Orion Syndicate

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History

The Rigellians are an ancient culture, who have been around for much longer than most other current starfaring species. They have had FTL technology for over six millennia--more than twice as long as the Vulcans. Prior to that, they had terraformed and colonized several planets in the Rigel system and had contact with the remnants of an earlier Rigellian civilization. Rigellian empires in this sector of the Galaxy have risen and fallen on several occassions, as has their level of technology and influence in relation to neightboring races.

In 1852, the expanding United Rigellian Government discovered intelligent life on a small jungle planet some 10 light years away from the home system. A forty-man survey and exploration team was launched to the world they called Qaras three years later.

After a twenty year voyage, the vessel landed on Qaras. The Rigellians (whose homeworld, Rigel is 15 light years from Earth and was named by the Klingons before contact with humans in 2151) were suprised to find a docile, primitive green-skinned people on a divided planet only beginning to experiment with feudalism. The survey team stayed for nine months and it was agreed that twenty of the team members would return to Rigel where the other twenty would remain guests of the Shrevashal nation on Qaras.

The Rigellians remaining on "Qaras" quickly became involved in a religious dispute within the Shrevashal Empire. Tempted by a vast fortune in mineral wealth and power, the Rigellians used their advanced technology to set up a proxy religious empire of their own. The second ship arrived much more quickly, having discovered limited warp propulsion, the trip only taking two years. The "Star People" (the Shrevashal name for the Rigellians) by that time were using vast numbers of the population as slave labor and working on a crash program to raise the technological level of the new world they intended to conquer.

A bloody battle ensued with the "Star People" rapidly imprisoned and returned to Rigel by the Rigellians on board the second. Along with the Rigellian prisoners on the trip were some native Shrevashal.

The Shrevashal were extremely friendly, and more sexually liberal than the Rigellians. The native Rigellians found these strange aliens fascinating. Since the Shrevashal performed religious celebratory dances of a highly erotic nature, and as the Shrevashal emitted a pheremone through sweat that activated the pleasure centers (an antidote would not be found until several years later), news spread that the new world, Qaras, was a pleasure planet, a place where mineral wealth and free sex could be had for the asking.

At this time in Rigel's history, the space program was at a critical juncture. Rigel's mineral resources were almost exhausted, and there was a need to find mineral wealth elsewhere or stay trapped on Rigel. The space manufacturing industry was operating at peak performance, with almost a third of the planetary budget devoted to manufacturing. With several ships already ready to travel, the populace was not willing to take a conservative position on Rigellian expansion. Lurid tales of alien green men and women ready to satify every sexual demand fueled the popular imagination, and the farseeing government that financed Rigel's dreams to the stars was turned out of office by a government with more ominous designs.

Before long, streams of explorers, official and corporate, flooded Qaras and overturned Shrevashal society. Rigel had aims to expand beyond Shrevashal and began clear-cutting the jungle forests and strip-mining the landscape (the continent of Lalem, once a verdant paradise, is now a desert continent). Manpower was needed to work the mines and supply unskilled labor needs on Rigel. The Rigellians passed "Acts of Remission" which obstensibly allowed the Rigellians to use the Shrevashalu as slave labor if "peaceful coexistence was threatened". Hungry for cheap manpower, this elastic law allowed the Shrevasahal to be pressed into slavery at will. The men were worked to death in manufacturing. The women became servants, or brothel inmates.

For the next 100 years, Rigel would continue to expand its empire, but found no other inhabited planets. The Rigellians pushed onward through space. There, they found the Qi'tas, a border world of the Klingon empire. The Rigellians were unable to identify this strange empire, but were slaughtered at the hands of superior forces. Attempts to expand in another direction were halted at Ll'hansre, by the cloaked vessels of the Romulan Expeditionary Force. Rigel found itself crowded between two hostile empires.

Before settling on a third direction, the Rigellians were contacted instead by the Vulcans before the end of the year 2000. Rigellian technology was not as refined as the Vulcan scout craft which landed. The Vulcans offered peace to the warlike Rigellians. After some Rigellian sabre-rattling, the Vulcans warned the Rigellians that they faced enemies without and now, enemies within. The Shrevashal could revolt at any time. "It would be wise," the Vulcan representative said, "to listen to the voice of a friend, rather than to make a new enemy."

Warily, the Rigellians and Vulcans shared information. The Vulcans suggested that the Rigellians gradually ease their restrictions on the Shrevashal and make them full members of a Rigellian Empire. When the Shrevashal heard the news that Vulcan craft had landed, they attempted to revolt in 2034. The revolt was brutally suppressed by the Rigellians, with thousands of Shrevashal slaves executed. A new solution was reached. The Shrevashal still alive on Rigel would be sterilized. There would be no Shrevashalu citizens in a Rigellian Empire. Power would be turned over to the backward Shrevashal still alive on Qaras, and the corporate powers of Rigel could sell the occasional slave to the new worlds the Vulcans would point out.

The remaining Shrevashal named their world after the nation unfortunate enough to receive the first Rigellian ship. The Vulcans tendered peace to the new planet, but the Shrevashal would not listen. Revenge was the foremost thought in the collective mind of the Shrevashal.

Somehow over the next one hundred years the Rigellians watched in alarm as the Shrevashal began arming themselves, fighting the Rigellians with a fury not to be believed in such a peaceful people. Many times the Vulcans brought the Shrevashal to the conference table, many times were they to be disappointed. Vulcan did what it could to stop the conflict, and the Rigellians were preparing to exterminate the rest of the Shrevashal.

In the year 2152, a small group of Shrevashal vessels took the Agifo Spaceyards. The Shrevashal had no intention of enslaving the Rigellians. The *pieces* of the Rigellians were sent back to Rigel, and the Rigellian populace looked on in terror. Rigellian intelligence confirmed that the Shrevashal were building a fleet, and the Vulcans could not offer any military aid for a Rigellian government in paralysis.

There was one possibility: Rigel had heard of four other worlds besides Vulcan which might offer aid. Cygnus, Andor, Tellar, and a newly discovered world called Terra, the newest of the four. The Rigellians immediately sent a call for help to sentient space, with the threats of a new enemy, the Shrevashal, which the Terrans called "the Orions". The name stuck, and the "Five Powers" (Rigel, Cygnus, Andoria, Tellar, and Terra) decided what to do about the "Orion problem".

A combined fleet would be formed, first under Rigellian leadership. Terra would step to the front of the conflict since it was already engaged in war with the Romulans, and the Terrans began to network with a "Security Council" to determine the best way to end the conflict, which helped Terra, Andoria and Tellar understand how a future, more permanent interstellar alliance could work and be beneficial to all involved. When Rigel's base at Ana-Eexian was attacked by the Orion Warship EYEWITNESS, the "Five Powers" sent a peacekeeping force to serve as a barrier. By the year 2154, each of the Five Powers had signed a document stating they would take "all necessary steps" to end the fight, even if it meant taking the battle to Orion itself.

Between 2152 and 2154, the Orions inflicted heavy losses on the Five Powers. The Rigellian leadership was turned out with Admiral James Crowell becoming head of the Security Fleet. The Orions were excellent at expansion, but Crowell realized that the networking of the Five Powers was yielding new insights in military technology, particularly greater control in acceleration and deceleration of warp speeds. Crowell knew that if he could hold the Orion expansion until the Five Powers were able to implement the new warp advances, the war could be turned overnight.

It was. The EYEWITNESS lived up to its name at the Battle of Hydros IV as the Orion fleet was decimated by a new Corvette class of escorts, as the EYEWITNESS suffered a SIF failure and was forced to stand grounded and watch helplessly. The Five Powers rolled Orion territory back to the homeworld of Shrevashal itself.

The Prime Minister surrendered to the Five Powers and resigned his office. Eighty percent of the Orion fleet surrendered, but twenty percent continued to fight on in a losing battle, the larger ships destroyed and the Orions forced into hit and run tactics. Civil War broke out on Shrevashal. Vulcan offered to mediate the reconstruction of Shrevashal society, but Andoria and Tellar believed that the spoils went to the victor. After three years of Vulcan diplomacy, Andoria and Tellar finally agreed to the construction of a Provisional Government, which was never been accepted by a majority of the Orions and was turned out of office thirty years later.

The remnants of the Orion fleet scattered. The shipyards of Shrevashal continued to turn out vessels, but only criminal interests had the capital to buy them. The Orions became smugglers, and later, pirates. The ex-fleet officers and crewmen were inducted as full fledged members of the Orion underworld. Until the 2300s, the Orions served as pirates, and the Government remained unaligned with the Federation, but not an enemy. By the beginning of the twenty-fourth century, the Orions had established themselves throughout the Galaxy, and the *Prota Canna*, or Orion Syndicate, is feared on every wealthy world.

The Results of the Orion Conflict: the ascendancy of Terra. The realization that a stronger social union would benefit each of the Five Powers. The recognition of the fact that better diplomacy could have solved many of the problems, and that the Vulcans were best equipped to settle diplomatic problems and provide philosophical leadership. The seed for the United Federation of Planets had been planted by the Vulcans, but fertilized in Orion soil.

Race/Society/Culture

The average Shrevashal appears as a baseline humanoid. Indeed, Shrevashals and Terrans are almost indistinguishable in appearance. Shrevashal skin, however, is green tinted, and comes in several tones from off-gray to darkest green, but is never white in color. All Shrevashals are brown-haired. Eye color is either brown or green. Indeed, the variety of "races" among the Shrevashal is less varied than that of Terra, giving the appearance that all Shrevashal natives belong to the same extended family.

The Shrevashal are indistinct anatomically from Terrans for the most part except for a significant difference: a gland located at the hypothalamus responsible for regulating a powerful pheremone released from Shrevashal sweat glands. Shrevashal are immune to the pheremone, and visitors to the planet manage to overcome effects after massive exposure. However, momentary exposure to the pheremone stimulates the pleasure center of most races. This pheremone is responsible for the reputation of the infamous "Orion animal women". In some parts of the Federation, Orions are denied visas unless the applicant can prove that the pheremone is under control. A drug called verratropine controls production of the pheremone.

Traditionally, Shrevashal is a matriarchy. Most Shrevashal have a hyphenated surname with the mother's name coming first. Many professions are designated the domain of one sex or another. The priesthood of the "Great Goddess" is almost completely female and the Orion military and Guardians are almost completely male. Females, however, are held in higher esteem than males.

Shrevashal culture is one of the few "tactile" cultures known. Art that one can touch is considered the greatest of art, and clothing is valued for its texture. The society of the Shrevashal has no concept of social distance. Shrevashal embraces are beyond anything found except on Risa, and cross all sex barriers. Bisexuality is valued, but the society values fertility to a greater extent and social organization remains along heterosexual lines. Complicated social customs of meeting and interacting regulate what would seem to be an extremely libertine society, and sexual intercourse is considered to be a great social icebreaker. Like the Greeks, the Shrevashal have several words for "love", and live in all of the interpretations simultaneously.

Shrevashal health tends to be poor. Little is known about long term Shrevashal health and most only live to be 70 or 80.