The planet Orion was once a highly advanced civilization. The culture reached the same heights that the United Federation of Planets enjoys today. The society then rotted from within with the rise of the criminal cartels and their powerful influence. The need for narcotics, black market goods and prostitution, coupled with the social acceptance of these things as the norm, helped combine to topple the government in an invisible coup. The Orion Syndicate took over the running of the planet and its satellite colonies as its own shadow empire, with the President and government of Orion as the legitimate, public face of the Syndicate. The quest for the Orion government for neutrality and denial of involvement in the pirate oprations of the Orion Syndicate was a smokescreen to cover for the operations of the cartels. The sheer wealth of the Orion Syndicate, combined with their influence across all borders, has given them an almost unparalleled power and influence to transport their goods and trades to anyone and anywhere they want. With the fall of the Neutral Zone and the troubles in the Klingon Empire since Praxis, the Orion Syndicate finally has access to what Starfleet and the Federation Council dreaded all along: Klingon mercenaries and black market weapons. This allows Bird of Prey traders and heavies to protect the Orion operations. This is an entirely different problem for the Federation and Starfleet.
Orion and Orion III are the two main worlds in the Orion system. Orions were encountered early on the in the expansionof the fledgling Earth Starfleet. Orion is in the ring that is the first colonial expansion from Earth. Worlds like Pollux, Coridan, Tellun (Elas and Troyius), and Deneva are nearby, along with the vast Starbase 12 complex. Located spinward of the Delphic Expanse and Borderland 'Wild West' region, the Orion Syndicate soon exploited the early colonies and lawless neutral regions to establish a presence at all levels. The proximity to Starbase 12 allowed Starfleet to have a counter-presence to the Orion pirating operations from the beginning. What was also realised was that the Orion Syndicates would do their best to compromise the Starbase and operations. Starfleet Security, Starfleet Intelligence and Section 31 have always had a strong presence at Starbase 12 to deter such infiltration.
This is the Inside War that has gone on from before the formation of the Federation up to today. With the Orion system located near the heart of the Federation, it is in a position of neutrality that can't be deterred by a neutral zone or military force. The Orion government is a legitimate body with a functional society with a university with a strong reputation and plenty of leisure resort destinations. The Orion Syndicate, the smuggling, trafficking, narcotics, gambling and prostitution are all the darker underbelly of the Orion civilisation. This is a functioning narco-state with a puppet-President and corruption running through all state organs including the police and military. Whilst the Orion government insists their freighters are all legitimate and that the drug barons are all under pressure, the truth is non of that is true. The Syndicate sends millions of tonnes of drugs and contraband out by freighters and merchantman ships every day.
Orion. A neutral planet. A hub for the transportation of freight for the Federation, Klingon Empire and many other nations, since the days of the Earth Starfleet. Used as a staging post for the logistical supply chain to grow the colonies of Earth. The then-unknown Orion Syndicate used this logistical bloodstream to spread and grow their organisation; they seeded their operations into the fledgling Earth - and later Federation - colonies. The freight distribution facilities on Orion are vast, automated and have only a small number of Orions that maintain equipment, fix faults, and provide security. The ready availability of this vast distribution hub made it the go-to place for Starfleet, the Klingons and many other nations for trade and transferrance. The neutrality of Orion has served it well to allow freighters from ALL nations to use their port. It also serves the Orion Syndicate equally as well. They've been sown into the fabric of the Federation, right from the very start.
The Orion nation, like the Klingons, Vulcans etc. needs to avoid becoming a homogenous one-role people. The Syndicate is a criminal organisation like the Russian Mafia. Like the mafia, it's not the defining trait of the Russian people. The Orions have one of the most extensive cargo distribution facilities in the Alpha or Beta Quadrants. Like Felixstowe, Shanghai, Dubai, Dalian, Los Angeles or other itermodal container ports around the World, Orion has a vast continental-sized complex of automated container transports and transporters. The lean-manned port has enough Orions, in their utilitaian branded jumpsuits, to tamper with the containers on the behalf of the Syndicate. Given the millions - or billions - of containers that are transferred ever hour of ever day, it's impossible to track the contents of every single item in every container. I wanted to give the Orions a reason to be the main freight artery from Earth to Orion and then onto the Rigel colonies and Deneva. The Star Trek Star Charts book by Geoffrey Mandel shows Orion to be this direct freight route. If all they were was pirates and the Syndicate then the Federation would never use the system and blockade them. Instead it's this indispensible freight distribution hub through which pretty much ALL freight comes through - more then likely as they have a giant port which means the other planets can be developed for colonists etc. It makes for a species that's not homogenous and can actually have members that join Starfleet (like in the Star Trek movie in 2009) and not just be the villain of the week.
The Syndicate princes have their own space yachts that are as impressive in size as they are facilities. The yachts are the size of light cruisers with all of the luxuries of a much larger pleasure cruiser; except this is all for one or two individuals to enjoy as they're pampered by their crew as they run their Syndicate operations. The yachts are as fast as Excelsior and have the firepower of a Miranda class starship. The Orion Syndicate has a strong presence in the Rigel colonies and Deneva, as well as the myriad backwater colonies that were set up in haste in the early days of Earth Starfleet expansion that have now exhausted their dilithium and other minerals. The Syndicate is the ultimate opportunist for a downturn in fortune.
Orions are green-skinned cartel traders. Shades of green vary from pale green to olive to darker shades of emerald. They are honourable as far as a trade deal goes, unless there is a bigger deal to be made. Orion males tend to have body piercings and bolts screwed into their heads as decoration. The Orion Merchant prince tends to dominate the blackmarket trading in an area, with the rivals usually being `persuaded` to move on or simply vanish. In Orion society the males are slaves to the females. As a means of deception to other species, however, the Orions maintain the facade that the females are the slaves. This is commonly done by selling Orion females on the Orion slave market. Once sold to a male, the Orion slave girls use their unique physiology to their advantage; their highly potent pheromones accelerates the metabolisms of males of many species, raising adrenaline production to dangerous levels which causes aggression and ultimately a form of delusion. Its most significant effect is to make them susceptible to suggestion. Not long after, the "owner" males begin taking orders from their "slave" females. Human females react negatively to those same pheromones, experiencing headaches and Denobulan males find their sleep cycles interrupted by them. However, Vulcans are immune to effects of the pheromones. The pheromones effects are cumulative, the longer exposed the more pronounced the results are.
In modern history, the Orion Syndicate has increased its presence from traders and black marketeers to piracy and now insurgency into Federation society and government structures. Historically the Orions were addressed with patrol ships and occasional encounters with Pike, Kirk and other captains of explorer starships. The issue, like the Mexican-US border, has now increased to the point where Starfleet has to allocate a sizable amount of available resources to address the issue. By 2312, with the Klingon Houses now ensnared by the Orion shadow empire, Starfleet has increased their Borderland task group to include an Ascension class light dreadnought flagship, an Athabasca class assault ship, Lexington class command cruiser, Belknap class cruisers, Akula class escorts and an abundance of Okinawa class frigates. All of these are supplied with information from Monitoring stations, probes, drones, along with Antares class AWACS, Endurance class, Trista, Kestrel and Phantom class ships. The truth simply is that the Orions can cross into Federation space and hide amongst the vast numbers of legitimate traders, merchantmen and freighters. There aren't enough starships to follow up every incursion and lead.
An example is the colony of Asimia IV, which was a major dilithium colony in the 22nd and 23rd Centuries. It was a part of the Great Dilithium Rush and helped to build Earth Starfleet from the ground up and establish colonies out into the Alpha and Beta Quadrants. The dilithium was exploited with no big concern for the environment in this planet that was largely untouched forests and oceans. The dilithium has now largely run out, reducing this colony to a Federation backwater and a place where the children and young adults feel there is no future beyond building towns and families. The Orions make this backwater feel important again, redirect supplies their way and provide the entertainment and excitement that the younger people seek. It allows the Orion Syndicate to have a world in which they can launder their finances and blackmarket trades; it's a stopping off point before taking their trade deeper into the Federation. The loss of status of a world or nation is an opportunity for the Orion Syndicate.
Rear Admiral Chan, onboard the Ascension class light dreadnought Tai Shan (NCC-2524) in charge of the Borderland Task Group, had this to say about the Orions. She said that the Klingons have been exagerrated into the primary threat over the decades, that they would come over the Federation border like the Red Army over the West German one was feared in the 1950s and 60s. The truth is that the Klingon incursions over he years have been minimal. The Orions, by comparison, are not a brutal battle fleet waiting to invade over the border; that would be straightforward to address with Starfleet sending dreadnoughts, carriers, cruiers and escorts to repel the invaders. The Orion Syndicate is an insidious existential threat to the United Federation of Planets. The Federation offers the dream, the dream of freedom and to explore and be who you want to be. Except don't do that as it's bad for you. Don't do that as it's morally corrupt or wrong; the Federation freedoms come with rules and guidelines. The Orions sell a different kind of freedom: TOTAL freedom. You want to try drugs? sure. Get a mind-bending experience only Vulcans, Deltans, Betazoids and Aenar enjoy. You want to gamble? okay. You want to have your own slave? no problem. Want that belonging that you can't replicate or get anywhere? we'll get it for you. Want sex with a prostitute of the best calibre? Absolutely. The Orion Syndicate offers anything for the right price. There are no moral or ethical limitations. For a rebellious teen or young adult, this is the total freedom and exciting limitless potential that they crave for lifetime experiences.
This model of criminality works. It worked on Orion, toppling their govenment for a criminal syndicate. It uses legitimate traders and freighters on the main trade routes to transport anything they want. And there's no realistic way of policing every single merchant or freighter that treverses Federation space. There are 8000 Starfleet ships against milions of freighters; it's impossible odds. The United Federation of Planets will have to work hard to sell their vision of freedom, peace, liberty and justice - and most importantly morality. Meanwhile Starfleet must do its best to secure the frontier with the Borderland region and do random stop, scan and search to police the goods coming into and out of the Federation.
Orions are all about business. Business with no rules and no limits. Business is about building up a trade relationship and from this relationship building up influence and more business connections and so on. The orion Syndicate is an etherial construct, it doesn't exist in terms of a map on a wall, but it is more a shadow empire which covers the political speres of many other races. Orions travel across borders and go wherever there are business deals to be made.
Orions trade in any goods: drugs, slaves, weapons, food, gas and brides. Whatever trade makes the business deal, the Orions will trade in it. This is why the Orions are policed upon so heavily by the [by comparison] rules-laden Federation. Orions are often described in terms of being "Pirates", whereas actually the Orions are merely engaging in obtaining the goods that their customer wants to have. The fact that somebody already claims to possess the object is of no concern to an Orion.
I had to think what the difference between Ferengi and Orions is. Well, firstly at this juncture in time we haven't met the ferengi [I'm ignoring the appearance in Enterprise as we 'don't know' about it being Ferengi]. Secondly both races seem to trade, so what is the difference?
The simple answer I came up with is that whilst the Ferengi are the capitalist profit-makers of Star Trek, Orions are more the blackmarketeers of Star Trek. No ethics, no qualms about what they trade, an orion will trade to gain morer trade and make more connections. Whereas a Ferengi wont trade if theres no profit, an Orion will trade if theer will be favours in return which will benefit their future enterprises.
Orions have no ethics on trade, they are the CD and movie downloaders of Star Trek, they are the bloke in the pub with the watches off the back of a lorry. Stolen goods is simply goods acquired through other means. Whilst the Ferengi aspire to buy their own moon, the Orions aspire to build a shadow empire of trade and deals.
Orions are the merchant princes of the universe, trading to gain power and influence in the area. This is the frontier of the Federation and a little beyond that, and if the Orions can gain influence then that will aid them double - foiling Federation expansion whilst gaining the Orions another bolthole.
Watch out for Orion influences, you just don't know how far it may have reached...
Orions arrived on the colony of Nimbus III in the years before the Galactic Planet of Peace was ever established as such. The Orions saw an opportunity to exploit the resources of the planet and gain a foothold on the world. Business means influence and influence brings power and empire.
Welcome to the Venus Club - a newer, much larger, version of the bar which was the central feature in Paradise City, Nimbus III. Run by an Orion merchant prince - Vikstaad Jaanz - the club provides multiple floors of gambling, drinking and assorted other entertainments. Orion slave girls lurk around the site as well - there are always two flanking Vikstaad.
On the surface the club presents a very respectable facad, with burly alien bouncers on the door ready to repel any uninvited guests or drunks. Jaanz also encourages a relaxed atmosphere with no uniforms - one wonders if this is because he doesn't want security sniffing around his business.
Whenever visiting Nimbus III, this is the place to come to enjoy yourself - if you have the credits, it's also a place to make deals and find that elusive something you are looking for...
Gambling machines jingle, credits change hands, music blars with exotic dancers, whilst there are always quiet tables for quiet chats too...
As Quark showed in DS9 by applying to join the Orion Syndicate, the Orions are something the Ferengi aspire to be....The tattoos and markings on the males could be similar to the gang markings on Yakuza and Russian Mafia members, signifying allegiance to a specific syndicate or clan. Orion females come with red, black green and blue hair – the latter an addition from myself as a complimentary colour to their skin. Orion males are bald; whether by tradition or genetics. Orions seem to have phenotypes matching extremes of hormones – the males like high testosterone with aggression, baldness and muscular build and the females with high drives, pheromones and physical characteristics for attracting a mate. S’sana, a hybrid Orion-Romulan was never in the Syndicate, although evidence suggests her mother S’zama works with Vikstaad Jaanz.
D'Nesh, Devna, Harrad-Sar, Maras, Marta, Navaar, S'sana, S'zama, Vikstaad-Jaanz.