Species 8472 was the Borg designation for a tripedal species from a realm known as fluidic space. They were first encountered within the Delta Quadrant by the Borg in 2373 and were also known as Groundskeepers and as the Undine. The Klingons referred to the Undine as qa'meH quv. (VOY episode: "Scorpion"; VOY - Infinity's Prism short story: "Places of Exile"; ST video game: Star Trek Online)
This interdimensional race originate from a region of space outside the known universe with their home being a place that had no stars or planets but instead consisted entirely of bio-matter. (ST video game: Armada II)
The extra-galactic realm that was their home dimension was known only as fluidic space. However, their origins were largely unknown and it was not even clear whether the race had a homeworld. Speculation by some indicated that Species 8472 may have formed within the organic fluids that populated their dimension. Regardless, what was known was that they were the only race to form within fluidic space and the concept of other species was completely alien to them. (Decipher RPG module: Aliens)
- "Scorpion" indicated that the Borg started the war with species 8472, indicating the Borg discovered fluidic space rather than 8472 discovering the galaxy. As the Borg do not typically explore but rather assimilate information, that would seem to indicate another assimilated race had previously discovered fluidic space.
The Borg driven from their realm, Species 8472 became aware of the Milky Way Galaxy and initiated a purge of all other life forms, starting from Borg space. All their attacks against the Borg were victories and it is possible that in a matter of time, the Borg would have been potentially destroyed had it not been for the interference of the Federation starship USS Voyager who formed an alliance with the Collective and developed an effective weapon against Species 8472. After facing their first losses from the weapon, Species 8472 retreated back into their realm. (VOY episode: "Scorpion")
Another stranded 8472 found itself in another extra-dimensional realm, on a Borg Cube trapped within the graveyard that circled the Forge, it and its spawn were killed as part of a deal made between the Borg and the USS Voyager's Hazard team. (VOY video game: Elite Force)
By 2375 groups of 8472 had returned to the galaxy where they built space station habitats that would simulate conditions within the Alpha and Beta Quadrants in an attempt to gain intelligence on the race that had defeated them. This tactic seemingly came to an end when the crew of the USS Voyager were able to convince the 8472 on one station to make peace with the Federation over the misunderstanding that all races within the galaxy had declared war on Species 8472. (VOY episode: "In the Flesh")
Unfortunately this time of good will was not to last and in 2377 8472 returned to purge the galaxy of all life, striking not just in the Delta Quadrant but also into Federation space in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants. Stray 8472 ships also found themselves involuntarily pulled into the galaxy by the Cardassians who had found a way to open a rift into fluidic space and used it as a weapon pulling in agitated 8472 vessels at their whim.
This invasion was defeated by the combined alliance of the Borg stranded in the Alpha Quadrant and the Federation who ventured into fluidic space to destroy the Rift Maker organisms which maintained the gateways into the Galaxy (TNG video game: Armada II)
By 2381 Willem Batiste, an undercover agent for Species 8472, used Project Full Circle to maneuver the USS Voyager back to the Delta Quadrant where he intended to return to his home in fluidic space. After being betrayed by McDonnell he was rescued by the Species 8472 member known as Valerie Archer. Although initially refusing to accept him, due to his potential as a 'pollutant' to the fluidic space, he was eventually allowed to complete his journey home. (VOY novel: Unworthy)
The earlier truce was later revealed to be only an agreement with a section of the Species 8472 population, and not all-encompassing. Whether Species 8472 wished to continue its genocidal schemes or make peace was unknown for a time. In 2390 the USS Enterprise-E was in the McAllister C-5 Nebula and detected quantum singularities that possibly indicate Species 8472 in the area. The next year, Starfleet created a task force to investigate the possible return of Species 8472. The team interviewed members of the USS Enterprise and former members of the USS Voyager crew.
Not known to many, Species 8472, who was also known as the Undine, had been active in the late 24th century where they infiltrated the Gorn Hegemony government and subverted them in order to force them to fight in a drawn out conflict with the Klingon Empire. Later in 2395, the Undine attempted to kill Ja'rod of the House of Duras whereupon it would masquerade as him. Ja'rod whilst on shore leave was ambushed by three members of the shapeshifting species but was able to slay two of the infiltrators and capture the third for questioning onboard the IKS Kang. Through interrogation, Ja'rod learnt of the Undine's motivations to infiltrate the Klingon High Command and after the defeat of the Gorn, the Undine involvement in their government came to light to the Klingon High Council thus heightening the Klingon's xenophobia towards other races. (STO website: The Path to 2409)
The first major sign of active Undine war efforts against the galactic powers was when they abducted the Vulcan ambassador Sokketh and replaced him with one of their own. This member of the species was stationed at Earth Spacedock and in 2409 Starfleet was tasked with escorting him to P'Jem where the world was discovered to be blockaded by a Klingon task force. It was only after battling these Klingons did the Starfleet forces learn that Sokketh was an Undine who fled whereupon one of their dreadnaughts entered into the system. The arrival of Starfleet reinforcements managed to destroy the Undine ship and defeat the threat posed by this infiltration. (STO mission: "Diplomatic Orders")
At this point, the Undine were involved in not only combating the Federation and Klingon races but also the Borg. The Collective in the mean time sought the means to complete its original goal when it entered into fluidic space namely to assimilate the Undine. They were successful in capturing several members of the species in the region of space known as NGC-4447. Ultimately, they succeeded in assimilating one member of the race to serve as a prototype for future assimilations of the species. However, a strike force from Battle Group Omega succeeded in destroying the drone along with its guards. (STO mission: "Assimilation")
Despite the state of war with the other races, Starfleet attempted to forge peaceful relations with the Undine by entering into fluidic space from a stable portal in the Zemet system. Though negotiations failed, it did lead to the Federation's first contact with another inhabitant of this extradimensional realm known as the Hylasa. It was also discovered during this expedition that the Undine had, again, been provoked into acting in normal space: the Iconians had attacked the Undine and framed the nations of the Alpha and Beta Quadrants for the incursion, likely in an attempt to weaken both groups. (STO mission: "Fluid Dynamics")
- "Fluid Dynamics" was altered during the Season 9 update for Star Trek Online on April 22, 2014, and the Hylasa no longer appear.
The Undine began a series of major offensives very late in 2409. During a battle between the Dyson alliance, comprising the Federation, Klingon Empire, and the Romulan Republic, and the Voth, both sides passed through an Iconian Gateway from the Solanae Dyson sphere and entered the Jenolan Dyson sphere. An Undine battle group blasted its way through the Jenolan sphere's neutronium main door, accidentally obliterating a Voth Citadel-class starship, but the allied ships were able to defeat the task force. After a disagreement over the ownership of the Dyson sphere nearly erupted into a shooting war between the members of the alliance, Rear Admiral Tuvok proposed a conference to settle the matter. (STO mission: "A Step Between Stars")
In 2410 Tuvok's summit was interrupted by the appearance of a large Undine armada within the Dyson spheres that set course for Earth. This fleet inflicted severe damage to Earth Spacedock, necessitating a near-complete rebuild, and caused heavy casualties to Starfleet before reinforcements could stop it. Amidst the battle, Tuvok discovered in a mind-link with the Undine previously masquerading as Eric Cooper that the attack on Earth was a diversion: the Undine were really after Qo'noS. Reinforcements including the USS Enterprise-F and the RRW Lleiset rushed to the Klingon homeworld and were able to blunt the offensive, destroying an Undine planet killer in the process. After the battle, the Federation and Klingon Empire declared an armistice, ending the Federation-Klingon War of 2405-2410. (STO mission: "Surface Tension")
With the end of the war, a new alliance is formed, known as the Alpha Quadrant Alliance, but one loose end still remained. The Undine masquerading as Cooper continued to strike at Tuvok, trying to destroy his mental defenses and take him out. Aided by the captain who joined him in stopping the Solanae Dyson Sphere from jumping, Tuvok is able to track down Cooper's location and board his modified bioship. Here, Tuvok is able to contact one of the Undine's higher ups and is able to convince them that the Needs of the Many outweight the Needs of the Few and that, by working together, the Undine can be strong and survive. Despite Cooper's protests, they agree and end up destroying Cooper for his weak-minded thoughts. The Undine end up retreating back into Fluidic Space, thus their whereabouts are unknown (STO mission: "Mindscape")
In an alternate timeline, the USS Voyager crew discovered that this species was still at war with the Milky Way galaxy in other alternate timelines due to the fact that their realm does not have such timelines. The Torres Generator was used to seal the barriers between their realm and all other alternate timelines. As a species, they preferred the name "Groundskeepers" to "Species 8472". (VOY - Infinity's Prism short story: "Places of Exile")
Species 8472 are a tripedal species and perhaps one of the tallest species encountered by the Federation. They do not possess vocal cords however do possess eyes which serve as their sensory organs. They are telepathic which they use to great effect in scanning the minds of other races and using it as a form of tracking mechanism when hunting enemy starships.
The race uses their large arms in combat to great effect with a single strike being possibly fatal to any species known, this is in part due to their amazing immune system. Species 8472 are perhaps the ultimate expression of biological perfection as they possess a near flawless immune system that attacks and destroys any form of 'infection'; both biological and technological. This was also the reason why the Borg failed in assimilating them. Species 8472 use this to their advantage in melee by physically attacking their opponents, transferring blood and immune cells to their target. Victims of such strikes can be best described as being 'eaten alive' as the immune cells from Species 8472 are transferred to its victim which begin to destroy its new 'host'. (VOY episode: "Scorpion")
Despite their large size, they are capable of shape shifting and are capable of taking humanoid forms which they use to infiltrate other species when it became necessary after their war with the Borg. However, this seems to be a difficult process for them one which can fail as the members that do so have been known to experience a process known as 'reversion'. This essentially means that the race cannot maintain their form and reverts back to their natural appearance. Upon death, the body is also known to return to its natural form. (VOY episode: "In the Flesh")
Their evolution in fluidic space seems to have given them quite a few characteristics that differ from other races one of which is them capable of surviving in the vacuum of space without any form of protection; which suggests that they do not respire as humanoids do. They do not even need to sleep for rest and find the concept very 'alien'. Another fact of their evolution is their being capable of entering periods of hibernation when faced with injury in an attempt to heal themselves. Finally, their mastery of biology allows them to effectively poison themselves should they face capture.
Nearly nothing is known about the races culture due to the species xenophobic nature. In all their purges, they have been known to be aggressive and single minded in their aims to destroy all other forms of life and had marked both the Borg and Federation as enemies. Whether this remains as the case after Voyager's attempted negotiations with the race is unknown however considering their invasion of the Alpha Quadrant, it is possible that they believe all races are hostile and need to be destroyed.
During their first invasion into the galaxy, a common telepathic command that would be send from their minds would be 'the weak will perish'. This perhaps suggests that the race believes in a survival of the fittest policy and do not tolerate 'weaker' species. However, they also believed that the intrusion into their realm by the Borg was a threat to their 'genetic integrity' but as to what this means is unknown. It is perhaps possible that having not encountered another species before, that Species 8472 was simply responding to the threat of invasion as the Borg were the race that had first attacked them.
Species 8472's central authority and leadership are not known to the powers of normal galactic space, nor is it known exactly how centralized their organization is or how widespread their telepathic connection to each other is. A number of factions apparently exist, with differing opinions of the Federation and other inhabitants of galactic space. Different insignia are known, and are possibly associated with the separate factions. While the faction initially involved in Borg encounters began the first infiltration program, they were convinced by the crew of Voyager that the Federation was not a threat to fluidic space. However, a majority of Undine consider the Federation to be their sworn enemy. (STO novel: The Needs of the Many) Their single minded purpose made them a threat to all other species who were targets of their aggression. (ST video game: Armada II)
Their name was initially a designation given to them by the Borg though it was claimed that the actual name of the race was the Undine. This was the closest approximation capable of being produced to a humanoid speech organ though a translation to Federation Standard meant that the Undine translated to mean "Groundskeepers". It was believed that this name was used to imply their stewardship in the protection of fluidic space. (STO novel: The Needs of the Many)
|Insignia of 8472s initially encountered by the Borg and USS Voyager. (ST reference: Starship Spotter)||Insignia of 8472 militants in Federation territory in the 2370s. (ST video game: Armada II)||Insignia of many Undine combatants during and after the Long War. (STO website: The Path to 2409; ST video game: Star Trek Online)|
Species 8472 utilizes biological technology which seems to possess aspects of their own genetic structure. They are capable of moving between normal space and their own fluidic realm through the use of Quantum singularities. Their kind had no need for resources such as dilithium, metals or latinum but instead utilized Bio-matter. Virtually any substance was capable of being broken down into Bio-matter for the needs of Species 8472. Such acts were achieved through Collector craft that gathered the necessary raw material that was taken to the Transmuter to undergo the bio-matter transmutation process. (ST video game: Armada II)
The technology used by this race was entirely organic in nature with their starships and space station's actually being genetically designed organisms bred for specific purposes. Many of these simply required a single pilot to operate them with nearly all such 'structures' being mobile allowing them to navigate through space on their own power. The biological traits of their technology also meant that they did not require repair but simply healed themselves from any injuries. These same traits also made it nearly impossible to board, transport or tractor their vessels. (ST video game: Armada II)
As their starships are living creatures, they respond to the telepathic commands of its 'pilot'. This has several advantages for them, one of which is that the ships are capable of healing themselves after battle. Their organic form also is immune to tractor beam and transporter technology which prevents their capture. Their battleships emit a form of bio-pulses that are highly energetic and capable of dealing considerable damage to Borg cubes. They could combine and reroute these pulses into a frigate vessel which could generate such power that it was capable of cracking and destroying planets. This seems to require four to eight battleship vessels in addition to the frigate to accomplish this task which shows their power in regards to energy manipulation.
Despite this, it is known that they are vulnerable to specific nanoprobe weapons which are designed to 'act' as part of the immune system before destroying the creature. This works equally well on both an individual member of the race and their starships due to the similarity in genetics between the two.
The race is known to employ several different types of starships and organisms in battle, most of which are biological in origin. However there are space stations known as terraspheres that were near mechanical in appearance. There have been known sights of active shipyards employed by the race however there have been mobile 'starbases' that produce the simpler bio-ships while gateways into fluidic space allow the entry of larger more powerful warships.
The following are what assets they use in space:
- Species 8472 battleship
- Species 8472 frigate
- Species 8472 behemoth
- Species 8472 destroyer
- Species 8472 scout
- Species 8472 defender
- Species 8472 mothership
- Species 8472 active embryo
- Species 8472 passive embryo (ST video game: Armada II)
- Dahut-class frigate
- Nicor-class cruiser
- Dactylus-class bioship
- Dromias-class cruiser
- Vila-class battleship
- Tethys-class dreadnought
- Undine planet killer (ST video game: Star Trek Online)
- Command bioship (STO mission: "Mindscape")
Behind the scenes
|This section is written
from the Real World
point of view.
Species 8472 first featured in Star Trek: Voyager in the two-part episode "Scorpion" whereupon they played smaller roles throughout the show. They were later utilized as a faction as well as a story element within Armada II where they engaged in an invasion of the galaxy as well as forced the Borg to ally with the Federation in order to combat the menace.
In Christopher L. Bennett's short story "Places of Exile", the race played a role where it was detailed that they lacked any parallel realities intersecting their universe, and due to their invasions of the normal universe they faced the threat of duplication of their invasion forces. This along with the activation of the Torres Generator was an attempt to explain the lack of further presence of Species 8472 in the Star Trek universe. The Boothby infiltrator also indicated that they preferred to be called "Groundskeepers" though this is not a canon name for the race.
They also feature in the backstory of Star Trek Online and were particularly involved in the Klingon storyline as being a motivating factor for their increased xenophobia. In the game, they are given the name of Undine similar to the novel name, but this is not a canon term for the race and they remain known as Species 8472 for this article.