Orion Standard, Vondemese, Kolari, Botchoki
The Orion Colonies consists of an area of space encompassing several dozen stars. Among them are fourteen inhabitable systems. Formerly called the "Borderlands," the Orion Colonies was once an area of wild space between the United Federation of Planets and the Klingon Empire.
Largely subsumed by those two powers by the end of the twenty-fourth century, the Orion Colonies retain a distinct flavor from both the Klingon Empire and the Federation. These worlds are what remain of what was once a much larger string of Orion colonies and settlements. In ancient Antiquity, these star systems made up the core worlds of successive Orion Empires.
The Orion Colonies straddle both Federation and Klingon space and the Orions no longer value the idea of a cohesive "Orion State." A "member" of the Orion Colonies is a misnomer- it only means that it is a star system that falls within this area of space. These worlds, thousands of years ago, were under a series of common governments.
Orion (Beta Orionis IV)
Orion is considered to be the original homeworld of the Orion species and is governed by the Orion Free States. An independent world, Orion did not have a unified world government until the 2370s, although an international organisation known as the Orion Union - comprised of the majority of Orion's nation states - had existed since at least the 22nd century. Like its predecessor, the Orion Free States places a strong emphasis on its own independence and diplomatic neutrality in interplanetary affairs. It was not until 2375, after the formation of the Orion Free States, that slavery was officially outlawed on Orion.
Vondem (Beta Orionis II)
Vondem was the first Orion colony established outside of the homeworld. The colony was the preferred location to conduct trade and diplomacy with alien species and governments, and as a result over the centuries developed an acceptance and appreciation for diversity. This created a schism between Vondem and the homeworld nations, which held a much more xenophobic view of aliens, resulting in Vondem eventually declaring itself independent from the homeworld's influence and forming the Vondem Trade Confederacy.
Although illicit trade was still rife on Vondem for centuries, the Trade Confederacy began making reforms that eventually saw them ban slave trade and human trafficking. As trade and diplomatic relations with the Federation improved, largely to due to the Federation's proximity and expansion around Orion space, Vondem eventually applied for Federation membership in the mid-24th century. The membership was ratified by the Federation Council shortly before the Dominion War.
Kolar (Beta Rigel VI)
Kolar is governed by the Kolari Vaj, also known as the Twelfth Orion Empire, and is the last remnant of the Thakolarivaj ("Great Orion Empire") that spanned across the Orion Colonies in antiquity. Kolar has largely resisted the reforms that took place on other Orion worlds and has remained a bastion of ancient Orion culture and traditions. Officially ruled by the monarchy - traditionally headed by an empress - the true power behind the throne in recent times is a class of wealthy elites, many of whom are either directly involved with or have ties to the Orion Syndicate.
Sometimes known as the Jewel of the Orion Colonies due to its vast wealth and opulent cities, Kolar has a highly stratified society with many of its citizens living in poverty and born into slavery. When reforms on Vondem began to impact illicit trade, Kolar became the home of the Orion underworld, allowing the Orion Syndicate to become the most powerful criminal organisation in the colonies. As the Kolari Vaj places few limitations on who may visit their world, a large part of Kolar's economy is fueled by tourism, with many flocking to the planet to view its magnificent architecture, experience its decadent culture and partake in illicit trade.
Botchok (Mu Rigel VIII)
A wild and untamed world, Botchok never experienced the unification or cultural development of the other colonies, and has no centralized government. It remains mostly rural, even after several centuries, with its population divided into thousands of clans living in settlements that are scattered across the planet. With a warm and humid climate consisting of thick jungles, dangerous wildlife and treacherous terrain, the clan settlements are largely insulated from each other. The Botchoki population is oftened considered to be primitive by other Orion cultures.
The planet was occupied by the Klingon Empire in the late 23rd century and incorporated as a subject world. A Klingon station with a garrison of warriors remains in orbit since the occupation, but the Empire interferes very little with the daily life of the population, with the exception of collecting annual tributes from the clans. Not unified, the Botchoki have given little indication of insurrection and the skirmishes that occur usually result from visiting Klingon hunting parties wandering into clan territory.
Orions are a mammalian humanoid species that evolved on a warm and humid Class M world. Their blood is green in appearance, utilizing hemocyanin to transport oxygen which results in the distinctive green skin colour common to their species. Varying melanin levels in different Orion ethnicities create wide spectrum of skin colours ranging from deep emerald green to pale cyan. Orions are on average taller than the typical humanoid, with males averaging 6'2" (188cm) and females 5'10" (177.8cm). Like Vulcans, Orions also have a slightly higher muscle to fat ratio than other humanoids like Humans.
Orions exude strong pheromones that are well known for having an intoxicating or hypnotic effect on some humanoid species. Though the effect is produced by the pheremones of both males and females, it is more pronounced in females. How this affects humanoids vary between species and also within individual members of a species; some may be highly susceptible to the effects while others are considered immune to it. Many factors can play a role, including individual biochemistry, physical attraction preference and age. The intensity of the effect also depends on the Orion in question's biochemistry.
The Orion Syndicate is the most powerful of a number of Orion criminal organisations that have come into existence over the centuries, and is considered to be one of the most influential criminal organizations operating throughout the Federation and beyond. Though its exact origins remain murky, the reforms on Vondem that cracked down on illicit trade saw the Orion black market reestablish itself on Kolar where the Syndicate seized the opportunity to grow and expand its influence. Over the centuries it has firmly entrenched itself into Kolari culture, influencing rich and poor alike, and from there it spread to other colonies and eventually to other non-Orion worlds. Its illicit activities include gambling, racketeering, smuggling, piracy, slave-trading, species trafficking, extortion, arms-dealing and assassination.
During the 22nd century, the Orion Syndicate controlled the Borderlands, a lawless and volatile region of space between the original Orion colonies and the Klingon Empire. As Federation influence expanded in the area, the Syndicate's outright control over the area eventually waned and they were forced to conduct their business in a more clandestine way. This forced them be more creative in their operations and by the late 24th century, they had managed to expand their network to a number of worlds in both the Alpha and Beta Quadrants.
As the Federation withdrew from the frontier following the catastrophic Attack on Mars in 2385, the Syndicate was eager to take advantage of the power vacuum and assert more influence on many border worlds. In some areas this strategy proved successful, but in other areas - such as The Triangle - other lawless entities were also taking advantage of the absence of Federation influence, providing strong competition for the Syndicate.
Orion Free Traders
The Orion Free Traders came into being during the early days of the Orion Empire, making it one of the longest lasting Orion organisations to still exist. It began as a trading company to facilitate trade and transport of goods between Orion and Vondem. As the Orion Empire expanded, so did the Free Traders and they eventually grew into a megacorporation chartered by the various Orion nation-states and colonies to undertake trade, exploration and colonization on their behalf.
Unlike the Syndicate, the Free Traders largely maintain legitimate business practices. That is not to say that no business takes place between the two, but that by and large the Free Traders work hard to maintain their centuries-old reputation of legitimate trade and neutrality and deny any involvement with the Syndicate.
In addition to their chartered responsibilities, the Free Traders also take part in minor diplomatic negotiations on occasion. A number of representatives from the various colonies that are authorised to undertake diplomatic negotiations in the absence of an official diplomat can be found throughout the Free Trader fleet. Although the individual Orion worlds primarily maintain their own defense fleets, the Free Traders possess a fleet that is well-armed and capable of defending interstellar trade routes. They are also contracted by some of the minor colonies to provide defense.
- Pheremones: When writing Orion characters, it is recommended to discuss the way pheromones will be handled with players to ensure everyone is on the same page regarding how it will affect characters. This ensures that no one has their character forced into a situation or reaction that would make them uncomfortable. For Orions as Starfleet officers or civilian personnel, characters can take pheromone suppressants so as not to affect others. Inversely, when Starfleet or civilian personnel encounter Orions, they can take medication to suppress their susceptibility to Orion pheremones.
- Slavery: Orions have long been known for their slave-trading, but progressive reforms in the latter half of the 24th century has ushered in a change on the Orion homeworld. Slavery on Orion and Vondem (now a Federation member) have been outlawed, and the Orion Free Traders do not facilitate human trafficking or slave-trade. On the other side of the coin, Kolar still views slavery as part of Orion tradition and the Klingons have no qualms about using Orions from occupied Botchok as forced labour.