- Three different versions of Rigel VIII have been presented. They are presented separately for clarity, below.
- Star Trek Maps and The Worlds of the Federation state that Rigel VIII is also called "Orion" but other worlds and systems also have this title, such as the Orion system, Pi-3 Orionis, and Rigel VII.
It was a class M planet and had two moons, one of which was major. It also had the distinction of being the only known habitable ringed planet. (FASA RPG module: The Orions: Book of Common Knowledge, ST references: Star Trek Maps, The Worlds of the Federation, TOS novel: Prime Directive)
- The Book of Common Knowledge doesn't mention or show the rings, and describes the "twin moons", perhaps implying one is larger.
- "Prince of planets." — the poet Huwald
- "Festering stinkpot." — a Klingon spy (FASA RPG module: The Orions: Book of Common Knowledge)
By the late 23rd century, Botchok was home to 5.6 billion people, the most populous of Orion worlds. They lived in the many comfortable and well-managed cities and semi-dispersed agricultural communities that were scattered around the world. (FASA RPG module: The Orions: Book of Common Knowledge)
A primitive Orion cave-drawing on Botchok depicted a spaceship landing on the plains, with bulky suited aliens emerging to capture and carry away the stick-figure natives.
As the ancient homeworld of the Orion people, the cultural and spiritual center of their civilization, and rife with artistic types, Botchok was thick with shrines and temples, monuments and memorial parks, statues, museums, and relics and ruins of its long history, with countless festivals, celebrations and remembrances. These were all exploited for the tourism industry.
However, Orion Colonials saw the Homeworlders of Botchok as effete, snobbish, timid and lazy. They were thought of as homebodies, with an inexplicable fear and disgust of those who traveled and explored. Their reverence of old names and customs was dismissed when the customs didn't make sense. They were said to be unproductive, decadent and ungrateful for the efforts of the Colonies. In turn, the homeworlders thought of the colonials as uncivilized, lacking in history, tradition and class, crowded with people and forgetting their origins as they picked up alien habits. Despite all this, they were still bound together by trade and sentiment.
Inspiring much of Orion Colony design, Botchoki architecture included fluted and spiraled towers with minarets, knurled blocks of apartments with balconies, all built of colored stone and adorned with cloth hangings. There were bazaars, cantinas, markets and clubs. (FASA RPG module: The Orions: Book of Common Knowledge)
The roughest taverns on Rigel VIII could have ears nailed to the wall, even Klingon ears.
With nearly all of its natural resources and raw materials used up, Botchok depended on imports from other worlds, even lumber and oil, while it salvaged and recycled all it could, to support itself and its own meager supplies.
It produced no goods; its primary exports were information, expertise, entertainment and cultural artefacts. A sizable proportion of the population consisted of authors, artists, entertainers and specialists. Their earnings made up a large part of the planet's total income, and a liberal tax system encouraged more to come to Botchok from other worlds. Local governments even offered package deals to prospective valuable residents.
Tourism was also a significant industry, with three billion visitors arriving on Botchok each year to see the historical and cultural sights or attend business meetings and conventions. To cater to them, there were hotels, convention centers, casinos, guided tours, museums and countless festivals, celebrations and remembrances. (FASA RPG module: The Orions: Book of Common Knowledge)
Botchok had a 28-hour day, with 40.8% land mass and 59.2% water. A class M world with a terrestrial atmosphere, the climate was warm and dry, though with an average temperature of 19.2° Celsius, and it was said to be rather pleasant. (FASA RPG module: The Orions: Book of Common Knowledge)
- The FASA RPG module: The Orions: Book of Common Knowledge gives Rigel VIII an Earth-like gravity of 1.0 g. The TOS novel: Prime Directive meanwhile gives the world a high gravity of around 1.8–2.0 g, while the spaceport's alien quarter has a lower artificial gravity.
As the site of many proxy wars fought with Orion slave soldiers, and once enduring the Atom War and an ensuing holocaust called the Long Winter, the ecology and atmosphere of Botchok suffered greatly. To correct the damage, the Orions attempted to repair it in the historic First Stage project, though with inferior terraforming technology, little care and a lot of zeal. Ever since, they have were forced to make frequent corrections to many oversights and natural imbalances.
As a result, Botchok's climate and most of its ecology was artificially maintained at an incredible cost, but also tuned for greatest comfort, with little bad weather. It was nearly free of dangerous animals and plants, and cured of serious diseases, but maybe only five percent of all life-forms on the planet were native to it, including the microbes and the Orions (and this was doubtful given speculation about their prehistory). All the rest had either been imported from other worlds, or altered in some way. Nearly all of its natural resources had also been depleted, necessitating imports from off-world—if these were to be cut off, the biosphere management system would fail in a few days, and Botchok would turn into a half-frozen wasteland within a year.
It had a total surface area of 617,512,690 square kilometers and, with 41% land mass, a total land area of 253,180,200 square kilometers. About 14% of Botchok's makeup was normal metals, 2% was radioactive elements, 1% was gemstones, 2% was industrial crystals, and 5% was special minerals. (FASA RPG module: The Orions: Book of Common Knowledge)
The alien overlords of the Orion people originally created the nations of Botchok for their convenience, with different factions controlling different regions and using them as pawns against each other in proxy warfare. They were bound together by Nallin the Unconquerable during the battle for Orion freedom. These ancient nation-states survived into the late 23rd century since nothing replaced them, with their original power and independence intact—with relatively little of either compared to the powerful Orion families and corporations. (FASA RPG modules: The Orions: Book of Common Knowledge, The Orions: Book of Deep Knowledge)
Of these nation-states, the so-called "Big Four" were Kulian, Mazak, Tipot and Yuin, whose delegates controlled the Botchok Planetary Congress (BPC) and the Orion Colonies Intelligence. There were few disputes between the nations and their governments, and history blurred the distinctions between them and their forms of government. Usually they just disagreed on matters regarding the BPC itself and its role in the Orion Colonies. (FASA RPG modules: The Orions: Book of Common Knowledge, The Orions: Book of Deep Knowledge)
- See main article: Orion history
Around 998,000 BCE (reference stardate −10,000/00), the Masters seeded Rigel VIII with life, new and promising forms intended to evolve over a million years or so into an intelligent species capable of space-flight and revering the long-dead Masters as gods. (FASA RPG module: The Orions: Book of Deep Knowledge)
- These species may have become the Orions. The time-scale is approximately correct, with prehistoric Orions appearing 980,000 years later in the FASA history, and some claim descent from the Masters. However, their later appearance was a surprise, with no sign of sentient life previously detected, while Preserver relocation has also been suggested. Thus, it is not known if these plans were successful or were disrupted by alien interference.
Prior to the appearance of the Orions, Botchok had already been thoroughly picked over by the starfaring alien races that visited the Rigel system, and their records showed no sign of sentient life. At this time, it was cold temperate wilderness.
Thus it was a surprise when primitive Orions attacked a Yugai colony, who destroyed the village responsible, around 18,000 BCE (stardate −200/00). The Sugg, however, used them as slaves, and alien slavers created puppet nations on Botchok to fight their proxy wars, under the terms of the Treaty of Kammzdast, whose signing in 15,956 BCE (stardate −179/56), beginning the Orion Era. An Orion bid for freedom in 12,237 BCE (stardate −142/37) resulted in the punitive Atom War, and the ensuing twenty-year Long Winter. On 9143 BCE (stardate −111/43), the Orions were allowed to conduct terraforming to repair the damaged world; this First Stage was concluded in 7730 BC (stardate −97/30).
Botchok was finally liberated in 95 BCE (stardate −20/9508), when Nallin the Unconquerable led the overthrow of the alien slavers and bound the nation-states together by founding the Botchok Planetary Congress. The Battle of Botchok in 94 BCE (stardate −20/9401.03) defended the newly freed world and began the Orion War of independence. Botchok became the hub of the new free Orion nation.
The original Federation scouting of the planet reported Rigel VIII as the suspected Orion pirate superbase, and advised others to approach "with extreme prejudice". (FASA RPG module: The Orions: Book of Common Knowledge)
- The Worlds of the Federation presents an alternative history for the Orions of Rigel VIII, described here. They became Federation members by the mid-2360s.
Following a divorce from Nanietta Bacco in 2318, Roberto LaManna eventually moved to Rigel VIII and opened up a bar that was popular with the local miners. (TNG novel: A Time for War, A Time for Peace)
- The Decipher RPG presents a different version of Rigel VIII, below, and makes Rigel VII (Kolar) the Orion homeworld.
It was a class G world frozen over and completely covered by a planet-wide ice cap. It was unknown what lay beneath the ice. Thirty thousand years ago, the Fourth Orion Empire hastily abandoned a terraforming project there. (Decipher RPG module: Worlds)
Star Charts version
- The planets of the Beta Rigel system in the ST reference: Star Charts are inextricably linked to those of the Rigel system. Hence, Beta Rigel VIII is included here.