History and specifics
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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 (TAS episode: "Yesteryear").
- Though not stated explicitly, the lines "Orion, at the dawn of its civilization" and “in Orion’s past" suggest a reference to a planet's past, rather than that of a people or a system, hence the inclusion here.
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. (TAS novelization: Yesteryear)
In 2372, Quark, a Ferengi entrepreneur, attempted to smuggle kemocite to Orion on a side-trip between Deep Space 9 and Earth, though the enterprise failed due to sabotage. (DS9 episode: "Little Green Men")
This world might be the origin of numerous lifeforms:
- the Orion wing-slug (TNG episode: "Ménage à Troi", Decipher RPG module: Creatures, TOS - My Brother's Keeper novel: Constitution, DS9 novel: Wrath of the Prophets)
- the Orion spine boar (ST novel: Excelsior: Forged in Fire)
- the Orion emerald finch (Decipher RPG module: Creatures)
- the Orion fern tree. (TOS novel: Traitor Winds)
- It is unclear where these plants and animals come from, only that they are named 'Orion', implying an origin or a familiarity with this system or with the Orion people.
Prior to the revelation of Alnilam and Vondem as the Orion home, previous sources have developed the planets Rigel VII and Rigel VIII as the Orion homeworld, each also named "Orion". This is not necessarily a contradiction of the 23rd century reference to Vondem at Alnilam, as the older publications depict Orion's ancient origins including abandonment of some previous and adopted homeworlds. Star Charts also names the Pi-3 Orionis system as the apparently unrelated "Orion system".