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Borrowed Technology

 

The Orions have a natural inclination for stealing the good ideas of others and putting them to good, practical, and profitable use. Learned from the beginning of their history, this irritable trait continues because it is a successful survival skill, necessary for the continuation of Orion civilization.

Just as the Orions copied ancient ship designs to produce their own, they also mimic virtually all kinds of other technologies they encounter. The terraforming skills they employed on Botchok were learned from others whose names are forgotten. They never developed the warp drive, but copied it from older spacefarers. The same for antigravs, antimatter manipulation-in short, everything.

In a practical, industrial sense, the Orions are technologically no better off than their neighbors. In the grand tradition of imitating their business associates, their products are annoyingly, depressingly similar to goods the Federation visitors could pick up closer to home. Of course, they tend to be cheaper, as the Orions cut a lot of corners and do not worry about durability or paying someone for their patents. The influx of cheap Orion goods into the Federation is a growing and aggravating problem, and Star Fleet has neither the time nor the ships to check every merchant vessel leaving an Orion world.

One of the unexpected benefits of this practice is the bleed-over of Klingon technology into Federation space. Every kind of manufactured item with any kind of profit possibility sooner or later gets counterfeited in an Orion factory, including a great deal of Klingon body armor and Klingon hand disruptors.

Naturally, Orions are also marketing unreliable copies of Federation goods on worlds in Klingon space and the Neutral Zone between them-perhaps even in Romulan space. Does this shoddy merchandise hurt the Orion or the Federation more? What are the Klingons and the Romulans learning from these goods? After all, a clumsily copied ODN relay is still an ODN relay.