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Branchers, sometimes called Crystalline Entities, are a race of Cosmozoan, crystalline lifeforms. The most well-known Brancher is known only as the Crystalline Entity, which is infamous for destroying multiple Federation colonies. The USS Enterprise-D made first contact with the Branchers in 2364 when they encountered the Crystalline Entity, who was working with Lore to devour the humanoids aboard Enterprise. (TNG episode: "Datalore"; TTN novel: Orion's Hounds)
The USS Titan encountered more Branchers in the early 2380s. They learned more about the creatures, including their name. The name 'Brancher' was given to them by the Pa'haquel, who live in a region of active star formation in which many cosmozoans, including the Branchers, inhabit. Generally the Pa'Haquel use their skymounts to destroy the branchers, to keep them from annihilating inhabited worlds, but due to negotiation with Titan's crew and the Star Jellies, the Pa'Haquel became herders of the Branchers, using graviton beams copied from Starfleet technology.(TTN novel: Orion's Hounds)
In 2409, another Brancher entered Federation space and engaged a fleet of Federation starships. This Brancher was capable of launching shards off of itself which were individually capable of engaging a starship. Additionally, if the shards shattered, each of the original pieces would return to the main entity and heal it. (STO mission: "Crystalline Catastrophe")