- The planets of the Beta Rigel system in Star Charts are inextricably linked to those of the Rigel system. Hence, Beta Rigel IV is included here.
- 1 Decipher version
- 2 FASA version
- 3 Connections
Government & Politics
Rigel IV was a member of the United Rigel Colonies, which was a member of the United Federation of Planets (ST reference: Star Charts), as well as the home of the civilian government known as the Aggregation of Rigellian Systems. (TOS - Fortunes of War novel: Dreadnought!)
Rigel IV was home to four distinct cultures—Federation, Orion, vulcanoid Rigelian, and Kaylar—with a fragmented, feuding planetary government. They ranged from advanced materialistic and urban cultures to primitive tribalism.
The Rigel Colonies (ST references: Star Trek Maps, The Worlds of the Federation), the Human colonies of Rigel IV, were originally independently founded, but were brought under Federation jurisdiction in 2249, and eventually became full Federation members in 2287. The Orions of Rigel IV were nominally under the rule of the Vazak of Zamiar, a provincial governor who ruled as a hereditary monarch. However, in practice they did whatever they pleased. Many Humans also claimed allegiance to the Vazak, preferring the looser Orion society than that of the Federation. The Rigelians meanwhile had an interlocking aristocracy centered around land tenure and environmental preservation. Finally, the Kaylar lived as primitive, nomadic tribes in the wilderness, and played little part in planetary politics.
The Rigelians and the Humans often protested to the Orions that their refineries and mills on Panara were polluting the world. The Orions were unconcerned, as the winter would likely wipe clean the whole world in a few centuries anyway. (Decipher RPG module: Worlds)
The people of the Argus River region once came into conflict with the planetary government. Peace was concluded, and a significant legal precedent arose from the occasion, stating: "All beings may not be created equal yet shall be given equal opportunity and treatment under the law.". (TOS movie: The Voyage Home)
- This information appeared in the script for The Voyage Home, but was not easily apparent during Spock's test. Though unintended here, the development in Worlds would imply that these people are Kaylar.
- It is unclear how these various nations relate to the United Rigel Colonies and the Aggregation of Rigellian Systems, and which are Federation members. It is possible that only the Human and/or Rigelian colonies joined the Federation, leaving the others independent. This may be an exception to the membership requirement of planetary unity.
Rigel IV was inhabited by settlers of various races and states, at one time with 1 billion Humans, 2.5 billion Orions, 1.5 billion Rigelians, 200 million Kaylar, 200 million Andorians and 600 million of miscellaneous other starfaring species. Human habitation was centered around Polar City on Hypuria, though many chose to become "subjects" of the Orion Vazak, seeking a looser society than under the Federation. (Decipher RPG module: Worlds)
Orion migrants from Rigel VII settled the continent of Panara, based around the city of Sathura, as well as the coasts of the continents of Hypuria and Altama. The Rigelians primary dwelt on Altama, while the Kaylar dwelled in Lorisa and Hypuria, especially in the hinterlands of the Argus River hill region. (Decipher RPG module: Worlds)
Rigel IV was noted for the Humanoid inhabitants of the planet who had a vulcanoid internal anatomy with their heart rates, blood types and immunohistochemistry being similar to those of the Vulcan race, to the point that only an expert was capable of telling them apart from a medscan. (TOS novel: Catalyst of Sorrows)
- These people are presumably the vulcanoid Rigelians.
The disease first appeared in the Orion city of Sathura during the 2120s, and went on to kill 100,000 people before it was stopped. It would continue to reappear on Rigel IV every few generations, and sometimes reached starships in orbit via crew who visited the world. (Decipher RPG module: Worlds)
With an 1125-year-long year and 280-year-long seasons, civilization on Rigel IV was at the mercy of its climate, rising and falling on each continent according to the weather.
At some point in history, Kaylar slaves and mercenaries were settled on Rigel IV and other worlds of the system, only to return to nomadic tribes once their masters' empires had fallen. (Decipher RPG module: Worlds)
Together with Rigel II, Rigel IV was settled by Humans from Earth in the late 22nd century (less than 200 years before the mid-2360s), founding the first of the Rigel Colonies. (ST references: Star Trek Maps, The Worlds of the Federation)
Before joining the United Federation of Planets, the inhabitants of Rigel IV were little more than pirates who were ruled by a consortium of ruling families that had a reputation of luring visitors to their planet or to their resorts on Rigel II where they were infected with Rigelian fever after which they offered the cure for a price. (TOS novel: Catalyst of Sorrows)
In 2249, the Federation annexed the Human colony on Rigel IV in an effort to combat Orion slave trading (Last Unicorn RPG module: All Our Yesterdays: The Time Travel Sourcebook) and protect Human interests from Orion piracy. They fell under Federation jurisdiction. (Decipher RPG module: Worlds)
Although the Federation had a moneyless economy, the inhabitants of Rigel IV continued to make use of currency, though the succeeding generations from the old pirate families were expected to have gone legitimate. They were also known to have sent their offspring to the universities of Rigel V and elsewhere in order to stop dealing in bootleg medicines. (TOS novel: Catalyst of Sorrows)
In 2266, the Redjac entity murdered several women on Rigel IV (TOS episode: "Wolf in the Fold"), with nine women slain in Polar City, before vanishing without a trace in 2267 (Decipher RPG module: Worlds). The natives of Rigel IV gave it the name "Beratis" (ST reference: The Worlds of the Federation). Redjac left for Argelius II, where it committed another murder with a knife from Rigel IV's Argus River region, while possessing Hengist, a man from Rigel IV. (TOS episode: "Wolf in the Fold")
- The ST reference: Star Charts states that Beta Rigel IV was a member of the United Rigel Colonies, which joined the Federation in 2202. Given Rigel IV's much later Federation membership from Worlds, it seems likely that Rigel IV only joined the United Rigel Colonies in or after 2287.
Environment & Geography
Rigel IV's year lasted for 1125 of Earth's years. It also had a strong axial tilt, of up to 32 degrees, leading to severe climate changes through the different seasons, which lasted roughly 280 years each. The northern continents experienced summer from the mid-21st century onwards. Summer generally brought warm, humid weather with heavy rain, while the winter was fairly cold but dry.
- By adding 280 to 2050, this season is likely to have ended circa 2330.
The flora and fauna of Rigel IV were adapted to these conditions. One species of plant was a broad-leafed fern in summer and a thick-leafed succulent in winter.
The planet had a thick atmosphere and pale blue skies, with a warm temperature and 80% hydrosphere. It had four small continents: Altama and Hypuria in the north, Panara on the equator, and Lorisa on the south pole. Altama and Hypuria experienced pleasant conditions in the long summers. Panara, however, suffered a muggy climate and the brunt of the vast ocean's storms, with windstorms and tsunamis, but increasing dry northern winds as the next season set in. Lorisa was wintry tundra around a polar glacier, with storms and squalls from the surrounding sea, increasing as the seasons slowly shifted. (Decipher RPG module: Worlds)
- Ranler Mountains
- Argus River • Boronal Mountains
- Prulas Mountains
- Alivas Mountains • Mount Tor • Sathuran Mountains • Sathura Bay • Toren Spur
- Brentah Sea • Doravyn Ocean • Dorvavyn Ocean • Sea of Okaara • Sorival Ocean
- The map in Worlds names Altama as Ahuma. It has both Doravyn and Dorvavyn Oceans, possibly in error.
Polar City lay on the northernmost promontory of Hypuria, where an icecap had once rested in 2050. It was a Human colony built in the 2180s, and held 30 million people. It was an arcology, with towers rising 6 kilometers into the sky, and was fed by vast state-of-the-art hydroponic farms, seabed cultivation and replicated food. Integrated replicator and transporter technology kept the city running smoothly. Thus it was the center of Rigel IV's civilization, and a model of urban design and possibility. It hosted numerous conferences for engineers, shipbuilders and a variety of other specialists. (Decipher RPG module: Worlds)
- The text for Rigel IV in Worlds places Polar City on the northernmost promontory of Hypuria, where once there was an ice cap that disappeared in 2050 (the beginning of summer). The map however places it on the ice-covered continent of Lorisa, on the south pole. The name suggests the latter location, the description the former. However, there is no north-facing promontory shown on Hypuria; there is one on Lorisa, but Polar City is not marked here. The text is assumed to be the correct version due to regular mapping errors in this book.
Lying on the equator on the continent of Panara, the Orion city of Sathura remained inhabited throughout Rigel IV's 1125-year-long year, and had a population of 50 million. A deep bay and thick scarp sheltered the city from the worst of Panara's ocean storms, but it suffered under a muggy climate and industrial pollution, which couldn't be removed by the dry northern winds. Apparently founded during the First Orion Empire, 100,000 years before, it was a blend of different architectural styles and technologies dating back to that time. Magnificent and ugly structures sat side-by-side, with grand sculptures and soaring Third Orion Empire arabesque causeways alongside labyrinthine tunnels and general squalor. It was known for crime, poverty and pollution, with all varieties of criminal activity and debauchery, including Orion slave girl trading and illegal genetic modification labs. (Decipher RPG module: Worlds)
The Kaylar quickly returned to a nomadic, unsettled lifestyle after their former masters' empires had fallen. They primarily occupied the tundra and ice of Lorisa, where they flew primitive dirigibles. With these, they rose up out of glacial fissures, flew underneath sensors, and raided all other nations equally. Others lived in the hill region around the Argus River of Hypuria. (Decipher RPG module: Worlds) They were known to use knives with boridium blades and murinite handles carved with their folk art. One of these knives was used by the Redjac entity to commit murders on Argelius II. (TOS episode: "Wolf in the Fold")
- Gorar • Nolat
- Thursvyl • Vanir • Polar City • Tranish Ruins
- Kodesh • Sathura
- Pil Stornom
- The FASA RPG modules: The Orions: Book of Common Knowledge, The Orions: Book of Deep Knowledge present a different version of Rigel IV, seen below. This is in contradiction with the canonical version hinted at in the TV series: the hill people of the Argus River region are unlikely on a world paved flat. Thus, this version is assumed to be an alternative version or possibly appears somewhere else.
- By apparent coincidence, this version of Rigel IV is similar to the canon Rigel X that appeared in Star Trek: Enterprise, particularly the version given by the Decipher RPG module: Worlds's moon Rigel XB, aka Kohlor.
Rigel IV, also known as the Rigel Trading Planet and the "Parking Lot", was the fourth planet of the Rigel system. It was a class G planet with no moons. It was the home of the furred Rigellians who, with their Orion employees and through the Rigellian Trade Authority, managed the world as a gigantic starship port and marketplace, making it a trading center for the known galaxy.
Rigel IV was a dead world, with a surface that from space appeared blasted and scoured, a uniform steel grey broken by occasional patches of bright red, blue, yellow and green. The surface was in fact completely paved over, consisting entirely of starship parking lots and landing areas, and was as hard as glass. The first Human traders named it "The Parking Lot" for this reason. There was no natural elevation on the planet over 5 meters high; all hills and valleys had been leveled flat. Everything else was entirely artificial.
Even the atmosphere was mechanically processed and re-circulated by life support systems, but the dust, engine fumes, and industrial pollution all combined to make it unbreathable. Thus Rigel IV was rated a class G world with a thin contaminated atmosphere and a cool temperate climate. (FASA RPG module: The Orions: Book of Common Knowledge)
The ecosphere of Rigel IV was completely dead, but about 20 native species survived, including insects and the dominant race, the Rigellians (themselves commonly and falsely thought to be the evolved pets of whoever paved over Rigel IV).
It had a total surface area of 430,052,600 square kilometers with 100% land mass. About 42% of its makeup was normal metals, 3% was radioactive elements, 1% was gemstones, with only trace amounts of industrial crystals and special minerals. (FASA RPG module: The Orions: Book of Common Knowledge)
- Though the FASA RPG follows the SFC continuity, the two differ on a number of planetary statistics. SFC gives Rigel IV a diameter of 7671 km and a 42°C average temperature, while The Orions states 11,700 km and that it has a cool temperate climate. SFC also states that Rigel IV lies 2.55 × 10^8 km, ~1.7 AU, from the star, though this is greatly at odds with the Decipher RPG's few hundred AU. This is also unlikely given astronomical knowledge of the star Rigel; at this range, the planet would likely suffer extreme heat.
Gaining permission to land on and trade at Rigel was a long and complex process, so much so that "Doing it Rigel" entered trader's slang to mean doing something ordinary in the most needlessly complicated and convoluted way. The procedures were quite ancient and just as rigid.
On approach, Rigel Space Control hailed a vessel and asked it sixty Questions, regarding the ship, its cargo, crew, and place of origin. These also included some rather strange topics, probably added because of events and disasters in the distant past, now almost forgotten. In orbit, the ship was visited by a robe-wearing and regalia-wielding Inspection Party, who performed purification rites alongside a thorough and more practical examination of the ship, from official papers to crew quarters. Once passed and after a quaint ceremony, the ship was granted the Certificate of Performance and access to Rigel IV. Those who failed the inspections, to stick to the ceremony and procedure or angered the party would be forced to endure an even more complicated purification rite and more probing inspection. The very worst offenders were ordered to leave the system immediately, and forbidden from ever visiting Rigel IV again.
Successful applicants were permitted to land at the Port of P'nam, though in effect this could be anywhere on the planet that they were directed to. The Sutler and his retinue of officials (all Orion) conducted more rituals, covering the unloading of cargo, the connection of water, power and sewage lines, and the granting of liberty to the crew. Once complete, merchants were finally permitted to visit the Trade Halls and begin their trade. There were more traditions and rituals in the Halls as well, but with more relaxed and business-like atmosphere. (FASA RPG module: The Orions: Book of Common Knowledge)
Though lacking in natural features, Rigel IV had a number of above- and below-ground artificial structures. Aboveground, there were the vast planet-wide starship parking lots, landing areas, and massive docks, accompanied by huge junkyards. The Port of P'nam was the official landing place for visiting starships, but in practice it could be anywhere on the planet that a starship was directed to by Rigel Space Control. If it was once a real place, it either no longer existed by the 23rd century or had expanded to cover the entire planet. (FASA RPG module: The Orions: Book of Common Knowledge)
There were a number of cities on the planet, including the main city of Rralrark. Supposedly, whole cities were devoted to single types of product, such as spaceships, heavy machinery, and even slaves. (ST reference: Spaceflight Chronology)
The primary points of interest on Rigel IV's surface were the Trade Halls, massive buildings that dotted the planet's surface. Old and respected Orion families, or conglomerates of smaller families, managed each Hall and provided their experience and expertise to visiting merchants and arranged trades, for reasonable fees. Staff would post a merchant's cargo on the planet's information network and search for a cargo they could take back. These searches involved a range of different values, currencies and product names in different languages, and required a high degree of skill. Though the Trade Halls charged according to effort, they only charged on successful searches, so they only gave up when the search threatened to cost more than the commodity. More experienced merchants could choose to use their own contacts however, and paid much less.
Most other facilities on Rigel IV were underground, including hotels, corporate offices and bustling open-stall marketplaces. There were also bars, taverns and cantinas ranging in quality and reputation, and places where cargos that even the Orion-run Trade Halls would refuse to handle changed hands. All these places were distinctly Orion in culture. The rent was pricy, but the cash-flow high. (FASA RPG module: The Orions: Book of Common Knowledge)
Further down, in the bowels of Rigel IV, legends spoke of faithful Orion servants being allowed to meet an ancient Rigellian elder and even one of the long-extinct Masters preserved by intense life-support or inside a computer. These servants were gifted with wisdom, financial advice or strange hints about the Orions, the Rigellians and the Rigel system that formed the basis of several Orion faiths. (FASA RPG module: The Orions: Book of Deep Knowledge)
Law & Politics
Private police and security forces patrolled Rigel IV; though plentiful, they weren't enough to save the occasional unlucky merchant from being mugged or knifed in a back alley. The high prices and entry procedures prevented most common criminals from stepping foot on the world, but more talented criminals made a killing on high-risk goods, contraband, cash-only trades and short-term loans.
According to interstellar agreements, the entire Rigel system was neutral, and Rigel IV was a protected administered enclave. Warships of any state were prohibited from approaching the planet on pain of its nation being excluded from future trade; not even Starfleet could visit. The Federation, the Klingon Empire and the Romulan Star Empire were all banned in this way.
Roughly one-third of the regular traders at Rigel IV originated from Federation worlds, and the commerce they brought back was vital to the entire Federation. However, Starfleet was concerned about the risk from exotic alien flora and fauna, powerful technology, drugs and dangerous substances, but they had no authority to intervene there. (FASA RPG module: The Orions: Book of Common Knowledge)
Rigel IV received the most spacefaring traffic in the known galaxy. According to the Rigellian Trade Authority in the late 23rd century, an average of 2.6 starships and 6.15 million tons of cargo arrived or departed every minute, and thousands of starships in a day. The average stay lasted only 12.6 hours. About one-third of these traders came from the Federation.
The trade was primarily of exotic goods not normally found on regular interstellar trading lanes. Whether rare or common, useless or valuable, Rigel IV was the place to sell things that had no other known market, and to buy things that could not be found elsewhere. For a merchant, there was always the possibility that another had what they wanted, or sought what they had and was willing to pay extra for it. Standard trading rules did not apply.
However, this trade was hazardous, unpredictable and ever-changing. Values fluctuated and the market for any commodity experienced cycles of surplus and scarcity. Something quite valuable could suddenly become worthless, and vice versa. Products could be bought for much less than their worth, or sold for much more, then suddenly revert. The difference between fortune and ruin could be only a few minutes. Experienced merchants went more by intuition than market analysis.
The other problem for merchants was the high cost of dealing there, with berthing fees and other expenses ranging from three to five times higher than on a Federation world. The work was also quite hectic, with frequent problems, worries, offers of trade of all kinds, all in a multi-racial environment, with a lot of travel and crucial timing. Overall, a trip to Rigel IV could be highly profitable, a complete loss, or simply exhausting
The first Earth ship to Rigel IV made a good profit on a load of metals and electronic goods. The second discovered the highly variable nature of trade there. Once a Vulcan vessel could not sell their pure neutronium, despite its value, but managed to sell their stores of soft drink for a profit. A small, spiny alien race, who preferred to keep the location of their world secret, arrived occasionally with hundreds of tons of high-quality diamonds.
Test drilling into Rigel produced samples around 8.8 billion years old. By the Muuly-Barsh projection, Rigel IV was first inhabited an estimated billion years ago (circa 999,998,000 BCE, reference stardate −10,000,000/00).
Rigel IV was a treasure, a mystery and a nightmare to archaeologists. The world had been in operation for—as far as they could tell—over 100,000 years, with Rigellian Trade Authority records apparently going back at least 50,000 years, when they stated the surface was completely paved over. Drill-samples of the crust were around 8.8 billion years old, much older than the star Rigel itself, pointing to the mystery of the Rigel system.
The junkyards were a treasure trove to archaeologists. Ancient and extinct races, some known only from tool fragments and in legends, had traded at Rigel IV and left behind their calling cards, hotel receipts and starship scrap. With no retail value, much of this was recycled, and so many valuable artifacts were destroyed. Licensed archaeological teams worked to excavate, preserve and ship off-planet whatever they could find.
Only the native Rigellians knew the true and complete history of Rigel IV, however.
A billion years ago (circa 999,998,000 BCE, stardate −10,000,000/00), Rigel III and Rigel IV were both inhabited by an advanced space-faring race known as the Shour. Over the next 10 million years, these worlds produced at least three more native civilizations and were occupied by countless others.
A million years ago, a fourth race known as the Masters evolved on Rigel IV. With an early understanding of science and philosophy giving them great power, they created a massive empire in the Orion Arm, which lasted for over a million years. The Masters destroyed lesser, rival civilizations, and performed many experiments upon other life forms and other civilizations. By 1,498,000 BCE (stardate −15,000/00), they desired to preserve their great civilization for the ages, to leave an everlasting mark on the Galaxy. Thus, they embarked upon a long process of stellar engineering and planetary remodeling, so that the entire Rigel system itself would serve as a monument and museum to their achievements. Their homeworld of Rigel IV was preserved as a kind of work yard and memorial to their legacy, and as a planetary spare parts storeroom for their grand projects
Around 998,000 BCE (stardate −10000/00), the Masters began to die out, so they took Bodas, a species of intelligent near-humanoid animals that they had kept as pets, and hastily and crudely genetically advanced them into full sentience and a humanoid form. They intended this species (which would later call itself Rigellian) to survive them, to inherit their great works and serve as caretakers. Shortly afterwards, the Masters disappeared, leaving their servants with vast stores of knowledge, memorials and the Rigel system, all telling of the achievement and glory of the Masters.
The Rigellians did this for 10,000 years, until they came to a complete understanding of the long-dead Masters, their works, the engineered nature of themselves and the unstable alterations to their home star Rigel, which would eventually nova and obliterate the system anyway. Offended by the sheer arrogance of the Masters, and finding the idea of preserving them to be abhorrent, around 988,000 BCE (stardate −9900/00) the Rigellians destroyed almost every trace of them.
To make amends for the Masters and redeem their own consciences, the Rigellians decided to work to ensure that no one followed the Masters' way of cosmic vandalism and self-aggrandizement. To these ends, they began by opening the Rigel system to all races for trade and development, and in approximately 968,000 BCE (stardate −9700/00), the Rigellians sponsored several cooperative ventures, with the aim of educating other races, regulating trade and correcting the damage the Masters had done to other star systems. These all failed, with only the Rigel Trade Authority having any success. Thus they made Rigel IV a crossroads of the galaxy, where knowledge and civilization could pass alongside trade goods.
In 50,000 BCE (stardate −520/00), after hundreds of thousands of years of struggle, the ecosphere of Rigel IV finally died, leaving almost no plant, animal or microbe alive. The Rigellians accepted this and simply leveled the mountains, glazed over the lifeless ground and turned it into a vast starport. Artificial life-support had already been in place for nearly a million years. (FASA RPG module: The Orions: Book of Deep Knowledge)
When the Orion Dawn of 1508 BCE (stardate −35/0811) saw fledgling Orion pirates steal their first ships, the Rigellians had complete information on the event, but claimed ignorance to the other Kammzdast Signatories who asked their aid. The Rigellians later used their subtle influence to allow Orions to work as clerks in their Trade Halls, giving the slaves more influence. By 1317 BCE (stardate −33/17), Orions were valuable, efficient and obedient workers in the Trade Halls.
In 14th July 95 BCE (stardate −20/9507.14), the Trade Halls were the site of the 187th Rigel Conference and the Ultimatum of the Nine Worlds. This lead to the rise of the great Orion leader Nallin the Unconquerable, who lead a group of Trade Hall rhadamanen ('arch-executives') in an uprising of the Orion slaves against the Kammzdast Signatories who enslaved them, beginning the Orion War for their independence. (FASA RPG module: The Orions: Book of Common Knowledge)
Following information from Tellarite traders, the UNSS Marco Polo visited the Rigel Trading Planet in 2079 SFC (c. 2150), the first Earth ship to do so. Tellarites and Andorians already traded here. The crew visited the city of Rralrark and found that Earth's electronics and metals were apparently more advanced than those of other worlds, and such goods were enormously popular among the alien traders, even Captain Lorenzo Malfatti's wrist computer and titanium belt buckle. Malfatti swapped his belt buckle for a load of Saurian brandy. ST reference: Spaceflight Chronology They also opened direct trade between Humans and Orions, on reference stardate 0/7907.27, and sold to them a load of items of 20th century Earth culture. (FASA RPG modules: The Federation, The Orions: Book of Common Knowledge) Through the Rigel IV trade expedition, Earth learned of many more races and worlds than they had previously known. The Marco Polo left with a huge profit and a bumper cargo. Malfatti predicted that trading at Rigel would provide a significant boost to Earth's Gross Solar Product. However, the next Terran ship would not be so lucky. (ST reference: Spaceflight Chronology)
Later, the newly formed Federation sent its first delegation to Rigel to negotiate diplomatic and economic relations with the Rigellians and the Orions. On stardate 0/9101.13 (c. 2165), Starfleet Lieutenant Kathleen Wenzel became the first Federation citizen to meet the Rigellians on Rigel IV. (FASA RPG modules: The Orions: Book of Common Knowledge, The Orions: Book of Deep Knowledge)