Despite several disagreements with the Citadel and simmering hostility toward humans, most batarians prefer profitable pursuits such as drug running and slave grabs to out-and-out warfare. They have a reputation for being shrewd businessmen and merchants, though in more lawless regions of the galaxy like Omega, negotiations with a batarian are likely to be conducted at gunpoint.
Batarians are an anthropoidal race like humans and asari. Their faces are covered with short, fine hairs that grow longer and thicker around the mouth. A flat stripe of ridged cartilage runs along the tops of their skulls and down the backs of their necks. They have ears pointy at the upper end, though on occasion along the edges as well. The part of their faces commonly associated with the nose among humans and asari is instead an inverted flat triangle symmetrically ridged vertically.
Their most distinctive physical feature is their four eyes, an uncommon trait among other races. One pair is set wide in prominent bony sockets protruding from the corners of their face. The second set of eyes is smaller and closer together, set higher on the face, just beneath the middle of the forehead. The eyes are uniformly dark orbs, with no discernible irises or pupils.
Batarians exhibit a wide range of skin tones and colors. Most batarians encountered by Shepard have a dark brown hue with pale facial ridges. General batarian complexions include reddish-brown, greenish, yellow-greenish to yellow-brownish, light brown, and teal.
Some batarians possess striped colorations on their heads. Observed patterns include multiple chin stripes, a single strip running from the lower lip, or a thin dagger of color above the nose. These patterns are usually colored blue, black, or red, while the nose pattern is invariably red. At least one, Balak, has what appears to be a black and yellow striped pigmentation at the temples with light green facial ridges.
Batarian blood has been observed to be red.
Before the Reaper WarEdit
When the batarians achieved spaceflight, they discovered concealed Prothean ruins on Bira, a moon of Verush, that allowed them to develop FTL travel. It is a batarian point of pride that, since the ruins were damaged by earthquakes, they had less information to go on than other spacefaring races. The Citadel Council granted the batarians an embassy on the Citadel sometime after the volus did, approximately a century after the batarians and Council had made first contact.
Despite being welcomed into the galactic community, batarian aggression provoked several crises in galactic relations over the years. Sometime around 1785 CE, a batarian fleet bombarded the salarian colony world of Mannovai; in 1913, the Batarian Hegemony annexed the independent asari colony of Esan; and in 2115, Citadel forces skirmished with batarian forces on the planet Enael.
In the early 2160s, humans began to colonize the Skyllian Verge, a region the batarians were already actively settling. The batarians asked the Citadel Council to intervene and declare the Verge an area of "batarian interest". When the Council refused, the batarians closed their Citadel embassy and severed diplomatic and economic relations, becoming an inward-looking rogue state.
Money and weapons funneled from the batarian government to criminal organizations led to many brutal raids on human colonies in the Verge, such as Mindoir, culminating in the Skyllian Blitz of 2176, an attack on the human capital of Elysium by batarian-funded pirates and slavers. In 2178, the Alliance retaliated with a crushing assault on the moon of Torfan, long used as a staging base by batarian-backed criminals. In the aftermath, the batarians retreated into their own systems, and are now rarely seen in Citadel space.
In 2183, batarian extremists hijack Asteroid X57 and using it to attack the human colony of Terra Nova. Originally intending to just snatch X57's human engineers and take them as slaves, the batarians brutally executed them and decided to use the asteroid as a weapon. Balak, the ringleader, claimed this was the will of the "batarian rebellion", and revenge for human activities in the Traverse. However, some of his underlings, including Balak's second-in-command Charn, did not want to commit this act, having initially signed up thinking it would be just another slave raid. The attempted asteroid drop, which would have destroyed Terra Nova and killed millions of people, was thwarted the Shepards.
As the batarian ambassador Jath'Amon attempts to negotiate a peace treaty between the batarians and the Citadel Council, batarian terrorists try to stop the meeting by unleashing a biological weapon. Fortunately for the Council, the terrorists, secretly led by Jath'Amon himself, are defeated by Jacob Taylor before they have a chance to use the weapon. Batarians are commonly found on the Omega station, as mercenaries as well as civilians. In 2185, a mad batarian preacher found in the markets claims that humanity is a blight on the galaxy and will cause its downfall. A batarian bartender in Afterlife's lower level is also known for poisoning humans. When a mysterious plague ravages the station's Gozu District, many batarians perish before the cure is distributed through Commander Shepard's efforts. A batarian whom the Commander meets initially believes that because humans are immune to it, they created it; if he is given aid he expresses surprise that "human nobility" exists, but is thankful.
At one point, batarian terrorists attempt to destroy the human colony on Watson by raiding an Alliance missile base and launching two Javelin missiles. Unable to stop both missiles, Commander Shepard is forced to choose between sparing the colonists or the colony's industrial infrastructure.
A rescue attempt of an Alliance scientist taken prisoner by batarian forces results in the total destruction of the batarian-controlled Bahak system and the deaths of its over 300,000 inhabitants after the system's mass relay is destroyed. The Batarian Hegemony believes that the destruction of their system is a terrorist attack undertaken by Systems Alliance agents. Tensions between the Hegemony and the Alliance rise sharply, with the batarians speculated to be willing to go to war.
During the Reaper WarEdit
After the Alpha Relay was destroyed, the Reapers entered the galaxy through the Vular system, near the heart of batarian space, and quickly advanced on Khar'shan. Following the failure of the terrorist attack on Terra Nova instigated by Balak in 2183, the Hegemony had accelerated the study of the Leviathan of Dis, a billion-year old Reaper corpse, seeking to reclaim the batarians' place in the galaxy. This allowed the Leviathan to indoctrinate the science team and prominent batarian officials. When the Reapers invaded in 2186, the indoctrinated officials sabotaged Hegemony defenses, allowing the Reapers to easily conquer batarian systems and crush their navy. As with most races suitable for combat integration, the Reapers converted captured batarians into Cannibals and dispatched them to numerous battlefields across the galaxy. Those that managed to get away found themselves refugees on alien territory, with some even taking refuge in the Citadel itself.
Surviving soldiers of the former Batarian Hegemony are one of several groups involved in the war effort against the Reaper invasion. According to one Alliance news report, however, their participation in the fight, though appreciated, has not yet earned them the full trust and respect of Alliance soldiers.
During the First Multiverse WarEdit
Coalition of Independent StatesEdit
Alliance of NationsEdit
End of the First Multiverse WarEdit
Aftermath of the First Multiverse WarEdit
During the Second Multiverse WarEdit
Coalition Civil WarEdit
Hegomony of Independent StatesEdit
End of the Second Multiverse WarEdit
Aftermath of the Second Multiverse WarEdit
During the Infection WarEdit
After the Infection WarEdit
The Multiversial FederationEdit
During the Nationalist WarsEdit
After the Nationalist WarsEdit
During the Third Multiverse WarEdit
Downfall of the TransRace EmpireEdit
End of the Third Multiverse WarEdit
Batarians place an extremely high value on social caste and appearance, and overstepping one's place is frowned upon. Casting aspersions on the monetary worth of a social better is considered a serious insult. Batarians strongly believe that species with fewer than four eyes are less intelligent; they often gain the upper hand in interspecies arguments because other races find it difficult to know which eyes to focus on when speaking to them.
Slavery is an integral part of the batarian caste system, despite being illegal according to Council law. The custom is so deeply ingrained in batarian culture that batarians consider the Council's anti-slavery standing to be prejudicial. Rogue batarian slave rings are feared throughout the galaxy, especially among colonists on remote worlds, which are often raided by batarian slavers. Victims of such raids are usually implanted with control devices in their skulls, a painful operation since the slavers rarely make use of anesthetic; Talitha, abducted from Mindoir, was a victim of this practice. The batarians are also known to enslave addicts of the biotic drug red sand when they can no longer afford to support their habit.
Body language is an important part of batarian society. For example, tilting one's head to the left is a sign of admiration and respect. When a batarian tilts their head to the right, however, it is a sign that they consider themselves to be superior to the person whom the gesture was directed towards. Therefore, this gesture can easily be interpreted as an insult by batarians due to the high value that they place on social caste.
Little is known about batarian religious beliefs. Mordin Solus has noted that batarians do believe in an afterlife. When a batarian dies, his soul leaves the body through the eyes. Treatment of the corpse is considered unimportant, unless the batarian's eyes have been removed by an enemy.
In 2186, a batarian preacher asks Commander Shepard to recover the Pillars of Strength scroll so that he can guide his followers through hard times. It suggests that the batarians' religious beliefs are based on words from sacred texts, similar to some human religions such as Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam.