A Humanoid species, native to the planet Grazer. As their name would suggest, they are strictly herbivorous, and descended from herding ungulates. Strongly pacifistic and disturbed by the concept of violence, they are members of the United Federation of Planets and noted as peacemakers within its halls of power.
Grazerites vary widely in size, but are often bulkier than a Human of comparative height, a result of their herbivorous ancestry and the associated heavy gut. Grazerite facial features include a pronounced, deeply furrowed brow and a bovine snout, again reinforcing their ungulate nature. There are four nostrils, two in the centre of the face and one on the jaw above each cheek. The extra nostrils allow the Grazerite to breathe while the snout is buried in foliage. The muscular lips tear off plant material with ease; the food is then transferred to the cheek pouches for extensive chewing. From there, it makes its way to the first stomach chamber. Meals pass through three distinct chambers before finally moving to the intestines, and as with Terran cows, Grazerites ruminate after feeding. This is often a communal activity.
Grazerite eyes are deep-set and the brow protected by a bony ridge. The skin is tough and leathery, stronger than that of Humans, and is covered with a layer of fine, downy fur. This fur is usually amber in colour, but white, beige, and black Grazerites exist, as do piebald or mottled ones. The fur on the scalp is thicker than elsewhere on the body, as is the case in Humans. Framing this hair are two slightly curving bone horns, which may reach ten centimetres in length. Traditional fashion calls for a tight-fitting cloth cowl to cover the horns; in the pre-sapient ancestors of modern Grazerites, they were used in dominance struggles over mates, and thus serve as an unpleasant reminder of nature’s inherent violence. Given modern Grazerite pacifism, exposed horns are considered unseemly, even borderline threatening.
The Grazerite equivalent of a shrug is vocal, not visual, a noise described by Humans as resembling a plasma leak.
The stereotypical Grazerite is cautious yet optimistic, placidly confident with high self-esteem. Grazerites make few snap decisions, being thoughtful and contemplative by nature. They are hard to anger, and seldom show it openly even if furious. They prefer consensus to conflict, and are distressed by others’ unhappiness. Extremely patient and highly resistant to boredom, Grazerites excel at tasks requiring a long attention span and close detail work. They also enjoy talking, sharing their thoughts and feelings, particularly as agreement comes easily to them. Grazerite debates, such as they are, resemble long-winded rodomontades in which each speaker agrees with the last, slightly restating and refining the previous arguments. Most Grazerites can while away endless hours in this fashion, never getting bored, solemnly agreeing with each other while jointly ambling toward a consensus. Their self-image as scintillating conversationalists is not shared by other species, but they prosper in Federation governmental circles. Despite their deep-rooted pacifism, they are also reasonably well-represented within the Starfleet. Most serving Grazerites are tempted to specialize in engineering, although many also become science officers (specializing in life science or planetology), medics, or even security guards. Some even seek leadership roles; A Grazerite female served as commander of Starbase G-6 in 2360.
The basic social unit among Grazerites is the upsol, a conglomeration of anywhere from a hundred to five hundred individuals who work, relax, eat, and ruminate together. They are often related to one another by blood, but upsols consisting entirely of unrelated individuals also exist, and behave no differently from their more common counterparts. Grazerite life centres on the group, not the individual; privacy, for example, is a concept unknown to them except as a topic in one of Grazer’s prestigious Outworld Cooperation Symposia (the equivalent of academies for Grazerite diplomats, starship crews, and scientists). The upsol plays the primary role in raising, tutoring, and sheltering Grazerite children. Although Grazerites usually retain some affection for their blood parents, and place importance on sibling bonds, all adult members of the upsol share equally in child-raising duties. Herds of adults carefully shelter the young from even the minimal dangers of Grazer, and shower them with love, food, and affection. Grazerites typically grow up emotionally secure, and certain of the benign nature of the universe.
With the birth of their first child, Grazerite parents attain full citizenship, and can participate in their own upsol’s deliberations, as well as in planet Grazer’s consensus democracy. As with all important occasions, a communal ritual involving the entire upsol marks the event of First-Birth. Grazerites mate for life, and siblings tend to remain close as well, although as noted the parent-child bond is weaker than in most races. It should also be noted that Grazerites adapted to life in the wider galaxy are often considerably more individualistic overall, yet also likely to retain closer family ties. This is likely a result of their imitating the aliens among which they live, and also compensating for the absence of a full upsol by forming a tighter nuclear unit. Those whose only observation of Grazerite families takes place among migrant populations may be surprised to discover how different their typical social structure actually is.
Uncomfortable around bloody corpses due to their strict herbivorous diet and evolutionary history as prey animals, Grazerites dispose of their dead cleanly. In the modern era, a transporter is used to disintegrate the body without mess or fuss. One of the major Grazerite cultures is semtir, the funerary customs of which call for the body to be destroyed in front of a gathering of friends and family, typically the entire upsol. The body is placed atop a pallet on a stage, with no other ornamentation permitted. The kelmek - the word translates as “death-helper”- then gives an official signal and the transporter is activated, scattering the body’s molecules to the winds. Following this, those who wish may give a memorial speech in honour of the deceased.
Grazerite art makes much use of circular or ovoid shapes; in the Grazerite psyche, these are suggestive of the all-encompassing nature of the upsol community and the security it represents. The Grazerite planetary insignia is derived from an ancient symbol representing the “Great Upsol”, or global family. The brown “leaves” are suggestive of a common food crop grown by communities across the world.
Grazerites have a single name that actually consists of two names joined together. A hyphen signifies the division between crèche-name, which comes first and is shared by siblings, and the individual name. Grazerite individuals include:
In sharp contrast to most species, the Grazerites have no claim to a dramatic, turbulent history characterized by war and conflict. They hide no shameful dark period that nearly threatened them with extinction, nor have they experienced any cataclysmic setbacks. Instead, their history is a placid, uneventful tale of slow, steady, and reasonable progress, uninterrupted by war, disease, or oppression. The only major trauma in their past is a large famine caused by freak climatic upheavals around three thousand years ago. It was agricultural pressures that thus motivated their technological development and global expansion, in contrast to the warfare on most worlds. All of the great developments in Grazerite history arose from carefully developed, reasonable ideologies, almost always in relation to agricultural efficiency. Furthermore, any new approach was implemented only after long years of cautious contemplation. When Grazerites first reached into space - having found evidence of extensive plant life on other worlds - they were shocked to encounter races with far more turbulent histories.
The Grazerites formally joined the Federation in 2305, and have been steadfast if rather unexciting members ever since. In the late 24th century, Jaresh-Inyo represented the Grazerite people on the Federation Council, before being elected Federation President in 2368. His successor as councillor was Severn-Anyar.