- There are several contradictory accounts of Orion history, with the most complete versions presented in the FASA RPG and in the Last Unicorn/Decipher RPGs, with other components appearing in various novel sources. These are presented in separate sections below for clarity, and merged only in the 21st century and beyond.
Orion records were a significant historical resource, with a huge volume of data and a wide variety of different media. But incredibly little of it was reliable, being rife subjective views, rampant falsification, and lazy scholarship. Orion historians and artists primarily presented the patrons' views, whether that of a family, a planet, or a business. For their side, victories in war and business were exaggerated, as were those of their foes, while defeats were downplayed or left out altogether. Accounts by the defeated were often destroyed to avoid contradiction with those of the victors. Some events were more myth and legend than history, with heroes and historical figures usually only partially detailed. Only the great Nallin the Unconquerable remained largely intact, but exploits alongside family ancestors were invented around him and reclaimed by later families.
Other histories were sanitized or designed to attack their enemies. The dirty little secrets of Orion history were also swept under the rug, if not totally erased. A case in point was the Dispossession, which saw the deliberate and widespread purge of all history that related to Grey Orions, including of the Dispossession itself.
The records themselves were difficult to obtain without sufficient bribery of the appropriate officials, and often needed to be studied under trying circumstances without the ability to determine authenticity. The more secret or more factual knowledge was even harder to find, depending on lucky discoveries of full and accurate records, intact archaeology, or a long and tedious compilation of pieces of knowledge from a wide range of sources. However, despite these problems, there were so many sources for Orion history it was possible for historians to construct a reasonably balanced chronology, albeit with many holes.
Through the Guardian of Forever on the Time Planet, a research team consisting of Captain James T. Kirk, Commander Spock, and Lieutenant Ted Erickson of Starfleet, and historians Grey and Loom Aleek-Om, visited the dawn of Orion civilization in 2269.
Studies of ruins in the Rigel system were inconclusive on the issue of Orion history and origins. Some believed that the famous ruins on Rigel VII were actually Debrune sites (and tied into the Vulcanoid Rigelians), while others held that they represented primordial Orion culture.
Doctor Roger Korby's translations of Orion medical databases recovered from Orion ruins revolutionized immunization techniques, and became standard reading for xenobiologists and archaeologists, and at Starfleet Academy.
Dvoriv B'bargalah, a historian of Tellar, wrote Title to the Truth: Orion Historiography and Its Ownership, a bibliography of the borrowed legends surrounding Nallin the Unconquerable.
The Rise of the Orions
- "Orion history is a prime example of why we need a Prime Directive to protect everybody." — Dr Thelanius Richter
Millennia of tumultuous history erased nearly all evidence of Orion prehistory. On this topic, ancient writings referenced the lost book The Origin of People, which discussed the possibility that Orions were planted on Botchok (Rigel VIII) by aliens. Corroborating this was difficult, as the clues were old and unreliable, and the same era included myth and legend about the Orion gods. Only the Rigellian records held the truth, and they were kept secret.
Around 998,000 BC (reference stardate −10,000/00), the Masters of Rigel seeded Rigel VIII with life, new and promising forms intended to evolve over a million years into an intelligent species capable of space-flight and revering the long-dead Masters as gods.
- It is implied that this species became Orions. The time-scale is approximately correct, with Orions appearing 980,000 years later. However, their later appearance was a surprise, with no sign of sentient life previously detected.
Around 38,000 BC (stardate −400/00), the Preservers visited Rigel to trade. Later speculation posited that they were responsible for placing Orions on Botchok, who appeared around the time that the Preservers disappeared. However, the evidence was circumstantial, with no specific signs of the Preservers on Botchok.
It was difficult to determine exactly when Orions first appeared on Botchok, but it was no earlier than 19,000 BC. The first known appearance of the Orion species dated to around 18,000 BC (stardate −200/00), during the Third Interregnum. No sentient life had ever previously been recorded on Botchok, a planet that many spacefaring races had visited and explored. Thus it was a surprise when primitive Orions—wielding no more than clubs and stones and barely into their Neolithic Age—attacked a Yugai colony, first bringing them to the notice of the many races frequenting the Rigel system. The Yugai repulsed the attack easily with their superior technology, destroyed the attackers' village, and forgot about them. Subsequent settlement plans took the Orion tribes into account, though they were only a minor nuisance to advanced aliens.
The alien races that settled Botchok soon came to appreciate the value of the Orions as slaves, however. The Orions, though traditionally robust and ingenious warriors, easily took to agricultural tasks. They were difficult to capture alive and tame, but once broken, Orion slaves were quite useful. Over time, the primitive tribes of Orions came to accept slavery. Some tribes captured other Orions to trade with the settlers, and on occasion, Orions even offered themselves as slaves. The value of Orion slaves was such that the Sugg soon began to export them offworld.
On 15th July 17,273 BC (stardate −192/7307.15), Muark Tan, a Glath starship captain, brought to the Rigellians of Rigel IV evidence of the Orions, including photographs, tools, weapons, clothing, and three live specimens. It was too late for the Rigellians to undo the interference, and Orion slaves were already valuable on the open market. The Rigellians never traded in Orions, inspiring a deep and reverential awe in them.
Other races soon began to raid Botchok for slaves, preferring to take already trained and broken Orions from settlements, rather than the wild. The Sugg armed their slaves with slug-throwers and other low-tech weapons, considering them their own best defense against raiders—Orion slaves fought to prevent themselves from being torn away from families and homes, but were too valuable for slavers to shoot. The arming of the Orions escalated, and soon the aliens were using Orions as slavers to capture other Orions and other peoples, and as slave-warriors. By 16,000 BC (stardate −180/00), the Orion slave trade was well established, and Orion slave-warriors had spread to many worlds.
Beginning of the Orion Era
By around 15,900 BC, Orions were so well armed that local races feared that Orion barbarians would overrun their worlds. The Orion-slaving races convened on the planet Kammzdast to discuss the matter, and in 15,956 BC (stardate −179/56), they signed the Treaty of Kammzdast. (Modern historians considered this date the beginning of the Orion Era.) It placed restrictions on the use of Orion slaves: regulating technology given to them; allowing them to be transported out of Rigel only for regular work; forbidding them from holding weapons outside the Rigel system; limiting mercenaries and slave-warriors; and permitting them to engage in combat only on the "unsettled" Rigel worlds, including Botchok itself. Though this was of great benefit to the signatory races—local space was kept in a relatively peaceful state for over ten thousand years—Botchok became a battlefield for the masters of the Orions, being the only legal place to wage a war, using Orion slave-soldiers.
They arbitrarily divided the Orions into territories and nations, each controlled by an alien faction, and used them against one another. In actuality, proxy warfare on Botchok was not as common as had been intended, nor continual, as disputants often did not have adjacent holdings on the planet, but it was immensely destructive. Occasionally, the aliens rebuilt what was left to preserve resources. More often, diplomats and generals had to negotiate with third parties just to make a battle possible. Watchful Orion servants and translators accompanied them, learning and sharing only with each other.
The Orion slave-warriors revolted against the disarmament, on Botchok and elsewhere, and resented their demotion. Because few of the slave-holding races had the capacity to continuously police their slaves, they began educating them instead so that they could be used in less militaristic capacities. The First Rigel Conference met in 15,839 BC (stardate −178/39) to relax restrictions in the Treaty of Kammzdast, granting more training and technology. The number of revolts slowly decreased, but the alien schools gave the Orions new perspectives, as they learned the languages, cultures, and weaknesses of their captors, and a hope to be independent of their masters began to arise. Some educated Orions revolted, but their ignorance of government and diplomacy meant that most efforts were short-lived. Realizing that they would have to be more than barbarians before they could gain their freedom, the Orions ceased their attempts at revolution, but did not surrender their hope.
The alien masters developed a hierarchy of the three Orion subraces. The more manageable Ruddy Orions were on top and acted as overseers and intermediaries. The Grey Orions, somewhat insubordinate, sat slightly below and handled machines and scientific and technical work. Finally, the Green Orions lay at the bottom, performed manual labor, and fought the battles. This pattern would continue through much of Orion history.
With peace brought to the Rigel system by the Treaty, the slave-owning races began to settle, especially on Botchok itself. The settlers even built cities for their slaves, to facilitate the industries of educating them; the Orions were also easier to keep under control in a civilized, urban setting. The Orions were taught to respect and obey their masters from birth. However, as their level of education increased, so did their yearning for freedom, and they learned to pretend be something they were not.
The 13th Rigel Conference, in 13,781 BC (stardate −157/81), granted the Orions more technology and relaxed rules on the transport and housing of slaves, allowing them to be shipped to more planets. Successive Conferences over the millennia gathered to adjust the Treaty of Kammzdast and deal with the Orions. Alterations were always small and grudging, without ever relinquishing any actual power to the Orions. However, it gave the Orions the tools to influence their own slavery and eventually end it. They, and the Treaty, would outlast almost all of the original signing races, even as new signatory races arose. Over time, the Orions came to be quite civilized, even prosperous, and for their trustworthy servitude, their masters granted them much of whatever they required. They earned technological knowhow, increased education, and other little freedoms 
The Atom War, the Long Winter, and the First Stage
The 21st Rigel Conference, held in 12,327 BC (stardate −143/27), went so far as to grant the Orions nuclear technology. The Orions had learned that nuclear war was an excellent deterrent, and by constructing nuclear weapons of their own, they believed they could reduce or even eliminate warfare on Botchok.
But upon completion of their nuclear arsenal, the Orions delivered an ultimatum to their masters, ordering them to leave the Rigel system or be destroyed. After secret meetings, their masters responded by detonating their own nuclear weapons on Botchok in the brief and apocalyptic Atom War, on 12th September, 12,237 BC (stardate −142/3709.12). The Orions were disposable; the masters reasoned that they could do without Botchok for a generation, as there were still plenty of Orion slaves offworld to replenish stocks. The Treaty of Kammzdast was modified to restrict travel to Botchok, temporarily suspend proxy warfare, and place stronger restrictions on Orion access to nuclear and other forms of technology, though it also prohibited such excessive reactions in future.
Then the masters waited for the planet to recover. The Long Winter lasted twenty years, but Botchok's ecosystem took five thousand years to be repaired. Between the Atom War and the Long Winter, 80% of the Orions on Botchok died. It was another twenty-eight years before the 22nd Rigel Conference, in January 14,189 BC (stardate −141/8901), allowed the resettlement of Botchok. Offworld Orions, healthy and free from radiation damage, were forcibly taken back to their ancestral homeworld to repopulate it and repair the damage. Their accounts were compiled in the Book of Tears, in which outraged Orions vowed to never allow such an atrocity again, nor to be so cruelly used. They needed advanced technology but this was forbidden. Thus they determined to gain it any way they could, by invention, theft, or doing without. The Orions also had to convince the alien masters that they just did not need to be governed, but this would take extraordinary patience, restraint and long-term planning.
Three thousand years later, the Orions determined that Botchok's ecology was critically damaged, having never fully recovered from the Long Winter, and calculated that it would fail completely in another thousand years. The collapse would mean the end of Botchok and the extinction of the Orion slaves. At the time, there was heavier-than-normal fighting between Botchok's fifty-eight ruling cultures, inflicting greater damage to the world. Therefore, at minor negotiations during a truce in 9143 BC (stardate −111/43), representatives of the twelve largest Orion nations announced their findings. The masters were too busy warring to fix it, so the Orions proposed the Accord of Namazz (later appended to the 59th Rigel Conference), in which they volunteered to make repairs with their own labor, costs, and technology, and outlined a detailed plan for the project. The plan was approved; though a minor point to the master races, it was the first public responsibility allowed to the Orions, and their first taste of self-rule, all in an effort to save their homeworld. This re-terraforming effort, called the First Stage, concluded in 7730 BC (stardate −97/30).
The Era of Good Feeling
On 9050 BC (stardate −110/50), the Rigellians detained Talduk Sik, a Grey Orion, for studies and interviews. He was the first Orion examined by the Rigellians, who began to feel forebodings about them. The Grey Orions considered it to be an almost mystical experience, and some went on to think of the Rigellians as their "Makers".
In March 8486 BC (stardate −104/8603), the Orions on Sharu secretly diverted industrial resources for their own purposes, producing textiles, jewelry, and calculators. Though small and unimportant, this marked the first moment of Orion production of goods for their own use on an alien world. After this, around 8000 BC (stardate −100/00), the Orions began smuggling technology between Botchok and their colonies.
They also began to serve as unofficial crews aboard alien starships around this time, usually on big ships that were shorthanded, on distant space-routes, and on the quiet. They began as cargo loaders and watchstanders, with Grey Orion navigators and computer operators starting in 8191 BC (stardate −101/91), and Ruddy Orion crewmen following nearly a century later, bringing a reputation for reliability. In under five centuries, Orions were serving on most alien merchant starships. (The first official mention of Orion crews, however, did not come until 3587 BC (stardate −55/87)—on an insurance claim.) The prospect of Orions possessing warp drives frightened some of the master races, but it had not been considered in the Treaty, so an amendment was debated at the 42nd Rigel Conference. However, the move to ban Orion use of the warp drive was vetoed by races who believed that it would be too restricting on future trade.
In September 7901 BC (stardate −99/0109), the Orion Alliance was secretly formed on Botchok. They spread news and declarations by word of mouth, calling for every Orion and every Colony to master alien technologies so they could eventually liberate Botchok and abolishing the Treaty of Kammzdast.
The Bema revolt erupted in October 7822 BC (stardate −98/2210), when over 50,000 Orions protested their working conditions, which evolved into a demand for the liberation of all Orions and their homeworld. In an attempt to stop the revolt, Julin Hyrax the Brave volunteered his 3000 Grey Orions to the Magistrate of Bema, who refused in his distrust. Regardless, Julin led his unarmed force against the rebels, demanding their surrender. Only 22 survived the slaughter. For a time, Julin was revered as a martyr to a better future, and the Kammzdast signatories considered the act to be a positive change in Orion behavior.
This would be the last revolt for 5700 years, beginning the Era of Good Feeling of 7825 BC to 1508 BC (stardates −98/25 to −35/08). The Orions diminished their reputation as barbarians and built instead a reputation as loyal, honest, reliable, and trustworthy servants—a total lie. With this and their long history and experience in galactic affairs, they even became valued advisors. A report from around 5450 BC (stardate −74/50) commended the "loyal and hardworking Orions" for their "selfless service though in bondage". At that time, Orions were in service to 32 races, with colonies on 79 planets. Meanwhile, Orions earned the right to own their own enclaves and businesses and to (officially) serve on alien starships.
Orion influence in their own affairs continued to grow: for the first time, an Orion delegation was permitted to attend the 113th Rigel Conference in July 4712 BC (stardate −67/1207). Here, the Orions proposed rules for the proxy warfare system that would lower casualties and expenses without compromising their masters' authority or the excitement of battle.
In 2351 BC (stardate −43/51), Orion forces were used for offworld combat at the Battle of Lomatin IV, in contravention of the Treaty of Kammzdast. Botchok's governments protested and the master races involved were punished, but the practice continued discreetly.
The Orion Dawn
In 1508 BCE (reference stardate -35/0811), the event that became known as the Orion Dawn legend took place: two Orion spacers named Ombrey and Maark, who served as senior officers on a Buban freighter, organized an operation where they captured two trading vessels that they dubbed the Revenge and the Fate. hey were aided by the silence of the Rigellians, who knew everything. Unable to return to Botchok, these Orions took the ships to the Rigel BC system, where they established bases on the planets Rigel BC-I (Avali) and Rigel BC-II (Ugoan). They began to capture other ships to add to their fleet, gaining 200 merchant vessels in less than fifty years. This was the birth of Orion piracy.
Botchok and the Orion Colonies covertly supported the pirates in their efforts to make star travel available, but they were able to maintain appearances with their master races. The facade of proper behavior was convincing enough that in 1317 BCE (stardate -33/17), the Orions were permitted to launch vessels that they built and crewed entirely themselves, as long as they were unarmed merchant craft, from shipyards on Bema, Nilor, and Sharu. Around this time, thanks to Rigellian influence, the Orions also became involved in the Trade Halls of Rigel IV. After only a few decades, they were present in almost every Hall on the planet, and in two centuries, they made up the majority of the Rigellian Trade Authority's clerical workforce. The master races permitted this because of the increased riches it brought them - but not everyone was pleased with the growing Orion independence. In 891 BCE (stardate -28/9104), the 144th Rigel Conference deadlocked on the issue of Orion piracy, so the Orions pledged to police the Rigel system and support interstellar law enforcement, which was accepted with little debate. Following this, an anti-Orion pogrom was bloodily put down. Meanwhile, a secret emergency meeting of the Orion Alliance was split over the issue of piracy: the Gradualists (who proposed a gradual transition towards independence) felt that it hurt their cause independence, while the Militarists (who thought the Gradualist view impossible) claimed that a strong space force was vital.
Around 700 BCE, the Nine Worlds Confederation was formed, a conglomeration of the nine most powerful races operating near the Rigel system. The Nine Worlds believed that the Orions had been allowed to stretch the terms of the Treaty of Kammzdast too far, and they began enforcing them strictly. The Orions and Rigellians complained that efficiency had been severely reduced by the number of required inspections, but the opposition was faint, as the Nine Worlds were entirely within their legal rights. The Nine Worlds were especially concerned about Botchok's complicity in the supposed renegade pirate movement, especially after the Taunpymi Incident of 111 BCE (stardate -21/1105). Riots against Orions became increasingly common over time.
The Orion War & Independence
Having had success in curtailing Orion freedoms so far, the Nine Worlds called the 187th Rigel Conference on 14th July 95 BCE (stardate -20/9507.14), where they issued what became known as the Ultimatum of the Nine Worlds, a list of prohibitions that restricted Orions from participating in any commercial activities in or out of the Rigel system. The Orions, however, had known what was coming, and as soon as the resolution was announced, someone (history does not record who) cut off the Conference's link to the outside world. Minutes later, Orion troops seized all ships orbiting Rigel IV. All Orions knew that this was the time to act; their own legends indicate that it was the result of centuries of planning, but in actuality, their actions were spontaneous and unrehearsed (their propaganda also claimed that the Nine Worlds had acted in reckless haste, which was also untrue).
An Orion delegation arrived at the Conference (the first to which they had not been invited since the 113th), lead by the previously unknown Nallin Oplate, who presented a counter-ultimatum: all Orions should be granted their freedom or there would be war on all of the Nine Worlds. While the delegates at the Conference conferred, Nallin returned to Botchok with a contingent of rhadamanen from the Rigel Trade Halls and informed his people of the revolt.
Within a month (stardate -20/9508), the Orions had seized control of the planet and imprisoned their former overseers. With diplomacy, Nallin bound the divided nation-states together and created the Botchok Planetary Congress (BPC) to govern the newly independent world. Proxy warfare on Botchok was finally ended, and the troops began to ready to defend the planet. The Recall of the Pirates was issued to provide the planet with a space fleet.
Half of the Orion pirates had arrived at Rigel by the time a Nine Worlds fleet arrived on 3rd January 94 BCE (stardate -20/9401.03), presumably to investigate the silence from the Rigel Conference. The Battle of Botchok, which was just barely a victory for the Orions, became the opening conflict of the Orion War. True to Nallin's words, rebellion erupted on the Nine Worlds, and Orions everywhere risked their lives to sabotage and distract the enemy war effort. The war lasted for thirty-seven years, as the signatories to the Treaty of Kammzdast refused to surrender the valuable resource of Orion labor. But it came to an end in December 57 BCE (stardate -20/5712) with the Battle of Rhinate, when the Nine Worlds and the other Kammzdast signatories sued for peace. Of 58 participants, the Orions had defeated only 13 in open warfare.
Immediately following the cease-fire, on February 13th, 56 BCE (stardate -20/5602.13), Nallin issued the Declaration of Nallin, which declared Botchok a free world and denied the power of the Treaty of Kammzdast. It made all Orions free citizens, protected by the Botchok Planetary Congress. It also declared that the Orions would have no enemies and hold no grudges, for they wished to resume all of their pre-war trade relations. It would not be as easy as that, however, for the Orions had made enemies all across local space.
The New Days
A few years before the Orion War ended, the Botchok Planetary Congress debated the social organisation that they would adopt afterwards, and finally compiled and published the Codex Orion in April 61 BCE (stardate -20/6104), a compendium of the laws of their society. This heralded the Era of Lawbringing, wherein the rights of slaves were guaranteed, the behaviour of their owners was regulated, and Orion society was structured with the aim of lasting forever. Green Orion slaves remained as the hard-working bedrock of Orion society, in service to the two races of the Ruddy Orions and the Grey Orions, who could contract to each other, but were considered equal and never subservient to the other. This system would develop into complicated and many-varied forms.
After the Declaration of Nallin came the New Days, a time of cultural and spiritual regeneration for the newly freed Orion people. At this time, there were 21.35 billion Orions on 135 planets. It would not be an easy start however, for nearly 40 years of warfare had exhausted local space of everything bar animosity for Orions. Most cultures, including the Nine Worlds, found treating them as equals as loathsome, and took steps to embargo trade with them. The peace was filled with suspicion, and few dared admit how much their societies had relied on the Orions. Even where they were accepted, Orions were employed only in the worst jobs and unseen locations. The post-war period was filled with suspicion.
The BPC chose to avoid the embargo by conducting trade as inconspicuously as possible, hiring alien ships to quietly trade for them while Orion ships and crews visited only their own communities. Though equally impoverished by the war, they rebuilt with hard work, trade with what they had and underhanded dealings with their neighbours. Few wanted to appear worse-off than the Orions, so trade soon resumed as it had before the war. Modern Orion slavery began here, as Orion rhadamanen hired out Orion dubyaln, or 'contract-labourers', just as before the war. In 20 years, no visible trace of the war remained; in 50, there were only bitter memories and a much richer interstellar society.
The newly free and enriched Orion Colonies underwent an explosion of art and culture in every form, as their old folk traditions blossomed. A thousand-year-long golden age developed, which Orion culture of later centuries hearkened back to. They were determined to enjoy the fruits of their millennia of hard work, with luxury and wealth. Excess wealth and self-indulgence took its toll on the Nine Worlds and other worlds, until they became dependent on the Orion economy and finally absorbed into their culture. A few races withered away completely, and others were swallowed whole, living as if they were Orions and always had been. (A few of these races are the non-Green/Ruddy/Grey Orion races.) Orions proliferated and dominated on the worlds nearest Botchok.
For more than a century after the Orion War, the Orion Colonies had been preoccupied with recovery and preparation for the future. Only pirates and traders operated in the Outer Dark, largely as uncivilized adventurers; most Orions stayed close to home to seek wealth. It was only when population pressure increased that they began to develop new colonies in unknown areas of space. The first new colony since the war (Nallin founded one a few years after it ended) was established at Zonvan in the Outer Dark, in October of 623 CE (stardate -14/2310).
Not every colonization effort was successful, and not every world wanted a permanent Orion Colony in their midst. Pirates rode ahead of the wave, making things difficult for those following behind. It was only by the permission of their hosts that communities of Orions lived among alien populations many times their size, and existing Colonies had markedly better standards of living. The original Colonies carefully studied their intended sites for maximum survivability and sent out rhadamanen with the necessary funds to begin development. Colonial expansion was slow, and an existing Colony might mount an effort every two or three generations, longer if the last one had failed. But in time new ventures would be launched at the rate of one per year, and many worlds were colonized, abandoned, and re-colonized — some as many as 18 times.
This period, of a cultural golden age and colonial expansion, was not without problems however; a growing strength in the outer regions of Orion space had coincided with a weakening centralized government. In May 879 CE (stardate 12/7905), the Gaetano Region declared its independence from Botchok, triggering a war with the BPC. After hiring additional ships from the Anor, Guilpin and Sark Regions, a lack of funds forced an end to combat. No formal peace was ever made, and taxes arriving at Botchok trickled to a halt. Before 867 CE (stardate -12/67), all 15 of the outermost regions had effectively seceded from the BPC, which became increasingly chaotic while social conditions worsened across Orion space.
As the Orions spread across space and became more diverse, occasionally Colonies appeared which were inhabited solely by Ruddies and Greens, or Greys and Greens, or entirely of one race, with not a single member of the others. Social differences increased, as each sub-race wondered why they needed the other. While Ruddy/Grey cooperation had driven the growth of Orion civilisation, their racial friction drove its collapse. Meanwhile, low-class Greens grew restless, seeing their labour make the other races wealthy and powerful. The social differences became more marked.
By July 1037 CE (stardate -10/3707), Orion space was at its greatest extent, a full 150 parsecs in radius, fully half the distance from Rigel to Earth. By this time, 57.3 billion Orions lived on at least 972 planets, with a greater density close to Rigel and decreasing towards the Outer Dark. A colony was established at Talna III, only 31 parsecs from Earth. At least one Orion explorer ventured as far as Earth and Tellar, though leaving no trace but his ship's log.
Eventually the wave of colonial expansion slowed, halted and even began to contract, in a period known as The Reverse. The wealth and luxury made sponsors in Rigel increasingly discontented and covetous, and reluctant to fund extravagant expeditions. Minor disputes over tariffs and trade agreements escalated to full-scale corporate warfare, even near Rigel. After paying taxes to Rigel and getting little back in exchange, some Colonies formally broke off relations with Botchok and declared their independence, beginning with Gaetano in 879 CE. These rebellions had little real effect however, as the links between the Orion worlds depended on trade, which continued despite the political disturbances. Only a few nostalgic idealists begrudged this loss, but they were in the most powerful positions of authority.
Meanwhile, civil disorder began to spread from the lower classes to the middle classes. With their vast holdings, Orion governments became ponderous and ineffective, while local leaders were complacent or indifferent. Small uprisings grew to disrupt worldwide order. The technocratic Greys responded with cautious analysis, social theories and technological solutions. The arrogant Ruddies reacted with brutal repression. Each was generally ineffective, but while the civilization that enabled Grey Orion society collapsed, the Ruddies were better able to survive.
The Botchok Planetary Congress was unable to restore order or political power with harsh laws and military threat, and the ineffectiveness of these measures further weakened their authority. Finally, seeking more power and advocating extreme force to end the Colony disputes, several powerful families on Botchok successfully revolted and on March 21st, 1003 CE (stardate -10/0303.21), BPC President Boyor Ignatin assumed dictatorial powers, jailed his opponents and reorganized Orion government. Within a year he was crowned Emperor Boyor I, called Boyor the Righteous, and he issued his Demand for Unity to all the rebellious or seceded Colonies.
Dispatching the Orion Space Navy to bring these worlds back under control, this triggered the Fringe Wars. A total failure, this only wasted lives and resources and disrupted trade at the heart of Orion space, while filtering arms to the poor and otherwise powerless and ultimately accelerating the disintegration of Orion society. The Fringe Wars also saw many Grey Orion ruling families on the most distant planets wiped out, beginning the Dispossession of the Greys.
Boyor was assassinated in October 1062 CE (stardate -10/6210), and clan warfare and rioting spread to destroy the rest of his family line. The fearful BPC named Renat the Old as the next Emperor, but succession struggles continued for another 16 years. On March 7th, 1132 CE (stardate -9/5404.30), he created the Orion Provincial Senate, but most Colonies refused to send delegates. It lasted for only five sparse sessions. Renat died on April 30th, 1154 CE (stardate -9/3203.07), and his nephew Arnet the Thoughtful took the throne. He implemented reforms conceived by Renat.
- There appears to be an error in the chronology, in that Renat died and the massacre occurred in 1132 (reference stardate -9/3203.07) yet Renat created the Senate in 1154 (reference stardate -9/5404.30). This article reverses these dates for clarity. The dates still imply reign times of over a century, however, and life spans even longer.
Meanwhile, the Dispossession of the Grey Orions continued. A pattern emerged, wherein ruling Greys faced with revolution turned to Ruddy forces, either local or imported mercenaries, to solve their problems, by functioning as administrators, police and military forces - who then occupied Grey holdings in the name of 'military necessity' and 'temporary measures'. In time, they outright seized whatever they liked without excuses, and panicking Greys on stable worlds closer to Rigel sold off their possessions (businesses, lands and slaves) and fled, saving local Ruddies the effort.
Eventually, Grey Orions ceased to own any significant property or wield any power, and they were generally despised and blamed as the cause of the Reverse, even in places where they had not ruled, and even some Greys believed it. Massacres were numerous, and entire planetary populations of Grey Orions were slain in brutal purges, leaving 90% of all Grey Orions dead, the rest in hiding or as refugees.
In May 1220 CE (stardate -8/205), the BPC and Colonial representatives (all Ruddy Orions) met on Kammzdast in a special meeting to discuss the Grey Orion question, aiming to eliminate possible threat from them, now and in the future. They officially revised the Codex Orion to remove all mention of the Greys, and authorised the destruction of all historical material related to them, and banned all current and later mention of them as anything but technically skilled slaves. Even the Greys themselves were somehow 'cleansed' of offending material. In time, Orion history was erased or re-written to forget the Grey Orions, bar what books that memorised and kept alive via an oral history. This was the last act of the Dispossession.
The remaining Grey Orions survived the massacres by pleading for their lives and making themselves useful for their technical knowledge – and were held hostage and forced to work for a promise of freedom, or were permanently enslaved outright, and some lucky few were sheltered by sympathetic Ruddy Orions. These slaves circulated as spoils of war and pirate raid, purchase and trade.
Arnet abdicated on March 17th, 1288 CE (stardate -8/8803.17). This was part of his plan to restore the old Orion way of life, but he disappeared before nightfall and his family was rounded up and killed. The BPC restored order on Botchok and thereafter ignored the Colonies.
This was the time of the Three Emperors, and formed the peak of the three century long Reverse. These turbulent times destroyed Orion wealth and made expansion too costly and prone to failure. The furthest Colonies were beset by pirates and shunned by peaceable alien races, and could not maintain their former volume of trade. Colonies were abandoned more often than they were replaced or re-established, and others ceased to trade and left behind in the Outer Dark to manage on their own. The usually detailed Orion records all but disappeared, and only vague second-hand accounts survived.
After the pride and arrogance of the Three Emperors, a chastened BPC quietly shifted its focus from government to accounting. To restore economic order, the BPC created the Orion Registry, a census that listed all remaining Colonies together with their population, trade preferences and other useful business statistics and data. Compiling the first Registry was a major task that took several lives, but it proved useful and met with universal acceptance. The first issue, published in January 1301 CE (stardate -7/0101) (thereafter semi-regular at roughly ten-year intervals), showed a population of only 31.05 billion and falling on 507 worlds. With order restored, the decline slowed.
The year 1715 CE (stardate -3/15) finally saw a halt to the decline as the Orion population stabilized at 20.315 billion on 213 worlds. This heralded a brief century of cultural rebirth, with renewed interest in colonization, re-occupying lost and abandoned Colonies. A use was also found for the Grey Orion slaves, to restore the stagnant Orion technology, and they began to spread once more.
Fearing the Greys again, Ruddy Orion masters spent the next 150 years trying various methods of maintaining control, to keep them powerless but still useful. Imprisonment was not enough, and drug addiction reduced Grey skills and made the Ruddies dependent on their suppliers. Finally they decided upon genetic mutilation, a affliction of random weakness, deformities and handicaps that made them utterly dependent on their owners and only marginally less useful. It was permanent, incurable and cheap. To prevent the Greys from ever undoing the damage, a great deal of Orion medical knowledge was purged, leaving Orion medicine behind that of other races, and resulting in additional suffering for the other Orions.
By the late 16th century ("500 years or so" prior to the 2280s), the Orions returned to copying and forging the starship designs of other races. These imitations were useful to pirates, who could operate disguised as a freighter or explorer. This practice would continue on to the late 23rd century.
However, as Orion space had contracted in the Reverse, pirate numbers had increased, and the loss of order and trade had made them bold and desperate. The Registry had been equally valuable to them, as it showed prime targets to strike and places to avoid. Larger bands formed, to the scale of pirate fleets, and instead of lone ships, they began to raid entire Orion Colonies. The puny Colony defense forces could not guard every world.
This culminated in the devastating sacking of the Tellun system, led by the notorious Orion pirate Half-a-Man Sooris, beginning on 19th February, 1894 CE (stardate -2/9402.19), and lasting for weeks. His was the largest pirate fleet in history, outnumbering the Colony defenders, and many crews mutinied to return and defend their homes. The Orion Colony on Troyius, once one of their most productive worlds, was temporarily abandoned, and over 2.5 million people died, including 1.5 million Orions. Even after the pirates withdrew, the fear remained and the decline of Orion space resumed.
Finally, the 73rd Edition of the Orion Registry, published on September 8th 1916 CE (stardate -1/1609.08), reported the stabilisation of the contraction of Orion space. Now only 12.7 billion Orions survived on only 64 worlds, less than it was during the New Days, and most were only 20 parsecs from Rigel. Although many worlds had high Orion populations, only those closest to Rigel remained loosely federated and acknowledging the BPC, and trade and travel through Rigel was on the wane. Those worlds beyond 20 parsecs, in the Outer Dark and no longer in contact with Botchok, were not included in the Registry. They had been lost, forgotten and left to fend for themselves.
- From this point on, the reference stardate system used by FASA grows increasingly out of step with canonical and commonly-accepted histories presented in later sources, sometimes falling behind by 50-100 years, or advancing ahead. Previous dates above are also doubtful, but are unsupported by other sources. From this point on, the dates are left in the reference stardate system to avoid confusion and placed near related events in chronological order.
Last Unicorn / Decipher History
Though Orions claimed Rigel VII (Kolar) as their homeworld, the planet could not have existed in the Rigel system long enough for Orions to have evolved there. It was considered more likely that the Preservers or some other ancient culture had "seeded" them there.
Orion civilization first flourished in the Enala river valley on the continent of Evanaroi, circa 220,000 BC. Industrial development took off later in the Kotay Archipelago, with a shortage of labor but an excess of tidal and water power. Traditional Orion sources told how spacecraft were launched from the island of Rohay in approximately 203,000 BC, even while much of the rest of Rigel VII was still developing gunpowder rocketry.
Given the vast distances involved, their settlement and development of the Rigel system was slow, but slowly but surely Orion colonies were eventually planted on most its worlds. Orion astronauts reached Rigel XIII and studied the superstring over its south pole; with this knowledge they developed the warp drive a thousand years later. With this power, Orions spread out into interstellar space, at around the time that the Iconian civilization fell. They embarked on large-scale space exploration around 200,000 years ago, and became some of the first interstellar travelers in their part of the galaxy.
The Great Orion Empires
Following a long period of Orion piracy, colonization and interstellar disputes, Rigel VII and the Orion colonies were united in the Thakolarivaj, the "Great Orion Empire", under Nispavan I, the first Emperor Of All Space, in 200,993 BC. In this Empire’s time, Orions developed and perfected technologies that were beyond the understanding of Federation science in the 23rd century, and had only begun experimenting with in the late 24th century.
It lasted almost sixty thousand years, but the Great Orion Empire was ultimately destroyed by an unknown species employing robotic planet-killing craft from another galaxy. This empire became known as the First Orion Empire, as it rose and fell many times over the next 200,000 years. However, none of its successors could match its longevity or technological brilliance. Increasingly, the Orions saw conquest as unprofitable and found more potential and success in mercantile pursuits and piracy. Steadily, as the Emperors grew more degenerate, the caju, or merchant clans, rose to dominance in the Empire.
Approximately 35,000 years ago (prior to the 24th century), the Second Orion Empire was caught up in a lengthy conflict with the First Federation. Both states interfered with the progress of developing worlds.
The Thakolarivaj reached its greatest extent during the Fourth Orion Empire, greater even than the First and pushed deep into the Alpha Quadrant.
Another Orion Empire dominated most of the Orion Arm around 23,000 years ago. Archaeologists labeled it the Curved Rodinium Culture, but disagreed on whether this was the Seventh or the Eighth Orion Empire.
The Eighth Orion Empire saw Orion scientific progress become essentially static.
The Twelfth Orion Empire expanded into the Alpha Quadrant around 8000 BC. The oldest surviving caju could trace their lineage to this era. But the Twelfth, and last, Orion Empire fell in 5200 BC.
Reign of the Caju
After the collapse of the Twelfth Orion Empire, the caju felt that galactic conquest was best left to lesser species. They gave up on overt rule and settled in seek only a profit and live a life decadence. With these their only goals, Orion scientific progress finally came to a halt. Those Orions with ambition and prospects married into the caju and departed for the interstellar marketplace, leaving the homeworld to slide backwards. Nevertheless, the caju developed a trading network more extensive than even the largest of the Orion Empires. Some remnant of the Empires remained into the late 24th century in the form of the Vaj, simply the "Empire", a weak and internally divided nation-state of Rigel VII.
Following the Debrune conquest and settlement of Rigel V in 453 AD, the Orions were reluctant to share the Rigel system with the expansionist invaders. They armed the native Kaylar and supplied them with transportation to aid in their resistance against the Debrune (later the vulcanoid Rigelians. After a century of such warfare, the Rigelians had made sufficient gains and negotiated trade deals with the Orions, leading to stability on Rigel V.
In 1529, the Vegan Tyranny invaded the Rigel system and attacked Rigel VII, obliterating the last remnants of global technology and causing the world to fall into barbarism. The Vegans withdrew two centuries later, increasingly bankrupt and harassed, but Rigel VII had barely recovered by the 24th century.
- This section lists various other disconnected pieces of Orion history. These may or may not fit into either of the above or with each other.
The dawn of Orion civilization
Through the Guardian of Forever on the Time Planet, a research team consisting of Captain James T. Kirk, Commander Spock, and Lieutenant Ted Erickson of Starfleet, and historians Grey and Loom Aleek-Om, visited the dawn of Orion civilization in 2269.
They visited the ancient and barbaric early Empire of Orion (also called the Orionic Empire), though no-one knew what the clothing of the era was and Starfleet uniform and 23rd century Federation casual dress was expected to be conspicuous. Gold was the only currency. Kirk expected the trip to be fun and adventurous, and found it to be a whirlwind of colors, sights and sounds, as they explored the period for 2.5 days in local time. Their last visit was to a low-quality inn in a bazaar, near an auction of Orion slave girls.
The Dyson spheres
Early in Orion history, Orion pirates sometimes destroyed whole inhabited planets simply because they weren't economically viable. They would then use the fragments to construct Dyson spheres and then populate the vast area with slave labor.
Against the Inshai Compact
The Orion Congeries were suspected of placing an (alleged) sunkiller bomb in the star Sigma-1014 Orionis, causing it go nova and destroy the hearthworld of the Inshai Compact, which had been their rivals in trade and resisted their expansionist aims. The light from this nova would reach Vulcan and be seen as the da'Nikhirch, heralding the birth of Surak.
- The TOS novel: The Romulan Way places the birth of Surak in circa 67 BCE, while Decipher RPG module: Player's Guide places it in 279 CE to agree with Surak's 4th century life in ENT episode: "The Forge". Subtracting the distance in light-years between (the fictional) Sigma-1014 Orionis and 40 Eridani (Vulcan's sun) from either of these dates would give the true date of this event. Both novels imply forty-five years or less.
This destruction quickly led to the collapse of the Inshai Compact, along with its great power and restraining influence. The Orion Congeries swept in to begin their long-desired piracy, and war, famine, plague, and economic and social collapse swept the Compact worlds. Meanwhile, decentralized interstellar corporations of the Compact seized power, armed with planetcracker weapons, fighting over trade routes and sources of raw materials, blackmailing worlds into submission and destroying those who refused. Formerly peaceful Compact worlds, like Etosha, and depopulated ones, like Duthul, fell into this kind of piracy to survive. These worlds and corporations degenerated into the guilds and companies that were the direct ancestors of modern Orion pirates.
- In both sources, it is said that the Orion pirates evolved out of the Inshai Compact, but also that it was the Orion Congeries that attacked the Compact in the first place. Thus it is not clear what species were in the Orion Congeries, or if the Etoshans, the Duthulhiv and others were themselves Orions or some other race. They may be some of the non-Green Orion races seen in some sources.
Forty-five years after the da'Nikhirch, Duthulhiv pirates established communication with Vulcan, offering peaceful trade and cultural exchange, with a meeting to take place at Shikahr. This was a trap, and the pirates attacked and captured the gathered leaders of Vulcan to hold for ransom. The exorbitant ransoms were not paid, and the Vulcans drove out the alien invaders in a great war known as the Ahkh. The Vulcans later shot down or captured Etoshan pirate ships and learned from them their science, technology and star-maps.
- The TOS novel: The Romulan Way dates the Shikahr meeting to January 18-19, 22 BCE. This would correspond to circa 324 CE for the 4th century dating of Surak.
Against the Karsid Empire
In 1873 CE, the Karsid Empire initiated an infiltration and take-over attempt of Earth, by contacting the United States of America under President Grant. This was resisted by Congressman Aaron Stemple, and the plans delayed to 1877. In the interim, revolts began in the Orion systems and turned into a full-scale revolution. This affected Karsid outpost stations and shelved their plans for invading Earth, and contributed to the Karsid Empire's downfall.
The Orions of Rigel VIII were given the technology for interstellar travel by early Human explorers from Earth, prior to the introduction of the Prime Directive. They went on to colonize the two planets of Rigel's secondary system, and from there developed a pirate empire, built on the slave trade, particularly of Orion slave girls.
On reference stardate 0/14, the Orions made first contact with a terrifying new alien threat – the Romulans. Their ships first appeared on stardate 0/1402 to the Coreward end of Orion space at the time, but never responded to attempts to communicate. Their intent became clear when, on stardate 0/1410.21, an Orion pirate vessel stumbled across a Romulan fleet destroying the Farx Colony. With great skill, it fled under fire to raise the alarm.
From stardate 0/1411, the Orions began a widespread retreat before the advancing Romulan fleet. An evacuation of eleven worlds in the immediate vicinity of Romulan space was undertaken; two worlds were assaulted even as the people fled, with heavy loss of life, while the survivors escaped on colony ships. The Triangle and areas within the new borders of the Romulan Star Empire were depopulated of Orions.
The refugees told of bird-like vessels that butchered colonies and scorched whole planets, while the attackers never responded to any communication or offer of ransom. A great panic swept through the Orion Colonies and more worlds were abandoned near the Coreward border, including Ukrainia Novya and Holcomb's Planet. Rhinate, meanwhile, stood firm, and refugees settled there. The Romulans rampaged through the area for a few years, until poor resources convinced them to go elsewhere, finally leaving on stardate 0/1612.
Shortly after the Tellarites made first contact with the Rigellians (stardate 0/3008.03), they learned of the great wealth of the Orion Colonies in stardate 0/3109. However, they wouldn't make contact with the Orions themselves until much later.
By the end of the 21st century, the Orions had long been a civilization on the decline, falling into decadence and social breakdown. At this time, the Orions lived on a number of planets in the Orion sector, making a living as criminals on the fringes of other societies. The alliance that would eventually become the Federation first made contact with them at this time.
- This appears to contradict the 2154 first contact seen in the ENT episode: "Borderland". However, Arik Soong had contact with the Orion Syndicate as early as 2134, and other members of the Coalition of Planets may have made this first contact, such as the Andorians at Cimera III, below.
Later, on stardate 0/7202.10 (circa 2138), conflict began with another alien race, the Klingons, as an Orion pirate fought a Klingon light cruiser at Phillo'tok V and lost. When they conquered Orion worlds, they ruthlessly suppressed resistance and were careful not to let any warning reach the others. Only pirates escaped to speak of it, but naturally unreliable, few believed them. By the time confirmed reports came to Botchok, the Klingons had subjugated numerous Colonies. As the Klingon Empire closed on Rigel, the Orions realized that their collective navies could not withstand it.
Therefore, instead of battling the Klingons, Botchok Planetary Congress (BPC) President Balon the Devious welcomed them and the opportunity for trade with a new race, on stardate 0/7203. These events marked first contact between the Orion Colonies and the Klingon Empire.
The Orions cunningly concealed from Emperor Kamtav epetai-Javvic the true value of Rigel, their mineral wealth and the size of their holdings. Therefore, he settled for a small display of force and military occupation of only a minor trade center of the Colonies. The Orions made little resistance. The Colonies officially became a Klingon protectorate, with a Klingon governor on Botchok and paying tribute to the Empire. The governor was a figurehead who acted mostly as a trade liaison and made no efforts at control. Trade opened up with the Klingon Empire, a wealthy new market with a secret desire for luxury items. By and large, the Orions profited from becoming a Klingon protectorate, while the Empire gained access to resources necessary for building up their fleet. In return, Orions paid only casual attention to their mutual protection treaties. But the great Orion trading families took pains to ensure that the Empire didn’t grow too interested in Rigel's wealth.
However, the average Orion was completely unaware of this state of affairs, as the Klingons didn't place enough forces in Orion space to limit Orion freedoms. The Klingon governor was confused, finding these to be hollow, easy victories, and that he exerted no real influence. He often asked his superiors if the Klingons were really still in charge, and suspicious and anxious to have more control, he increased fleet strength in Orion space. However, the effort was wasted, as the Orions never rebelled and paid their tribute promptly. However, as the Klingon desire for Orion trade increased, the tribute decreased until it vanished altogether.
By stardate 0/7610, border disputes between the Klingons and the Romulans had escalated. President Balon convinced the new Emperor to withdraw all warships and trade vessels from Orion space to bolster his forces. The Orions would conduct the trade of war-related resources themselves. The Emperor was left with the impression that this was all his idea.
- This is one of the five unnamed weak Emperors who followed Kagga epetai-Havrk. Canonically, the position of Klingon Emperor was removed in the mid-21st century (TNG episode: "Rightful Heir"), but the FASA RPG had a continuing line of Emperors.
Though the Klingon governor protested feebly, the ships went and he was recalled soon after. No Klingon came to take his place, and his position was downgraded to a civilian governorship. The Orion Colonies seemed only marginally useful to the Empire. As the Orion leaders had predicted, they were worth more to the Klingons in trade, and that a military presence was inefficient. Exploiting the Romulan tensions, the Orions kept the Klingons away from Rigel for a long time, while they quietly developed their own military forces. Thus the Colonies were liberated by a period of extended, benign neglect.
Coalition of Planets
A few years after shaking off the Klingons, in stardate 0/7907 (circa 2150), the Orions learned of another growing interstellar power. An Orion Colonies vessel patrolling the Outer Dark rescued a lost and dilapidated Tellarite trading vessel commanded by Garggash Dlumppheg. The Tellarite's stubborn refusal to identify himself, let alone trade, angered the Orion commander, who dragged him to Botchok for the BPC to deal with. Five months later, Dlumppheg left with an exclusive trade agreement with the BPC, and promptly sold franchises to the biggest corporations on Tellar, Andor, Vulcan and Alpha Centauri VII.
Following the information of Tellarite traders, the Terran trade vessel UNSS Marco Polo visited the Orions at Rigel on stardate 0/7907.21. It opened direct trade between Terrans and Orions discovered the great wealth of the Orions. On stardate 0/8202 (circa 2152), the Marco Polo returned with cargo and the news that the exclusive ties between Dlumppheg and the Botchok Planetary Congress (BPC) (whose trade was practically non-existent) didn't apply to the Orion trading families, and that a much more profitable market was to be had. Small independent traders carried out trade with the Orions while Dlumppheg was sued unsuccessfully more than 750 times in Andorian, Centauran and Human courts. Meanwhile, the Marco Polo and subsequent Human traders began an Orion love affair and fascination with the cultural artefacts of 20th century Earth.
- The FASA RPG presents an alternative, peaceful first contact scenario between Humans and Orions than that canonically depicted in the ENT episode: "Borderland". However, they do not necessarily contradict, given the earlier activities of the ECS Horizon, below, and Arik Soong, above.
In May 2154, two Orion interceptors attacked the Earth starship Enterprise in the Borderland and kidnapped nine of her crew. The Enterprise followed them to the Verex III processing station and rescued them from the Orion Syndicate-run slave market there. The Syndicate sought revenge on Archer for this, and in late December, Harrad-Sar attempted to capture and deliver the Enterprise and its crew to them, with the use of three Orion slave girls and a false magnesite mining deal with the Syndicate.
In 2155, at the founding of the Coalition of Planets, the Tellarites pushed for an embargo against the Orions, after several of their freighters had been attacked. Coridan, which had already been trading with the Orions "for centuries", called this "Tellarite slander" and an attempt to deprive them of commerce, and refused to believe it. This controversial issue was a major impasse in the negotiations until the two governments finally reached an accord on trade sanctions against the Orion Syndicate. However, Earth's government did not wish to provoke the Syndicate into embargoing trade with any Coalition worlds, such as Coridan or Tellar, for fear that they would withdraw from the alliance.
- It seems that these trade sanctions were not made at this time.
Shortly after, in February 2155, Orion slavers kidnapped thirty-seven Aenar from their city on Andoria, taking advantage of a reduced military presence there. The Enterprise tracked the Orion slavers to Rigel X and interrogated an Orion Syndicate clerk to learn that the Aenar had been traded through Adigeon Prime, and ultimately discovered that they'd been sold to agents of the Romulan Star Empire.
The Earth-Romulan War broke out in 2156 (reference stardate 1/0610) and ended in 2160 (stardate 1/0909). Though Orions remained out of the conflict, a large quantity of war materiel was freighted through their worlds. Additionally, many Starfleet crews took shore leave there and learned of Orion pleasures.
Relations with Earth soured after it was discovered that an Orion trader had inadvertently brought a souvenir contaminated with a mutant strain of the Omega Virus to the Pluto Research Base and sold it to a researcher there. The "Pluto Plague" killed all 200 people at the base in stardate 0/8508 (c. 2157).
The United Federation of Planets was founded with the signing of the Articles of the Federation at the First Babel Conference, in 2161 (stardate 0/8706.06). An Orion delegation stood with the Rigellian delegation, as interested parties but non-signatories, where they made good impressions as members of older, wiser races. The Federation delegates debated whether the Orions should be allowed to join, weighing the potential wealth of their financial system against their practice of slavery.
Fearing that the arrangement would diminish their corporate empire, the BPC then offered to have the Colonies join the Federation as full-status members for a "fair and equitable" compensation fee of 10 trillion credits, infuriating the five signatories who thought it a request for a bribe or a demand for tribute (the Rigellians had only requested 8 billion). Members offered to help the Orions reform themselves and join their new currency-free economy, but this offer was rejected as the Orions predicted that they would be better off subverting Federation ideals instead and that there would still be a demand for criminal services. Rigel and the Orion Colonies remained entirely outside the Federation.
On stardate 0/9003 (circa 2164), the Starfleet ship USS Atmos intercepted the Larc, an Orion personnel transport, and for the first time charged the Ruddy Orion captain with slavery. A guldin of Grey Orions on board managed to transmit a secret message to the Atmos in an apparent bid for freedom, but the Orion captain vaporised the lot of them to prevent their discovery, much to the BPC's relief.
Some of Starfleet's earliest missions broke the back of the Orion slaver and pirate fleets, beginning with the Battle of Delta Doradus in 2166, and preserving Federation commerce. Seven Orion pirate vessels were destroyed.
As the first Starfleet ships defended the trade routes to Rigel from pirates, Orion trade improved with all Federation members. The Federation sent its first diplomatic delegation to Botchok on stardate 0/9101.13 (circa 2165) to work out treaties, agreements and protocols for the smooth operation of the Rigel-Federation routes, and they were publicly quite popular. But confused and hindered by the complexities of Orion government, the non-specific roles of its members, its intrigues, corruption, squabbles and general anarchy, the Federation embassy insisted on some sort of order, and suggested certain officers with specific titles doing defined work. For a year, the BPC merrily assigned Ministers for ever smaller and more ridiculous tasks. The BPC had been offended when it intercepted one of the delegation's dispatches and read that it was considered "quaint, disorganized, and of unknown political importance in spite of their claims."
The Federation soon came to realize just how little authority the BPC actually possessed, but continued to press for the necessary treaties. In an effort to increase legitimacy, they referred all Orions to the BPC for adjudication, which duly signed and rubber-stamped all actions and enforced nothing.
The Orions kept the growing Federation and the Klingon Empire from discovering each other for many years, with each just one of many cultures and races that the Orions traded with. However, though peace was widespread, Orion leaders predicted that the Federation's existence would soon be discovered by Klingon Empire, and that conflict was inevitable. They also feared that the Klingons would also soon grow interested again in Rigel and Orion holdings. Beginning in stardate 1/0910, the Orion Colonies quickly signed a number of trade and non-aggression treaties and mutual protection pacts with the Federation, but still did not join them. Then they did it themselves, informing the Klingons of the Federation's existence on stardate 1/1004 (circa 2184), though all records of this deal were lost under mysterious circumstances.
- Star Trek: Enterprise presented a much earlier contact between Humans and Klingons, beginning in 2151. In this light, it is possible that the Orions hid news of the formation of the Federation, or simply downplayed the significance and power of each state to the other.
Relations between the Federation and the Orions continued to decline. On stardate 1/1209.12, the Andorian-crewed Starfleet cruiser Thanatok destroyed a pirate enclave at Brurem. The overzealous captain was punished after the BPC protested the murder of civilians, but similar incidents were kept quiet. Pirate raids against Andorian targets increased.
The Orions soon came to realize that the Federation was expanding, and the outside universe was closing in, faster than they had anticipated. Federation colonists and developers were flooding into their space and seizing their worlds, and Orions on Federation worlds found they had to adhere to their laws and regulations. Some tried to move away, but the number of available places was diminishing, while anti-Orion sentiments made it difficult for existing Orion Colonies to do business. Orions who protested to the BPC were shown the agreements made with the Federation, and complaints, bribes and threats against the BPC rose sharply.
Orion settlers arrived at Talna III on stardate 1/1811.07 (circa 2192) to re-establish an abandoned Colony there, but found Human, Vulcan and Andorian settlers there already, who turned them away. The Botchok Planetary Congress (BPC) issued protests to the Federation Council, only to be told that, although they upheld the rights of prior inhabitants, unoccupied ruins were not enough to claim those rights, and that prior settlers (the Federation colonists) had the right to refuse later immigrants (the returning Orions). The Orions were incensed, and Talna became a symbol of Federation desires to annihilate them.
The Klingons returned to Rigel in stardate 1/1818, this time to commence active trading. In response, many Orion trading families reduced trade with the Federation, shutting down operations and closing their ports, much to Federation irritation. For the rest, by carefully staggering and timing ship arrivals, they kept the two powers from encountering one another for many more years.
After Orion ports remained closed to even emergency traffic, the Federation threatened to revoke its non-aggression treaties in stardate 1/2412, so the Orions reopened their ports to Federation trade, albeit on a limited basis. Another treaty was signed between the two, promising Orion worlds protection from outside aggression and binding the Orions to refrain "directly" attacking the Federation. In the event of war between the Klingon Empire and the Federation, the treaties enabled the Orions to potentially trade with both sides.
The situation worsened on stardate 1/2701.14 when Human and Andorian settlers on Beta VI ordered the removal of a pre-existing Orion Colony, accusing them of "chronic criminal activity and corruption". The BPC insisted on the appointment of a Federation High Commission, which supported the Federation colonists and advocated the Orion relocation. The Orions left without paying their bills, amounting to 21.32 million credits lost to Beta VI, plus the costs of moving the Orions in the first place. On one positive note, the Orion Colony of Votannis was sold to the Federation-based Benson Development Corporation in stardate 1/2706 with no conflicts.
The Orions saw in the Federation a lucrative interplanetary market, and engaged in everything from slave-trading to outright seduction of Starfleet captains, though they failed against Federation ideals and Starfleet strength.
A barroom brawl in stardate 1/3308 (circa 2207) between Klingons and Human traders on an Orion colony world was the ignoble first contact between the two superpowers. The Klingons demanded information on the so-called "Human Empire" from the Orions, and a series of quiet raids and disappearances of Federation ships commenced. The Federation eventually questioned Orion authorities about this aggressive new power in stardate 1/5101.
Stardate 1/3611.20 saw the leaking (through Botchok) of the infamous Ethan Report, allegedly the product of a secret Federation High Commission. It cited the continuing problems of enforcing Federation law among the Orions and dealing with the BPC, and advised a policy of containment to reduce Orion influence. The language was harsh, labeling the Orions "barbarous atavisms", claiming that they were bent on "mastery of the Federation monetary system" via "bribery, blackmail, coercion by force up to and including piratical attacks in Federation space." Though it scandalized the Federation, the Orions felt it was a declaration of war.
Shortly after the Ethan Report, on stardate 1/38 the Orions signed a secret, non-aggression treaty with the Klingon Empire, to provide relief to Orion Colonies deep in Klingon territory. Trade between the two increased significantly, while intelligence activity on Botchok intensified.
A major wave of Orion settlements began on stardate 1/40, throughout the Triangle (the area of space lying between the Federation, the Klingon Empire, and the Romulan Empire). Elsewhere, on stardate 1/4112, several Orion families developed freeports and tradeworlds with no regulations or tariffs to restrict trade. These were a big success, and Orion traders recouped their development costs by leasing commercial space and setting up trade brokerage houses, though later efforts could not repeat initial achievements.
A year later, on stardate 1/4212.31, the Federation Uniform Mercantile Code (FUMC) became law. Botchok and the Orion Colonies were forced to comply or face prosecution, though the Rigellians successfully claimed exemption due to cultural tradition. The FUMC would be tested on stardate 1/4705.18, when a Federation Tribunal found the Orion Duraba Corporation guilty of 1850 separate violations in a criminal conspiracy across 20 planets. Anti-Federation riots on the Colonies took over 6000 lives and cost 37 million credits in damages.
Some time later, Freeloader, the first and most infamous of Orion freeports was officially opened in the Triangle on stardate 1/5103.27. This began large-scale trade operations in the region, which soon became the most popular open trade area in the known galaxy.
First contact between the Federation and the Klingon Empire on stardate 1/5105 immediately turned into conflict. Predicting that war between the Klingons and the Federation was inevitable, the BPC drafted the Orion Neutrality Act, and subsequently issued it on stardate 1/5105.02, after Starfleet and Klingon vessels clashed for the first time. To preserve what little power they had, Rigel and the Orion Colonies were declared unaligned and free to trade with either power. They also requested that all military vessels in Orion space (left undefined) inform the BPC of their location and itinerary. The Federation Council was outraged, fearing that ship information would find its way to the Klingon Empire, which was only displeased, satisfied with the possibility of gaining that data, while they could lie about their own. Neither side dared break off trade or invade Rigel over this, and the BPC narrowly escaped domination by either side.
Following the Act, Rigel became an adventurous place where espionage was rife, competition between the powers was fierce, and Klingons and Federation citizens could meet socially, but distrusted each other as much as they distrusted the Orions. Meanwhile, the FUMC halted Orion growth by clamping down on illegal traffic between neutral Orion worlds in Federation space, and enmity grew. The BPC was flooded with complaints from nearly every Colony, and the Orions fought to keep open the routes of Orion trade and culture.
Following Federation/Klingon contact, the Klingons launched raids on Federation shipping while masquerading as Orion pirates, who did the same while pretending to be Klingon. On stardate 1/54, in the space of a year over 200 Orion pirate vessels were destroyed or captured in battle.
In stardate 1/6908 (c. 2233), Orion authorities discovered a spy ring in which a guldi of Grey Orions received sensitive Klingon and Orion information, and relayed it to both the Federation and Romulans, in what was called the Parallelogram Affair. The Greys were executed and a young couple from the Federation were declared suspects in the spy ring, arrested, and subsequently disappeared. The news was a great scandal across the Colonies.
Later, on stardate 1/7603, Orions discovered rich dilithium deposits on Rigel XII, which they promptly mined and sold to both the Federation and the Klingon Empire, for use as power rectifiers for warp drives, revolutionizing interstellar travel and military-grade weapons technology.
On stardate 1/8104 (c. 2240), the worlds of the Bartunu system petitioned to join the Federation. The BPC, The Star Group corporation, and the Hjulah, Faktim, U'taliis and Prochem families attempted to sabotage the secession, though without success.
The Four Years War
A Klingon fleet consisting of over 100 warships invaded the Rigel system on stardate 1/9301.04 (circa 2251). The Orion Space Navy did not resist, but scattered units attacked and were destroyed, while Federation ships were seized. According to the Klingon Admiral Kentin epetai-Kazu, their aim was not to occupy the Orion Colonies, but to invade the Federation. However, it was over a year before they did so, and the Orions entertained the Klingons lavishly until then. They were happily awaiting the war that would ruin both sides and increase trade with both.
The Four Years War between the Federation and the Klingons finally broke out on stardate 1/9409.29 (2252). The Orions were surprised when the Federation declared that, according to treaty and the FUMC, they could not trade with the Klingons during the war. Forced to choose between the two, the BPC complied, though several Orion businesses were bankrupted; the Federation was blamed, rather than the BPC. As a result, several Colonies in the Triangle declared independence from the BPC in December and formed the Orion Frontier Mercantile Association (OFMA), and continued trade with both sides. Many others followed, and the Federation-BPC agreements became worthless.
Orion neutrality was tested in the Laxala Incident on stardate 1/9504 (circa 2253), when a Klingon task force intercepted an Orion merchant vessel transporting dilithium to a Federation world and the ship was destroyed. The BPC issued the Sacred Cargoes act, declaring that Orion merchants were to be untouchable by both sides, and together with the OFMA, threatened to destroy all dilithium on Rigel XII if either side disrupted their trade. Both sides complied and the Orions profited, saving their worlds and economies from collapse. The Federation also benefited from the supply of dilithium and other scarce war resources, which they badly needed at the time.
In 2254 Orions were amongst a brigand, including Arcturans, Khodini and renegade Humans, in the Marrat Nebula region to attack Starbase 13 in response to Starfleet's Project Pharos - a scheme to bring order to the region and control illegal activity by building a huge galactic lighthouse.
As the Klingons retreated before the advancing Starfleet forces on stardate 1/98 (circa 2256), they began the Year of Horror against Orion worlds, damaging industry, ruining ecology, executing their leaders and people, and leaving populations starved and demoralized. However, they spared the Orion worlds of Rigel from destruction, probably to make them appear to be Klingon allies. In response, Night of Empty Hands on stardate 1/9804.10 would see widespread rioting against the Klingons on the Rigel worlds, though only two unlucky Klingons were killed, as the rest had already secretly returned to their transport ships the week before. Accused collaborators, real or not, were dragged from their beds by lynch mobs. The next morning, over 12,000 Orions had been killed by mob violence.
Days later, on stardate 1/9804.16, Admiral Namtac the Tardy of the Orion Space Navy reported the departure of the Klingons from Rigel, and that Starfleet forces bypassed the system in pursuit. A squadron was ordered to welcome the Starfleet ships with the news that Rigel was free, but they failed to return or communicate, and tensions rose. On stardate 1/9805, Arthas Liktor the Bold ran through the Federation lines in a modified courier to report that his world, the Orion Colony on Hartha, had been harshly restricted in trade by powerful Federation forces. Arthas and his crew were imprisoned by an alarmed and uncertain BPC to ensure their silence.
By stardate 1/9806, rumours spread of battles beyond the Klingon front-lines, the destruction of Klingon fleets, the looting of peaceful Orion worlds, secret Klingon super-weapons, and many other wild stories. Refugees flee and defense committees are established everywhere.
Grateful to escape Klingon atrocities, the BPC triumphantly welcomed the 396 Starfleet ships that came to secure the Rigel system, who duly sent their details as per the Neutrality Act. Nevertheless, Admiral Brazeau arrived with the Eighth Fleet, sealed off the system and landed troops to seize the spaceport and communication centres.
Near the end of the war, on stardate 1/9709.01 the Rigel Demilitarized Zone Commission, meeting at Starbase 27, had been formed to decide the fate of the Orions after the war (which came with the Axanar Peace Treaty on stardate 1/9806.13, which called for the removal of all Klingons "to the opposite side of Orion space"). The Commission visited Botchok on stardate 1/9806.29, where Commissioner Dzwonkowski met with the BPC in a closed session to demand that they accept the Federation plan: to officially set the Orion border, inside which the BPC could enforce the Neutrality Act, outside which Orion activities would be under Federation law. A riot broke out in the Congress, and two members were killed.
Under protest and with a narrow majority, the BPC capitulated and by unilateral treaty Orion space legally became the Orion Neutrality Area, a 20-parsec sphere centred on Rigel. All worlds falling outside it, even those primarily occupied by Orions, were now inside Federation space. Not long after, on stardate 1/9808.15, Dzwonkowski and BPC President Vloun signed the Orion Emigration Act, which required the registration of all Orions in Federation space.
Abolition of slavery
Afterwards, the Federation found many Orion Colonies now within its borders. Some chose to join the UFP, either as associate or full-status members, desiring Starfleet protection and Federation benevolence, while others did not. However, they all used and traded in Orion slaves, against Federation law, and popular opinion went against the Orions. Efforts to force the abolition of slavery were launched
In a unanimous vote on stardate 2/0001.11 (c. 2257), the Federation Council imposed heavy sanctions on Orion businesses, ports and shipping interests that dealt in slaves, while individual members and independent worlds made outright boycotts. Though a number of UFP companies dependent on the Orions went bankrupt, the Federation economy survived without the Orions. After Captain Christopher Pike investigated and made a shocking report on the Orion slave trade, the Federation Council officially endorsed the boycott on stardate 2/0103.13.
The First Amendment to the Articles of Federation was passed on stardate 2/0105.01, finally banning the Orion slave trade in the Federation and outside the Orion Neutrality Area. Orion Colonies in the Federation suffered financially, but their protests and Federation sanctions and boycotting prompted the BPC to declare slavery illegal in the Orion Neutrality Area as well, in order to maintain Federation trade.
However, without enforcement of the law in Orion space, it was essentially a meaningless gesture. The slave trade continued in Orion space, and secretly within The Triangle and the Federation, particularly around some more open free-ports, though greatly inhibited by Starfleet policing.
After this, the Orions stopped being a significant problem for the Federation; though pirates and Orion saboteurs were still active, Rigel and the Colonies themselves were quiet and deemed nearly harmless. Anti-Orion attitudes in the Federation waned, and the Council relaxed some of the restrictions on Orion immigration. The main concern was of Orion trade with the Klingons and the possibility of Klingon infiltration through the Orion Neutrality Area. Some Orion corporations and leading families remained angry over the banning of slavery, however, and some independent elements waged a war of piracy and aggression against Federation citizens.
On stardate 2/0602, the BPC began sending agents deep into Federation space, even as far as Earth, to anticipate the Federation's future plans for them. Meanwhile, the pressure of Federation settlers on the new Orion borders continued to be a problem.
The Organian Peace Treaty was forced upon the Federation and the Klingons in 2267 (reference stardate 2/0801.24). Though the Orion Neutrality Area would form a bubble in the Neutral Zone between the two powers, the Orions were ignored and left out of the treaty. Many, even in the Federation Council, took this to mean that the Organians considered the Orions harmless, though others pointed out that their motivations were unknown, and that they themselves might not know how to handle them. Ironically, the Orions were the only benefactors of the treaty, with a free hand in the Neutral Zone, and their own neutral space a valuable gateway across it. 
The Babel Incident
Despite centuries of trade between the Orions and Coridan, the Orion Syndicate had taken advantage of factional conflict there. Working out of Rigel, they funded, constructed and ran a number of illegal mining operations and one-sided trade agreements. From their secret and illegal dilithium mines,, Orions were raiding and smuggling dilithium out of the Coridan system in the 2260s.
The situation had become so bad that, in 2267, an effort was made to admit Coridan to the Federation so that it could become subject to Federation law and have its rights to its own mineral resources protected. However, the extent of alien involvement in Coridan’s affairs, by Orions, Tellarites and other Federation worlds, made the issue of its membership highly questionable, enough that a full Babel Conference was called in 2268 (stardate 3850.3, or reference stardate 2/0902) to discuss the matter.
To protect their operations in Coridan, certain Orions attempted to sabotage the conference, with the Orion Syndicate making an attack. An Orion spy, Thelev, was cosmetically altered to appear Andorian, and infiltrated the staff of ambassador Shras Endilev in 2267. En route to the Conference, Thelev murdered the Tellarite ambassador Gav and framed the Vulcan ambassador Sarek, then attacked Starfleet Captain James T. Kirk. Meanwhile an Orion scout ship attacked the Enterprise. Their aim was to spread suspicion and possibly interplanetary war between the Federation worlds, while they continued to steal from Coridan and supply dilithium to all sides. The plan was unsuccessful, and Coridan was admitted into the Federation.
- The ST reference: The Worlds of the Federation has the Orions as members of the Federation, who voted against Coridan's admission to protect their own interests there. In the FASA RPG continuity, this may refer to those Colonies annexed by the Federation during the creation of the Orion Neutrality Area, or of the Area’s complex status within the Federation.
Though the BPC denied any involvement, the Babel Incident had a terrible impact on the Orion Colonies. Three Orion corporations implicated in the sabotage went bankrupt, triggering the Great Crash of 09, and Orion trade with the Federation, in the Triangle and in the Neutral Zone suffered heavily. With the loss of the dilithium smuggling operations, this was a devastating blow to the Orion economy. The Coridan and Babel incidents also cast Orion neutrality into doubt for some time afterwards.
By 2269, the Orion slave trade was thought to be extinct (but was shown not to be), at least within the Federation, after Starfleet wiped out the trade in Orion slave girls inside its borders. However, this allowed Orion women to join their men in crime and piracy instead. Meanwhile, the T'Prar Foundation worked to help freed slave girls, with a Deltan-operated reorientation village in the Delta Triciatu system.
By 2270, Orions still had no interest in joining the Federation, nor with the Klingon Empire or any other interstellar state. In return, other states had little desire for relations with them, and recognized their neutrality. These attitudes maintained their neutrality and provided a screen for their covert actions. The Federation still did not know much about Orion culture either.
- The TAS novelization: The Pirates of Orion has Orions assumed to be an isolationist, reclusive people, who shunned contact with outsiders and with no reason to be suspected by other people. However, this is later contradicted by mentioning the Coridan/Babel affair, as well as by canon examples and other sources in general. Thus this might simply represent general Orion attitudes and behaviour following Babel; however, only around two or three years have passed.
In 2270 (stardate 6334.1-6335.6), an Orion ship attacked the USS Huron and stole its cargo of dilithium and strobolin. The Enterprise tracked it to an asteroid belt, but a confrontation ensued. In the end, the Orions attempted to destroy themselves and the Enterprise to preserve the appearance of Orion neutrality. This failed, and the ship and crew were captured, placing increased doubts on their claims of neutrality. Captain James T. Kirk expected that the Orion captain would stand trial, Orion neutrality would be shown to be a sham, and their piracy would be ended. The Orion captain feared Federation retaliation.
By as late as the 23rd century, the Orions were allegedly maintaining a policy of neutrality in interstellar affairs. Often an Orion Pirate ship would be found raiding Federation colonies, but when faced with capture the ships would activate a self-destruct device and the Orion government would disavow them as rogues. The USS Enterprise was once successful in capturing an Orion ship, however it is unclear as to the extent this helped shed light on Orion duplicity.
By reference stardates 2/1103–2/1203, the Orion Colonies had a complicated status within the Federation: they weren't quite an independent state within it, but nor were they full and proper members. Their relationship and professed neutrality was strained by regular privateering actions. Meanwhile, the transport of Orion slave girls outside the neutral Orion worlds remained prohibited; consequently, few Federation or Starfleet personnel at this time had actually seen one. Some in the Federation began to question the earlier decisions to allow the Orions to remain neutral.
- This quasi-membership might refer to those Colonies annexed by the Federation during the creation of the Orion Neutrality Area, or of the Area's status within the Federation.
The Lifaq family in the Triangle finally managed to send a successful trade mission to the Romulans at H'lass on stardate 2/1107, but a permanent agreement could not be reached: the Romulans wanted guaranteed delivery, while the Lafaqs wanted a guaranteed price. But the potential Romulan market continued to attract Orions to the Triangle. Stardate 2/1502 saw a Starfleet Intelligence report on possible Orion trade agreements with the Romulans in the Triangle, and a thaw in Orion-Romulan relations was rumored.
An evacuation of Aleriad on stardate 2/1203 by the USS Enterprise was complicated by Orion agents. Meanwhile, Rigel VII suffered the first outbreak of Orion blood fever. It depopulated several Klingon settlements before quarantines began.
Reports of Klingons and unidentified starships visiting the Orion Colony world of Daros IV on stardate 2/1407 led Starfleet Intelligence to send agent Commander Michael Thorn to investigate. After he went missing on on stardate 2/1410.21, the Eridani Star was dispatched on stardate 2/1412 to complete his assignment.
BPC President Refner Gyron the Sly was inaugurated on stardate 2/1606 and instituted a new policy of aggressive quid pro quo neutrality between the three superpowers. While collecting all the intelligence it could, the BPC would trade favourable knowledge and trading-partner status for trade concessions. Over the next five years (to at least stardate 2/2106), this would gain more trade in Klingon space (provided that governors and staff are not corrupted), limited delivery contracts and battle protocols from the Romulans (in spite of confrontations with pirates), and a range of small benefits in the Federation.
The Federation continued to expand into Orion space, occupying former Orion worlds, but re-established Orion Colonies and increased trade led to increased profits without heightened tensions. The first Human colony in Orion space was settled on stardate 2/1606, illegally and unannounced. This would be quietly closed down and ushered out in two months.
According to unsubstantiated claims, some wealthy Orions on the Coreward side of the Colonies had copied Romulan starships out of intercepted Federation intelligence reports. They were allegedly using these ships to explore space between the Romulan Neutral Zone and Gorn space, but this could not be verified as there were few Starfleet vessels operating in the deep space past Starbase 18.
On stardate 2/1701, Starfleet Intelligence agents rescue Federation Ambassador Helen Jarvis, after she was kidnapped by Orion terrorists.
Crescent and Trefoil Developments, a recently founded Orion company, was rumoured to be manufacturing electronic components of a non-Federation design on stardate 2/2107. Later, stock certificates suspected to be Orion forgeries were found on stardate 2/2110.02, on a number of worlds near the Federation/Romulan Star Empire border. These were likely intended to destabilize the major Tellarite corporations they were for.
An Orion Wanderer class pirate vessel hijacked the USS Juggernaut on stardate 2/2112.24, in orbit around Memory Alpha. The USS Sparon learned on the incident at Daran V on stardate 2/2201.11. The investigation culminated in the Battle of Omicron Aurigae on stardate 2/2202.19, between the Orion pirate and three Federation starships.
Following the leaking of Project Genesis data in 2285, Starfleet Intelligence speculated on Orion involvement in the leak. Investigators postulated (on stardate 2/2207.05) that an Orion surveillance vessel disguised as a freighter (or a cloaked Klingon vessel) was monitoring internal communications at the Regula I Spacelab, or that an Orion agent had infiltrated a supply shipment to the base, between stardates 2/2106.01-2/2107. The evidence for these theories was that Orion trade vessels had been known to operate in the general area. This was considered farfetched and never proven. The idea remained in circulation, however, reappearing in a report on stardate 2/2401.04, pointing to a rise in Klingon agents near Orion space over the previous several months (i.e., a year later). The Klingon Captain Kruge was also thought to have infiltrated the Federation via Orion space.
Either way, Orion governments were expected to be aware of the events around the Genesis Incident and the lost Starfleet vessels. On stardate 2/2206.26, immediately following, various Orion ruling families censured the Federation and issued a formal protest to the Federation Council regarding the quarantine of the Mutara sector. They insisted that the Federation had no legal right to ban traders from a sector due to "scientific investigation".
The Orion colony on Rockhaven in the Triangle was destroyed on stardate 2/2304.15, with rival Orion pirates suspected to be responsible. Starfleet Intelligence would later (stardate 2/2306.01) report on an Orion privateer, R'Zaad, who had grand plans of welding all Orions into a confederation under his leadership, then create an Orion empire in their space between the Federation and the Klingon Empire.
With some of the Rigel worlds becoming Federation members in the late 23rd century (from 2275 to 2297), and a growing Federation presence in the Orion sector, Orion traders and pirates found their actions increasingly limited. The Khitomer Accords of 2293 also enabled Starfleet to devote itself to operations against Orion piracy, and again crushed their pirate fleets, keeping Orion Syndicate operatives on the run.
Following the Federation and the Klingon Empire signing the Treaty of Alliance in 2352 and the foundation of their Grand Alliance, their respective states and economic interests continued trying to restrict and eliminate Orion piracy. These anti-piracy efforts broke the Orion Commercial States' domination over portions of galactic commerce, and reduced their power significantly. Unable to depend anymore on revenue from the pirate consortiums, they were forced to adapt to a new economic age, where free trade was more cost-effective than disruptive competition. The Orions grew dormant and less prominent, and the Syndicate re-evaluated the burgeoning Federation for new ways to exploit it, though with limited success.
As a child, Harry Kim was exposed to Rigellian fever while playing with Orion children from an Orion diplomat's entourage. He was placed in quarantine for three days, but never developed symptoms.
In the late 2350s, Orion pirates attacked the USS Kingston, believing it to be carrying latinum to a processing plant (it was actually carrying stock gametes to a colony on Rukbat III). They massacred the crew to hide the evidence of their attack, but Aaron Cavit and other Starfleet Cadets were hidden in the cargo bays. Their survival lead to the Federation hunting down the pirates responsible. 
Circa 2258, the USS Seeker smashed an Orion cartel operating on several outer Federation worlds, including Twenginian and Conquiidor, and rescued over 200 Federation citizens from slavery. In revenge, the Orions involved hatched a plot to frame and discredit Commander Darryl Adin, who'd spearheaded the effort. This involved a brutal pirate assault on the USS Starbound. At this time, Cadet Tasha Yar believed that the Orion state was not member of the Federation (and could not be, due to its cultural practices), and nor were there any Orions in Starfleet. Orions were appeared in Starfleet Academy simulations like the Priam IV test.
- Given some Orion Federation member worlds and Starfleet personnel in other sources, and Yar's inexperience, she may be mistaken on this point.
Over a ten-year-period from circa 2354 to 2364, Orions traded in increasing numbers across the Treva sector, as part of an effort to establish a hold over the area. They did not participate in any slave-trading, likely to avoid attracting the Federation's attention. They also did not trade with Treva so as not to risk blowing the cover of President Nalavia, who was working to prevent Treva from joining the Federation and turn it and the other worlds of the sector against the Federation.
The emergence of the Ferengi in the 2360s made the earlier reduction and re-development fortuitous. The Ferengi Empire raided several established trading centers on the border of the Orion Colonies, and in the face of such pillaging, an accommodation with the Grand Alliance appeared to be a necessity. In exchange for giving up piracy, the Orions could seek the protection of Alliance warships.
- The outcome of this question is unknown. As the Ferengi ceased to be threat, and Orion piracy continued (albeit reduced) and criminal activity grew, this likely didn't happen.
In the late 24th century, Orion operations had suffered heavily due to Federation expansion, and they became directly antagonistic to it. They engaged in smuggling beneath the noses of Starfleet officials and engineered important assassinations in an attempt to influence Federation policy.
There was an Orion ambassador present at a trade conference on Deep Space 9 in 2370, which would negotiate trading access through the Bajoran wormhole. The Orion ambassador also objected to Bajor joining the Federation.
- The source implies that the Orion ambassador is from a Federation government, suggesting Orion membership.
By 2372, Orions had apparently had no official trade with Bajor since before the Cardassian occupation, and not with the provisional government afterwards. However, black market trading did occur, such as when the Orion Calculanthra secretly sold replicators to Ompar Tenzil of the Bajoran government through Manimoujak, a Yridian middle-man. In return, Ompar allowed Manimoujak to take Bajoran dissidents, the poor, and those who uncovered their schemes, and sell them into slavery, including to Orions.
With the Maquis uprising in the late 2360s, the Orion Syndicate-dominated world of Farius Prime became a key link in Maquis supply lines. The Syndicate actually aided their efforts here. However, when the Cardassian Union joined the Dominion in 2373, the Syndicate betrayed the Farius Prime Maquis cells and surrendered them to Jem'Hadar soldiers. This action saved Farius Prime from a Jem'Hadar assault such as other Maquis bases had suffered, and kept that world neutral and independent in the coming Dominion War.
The Orions remained low-key during the Dominion War itself, however, planning to take advantage of whoever won.
However, in 2374, Starfleet Intelligence recruit Miles O'Brien infiltrated Raimus's Syndicate operation on Farius Prime to identify a Syndicate operative in Starfleet. He also discovered the Syndicate working for the Dominion, and their plot to assassinate the Klingon ambassador to Farius and disrupt the Klingon Empire's alliance with the Federation.
Beginning in 2373, the Borg incursions and the Dominion War had forced Starfleet to strip its assets from the Rigel system, giving the Orion Syndicate there a free reign. They used the opportunity well, and by the war’s end in 2375, they were once again dominant in the Rigel system, with crime, piracy and smuggling on the rise. The Orions again insisted on their neutrality and lack of involvement in interstellar affairs.
Star Trek Online Timeline
After several years of cracking down on criminal activity in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants, Starfleet Intelligence was successful in curbing the threat of the Orion Syndicate, though in 2387, they recommended that the Federation continue to keep a close watch on its activities. On stardate 64163.8, Syndicate boss Raimus was assassinated on Farius Prime by Hassan the Undying, paving the way from Hassan's employer, Melani D'ian to seize control of his operations.
By Starfleet Intelligence estimates, Melani now controlled at least 30% of Syndicate operations. Analysts noted that other Syndicate bosses might seek to bring her down before she increased her powerbase further. She was also the first Orion in over 20 years to dominate the Syndicate, and this signified an Orion return to prominence.
By the following year, 2388, the Orion homeworld in the Rigel system was now over-polluted and nearly completely depleted of natural resources. Meanwhile, Starfleet's war on crime was becoming a serious impediment to Syndicate business. Seeking assistance with both issues, Melani D'ian led a delegation of Orions to negotiate with both the Klingon Empire and the Breen Confederacy. In exchange, they promised Orion support and its reserves of ancient knowledge, but don't commit until a fully detailed offer is made. The current Klingon Chancellor Martok was interested in the secret knowledge, but distrusted Melani and the Syndicate.
According to Starfleet reports, Orion Syndicate traffic had increased markedly under Melani’s control, and Starfleet had a harder time combating their activities. She had carried out a ruthless purge of so-called 'untrustworthy' members and competing leaders, and created a unified and loyal force out of the remaining Orions.
In 2394, Klingon Chancellor J'mpok sought to his strengthen his position by resuming negotiations with the Orion Syndicate. He met with Melani (though Hassan was presented as being in charge, and she a slave) on Ter'jas Mor, and after four days of negotiations, the two signed a non-aggression and mutual defense pact on stardate 71282.12. By the terms of it, the Orions would receive ships, weapons and a planet in Klingon space that they could rule as a vassal state. The Klingon Empire gained the Syndicate’s allegiance, access to their intelligence network, and technology. The Federation Council condemned this as an alliance with criminals, and Starfleet Command vowed to continue combating Syndicate activities in Federation space.
As a gift, 150 Orion women were sent as servants to the Great Houses on Qo'noS, and Melani moved into an estate on Ter'jas Mor. By this point, she was known as the "Emerald Empress". In the same year, Orions on the homeworld made plans to colonize their new world.
- The STO website: The Path to 2409 Full Log Entry says 1500 Orion women, while the Supplemental Log says only 150. The number of known Great Houses would indicate that 150 is more likely.
In 2397, Hassan the Undying moved his own base of operations to the former Orion homeworld, in order to run Syndicate operations outside Klingon space, presumably on Melani's orders.
Throughout the 2400s, the Orions continued to be a thorn in the Federation's side, especially due to the Federation-Klingon war of that era. Many Starfleet ships engaged Orions conducting illegal operations within Federation space during this period.
At some point before the late 24th century, the Klingons, and then the Romulans, attempted to use the Orions against the Federation.
In an alternate timeline in which Humans never evolved, and the Federation never founded, the Orions were wiped out by the 2260s, likely by the Klingons. Instead, the Vulcans occupied a similar role as the Orions. (TOS novel: First Frontier)
- FASA RPG - The Orions module: Book of Common Knowledge
- FASA RPG - The Orions module: Book of Deep Knowledge
- TAS episode: "Yesteryear"
- Last Unicorn RPG module: Star Trek: The Next Generation Core Game Book
- TOS episode & novelization: What Are Little Girls Made Of?
- TNG novel: Immortal Coil
- Decipher RPG module: Aliens
- Decipher RPG module: Worlds
- Last Unicorn RPG module: All Our Yesterdays: The Time Travel Sourcebook
- Last Unicorn RPG module: Star Trek: The Original Series Core Game Book
- TAS novelization: Yesteryear
- TOS novel: Doctor's Orders
- TOS novel: The Romulan Way
- TOS novel: Spock's World
- TOS novel: Ishmael
- ST reference: Star Trek Maps
- ST reference: The Worlds of the Federation
- FASA RPG module: The Federation
- ENT episode: "Borderland"
- FASA RPG module: The Klingons
- ST reference: Spaceflight Chronology
- FASA RPG module: Cadet's Orientation Sourcebook
- ENT episode: "Horizon"
- ENT episode: "Bound"
- ENT episode: "Demons"
- ENT novel: The Good That Men Do
- DS9 short story: "Old Souls"
- EV comic: "The Fires of Pharos"
- FASA RPG module: Star Trek IV Sourcebook Update
- TOS episode: "Journey to Babel"
- TAS novelization: The Pirates of Orion
- TOS novel: Prime Directive
- TAS episode: "The Pirates of Orion"
- TOS comic: "All of Me"
- FASA RPG module: Star Trek: The Next Generation Officer's Manual
- VOY novelization: Caretaker
- TNG novel: Survivors
- DS9 novel: Betrayal
- DS9 novel: Wrath of the Prophets
- DS9 episode: "Honor Among Thieves"
- DS9 novel: Trill: Unjoined
- STO website: The Path to 2409
- STO video game: Star Trek Online