Human/Iratus bug hybrid
|Form of government||
The Wraith are a vampiric hive-based species that harvest the 'life-force' of other humanoid beings for nourishment through suckers on their right hand palm. Countless worlds in the Pegasus galaxy live in constant fear of the Wraith, who return periodically to cull their human herds. After taking their fill, the Wraith hibernate for centuries, watched over by Keepers, before they wake and feed again.
The Lanteans first encountered the Wraith many thousands of years ago, however, the Wraith race is over 100,000 years old according to Todd. After arriving in the lifeless Pegasus galaxy with Atlantis, the Ancients seeded several planets with humans and Stargates. One of the planets held a creature called the Iratus bug, which began feeding on the humans. Eventually, they began to take on advantageous human characteristics, such as larger brain mass, bipedal locomotion, and opposable digits. Once awoken, the Wraith went to war with the Lanteans and fed upon the humans of the Pegasus Galaxy. This was obviously after many thousands of years because the Wraith had to become advanced enough for interstellar travel.
The Wraith were actually created around nine hundred years before Atlantis was abandoned. In an effort to make themselves immortal in case they couldn't Ascend, the Ancients began experimenting on transforming themselves into immortal beings. On a frozen planet, the Ancients built a facility where they experimented on one hundred male and one hundred female test subjects taken from around the galaxy while creating a weapon that would wipe out their test subjects if they ever lost control of them. All but nine of the females died in the experiment while ninety-nine of the males survived. Under the Ancients testing, the Wraith began developing the characteristics and powers they would later have. Eventually, the Wraith learned how to use their telepathic abilities and tricked the guards into releasing them. The Wraith stole the weapon that could kill them and the facility's ZPM and escaped through the Stargate to Athos. The Ancients chased them, but by the time they reached Athos, the Wraith were gone. The Ancients continued to chase the Wraith, setting a trap for them when they briefly attempted to return to Athos. Eventually, the Wraith were able to steal ships and hide the ZPM and weapon. It is suggested that a mollusk creature found on one of their original sanctuaries, Cair Leonid, would become the basis for their hive ships. The Wraith eventually split into various bands and the original nine females became the first Wraith Queens, known as the First Mothers, while the males would become their commanders.
- Main article: Lantean-Wraith war
The dominating (and at the time only) power of the Pegasus galaxy were the peaceful and technologically advanced Lanteans, the group of Ancients that had left the Milky Way millions of years ago to escape the plague destroying their race. The Wraith felt a genetically-inherited hatred for the Lanteans, because the Lantean's experiments had made them the way they were. They could never return to their normal lives, and felt compelled to go to war with the Lanteans for retribution. But the Lanteans were far more advanced than the Wraith, with one Ancient warship being able to inflict massive damage on several Hive ships at once with their devastating Drone weapons, while at the same time suffering little to no damage themselves due to their powerful shield technology.
At first, the Wraith were at a major disadvantage against the advanced warships of the Lanteans who, in their overconfidence, began to send their warships deeper into Wraith territory. The Wraith, after a period of time and with great cost to themselves, managed to capture several of these vessels and obtain the Zero Point Modules powering a number of them. Using these incredible power sources, the Wraith began creating a cloning facility which they used to increase their numbers against the Lanteans, giving them a much needed advantage and allowing them to permanently turn the tide of war in their favor.
The Lanteans began to slowly fall back into their own territory, which the Wraith continued to absorb into their own, facing the powerful weapons platforms and outposts protecting Lantean-controlled territory in their effort to destroy their enemy. This continued for years until Atlantis was all that remained of the Lantean empire. In a final attempt at ending the war, the Lanteans sent a delegation to meet with the Wraith to negotiate a truce. The Lantean delegation was protected by their most powerful warships, but they were ambushed by the Wraith's massive fleet. After that great battle, it was only a matter of time before Atlantis fell.
All that remained of the Lantean empire by this point was their capital of Atlantis, which the Wraith lay siege to for one hundred years, held off only by the powerful shield protecting Atlantis, the city's drone weapons, and the Lagrangian Point satellites deployed throughout the star system. Eventually however, the satellites were either destroyed or damaged beyond repair, and the city's supply of drone weapons was being diminished far faster than it could be replaced. Finally, the Ancient Council decided to sink the city, abandon the galaxy through the Stargate and return to Earth, leaving the Pegasus galaxy at the mercy of the victorious Wraith, who began to gorge on their human herds.
Shortly after this period, the Wraith came under assault by a new enemy: the Asurans, who were abandoned experiments of the Lanteans. To combat this foe, the Wraith disabled the directive in the Asurans' base code that forced them to attack the Wraith. The Asurans retreated to Asuras and remained there, leaving the Wraith again in control of the galaxy.
Arrival of the Federation
- Main article: Federation-Wraith War
The Wraith continued their feeding pattern where they would abduct humans and take their life force after which they entered into a hibernative state allowing the human herds to grow while they slumbered. While this happened, they left a few caretakers to watch over them until the time was right to awaken. This cycle continued for 10,000 years until the Atlantis Expedition arrived in the Pegasus galaxy. The Wraith first encountered the humans of Earth on the planet Athos when Wraith Darts were sent to abduct humans to feed on. A team was sent to the Wraith homeworld which was led by Major John Sheppard, Captain Typhuss James Kira and Lieutenant Aiden Ford, on a rescue mission to retrieve their people.
When the team arrived to the planet, via Puddle Jumper, they discovered that their people were taken to a holding cell aboard a Hive ship. Meanwhile, the Keeper interrogated Colonel Marshall Sumner and learned that a plentiful feeding ground—Earth—existed elsewhere in the universe, but she could not find where. Upon her death at the hands of Sheppard, the entire Hive reawakened. Now that the species was moving, feeding on planets throughout the Pegasus Galaxy, no one was safe. However, there were not enough humans to sustain the Wraith for long.
Marshaling their forces, the Wraith sent a fleet to attack the planet M35-117, with a force of three Hive ships, along with cruiser escorts. One Hive ship was destroyed by an Ancient Lagrangian Point satellite that was reactivated by Dr. Rodney McKay and Dr. Peter Grodin, but the Wraith destroyed it after it destroyed one of their Hive ships. Once in orbit, they attacked Starbase Atlantis, hoping to learn the location of Earth. The Federation and the Athosians battled to preserve the city with the assistance of reinforcements from Earth, which succeeded in destroying the bulk of the Wraith forces, but this was only the first wave. A secondary attack force consisting of twelve Hive ships and their escorts arrived and, though the USS Daedalus managed to destroy a few, the Wraith were too many. It was decided by the expedition that trickery would be used to escape the Wraith where they faked a self-destruct of Starbase Atlantis by setting off a timed quantum torpedo and cloaking the starbase. Dismayed, the Wraith left the world and attempted to sustain themselves with what few humans lived in the galaxy.
In time, however, with the lack of food and the natural territorial instincts of the Wraith, they entered into a civil war. Stronger Wraith Hives began to attack weaker ones for control over the feeding grounds of the galaxy.
- Main article: Wraith civil war
During the civil war, the various Wraith factions fed on the worlds in their possession as well as against one another and engaged in skirmishes with the Humans from Earth. While this was happening, an old threat emerged to challenge the Wraith once more. The Asurans, whose attack Wraith command had been reactivated by the Tau'ri, resulting in a surprise attack against them. While caught off guard at first, the Wraith began to form an effective counter assault against this enemy and attempted to reuse their computer virus attack but this failed due to the Asurans being able to manipulate their programming at this point because of the accidental workings of Dr. Rodney McKay. Events became even more desperate when the Asurans decided on a new course of action to destroy the Wraith by targeting their food source: humans. Thus, the Asurans began targeting and destroying human worlds in an effort to starve the Wraith.
All attempts at reusing the virus failed and forced a level of cooperation between the Wraith and the Atlantis Expedition. The Wraith known as Todd worked to assemble a fleet of Hive ships that would accompany the Atlantis expedition and the surprise addition of the Travelers in an assault against Asuras itself. This brought about the Battle of Asuras with the allied fleet emerging victorious over the Asurans which were destroyed by McKay in a complex plan. With the battle over, the temporary unification of the Wraith fractured once more, and the Wraith resumed their old posturing as they once again returned to civil war.
However, a new threat emerged when the former Wraith known as Michael Kenmore began a subtle first attack against Wraith Hives by poisoning their food supply with a modified Hoffan drug. His plan was foiled when the Atlantis expedition once again cooperated with Todd to fight this threat, and the hives gained a cure for the drug. After this, the collective Wraith Hives became targeted by a reactivated Attero device which threatened to destroy them but this was stopped by the efforts of the Wraith known as Todd. Since then, the Wraith have also continued to eliminate those planets whose Human inhabitants have gained an immunity from feeding through the Hoffan drug. Michael was ultimately defeated in battle by the Daedalus and later killed by Teyla Emmagan when he tried to destroy the Atlantis expedition.
Yet another threat emerged that could have wiped out all of the other factions of the Wraith if not stopped: the Wraith underling's powerful Super-hive. The Hive was initially under Todd's control and part of his faction, but the Wraith underling mutinied and broke away, taking the ship for himself. It gave him a significant advantage over the other Wraith and races in the galaxy and Todd contacted the Atlantis expedition to warn them about the ship coming to Earth, urging them to destroy it. This led to the Battle of the Super-hive where the Federation battled the ship, but were no match for it leading to an attempted culling of Earth. The new Hive ship was so powerful that even Starfleet itself couldn't defeat it. Ultimately, the Super-hive was destroyed over Earth by Colonel John Sheppard and his team with a quantum torpedo planted inside, eliminating the only technologically enhanced ship that any Wraith possessed and restoring the balance of power. The Wraith underling was also killed during the battle.
Rise of Queen Death
After the Atlantis Expedition left the Pegasus galaxy, a new Wraith queen arose, Queen Death. Queen Death was a "queen of queens" and began forcibly uniting the hive ships under her control with none able to stand against her. Within six months, even Todd's alliance was down to a single hive ship loyal to him. Death began culling whatever worlds she so chose and destroying anything she didn't take, completely devastating many worlds. Under the command of Queen Death, a powerfully united Wraith alliance was formed as discovered up the return of the Atlantis expedition to Pegasus six months after departing. Queen Death's forces kidnapped Doctor Rodney McKay and turned him into a Wraith, gaining them a ZPM and limited shield technology in the process. Eventually McKay was rescued while Guide formed a new alliance to oppose Queen Death with the aid of Teyla Emmagan in the guise of Guide's queen, Queen Steelflower. In 2391, Queen Death's alliance was defeated in battle over the planet the Wraith were created on and Queen Death herself was killed by Teyla. During this time, it was discovered that Queen Death was being used as a tool by Ashes, the last surviving original Wraith who still wanted revenge upon the Ancients who were long-gone. Queen Death's alliance was disbanded and Ashes was handed over to Queens Alabastar and Waterlight for punishment for his actions.
Peace with Atlantis expedition
In the aftermath of Death's defeat and subsequent death, the remaining Wraith forged a peace treaty and as such, half of the Pegasus was relinquished to the Federation. This was facilitated by the creation of a retrovirus that strengthened human physiology while helping the Wraith in turn, with the combined strains meaning that feeding on a human was no longer automatically fatal to the humans while still providing the Wraith with sufficient sustenance.
The Wraith later began hunting a man known only as Wolf who caused many Wraith deaths. Guide eventually tracked him to the Travelers and then to a Traveler supply depot where he demanded to search the Traveler ships for him. John Sheppard was also on the planet and intervened to stop things from escalating. After it was discovered that the Wolf was long-missing Atlantis expedition member Lieutenant Aiden Ford, Doctor Elizabeth Weir was able to negotiate a deal with the Wraith where the Federation "exiled" Ford back to Earth to keep the peace. Ford returned to Earth in a Vanir scout ship while the Wraith took a bearing on the ship's hyperspace vector in hopes of getting a clue as to where Earth is.