The Orion Mind
As Vulcans are known for logic, Klingons for aggression, Romulans for stoicism, and Ferengi for avarice and rapaciousness, Orions have made a name for themselves in treachery. While Orions do not particularly work or train at it, treachery is often a side effect of their peculiar and self-centered way of looking at things.
The Orion mind is complicated because Orions think in complicated ways. There are five basic facets to their way of thinking: opportunism, egocentricity, materialism, hedonism, and barbarity. Added together, these traits make Orions maddeningly difficult to get along with, let alone understand. The wise reader should also remember there are those Orions who do not necessarily follow these traits; whether for their own reasons, or just to be additionally difficult none may say.
Orion opportunism is legendary. If there is a profit to be made, an Orion will find it no matter how unorthodox or strange the means. This is the primary difference between Ferengi rapacity and Orion opportunism, but since this issue becomes a matter of custom, the differences can be various shades of gray. Figuring chances, finding advantages, and measuring and comparing risks come naturally to Orions. In any given situation, an Orion will find out how either to clean up, or else to get out with his skin intact.
Because of their faculty for gauging odds and their drive to win, Orions make formidable negotiators and able diplomats. From interstellar conferences to family confrontations, their politics are always multifarious and riddled with several flavors of intrigue. They are the black belts of the bluff, the concealed motive, and the ringer. An Orion enjoys matching wits in bargaining, and will play a complicated deal like a chess match. In fact Orions will often prolong dickering in a business deal for its own sake.
If left unchecked, opportunism would make the Orions very dangerous. Fortunately, other traits balance their barganing skill. For example Orion egocentricity leads to overconfidence, which can be used against them. Most Orions are confident that they can get away with what they want, and are not shy abou letting other people know. Proud of their brains, muscles, wealth, powerful friends, and ancient culture, they may show off just enough to trip themselves up.
Orion egocentricity is not limited to individuals. An Orion is loyal to his family, company, and any other group to which he belongs. Every Orion crewman knows his ship is he best in known space, and every Orion archexecutive believes his corporation is destined for glory. Greens pride themselves on being the backbone of Orion might and the muscles of Orion civilization while Ruddies are proud to be the nobility, brains, and rulers. Furthermore, because they are members of such a proud, ancient, and puissant race, every Orion feels just a bit superior to the other peoples in space. Although it makes Orions hard to deal with, it also makes them vulnerable.
Orions and their materialism are an old cliché. If the Orions could rent the sunset, they would have three per day, and schedule them before five so that they would not have to pay overtime. Only the Ferengi cares so passionately about material things, or puts monetary value on things other races take for granted. Orion mothers really do sell cookies to their own children. The reason for this is that Orions are excellent at estimating value. Material value is a universal language among Orions-the one thing upon which everyone can agree. To have a price for everything is not crass; it is a necessity, and the very foundation of polite discourse and business. Orions themselves joke about the value of a particular sunset, the cost of clouds, and the dearness of dust. To and Orion, it is a comfort to rely on some standards. They are a measure of sincerity.
Of course, Orions know there is also more to life than credits or gold-pressed latinum. A mother may sell cookies to her family, but she dispenses them with a kiss. True friends are never bought-loyalty is bound to blood, and blood alone. Although money can never replace love and devotion, Orions are like Ferengi in that both believe money more reliable.
Orion taste for luxury is so unfettered that it embarrasses less sel-conscious races, and seems to be the only thing so closely similar to Ferengi belief. Living as well as their means will let them, Orions spend all they make on rich clothing and jewelry, ornate furnishings and hangings, and lavish mansions and vehicles. They enjoy displays of wealth and comfort as much as they enjoy being rich and comfortable (though of course, not all Orions are). Orions see no virtue in poverty, or acting impoverished. Life is to be enjoyed right down to the bottom of the pocket.
Orions enjoy large-scale entertainment: from street circuses to concerts, holomovies, to festivals. It gives them a chance to dress up and to see and be seen in all their finery. Upper-class Orions are proud of their large and sumptuous banquets, which feature musicians, dancers, entertainment, and food from many worlds. Even the most pragmatic and hard-driven business meeting is not properly concluded until the final feast, with all participants trying to out-spectacle each other-an Orion corporation without a major Entertainment Division is unheard of. In such business gatherings, of course, the goal is more often to impress than to relax.
Even Klingons, who are not known for their gentility, remark on Orion barbarism. Of all Orion characteristics, this one differentiates them most from any other spacefaring peoples. Occasionally, a Ruddy Orion will comment that Orions are merely decadent, and not barbaric at all. After all, how could a race that plied the stars when Humans, Vulcans and Klingons could not cross their own oceans be barbaric?
The crux may lie in the way Orions perceive themselves. Far from disagreeing with any unflattering descriptions of themselves, they enjoy their reputation. Being secretive and treacherous has made them a great deal of money over the millenia, and to conquer a lot of planets, which is all they really ever wanted.
Let the Klingons vie for mastery, the Federation seek peaceful settlement of the galaxy, and the Romulans pursue whatever it is Romulans pursue. The Orions have no such racial purpose because they live for self-indulgence, and devil take the hindmost. The average Orion thinks it is silly to argue about racial destiny when he has a business to run. Although they may seem stagnant and purposeless, at least they thoroughly enjoy themselves.