races of the Alpha Quadrant. (DS9 episode: "One Little Ship")
At the close of war the Dominion forces returned to the Gamma Quadrant, though a small force of rogue Jem'Hadar refused to accept the treaty and remained in the Alpha Quadrant. In 2376 a Starfleet task force led by the USS Enterprise-E and the USS Jupiter destroyed several Jem'Hadar vessels still operating in the Barisa system. Around the same time the Borg assimilated or destroyed several other Jem'Hadar vessels and facilities in the quadrant. (TNG video game: Armada)
In April of the same year the founder Odo sent the Jem'Hadar Taran'atar, who was one of the Jem'Hadar not to have a dependency on white, to the Alpha Quadrant as an envoy, to learn more about the Alpha Quadrant cultures. His arrival was troubled by a force of rogue Jem'Hadar led by Kitana'klan who attacked Taran'atar's vessel and attempted to destroy Deep Space 9 to make up for their failure to win the war before. Fortunately Taran'atar's vessel was able to catch up and help destroy the rogue vessels and thwart Kitana'klan's plan. (DS9 - Avatar novel: Book Two)
Despite the end of the Dominion War, a number of Jem'Hadar remained in the Alpha Quadrant and refused Odo's summons in 2386 to return to the Gamma Quadrant. This group was led by First Lamat'Ukan who called Odo a false god and that under his leadership there would be no victory and without victory, there was no life. A year later, a faction of Alpha Jem'Hadar took control of the abandoned colony of Devos II, which had been left empty since the end of the Dominion War. These Alphas established a base of operations near the old ketracel white facility in order to manufacture their own supplies. Starfleet deployed the USS Stargazer-A to investigate but no hostile action was taken since the Jem'Hadar took no further aggressive moves. In 2393, Gul Madred hired many of these Jem'Hadar to serve as private security forces to defend his mining operations on Septimus III. (STO website: The Path to 2409)
In the aftermath of the Kelvin timeline, the Jem'Hadar attacked and boarded the USS Enterprise that had been brought from the past by the inter-dimensional being known as Q. (TOS - The Q Gambit comic: "Part 2")
The Jem'Hadar were, like their counterparts from the prime reality, servants of the Founders and members of the Dominion. However, these Jem'Hadar were larger, stronger, and even more suicidally devoted to their masters. (Decipher RPG module: Through a Glass, Darkly)
The Jem'Hadar believed that their name meant "soldier". Unlike similar races with violent tendencies, the Jem'Hadar did not exalt their aggression into a matter of glory or honor. Their warrior ways were simply what they were and were the very core of their being. This made combat the sole reason and purpose of their existence and was the means through which they served the Founders, who they considered gods. (Decipher RPG module: Aliens)
The Jem'Hadar and the Vorta were programmed to believe the Founders are gods. Though the vast majority of the race never actually saw a Founder, and some did not even believe they existed. The Jem'Hadar's devotion to the Founders extended as far as ritual suicide if they fail to protect one of the Founders. (DS9 episode: "The Ship")
Life, Death and Battle
The Jem'Hadar were highly ritualistic and ordered, before going into battle Jem'Hadar would recite the pre-battle sermon:
- "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. Remember victory is life."
The chant reminded the Jem'Hadar of their purpose and helped ground them in their instincts: to fight to the bitter end, no matter the cost. They will willingly and without a moment's hesitation give their lives for a Founder.
Ceremonies were sparse and short, consisting of promotions or demotions which were handed out almost at a whim by the Vorta commanding the Jem'Hadar. Death was a common fact of life, and the deaths themselves are not mourned. In fact, those that died in battle were considered lucky and their lives were not celebrated or dwelt upon, while those that die outside combat through disease or ill happenstance were considered shameful and were forgotten as quickly as possible.
Between a choice of fighting and settling a matter peacefully, a Jem'Hadar will always choose the former unless he has been ordered by his unit's Vorta. Such commands override the Jem'Hadar's violent urges and are followed to by the letter as these are the commands of the Founders themselves. While the Vorta are not as respected as the Founders, their words are obeyed with all due respect. (Decipher RPG module: Aliens)
Jem'Hadar "social structure" formed around their military units, usually consisting of 6-10 warriors each ranked by number. A warrior followed the lead of the number preceding his own and the First followed the commands of the unit's Vorta overseer. Anything not covered in these orders was the responsibility of the Jem'Hadar First. If the orders were carried out satisfactorily, the Vorta would award the unit with a ceremonial delivery of ketracel white. (DS9 episode: "To the Death")
In relation to other races, the Jem'Hadar had an innate sense that they are superior to their enemies and their natural instincts urged them to fight anyone except the Founders. (DS9 episode: "The Abandoned")
The Jem'Hadar language was a modified version of the simplistic language they had developed prior to the Founders taking control of their evolution. It was a simple language composed of short commands, with a huge vocabulary of battle words referring to tactics and maneuvers, for which no words existed in other languages. (Decipher RPG module: Aliens)
Typically, the Jem'Hadar refrain from speaking their own language to outsiders and prefer to learn the speech of their enemies which they are capable of doing at a fast rate. This provides them an edge against those species that are fully dependent on the Universal translator. (DS9 novel: Time's Enemy)
- Kar'takin (mid-range)
- Polaron pulse rifle with chemically-enhanced bayonet (long range; 1)
- Rens'takin (short range)
- Shock blade (mid-range; 2)
- Polaron bayonets can be launched like speargun-bolts. They release a lethal nerve-agent on contact.
- Shock blades deliver a taser-like jolt to whatever they strike in combat. Holding the blade's trigger discharges a beam of neuro-electrical energy, with an effective range of 15 feet.
|This article or subsection has an associated category.||Jem'Hadar|
- See list of Jem'Hadar.
|Gamma Quadrant races and cultures|
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