Memory Delta Wiki
For the mirror universe counterpart, see Orion (mirror).
A Orion female.
Planet of origin: Orion,
Botchok or Kolar
Affiliation: Orion Colonies
Classification: humanoid
Environmental requirements: Class M conditions
Sexes: Male, Female
Blood Coloration: green or orange
Distinctive Features:
green skin, pheromones
An Orion male
"Empires may come and go, but Orion gold is eternal." — Orion proverb

The Orions, also called Green Orions were a race from the Beta Quadrant famous for their involvement in many criminal endeavors: piracy, slavery, and the Orion Syndicate. They primarily inhabited the Orion Colonies.

The Orion homeworld is variously stated to be either Rigel VIII (Botchok), Rigel VII (Kolar), a world in the Pi-3 Orionis system, Vondem (in the Kelvin timeline), or more generally, the planet "Orion."

In their own language, they were referred to as Ur'eon or Kolari. The name "Orion" was derived from the Orion constellation.

The Orions had a number of sub-races, including the Green Orions (covered here), the Ruddy Orions, the Grey Orions, the rare halfbreeds, and muni, or 'blends', consisting of other colors and races. They absorbed a number of other races into their culture, also known as Orion but of limited numbers or presence. These absorbed races might include the Etoshans and Duthulhiv, a gray-skinned reptilian variety and a slimy purple variety.


The following information is either specific to Green Orions, or assumed to be without evidence otherwise. However, with different subraces and gender differences, and various contradictions, some of the following information could apply to one or another of the subraces, or be specific to a gender. Some information, such as the height and weight measurements, also comes from different, contradictory sources.

Orions were humanoids that possessed the same size and build of an average Human, though they could range from slightly smaller to somewhat taller and more massive, or more slender. Average heights ranged from 1.8 to 2 meters, with average mass ranging from 75 to 80 kilograms. Males averaged at 1.7 meters and 70 kilograms, while females averaged at 1.5 meters and 60 kilograms.

Their external physical characteristics were close to those of humans, though their features tended towards aquiline noses and sharp chins. However, Orion physiology and copper-based blood chemistry were more similar to that of a Vulcan, with skin tones ranging from emerald to dark olive greens, due to both their copper blood and the chlorophyll in their skin cells. This green skin darkened in strong sunlight. They could have either green blood, or orange blood.

Black was the most common eye-color, followed by lighter shades of green. Some Orions (called "erratics") had very different eye colors: blue, brown, gold, yellow, even pink and silver. Orion women could have very distinctive bright blue eyes. Ocular compounds to treat vision disorders, such as Retinax V did not work well on Orions.

Some Orions tended to be hairy, with body hair common among both men and women, which was seen as a mark of distinction, though baldness in older men was not uncommon. Generally, they had thick black hair with metallic green highlights. Hair was generally black or chestnut brown. However, a great many Orions were seen to be practically hairless, with even young men bald and lacking body hair. In old age, they developed white hair.

The Orions evolved under a blue-white sun with a similar spectrography to Rigel, with that system possibly being their home system. Thanks to their chlorophyll, their green-pigmented skin absorbed ultraviolet radiation, keeping them relatively immune to its harmful effects and somewhat resistant to radiation in general. They were possibly naturalized stabilized against radiation, in the manner of a radiation stabilizer.

They were also physically stronger than most other humanoid races (save Vulcans), though their musculature and powerful builds may have been due in part to a life of manual labor. They also had increased endurance. Though highly charismatic, they had reduced intelligence and capacity for psionics.

They had metabolic ratios quite different from that of a human[19] and a 10 degree difference in body temperature[14] (whether higher or lower is not clear), and Orion gourmands tended toward obesity, with no member of the species enjoying the concept of being underweight.

They lived about 90 standard years, with the effects of old age setting in after 60.

A pancreas was once successful transplanted between an Orion and an African Cape buffalo.

Orions, or the women at least, needed a number of short sleeps, instead of one long one.


Orions tended to smell, not due to lack of hygiene as some believed, but due to their natural skin oils. Distinctive, though not unpleasant, the scent was unnoticeable after a few minutes of exposure. However, it was heavily laden with pheromones that affected the subconscious of most humanoid races. The effect was soothing, and ten minutes in a sizable group of Orions drained tension. Orions found it hard to stay angry in a group, but a strong emotion, such as rage, fear or desire, altered the scent, and though it did not compel others, it did make them susceptible to that particular mood. Unless a humanoid was aware of this, they could find their emotions subtly altered. It was hazardous to be among a group of angry, frightened or panicky Orions, as their mood was literally contagious.

Orion females also produced large amounts of a powerful chemical pheromone that generally acted like a love potion. It had a range of effects on different species and sexes. In a Human male (and likely in males of most humanoid races, including Orions), it accelerated the metabolism and increased adrenaline levels, inducing aggression and delusion, and generally making him highly suggestible to the Orion woman who produced it. In this way, they became enthralled to the Orion woman. Human females, on the other hand, suffered a different, more negative effect, experiencing headaches and lethargy. Denobulan males experienced interrupted sleep cycles and extreme tiredness while Vulcan women were immune to any effects. Human males that were telepathically linked to a female Vulcan could also become immune to the pheromone. A Klingon male could experience a pheromonal shock due to the rush of hormones; allegedly, this could potentially be deadly for a young male. This made Klingons especially susceptible to an Orion woman's influence.

The effects of the pheromones were cumulative, such that a longer or more intense exposure resulted in more pronounced symptoms. Doctor Phlox postulated in 2154 that the pheromones acted as a defensive mechanism against competition.

Orion males apparently had similar pheromones to their women, though they were much less pronounced.

Orion women[]

Leata, an Orion woman

Orion women were famously irresistibly sexually attractive, and though some of this reputation may have derived from marketing hype by dealers in Orion slave girls, most Orion women were considered beautiful and charming seducers. They were known for their extreme "appetites" and very few men were known to be able to resist their approaches. They had a heat cycle that drove their mating instincts, which increased when they were 'in heat'.

Orion women had long, sharp nails, almost like claws, which they could use as weapons. They also had a much greater physical dexterity than Orion men.

There was thought to be a subcaste of the Orion race that possessed animalistic qualities, giving rise to the legend of the "Orion animal woman". They were claimed to be less intelligent and behaved in a semi-animalistic fashion. It was unknown if these traits indicated a subspecies or a genetic alteration or were simply a myth based on their legendary sexual appetites, violence and savage Orion behavior. It may have derived simply from a lack of educational opportunities.

Orion pharmacologists developed a pheromonal treatment that vastly increased the user's sexual appeal at the risk of some degradation of the superego and other higher brain functions (resulting in, for example, animalistic impatience, blood-lust, reduced intelligence, inability to concentrate, a vulnerability to psychic assault, or a decreased will). This only worked on Orions. It might have been the origin of the myth of the Orion animal woman, or it might been developed to fulfill the myth and satisfy the resulting market.

Each source introduces the Orion animal woman then suggests a different means by which it is likely to be a myth. Thus, they probably don't exist. Decipher's mirror universe Orions keep an animalistic sub-caste however. It also unknown to what extent Orion slave girls overlap with Orion animal women; the terms are generally interchangeable.

Orion men[]

Orion males could shrug off a low-powered phaser hit (such as from a hand phaser or Phaser One) with only minor injuries instead of death, unless a vital organ was struck.


"There are three kinds of people I don't want to face while making a deal: Vulcan bankers, Tellarite lawyers, or anybody Orion." -- Carter Winston

The Orion mind was complicated and thought in complicated ways, making them difficult for others to understand. There were five basic facets to the common Orion’s way of thinking: opportunism, egocentricity, materialism, hedonism, and barbarity. They also had four primary motives: profit, loyalty, revenge, and spite.

Opportunism and Egocentricity[]

Orions had a skill and reputation for finding advantages and comparing chances and risks, and the drive to seize an opportunity, no matter how unusual the means, and either profit or get away safely. This opportunism could make them very dangerous, but it was balanced by their flaws.

Their egocentricity made them confident and proud of their abilities and plans, of their cunning, strength, wealth and connections, and they weren’t afraid to show off and let everyone else know about it. This extended beyond themselves, making Orions proud of and loyal to their families, their companies and other groups they belonged to, their ships if they were spacefarers, to their stations in Orion society, and to the Orion species in general. These attitudes however could lead to overconfidence and showing off more than they should.

Materialism and Hedonism[]
"Keep money, but do not keep it dear." -- old Orion advice, learned from the Rigellians

Materialism was a dominant factor. An important, never-ignored ethical principle of the Orions was that value had to be given for value received, or in other words, that one couldn't get something for nothing. Everything had a cost, not just in money, but in time, effort, reputation or blood. Everything gained had a purpose, whether it was for personal enrichment, the sake of one's leader, revenge or other motives, though in the 23rd century there was a growing trend for Orions to trade value for intangibles that had little to do with seeking profit. These habits made them quite efficient and practical. Thus, material value was a universal language, a necessary standard to rely on and the foundation of business and diplomacy. This was comfort and sincerity to the Orions. They were talented at estimating value, and cared deeply for material things. Everything had a price, even things that most others took for granted – a common Orion joke was the value of sunsets, clouds and dust. Orion mothers even sold cookies to their children (albeit with a loving kiss). Meanwhile, Orion slaves bartered their labor for food, shelter and protection.

As a result of this materialism, Orions were a hedonistic race, who lived as well as they could within their means and aimed to enjoy life as much as they could afford. There was no virtue in being or acting impoverished. Orions pursued extremes of luxury, comfort, fineries, entertainment, indulgence, and great displays of wealth and used these things to outdo and impress each other. They tended to delight in partaking in the more civilized vices. Living well and letting others know about it was a point of pride, a display of their success and potential to help others achieve the same.

Barbarism and Decadence[]
"If an Orion has not seen it, it does not exist" -- an ancient saying

They were often called barbaric by members of other races, even Klingons, presumably for their practice of slavery, piracy and general hedonism. In return, some claimed to be merely decadent; they could not be barbarians after their long history, when they'd travelled through space when other races couldn’t cross their oceans. The Orions did not disagree with any negative portrayal of themselves; instead, they enjoyed their reputations. Being deceitful and treacherous had made them rich and helped them conquer worlds, and that was all they’d desired. They had no great racial destiny and thought it pointless to argue about it, even if they seemed stagnant and purposeless as a result.

With a lost heritage, an ancient history and a decadent culture, that both overshadowed and liberated them, they were left cynical and materialistic, looking out only for themselves, seeking wealth and enjoying it, and leaving dreams of conquest, glory and utopian visions to others. The Orions called it being practical, tending to be realists and pragmatists who scoffed at all ideologies and felt that life was too short to waste on rules or morality. Thus they were not bound by any set of restraints, rules, laws or codes of honor, nor did they have an overarching philosophy to justify their behavior.

Loyalty and Leadership[]
"Save your friends as you would save your profits." -- old Orion advice, learned from the Rigellians

Orion customs and traditions encouraged group loyalty and mutual protection, and they were loyal to family, company and anything else they were a member of. They believed that true friends could never be bought, and that loyalty was bound to blood alone, and that while money could not replace love and devotion, it was more reliable. The strength of their loyalty was according to the responsibility and care the object of it took for them, the size of the group and the understanding its members had for one another. Greatest of all was one’s own family, which took total care of its members and demanded absolute loyalty in return, and small groups were almost as close-knit. Last was government, where loyalty and responsibility were both nearly nonexistent. In the middle lay companies and corporations. In general, the larger a group was, the less loyalty and responsibility was shared.

Because of this loyalty-spectrum, Orions had a reputation for treachery, selfishness and deceit. But while Orion society was fast-paced, turbulent and filled with twists of fortune, such behavior was not random or only selfish, but followed certain standards of conduct, with specific goals and ideals, in which they frequently rearranged their limits and obligations to one another. Orions did not work at being treacherous; it was a byproduct of their self-centered world-view. However, they were not anarchists, nor completely uncoordinated and uncooperative, but had a fine and often-used sense of compromise, negotiation, and give-and-take. When (not if) arrangements changed, new arrangements were made to suit the new situation.

Despite being individualists, Orions admired and respected talented and charismatic leaders, particularly tahedrin (patriarchs) and rhadamanen (captains and archexecutives), people who stood for an ideal, who could not be swayed, bought, or shamed, who proved their cluros. Such a person could undermine or even win over their foes, and get others to follow them. Orions trusted such a leader and would do almost anything for them, ignoring personal gain and ambition: workers and slaves labored hard for a good boss, pirates would die for a respected captain. Rather than surrendering their individualism or personal feelings to such a leader, they saw through them a greater goal, a shared profit, or a better future for everyone. But too many mistakes or too little gain would break the spell, and the leadership would collapse, with Orions reverting to plotting and selfishness – at least until the next great leader came along. Otherwise, Orions had little faith in government or impersonal authority.

Whatever the group or their loyalty, wearing uniforms and badges was not common, and Orions did not ask for another's affiliation, family or employer, and if they were asked they were under no particular compulsion to reveal it. Orions rarely went even by their family names, unless they were particularly powerful. However, imposters falsely adopting a famous or powerful name risked a heavy punishment from actual members, who didn’t like being mocked and wished to protect their good name.

Revenge and Cluros[]

Revenge and spite were important to the Orions, though they could go to great lengths to hide the depths of their loss, grief or rage from their foes, in keeping with their code of cluros, which encouraged self-control and a cool head. They could even join or become apparent friends with their hated target. All of this was to avoid alerting a foe until it was too late. Making an effort simply to spite another went against typical Orion greed and hedonism – there was no one word for 'spite' – but it held an attraction for that reason, and was easily rationalized. Instead of treating these vendettas as matters of life and death, Orions played them as amusing games; only some held actual grudges. Orions were known to swear vengeance oaths on their enemies, and could appreciate a desire for revenge in others. They could also hire ganzu, or revenge societies, to get back at their enemies.

Said by some to be the highest expression of Orion culture, the code of cluros, meaning 'cold' or 'coolness', was a code of conduct that encouraged self-control and a cool head, and attempted to curb their excesses. By cluros, an Orion would attempt to hide their hurts, stay calm and even grinning in the face of danger or loss, and remain charming and polite to even their enemies and victims, no matter the provocation, all while attempting to get another to break theirs. Thus, Orions were typically known for their charm and influence, with a ready tongue and a good attitude, and they’d project a personality somewhere between a stylish devil-may-care humor and cheerful self-confidence at their best, and a tired cynicism and brash arrogance at their worst. They enjoyed mocking and taunting helpless foes while charming powerful allies.


They also not above convincing foes to fight against each other instead, as they were always happy to risk others for their own cause. They were equally willing to run from a fight that they could not win. They watched others instead, plotted and waited to backstab the victor at the right moment. They were also shrewd and savvy, good at sensing lies, motives and subterfuge while masking their own intentions. They had a talent for conspiracy, intrigue, and navigating a criminal underworld.< No Orion who could still speak was considered powerless, and all were talented at wielding power behind the scenes, as well as obeying the letter of a law while evading its spirit. However, this did not mean that Orions necessarily lied, cheated, and stole to get their way, no more so than any other race, as getting caught was bad for their reputation.

Few outsiders could say they understood Orions or knew the truth about them, and sources of information on them tended to disagree. This mystery was because Orions enjoyed puzzles, contradictions, and paradoxes, and liked to sow confusion among outsiders and to tell lies, often misleading both each other and non-Orions about their true motives. They felt no need to clear up misconceptions about them. To the Orions, knowledge was power, and confusion and misconception a weapon.

Care and Love[]

A high ideal of Orions was to become so successful that they could care for others; this manifested in owning slaves, starting a family, founding a colony, and in a wealthy corporation taking good care of its employees. It was a mark of ostentation that one's people were well cared for; the better they lived, the better one looked. Such care and responsibility also earned loyalty, respect and trust.

Orions believed that true love lasted forever, whether it was between friends, partners or life-mates. This love lasted past death or when another partner entered the picture, and was respected and honoured. When a friend or lover died, this continuing love honoured their memory.

Suicide and Life[]
"Why do you think my people have been able to maintain our operations for so long, so secretly and well, Captain Kirk? It is because all unsuccessful Orion missions end in suicide. When possible, we enjoy company." — an Orion pirate captain

Despite a general love of life and self-centeredness, Orions had a long history of committing suicide, either by doing it themselves or by provoking others into killing them. Their reasons could be to uphold their causes, to preserve the secrecy of their missions and their neutrality, to get revenge on their foes, to save themselves from being captured, and even at the order of a respected captain. Well-known examples of Orion suicide ranged from the legend of Lady Katam to the martyrdom of Julin Hyrax the Brave to the Laxala Incident, and the common practice of destroying one's own ship and any nearby enemies, used by the Orion Space Navy, pirates, and desperate merchants alike.

However, this did not mean that life and death were cheap to the Orions. Suicide was a last resort, when all other options had been exhausted, and it was intended for the good of one's people at the cost of oneself. It could be carefully planned, and preparations were both mental and physical, and took a great deal of courage. Even so, when even suicide would not meet their goals, they would choose to live. They had an essential respect for life, and would act to preserve it where possible. At heart, their morals were sound, even if the practice and face of them were not.

The above paragraph is taken entirely from speculation from James T. Kirk, thus it may not necessarily be true, but it's probably intended to be.

Even pirates respected life, to a point. In an Orion pirate raid, compliant and unresisting crews were usually left unharmed. Pirates who took captives and hostages took cares not to mistreat them while they sought a ransom. If they could not get one, then they generally stranded them some place. Pirates who killed off innocent captives just to save some money horrified other Orions, who saw them as savage barbarians. Other pirates would even set a bounty on their heads to ensure that they were hunted down and killed for their crimes. However, crews that fought back after being boarded were free to be slaughtered.


The Orions were, in general, a reclusive people who shunned contact with outsiders and stayed close to their home systems. They maintained their neutrality and avoided joining with any of the neighboring superpowers, though this could have been a cover for their illicit activities. The Outer Dark characterized their fears of the space beyond their own, of unknown regions from which few returned. "Sensible" and "civilized" Orions stayed at home to make their fortunes, while adventurous pirates, merchants and explorers probed its edges, and new Colonies pushed it back, but few liked to go too far into it. However, they also tended to be semi-nomadic, at least between their Colonies.

Family and Caju[]

The family model was the basis for all Orion society, their oldest and most resilient form of organization. Hierarchy in the family was determined mostly by seniority and gender. The tahedri, or patriarch, was the dominant authority figure in the family, respected for his age and position. He decided how members conducted themselves, arranged marriages, found jobs for their sons, found husbands and dowries for their daughters, organized care for the sick, and ran the family business if they had one. The tabadi, or matriarch, technically had only minimal say in these things, but could wield a great deal of influence, even if only by compromise and negotiation.

A retiring or dying tahedri appointed his successor, usually his eldest son or otherwise the oldest, most closely related male family member, preferably from amongst his descendants. However, depending on the size of the family and the capability of the immediate candidates, he could instead appoint a woman, a younger person, or even multiple replacements. However, no matter the respect for the previous tahedri, almost every new leader abandoned his predecessor's plans and style and chose a new path.

A tahedri took pride in a happy, healthy, prosperous, and unified family. Such a state did not come easily; maintaining a family over the generations meant never-ending struggle, compromise, and continual readjustment against constant changes. Most importantly, news of internal conflict could never reach the ears of outsiders. In divided families, members plotted to get around a still-respected tahedri's commands. In the worst and rarest cases, children rebelled against parents, and even violence broke out. However, one’s own family was the very last place an Orion could expect to be betrayed.

Successful families attracted alliances, marriages and business deals with other families which sought to improve their fortunes by association. By linking in this way, they formed clans, webs of interdependent families, with thousands of members and one powerful family at its heart, wielding significant strength and influence.

The heads of these clans were the great families, or caju, and they loosely organized Orion society. Each caj functioned as a merchant house, operating primarily around trade but also managing Orion governments and various aspects of their civil life. The caju took care of their own. They dominated local Orion politics, and entire planets were governed by one or a handful of ruling families whose name and word was law. Where government, law and other institutions were weak and disrespected, families were flexible and personal, and Orions admired individuals with authority and personality. The tahedri or tabadi of a ruling family was well known, much-loved and close to his or her people.

Class and Slavery[]

Ruddy Orions

Orion society was quite stratified and discriminated between its members based on color, gender, wealth, power, family and profession, and attention was paid to social class, ranks, titles and a person's "honor", with many fine distinctions. Those who had more were more respected and better off than those who did not. Having connections with those who did was also useful. The divisions were firm, but not absolute, and people could rise upwards with effort and skill. Those who rose from poverty and obscurity to riches and fame were greatly admired, but those who fell so low or consorted too much with their inferiors were scorned. Uppermost were the nobility, the leaders of industry and trade, and starship captains (characterized by Ruddy Orions). Below them were the middle-class workers, the laborers, the soldiers and the slaves (mainly Green Orions), who comprised the vast majority of the population. At the very bottom were the lower-class poor, the outright impoverished and those who lived on the streets, called "slime". Meanwhile outside and off the social scale altogether lay Grey Orion scientists and technical experts, slave girls and halfbreeds.

The system was patriarchal and male-dominated at every level. Women only had a say in the home, and even there it was minimal, depending on negotiation and compromise. Some Orion women were held in a state of semi-slavery by Orion men, and were generally undereducated and semi-literate, helping to give rise to the myth of the "Orion animal woman" and the legendary Orion slave girls. However, there were exceptions; it was not impossible for a woman to inherit a family and skilled women could rise to positions of authority, and were typically very good at what they did. Orion women were just as capable as their men, and they were just as talented at wielding power behind the scenes.

However, although it appeared that Orion females were slaves to the males, the Orion privateer Harrad-Sar would claim to Captain Jonathan Archer in 2154 that the opposite was in fact true: it was the men who were subservient to the women, apparently due to the effect of their pheromones.

The statement in "Bound" of Orion male masters being subservient to their Orion female slaves is at odds with a great many licensed sources that suggest otherwise. The above information may therefore represent only the apparent gender relations. It is also possible that this state-of-affairs might only apply to certain Orion communities or at certain stages in Orion history, be a more romantic than factual claim, represents a much more complicated arrangement, or is simply another deception on Harrad-Sar's part.

These social classes affected an Orion's education opportunities and employment prospects. Those lower down typically had to work longer, while those higher up with the connections could call in enough favors to advance through the ranks quickly. Traders, diplomats, spies and starship captains, helmsmen, navigators, and tactical officers were more likely to be upper-class. Meanwhile, those in the fields of engineering, security, technology, communications, medicine, and science were more likely to be middle- and low-class – if they could get the education for their fields (thus, skilled work fell mainly in the middle-classes). Conversely, upper-class members were limited in such areas, and practically banned from security and medicine. These divisions were stricter in the Orion Space Navy.

T'Pol being auctioned in an Orion slave market

A fundamental component of Orion society was the practice of Orion slavery, which supported much of their economy and culture, and was governed by customs, contracts and laws. The practice dated back to their very earliest history, when the Orion species was a slave-race. Specific forms of slavery were Orion slave girls and Grey Orions. They were also known to capture and sell alien slaves.


The long history of their species meant that Orion merchants, criminals, mercenaries, pirates, and settlers had carried their kind across worlds through the Alpha and Beta Quadrants. Space inspired the Orions, and exploration provided opportunities for wealth, power and fame. The spacefaring professions were highly respected and coveted, whether they were merchants, pirates, or Space Navy. The actual work did not matter, only that it was in space. Even the captain of a single small ship was held in high regard, with wealthy and powerful business leaders honored to be his acquaintance. For their adventure and resistance to foreign powers, even Orion pirates were cool and popular.

But highest of all were the Explorers, the elite of Orion spacers. They were pure adventurers, opportunists who scouted for trade and resources, conducted their own business, interfered in primitive worlds and indulged in a little piracy when nothing better was available. They were not quite pirates or merchants, but a little bit of both and much more: they were Orions who had no restrictions, no bases, nothing to hold them down or stop them. They went where they pleased, even space claimed by another. Their activities usually went against the laws of other powers, and they risked death in the worst cases. The life of an Explorer was short but adventurous; the best knew to get out when they could.

A young Orion of age 18 could actually train to become an Explorer, through Explorer Basic Training. This was like a boarding school, and was the hardest training course of any spacefaring Orion group, teaching a wide variety of skills over four years with little time for leisure. Of course, being Orion, having the right connections was a great advantage. All this was considered worthwhile for the future glory. This did not necessarily bring them any more than that, however; Orion traders tended to have more wealth and power, and could even employ Explorers.

Business and Crime[]
"How do you tell an Orion merchant ship from an Orion pirate ship? If you have phasers, then it's a merchant ship." -- Old Starfleet joke

Business was at the core of Orion society, and making money was its goal. Money bought authority, respect, comfort and funded their hedonistic lifestyles. They sought any business venture, no matter how shady, to afford more of their vices, and to avoid the terrible and shameful state of being completely broke. On the other hand, they had a tradition of hard work for low wages (likely through slavery). Generally, Orions advocated a total free market economy, with no restrictions or exclusions, in all areas of space. Rather than pay taxes or the like, Orions preferred to keep their money within the family.

Every Orion understood the importance of business and every Orion could be called a merchant, while their professional traders and businessmen were exceptionally talented. However, this made them run into the Ferengi on some occasions; the Orions considered them to be nothing more than ridiculous stereotypes with ludicrous habits and lacking class. Unlike the Ferengi, the Orions possessed no 'rules of acquisition'.

Orions had a tendency to take the quickest and cheapest path to achieving their goals, even if it broke the law. This was not a matter of contempt or culture, but simple practicality. If sufficiently paid or restricted, Orions were quite capable of obeying a law, at least to the letter of it. But, preferably, they would not be caught dead following any form of law. Thus Orion business merged smoothly into Orion crime.

In Orion terms, the goal of business was to make people happy, both themselves and their clients and customers. They showed great courtesy to them, and made sure that were comfortable and happy, even when planning to betray or murder them later. Keeping the customer happy was their goal, even if it meant engaging in a criminal trade with them, even drugs, slave labor or weapons smuggling. They found the idea of banning certain products incomprehensible, on the basis that someone, somewhere, was willing to pay for it. Merchant ships would carry anything if they could trade it, and didn't see smuggling as a crime. In their defense, the Orions claimed never to force anyone into anything, only filling an existing need in the name of business.

This backfired, however, as Orion businesses tended to be distrusted and shunned by other races who knew of their reputation. It was hard to know what exactly what one was getting involved in when dealing with Orions. Even an honestly legitimate business might trade with criminals, suddenly decide to engage in something sensitive or illegal, or be bought by another company with no qualms whatsoever. Then it was difficult to get out. Avoiding them wasn't always possible, as Orions were the best choices in certain areas, usually quick, dirty and cheap. They had a knack for deceit and criminal activity, and on many worlds, they soon settled into the local underworld to corrupt and co-opt black- and gray-market traders and other underworld figures for their own ends. As a result, Orions made up a significant proportion of the galaxy's criminal underworld, particularly in illegal gambling, smuggling, protection schemes, and so on. However, Orions weren't all criminals; most were honest, ordinary people and merchants who minded their own business and even followed the law. Legitimate Orion governments endeavored to disassociate ordinary Orions from the criminal reputation of their kin, but criminal organizations such as the Orion Syndicate were generally more powerful.

The Orion Syndicate was one of the major criminal organizations of the galaxy.

Pirates and Mercenaries[]

Some merchants supplemented their income with piracy against alien ships. Telling a pirate from a merchant could be a difficult task and entirely depended on which way the weapons are pointing - if one was armed, then the Orion was a merchant.

The great merchant houses and corporations commonly hired mercenaries and privateers in their feuds and wars over markets and trade routes. However, when the wars were over, these mercenaries and privateers turned to piracy until the next one. Those Orions that became soldiers tended to drift into a career of piracy or mercenary work, as they possessed little patience for a regimented life, nor did they enjoy taking orders or wearing dull uniforms.


Opportunistic and with a skill for finding advantages and comparing risks, Orions made formidable negotiators and clever diplomats, who enjoyed matching wits with their opponents as if it were a game. Their politics were full of intrigue, bluffs, concealed motives, and outright confidence trickery, and delaying and being annoying for the sake of it. They played games of double- or even triple-crosses to increase their own profits, and saw not a conflict of interest but an understandable compensation for their efforts.

Many diplomats served dual roles as spies, producing both real and invented secrets, and Orion women in the bedchambers of important officials on frontier worlds gave them an extra edge in information and influence. Due to their neutrality, Orions could work as spies for the Klingons and other Federation rivals, for the Federation itself, or for both.

Science and Archaeology[]

Some of the more ancient Orion civilizations produced amazing scientific and technological wonders, but few Orions in modern times still practiced in the fields of science. There were however a number of archaeologists who scoured the ruins of other worlds. Most Federation archaeologists would call them tomb raiders, but either way they often had otherwise unobtainable information or artifacts from Tkon, Debrune or Iconian ruins. Ancient Orion ruins were also a prime target, with no shortage of funding for an excavation, in the hope of recovering lost arts and technology. Rumors persisted of still-functioning machines lying in deep ruins. Unfortunately, these ruins were at the mercy of time and the elements, and fell prey to treasure hunters and art thieves who hacked and blasted their way through, obliterating records, archaeology and Orion history alike.

"If you want to see the future of Orion, go to Federation laboratories. If you want to see the past glory of Orion, go to the kitchen." – an unnamed wit

The Orion habit of stealing the ideas of others and putting them to practical, profitable use was a survival skill from the very beginning of their history, and continued to be vital to their civilization. Almost all their technology and knowledge was copied from others now forgotten, including antigravity, antimatter manipulation, warp drive and terraforming techniques. Thus Orions were on par technologically with their neighbors.

However, most Orion technology and products tended to be cheap imitations, forgeries and knock-offs, with cut corners, inferior parts, falsified quality, and a complete disregard for durability, copyright or patent laws. It was cheaper and more profitable to do this, and surprisingly, the forgers were less expensive and in greater demand than genuine artisans. The very best forgers, when well paid, could produce excellent products indistinguishable from the originals, but most only wanted cheap, crude copies to make a bigger profit. Thus, Orions had a reputation for cheap, short-lived, low-quality, high-gloss products. This was tolerable in basic items, but vital components in life support, transportation and spacecraft were downright dangerous.

This was an irritating problem for the Federation, but not one easily policed by Starfleet. It had mixed benefits however; technology crossed the Klingon Neutral Zone between the Federation and the Klingon Empire, and potentially the Romulan Star Empire too, enabling each power to learn of the other technological advances.

Despite the close resemblance, Orion products were distinguishable by their over-wrought design, intended to catch a buyer's eye. They featured elaborate decorations, filigrees, stylish trim, showy ornamentation and racing stripes, all of it useless and tacky. There were native Orion designs as well, which over equivalent Federation technologies were notable for their simpler design, smaller size, and greater efficiency, as well as their high price, great rarity and nigh-uselessness. These curious novelties were designed for comfort, entertainment, and indulgence, and most such items tended to be closely guarded museum pieces, with only research value. These devices were surviving examples of techniques lost to modern Orions, and sometimes unknown even to 23rd century Federation science. Some were still in limited use and production, found in furniture and kitchens, implying that someone, somewhere, was still manufacturing them, but trading them only to Orions. These neat gadgets were rarely available to outsiders.

Examples of such gadgets included holo-movies, books that produced their own reading lights, unfading luminescent paste jewelry, dustless floors, musical fountains, holographic tapestries with moving figures, and living carpets that grew and smelled like grassy meadows. In the kitchens, there were knives that didn’t cut living flesh, stoves that didn’t use heat or radiation, and devices capable of turning raw ingredients into complete meals at the press of a button (possibly like a replicator). A device in a privately owned Orion museum could polish any surface: soft plastics were easier than granite, but theoretically it could even do newly forged neutronium. It was hand-held, emitted no detectable radiation, and was yet to run out of power. And though Orion aircars used Federation antigravity units, there was Orion antigravity furniture using much tinier units that could not be examined without being broken, while in a ruin heavily guarded by a planetary ruling family there was an antigravity table that could not be moved without being destroyed by the force necessary to free it.


The very first Orion starships were actually stolen from other races. Even when they finally built their own, the designs were taken from captured or thoroughly examined existing vessels. These were crude copies at first, but time and practice gave the early Orion shipwrights the skills to construct near-exact duplicates. Eventually these would be modified to suit their purposes, with stronger warships or disguised vessels designed to confuse or hide a piratical purpose. Eventually they would design their own, but in recent centuries they returned to copying others, such that most modern Orion vessels were of alien design (though Romulan vessels were rarely imitated for lack of opportunity to study them). These copies could be so exact that sensors could not tell them apart, and one needed to examine ship's papers and serial numbers instead. A number of used starships on the market were in fact new Orion imitations.

Other Orion ships were pieced-together from salvage or bought whole from the surplus of other starfaring state and could be quite primitive. They could skimp on expenses and comforts, and used many cost-cutting measures instead, no matter how dangerous. Some still utilized nuclear fission of first-stage matter, as a power-source, calling it the time-honoured methods of their ancestors. Orion pirate vessels with such a power source left behind a distinctive trail of radioactive waste.

Entirely new Orion starship designs were only made long after the Orion War, though timid architects continued to mimic aspects of others rather than deviate from standard practice. Their designs tended to be uninspired, unimaginative, and utilitarian. However, at their greatest, they possessed the records and technology of many civilizations, some older or more powerful, and they had even surpassed the impulse engine for the paragravitic drive, technology that the Federation had yet to discover by the late 23rd century. Much of this technology and knowledge was lost in the Reverse, with only pieces surviving in wrecks, lost records and ruins, waiting to be rediscovered by archaeological engineers.

What did survive consisted of ancient formulae, algorithms, and data tables to determine configurations of components, precise and comprehensive, based on centuries of experience with the capabilities of native Orion vessels and rarely applicable to Federation vessels. There were many instructions along the lines of "if you do this, you get that, so add these". Such designs had very little margin of error, and required a high quality and reliability that was no longer available in Orion shipyards. Maintenance was an expensive hassle, and exceeding the capabilities was even more dangerous than for Starfleet or Klingon ships. Therefore, there were few ships of native Orion design in operation, commissioned by only the wealthiest owners and trusted only to the best crews and officers.

Native-designed Orion civilian starships were commonly couriers, freighters, liners and the popular "Rigel yachts". Small and efficient warships were easier to build, so there were a few corvettes and elderly frigates, but none to overpower any front-line warship of local superpowers like Starfleet, the Klingon Empire and the Romulan Star Empire. Starfleet Intelligence closely watched Orion shipyards in case an old-style, large and efficient warship was ever built. Only two out of three kilometer-wide colony ships remained in orbital museums. And of course there was a vast array of pirate vessels, but despite popular tales, there were (allegedly) no slave ships.

Like the rest of their counterfeit technology, Orion-made ersatz starships were equally lacking in quality, utilizing substandard parts, cheaper materials, and lower quality control and manufacturing standards. They required frequent repairs and overhauls. Orion starships were also often highly decorated, to the point of being ugly. They included unnecessary fins and masts, non-functioning antennas, racing stripes and complex geometric designs engraved on the hull. Intimidating pirates might have been the aim, but this did little good. Even starships closely copied from Federation and Klingon designs, including the sickbays, had fully Orion-style galleys and equipment.

Orion courier vessels tended to have maximum speed for fast delivery, but only minimal cargo space. Such designs could include a ramscoop with a double compression chamber.


Orion slave girls

Culture itself was a tool to the Orions. When contacting a new client or making a first deal, Orion traders and diplomats worked hard to be as similar to those they dealt with as possible and to know all they could about them. When dealing with another race or culture, they spoke the other’s language, adopted the correct customs and matched them for behavior, even to the smallest and even unconscious details. For an individual, they studied their habits, preferences, prejudices, strengths and weaknesses. They were careful not to let the image slip, in case it made the other party suspicious. Though the purpose of all this was to understand exactly what a client wanted, it also showed them what they wanted to see, and gave an Orion trader an edge in the relationship.

However, as each grew more familiar with each other, elements of Orion culture gradually crept in, beginning with simple furniture and ending with banquets complete with musicians and dancers. The Orions called this a lowering of their guard, to allow the other to see their ways. They showed off their opulent culture, charm and success, and made sure that their clients were comfortable and happy. It also shifted the initiative to themselves and placed a non-Orion under pressure, when they found such practices unprofessional.

And when the deals were completed, the Orion discarded the adopted culture as it soon as it had served its purpose. In their view, the only culture good for them was their own, with decadence, slavery and all. It had been stagnant for centuries and shielded against change, despite the many other cultures they’d pretended at.

Orion culture during their time as a slave-race had been little more than folk art and "gypsy" culture. Following their liberation, the New Days saw Orion culture blossom into hundreds of forms and entirely new schools of design, almost overnight, with music, literature, dance (including forms of ballet), holovision and more. Modern Orion culture of the 23rd century echoed proudly back to this time, with themes and traditions of their mighty, majestic, graceful people coming into their own.

A materialistic and hedonistic people, Orions – those who could afford it – spent all they could afford on luxury items, comforts and displays on wealth. These included expensive clothing and jewelry, ornate furniture and decorations, grand mansions and fancy vehicles, and any other way could to enjoy life. Orions also tended to delight in partaking in the more civilized vices. However, on the other hand, they also could not stand to go broke, and did all they could to avoid this terrible state.

They also enjoyed entertainment on a large-scale, from concerts and holomovies to street circuses and festivals, all of which offered a chance to dress up and be seen in their finery. Wealthy and noble Orions took great pride in putting on grand banquets, with feasts of food from many worlds, and musicians, dancers, and other forms of entertainment. Such a banquet concluded every business meeting and deal, and every Orion corporation had an entertainment division for this. The purpose of all this was to impress and outdo each other. These banquets also played host to subtle wars of manners and etiquette between rival families and businesses, with continually evolving rules determined by seemingly-casual remarks and signals: they measured how much one could drink or smoke; what one could look at and for how long; the beginner of an applause, its volume and duration; and so on. The appearance of an Orion slave girl at a banquet was a high compliment to a guest and a test of their will-power.

Orion women, and particularly Orion slave girls, were legendary for their dances. These dances were commonly seen at grand Orion banquets, used as much for distraction of a rival as for entertainment. Their forms ranged from ballet to belly-dancing and were apparently even blended into a martial art in dancefighting.

Orion Colonies and other worlds they dominated often featured the distinctive Botchoki architecture of fluted and spiraled towers, minarets with bulging onion-dome shapes, knurled blocks of apartments with balconies, all built of colored stone and adorned with cloth hangings in a gaudy and riotous display. They were known for their bazaars, markets, cantinas clubs, and grand pleasure palaces, which offered a range of services, including gambling.

Orions enjoyed games of skill and cunning – even more so when only they knew the rules, not their opponents. Even a game of chance could turn out to be really a game of skill and cunning.

A business contract was regarded as precious and secure, not something to be easily broken. Due to the Orion value system, a contract between them might not have even concerned money. A slavery contract was one example where labor was bartered for food, shelter and protection.

Orion mothers sold cookies to their children, though they gave them with a loving kiss.

Orion cooking was described as exotic, with a range of tear-inducing spices. The Orion firepot was one special method of preparing food. Orion foods were noted for treating wing-slugs as delicacies, a range of strong liquors, hot spices (some of which are classed as illegal drugs), and many things said to be aphrodisiacs.

demma • Orion spices • Orion wing-slug • xiqai
mandisa • Orion ale • Orion beer • Orion rum • Orion tea • Orion whiskey • Orion wine

Beginning in the mid-22nd century, Orions experienced a craze for the culture of Earth's 20th century, after the Earth trade ship UNSS Marco Polo opened trade relations with them, a huge commercial success. Orions fell in love with Westerns, historical pirates, fast food, baseball, rock and roll, The Three Stooges, the Kledani brothers and historical fashions such as Western wear and Levi's. Orions also adopted slang words from Earth, particularly American and Russian. Orions grew to like humans as a result, and considered them kindred spirits, but this was based on their practices of centuries before. This lead to cultural confusion, with Orions believing that Earth was ruled by Godfathers and Shoguns, where cowboys murdered Indians, while humans found all this an uncomfortable reminder. This was considered a fad for the young and impressionable, however.


Orion myth resembles or distorts aspects of the history of the Rigel system, of the Rigellians and the Masters. One legend said that the gods once lived on Botchok, until they fought a war, changed their ways and left to protect other worlds from their folly. Others stated that the star Rigel was an ancient, powerful life-form, and that the Orions were created in the image of the Masters to take their place as rulers of the Orion Arm. Others thought of the Rigellians themselves as their Makers. These legends derived from the accounts of Talduk Sik and of faithful Orion servants allowed into the depths of Rigel IV to meet Rigellian elders or surviving Masters and being gifted with wisdom (mainly financial advice) or confused accounts of Rigel's history. These ideas formed the tenets of various Orion religions.

One group, the Earthly Brothers even revered Humans as the natural and perhaps even divinely appointed successors of the Orions.

Some Orions typically swore on the Thousand Gods but rarely bothered to worship them. Others have prayed to and sworn by a Mother Goddess. Some Orions even swore by particular concepts; for example, "Who in the name of plunder are you?"

An Orion afterlife was the Dark Place. Some Orions swore by nine hells, there was an afterworld for the evil that was a scalding pit of torment. Meanwhile others referred to "the veils of heaven's harem" and "the luminous veils" (though this was possibly a poetic reference to space itself).

There were Orion sects that (in common with Clan Ru and some Native American tribes) considered only their own tribe to be the only life-forms with souls and thus others didn't exist morally. As such, laws, rights and supernatural considerations only extended to their own species.

Orion mystics were known to make use of elaborate con operations, sometimes with advanced technology to give them supposed powers, in order to achieve their goals and lend verisimilitude to their words.

There were ancient Orion sculptures that were considered religious relics. Two had been thought long lost, but turned up in the possession of the Romulan smuggler Achernar in 2281. They were illegal to trade. Scenes from Orion mythology could be found embossed on Orion firepots, a type of cooking cauldron. These could be crudely erotic.

Some Orion commanders were apparently superstitious about killing the captain of a ship directly, if they were taken prisoner in a pirate raid. Instead they chose some other means, such as beaming them into a dangerous environment likely to kill them anyway. It was also supposed that a face-to-face hand-off between two captains was for spiritual reasons.

As the former line was from a lie by Captain Jean-Luc Picard, and the latter merely supposition from James T. Kirk, these might not be true. The high esteem for captains is mentioned in FASA RPG - The Orions module: Book of Common Knowledge and discussed above, however.


Disruptor pistols, concealed or otherwise, were often found in the hands of Orions, particularly smugglers and pirates, as they were cheaper and easier to construct than phasers (which were only occasionally used). Sonic disruptors were usually of a Klingon design (the Mark 1 was a common trade item with them) but they were equally likely to be counterfeits.

Knives were also popular melee weapons, from pirates to Orion Space Navy (OSN) enlisted personnel, who trained in their use. OSN officers meanwhile trained with swords. Even Orion slave girls carried small concealable blades, sometimes coated in a drug or poison, such as Cylanite. They could perform dances with a pair of knives as well. One particular form of knife used by Orions was the dancerknife.

Unarmed combat was also known amongst the Orions, with tatharoc and dancefighting. Slave girls were also known to grow their nails long, almost like claws, which were handy in a fight.

Orion pirates favored body armor and protective helmets in battle. Circa 2359, they developed a new form of armor that was light, as flexible as a stiff cloth, and able to absorb and diffuse phaser energy, such that a hand phaser kill-setting could be reduced to a minor stun. With this armor and their helmets, only a shot through the eye could kill them.

There was also a strong tradition of duelling, between the upper-class Ruddy Orions to settle their disputes (at least between social equals), and amongst the people of the Colony of Thirat to avenge insults. The Thiratin in particular were adept in martial arts and weapons training.


Orions of either gender were fond of dyeing or oiling their hair in unusual colors, and styling it accordingly, though hair dyes usually remained subtle in order to highlight the glossiness of black or chestnut coiffures. They could also paint their lips, eyelids and other conspicuous body parts.

They typically enjoyed wearing jewelry, small daggers, and other ornaments. They preferred items that were elegant, beautiful, expensive and had tiny compartments to hide sensitive items such as poisons or black mail tapes. Almost no Orion would dress badly if they could help it.

Some were quite fond of jewelry, from rings to earrings to gemstones studded in their teeth.

Orions even sharpened their teeth.


"Orion history is a prime example of why we need a Prime Directive to protect everybody." -- Doctor Thelanius Richter

The Orions had an ancient history, filled with slavery, empire, and decay, and confused, contradictory and often false. Their origins were wrapped in mystery and alien interference, yet they outlasted almost all other interstellar civilizations, and survived being caught between superpowers.

Language and names[]

Throughout their history, the Orions developed several different languages, which included Orion, Yrevish, Kolari and Trader's Tongue.

They were good swearing languages. Lower forms had more base words and vile epithets, while higher forms had a sophisticated cursing case that could be used to deliver delicate and elaborate insults in ambiguous terms. These were sometimes in verse, and counted as works of art, but were rarely heard by non-Orions.

Orions paid a great deal of attention to non-verbal communication as well, of body language, tells, tone of voice, importance of a subject and other minor clues to a person’s mood and intent. They found a lot to read and to conceal, and Orion activity involved a continuous exchange of a subtle, ambiguous code. Those who dealt frequently with Orions, or saw more of their culture, came to notice this and acquire the skill; some even had difficulty dealing with non-Orions or their own species, friends and even family afterwards.

Orion names typically came in three parts: a given name first, a family name second, and an honorific or nickname. The first name tended to be short; though older and prouder families might give longer names, they preferred names that were memorable and easy to pronounce. Unless very well-known and respected, family names were rarely mentioned in public, since they could identify relations, allegiances and enemies. As such, an Orion was typically known by their first name, plus any honorifics and titles they might have.

An Orion male, by the time he was an adult, would probably acquire a nickname that marked a prominent characteristic or accomplishment. A neutral or flattering honorific would generally follow the name (e.g. Nallin the Unconquerable, Hubin the Burned), while a negative one usually came first (Half-a-Man Sooris, Crazy Drelk). Orions also enjoyed any titles and distinctions that they might have earned.

In addition, an Orion might adopt other names as required, for local custom, an alias or pseudonym, a pet name, a false name, or just on a whim.