Athletics and Recreation

VAADWAUR: Cultural Index

VAADWAUR: Cultural Index

Starfleet’s mandate to explore often brings
them into contact with many unknown species and new encounters. What unfolds after first
contact cannot be predicted but it has long been the Federation’s belief that extending
a benevolent hand in welcome is the best way to start any interstellar relations and for
the most part, this works. Occasionally however, there will be an encounter that goes badly,
no matter the Federation’s intent. Hi, Ric here and today we’re looking at one such
species; encounter by the USS Voyager, the Vaadwaur of the Delta Quadrant. The species
revived from a long slumber and despite the vessels best efforts to negotiate, they did
not know the damage they were unleashing on that area of space.
A lot of the Vaadwaur’s story is presented in the show’s episode, “Dragon’s Teeth”
but beyond that, there is no other primarily canon materials so I’ll be looking at Star
Trek Online’s additions to their continuity to flesh out their lore.
Biologically speaking, the Vaadwaur had two genders skin tones of pink to orangey-brown.
They had sharp features with the most prominent being a ridge on their head and the neck structure
that forms a sort of cobra’s hood. Vaadwaur Prime, as it was known to Starfleet
was located within the little explored Delta Quadrant, of the former Vaadwaur system near
Turei space, now labelled the Markonia Sector. Little is left to identify the planet as it
is now a barren wreck. Although it is an oxygen-nitrogen M class world once full of flourishing cities
built around towers an circular verandas for skycars, all the hallmarks of an advanced
culture. Snaking throughout this area of space was the subspace phenomena known as the Underspace
a seemingly natural expanse of corridors (although there are some records that indicate they
were established by an older precursor race). Through these vessels could pass at faster
than warp speeds across vast distances and these snaked as far as Talax and were the
foundation for the initial Vaadwaur Empire. A species built on conquest, they kept the
use of the Underspace secure by never recording maps of the network, instead only committing
its streams and twists to memory and verbal record. This jealously guarded advantage kept
the Vaadwaur Empire sustained for around 900 years as their fleets would emerge from the
undetectable Underspace in vast quantities raze a species’ defences then occupy the
planet. They were overthrown however by a conglomeration of powers, including the Turei
in 1484 and driven back to their homeworld and colonies. When the Turei managed to usurp
control of the Underspace from them, the Vaadwaur would have been effectively isolated from
their own forces and Vaadwaur Prime itself was bombarded with radioactive plamsa weapons
until its surface was an irradiated ruin. Unbeknownst to the Turei and their alliance
however, many of the Vaadwaur had in fact survived by entering into stasis pods. These
pods were located not only on their homeworld, but on other planets too, including a system
that would later be occupied by the Kobali. Their plan was to wait a few years and then
return to find a new world and begin again. To this end, their military units and offspring
were given the highest priority in suspension while those who preserved their culture, teachers,
artists, historians and the like were at the bottom of the rung. Many of these individuals
were lost from the bombardment or never made it to the shelters however, leaving mostly
only the soldiers of the Empire to slumber. 892 Years passed and then Seven of Nine of
Voyager awoke Gedrin, who then proceeded to work with the ship to revive his unit of around
600 soldiers. Gaul, their leader betrayed the USS Voyager and tried to take over the
ship but in turn drew the attention of the Turei who feared the return of the Vaadwaur
and Voyager slipped away while the two forces clashed.
Much of the former Vaadwaur space had fallen to the Turei, Borg and the Devore Imperium
and as of the narrative of Star Trek Online, we see that the Vaadwaur have been searching
for any means to catch-up to current Delta Quadrant powers whose technology level they
had fallen centuries behind. They also spent a long time trying to locate their other colony
worlds and seem to have been focused on rebuilding their ranks. However as the surviving members
of the Vaadwaur are mostly the militant ranks, much of the history of the Quadrant from this
time has been lost as well as their own culture so who they once were, is mostly forgotten
to time. What can be gleaned from the way they present
themselves however, is that they had a superiority complex and a prideful attitude, expecting
a level and calm head from ever member of their society at all time and a belief that
might makes right. It was a minority belief among the reawakened that they should seek
to find a balance with the new status quo as they were almost 900 years out of their
element. For the majority however, their fight for survival was only days ago when they went
into suspended animation and so emerged ready to continue their conflict. Kind of reminds
me of the Ice Warriors from Doctor Who. With time, their empire faded into legend, with
some species forgetting them entirely and creating folk tales around the Vaadwaur, for
example, in Talax’ilzay they adopted the name to mean foolish, as in easily deceived.
As mentioned, the Vaadwaur’s original tech is now outclassed by Starfleet, the Turei
and most other powers but not by as wide a margin as you may think. This does suggest
that in their prime, Vaadwaur technology was far more advanced than its contemporaries,
certainly Borg of this time were no match for them. The only Vaadwaur Empire ships of
that era that we see are the Pythus class vessels that they stashed away with their
stasis pods. Constructed from dark green alloys, with deep amber hued power, these were small
fighter ships around 70 metres long and capable of manoeuvrability in both space and atmosphere.
It used an unidentified particle beam weapon and had shielding, though weak by Starfleet
standards. In Star Trek Online, set some 34 years after their reawakening, the Vaadwuar
have acquired new technologies and built whole new types of vessels from their shipyards
in orbit of Vaadwaur Prime which they returned to once they had rearmed and resupplied their
forces from a mysterious benefactor after building a new base of operations in the Kartella
system. These new vessels, such as the Manasa Escort,
maintain several of the traits of the Pythus class with the twin hull design flanked by
several other struts and the dark green colour scheme giving it a militaristic finish. One
change to note however is that the orange power glow has been replaced by a deeper purple
and the Vaadwaur have developed a preference for Polaron based weaponry as this energy
type is often able to exploit standard frequency deflector shielding and also favoured by the
Jem’Hadar another highly combat-orientated race.
Other vessels include the Astika class Artillery ship from which salvos of spatial charges
could be launched and the Juggernaut-class powerhouse. Both tie into the tactical philosophy
of the Vaadwaur, that overwhelming power, delivered concisely and without quarter leads
to victory. This has repeatedly been their approach and matches how they operated 900
years ago. Just as they did then, they retain superiority over the Underspace and begin
to reassert their dominance by targeting competing powers first then hitting them hard before
they could get word out. A frequent control tactic employed by the
Vaadwaur is deceptive negotiation. Alongside the old Talaxian stories of betrayal, the
Vaadwaur attempted to usurp control of Voyager immediately upon their revival and we see
this trend continue in Star Trek Online. Gaul, now naming himself Overseer of the Vaadwaur
Supremacy invites the Federation to negotiate a truce in but instead offers unreasonable
terms then uses the opportunity to massacre a Talaxian colony and blame the Federation
and its allies for refusing to negotiate in good faith. He can then go back to his forces
and say that he tried a diplomatic solution, but it was not reciprocated and he is able
to use this uncontested propaganda to direct the military and bolster the conviction of
his followers. So their repeated tactics seems to suggest that they approach with a smile,
then hammer you with overwhelming force before you can work out what their angle is. Sounds
like you’d be a fool to trust them. They also saw no problem with targeting no-combative
sectors in order to destabilise and spread chaos around a target to divert attention.
Such tactics border on war crimes, but the Vaadwaur repeatedly have shown no regard for
life other than their own and according to records, they were cruel taskmasters even
after their conquest. The Vaadwaur uniform is a layered brown tunic
wrapped with sturdy belts and fastened with the Vaadwaur Empire logo in silver. In later
times, they maintain the brown and beige uniforms but don more protective gear when heading
into battle. Frequently they are seen wearing backpacks and protective helmets with complete
face masks. The commanders of their ranks wore longer trench coats giving them an overall
world war 2 German soldier aesthetic, especially with the large collars.
From their culture, tales from their formerly oppressed species and their actions, we can
see that might and pride went in equal hand with them and although originally had all
the required societal elements to become a space-faring civilization, these were lost
to them. What emerged from their hibernation was their most destructive and distilled side,
agitated by a conflict they likely saw as an offense 900 years ago and the humiliation
of being reduced from the greatest local power to a sub-par technological relic.
So, there’s what we know of the Vaadwaur with some added context from extra sources.
What do you think? Do you believe the Star Trek Online approach is the likely outcome
of the Vaadwaur, or do you foresee more like Gedrin who saw the futility of continuing
the Vaadwaur’s aggressive ways and perhaps a way to a more peaceful future for them?
As for the next cultural index, it’s been going for a long time now and some species
that I touched upon early in this run I feel could have been done a little better. So I
was thinking we could revisit one from the early days, with either the Vulcan Index 2.0
or the Andorian’s remastered (as it were). The votes will be over on the community tab
which annoyingly doesn’t appear on some mobile devices.
Thanks for watching this video and I’ll see you next time for another lore, theory
or gameplay one. Until then, goodbye!

Reader Comments

  1. Am I the only one who thinks it's interesting that Voyager had both an episode about a sentient (female) ship AI and around the same time had a different episode about people trying to resurrect a centuries-dead civilisation about a year before Andromeda came on the air?

  2. Really. I think STO did the right thing for the Vaadwaur. After all. As you stated. The Vaadwaur went into statics during times of war. And woke up still thinking it was just yesterday their homeworld was being bombarded to dust. So even few in number. Rebuilding in such a short time and yet all for war. I can see it.

    Think about freezing a World War 2 soldier…oh…Just think of Captain America. Best example really. Waking up to a new world where they aren't fighting. Yet still very much a fighter and willing to fight.

    That is basically the Vaadwaur. Yet instead of at least ATTEMPTING in adjusting. Decide to just go to war with nearly everyone.

  3. How about a Cultural Index on the Vidiians? They always struck me as one of the most terrifying races in Voyager. Quite a bit more advanced than Star Fleet and far more ruthless.

  4. I actually like how you described the leader's uniform, saying "WWII German Soldier" instead of saying "Nazi Soldier". Staying Politically neutral.

  5. The Star Trek side of me thinks the Vads might see the error of their past that destroyed their homeworld, but it's 2020 and Trek (other than the game) has become an STD/J.J. Abrams abortion fest, so I am assuming the Vads are now just space nazis as far as "official cannon" goes.

  6. I still highly recommend you do a series on the Votan races from Defiance. Eight distinct alien races that originate in the same star system and travel to Earth when that star collides with another.

  7. I would love if Star Trek had a villainous species that preferred cheery colors rather than the constant invoking of "enemy" real world cultures and drab browns. Or why not a colorblind species that was jovial as all get out but fine with greys and muddy browns?

  8. I get that they got new weapons, ships and technology from their shadowy allies, but what I'm wondering is where they got the manpower from. They were basically extinct, with only a handful of survivors, right? There must have been many more cryo-sleep installations beyond the one from Voyager so that they could replenish their numbers.

  9. I could see them scraping by for a while. Becoming a fixture in black markets buying up any technology they can find, pirating what they can't buy, until they caught up. Likely they would terraform their old home world, and rebuild their fleets out of whatever they could make or commandeer. Once their local system was reestablished likely they would want revenge on the species that defeated them. Probably by more subtle means though. Biogenic weapons perhaps. I don't see them becoming a sprawling empire again though. That takes culture, art, agriculture, all the things that died when they were beaten. Warrior only cultures have a built in obsolescence. You can't build a society only around combat, or racist notions of superiority. So eventually they would find an equilibrium, or burn out and go extinct again. Or wind up like the Kazon, dispersed and ineffectual because of their stubborn strangle hold on the past.

  10. Oh yeah, the space-nazis…
    I won't shed any tear for them, good riddance. But this nazi theme is getting a wee bit old and boring after every second new species revealing themselves as such.

    Hell, they even dressed up the Hirogen as nazis, just in case … you know, it wasn't obvious… smh

  11. I don't know about you but I think the Vaudwaar or one of most interesting species and had one of the most memorable stories of voyager.

  12. • 1:10 – I've always thought the Vaadwaur design is too similar to that of Cardassians. Sometimes designers are lazy. ¬_¬
    • 5:28 – They're more like the Eurondans from Stargate SG-1 . There's a lot of aspects in common between the Voyager episode "Dragon's Teeth" and the Stargate episode "The Other Side". The waking up from stasis, the being under attack, the xenophobia/superiority-complex, the advanced technology… 🤔

  13. I wish Voyager had the Vaadwaur as a season wide enemy constantly harassing them right up until the end. With the use of the corridors they could come out of nowhere anywhere along the path that voyager was going.

  14. How does Star Trek Online explain using species from the Delta Quadrant? Do they say that a wormhole to the Delta quadrant was found or something?

  15. I vote Andonian! They have a much more extensive biology and culture than first impressions give. 4 sexes facing reproductive problems, thermal sensing antennae that can detect Shrouded JemHedar and what could they be farming to make Andorian alcohol? Sea wheat? Sea Grapes? Do they like ice cream?

  16. 9:45 Design of the Vaadwaur soldiers reminds me of a cross between the Kalderans from Andromeda and battle toads from the NES

  17. These are my kind of enemy. They are ugly to look at, give plenty of excuses to kill every single one of them and have no redeeming qualities to make other people defend them.

  18. I think STO got it mostly right. I also believe that real trek would have a break away faction that wanted a peaceful future and that Starfleet would support that faction in some way. Nu-trek would have Starfleet betray everyone involved for flimsy, nonsensical reason.

  19. I vote for a Vulcan remastering. Also, it would be nice to know how the Vaadwaur created their subspace corridors.

  20. These guys were interesting. Kind of makes you wonder if they share any distant ancestry with the Cardassians doesn't it.

  21. It's an Interesting story but I don't think it would be practical. It relies to heavily on some mysterious third party giving them advanced technology. It would also be extremely hard for their own scientists to catch up with current tech considering most of them are dead.

    They would have to rebuild their infrastructure and population first. Otherwise they will just end up as a Kazon clone race.

  22. Excellent video. Always liked the Vaadwaur, wish they were in more episodes of Voyager.

    I noticed you haven't done a video about the Son'a yet, although their movie was pretty forgettable their concept is pretty cool.

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