The Mabrae were a warp-capable mammalian humanoid species originally from the planet Taredin, notable for grafting plants onto their own bodies, not only as covering but also adapted for different functions, such as labor or security. The Mabrae evolved on a homeworld at the far edge of its star’s habitable zone. Adapting to their cold environment, the plant and sentient humanoid species naturally evolved a symbiosis. Both parties benefited from shared warmth and the plants burrowed microscopic roots into the animal body to share in its nutrients. As the Mabrae advanced technologically, they developed bioengineering to perfect the symbiosis. Their culture also practiced an extremely “green” lifestyle in harmony with nature.
The Mabrae considered other humanoids barbaric for not existing symbiotically with the flora of their worlds. The Mabrae assisted Jean-Luc Picard and his research team on their archeological expedition. Mabrae colonists, such as the ones on the colony planet Tanebor, required their epiphytes (botanical grafts) to be replaced with compatible ones from the site planet of colonization. Although warp-capable, the Mabrae lagged behind the Federation technologically by about 150 years (the ship that met Picard's expedition was large and well-armed, but technologically equivalent to the Federation in the year 2200). They defined themselves by their symbiotic relationship with the flora of their homeworld and colonies, and were alienated by "naked, hairy" humanoids draped in "dead cloth." Their symbiosis connected them to the soil, a near-sacred connection.
The Mabrae were either a caste society, or individual Mabrae were capable of changing jobs by changing their epiphytes, the functional plant-like growths on their bodies. For example, their military caste had bark-like armor, whereas a woman, Coray, who was probably an intelligence agent, carried venom within her buds. Whether individual Mabrae are capable of or allowed to move across this social system (for example, a retired soldier become a laborer) is unknown, but the Mabrae, in their interactions with the Federation, did not appear to practice any form of caste discrimination, suggesting an egalitarianism system rather than a hierarchy of castes. (TNG novel: The Buried Age)
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