Published May 18, 2023
Delta Quadrant Regimes, Ranked
Not all foes pose as much as a threat as others.
By Jay Stobie
While Voyager experienced strained relationships with each of these regimes, their adversaries' influence, technological prowess, and hostile intentions varied greatly among the different species. Considering all of these factors, let’s launch our own exploration of the Delta Quadrant and determine which factions offered the most steadfast opposition to Voyager’s journey home.
10. Malon Cooperative
More concerned with disposing deadly antimatter waste than attacking Voyager, Malon tankers nevertheless demonstrated aggressive tendencies when they crossed paths with the Federation starship. The heavily-armed Malon vessels proved a match for Voyager, while their captains generally showed little regard for the lives that were impacted by their poisonous cargo.
However, the Malon were not completely opposed to diplomatic overtures, as shown by Controller Fesek’s reluctant willingness to work with Janeway’s subordinates to prevent his disabled freighter from contaminating an entire region of space.
9. Lokirrim “Authority”
Engaged in a bitter conflict with rebellious photonic lifeforms, the Lokirrim frowned upon ships that carried any form of holographic technology into their territory. A patrol vessel attacked the Delta Flyer without warning, unfairly imprisoning Harry Kim, Seven of Nine, and The Doctor.
Of course, the Lokirrim believed the EMH’s program had been destroyed, which allowed Voyager’s chief physician to incorporate himself into Seven’s Borg implants and actually get to know several Lokirrim on a personal level. Captain Ranek displayed romantic feelings for Seven, while The Doctor felt a connection with his Lokirrim counterpart Jaryn. The war had taken a toll on the crew, and Jaryn even felt an affinity for a photonic she knew as a child. The fact that their craft and Voyager parted on amicable terms showcased the Lokirrim’s friendlier side.
8. Annari Empire
According to their Kraylor foes, the Annari hid their tyrannical objectives behind a veneer of diplomacy. An Annari leader did open trade negotiations with Janeway, but the Kraylor proved themselves to be an unreliable source of information when they misled Harry Kim about their vessel’s true purpose as a testbed for a cloaking device. Even after learning about the aid that Kim supplied to a Kraylor transport ship, the Annari simply escorted Voyager out of their space. Nonetheless, given the presence of an Annari blockade over the Kraylor’s homeworld, we cannot completely rule out the possibility that the Annari truly were conquerors who annexed other planets against their will.
7. Vaadwaur Supremacy
The Vaadwaur’s glory days may have been 900 years behind them when Voyager brought the civilization’s survivors out of stasis, but their negative reputation in the Delta Quadrant’s historic records still made the Turei and other local species fearful of the Vaadwaur’s capabilities.
The remaining Vaadwaur lived up to the malicious rumors when they betrayed Janeway and sought to overtake Voyager so that they could wage war on their enemies. Just how much of a threat could the Vaadwaur pose with their relatively small population and outdated ships? Well, their determination and their intricate knowledge of the subspace corridors that sprawled across the quadrant lead us to believe that their resourcefulness should not be underestimated.
6. The Hierarchy
A predatory species that conducted stealth reconnaissance on unsuspecting passersby before raiding their starships, the Hierarchy meticulously calculated the assets they would need to expend and their chances of success before deciding whether to initiate their assault. Often involving multiple vessels, their coordinated strikes had the potential to quickly overwhelm and cripple their prey.
On the other hand, as was the case with the Lokirrim, individual members of the Hierarchy exhibited the ability to bond with The Doctor and Captain Janeway. A Hierarchy vessel even participated in Janeway’s alliance that managed to break out of a barren section of space known as The Void. Unfortunately, the friendlier Hierarchy crewmen tended to serve under ambitious overseers who did not tolerate mistakes.
5. Kazon Order
Considered unworthy of assimilation by the Borg, the Kazon factions would not normally be seen as a rival to the Federation’s authority. Unable to put aside the animosity they felt toward one another for long periods of time, the Kazon tribes spent as much time fighting among themselves as they did pursuing Janeway’s starship.
Given Voyager’s status as a lone vessel in unfamiliar territory, the Kazon gained the upper hand on several occasions. With assistance from the Cardassian spy Seska, the Kazon became an even deadlier foe. In the face of overwhelming odds, Voyager persevered through multiple clashes and Kazon boarding parties before the ship finally moved beyond Kazon space roughly two years into its travels through the Delta Quadrant.
4. Devore Imperium
As much as the Lokirrim mistrusted photonic lifeforms, the Devore harbored an even greater deal of prejudice and resentment toward telepaths. The Devore barely tolerated outsiders in general, dispatching their warships to conduct periodic inspections and guide strange vessels out of the Imperium’s territory. For trespassing craft, deviating from a predetermined course in Devore space could lead to the crew’s detainment and their ship’s impoundment. Telepathic refugees went to significant lengths to escape the region and avoid being imprisoned in what the Imperium described as “relocation centers.”
By the time Voyager had awoken the Vaadwaur, the Devore had expanded their territory to include a system that had formerly been colonized by the Vaadwaur. Between their xenophobia, authoritarian tactics, expansionist policies, and massive fleet, the Devore rank as one of the Delta Quadrant’s most volatile powers.
3. Vidiian Sodality
Afflicted by a disease that destroys their genetic codes and cellular structures, the Vidiians have spent 2,000 years developing advanced medical technology that permits them to harvest organs from other species.
Originally a society of educators and explorers, the Vidiian Sodality had been ravaged by the phage and devolved into a group that would pillage passing vessels and kill their crews to extract biomatter for experimental treatments. Miraculously, Kurros of the Think Tank informed Janeway that his cadre had found a cure for the phage, so it is possible that the Vidiian threat may have finally subsided. However, a species that has a history of violence and possesses equipment that can beam organs directly out of a living person is one that we should keep a close eye on.
2. Hirogen “Remnant”
Nomadic hunters who perceived other lifeforms as their prey and roamed the galaxy while tracking down sentient beings for sport, the Hirogen proved to be bad news for Voyager on multiple occasions. The lack of a cohesive government outside of small, informal hunting parties means that large-scale Hirogen offensives are unlikely, but their impressive tactical systems and unwavering dedication to the pursuit of prey provide plenty of reasons for the Delta Quadrant’s population to avoid the Hirogen at all costs. Even when deprived of their warships and their body armor, the Hirogen tower above other species as fearsome warriors.
1. Borg Collective
Was there ever any doubt about who would top this list? Species 8472 brought the Borg Collective to the brink of collapse, but their origins in fluidic space made them ineligible for this Delta-based list.
Trillions of drones, knowledge from thousands of worlds, advanced technology, adaptable shielding, and a hive mind determined to assimilate any cultures they perceive to be advanced all combine to render the Borg as the most significant threat to emerge from the quadrant. Voyager struck a forceful blow against the Collective as the starship returned to Earth, but the Borg continued to inspire dread throughout known space. Even in the Star Trek: Picard-era, a scientist expressed concerns that the captured Borg cube in Romulan space might reconnect with the Queen’s group consciousness and wreak untold havoc.