Physiology and Society
Orions are distinctively known for their green skin. Orion males are typically bald, and on average, are taller and more muscular than an average Human male. Orion females are very animal-like in nature, known for their extreme appetites and their innate skills. The Human male can rarely resist the seductive dance of the Orion slave girl. (TOS: "The Menagerie, Part II) It is also not uncommon to find Orion females sold on the Orion slave market. (ENT: "Borderland", TOS: "The Cage")
The planet Orion was once a highly advanced civilization whose history has drawn great interest from Federation historians and archaeologists alike.
During the mid-23rd Century noted Federation archaeologist, Doctor Roger Korby, translated medical records from the Orion ruins that helped revolutionize modern immunization techniques and became required reading at Starfleet Academy. (TOS: "What Are Little Girls Made Of?")
In 2269, through the assistance of the Guardian of Forever, Starfleet officers Captain Kirk, Commander Spock and historian Lieutenant Erikson traveled to the dawn of the Orion's civilization to view the planets history unfold firsthand. (TAS: "Yesteryear")
Little is known about the organization of the Orion government, or if indeed, a central government exists. Moreover it still has to be clarified in what relationship a possible Orion government stands to the Orion Syndicate, which, by the 24th century, merely seems to be a criminal organization without political corporation. (DS9: "Honor Among Thieves", "Prodigal Daughter")
Prior to 2270, the Orions had carefully maintained an air of neutrality, especially while operating in and around Federation space. This, however, has proven to be more of a guise than a reality, and was often used as an effort to cover their usually shady operations. Nevertheless, Orion's official position of neutrality comes before ship and crew, as all unsuccessful Orion missions end in suicide. Orions would keep that rationale in good conscience, as they would otherwise fall subject to Federation retaliation, if they were to lose their neutrality. (TOS: "Journey to Babel", TAS: "The Pirates of Orion")
Despite the rich cultural history of Orion and outside of their "official" stance of neutrality, a dark side of the Orion culture exists in their active trafficking of forced labor through the Orion slave markets, especially their slave girls. Verex III and the Orion colony were well-known trade centers during the 22nd and 23rd centuries. (ENT: "Borderland"; TOS: "The Cage")
The primary entity operating within these confines were known as the Orion Syndicate, which was comprised of a conglomeration of traders, pirates and smugglers. These individuals were also well known for their many illegal operations outside of the slave trade including: raids, thefts, kidnappings and assassinations.
A secondary entity operating within the Orion realm was known as the Orion Free Traders. The Orion Free Traders had a partially established relationship with the Vulcans during the late-24th Century. (DS9: "Call to Arms")
Orion territory is located adjacent to both the Federation and the Klingon Empire. The region of space, which separates the Orion Syndicate from the Klingon Empire, is known as the "Borderland". During the 22nd Century, this volatile region of space attracted the most dangerous elements from both sides. (ENT: "Borderland")
First Contact with Humans
The first known Orion contact with Humans was made with Arik Soong in the 2130s. Soong established a relationship with the Orion Syndicate in order to acquire certain goods and equipment he, and his Augments, needed to survive. (ENT: "Borderland")
In 2154, the Earth starship Enterprise would inadvertently make contact with Orion pirates when they encountered a number of Orion Interceptors, which kidnapped nine of Enterprise's crew. The crew was fortunately recovered from the Orion processing station on Verex III, where they had been taken. (ENT: "Borderland") The Orion practice of kidnapping people would continue well into the 24th Century. During the 2360s, nearly half the population of a small village on Brinda V vanished by what was determined to be Orion traders. These traders transported the inhabitants off of the planet to work as forced laborers in their mining camps. (DS9: "Shadowplay")
Against the Babel Conference
Throughout the mid-2260s, Orion smugglers had been actively raiding dilithium from the Coridan system. The Babel Conference, a prelude to Coridan's admission into the Federation, jeopardized future raids, as Coridan would then become subject to Federation law.
Among the delegates was an Orion spy, Thelev, who in association with an attacking Orion vessel made a futile attempt to prevent the Conference by destroying the USS Enterprise. Had their attack on Starfleet been successful they would have instigated mutual suspicion and possibly interplanetary war. Had war broke out; they would have cleaned up supplying dilithium to both sides while continuing to raid Coridan. (TOS: "Journey to Babel")
Loss of Neutrality
Orion's neutrality remained in dispute ever since the Coridan planets affair and the Babel Conference of stardate 3850.3. This would once again be brought to light in 2270 when an Orion pirate ship attacked and raided the USS Huron of its cargo of dilithium and a shipment of strobolin intended for transfer to the USS Enterprise. The Enterprise is able to track the Orion ship to an asteroid field. Initially, they are attacked by, and are then later accused of harassing the Orions, who then threaten to file a formal protest with the Federation. However, the Enterprise is able to detect the dilithium in the Orion ships hold. Kirk submits to the Orions that he will allow them to keep the dilithium if they will return the strobolin, and will make no mention of the encounter in his log. The Orions do not trust Kirk, and suggest a nearby asteroid to hand over the drug. As an attempt to protect their neutrality, the Orions plot to destroy themselves and the Enterprise during the exchange. Their plot fails and the Orion ship and crew is captured further jeopardizing the future of Orions neutrality. (TAS: "The Pirates of Orion")
- Despite being one of the first alien races encountered in Star Trek, very little is known about the Orion race. Virtually no information follows TAS, leaving the rest to speculation. One might surmise that following the loss of Orions official neutrality the Orion Syndicate would function as the pseudo-Orion government throughout the 24th Century. One indication of this may be explained by the numerous Syndicate references throughout the course of DS9.
See: Orion Syndicate