It's not easy being green. Previous entries in this unofficial series: Nasats: http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=191032 Tzenkethi: http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=191740 Pahkwa-thanh: http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=192415 Thallonians: http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=193123 Efrosians: http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=193999 Neyel: http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=195151 The chosen race for this "chapter" was selected due to an interesting comment from Stoek in the No Time Like The Past review thread. I hope he won't mind if I reproduce it here: This touches on a very interesting issue, one that I think has been central to the novels' portrayal of Orions: Can they ever be more than a walking stereotype (or two walking stereotypes, given the great sexual dimorphism they display)? The Orions are defined by their physiology like few other races. As is emphasised in The Children of Kings (which gives us a good look at the species) Orions are prisoners of their biology to a greater extent than most species. Their sexual characteristics are exaggerated, in overdrive. We see many instances of sophistication in Orions - they can clearly be cunning, thoughtful, surprising beings - yet are they ever able to be more than what biology drives them to be? Can an Orion female ever truly be more than a seductive sex object, either eye candy or a manipulator, depending on how much status she has? Can an Orion male ever be more than a brute, either a simple thug or a dangerous gangster, again depending on his status level? Given Stoek's comments, another question might be: have the novels truly explored what it's like to be an Orion? Is Stoek's complaint one that the novels should spend more time exploring from the Orions' own, in-universe perspective? This sense of being trapped and powerless is strong with Orion characters. In Rise of the Federation: A Choice of Futures, Devna, one of the more sympathetic Orions, reflects on this. She's engaged in the manipulation of a Tellarite politician, and the scene serves as a wonderful exploration of the contrasts between Tellarite cultural norms and Orion ones - bluster hiding insecurity contrasted with a life defined by using others and being used in equal measure. Devna is trapped by who and what she is, though here it's less biology (though that's not ignored) and more culture. All Orions are slaves in their way, to biology and to one another. All are controlled, all answer to someone else. That low-status dancing girl is owned by a man who is himself owned by a woman who leads a branch of a syndicate, who in turn owes allegiance to a merchant prince, who in turn is submissive to a woman of the elite lineages who runs the empire from behind the throne. Even the very highest aren't immune; A Choice of Futures makes it clear that the Three Sisters are, in their own way, equally trapped - unable to build true, equitable relationships and alliances with anyone. Their pheromones drive off other females and make males docile - all they have is each other. Again: prisoners of biology. In fascinating contrast to this, Orion society is almost obsessive about the concept of personal freedom. They're a loose-knit, flexible culture whose members wouldn't be seen dead following any sort of rule or living within the moral restraints of other races. They turn their backs on cohesion in favour of self-interest. Our visit to Orion Homeworld in Cold Equations: Silent Weapons showed them to be aggressively libertarian to the point of dysfunction; a refusal to take interest in others or in communal support. It paints an interesting picture of a people who are searching, perhaps, for a freedom they'll never truly know, a people whose culture is a response to their overpowering biology. What do you think?