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For other uses, see Rigelian.

The Zami, also called Rigelians, were a vulcanoid race who were native to the planet Rigel IV, but also had colonies on Rigel V in the Rigel system.

See also: V'gelnian.


The Rigelians were a vulcanoid race, indistinguishable from Vulcans native to the homeworld. Even sensors were incapable of telling the difference between Vulcan and Rigelian life signs. (TOS novel: Mind Meld) They had a very similar physiology, but different enough that certain drugs and treatments could not automatically be assumed to work as well on both races. (TOS episode: "Journey to Babel") They had the same physical features, olive-green blood and a similar level of strength. However, as they did not repress their emotions, they tended to be more charismatic. (TOS novel: Mind Meld; Decipher RPG module: Worlds)

The TLE novel: Catalyst of Sorrows describes the Rigelians as externally human in appearance (based on Hengist from "Wolf in the Fold"), but with an internal physiology near-identical to Vulcans. This is inconsistent with other sources which describe them as outwardly indistinguishable from Vulcans as well.

They also kept the psionic abilities and disciplines of their Vulcan ancestors, and maintained them through breeding and study. (Decipher RPG module: Worlds) A noted difference, however, was that the Rigelians did not demonstrate any appreciable telepathic abilities. They apparently possessed an uncanny sense of direction, possibly deriving from their psionic skills. (TOS novel: Mind Meld)

Mind Meld states that Rigelians have no telepathic ability, while Worlds mentions their training in unidentified "psionic gifts". Given the two, it seems likely that Rigelians possess psionic abilities that do not involve telepathy. A good sense of direction may or may not be one of them.

Like Vulcans and Romulans, Rigelians were susceptible to Tuvan Syndrome. (DS9 episode: "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges")


Rigelian society was governed by a monarchy and consisted of a neat and interlinked aristocracy, which was based on factors such as land tenure, service and psionic gifts. (Decipher RPG module: Worlds) Their society didn't have many governmental bodies, but instead made use of local prefects and the Rigelian Assembly, which met twice a year. The legal system was based around a Citizen's Court, an inquest where a panel of twenty six men and twenty six women were entitled to ask questions and served essentially as prosecutors.

Their society was arranged into clans, such as the Heart Clan, the Truth Clan and the Forgiveness Clan. Clans were families consisting of a large number of individuals, though when a clan grew too large to sustain it typically split into two separate clans. Rigelians also practiced group marriages – a woman could possess multiple husbands, even as many as sixteen.

However, due to their large families and high birth-rates, Rigelian communities produced more children than they were capable of supporting. To lower numbers and prevent inbreeding, they sold children to other clans, which typically resulted in them marrying adults. Lone and clan-less children were in danger of being kidnapped and sold, or forced into child prostitution. (TOS novel: Mind Meld)

Rigelians were deeply rooted to an agrarian lifestyle, and enjoyed the outdoors and environment. Advanced technology and weapons were typically discouraged on Rigel V. This seemingly primitive existence meant that they had no quarries, mines, power plants or pollution, and only a few industrialists. They didn’t have much of an economy; what there was based on precious metals. The clans were divided into a number of rural craft guilds, which were involved with various aspects of trade. (TOS novel: Mind Meld)

Their homes were typically based in lodges that were spread out and connected through solar transporters. (TOS novel: Mind Meld)

Rigelians lived primarily on Rigel V, their adopted homeworld, but some also dwelled on other worlds of the Rigel system, such as Rigel II and Rigel IV. They tended to stay within the Rigel system. (Decipher RPG module: Worlds)


Unlike their vulcanoid kin, the Rigelians did not repress their emotions (Decipher RPG module: Worlds), lacked the discipline common to both Romulans and Vulcans, and weren't afraid to look foolish, making them somewhat similar to Humans. Rigelian children did not undergo the deep studying that Vulcan children faced and even made physical displays of affection to their parents. (TOS novel: Mind Meld) In fact, the Rigelians were noted to be culturally more similar to the Romulans, but they were not as warlike and lacked the restrictive aspects of that society. This was attributed to the countering influence of the Orions and, later, Humans, who shared the Rigel system and provided the Rigelians with more liberal views for their culture. (Decipher RPG module: Worlds) Thus they were tolerant of many different forms of lifestyle. However, they had a fiercely independent streak.

They believed in the importance of exercise of the entire body for optimum health. A central part of their “exercise” was regular sexual activity, which they believed reduced their destructive urges and made people happier and heal faster. Therefore, they typically added sex to therapy to help the healing process and considered it unnatural to go without. Sex also helped them grow their clans and create new ones.

Where Vulcans controlled their violent urges by suppressing emotion and Romulans surrendered to them, the Rigelians instead expended their energies with physical exertion. When a Rigelian was upset, they typically either fought or had sex. This lead them to experience the grief frenzy, such as when mourning the death of loved one, in which they fought another until the frenzy burned out the grief. It was possible to hire another to battle for this purpose. (TOS novel: Mind Meld)

Despite their desire for a low-technology lifestyle, Rigelian medical techniques were renowned. (TOS novel: Mind Meld) This was because of the colonists' initial need to adapt their Vulcan biochemistry to their new homeworld and to the Rigel system. This led Rigelian medical researchers to pioneer many advances and useful techniques in a number of fields, particularly hematology, nephrology, and oncology. Many biologists and doctors were raised to the level of aristocracy, prompting wealthy families to arrange marriages to promising young medical students. Rigel V traded its medical equipment and medicines (Decipher RPG module: Worlds), including biological and medical products harvested from its forests. (TOS novel: Mind Meld)

The Rigelians retained the psionic skills of their Vulcan ancestors by breeding, study and exploration of their own inner mind's psionic and emotional aspects. These skills were important enough that Rigelian aristocrats achieved status through their psionic talents and gifts. Many of the ancient psionic disciplines of the Vulcan mind lords were kept alive in the Monastery of Gol. (Decipher RPG module: Worlds)

They were a superstitious people, and numerology played an important part in Rigelian culture, with many number-based rules and guidelines enshrined in the Doctrine of Lollo. These rules determined the structure of government, number of spouses and children in each clan, practices involving food, specified colors and styles of dress, and various omens of ill fortune. Rigelians swore to truth on the primary numbers or wished good tidings by informing another that they had good combinations. Numerologists were an important class in Rigelian society, and even used their techniques to investigate crimes. (TOS novel: Mind Meld)


The Rigelians were one of the splinter civilizations of Vulcans that formed after the philosopher Surak spread his philosophy of peace and logic. (TOS novel: Mind Meld) During the time of the diaspora from the Vulcan homeworld, the Debrune fleet passed the Rigel system in 453 AD. A splinter fleet under the command of Vice-Admiral Torek broke off and approached Rigel V. Rather than be subject to his comrades, Torek decided to conquer the primitive Kaylar-populated world with his own forces and rule it himself.

It did not go as well as he planned, however, as the native Kaylar were armed by the Orions, who did not desire the competition from an expansionist empire. The Kaylar lost in the fields but remained firmly entrenched in the jungles and mountainous areas. A century of conflict engulfed the world before the Debrune eventually succeeded in conquering the southern continent, which they named Han-shir after the continent of the planet Vulcan, their former homeworld. The colder northern parts of the world were left to the Kaylar. They negotiated new trade deals with the Orions and avoided further interference from them, and a time of stability followed. From that point forward, the Debrune offshoot became the Rigelians, who developed their own civilization on their new homeworld. (Decipher RPG module: Worlds)

By the 11th century, Rigelian civilization was at its height, represented by the city of Ancient Grace, which had great many-storied buildings with huge white columns and porticos standing upon its hills. But the Rigelians of this time were described as being distrustful, possessive, and highly competitive. The numerologists warned the Rigelian race to change their ways.

Subsequently, a plague spread through the population and decimated their number, leaving the cities in ruins while the native plant life flourished. After the plague had run its course, the survivors formed a new society that was more rural and decentralized, with new family units that possessed many members, to prevent them from being so decimated again. In addition, their culture shifted to living in the present, rather than focusing on the future or the past. (TOS novel: Mind Meld) Rigelian society became less inclined to violence as they further adapted to their homeworld. (Decipher RPG module: Worlds)

This shift to a near-agrarian lifestyle meant that the Rigelian people remained poor compared to other worlds, though their forests gave them some biological and medical products which they sold. However, they had no fleets and no trade agreements, which severely restricted their civilization. (TOS novel: Mind Meld)

Rigel V became a member of the Federation in 2184, after the Rigel Accords were signed and made into law. (ST reference: The Worlds of the Federation)

In the mid-23rd century, doctors on Rigel V developed an experimental drug, a stimulant that increased production and replacement of blood in Rigelian test subjects, though it strained the spleen and liver. Doctor Leonard McCoy successfully utilized this drug on a Vulcan, Spock, in 2268. (TOS episode: "Journey to Babel")

In 2293, a Rigelian trade delegation representing the Heart Clan were involved in negotiations with the Federation on Earth, due to them being suspected of being involved in illegal activity such as prostitution and animal skin trading. This round of discussions took three weeks before the members of the clan were collected by the USS Enterprise and escorted back to Rigel V. However, during this time, Rigelian Ambassador Denker was assassinated by criminal elements and the truth of the event was revealed, through a mind meld with Teska, who served as a witness. This led to the revelation of the child slave trade on Rigel V and began a series of reforms in order for the Rigelian government to comply with the Federations laws. (TOS novel: Mind Meld)

In the year 2297, the Rigelian monarchy applied for membership to the United Federation of Planets and obtained it that same year. (Decipher RPG module: Worlds) After becoming members of the Federation, the Rigelians were noted as being somewhat reclusive, with them sending few youngsters to Starfleet Academy and they seldom took part in conferences or trade talks. The one area in which they did contribute to the Federation, however, was in the field of medicine. (TOS novel: Mind Meld)

The Worlds 2297 membership date contradicts The Worlds of the Federation's 2184 date, above, while Mind Meld depicts Rigel V as already being a Federation member in 2293. However, Mind Meld also suggests a potential expulsion from the Federation due to illegal Rigelian practices of child slavery. Given these dates, it seems likely that this expulsion occurred, the necessary laws and reforms were made, and Rigel V was re-admitted to the Federation in 2297.

Known Rigelians


The Last Unicorn RPG line was developing an manual called "Sky Pirates of Orion: The Rigel System", which detailed the Rigel Star System and dealt with the matter of the Vulcanoid Rigelians. According to this source, they were descended from seven theocratic groups that lived in Gol on the Vulcan homeworld when Surak began spreading his message of logic. Similar to the proto-Romulans, these theocrats refused to accept his message and used a psychic gateway to escape to Rigel V in order to build their numbers and conquer their home world. However, warfare broke out between the seven kingdoms and the psychic gateway technology was lost leaving the natives to develop on their new homeworld. Whilst this was the case, the species still retained the use of several psionic technology such as slave collars which they used to tame the Kaylar and used them as a form of trade with the Orions. As the manual was never published, it is not considered part of the material for Memory Beta but rather apocryphal information.
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