Externally, Arbazan (ARR-buh-zahn) are standard Humanoids. Their forehead features several graceful struts and ridges, but these are rarely pronounced. The brow is ridged and the eyebrows delicate; the skin above the eye is typically dyed in females.
Internally, Arbazan differ from Humans in several ways. Notably, their heart has six valves and their lungs are divided into four pockets. Arbazan are omnivores, like Humans. Fruit plays a particularly large part in their diet.
Arbazan have one of the most complex, intertwined and confusing systems of government in the Federation. It’s also one of the largest, employing over 5 million people (largely older women). It’s often commented that if red tape could be considered a religion, it would be theirs. As it is, they’ve never been a particularly theistic species. Their moral dogma is just as powerful as any religion, though.
Arbazan males below the age of 20 normally wear a hood-like cap. Upon bonding with a female they cease wearing the cap and display their hair. This was kept long prior to bonding but is now cut short. Conversely, females keep their hair short until bonding, and then allow it grow upon finding a mate. The tradition demonstrates that the Arbazan in question has “grown into” their adult gender, being grounded in masculine or feminine roles through commitment to a partner, who now embodies their “other half”. Like most humanoids, Arbazan developed a sexual division of labour whereby males worked in the public sphere and females the private. Short hair on adult men was therefore practical, and symbolic of their status in the workforce; female’s lengthier hair was equally symbolic of status in the home, if less practical. The Arbazan culture believed each person was spiritually affiliated with both men and women; only upon mating would they truly “settle” into their actual sex, because their partner would then embody the “excess”. Thus, in traditional communities, adolescents, while identified as male or female, aren’t considered fully masculine or feminine, and wear their hair in the “opposite” manner. In modern times, sexual division of labour is not so pronounced; hence the hair styles no longer have practically symbolic purpose. Nevertheless, the conservative Arbazan mindset keeps the custom prominent in most communities. For an adolescent male to cut his hair or a young female to grow it is considered presumptuous. Arbazan marriage (simply “the bonding”) takes place upon full physical maturity. While as noted there are now exceptions, the larger communities tend to retain traditional gender roles, thus the following is true for a sizable majority: Usually semi-arranged, the marriage doubles as a workforce initiation rite, as the male takes his place in the career he’s trained for. The female typically begins work on a dwelling; exteriors are built by local men, but inside decoration is the woman’s role. Most Arbazan women spend several decades in the home raising children. The father is heavily involved, but spends most of the day working outside the home. Once the offspring are grown, females typically move into administration or diplomatic posts, their experience raising a family considered conductive to successful politics. Males usually remain in the workplace, but begin to “step back” from active leadership or practical labour, taking on advisory roles to the next generation.
Females in government or politics wear attractive garments of red, pink, orange or mauve; all colours associated with moral propriety. These are often decorated with semi-precious stones and beads, as noted on the dress of Ambassador Taxco. Jewellery is also worn, including necklaces, and earrings of various designs.
They have a small token military, more a glorified police force. It maintains the peace and ensures the safety of transports and freighters travelling through Arbazan space. Otherwise they rely on Starfleet for protection.
“The Arbazan are a strict and morally just people. They are much like ourselves. But they’re far too arrogant”
- A Romulan observer.
“The Arbazan would make a fine addition to our logistics department. But they won’t adjust quickly to our rule - they’re too outspoken, and wouldn’t easily be subdued”.
- Dominion Intelligence Report.
In 2369, the Arbazan sent Ambassador Taxco on a fact finding mission to the newly discovered Bajoran Wormhole. Both on the voyage to Deep Space Nine and once she got there, Taxco demanded larger quarters than the standard guest size. Doctor Julian Bashir, assigned to “chaperone” the delegates, was unable to grant her request. All guest quarters on Deep Space Nine were identical, and those crew quarters larger than this were full. Taxco wasn’t deterred; in her opinion, Bashir himself should have given up his quarters to house her.