Darth Wong wrote:
In an age of powerful long-ranged weapons, it seems to me that the biggest and most powerful super-soldiers would not necessary be the most dangerous ones, especially if they're the stereotypical raging hulking macho brutes popular in sci-fi. Instead, those who are best at concealment might be the most dangerous ones. Even a guy with huge muscles and great regenerative power isn't going to be walking around after someone puts a bullet into his brain.
In many cases, the guys with extreme physical abilities are also presented as having a lot of training. Training makes you better at concealment.
For example, 40k Space Marines spend years training exhaustively before they're even allowed out on a battlefield. They may well be good at concealment, along with
being hulking macho brutes.
Most settings that present genuinely impressive supersoldiers present them as being engineered for endurance, sensory capacity, reflexes, and the mental capacity it takes to profit from training. Raw physical strength is often part of the package, but I can't think of a lot of cases where it's the biggest part.
This would seem to give the Jem'Hadar a huge advantage, except that they appear to be mindless charging melee fighters by nature. Also, we are assuming that they can see perfectly well when cloaked, but there is no reason to assume that. A cloaked individual is supposedly bending light around himself, so you have to ask yourself the question: if you are bending light around yourself, then how the hell can you see anything? A perfect light-bending cloak would render you completely blind. You would literally see nothing but darkness. Maybe only a small percentage of light actually reaches their eyes: enough for them to barely see, but certainly not enough for them to be combat-effective.
Star Trek cloaking devices (like many others in fiction) do not seem to have this problem: cloaked ships and objects are aware of their surrounding, and we seldom if ever see them accidentally blunder into things because they can't see straight. Why
this is so is an open question, but it's pointless to dispute that
it is so.
Also, there's the infrared issue that Trekkies always try to write off but which is a serious thermodynamic problem (not that most Trekkies understand thermodynamics). Jem'Hadar might be quite easy to spot for the more advanced opposing forces.
Hard to say- I'd be happier not trying to make an assumption about that either way. If we can avoid having to ask the question in this particular versus debate, it will save a pointless argument that's damn hard to falsify either way.
Super-strength is also a double-edged sword: it requires much higher energy input, which means that super-strong soldiers would have to eat much more food in order to remain effective, and they would have to stop more often because of limited endurance (again, this is totally ignored by most sci-fi writers, but that doesn't make it any less true). There's a reason the really big strong animals tend to conserve their strength and use it in bursts.
Since super-strength is often posited to go with other enhancements to endurance, metabolic efficiency, and possibly the ability to store calories within the body, this can go either way. In the abstract, we can assume that engineering a man for stronger muscles and only
stronger muscles would make him inferior in other ways. Comparing specific examples from different settings, you'd have to look at the setting to know.
Fortunately for the Zentradi, very few of the other candidates in this contest, are capable of taking advantage of this- unless you're suggesting a Spartan II wear a skirt and start singing? (Considering how reliant the Draka are upon Authorial Fiat, I doubt they're smart enough to exploit the Zentradi vulnerability to psychological warfare.)
Actually, the Draka might, although it depends on exactly what
sort of vulnerability they have. The Draka would certainly try to 'master' anyone they interact with- do the Zentradi have some kind of built-in tendency to submit to designated overlords? They might be vulnerable to pheromones, in a fight that doesn't just involve some giant guy stepping on the enemy without so much as catching a whiff of him.