Biology and societyEdit
Because the phage results in the degeneration and destruction of body tissues, the once prosperous Vidiians were soon converted in a society of pirates devoted to abducting members of other races for organ harvesting. Most Vidiians have a hideous appearance, their bodies consisting of a humanoid amalgamation of alien parts at different stages of degeneration.
Curiously, they not always kill their victims directly and will sometimes harvest a single organ (for example when they attacked Neelix and removed only his lungs, leaving the rest of him intact). No definite explanation has been given for this apparent waste which seems strange for a society so desperately needing transplants.
The phage doesn't seem to be hereditary. It appears that Vidiians are born healthy and there are individuals in existence which haven't been affected by the phage. Despite this, all efforts towards isolation and quarantine have been useless and the phage continues to affect the vast majority of their people.
In the year 2375 (three years after the last known encounter with the Vidiians) the multi-species intellectual society known as the Think Tank claimed that they had cured the Vidiians from the phage.
As a result of centuries of directing efforts towards fighting the phage and perfecting surgical techniques, their medical science is far more advanced than that of the Federation. They often carry a hand device which combines the functions of scanner, surgical instrument and weapon.
They are also masters of cloning and genetic engineering, as shown by their ability to split B'elanna Torres into two individuals, one fully Klingon and one fully Human. The fact that even this level of medical abilities isn't enough to free them the need to steal alien organs goes to show the extent to which the phage affects them. It is also possible that they judge organ cloning too expensive or ineffective, and that it is simply more practical to steal fresh organs.
- Aliens which appear to be either healthy Vidiians or an externally identical species have been occasionally observed in the Deep Space 9 station half across the galaxy from the Delta Quadrant. It is possible that these are indeed Vidiians who left their own civilization in the past (likely before or in the first days of the epidemic, seeking refuge from it) and ended up in the Alpha Quadrant or the Gamma Quadrant (and took the Bajoran wormhole from there).
- The word phage is commonly used as a short for bacteriophage, a type of virus which feeds on bacteria, and should normally be harmless to higher lifeforms. The Vidiians claim that their disease destroys their DNA; therefore unless the Vidiian body is partially or entirely made of bacterial cells, it is safe to assume that the term has some other meaning for them.