Batarian Background Information

All information presented herein is taken from Myetel’s Spirit of Redemption fanfiction. Canonical information can be found on Mass Effect Wiki, http://masseffect.wikia.com.

Biology

Red, orange-red, and yellow eyes.

Red-orange blood, based on hemoglobin-analogues, iron-based.


History


Culture

Batarian culture is, canonically, heavily based on a caste system and includes slavery as a 'vital part' of that caste system. As such, in the SoR ME-verse, it's loosely based on the Hindu caste system, with many heavy alterations.

There are four main divisions of caste, based on the batarian creation mythos:

Depictions of the oldest legends, particularly how the first ancestor had been slain by his own five sons, and his body divided to make wives for them. Each newly-created wife had differently colored eyes, and derived her nature from the body parts from which she had been made. The wife made from the head had been wise and gracious; from her, the first son had had children who became the nobles, the leaders. The second wife had been made from the heart of the father; on her, the second son of the first ancestor had gotten children who became priests and healers. The wife of the hands and arms gave birth to warriors, fighters, raiders. The wife who had been made of the feet and legs gave birth to children who were merchants and craftsmen. And the last wife was made from whatever was left over—the bowels and the loins, the unclean parts. The children of this wife became handlers-of-the-dead, stable-tenders, and slaves.

Valak was standing behind her, showing her how to hold her practice sword correctly, when he noticed her head turn to look at that particular painting. “Dreadful, isn’t it?” he murmured in her ear. “But do you know what I think whenever I look at it?

“How were the first five sons born, if there were no women around?” Nala asked, daring just enough to look up at him, as he stood so closely behind her.

“That’s a good question. Personally, what I wonder is this: If they had a mother, how did she feel about seeing her husband killed and dismembered? There does seem to be a great deal missing from the old legends. Now, this is the first guard position, like so… ” And he lifted her hand, holding the sword, into the right position.

— Chapter 94, Ephiphanies

High nobility
Valak. The most restrictions about whom they can touch and associate with; elaborate purification rituals, and yet, for the restrictions of their lifestyle, have the most power.

Lesser nobility
Arvak R'mod.

Warrior-castes
Males are trained, much as they have, for thousands of years, taken from their mothers at the age of three into the barracks. Minimal education, basic reading and math, enough technical know-how to be able to operate their weapons.

Technical/professional castes
All originally deriving from 'scribe,' 'teacher' or 'healer' castes.

Priest caste: Conduct all marriages, rituals, purifications, and so on. Powerful only in that they reinforce the caste system with religious law.
Healer caste Other castes are not permitted to touch their bare skin. Not because they are unclean, but because even a noble can, theoretically, 'dirty' them.

Healers always wear diamond-shaped tattoos on their scalps, of varying sizes and degrees. While a highly ranked healer can technically work on anyone, lower-ranked healers are considered more appropriate for animals and slaves. Low-ranked healers wear large diamonds all over the scalp. Higher-ranked healers, like Nala, are considered 'safe' for the nobility, and wear small, discreet tattoos. Nala's two tiny blue tattoos, indicate that she practices general medicine and is considered an expert, highly-ranked. A true brain surgeon would wear a single small red tattoo, indicating his or her expertise and caste affiliation.

Nala

Teacher caste
Soloff C'les, the philosopher
Scribe caste
Includes anyone who works 'on paper.' Architects, weapons designers, librarians, computer techs, poets, lawyers, law clerks, accountants…

Merchant-caste
The bulk of batarian society, other than slaves. Certainly the wealthiest, other than the nobility. Almost every buys and sells something.

Raider caste
The descendants of dishonored or cowardly warrior-castes; in some cases, entire families were cast out of the warrior-caste for the actions of their fathers. They became a new subcaste, effectively, over five hundred years ago. Widely regarded as scum, they still have a place in society, as the are weapons for hire, where warrior-castes serve their countries and colonies. They've become entwined with the slaver caste as a result of running largely with criminals at the edges of galactic society. Their affiliation with the slavers, who are part of the merchant-caste, makes many view them as 'breakers of caste bonds.'

Slaver-caste
Disparaged, but incredibly rich and powerful sub-section of the merchant-caste. The only segment of the merchant caste permitted to use weapons.

Anyone Merchant-caste or above may use nitula oil to purify themselves and condition their skin. Anyone below, may not.


Crafter caste
Both a sub-section of merchant caste and slightly apart from it; those who make goods are perceived as less noble and somehow less intelligent than those who merely make money from it.

Porter caste
Two steps above slave caste. They were haulers and diggers. Allowed to haul stone from a quarry, but not to work it, not to design buildings. Allowed to move freight and cargo, but not to trade it. Allowed to carry a noble's belongings, but not permitted to touch the clothing within the bags. "He says he doesn't know anything."

**Filth-caste*
Handlers of the dead, garbage handlers, sanitation workers, sewer workers, butchers, and other 'unclean' professions
Lowest caste. Even to allow their clothing to touch you is to be profaned. They cannot walk across the path of a noble, or meet their eyes.

Chapter 81:

He turned back to Rel. "If a handler-of-the-dead touches me, while living, I must have his or her hand removed, do you understand? Then I must undergo two days of purifications, overseen by members of the priest caste."

Slaves
Can be born into slavery. Sold into it by families to cover debts. Forced into it by courts as judicial punishment. Or captured and forced into it by a raider. Once someone is a slave, they can never be anything else.

In order to be considered a worthwhile member of society, even a member of the filth-castes must own at least one slave.

Slaves currently comprise over 50% of batarian society, and that number is only growing.

Anyone can touch a slave. Anyone can sleep with a slave. Anyone can own a slave. Beat a slave. Kill a slave. Slaves have no rights, but they also have, in a sense, fewer restrictions than other parts of society, in an odd, backwards way.

All of these castes have incredibly elaborate sub-castes.

Dictionary

bacca — Batarian pool or billiards. Played with three different sizes of balls. While it doesn’t involve a cue, it does involve bouncing one ball off another in careful geometric patterns to get one ball or another to fall into a hole. The balls are of three different sizes, to add to the complexity. The cudo arelarge, or the size of a Terran grapefruit. The mesal are medium, the size of a Terran apple, and the tinal are small, the size of a Terran golf ball.
fezan — type of bird, generally only permitted to the noble-caste table
jahoda — berries, tiny dots of red, half the size a fingernail.
Ka’lai — Fish known for its caviar
Nitula — ritual oil used for purification. Only those merchant caste and above may use it.
peldo — vegatable akin to an artichoke, eaten for its heart
rua'lodak — Breaker of caste-bonds. It's about the worst insult for a batarian. It's what you call someone who makes bodily contact with an 'unclean' caste …or fucks someone outside of their own caste.
ru'udal — the quintessential batarian board game, in which you can bargain to buy the other person's pieces, trade them pieces for more advantageous positions on the board, sneak attack and steal the other player's pieces, and so on. It's considered a test of intelligence, accumen, and personal ability to bluff, and can be played in two, three, and four-player battles. Alliances are cemented and broken repeatedly in the three- and four-person variants.
ur’rak — a large bird on Khar’sharn, half predator, half carrion-feeder, with a wingspan of over twenty feet and a beak that can exert over a thousand pounds of pressure per square inch, and flense the flesh off of bones, regardless of whether or not the prey was alive or dead.



Historical views

Chapter 81:

Valak shook his head. "Why would anyone in Council space know, or even care? A few asari came and studied us like primitives when we first made contact… almost seven hundred years before your species did, my turian friend, while your kind was still beating each other to death in your Unification Wars, I believe… while the asari and the salarians were using the krogan to kill the rachni, there we were. Of no interest to anyone, because we weren't as strong as the krogan, or as 'smart' as the salarians, or as … culturally refined… as the asari. Then the krogan rebelled, and the Council used you to put them back in their place. And the rest of the galaxy walked very, very carefully for another thousand years or so. And do you know what my people were told?" Valak paused. "'You're inferior. You have to change. Get rid of the systems that have taken you to the stars. Be like us.' That's what the asari said. 'Or, if you can't be like us, immortal and beautiful and unapproachable, at least be like them. Be as obedient as a turian for us, and we'll let you stay a part of our happy little family.'"

Valak sighed and sat down. "Or, at least, that's what my people heard."

Rel paused, wondering if he should even say anything at this point. "It's… .one view of history," he managed, noncommittally.

"I know. A biased one, certainly, but this is how my people, even the most educated, think, my turian friend." Valak poked at the gravel under their feet with his walking stick. "And then the humans arrived on the scene. Even more primitive than we were. We'd at least been on the galactic scene for over two thousand years… barely tolerated, perhaps, but there… and here come the humans. Strong enough to get the attention of the damned Turian Hierarchy. Allowed—unleashed, you might say—into the Terminus Systems, where batarians had been grudgingly permitted to expand before, almost unchecked. The Council stepped up its antislavery rhetoric, the Hegemony felt threatened. A new attack varren species. First the krogan, then the turians, then the humans. All unleashed on whoever the asari currently didn't like." He spread his hands. "That's the historical perspective. The result is…cultural and economic isolation. Stagnation. Fear and paranoia and rigidity. The caste system is another source of stagnation. What happens in a generation when every person of the teacher caste is a dunce? No inventions or innovations of our own in fifteen hundred years, my turian friend." Valak sighed.

Government


Military

Military Classes:

Class: Warrior Caste
Weapons: Assault rifles, Sniper rifles, Pistol, Shotgun, Heavy weapons
Abilities:
Incendiary rounds
Adrenaline rush
Tough Bastards: With twice as many hit points as the average batarian raider, warrior caste soldiers have been bred for war and have been trained for it since birth. They live for it, they breathe it, they die for it.
Shield Wall: When three or more warrior castes are found together, they can link their kinetic shields and advance as one. When one shield goes down, the other two remain as a thin barrier across all. When the second goes down, the last remains as a tattered fragment of protection for all three men.

Class: Biotic Controller (SIU tech)
Weapons: Pistol, Sniper rifle
Abilities:
Neural shock
Overload
AI hacking
Controllers. Use chips to control biotic ‘ship-to-ship’ weapons. Can also use this to control one lobotomized asari at a time for either a throw or a reave attempt.

Class: SIU infiltrator
Weapons: Pistol, Sniper rifle
Abilities:
Stealth
Shadow strike
Overload
Flashblangs

Class: SIU guard
Weapons: Pistol, assault rifle
Abilities:
Heavy armor
Overload
Hacking
Heavy armor
Heavy shielding

Class: Slaver
Weapons: Pistol, Shotgun
Abilities:
Ambush: Slavers use nets and traps to their advantage, and it takes a skilled eye to avoid their traps.
Stasis gun: Based on Seeker Swarm technology, each slaver carries a stasis gun that puts victims in a 5’ radius into a frozen state, muscles locked in paralysis, for up to fifteen minutes.
Shackles


Notable People

Valak N'dor
Xal'i B'gaz; Valak's sister
Arvak R'mod; Xal'i's husband; high ranked SIU member in Operations.
Nala S'har — healer-caste, and now Valak's wife
Tuldur
Isaav Malsur, Head of SIU Investigations Division
Alisav K'sar
Chas’na V’sol, leader of the Klem Na, originally a slaving and raiding group who had the fortune to fall in with the Lystheni; they have largely been absorbed by SIU, although they are trying to hold onto power by not turning over everything that the Lystheni give them to SIU. V'sol has the ear of the Hegemon, something unprecedented for a slaver… but V'sol also has all the technology that he's managed to extort from the Lystheni dalatrass so far to back him up.

Radem Y'mov (batarian warrior-caste) — de facto leader of Valak's freed warriors.

Dr. Yilar M'nav, the batarian Dempsey captured on Terra Nova; possibly the first batarian to speak the primary yahg language.


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