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Commander
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 488
So, seeing as a lot of LC's and Ten Forward stories seem to be revolving around Orions as of late (patrickngo's stories in particular have always had a heavy emphasis on everyone's favourite green slavers), I was curious about more than a few things about Orion background.

First and foremost, it should acknowledged that the "official" background on the Orions is a bit contradictory. A lot of the background on Orions in Memory Beta (including a lot of stuff from the official FASA RPG sourcebook) give the impression of Orions as being a patriarchal society. Enterprise, however (and by extension, STO) suggest the exact opposite-- that it is the women who rule Orion society, though whether that is due to cultural norms or the potency of the females' pheromones is unclear.

If we are to accept the Enterprise/STO version, though, then that does raise a lot of questions about the exact nature of male roles in Orion society. Are they all slaves, and thus completely devoid of any rights, or are they able to, and allowed, to pursue individual goals independent of female rule? Can males rise to any sort of authority or influence within the Syndicate? And finally, are they all vulnerable to the pheromones of the females, or have some developed an evolutionary resistance over time?

I understand, of course, that in many ways the Orions are still a blank slate, but a discussion on the matter is always welcome. I suspect that there are a lot more unclear things about the Orions, beyond gender politics, that should be explored.
Captain
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 1,208
# 2
10-09-2013, 04:31 PM
Of the three sources I've checked ; one unofficial novel, one semi-official reference book and one official - if dated - reference book...

The novel, Peter David's "Imzadi", features Orions in Starfleet, one of whom is the head scientist studing the Guardian of Forever, Mary Mac is shown to try to suppress and hide her pheromones and Orion beauty because she's trying to move away from the stereotypical 'animal woman'. But there's no mention of which gender fills what roles in Orion society.

"Worlds of the Federation" has the following to say; - and it must be remembered that TNG DS9, "First Contact" and ENT pretty much invalidated most of this book from being canon...
"Rigel VIII, also referred to as Orion, supports a native humanold population of aggressive, yellow-skinned warriors that number approximately 5.4 billian. After they were given the capacity for intersteller travel by early Earth explorers, Orions colonised the two planets of Rigel's blue giant secondary star and went on to form a pirate empire. Trading primarily in Orion females, they built a sizable slave trade as demand for the green-skinned, sensual and aggressive female dancers increased."
Again, while it mentions the slave trade of Orion women, it doesn't say anything one way or the other specifically regarding gender roles, though it does imply a patriachal society.

"Star Trek Encyclopedia" (1994, Okuda, Okuda and Mirek)
"Humanoid race that attempted to sabotage the Babel Conference of 2267. An Orion vessel fired on the Enterprise, which was transporting delegates to the Babel conference. At the time, Orion smugglers had been raiding the Coridan system and stealing dilithium crystals to sell on the black market. Their attack was intended to prevent Coridan's admission to the Federation."
Pirates, thieves, black marketeers, smugglers... nothing about general roles here either.

I think that the whole "Women are secretly the real rulers of Orion society" thing was a knee-jerk exercise in political correctness in response to the blatantly sexist nature of the 'Orion Animal Women'. Up until Enterprise presented the concept - in the fourth season, which is considered by many to be the second weakest of the four, filled with numerous plotholes and blatant and needless conflicts between characters - there was never any mention of women controlling Orion society. Does anyone know where the reasoning for this concept from the producers and writers of Enterprise came from?
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Career Officer
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 3,197
# 3
10-09-2013, 05:50 PM
I think the way patrickngo has constructed his Orion culture does a great job of resolving most of the conflicts between STO canon, ENT canon, TOS canon, and other sources. And it makes a lot of sense, to me anyway.

Women are at both the top and the bottom of Orion society, ranging from powerful house matrons all the way down to the"gelded" animal women (lobotomized sex slaves.)

Men can still wield considerable influence and own slaves of either gender. But they are still ultimately owned by women.

The Orion slave culture in which everyone is owned by someone else isn't supposed to be exploitive. It's actually a system of social welfare.


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Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,764
# 4
10-09-2013, 06:14 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by sander233 View Post
I think the way patrickngo has constructed his Orion culture does a great job of resolving most of the conflicts between STO canon, ENT canon, TOS canon, and other sources. And it makes a lot of sense, to me anyway.

Women are at both the top and the bottom of Orion society, ranging from powerful house matrons all the way down to the"gelded" animal women (lobotomized sex slaves.)

Men can still wield considerable influence and own slaves of either gender. But they are still ultimately owned by women.

The Orion slave culture in which everyone is owned by someone else isn't supposed to be exploitive. It's actually a system of social welfare.
Indeed. I do recall mention (albeit on memory beta) that matrons tend to their slaves in exchange for making money off their trade. On other occasions, whole cabals of matron and slaves were in cahoots, wheeling and dealing, and stealing from the clients while operating in clandestine rackets.

Mankind's historical equivalent would be Mochizuki Chiyome and her band of kunoichi.
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Captain
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 3,655
# 5
10-09-2013, 07:50 PM
On the other hand, they're also known to trade in non-Orion slaves for profit.
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Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,764
# 6
10-09-2013, 07:51 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by starswordc View Post
On the other hand, they're also known to trade in non-Orion slaves for profit.
I guess Orions are just better looking Ferengi.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lt. Comm. Pion
What should I wish upon the endless universe;
To be able to smile and forgive everything;
That's right, if we light up the dream in our hearts without averting our eyes;
We should be able to walk whatever tomorrow comes...

I am V. Adm. Kha Yuung, and I approve of this message.
Captain
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 2,539
# 7
10-09-2013, 08:04 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by khayuung View Post
I guess Orions are just better looking Ferengi.
No, Ferengi are quite proud of the fact that they don't deal in slaves. They might get you into a job with a company store, where there's no way you'll ever make enough latinum to buy your way out of it, but they won't enslave you...
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Captain
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 1,208
# 8
10-09-2013, 09:48 PM
A minor distinction to the person involved.
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Captain
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 579
# 9
10-10-2013, 07:56 AM
Couple of things I always try to bear in mind when writing non-human characters (which, come to think of it, is most of the time, around here). Firstly, their cultures change over time, just as ours has; secondly, there is no reason why an alien culture should be any more monolithic than human culture... which is to say, not at all.

Admittedly, in the Trek universe, human culture does seem to have gone some way towards fusing into a single, global entity - but it's by no means gone all the way. You have different cultural traditions being carried on, even if they are, sometimes, rather anomalous ones. (I'm thinking of Jean-Luc Picard here, the Frenchest French Frenchman ever to quote Shakespeare and Gilbert & Sullivan in a perfect English RP accent while sipping tea.)

The only major race I can think of with any excuse for having a monolithic cultural background is the Romulans, who are all descended from the same original group of Vulcan political/philosophical dissidents... and even they have had plenty of time to branch out and diversify a bit since then.

So... I think there's room for all sorts of different cultural attitudes and cultural backgrounds in any alien species - and a lot of what we think of as "oddities" or "anomalies" might just be these cultural differences showing up.
Rihannsu
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 12,100
# 10
10-10-2013, 10:02 PM
Yeah, Orions are an interstellar civilization. There's really no reason to expect their entire civilization to always work the same way.
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