The term “Ori­on Colon­ies” encom­passes all the worlds held by Ori­ons, wheth­er with­in the Ori­on Neut­ral­ity Area prop­er, in Fed­er­a­tion or Klin­gon space, or in the neut­ral zone between the two super­powers. All are Ori­on, although not all owe their alle­gi­ance to Botchok, the spe­cies’ home­world in the Rigel sys­tem. Ori­ons would rightly argue that their repu­ta­tion as a people that sees laws (espe­cially those of oth­er nations) as a hindrance to the accu­mu­la­tion of wealth and power, is an undeserved racial slur that holds them back from achiev­ing inter­stel­lar equal­ity, but it can­not be denied that the Beta Quad­rant’s most power­ful crim­in­al organ­isa­tions are usu­ally run by Ori­ons, and that they prac­tised inter-spe­cies chat­tel-slavery with­in liv­ing memory. Des­pite (or pos­sibly because of) this repu­ta­tion, Ori­ons can be found every­where, work­ing, trad­ing or hust­ling to make a liv­ing. Ori­on mer­chant princes live in the lap of lux­ury, and most Ori­ons aim to emu­late them, one way or another.

The Ori­on home­worlds in the Rigel sys­tem show signs of civil­isa­tion going back over 100,000 years, although Fed­er­a­tion xeno­anthro­po­lo­gists say that Ori­on civil­isa­tion is at most two mil­len­nia old, and that the Ori­ons could not pos­sibly have cre­ated the older ruins. The Ori­ons counter that this is typ­ic­al colo­ni­al­ist racism and claim that they were once the mas­ters of a vast inter­stel­lar empire. There are cer­tainly rem­nants that match the ruins in the Rigel sys­tem scattered across the Ori­on Arm, but wheth­er the Ori­ons built them is any­one’s guess.

Although the Botchok Plan­et­ary Con­gress oper­ates a small anti-pir­acy fleet, the vast major­ity of Ori­on ves­sels are owned by civil­ian oper­at­ors, from the vast trad­ing fleets of the mer­chant princes, through the fleets of the pir­ate clans, to small tramp freight­ers. A num­ber moon­light as smug­glers or pir­ates, most oper­ate entirely with­in the law, and all are armed. Ori­ons oper­ate a bewil­der­ing num­ber of classes and types: most are bought from oth­er spe­cies, but there are a small num­ber of nat­ive designs, none of which resemble any of the oth­ers. It is spec­u­lated that these are old designs from vari­ous eras, inher­ited by the present-day Ori­ons, a claim backed up by the fact that many seem to sport unusu­al tech­no­lo­gies and fea­tures, which their own­ers are unable, or unwill­ing, to explain.