Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Star Trek '12: 912 AD - Jem'Hadar
They were engineered six hundred years earlier to be warriors, addicted from conception to the drug ketracel-white. There is no community feeling within the Jem’Hadar to account for what life was like before the Dominion. There is not even evidence to support that there was life before the Dominion. Perhaps like the Vorta they were forcibly evolved from lower beings. The Founders would never bother to explain.
There were always those who looked beyond the confines of their existence, their purpose for living, the sheer brutality of their utilitarian effectiveness in battle. In times of war and necessity, there was no reason to think of anything else but their genetic imperative, but whenever there was a lapse in military need, whenever asked to answers the basic needs of their own lives, the Jem’Hadar could conceive of questioning not just anything, but everything.
For instance, six hundred years after coming into service, there was one of many occasional lapses in the expansion of the Dominion. In the Gamma Quadrant, there was little enough resistance to the ambitions and intentions of the Founders, enough space so that sometimes, the Jem’Hadar could be idle, merely maintaining the status quo, not even needed to clear some new colony world for the purposes of the Dominion. Sometimes accidents happened, units were separated, and decisions would need to be made on an individual basis. Such was the case with First Calla’Klan, who found himself marooned on an ocean world, left alone and quickly aware that his supply of the white would not last until he could be rescued.
At first, he wondered if the honorable thing would be to commit suicide, and he was very nearly on the verge of it several times, pushed to the edge of desperation, clinging to the safe log of sequart tree for hours and then days, struggling to keep his head above water as exhaustion passed over him in waves. The water was surprisingly tranquil, yet he could not enjoy this fact. There were few enough things that he enjoyed, but he soon realized that the calm of the waters was one of them, one of the few matters of relief available to him.
All he could do was change the vials of the white until he had worked his way through all of them. He had already calculated how long his supply would last, a great many days ago. He had been lucky enough to win control of the vials from his Vorta handler, many months earlier. He found now that he was grateful, a feeling he had not known previously.
When they were all gone, he wondered if he would die instantly or if he would linger. Pain was something he hadn’t considered previously, either. A Jem’Hadar endures. That wasn’t something any of them knew so much as accomplished during the span of their brief lives. He found the withdrawal to be more painful than he’d expected, because he’d never had to consider it before. For days he clung to his log and shivered all over, not from the temperature of the water, but from a craving he could no longer satisfy, a craving he’d never appreciated before. In time, that too passed.
What did he need to survive? He found new answers every moment on that world. He found he did not like water, that he would have preferred to slither in and out of it, but he did not enjoy remaining in it, not because he did not want to drown or did not like being wet all day and night, but because it fundamentally did not agree with him. He’d never appreciated how much he liked dry worlds. He learned that he did, in fact, have preferences.
On the day of his rescue, he found that he would miss this, too. He kept many thoughts private from others, something he had probably done in the past, but nothing important. A Jem’Hadar spoke only when necessary to begin with, but now he was silent because he feared his own thoughts. He had known fear before, fear of this very nature, fear of individuality, fear of expression, fear that he disappointed the Founders, and the meaning of his life, and the rules of a warrior’s life, but now it was all augmented so that he could no longer ignore it, even in the heat of battle.
Yes, somehow he went back to what had once been normal, but he could no longer view it that way. He wondered how much longer his people would live this way.