- This article is about the Breen species. For information on the Breen homeworld, see Breen (planet).
"Never turn your back on a Breen"
History and politics
Shrouded in mystery, the Breen were one of the most underestimated races inhabiting the Alpha Quadrant.
Historically, the Klingons were among the first to discover the consequences of underestimating the Breen. During the Klingon Second Empire, Chancellor Mow'ga ordered an entire fleet of Klingon warships to invade and conquer the Breen homeworld. The fleet never returned and was never heard from again. (DS9: "'Til Death Do Us Part")
Even by the 24th century, much was still unknown about the Breen and their otherwise politically nonaligned government, known as the Breen Confederacy. The Federation, however, had limited knowledge of the Breen and was aware of Breen outposts located near a black cluster in 2368. (TNG: "Hero Worship") In 2370, the Breen participated in a palio held at Deep Space 3, during which the Ferengi attempted to bribe the Breen pilot into throwing the race. (TNG: "Interface") In 2373, the Breen settlements on Portas V near the Demilitarized Zone dealt with the Maquis, supplying them with cold-storage units. (DS9: "For the Uniform") It was noted by Ezri Dax in 2375, when captured by the Breen on a planet in the Goralis system, that they were a long way from Breen space. (DS9: "Penumbra")
Other species like the Ferengi had developed closer ties with the Breen by the late 24th century, as both species conducted trade negotiations in 2373. (DS9: "Ferengi Love Songs") By that same year, the Cardassian Union maintained an embassy on the Breen homeworld. (DS9: "Return to Grace")
Breen privateers during the 24th century would often conduct indiscriminate raids against other Alpha Quadrant species. This includes the Breen attack and capture of the Cardassian transport Ravinok in 2366. The survivors of that attack were used for slave labor in the Breen operated dilithium mines on Dozaria. (DS9: "Indiscretion") In 2368, Starfleet feared the Breen might have attacked the science vessel SS Vico. Breen privateers also raided the Bajoran colony of Free Haven in 2372; they were, however, successfully driven away by the USS Defiant. (TNG: "Hero Worship"; DS9: "To the Death")
Alliance with the Dominion
In 2375, the Breen moved from a policy of low-level hostilities toward other major powers to one of open warfare when they allied themselves with the Dominion. They were then allowed access to the Dominion military database. According to the terms of the alliance, the Breen Confederacy received several planets in the Cardassian Union as compensation for joining the war. (DS9: "Strange Bedfellows")
Shortly after joining with the Dominion, the Breen attacked Starfleet Headquarters on Earth. A short time later they assisted Dominion forces in breaking the lines at Chin'toka. Under orders from the Female Changeling, the Breen allowed escape pods to carry the Federation survivors to safety. This major battle, known as the Second Battle of Chin'toka, was won by the Dominion thanks to a unique Breen device, a kind of energy dampening weapon which could completely drain all the main power systems of a starship. Both of these defeats dealt a huge blow to the Allies' morale. The only ship immune to the Breen weapon was a Klingon Bird-of-Prey, which serendipitously survived thanks to an adjustment the chief engineer had made to the ship's tritium intermix in the warp core. (DS9: "The Changing Face of Evil", "When It Rains...")
Although the Klingon fleet was able to make the needed adjustments against the weapon, the Federation and the Romulans were still unable to defend against the Breen. When the Federation finally did create a defense against the energy dampening weapon, they forced the Dominion fleet to retreat. The Breen official Thot Pran expressed an extreme distaste for surrender, and required the reassurance of the Female Changeling that, instead of surrendering, they were in fact regrouping and attempting to redouble their shipbuilding and replenishment efforts. (DS9: "The Dogs of War")
With the necessary countermeasures against the Breen's energy dampening weapon obtained, the Federation Alliance was able to go on the offensive once again, choosing to invade Cardassia Prime itself. In hopes of reducing the Breen's will to fight, the Female Changeling offered them control of Earth and Romulus if they succeeded in winning the battle. In the interest of maintaining the alliance, the Breen were positioned ahead of the Jem'Hadar. During the Battle of Cardassia, the Breen were still able to inflict major casualties on the allies, even without the use of their energy dampening weapon. Up to a third of the allies' entire fleet was destroyed during the battle, including the Romulan flagship. The Breen continued to fight for the Dominion until the end of the war, demonstrating a willingness to die for the cause which matched that of the Jem'Hadar. However, when the Cardassian forces switched sides mid-battle, the Dominion and Breen were forced to withdraw to Cardassia Prime. After Odo convinced the Female Changeling to surrender, the Dominion War ended. As allies of the Dominion, the Breen leaders were present during the signing of the Treaty of Bajor. (DS9: "What You Leave Behind")
Breen physiology is among the most exotic for humanoid lifeforms, which may be due, in part, to their homeworld's climate. The Breen have no blood or other liquid circulatory system. The Breen brain is structured into four lobes; this protects them from the probing of some empathic species, such as the Betazoids, who are unable to detect the thoughts or emotions of the Breen. (DS9: "In Purgatory's Shadow"; TNG: "The Loss") According to Worf, no outsider had ever seen what a Breen looked like under their refrigeration suits and lived. Even after joining the Dominion, their appearance was unknown to their new allies. Weyoun couldn't help but wonder what they looked like. (DS9: "Indiscretion", "'Til Death Do Us Part", "What You Leave Behind") Breen appear physically more resilient than most humanoids. When Worf struck a Breen, the Breen proceeded to incapacitate Worf with a neural truncheon, seemingly oblivious to the assault. (DS9: "'Til Death Do Us Part")
The Breen constantly wear refrigeration suits in order to maintain a cold temperature like that on their homeworld. The Cardassians, as a physically warm-natured species that maintained an embassy on the planet, described it as extremely cold (DS9: "Return to Grace") and Quark was known to use the expression "cold as a Breen winter." (DS9: "Crossfire") Despite this, Weyoun remarked (in his capacity as a diplomat) that the planet was "quite comfortable." (DS9: "The Changing Face of Evil")
Society and culture
The Breen commonly produce offspring at a very early age, at about the equivalence in physical growth of Human third grade children. The Breen entertain their offspring with nursery rhymes. Breen nursery rhymes can be made up of a heterophonic, five-line verse with an alternating tetrameter and pentameter structure. These are nonsensical phrases strung together because they rhyme (at least to the Breen). Some Breen music, which can accompany these nursery rhymes, is written on a Lyxian scale. (DS9: "For the Uniform"; VOY: "Elogium")
Treatment of prisoners
The Breen are known to use slave labor, and at least some of these slaves are captured in raids on other species. When the Breen were using Bajoran slaves to mine dilithium ore, there were always at least eight guards within the mines. (DS9: "Indiscretion")
The Breen are very prudent when dealing with prisoners. When capturing prisoners, the Breen typically stun them from long range with their disruptors, rather than approaching them and risking close combat. When Worf and Ezri Dax were discovered by the Breen on Goralis while sleeping, the Breen used this technique to subdue them. The Breen also feed their prisoners a diet of algae paste. (DS9: "Penumbra", "'Til Death Do Us Part")
On board starships, the Breen typically send in three guards at a time when they wish to remove a single prisoner from a cell that is being shared with other prisoners. Worf's various attempts at escape always failed, including his attempt to persuade the Breen guards that Ezri was sick, as well as his attempt to short-circuit the door. When Worf attempted to attack the Breen guards, they used a type of neural truncheon to paralyze him. Even after he fell to the ground, partially paralyzed, two Breen guards continued to use the truncheons on him to ensure he would not get back up, before two guards removed Ezri from the cell. In another incident, Worf simply showed signs of anger towards Weyoun and was again shocked by the neural truncheon. (DS9: "Strange Bedfellows", "'Til Death Do Us Part")
See: Breen language
Science and technology
Given that most known humanoid species live on class M planets with an average temperature far above the supposed temperature of Breen, the Breen are largely thought to have had to develop refrigeration suits in order to co-exist with others. However, if the Breen homeworld is temperate as suggested by Weyoun, then their reason for wearing environmental suits, if they were environmental suits at all, was much more mysterious. (DS9: "The Changing Face of Evil")
The Breen were known for their knowledge of sophisticated cold-storage units, summed up in Captain Sisko's statement, "If anyone knows how to keep things cold, it's the Breen." (DS9: "For the Uniform")
During the 2360s, the Breen were known for their development of organic technology, which they employed in the construction of their spacecraft. (VOY: "Scorpion") Some of their vessels were even believed to be fitted with cloaking devices. (TNG: "Hero Worship") During the mid-2370s, Breen warships utilized energy dampening weapons. (DS9: "The Changing Face of Evil", et al.)
The Breen were known to use type 3 disruptors, like the Romulans and Klingons. (Star Trek Generations) The Breen also manufactured a portable hand-held cannon, the CRM 114. It was designed to target moving objects and surface emplacements. It was among the weapons dealt by the Ferengi arms dealer Gaila in the mid-2370s. (DS9: "Business as Usual")
- When the Breen helmets were being designed for "Indiscretion", it was decided that they would give viewers the suggestion of a snout, like that of an Arctic Wolf. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Some of the actors and stunt performers to have worn the Breen costumes are Cathy DeBuono, Todd Slayton, Max Omega, Wade Kelly, Dennis Madalone, and Tom Morga.
- The Breen costume worn by Dennis Madalone is also labeled "M. Yamasaki".
- Executive Producer Ira Steven Behr has said that the Breen's distinctive, scratchy voice was inspired by the guitar feedback on Lou Reed's album "Metal Machine Music". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- The model for the Breen helmet closely resembles the Ubese Bounty Hunter suit that Princess Leia wore to Jabba the Hutt's Palace in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.
In Star Trek Online, the Breen were the main antagonists in a short episode arc. During the arc, the Breen invaded Deferi space, hoping to acquire Preserver technology.
In the novel Zero Sum Game they are revealed to be comprised of several different species, with "Breen" as the name of a society, rather than a single species. The primary reason for this is to judge individuals on their skills and abilities rather than their physical appearance.
Among the species in the Breen Confederacy mentioned in Zero Sum Game, only four were mentioned by name and described in some detail, and an additional fifth species was described in Plagues of Night. They include:
- The Silwaan, a humanoid species and a founding species of the Confederacy, who possessed (in the case of the character Chot Nar) bronze-tinted skin, white hair and jade-colored eyes .
- The Fenrisal, a furred, lupine humanoid species whose snouted facial structure served as the inspiration for the archetypical Breen helmet design.
- The Paclu, a large, powerful humanoid species who often serve in the Confederacy military thanks to their strength. They are noted to possess four-lobed brains that make their minds difficult to read, as well as an unspecified number of hearts.
- The Amoniri, a humanoid species whose bodies possess no blood and evaporate when exposed to normal M-class atmospheres, requiring them to wear actual refrigeration suits to function outside of their regular environment. They also serve commonly in the Confederacy military alongside the Paclu.
- The Vironat, a humanoid species with cleft arms and legs with highly-accurate sensory organs located along their lengths that grant them exceptional tactile abilities, making them highly-effective engineers. The enhanced sensory abilities of the species also renders them prone to motion sickness.
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