- "Never turn your back on a Breen."
- —A Romulan saying
The Breen are a mysterious, ethnocentric, warlike and extremely reclusive species. Their homeworld is referred to simply as "Breen" by outsiders, and is located deep in their space within the Alpha Quadrant. Until 2375 they were mostly seen as pirates, slavers, merchants, and troublemakers. That changed when the Breen Confederacy announced its alliance with the Dominion by successfully attacking Earth itself, something not even the Klingons ever dared to do.
The Breen homeworld is frightfully frigid, and that life evolved there at all - much less achieved advanced sentience - is a testament to how resilient life is. The Breen, like all organisms on their world, have no liquid circulatory system, and the method by which nutrients are transported through their bodies is currently unknown to outsiders. Their skeletal structure is heavily reliant upon a crystallized methane matrix intermixed with calcium carbonate fibers, and exposure to temperatures above 100 Kelvins causes this matrix to subliminate in less than a second, destroying the Breen's body quite messily.
When interacting with other species, therefore, the Breen always wear refrigeration suits that keep them at comfortable temperatures - temperatures in the vicinity of 50 Kelvins (-223.15 °C). These suits have a failsafe that causes them to power down when the Breen's life signs cease, and thus no non-Breen has ever seen what a living Breen looks like.
Breen reproduction is similarly mysterious, though evidence points toward external fertilization.
The Breen have a four-lobed brain, granting them immunity to the abilities of many telepathic and empathic species.
Society and Culture
- Main Article: Breen Confederacy
Apart from the Founders, the Breen see other sentient species as dangerous wild animals that must be broken and tamed. They choose slavery as an economic basis not for its advantages, as it is inherently less efficient than the combination of automation and replication used by the Federation and Romulans, but because it allows them to break their prisoners while making them economically useful.
Prisoners are treated exceptionally harshly, especially in the first months of their captivity. Until the Breen are certain that they are properly domesticated, prisoners are kept in complete solitude or very limited and controlled social structures. Prisoners also are not allowed to associate with any single group of fellow prisoners for more than a few days at a time; the very effective goal is to prevent social bonds from forming, breaking down morale and coincidentially downgrading the amount of escape attempts.
Prisoners are fed a nutritious, yet tasteless, protein paste made of algae and are hung upside-down for a minimal amount of time each day to rest. Prisoners are left without entertainment or any form of intellectual stimulation as their main goal aside from time spent on primary, necessary bodily functions are to work slave labor duties. Because of this, any discovered form of recreation or social diversion is sternly punished. Conversely, slaves who exhibit appropriately docile behavior may be rewarded with better food and drink, access to prisoners of the opposite gender, highly regulated forms of recreation, better work tools or other rewards.
Prisoners of war are treated more harshly still. Once at the work site, they are forced to work entirely alone for months on end, without contact with anyone except their taskmaster, at the most difficult and dangerous jobs available. Any loss of productivity is punished severely, using cortical implants that directly stimulate pain centers in the brain. Soldiers held for more than a day in the Breen slave camps are almost always forever altered, and the incredible majority of those who are held for a week or more do not return to service.
Science & Technology
Breen refrigeration technology is considered second to none among the races of the Alpha Quadrant, and even their enemies make use of cold storage technology based on Breen developments.
Breen ships make use of standard warp technology. They have flirted with organic technology in their shipbuilding, and settled on bioneurals for computer design more than a decade before Starfleet did so. Their starships use disruptor technology and carry heavy ablative armor. Their ships tend to have large cargo holds and carry coldsleep equipment for use on slave raids, and have high maximum warp speeds.
The Breen have also recently begun to field space superiority fighters. The thruster output of these fighters is higher than that of Starfleet's Valkyrie class fighters, allowing them significantly increased maneuverability, and use polaron beam and cannon technology derived from the weapons of the Dominion.
- Breen at Memory Alpha