The Boraalans were studied for a number of years by the Federation. Dr. Nikolai Rozhenko was assigned to the cultural observation post on the planet some years prior to 2370. He was the only observer present by 2370, and broke the Prime Directive by becoming much more involved with the Boraalans than necessary. He conceived a child with a Boraalan female, Dobara, and became very protective of the Boraalans in her village.
In 2370, Boraal II fell victim to a rapid atmospheric dissipation. Major storms hit the planet several days before the atmosphere was finally destroyed, and Rozhenko led Dobara and the villagers into a cave to seek refuge after transmitting a distress call. The USS Enterprise-D responded to the distress call and Rozhenko pleaded with Captain Picard to save the small group of Boraalans. He felt it would be irrational to let the culture die and that the Prime Directive did not apply in this situation; not known at the time was the fact that Dobara was pregnant with his child, which served as a further motivation. Picard disagreed and did not permit the Boraalans to be brought aboard.
Shortly thereafter, the Enterprise witnessed the complete destruction of all life on Boraal II. However, Rozhenko used the systems interference from the atmospheric dissipation to transport a group of the Boraalans to the holodeck, recreating the caves in which they had sought refuge. Picard was infuriated at Rozhenko's gross violation of the Prime Directive, but he now had no choice but to find a new home for the Boraalans. He assigned Dr. Beverly Crusher and Commander Data to the task of finding a new planet for the group.
They chose the isolated world of Vacca VI. While Rozhenko and Lieutenant Worf guided the Boraalans out of the simulated caves and to a simulated surface, Commander Geordi La Forge was able to gradually adjust the scenery to more resemble Vacca VI. Once the transformation was complete and the Enterprise reached Vacca VI, the Boraalans were transported to the surface, where they began to establish a new village. Rozhenko stayed behind with the Boraalans. All but one of the Boraalans were unaware of the move.
The move was somewhat complicated by systems disruptions as a result of damage to the holodeck suffered during the atmospheric dissipation. There were several near-failures of the hologrid which almost caused the plan to fail and the Boraalans to discover the truth. The first time they were seen, Worf improvised by calling the hologrid appearances "the sign of La Forge", a sign of good luck, as a subtle way to vocally inform La Forge that there was a problem. One failure revealed the holodeck arch to Vorin, the village chronicle. He wandered out into the Enterprise corridor and discovered the truth about the starship. Picard allowed Vorin to choose whether or not he wanted to return to the villagers on the holodeck, placing the plan in jeopardy if Vorin decided to rejoin the Boraalans and tell them the truth of the situation. Vorin eventually committed suicide since he decided he could not return to his people nor live in the advanced world of the Enterprise.
The Boraalans were at the technological level of Earth's medieval period. Paternalism was evident; fathers were allowed to choose the mates of their daughters.
Ritual suicide was a part of Boraalan culture. It is unclear as to what circumstances suicide was permitted, although in the one case observed the individual committed suicide due to an overwhelming and difficult decision he needed to make.
Boraalans kept a record of their history on scrolls, called the village chronicles. The chronicles were sacred and important to the village history, and were meticulously detailed by a chosen individual. Dr. Rozhenko gave the old scrolls of his village to Worf as a parting gift after the Boraalans had been relocated to Vacca VI, stating that the village would need to start a new set of chronicles.
Seers gave spiritual guidance to the Boraalan people. They were well versed in myths and legends, and were trusted to provide strength and wisdom. The seer of the Boraalan village rescued in 2370 was killed shortly before the group took refuge. Worf played the part of a seer from another village during the move of the Boraalans. This role allowed him to gain the trust of the Boraalans in order to have them make the journey along the holodeck terrain, as well as explain the various malfunctions and problems afflicting the holodeck.
Anatomy and physiology
Boraalans were similar in anatomy to Humans, with both male and female genders as well as persons of various different skin colors and physiognomic traits living in the same area. The major differences were centered in their cranial region. The Boraalans had a ridge along their nose and lower forehead. They were capable of reproducing with Humans without any medical assistance.
The Boraalans were best adapted to living in temperate zones, although it was assumed that they could survive in a less hospitable location as well.
Their neuro-physiology was complex, and as of 2370 Federation medical science was unable to perform a memory wipe on them.
- The episode's script describes the Boraalans as being "similar in development to Arabs of the late Middle Ages -- they'd be able to build and use a telescope or a sextant, but they might also believe in magic." .