From Bravo Fleet Infobase
|Orion Colonies, Orion Neutrality, Borderlands|
~200,993 BCE with the founding of the Thakolarivaj, the First Orion Empire. A total of eleven other Orion Empires would succeed the Thakolarivaj. The final, Twelfth Orion Empire was founded in 8,000 BCE. The final Empire collapsed in 5,200 BCE, though elements of it continued as a weak, internally divided state known as the Vaj on Beta Rigel VI until late 2394
Before 200,993 BCE
Orion Standard, Vondemese, Botchoki, Kolari
Decentralized (varies by colony and affiliation)
Orion Free Traders, individual Orion Caj fleets
- 1 At A Glance
- 2 Associated Planets
- 3 The Rigel Conundrum
- 4 Political Structure
- 5 Culture
- 5.1 Cluros
- 5.2 The Caj
- 5.3 Dueling
- 5.4 Traduus Vand
- 5.5 Orion Slavery
- 6 Orion Animism and Mysticism
- 7 History
At A Glance
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.
Vondem (Beta Orionis II)
Orions outside of Vondem look upon the Vondemi as sellouts and as something to be derided. The Vondemi were always a little quirky compared to their other colonial cousins. The word "Vandmaj" in Orion means "outsider-rule" and Vand/Vond is the common root for "alien." Even the Orions look upon Vondem as something a little alien to them.
Vondem was the first Orion colony off the homeworld before the founding of the Thakolarivaj. At the time, Orion Caju (clan-families) were nomadic traders, slavers and raiders. Vondem became the world where the Orions were most comfortable allowing aliens to interact with them. Orions, to this day, are deeply choosy about which species they wish to make contact with. Vondem was an interface world, a place they viewed as hopelessly polluted by alien traders, politics, and ideas- but it kept them away from the Orion homeworld. It is the only world of the former Empires that have accepted Federation affiliation.
Orion (Beta Orionis IV)
Federation Anthropologists have generally reached the consensus that Beta Orionis IV is the likely ancestral homeworld of the Orion species, though the Orions themselves are notably dismissive of the idea when they do not specifically come from Beta Orionis IV.
Kolar (Beta Rigel VI)
Kolar, called Beta Rigel, is an independent star system that rests on the Federation side of the former Borderlands. Of the major worlds in the Orion Colonies, it can claim to be the most common "capitol." Up until 2394, Kolar was the last remaining vestige of the Twelfth and final Orion Empire. Simply known as the Orion Vaj, this corrupt government body was beholden to the richest Kolari Caju, and was vulnerable to Orion Syndicate interference. The Kolari Thakokaheedi, Shai-rannu LIV, was assassinated which ended the Vaj and began the Twelfth Interregnum.
Botchok (Mu Rigel VIII)
When the Orions settled on Botchok as a colony world several thousand years ago, they discovered tribes of primitive red-skinned humanoids. Ancient Orion scripture spoke of "lost Caju" among the stars who were marked by the Gods with red or yellow skin to atone for their misdeeds. They were banished from Ur'eon after. These native Botchoki were conjectured to be those lost clans by the first Orion settlers. Later DNA analysis confirms that the two species do not share a common ancestor.
These so-called Red Orions were a problem for early Botchok Orion society. They did not know what to do with them. The ultimate course was to integrate them into Orion society as second class citizens, effectively making these "Red Orions" the first alien Satrapy of the pre-Thakolarivaj era. Even today, Red Orions or "Bot'vandi" live in separate ghettos of their own within Botchok settlements.
Minor Orion Colonies
Verex III is an inhospitable icebox with deep, cold oceans and very little useful land- it is the diametric opposite of what the Orions look for in a world. Verex III is an outpost for trade and welcomes all Orions as a neutral spot with temporary Xo-I intended for visitors. Somehow it remains less than harmonious as the governing council extends nothing but the safety of its domes and spires.
Verex has all the charm of a massive trade outpost and bazaar and is based on anarcho-capitalist principles. Literally anything- illegal or legal- can be had for a price. Visitors must be on guard and must purchase almost everything for themselves, including representation in court, healthcare, transport, and protection.
71 Orionis or "Hala Botchok" is a free Botchoki holding colonized sometime during the early 2190s when the Klingon House of Mak-ta invaded Botchok and took it as a client state. A portion of the Botchok Caju along with several groups of Red Orions, fled into what was then unclaimed space. They created a Botchok Caj-in-exile government on 71 Orionis. To this day, the denizens of 71 Orionis don't view themselves as separate, but as the legitimate body of the planet Botchok.
The Rigel Conundrum
One of the earliest confusions to befall Federation cartographers when they encountered both the Rigelians and the Orion species was the origin of "Rigel." When asked where the Orions came from, the cartographers heard "Rigel," a star system in the Beta Quadrant near, at the time, the Romulan frontier. The issue was made all the more difficult because Rigel is a multiple star system with two known sentient native species- the warp-capable Rigelians and the primitive, pre-warp civilization known as Rigelian Kalar.
The issue was compounded further because both Rigel VII and Rigel X had Orion traders among settlements there. Rigel VII, though the homeworld of the Kalar, has an Orion trade post on it. At one point, several thousand years ago, the Orions used the Kalar as brute slave labor and as gladiators in their Tatharoc arenas.
If that was not enough, the Orion world of Beta-Rigel VI is named Kolar by the Orions and their Caju are known to be some of the traders common to Rigel VII. It is possible that the Kolari Orions named these brutish humanoids on Rigel VII Kalar as a diminutive.
Raij-al vs. Rigel
The issue was eventually clarified: apart from a trade presence in the Rigel system, which is where the Orion Syndicate used to launch its raids of the Coridan system, the Orions are not from there. They had a slave port on Rigel VII during one of the last of the Orion Empires that has endured as an independent depot.
The mistake was a linguistic one: "Rigel," an Earth word, has a similar pronunciation to the Orionese word, "Raij" which means, "star." When an Orion says, "Raij-al" that loosely translates to "planet" (or, "star-rock"). When the cartographers asked the Orions where they came from, the Orions answered they came from a planet.
Democracy is a quaint idea to most Orions, especially the Kolari. The Orion Empires never embraced notions of the idea, preferring a clan-based system similar to the Roman paterfamilias. Orion society is highly stratified into what Humans would recognize as Feudalism.
Caj and Caju
Mons (a Japanese word), or Qot in Kolari, are elaborate geometric sigils. They are much like Heraldic Crests, Klingon House Badges or Samurai mons. Orions identify what Caju they belong to by donning their Caju'Qot. In the modern-day, the dominant Caju uses their Caju'Qot as the emblem of their world; there are hundreds of Qot, some extinct, that exist. Every Caju in good standing has a Qot and there are ten times more "unofficial" Qot used by Orion corporations, the Syndicate, even individuals.
To Orion thinking, the Qot extends to any symbol that represents the ideals of a group- the tri-blade of the Klingon Empire and the delta of Starfleet are "Vand-Qot," or alien mons, but Qot nonetheless. Wearing such a Qot marks you as of their thinking, and loyal to them.
Elements of an Orion Mon
Almost universally, an Orion Qot has intricate symbolism. They are always green, to celebrate Orion itself and its climate. Some interpret it as Orion skin tone. There should be three horizontal lines representing either the past life, the present life, and the future life, or the underworld, the living world, and the worlds beyond. There should be three vertical lines representing the three faces of Urqinzhe, the Goddess of Fortune. And there is often a square turned to represent the Favoring Eye of Urqinzhe. Some Qot use two squares to represent the two eyes of Urqinzhe- the favoring and the sinister eye. Finally, while most Orion mons are laterally symmetrical, there should be an element of incongruity- a shift in color or use of space. This is to reflect the imperfections of the second world (the physical plane).
Cluros, or Qol'urosh is a Kolari invention that gradually became a pan-Orion philosophy by the year 20,000 BCE. Today it is still practiced by many Orions, though not all. Cluros is analogous to Klingon Honor and Vulcan T'plana Hath- a construct to bring social order to a passionate, even violent species. Unlike Logic or Honor, the Orions don't ostracize those that don't follow it, merely the ones that claim to and then defy it. Following Cluros is similar to the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition: Cluros is a guide to success and a successful follower of Cluros is a successful Orion.
Perhaps the most widely followed aspect of Cluros is coolness or Basa. Coolness has become almost synonymous with Cluros itself. Basa is not "popularity" but detached, amused calm. The most well-known aspect of Basa is the "Cluros Smile" or the "Basa Smile." A follower of Cluros crafts a personal mask or façade to hide their negative feelings and motivations. In personally determined quantities, a Basa Smile is part bemusement, arrogance or confidence, detachment, irreverence, and calm. Every Cluros is different as Cluros is a personal philosophy. But someone who follows Basa is always presenting this face in public, especially to strangers and opponents.
Breaking another Orion's Cluros Smile and forcing them to show anger- usually through Ka'shaadu- is considered a social checkmate like besting an online Troll. For the Orion who allowed their Basa to fall, it is a social faux pas and they are, at least temporarily, defeated.
Shaadu or "The Love-Bite" is an Orion euphemism for calm, cultured, and oblique insults towards one's opponent. The ideal Shaadu upholds the previous statement of the target but absolves direct blame from the speaker. It promotes the idea that one is loyal to the Caj and that, through the target's actions, the target has possibly failed Xo-I and appears either ignorant or incompetent. It's intended to put the target into a state of imbalance: was I insulted, or was I complimented? It must be so subtly put that the target would be breaching Cluros if they descended into Ka'shaadu.
Shaadu is considered a high-art form descended from the Thakolarivaj, where Courtesans were unable to directly insult the Imperial Caju or the Caju's servants. Orions who practice Shaadu may take lifetimes to perfect it. Its practice is less common on Klingon-occupied Orion worlds, and quite rare on Vondem.
A step beyond Shaadu, Ka'shaadu is "Taunting." Like Shaadu, Ka'shaadu has an element of sport to it, though the result is often closed by the drawing of blood. Ka'shaadu is done between opponents who have squared off. Here, the insults are no longer oblique but purposefully try to get an opponent so angry or upset that they lose their Basa mask and attack foolishly. It is a favorite tactic to use against Klingons and Nausicaans, though Orions view that as relatively entry-level. Getting a Vulcan to react would be master-level.
Ka'shaadu is an element found within Orion dueling culture.
Vodazee is economic and financial shrewdness and the concept that nothing is for free. The concept of "credit" and "debt" is a stain on an Orion, a mark of one living beyond their means. Remaining solvent and debt-free is the mark of a true Orion. Tied to Vodazee is a kharmic-like concept that one lives a life trying to balance favors one owes and favors owed to oneself. It is bad luck for an Orion to "owe someone" without reciprocity.
Vodazee is one of the tenets taught to most children regardless of if they will embrace Cluros later. Mothers will offer children treats and instruct them that they must show affection or give kisses for the treat.
Xo-I is "security" and is considered one of the marks of the most successful, most secure Orion. Xo-I is also "providing for" which means one has reached such a state that your solvency and acumen can support many others, not just oneself and one's immediate family. With such acumen, an Orion is expected to take on a greater role within the Caj.
Xo-I comes in two parts: permanent and temporary. Temporary Xo-I, security, is akin to offering guests and business partners sanctuary. They may sleep in one's home and eat one's food without fear of any ulterior motive or plotting. In theory, temporary Xo-I is supposed to be free of "the pressures of Cluros" where one can simply be oneself, but that is not always the case. Xo-I like this is an invitation to put rivals, revenge and Ka'shaadu at the door.
Temporary Xo-I is for a specifically stated time and only includes the public parts of an Orion's sanctum. Clever Orions will carefully state which parts of their sanctum offer Xo-I. The difficulty with Xo-I is that Vodazee remains in place: nothing is truly free. A guest under the protection of Xo-I is expected to show proper deference and respect to the host. If a guest is insulting, engages in un-guest-like behavior, does Ka-shaadu, or commits violence, Xo-I is broken. The host is obliged to immediately have the violating guest removed from the areas that provide Xo-I. The act is ritualistic. With Xo-I broken, no area is safe if the guest returns.
Dranjaar (First Blood)
Kobol Qanli (Vendetta)
Kobol Ka'shaat (Jihad)
Traduus Vand or "Alien Pleasures," is largely a Vondemi idea- and one that has gradually crept into Orion culture at large (the Kolari would claim infected). Orions are, by and large, an ethnocentric species. Their history and culture existed for longer periods of time than most. They don't bow to new alien ideas often. But Traduus Vand suggests that alien cultures- and people- do have something to teach the Orions.
Traduus Vand is often boiled down to being xenophilia- sexual attraction to the alien. The powers of entropy and ennui in Orion culture are seeing to it that Traduus Vand will likely be consigned to that. But the intent of Traduus Vand is to be somewhat open to the alien experience. Most Orions view it as a "hopeless Vondemi idea," that may have the occasional truth- but based on individuals, not a broad sense. The Kolari view Traduus Vand as a fetish and one tainted by Vondem's historical openness.
Cognitive Dissonance About Sex
Cognitive dissonance- the state of being able to hold opposing values as both true- defines modern Traduus Vand. Orions are a superior race with an ancient and proud culture, loyal to the death to their Caj and viewing most aliens as naive, quaint, or just stupid. Yet, sex with them is generally acceptable (though not usually preferable). This was not always true and had its roots as a functional tool for dealing with others.
A failing of the larger galactic community to understand has further eroded some of the old Kolari traditions still held after the collapse of the last Thakolarivaj. That failing is the broad brush depiction of Orions being oversexed, sybaritic pleasure-seekers. Like Rome, this sense of decadence is seen by many in power as morally corrosive but few are listening anymore. The fact is, Orions are not known for their culture or history so much as their hedonism.
Like Deltans, Orions consider themselves a sexually advanced, mature race. They generally view most others as immature and naive. Unlike the Deltans, Orions never attempted a full-on ban or act of celibacy among aliens- that would be too heavy-handed and state-minded among the notoriously libertarian Orions.
Exhibition as a Diplomatic Tool
Kurosawa & Spaghetti Westerns
Human culture somewhat endeared itself to the Orions early on. Orions have a fondness for Kurosawa's samurai films and the "spaghetti westerns" of early Hollywood. Some Orions extend an interest to the various pieces in the Film Noir genre.
The Orions cannot purchase Meridor from the Gorn directly but must do so through either the Flaxians, Tellarites or Klingons. It is one of the favorite alien drinks among Orions, though still a rare commodity.
The Rules of Acquisition
Many Orions are amused by the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition, sensing a somewhat kindred spirit in matters of enterprise. Orions treat it as not so much a go-to business practice (though many see them as sound), but as a novelty. They have a fondness for some of the ironies within such as Rule of Acquisition #69: "Ferengi are not responsible for the stupidity of other races;" Put in context, that mirrors Orion thinking.
The Dark Side of Xo-I
Slavery as Protectionism
Orion Animism and Mysticism
Today, less than ten percent of the Orion species faithfully adheres to any sect of the various Orion religions. Orions have become a secular- if somewhat superstitious- people. Cluros has supplanted spirituality as the dominant, driving force for civility among Orions. Orion religion was in decline by the time of the second Thakolarivaj.