Species 8472 was the Borg designation for a non-humanoid species native to a dimension called fluidic space, accessible through quantum singularities. Their highly developed biology and organic technology rendered them tactically superior even to the Borg, who considered them the "apex of biological evolution". Seven of Nine rated Species 8472 devious and highly intelligent, claiming it would seek the most efficient means of destroying its opponent. (VOY: "Scorpion", "Scorpion, Part II", "Prey") The species' name for itself is unknown, having only been referred to by their Borg designation.
- 1 History
- 2 Biology
- 3 Culture
- 4 Technology
- 5 Individuals
- 6 Appendices
War with the Borg
- Main article: Borg-Species 8472 War
The Borg encountered Species 8472 in 2373, after finding their way into fluidic space to search for more species worthy of assimilation. However, Species 8472 proved immune to assimilation and the invasion of their realm provoked a war; according to Seven of Nine, Species 8472 was the first species to offer "true resistance to the Borg" in their long history. With their superior biological technology, Species 8472 drove the Borg back and launched a counter-invasion of the galaxy, annihilating large numbers of Borg drones, ships and even planets.
The Federation starship USS Voyager encountered Species 8472 around this time, during which a member of the species telepathically communicated their genocidal intentions to Kes. Upon realizing this, Captain Kathryn Janeway decided to ally with the Borg to stop Species 8472, while also ensuring safe passage through Borg space. Armed with bio-molecular warheads which contained modified nanoprobes developed by The Doctor, Voyager destroyed a number of Species 8472 bio-ships in fluidic and normal space. Species 8472 withdrew to their realm, soon after, in fear of the new weapon. (VOY: "Scorpion", "Scorpion, Part II", "Prey"). The consequences of Janeway's actions with Species 8472 almost resulted in Janeway being assimilated by the Borg. (VOY: "Hope and Fear")
One member of Species 8472 was left behind in normal space and was relentlessly tracked by a pair of Hirogen hunters for several months. This individual later boarded Voyager in an attempt to return home to fluidic space. Captain Janeway intended to aid its effort, but Seven of Nine refused. Shortly afterward, as the Species 8472 grappled with a Hirogen hunter, Seven took the opportunity to beam them both to a nearby Hirogen ship. (VOY: "Prey")
The Federation "threat"
Their conflict with Voyager led Species 8472 to dismiss the Borg as "irrelevant" and focus their efforts on Humanity, as they had proven themselves much more dangerous with the use of the bio-molecular warhead. In response, they built several terraspheres in the Delta Quadrant containing simulations of Starfleet Headquarters, and genetically modified themselves to resemble Alpha Quadrant species. Their goal was reconnaissance: to infiltrate Earth and gather intelligence on Starfleet's military capabilities and plans. Some Species 8472 were uncomfortable experiencing the lives of lifeforms so different from themselves, while others found elements of it enjoyable.
In 2375, Voyager discovered Terrasphere 8 by chance after detecting an ersatz Federation signal. Species 8472 subsequently captured Commander Chakotay, who was on a reconnaissance mission on the terrasphere, believing a Federation attack was imminent. The crew of Voyager managed to convince them that they had no contact with Earth and no hostile intentions, and were able to broker a cease-fire in which they offered the modified nanoprobes in exchange for data on Species 8472's technology. Afterward, Species 8472 returned to fluidic space. (VOY: "In the Flesh")
The Borg continued to patrol a border with fluidic space in the Beta Quadrant. Axum suggested that he would try to make contact with Species 8472 after he was liberated from "Unimatrix Zero" in 2377. (VOY: "Unimatrix Zero, Part II")
Species 8472 stood approximately three meters tall and were tripedal. Their eyes had cruciform pupils and they lacked obvious mouths, nostrils, and ears. They had an epidermis. They were immensely strong, able to dismember humanoid limbs, and rip through bulkheads with ease. They did not appear to require oxygen or need any atmosphere for survival, and could walk without the aid of gravity, being able to cling to surfaces. (VOY: "Scorpion", "Prey") Species 8472 had as many as five genders. (VOY: "Someone to Watch Over Me")
Each cell of a Species 8472 contained over a hundred times the DNA of a human cell; the DNA had a triple helix structure and, as of 2374, was the most densely coded of any lifeform known to the Federation. Species 8472 possessed an extraordinarily powerful immune system, capable of immediately destroying nearly any foreign agent whether chemical, biological, or technological. This rendered them immune to Borg assimilation. The Species, however, were susceptible to a modified form of Borg nanoprobe that could evade detection by their immune system and disintegrate their cells. (VOY: "Scorpion", "Scorpion, Part II") If Species 8472 cells were introduced into another lifeform, they rapidly proliferated and began to consume it from the inside out. (VOY: "Scorpion") Their blood consisted of DNA and polyfluidic compounds. (VOY: "Prey") In desperate situations, they could commit suicide by releasing a cellular toxin into their bloodstreams. (VOY: "In the Flesh")
Species 8472 was highly resistant to almost all forms of technology. Their bodies generated a bioelectric field that blocked sensors and impeded transporter locks. They could penetrate force fields and withstand quantities of weapons fire that would be lethal to most other lifeforms. Even when injured to the point of appearing dead, they could regenerate. (VOY: "Prey")
In their native form, Species 8472 was only known to communicate via telepathy (though they could produce some rudimentary sounds, such as shrieks, hisses and growls). They could initiate mental contact with other telepathic species, such as Ocampa and Vulcans, though to the recipient such experiences were physically taxing and difficult to understand. (VOY: "Scorpion", "Prey") Species 8472 did not sleep. (VOY: "In the Flesh")
Being the only known inhabitants of fluidic space, Species 8472 was intensely xenophobic. They regarded all other lifeforms as impure and weak, and a threat to their genetic integrity. In response to the Borg "contaminating" their realm, Species 8472 intended to purge all life from the Milky Way Galaxy. (VOY: "Scorpion", "Scorpion, Part II")
However, some members of Species 8472 gained a new appreciation for the experiences of humanoid species after assuming their forms. For example, "Valerie Archer" expressed fondness for various works of Federation art, literature, and music. (VOY: "In the Flesh")
Species 8472 used highly advanced organic technology. Their bio-ships were composed of the same biological material as Species 8472, and thus shared both their resistance to technology and their vulnerability to modified nanoprobes. Eight bio-ships working in tandem with an energy focusing ship wielded enough firepower to destroy a planet. (VOY: "Scorpion") Species 8472 also possessed sophisticated genetic engineering techniques that allowed them to mimic other lifeforms; this deception, which was maintained though periodic isomorphic injections, could be revealed only through a microcellular scan. (VOY: "In the Flesh")
- "Valerie Archer"
- "David Gentry"
- "Jason Hayek"
- Unnamed Species 8472
- Terrasphere 8 personnel
|Consciousness parasite • Dark matter lifeform • Edo God • JahSepp • Nacene • Nucleogenic lifeform • Solanogen-based lifeform • Species 8472 • Sphere-Builder • Q • Wisp|
In the first draft script of "Scorpion", this type of alien was initially referred to as "Species 84729" when the draft was 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 the Species 8472 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
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)
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 – was faced with a hurried deadline in regard to 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, in which 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 in which 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 this infiltration 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 Undines' 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