HIROGEN: Cultural Index


Hello, welcome to the Index series where we
take a look at some of Science Fiction’s species and what makes them unique. Today’s
video is on the Hirogen, Star Trek’s species of delta quadrant residents whose culture
simply abides to the notion of the hunt. Without delay, let’s get the rundown on this race.
Biologically, the Hirogen are very tough. Their skin is mottled by scale-like patterns
and quite resilient. They too have keen senses as expected from a predatory species and physical
strength surpassing that of a Vulcan. They are also very tall when compared to galactic
averages, easily reaching over 7”. The females of the species are not seen but are referenced
to choose their mates based on their proficiency at hunting. Another useful traits is that
their immune systems could effectively nullify most sedatives.
1000 years ago, the Hirogen had a thriving culture, one that still likely included hunting,
but was also one of technological advancement and civilizations.
Yet over time, they gave in more and more to their predatory instincts to hunt until
it became an all-consuming way of life. They now live a more nomadic lifestyle and their
homeworld hasn’t even been alluded to. They are spreading outwards in a gradual attempt
to find new hunting grounds, leading them further and further apart as a species which
creates dissolution of their society. Most Hirogen live on their ships with a small
crew, it’s not unusual for a single vessel to only have two occupants and these ships
then travel in small groups, spread out over a sector of space, searching for worthy prey.
When the quarry is located, they begin to stalk the target while signalling for the
rest of the pack to join them. A group of Hirogen possess an alpha as the
leader who dictates strategy and leads the hunt. Then there is the beta who acts as the
second-in-command enforcing the will of the alpha on the rest. Should the Alpha die, the
Beta takes command. It is not unusual for an overeager hunter, especially a youth, to
become lost in the glory and urges of their hunting instincts, seeking to usurp the authority
of the alpha to claim their own trophies. Such actions are often frowned upon but as
is suggested by their hierarchy, repeated successes may lead to the creation of a competing
alpha. Their views on other lifeforms are pretty
limited. They were the hunters and everything else was prey for them to hunt. Saying that,
they were capable of trade and didn’t immediately kill every species they came across, but would
more than likely hunt a lone vessel. The concept of a “Fair Hunt” is present
throughout how they conduct their activities in an attempt to provide more worth to a trophy,
the experience and in a strange way, their prey. A Hirogen will prefer to make the kill
in person, rather than ship to ship combat, they will sometimes give prey a chance to
flee to extend the hunt so they may study its moves. They often frown on using overpowered
technology against an inferior species as it cheapens the thrill of the sport. Then
again, they will also quite contently gun down defenceless prey once they have satisfied
their primal trill seeking. This is referred to as the time of the kill and seen as the
culmination to a successful hunt. A poor hunt is one where the prey offered
little challenge to the hunters. For example, a successful ambush against an unwary target
that results in its capture is often seen as a wasted effort, despite it reflecting
excellent hunting technique and a flawless execution. The most prized hunt is to find
a quarry that runs the risk of outsmarting, losing or even turning the tables on its Hirogen
pursuers. It is sage advice from experienced hunters that temper their younger members
with cautions not to underestimate the prey, even to respect it.
The reasons for extending the length of the hunt may be routed in their philosophy as
well as their desire for sport, with some hunts taking up to 6 months to complete. Some
see the actions of prey as a way of understanding how other species work and even as a learning
opportunity for the Hirogen. Examining the Prey’s motivations, instincts and even culture
to some extent taught the Hirogen how to become more effective hunters. Some, more radically,
believed that immersing yourself in the culture of your prey could further lead to Hirogen
development, though these views were considered unconventional.
It is not uncommon for them to bag prey alive and bind it until they have had time to study
the acquisition and question it if sentient. This way they may slaughter the prize in a
controlled setting and reduce the likelihood of damaging a trophy from their quarry as
well as learn from their prey. The captive is then marked with a smear of dark blue paint
over the right brown. This seems to be tied to one of their rites concerning the proper
execution of the hunt. The experience had during the hunt determines
the individual worth of a trophy, alongside the rarity or uniqueness.
Trophies are displayed within the Hirogen’s dwelling, often their ship and are termed
“artefacts of the hunt”. Most often these trophies take on the form of a biological
component of the prey itself, but sometimes salvaged technology. Often skeletal structures
are displayed around a Hirogen vessel, either mounted to a bulkhead or hanging from collection
nets. Other organs can prove to be worthy of display such as intestines, which would
necessitate some form of preservation. After an appropriate trophy has been selected,
the remainder of the capture is added to a denaturing tank to break it down. It has been
suggested the resulting soup is then ingested, though no Hirogen has been witnessed doing
so, but it is not unlikely that they consume their prey. After all, this is the original
intent of hunting. The rest of the unwanted prey such as skin is often dumped unceremoniously
where it was found and the Hirogen move on, leaving behind a grizzly signpost of their
passing. There seem to be a number of rites observed
with ritualistic fashion surrounding the hunt. When a hunt is declared, a Hirogen will apply
two white stripes over their left brow, whether helmeted or not, or mimic the action if no
paint is present. Another mark of the hunt is two red stripes, one over each brow to
mark out the leader of a hunt. Marking captured prey with a blue stipe over the right brow
seems to indicate it is a prize of the hunt to be prepared. There is also the use of two
green stripes over the right brow which was applied during a rescue attempt on the Hirogen’s
part, so this may indicate to other Hirogen that they are in the midst of an operation
other than a hunt. During a hunt, they would communicate with hand signals and minimal
verbalisation along with the use of their technology.
Being a race immersed in hunting a wide range of creatures and aliens as well as their preclusion
for taking trophies from their game leads even the most basic Hirogen to have a grounded
understanding of the anatomy of a myriad of species. It’s not surprising then then that
they prove to have proficient healers and medics among their number, as many a Hirogen
are wounded in the pursuit of their quarry. Though a Hirogen healer or surgeon has an
efficient grasp of the physiology of many species, their cultural bias against most
others and their own species hardy nature leads them to be somewhat rough and crude
when plying their trade to non Hirogen patients. Their seems to be no bias against medical
care among their culture, as given the choice of continuing a hunt or losing your life to
an infected wound, most Hirogen will choose to live to hunt another day, even accepting
aid from outsiders if it will keep them alive. Some Hirogen bare scars from past hunts as
marks of their past conquests, despite having the medical know how to remove them.
Other Hirogen technology includes their rifles which are Tetryon-based, and look like they’ve
been ripped right off a Harley Davidson. The poses the ability to stun a target as well
as kill and have and sensor and tracking device built into the stock.
Their ships were rather small as suited their pack-like hunting methodology, but possessed
a number of adaptations to allow them to contend with more powerful vessels. Their Monotanium
plating was incredibly durable but had the added benefit of scattering active scans of
their vessels, making automated targeting of them a hassle. The utilised a highly invasive
scan to effectively flashbang a ship’s sensors before they struck. They lacked any form of
cloaking device, fortunately, but had learned how to effectively conceal their vessel’s
emissions to enter a stalking mode that would make the vessel much harder to detect. Their
armaments were rather powerful too, for vessels of their size, attributed to the scale of
their canons that were seldom used to actually destroy ships. As mentioned, the Hirogen prefer
to engage in a sense of “fair play” with their prey and after disabling shields, they
often tractor beam the target, board the ship and assault their quarry on a personal basis.
Assault their quarry on a personal basis? Sounds like they’re hurling insults… I
could have phrased that one better. Each vessel ends up with a highly personalised interior
as it is used to display the artefacts of the hunt and trophies the crew have acquired.
One of their most impressive feats is their advanced armour. Which also looks cool AF.
This armour acts as life-support, and can apparently withstand the surface mantle of
a collapsed star. Even if this is hyperbole, it’s still very durable.
Much of their technology as can be surmised is geared up towards the act of hunting, leaving
little room for much else. Though they are seen adopting new technologies and utilising
foreign devices such as the ancient subspace com network and adapting Starfleet holographic
technology to build training facilities. Though both of these devices would go on to prove
why the Prime Directive is a thing, with one relay collapsing and destroying four Hirogen
ships and the holograms the Hirogen created gaining sentience and starting a whole holographic
revolution. Ultimately, the Hirogen are an awesome species
with a cool aesthetic but may be doomed to fall. Their all-consuming hunt has led them
to spread themselves too thin and without central hubs to anchor their people, they
will eventually drift further apart until reunification is unobtainable. Their packs
are too small to sustain them and this is exacerbated by individuals who wish to claim
the glory of the hunt for themselves so go it alone. Even the Kazon, a fellow nomadic
species travel in flotillas, convene meetings among their sects and have a planetary presence.
If the Hirogen once had this, it long gone, though they seem to remember how to manufacture
space stations, so perhaps there is still hope.
Thanks for listening to this cultural index on Star Trek’s answer to the Predator. They
are one of my favourite species and I enjoyed pretty much every episode they appeared in.
So the next index will be a viewer voted one as usual, in the comments below, the next
options will be either turning out gaze towards the Marvel universe, with Thanos, the Mad
Titan’s homeworld of…uh, Titan. Or perhaps the short-lived Independent Planets from the
equally Short-lived but epic, Firefly. Vote with a like on the appropriate comment below
and until the next video, I’ll see you around. Goodbye.




Comments
  1. The Hirogen rule, god damn probably the coolest race in all of Trek. Yes, even more than Romulans(yes, I admit it, ok).

    Don't know between those two. I'll go with familiar and say "go Thanos". /whatever

    edit: Hirogen vs Space Marines lol.

  2. I'm going to go out on a limb slightly to suggest that hunting among warrior species in the galaxy is far more common than is relatively known in so much that to rebut [around 11:19] the claim that the Predator species is more like Hirogen, I would say that it is quite possible that the Predators are actually a form of Temporal or possibly Kelvin – like Nausicaans. Although yes, the activities between the two species is systemic. Genealogically Canon should bridge to Director McTiernan ASAP. Such a mystery as to why it hasn't already occurred.

  3. I always thought they were an offshoot, like there is a home planet and empire, these guys are just like the amish of their culture

  4. On Sto, they should have set them after the Iconians. You know they would have definitely went for it.

  5. So they're a species of explorers who have developed their technology and society to the point where they can comfortably devote their live to cultural and leisure activities including the aforementioned exploring to make contact with new civilisations and boldly go where no Hirogen has gone before.

    How very Federation like of them.

  6. YES! The Hirogen are one of my fave Trek species as well! Thanks!!!! I've been eagerly awaiting this cultural index episode!

  7. Lucky for this planet…Something like these 'Hirogen' won't arrive on Earth for many, many, and many years.

  8. The Hirogen make sense. They are a totally advanced species that culturally turned into a form of socially accepted as a thrill-kill cult. I mean, they could be a really ancient species that developed their technology eons ago and only advanced to make hunting prey easier their next stepping stone and did it in a Klingon way.
    They are Klingons on crystal meth. They have honor but it's so totally twisted into Hirogen culture. They are more honest in their virtual mass-murder than Klingons but not as much (in culture objective) as the Undine, a species that is ironically a super-spy species.

  9. I quite like the Hirogen – and also the final resolution to their cultural choice… finally a decent excuse for the holo… and a good rationale for why they have not become a more dominant species…

  10. Hiroge will not gone extinct as a species. They are too strong, too smart and too scattered. They will not create an empire neither.

  11. sounds like seeing a hirogen ship is a "shhot on sight and ask questions later" – situation… purge the ailen, the witch and the heretic

  12. I always saw them as treks view of the predators (Yautja) but less advanced like they took the hunt over technological advance

  13. Great viddie, I couldn't help thinking though, for next April Fool's Day you could hype a big face reveal and then post it April 1 in a Hirogen rubber mask.

  14. I always thought that it was contact with the Borg that caused them to become hyper predators and their civilization to atrophy

  15. I loved the Hirogens simply because of Tony Todd's performance, everything badass about them after that were cherries on top

  16. Janeway giving the Hirogen their hologram tech… aw gawd, I could throw up every time. Right in the face of the Voyager writers…

  17. The Hirogen ships remind me of the airbrushed art of the 70s in those coffee table books by Chris Foss.
    The Hirogen make damn good long range ships, they are very low maintenance and rugged.
    If you could get away with it, stealing one would be a good idea, as long as you're leaving the area permanently, and even then it might be an idea to modify it and change it's appearance afterwards in case any other Hirogen (or those pissed off at the Hirogen) cross your path.

    Hell if the Equinox crew had been hunted and managed to defeat some Hirogen, hijacking their ship and transferring over whatever bits of the Equinox were more advanced would have been a good option. Make a hybrid of both ships, imagine a Hirogen vessel fitted with Starfleet shields and their more versatile subsystems. And hull plating and a few bits and pieces stuck on the outside to hide it's true origins.

    And did Voyager get detailed specs on them? They had access to a few unguarded ships and the help of a Hirogen technician, the design philosophy and technology of the systems could revolutionize Starfleet ship design when they get back to the Federation.
    A Federation ship that can go for decades without any servicing and is a tough block of armour.
    I'm sure the Defiants designers would be very interested in everything about the small hunting ships.

    As for the Hirogen themselves, how would they fair against a organised war against them?
    They hunt too many of a particular species or group (or just a few of a paranoid species) and are declared enemies.
    They are used to hunting prey, but not being the target of a military campaign.
    And they may well learn that war is the sport of Empires.

  18. I never liked Star Trek: Voyager and in my opinion it is the worst version of Star Trek.

    That said it did have a few very good episodes to be fair and most of the ones that included the Hirogen are an example of Voyager done well.

  19. The Hirogen are by far the only thing I really liked about Voyager. I do hope that they show up in the future, but I'm skeptical considering how Star Trek has been treated in recent years.

  20. HIrogen are one of my favourite. Especially when they are actually observing the prey, giving praise when due. I think they could have been expanded even further, but alas that didn't happen. 🙁

  21. 8:00 we saw some fairly enormous Hirogen ships in at least one episode. One ship dwarfed Voyager. Voyager hid in its wake.

  22. The only thing that bothered me about the Hirogen was the change to their height. They were huge in earlier episodes and then became average height in later epoisodes. Either they could not find enough tall actors or did not want to use effects to make them look taller.

  23. It became a joke in the episode ''Tsunkatse'' when the Hirogen suddenly got portrayed as small compared to The Rock who is 6'5''. Before that I thought Hirogen are about 6'5'' at least … The smallest were the Hirogen in the episode ''Killing Game'' (all over 6'3'').

  24. 0:18 Is that a giant Gas Pump/ LOL Looks like they kit bashed an arco station 😀 Dude I hpe this guy makes videos for OFFICIAL star trek stuff CBS should hire him to maek all sorts of these videos

  25. …and get schooled by 7 of 9 via feedback when they smartmouth over the comm.

    They may not have been amused, but B'Elanna was.

  26. I look at the Hirogen in the video's thumbnail, and all I just want to say is "FLAWLESS VICTORY…… FATALITY…….. MORTAL KOMBAAAAAAAT!"

  27. 6:40 – Just to point it out, theres a spelling error in the "Artefact of the Hunt" section.
    Otherwise, great informative content as always

  28. The Hirogen were interesting introduction by the Voyager writer's but never fully developed any further then couple of episode's

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