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Native Orion Technology

 

Four charcteristics usually mark an object or process as being native Orion: small size, high efficiency, a simple design, and extreme scarcity. Many non-Orions also would add 'remarkable uselessness' to that list.

Federation members consider much Orion technology to be wonderfully curious. Fountains that play music as its water falls, holographic tapestries with figures tha move, and living carpets that grow ane even smell like meadows. An object in a private Orion museum has the curious property of polishing any substance at which it is pointed. Soft polymers are easier and more quickly polished than granite, but supposedly, the object will to the same even to newly forged neutronium. It can be held in one hand and emits no detectable radiation; it has apparently never depleted its source of energy. In a ruin of one planet (jealously guarded by the present ruling family) is an antigravity platform like a table, which cannot be moved. The force needed to pull it free of whatever holds it in place would destroy it. The Orions tend to guard these treasures carefully as only a few examples of such luxuries exist.

Such objects are all museum pieces, valuable for research if nothing else. Noit all old native Orion technology is like this; a grreat portion of it is still in use, but in only in a narrow range of applications. For instance, Orion aircars use Federation antigravity units-but there exists Orion antigravity furniture that uses extraordinarily tiny lift units that cannot be examined without destroying the mechanism. Somewhere, somebody is still manufacturing these things and selling them only to Orions. Starships the Orions painstakingly copy from the Federation or Klingon examples slavishly duplicate the sick bays, but the galleys and all their equipment are unmistakably Orion. There are stoves that cook without heat or emitted radiation, knives that do not cut living flesh. In a unique variation of some unknown form of replicator technology, there simple gadgets capable of taking raw ingredients and producing complete meals with the touch of a button. All of it is nice, but expensive and almost never available to non-Orions. As a wit once said, "If you want to see the past glory of Orion, go to the kitchen."

It is not a joke. The best surviving examples of native Orion technology, and those still being produced, all have to do with personal comfort or self-indulgence. There are no ancient Orion weapons, but there are dustless floors; no metals better than Federation tritanium, but luminescent paste jewelry that never fades; no native heavy construction equipment, but exquisite holo-movies and ancient books that produce their own light for reading.

There is no doubt the Orions have lost much since The Reverse. One of the reasons funding for archaeological expeditions to Orion ruins has never slackened is the small but steady trickle of ancient arts that can be recovered. A lot of the Federation's android and communications technology derives from such planets. Unfortunately, weather, time, brigands, and art smugglers (who cut up ruins for some wealthy purchaser desiring a piece of history on his mantle) have destroyed all but a handful of fragments of what was.

One of the major reasons for so much present-day wastage is the persistent rumor that there are actual functioning Orion machines lying at the bottom of ruins. Hordes of eager fortune hunters have descended on the first Orion ruins they can find, blasting their way into every vault and hidden tunnel looking for a magic Feinberger. Blasting, cutting, and crumbling ancient structures have destroyed the records carved into walls. Even when there is no actual writing, the layouts of ancient Orion ruins or the way they were cut into stone tell much about the builders and their works. Their destruction is the destruction of future knowledge.