Species 8472 was the Borg designation for a tripedal and apparently highly xenophobic non-humanoid species whose actual name is unknown. 8472 was first encountered by the Federation starship USS Voyager in the Delta Quadrant in 2373. The species originated from a dimension called fluidic space, accessible by quantum singularities. They are believed by the Borg to be the apex of biological evolution. (VOY: "Scorpion", "Scorpion, Part II")
Borg-Species 8472 war Edit
- See main article: Borg-Species 8472 War
In their search for species worthy of assimilation, the Borg first encountered Species 8472 after they found a way to enter fluidic space in 2373. However, Species 8472 turned out to be immune to the Borg's assimilation attempts and the invasion of their realm provoked a war, which quickly evolved into the first real threat faced by the Borg in their own relatively long history; according to Seven of Nine, Species 8472 was the first species to offer "true resistance to the Borg." With their superior biological technology, Species 8472 was able to annihilate large numbers of Borg drones, ships and even planets. Their immunity to assimilation combined with their superior technology allowed them to devastate and nearly destroy the Borg.
It was during this time that the Federation starship Voyager also chanced upon Species 8472. After a disastrous initial encounter and gathering more information, the ship's crew came to believe that the species intended to destroy not only the Borg, but all life in the galaxy. Captain Kathryn Janeway decided to form an alliance with the Borg to stop Species 8472 and ensure her ship would get beyond Borg space. Armed with warheads containing modified nanoprobes capable of destroying the ships used by the invaders, Voyager entered fluidic space and destroyed several bio-ships there, along with many more after returning to normal space. The encounter frightened Species 8472, and they retreated to fluidic space. (VOY: "Scorpion", "Scorpion, Part II", "Prey") It was only through this desperate alliance that both Voyager and the Borg managed to save themselves from destruction at the xenophobic species' hands.
When they withdrew, one member of Species 8472 was left behind and was relentlessly tracked by a group of Hirogen hunters for several months. This individual was later rescued by the crew of Voyager, and Captain Janeway intended to return it to fluidic space. Seven of Nine, however, refused to open a rift to Species 8472's realm. Shortly afterwards, in a struggle with one of the Hirogen hunters aboard Voyager, Seven of Nine took the opportunity, in defiance of Janeway's orders, to transport the individual to a nearby group of attacking Hirogen warships, which then broke off their attack. (VOY: "Prey")
The Federation "threat" Edit
Concerned about the threat posed by Humanity with its modified nanoprobe-warheads, Species 8472 created a simulation of Starfleet Headquarters on Earth inside a terrasphere in the Delta Quadrant as a training ground for a potential infiltration of the Federation, modifying many of their kind to look like Alpha Quadrant species. Their main goal was to uncover if the Federation was planning an invasion of their realm. However, their simulation contained a few major inconsistencies, such as Ferengi in Starfleet and obsolete uniforms. Some were completely uncomfortable with the fact they were in the form of "inferior" lifeforms, who needed to eat, sleep and were unable to communicate telepathically. Species 8472 identified Humans as their primary threat, dismissing the Borg as "irrelevant."
The Voyager crew discovered the training ground by tracking the source of its transmissions, which appeared to have a Federation signature. When discovered, Species 8472 captured Commander Chakotay, Voyager's first officer, believing a fleet to be on its way. The crew of Voyager managed to convince Species 8472 that the Federation had no hostile intention toward them by giving them their modified nanoprobe-warheads, in hope that Species 8472 could adapt their vessels in exchange for their techniques on how to look Human.(VOY: "In the Flesh")
The Borg continued to patrol a border between our galaxy and fluidic space. Axum suggested that he would try to make contact with Species 8472 after he was liberated from "Unimatrix Zero". (VOY: "Unimatrix Zero, Part II")
Species 8472 was tripedal, around three meters tall, extremely muscular, and biologically unique. Their DNA was arranged in a triple helix formation, and was the most densely coded DNA ever encountered by Starfleet. Their species did not require sleep. They were known to have as many as five sexes. The species' immune system was able to destroy anything which penetrated their body systems: chemical, biological, or technological. They were impervious to normal Borg assimilation methods. Their immune system could even be used as a means of attack. If cornered, they attacked with their claws rather than with any other type of weapon, allowing Species 8472's cells to come into contact with a victim's, after which the Species 8472 cells infected every system and consumed it from the inside out. In addition, if threatened, Species 8472 were able to commit suicide by releasing a cellular toxin into their bloodstreams. They emitted a biogenic field around their bodies; this field rendered them nearly invisible to sensors, making it impossible to pinpoint their exact location. This field also interfered with normal transporters.
Although capable of auditory communication with other species, communication via telepathy was the standard between their species' own members. Kes was able to make contact with Species 8472 while they were in conflict with the Borg; they vowed that "the weak will perish." With their dense musculature and increased height, Species 8472 possessed great flexibility and could move much faster than either humanoids or Borg. They were able to penetrate force fields and rip through bulkheads with apparent ease.
Species 8472 had very little soft tissue, and much of their skeleton was exposed, particularly around their necks. Members of the species did not appear to have nostrils, suggesting a sense of smell; neither did they possess ears nor mouths, though they did have distinctive cross-shaped pupils. They appeared purple to green depending on the lighting.
In conjunction with the Borg, The Doctor developed modified nanoprobes (by reconfiguring them to emit the same signature as Species 8472 cells), which were able to effectively combat Species 8472 and their bio-ships. The nanoprobes could be modified to either kill the creatures or their ships, but the Borg could not use the nanoprobes to assimilate Species 8472, since they would be immediately destroyed along with their cells as soon as they began to alter the cellular coding patterns. (VOY: "Scorpion", "Scorpion, Part II", "In the Flesh", "Someone to Watch Over Me")
- Borg – The Borg attempted to invade fluidic space and assimilate Species 8472, but were unprepared for the heavy resistance they encountered. Relations continued to be hostile after the Borg-Species 8472 War. In 2377, the "rebel" Borg from Unimatrix Zero considered appealing to Species 8472 for help against the Collective. (citation needed • edit)
- Federation – Since Voyager had developed nanoprobe-enhanced warheads, Species 8472 thought that Starfleet was going to invade their space, so they created biospheres to simulate Starfleet Academy so they could infiltrate the Federation. However, Voyager found out and, after negotiations, Species 8472 returned home.
- Humans – A member of this species, one who took the form of Commander Valerie Archer, remarked that, though Humans were genetically impure, they created beautiful works. (VOY: "In the Flesh")
Species 8472 was highly xenophobic; they considered all other lifeforms to be genetically impure and inherently weak, and any alien entering fluidic space was seen as contaminating the realm. They believed the only way to purge a species of its weakness was to exterminate them, even if that meant eliminating all life on particular targeted planets. (VOY: "Scorpion", "Scorpion, Part II") Species 8472 appeared to have appreciation for art, as mentioned above. (VOY: "In the Flesh")
Background information Edit
In the first draft script of "Scorpion", this type of alien was initially referred to as "Species 84729", when the first draft was first submitted, on 18 February 1997. The species was renamed to its eventual designation by the time a particular revision of the initial draft of the teleplay was issued, on 24 February 1997.
The creation of Species 8472 was inspired by the success of previous visual effects in the series, particularly the design of the macrovirus in "Macrocosm". Visual Effects Supervisor Ronald B. Moore commented, "[Executive Producer Jeri Taylor] saw that we could do that and maybe, if we had something with a little more meat on it, literally, that we could try to move forward." ("Red Alert: Amazing Visual Effects", VOY Season 3 DVD special features) According to Taylor herself, Species 8472 was originally conceived by Brannon Braga, who co-wrote "Scorpion". ("Braving the Unknown: Season Three", VOY Season 3 DVD special features)
Visual Effects Producer Dan Curry was also influential in the genesis of Species 8472's design. CGI Effects Director Ron Thornton said, "From what I understand [...] Dan Curry, God bless him, managed to convince the producers it would be a really good idea to do a wicked, computer-generated character, something that wasn't a guy in a suit or a guy with chewing gum on his nose." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #16, p. 37) Curry himself remarked, "When we were originally going to have that species, I suggested to the producers that instead of doing it [as] a guy in a suit, let's take advantage of some of the new CG technology, and do something that can't be a guy in a suit." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 74) Director David Livingston noted, "There was no choice but to create a CGI model. We couldn't do something realistic [in live action]." ("Braving the Unknown: Season Three", VOY Season 3 DVD special features)
The process of designing Species 8472 began with the script of "Scorpion". Dan Curry recollected, "We had a script for a very vicious alien creature that had to be so powerful and so fearsome that it was able to chop up and destroy the Borg." ("The Birth of Species 8472", VOY Season 4 DVD special features) Concept artist Steve Burg elaborated, "It said it was big, and ferocious, and terrifying, and moved very quickly; it was 14 feet tall at one point. That was about it." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 2, p. 28) In the script of "Scorpion" (both the first draft and final draft), the species was described as being at least ten feet tall and wearing an alien breathing apparatus.  CGI animator John Teska recalled how he and the rest of CGI effects house Foundation Imaging heard about the conversations over the script: "As there were, you know, script discussions happening at Paramount, we started to get the early word that there may be a new nemesis, a new character that would make even the Borg afraid. And it was very exciting just to know that there's going to be a CG character, that it was going to be a major player for that season." ("The Birth of Species 8472", VOY Season 4 DVD special features)
Designing the alien Edit
Dan Curry came up with the concept of having the aliens each be three-legged. By this stage, he had spent lots of time pondering the potentiality of a tripod alien, motivated by several inspirations. He noted, "I guess it goes back to the old fifties' sci-fi book Day of the Triffids, about these tripod plants that come to Earth and cause trouble." Another influence on the tripod design was a similarly three-legged, alien character that had appeared in a science-fiction fantasy play that Curry had written, designed and directed, as one of his thesis projects in grad school. "That was a comedic creature," he noted, "but when this came along, I thought, 'Well, hey, wouldn't it be cool to do a tripod creature?'" ("The Birth of Species 8472", VOY Season 4 DVD special features) Yet another relevant influence was knowing that Foundation Imaging, who were commissioned to design the creature, would likely be able to handle such a lifeform. "I knew also that on 'Hypernauts' Foundation had done a tripod creature that was a kind of pet antelope called a gloose," explained Curry. "Ron Thornton had shown me a tape of the character." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 2, pp. 27-28) After deciding that Species 8472 would be tripedal, Dan Curry did some sketches that he later characterized as "very, very crude." ("The Birth of Species 8472", VOY Season 4 DVD special features)
The prospect of demonstrating that the aliens were not being played by actors had an impact on the tripedal nature of Species 8472 as well as their overall design. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 74) However, Dan Curry initially waited to relay the concept of the alien's three-legged form to Foundation Imaging, because Ronald B. Moore wanted to avoid imposing a particular design on the team. Moore recounted, "We approached Ron Thornton at Foundation and said, 'Look, here's what we're trying to do. Why don't you have your guys draw something up, and we'll look it over' [....] I would never presume to jump on that three-legged thing unless it was a script point. I'll just say, 'Show me some alien creatures.'" (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 2, p. 28)
Endeavoring to focus the design, Foundation Imaging brought Steve Burg into the process, he having worked as a concept artist on multiple movies and actually having been responsible for the gloose design. Burg worked with Ron Thornton, who passed all of Dan Curry's and Ron Moore's remarks on to him. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 2, p. 28) During Burg's tenure on the project, the communication between him and Curry was profuse, with them exchanging many sketches and ideas. ("The Birth of Species 8472", VOY Season 4 DVD special features; Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 74)
As Moore had planned, Burg commenced his work on the project by consulting the few details about the alien that were available in the script, including the ultimately changed notion of it having a height of fourteen feet. With very little guidelines to proceed from, however, Burg's first drawing of the alien failed to impress the producers, who deemed it as too conventional, overly similar to the creatures designed for 'Alien' and 'Predator'. Burg later admitted, "I have to say I agree [....] It does have sort of a mantis-like feeling and I think that kept on through [the design process], but I think there was a miscalculation in that we began by making it too derivative, not of Star Trek things, but of other creature designs. There are definitely similarities between the head and the alien from 'Predator.' I think it was the head they were most concerned about. They wanted something like the alien, but they didn't want a rip-off." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 2, pp. 28 & 30)
Following this initial rejection, Ron Thornton advised Steve Burg to produce several quick sketches featuring a variety of looks that the producers could choose from. "The next batch were just basic silhouettes," Burg explained. "Some have three legs; some have two legs; some of them have a split tripodal base, with below the knee bifurcated. I don't think I had any real strong idea." The three-legged approach to some of these renderings meant that the design was nearing what Dan Curry was looking for. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 2, p. 30) Although some of the images showed the creature with very viscerally sharp teeth, Ron Moore steered the design away from this direction, as the creature also had to look intelligent. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 2, pp. 29 & 30) "One thing that Ron mentioned, which he may have gotten from Paramount, was that the thing was to have practically no mouth," stated Burg. "One way of making it look smart is to not give it big teeth, like a Tyrannosaurus or something. If something looks very nasty and it doesn't have obvious claws or teeth, you figure it works on a whole other level." The producers selected one of the drawings, which suggested the creature's height as well as looking suitably alien, and asked Burg to concentrate on developing it. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 2, p. 30)
Steve Burg's assignment of fleshing out the chosen sketch involved a fair amount of work, as it was a view of the creature from behind and therefore didn't show its face. As he started by focusing on its alien anatomy and tackling how it might realistically move, the design continued its transformation into a more definite form. Even though Burg supported the notion of the creature having a tripod design as sounding "great," it took him a while to overcome the challenge of the alien having not only three legs but also a front and back. "The biggest problem was dealing with that third leg," Burg commented. "In the end it became like a Human leg, but it started out as more of a symmetrical tripod; all the legs pointed out from the middle and the body was more centrally located [....] I think it moved back toward something you could relate to; it became sort of a centaur." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 2, p. 30)
Even while the creature's appearance was evolving with each successive drawing, Steve Burg was forming a considerably clear idea of how it was to look, later saying, "I think that once this guy got underway he began to take on his own identity [....] At a certain point, something clicked and everyone started to see what this creature was." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 2, pp. 30-31)
Work progressed on refining the face. One concept that Steve Burg submitted for the head was judged as being not alien-looking enough, with the producers concerned that it might be mistaken for a mask. They consequently requested that Burg sketch out some alternatives. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 2, p. 31) "Since the head/face is really where the creature is expressed, it was not at all surprising that they wanted to evaluate several possible directions before committing to a more finalized concept," said Burg. "I remember I just sat down and churned out a whole bunch of weird alien heads." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 2, pp. 31 & 32)
According to Dan Curry, he was responsible for deciding that the alien's neck shouldn't be a thick solid structure. "I had [...] the idea of having the neck muscles be separate tubes that you could see through, so it couldn't possibly be a guy in a suit," Curry said. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 74) However, according to Steve Burg, this facet of the extraterrestrial came about due to him refining the shape of its head. "Somewhere in the middle of doing that I started gravitating toward the sort of tripod neck structure," Burg related. "That seemed like a good way of making it something that obviously a person could not be wearing, even if you were in a closeup. I tend to think in terms of mechanical devices when I design, and the neck turned into a sort of flight simulator thing. That seemed to click with everybody." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 2, pp. 31-32) Regardless of who devised the arrangement of the neck, Ron Moore clarified, "I think that what we were trying to do was get something that didn't look like a guy in a suit. If we could design something where you could see its spinal column, and the muscles separate so you would have little openings, that would help us give it other than the look of a guy in a suit. So we tried to get that." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 95) Likewise, Ron Thornton remarked, "We wanted to make sure it had lots of open spaces in it. For example, the neck is actually three very thin muscles, so there couldn't possibly be a guy in a suit. We did the same with arms as well, giving them extra joints and things." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #16, p. 37)
From the various drawings of the alien's head, the producers chose two or three images. "[They] were similar to each other; sort of variations on a theme," concluded Steve Burg. "They decided that was the direction they wanted to go." Making the alien internally consistent allowed Burg to connect the head to the torso – a task that, thanks to the creature's relatively humanoid form, was fairly easy to achieve. "It was just a matter of maintaining the style through the body," Burg remembered, "putting muscles under the skin that were kind of like what you saw in the head and extending that through the torso." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 2, p. 32)
Digital modeling Edit
Once Steve Burg was finished externally crafting Species 8472, his drawings for the alien were handed over to John Teska, who was made responsible for building the model, turning Burg's designs into computer-generated reality. These examples of concept artwork included drawings that demonstrated the creature's full height as well as the approved head designs. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 2, pp. 31-33) Teska was delighted to join the project. "When I started to be brought into the process," he remembered, "and I saw some of the sketches that were being done by Steve Burg, you know, I was totally excited because it was a non-humanoid. It didn't look like the usual guys with just facial changes. This one had this very strange kind of neck and very strange body structure, with three legs and everything. So, you know, as an animator, as a character designer or creature person, I was totally jazzed about bringing this guy to life. In this case, Steve Burg had had several meetings with Paramount, so they had several different designs [....] There were many drawings and there were features on each one they liked. So, Paramount and Dan Curry came to me and talked about these different designs, and said, 'Could you put them all together and basically create a creature out of that?' So, I didn't have any singular drawing of, 'This is the final creature.'" ("The Birth of Species 8472", VOY Season 4 DVD special features)
With John Teska's involvement, the alien design continued to develop. "The very first thing I did," Teska recalled, "was, once I had these drawings, was just did a very simple, blocky kind of shape, just to kind of get the proportions and figure out how big the head, how big the body and everything would be, and then gave that back to Paramount. So, it became a back-and-forth thing, going from very blocky, crude... then working up to the finer details. And then, ultimately, the paint maps and the textures were done several weeks later. So, it sort of evolved over the course of his creation." ("The Birth of Species 8472", VOY Season 4 DVD special features)
John Teska based the finer details of the design on the few facts that were available about the aliens. Even though their vague backstory did not provide much insight into the creatures' origins, the fact they were to be established as communicating psychically indicated that they wouldn't have to be depicted as talking much. "So, one of the key things was getting kind of an expressive, weird forehead and just a feeling that they were different," Teska mused. "But then, also knowing how they attacked people – they're always described as really vicious and just tearing – and that they cause infection just by tearing at you or whatever, so.... Really, I mean, that was what drove the animation, was just trying to find a way to make them feel just really fast and menacing, you know, whereas the Borg always had numbers on their side and always had that sort of zombie, 'we're going to get you, no matter what' thing. But with Species 8472, it was just more of the surprise that they'll just... burst your doorway and start slashing." ("The Birth of Species 8472", VOY Season 4 DVD special features) Similarly, Ron Thornton stated, "A lot of it was creating a personality for the creature in the first place [....] What we wanted to do here was something [...] like a leopard on attack. It would burst through the wall and completely decimate the Borg." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #16, p. 37) Ron Moore concurred that the desire to separate the look of each of the aliens from "a guy in a suit" also influenced how the visual effects team designed the aliens' movement. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 95)
The question of how to execute some of the alien design aspects initially proved somewhat troublesome. John Teska explained, "There were a few things on this character [that were questionable; the open-neck structure] [...] became a little bit of a question, how to rig that, and then the same thing with the legs." Dan Curry noted, "My faith in John Teska as an animator was so great that I just trusted he would be able to come up with a very convincing way to move it about." Teska continued, "Of course, I thought a lot about, 'How would this guy walk?'" Ultimately, however, he needn't have worried so much about designing the way that the alien would move. He remarked, "Ironically, we never actually saw him walk more than one or two steps over the course of his life. He's always leaping into rooms and tearing people apart, but he never actually just walked down a hallway, in any of the shots. Really, I just had to think more about getting these attack motions." ("The Birth of Species 8472", VOY Season 4 DVD special features) Teska took a week to build the CG model of Species 8472. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 2, p. 33)
A difficulty similar to portraying the aliens walking through a corridor was how to fit such a tall alien into the corridors, in the first place. Ron Thornton commented, "That it would be something nasty which was supposed to be nine feet tall made it very difficult to do. It was a little tight, squeezing a nine-foot tall character into the corridors, but I think it worked out." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #16, p. 37)
Highly pleased with the general flexibility of Species 8472's final design, Ron Thornton enjoyed the process of animating the alien. "Suddenly, we could do a totally non-anthropomorphic creature, that was nasty, vicious, and has a personality," he related. "The animator now becomes an actor and has to give a performance to this creature, and that's something I love to do." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #16, p. 37)
Steve Burg was ultimately very satisfied with the design of Species 8472, including the input that John Teska had, and termed the final version of the aliens as "absolutely amazing." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 2, p. 33) Shortly following the initial broadcast of the species' introductory appearance in "Scorpion", Jeri Taylor said of the aliens, "I thought [they] [...] were really cool." (Star Trek Monthly issue 31, p. 12) Likewise, the inclusion of Species 8472 in "Scorpion, Part II" made that fourth season premiere a particular highlight for Dan Curry, who remarked of the installment, "It was good to see Species 8472." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 74) The possibility that the aliens would make return appearances, after the "Scorpion" two-parter, was on the condition that they proved to be popular among viewers. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 96) Shortly after the fourth season began its initial broadcast, Brannon Braga said of Species 8472, "People seem to love them, and we're definitely going to see those aliens again this season." (Star Trek Monthly issue 34, p. 13)
Despite the general popularity of Species 8472, the feedback from some fans included repeated accusations that the aliens were slightly too reminiscent of the Shadows from Babylon 5. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #16, p. 38) Indeed, the unofficial reference book Delta Quadrant (p. 188) even goes as far as to state that Foundation Imaging – which created the CGI for the first three seasons of the aforementioned series, prior to working on Star Trek: Voyager – were faced with a hurried deadline, as regards the creation of Species 8472's design, and that, according to Foundation employee Adam Lebowitz, the company completed the workload by modifying the Shadows at the wire-frame stage before giving them new skin textures. Ron Thornton – who also worked on Babylon 5 – denied the resemblance, however; he directly stated that the allegation of the reuse "wasn't true." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #16, p. 38)
Species 8472 was featured on the cover of Lightwavin' #4.
In a 2003 interview, Nick Sagan admitted to liking Species 8472, remarking that he thought they (in common with the Vidiians) were one of numerous "cool aliens" that succeeded in differentiating Star Trek: Voyager from previous Star Trek series. He also opined (about Species 8472, specifically), "I think they're great villains." 
Species 8472 is one of the main races featured in the game Star Trek: Voyager - Elite Force. In that game, the player must infiltrate a Borg cube infested with Species 8472 to locate a material called 'isodesium'. They are also the main enemy of the Borg and a playable race in Star Trek: Armada II, where their ships are further depicted as biological in nature, being morphed from active embryos into various types, while stations, also biological, were morphed from passive embryos.
The short story "Places of Exile", in the Myriad Universes omnibus Infinity's Prism, tells the tale of an alternate reality where Voyager is attacked by Species 8472 and crippled. The crew has no choice but to stay in the Delta Quadrant, and find a way to survive. Captain Janeway and the crew form a loose alliance of Delta Quadrant species called the "Delta Coalition". The crew also meets 8472 again but they need help from the Coalition. In this story, Species 8472 receive a name – the "Groundskeepers" (in keeping with the incarnation of Boothby seen in VOY: "In the Flesh", who retained much of the personality of the original Boothby and plays a major role in the story).
In the game Star Trek Online, Species 8472 told the Klingons to call them the "Undine", revealed in the tie-in novel The Needs of the Many to roughly translate from the Undine language as "Groundskeepers". In the novel and the game itself, the Undine are major antagonists, having infiltrated the Federation, Klingon Defense Force, and many other factions at all levels. It is the discovery of these infiltrations by the Klingon Empire, and the Federation's refusal to believe their warnings, that contribute to the outbreak of war between the Empire and Federation at the game's outset. It is later revealed that the Iconians had attacked the Undine in Fluidic space, making them believe that the Alpha and Beta quadrant powers were mounting an invasion and provoking the Undine's actions, including infiltrating the various galactic powers, as well as attacking the Voth as they fought the allied forces of Starfleet, the KDF, and Romulan Republic in the Solanae Dyson Sphere. The conflict reaches its climax after the Undine mount an assault on Earth Spacedock, and the attempt to deploy "Planet-Killer" weapons against Ferenginar, Gornar, Andoria, Qo'noS, and Cardassia Prime. After being repelled by the allied fleets, the Undine retreat back to the Delta Quadrant. Admiral Tuvok and the player manage to negotiate a truce between the Undine and the allied forces at the culmination of the story arc. Other in-game missions reveal that the Borg had developed a way to assimilate Undine into the collective. Player characters, however, manage to destroy the prototypes and prevent the dissemination of that knowledge through the Collective.
- Steve Burg, Species 8472–design concept, Effects Special, Volume 1.1, 1998, pp. 60-66
- John Teska, Behind the Scenes: Building Species 8472, Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 3, 2001, pp. 82-88