Orion Syndicate

From Star Trek: Theurgy Wiki

A’vura-Zeshryr-03.png
Similar in some respects to the Ferengi but far more sinister, the Orion Syndicate had been a fixture of the Alpha and Beta Quadrants since at least the 22nd century. The Syndicate originally held territory near the Klingon Empire in the Beta Quadrant and has had dealings with the Klingons almost continuously for over two centuries. The Syndicate had expanded its reach over the course of those decades, and its criminal activities stretched into the Alpha Quadrant, touching on Cardassian and Federation space. The Syndicate was perhaps the premier known criminal organization in the Alpha Quadrant, responsible for countless acts of assassination, extortion, piracy, and racketeering.

Operations

They operated, either covertly or openly, dozens of gambling halls and slave markets. While most of their crimes were heinous, it was the last that was of the greatest concern to the Federation. The Federation had issued dozens of sanctions against the Syndicate in the last several decades, though the enforcement of those sanctions had been inconsistent from administration to administration.

There had been attempts by Starfleet Intelligence to infiltrate the Syndicate, but every attempt had ended in failure, with the Starfleet operative exposed and eliminated. The Syndicate was very careful who it lets into their confidences, and their membership process was both expensive and time-consuming and not without risk. As yet, Starfleet had been unable to plant a reliable agent into the Syndicate.

The Orion government was very difficult to define, as the only body of any real power was that of the Syndicate. The Syndicate did not attempt to do much in the way of governing the Orion people, though they positioned enough of a council in place to maintain stability on the planet. Their only strict enforcement was pheromone testing when an Orion child came of age, to screen for the best viable recruits. The key aim of the Syndicate was to maintain their race in a stable and preferential position within the politics of the Alpha and Beta quadrants. Other bodies did exist, such as the Orion Free Traders and the Orion Union, but speculations as to whether these other bodies were in fact just other divisions of the Syndicate were always ongoing.

The military of the Syndicate was notably inferior compared to other species, with no grand fleets readied to do battle. Instead, the Orion’s great power was that of knowledge, misdirection and subterfuge. A carefully spun web of diplomats, spies, courtesans and dozens of other roles continually fed back information to the main body of the Syndicate from all across the Alpha and Beta Quadrants. When action was necessary, the Orion web turned into a noose that spanned across dozens of systems, converging on a single point of action.

The Syndicate rarely fought their own battles, and instead took great pleasure in orchestrating others to do battle for them. Even when direct action was required, it was rarely in the form of a space battle; often ships pursuing an unknown threat would find themselves called to withdraw, an official assassinated, a dilithium plant sabotaged, a colony struck with a bioweapon, all without realising how close they were to a Syndicate stronghold.

A great enjoyment for the Syndicate was intricately weaved strategies that spanned across starsystems and could destabilize an entire sector when executed properly. A suicide pact amongst Syndicate members in dire straits also eliminated any cause to place blame on the Orions, whilst a few tokens pre-placed in key locations would be enough to draw blame to another, unknowing, party. Even those few agents who defected from or abandoned the Syndicate, were often allowed to do so on a tactical basis; those whom possessed information that could compromise key endeavours however, were promptly eliminated.

In all, the Syndicate were a ruthless organisation, whose activities were both covert and open, ranging from simple gambling and piracy, to overarching plots that resulted in entire systems going dark. With no clear agenda for an onlooker to realise, and all infiltration attempts from Starfleet ending in failure, the Syndicate is perhaps as big a threat to the great powers of the Alpha and Beta Quadrants as they are to each other, who unknowingly expend great resources as they flail aimlessly within the hidden agenda of the Syndicate.

History

The Syndicate was originally a wholly Orion organization, complete with laws, uniforms and legitimate trade with other worlds.

In May 2154, two Orion interceptors kidnapped nine of the Enterprise NX-01's crew in the Borderland. The Enterprise followed them to the Verex III processing station and rescued them from the Syndicate-run slave market there. The Syndicate sought revenge on Archer for this, and in late December, Harrad-Sar attempted to capture and deliver the Enterprise and its crew to them, with the use of three Orion slave girls and a false magnesite mining deal with the Syndicate.

In 2155, at the founding of the Coalition of Planets, the Tellarites and Coridan III reached an accord on trade sanctions against the Syndicate. However, Earth's government did not wish to provoke the Syndicate into embargoing trade with any Coalition worlds, such as Coridan or Tellar, for fear that they would withdraw.

During the 23rd century, the Syndicate was described as an active trading network, functioning as a plutocratic republic, lead by Orion merchant lords. Its trade stretched beyond Orion space and beyond the limits of space explored by the Federation.

The Syndicate took advantage of factional conflict on Coridan to fund, construct and manage a number of illegal dilithium mining operations and one-sided trade agreements. Following a push for Coridan to join the Federation in the 2260s, the Syndicate attempted to sabotage the Babel Conference of 2267, by inserting Thelev as an Andorian aide to assassinate the Tellarite ambassador Gav and frame the Vulcan ambassador Sarek. The plot was unsuccessful.

The Khitomer Accords of 2293 enabled Starfleet to devote itself to operations against Orion piracy, and crushed their pirate fleets and kept Syndicate members on the run. The Syndicate of the 24th century descended from those pirates. They re-evaluated the burgeoning Federation for new ways to exploit it, though with limited success.

In the 2330s, the Syndicate was described as a fledgling organization, about which Starfleet Intelligence was still gathering evidence. It had bases on Farius Prime and Ryn III and was a major distributor of red ice, a powerful and deadly narcotic. They were also believed to have acted as middlemen for arms trading between the Breen Confederacy and the Cardassian Union. During this period, they were in heated competition with a rival crime syndicate called the Asfar Qatala, also based on Farius Prime and trading in red ice. The Syndicate even had agents infiltrating the Asfar Qatala. These affairs were uncovered by Starfleet Captain Rachel Garrett and Commander Samir al-Halak of the USS Enterprise-C in 2336.

By the late 24th century, membership in the Syndicate had many alien members. It was a subject of mystery to outsiders. Though Orions were commonly assumed to be powerful within the Syndicate, this could not be proven. Some considered it equally likely that the Syndicate's founders were aliens who chose to use their name for their criminal association, or even took it from the Orion sector or the Orion constellation. It was not known if Starfleet managed to penetrate its upper ranks or not.

After the Maquis uprising in the late 2360s, the Syndicate-dominated world of Farius Prime became a key link in their supply lines, and the Syndicate actually aided their efforts. However, when the Cardassian Union joined the Dominion in 2373, the Syndicate betrayed the Farius Prime Maquis cells and surrendered them to Jem'Hadar soldiers. This action saved Farius Prime from a Jem'Hadar assault such as other Maquis bases had suffered, and kept that world neutral and independent in the coming Dominion War. The Syndicate worked with the Dominion during the war.

In 2371, Idanian Intelligence began investigating the Syndicate, and had one of their agents infiltrate the organization of Draim, a Syndicate member specializing in extortion and blackmail. The agent had her memories removed and new ones installed to get past Draim’s telepaths, and she believed herself to be a net-girl named "Arissa", who obtained the information Draim sought. After two years working undercover, "Arissa" was recalled in 2371 to be restored and report what she had learned.

By 2373, Quark had attempted to join the Syndicate, but couldn't afford the entrance fee, let alone be accepted. However, he was acquainted with members, and agreed to testify before a Federation grand jury on Inferna Prime against the Syndicate. In response, they planted a bomb in the runabout transporting him and Constable Odo, they both survived.

In 2374, Starfleet Intelligence recruit Miles O'Brien infiltrated Raimus's Syndicate operation on Farius Prime to locate the source of a leak in Starfleet. The Syndicate had uncovered and killed five undercover agents in the previous year. O'Brien also discovered the Syndicate's involvement with the Dominion, uncovering their plot to assassinate an anti-Federation Klingon ambassador to Farius and divide the United Federation of Planets and the Klingon Empire. The Klingons were warned of the plot, but O'Brien disobeyed orders and warned Liam Bilby as well, having become friends with the man who'd "witnessed" him into the Syndicate, and urged him to get out of it. Bilby refused, knowing that abandoning his role in the plot would show the Syndicate that he had inducted an infiltrator, and risk retaliation against his family. Bilby was slain by the Klingons.

Sometime during the Dominion War, Thadial Bokar of the Syndicate came to Janel Tigan and offered money to help his family's struggling pergium mining business on New Sydney. After Liam Bilby's death, the Syndicate extorted Janel Tigan to pay his widow Morica Bilby from his mother Yanas Tigan|Yanas' company's funds. Morica was eventually killed by Norvo Tigan in 2375.

In the aftermath of the Battle of Rigel early in 2375, the Syndicate sent ships into the debris field to scavenge whatever they could before Starfleet could recover its own technology. One such item was an isolation suit from the 24th century, which found its way through the black market to Hiziki Gard.

Beginning in 2373, the Borg incursions and the Dominion War had forced Starfleet to strip its assets from the Rigel system, giving the Syndicate there a free reign. They used the opportunity well, and by the war's end in 2375, they were once again dominant in the Rigel system, with crime, piracy and smuggling on the rise.

During the Gateways Crisis in 2376, the Syndicate bid for the Iconian technology through their operative Malic, who hired Quark to negotiate on their behalf. With Quark's assistance, the Syndicate put together the best offer for the technology, but withdrew the bid when it was discovered that the persons masquerading as the Iconians were actually the Petraw, who had a limited understanding of how they worked.

In 2380, a Syndicate-run Orion pirate vessel raided Deep Space 5 and stole half a kiloton of kemocite ore (a key component of highly destructive weapons), killing four Starfleet officers and eleven others in the process. By August of that year, the USS Odyssey tracked it down, and disabled it after a brief battle. Captain Chakotay ordered it destroyed, refusing rescue attempts.

Organization

Y'Lev-01.png

Activities

The Syndicate operated in all areas of criminal activity, including sports gambling, illegal gambling rackets, loan sharking, extortion, blackmail, smuggling of goods and weapons, illegal salvage, piracy, capturing and trafficking of slaves. It also traded in secret information, managed net-girls, used and harbored pirates of various breeds, and employed professional thieves and assassins. It took out more assassination contracts in a year than all other typical assassination clients combined.

The Syndicate maintained piracy in the 24th century, albeit rather reduced. Individual Orion pirate ships remained in operation on frontier regions and little-used and poorly mapped space-lanes. Their captains were likely to be Syndicate members.

Attitudes

An average Orion was as likely to deny the Syndicate even existed as try to sell so-called "insider information" on the organization. Both responses were almost certainly false; members would not break the code of silence, and outsiders knew nothing of worth. The Syndicate had no problem with such falsehoods however, enjoying a confused but threatening reputation. Legitimate Orion governments endeavored to disassociate the reputation of ordinary Orions from that of the Syndicate, but the Syndicate was generally more powerful.

Territory and bases

In the mid-22nd century, the Syndicate shared a border with the Klingon Empire in the Borderland. In the 24th century, the Syndicate operated primarily in the Alpha Quadrant. It was active on a number of worlds and systems, including Coridan III, Corvan II, Dessica II, Farius Prime, the Rigel system, Risa, Turkana IV, Verex III, and possibly the moons of Jupiter in the Sol system.

Leadership and Membership

In the mid-22nd century, the Syndicate was apparently a wholly Orion organization, and up to the 23rd century, the Syndicate was run as a sort of plutocratic republic, led by Orion merchant lords. It was described as an active trading network, which reached beyond Orion space and even past the limits of what the Federation had explored.

But by the late 24th century, membership was open to other races, with many alien members from many different worlds. Though it was widely assumed that Orions were powerful in the Syndicate, this was unproven, and it was considered just as likely that the founders were not Orions, but others who chose to use their name for their criminal association, or even that of the Orion sector or the Orion constellation. However, in fact, many of the upper ranks were still Orion. On the other hand, not every Orion was a member of the Syndicate, even if they wished or claimed they were.

Rules

In the 22nd century, the Syndicate had a set of laws in the Orion Syndicate]] Economic Protocols.

The Syndicate had a code of 'koledru venari, 'thieves' honor', and its members would rather die than break this code of silence. They would even prefer to commit suicide rather than testify against them. On the other hand, the Syndicate supposedly never killed its own people. However, no one could leave the organization without permission, and they exacted revenge on those who did betray them. Loyalty held the Syndicate together, which extended to family members.

To join the Syndicate, a new recruit had to be "witnessed" by an existing member in good standing, in which they vouched for their loyalty and trustworthiness. However, if a recruit proved to be disloyal, both they and their witness would be executed. Members feared reprisals so much that some preferred to commit suicide rather than be captured by authorities, so that none could suspect they'd given information.

There was a steep entrance fee for membership, which was open to any race. All Syndicate members also had to pay a fare (10% or more of all earnings) to the Syndicate or risk punishment. In return, the Syndicate supplied money to families and widows of slain members that they could live off comfortably.

The Syndicate had a system of ranks, achievable with a given cost in latinum and the personal witness or recommendation of a higher-ranking Syndicate member.

Rank Translation Cost (# gold-pressed latinum)
J'hordak Cacula/Rogues/Shadows 20
Morl Tirones/Trainees 100
Lisk Optio/Associate 500
Magren Dominus/Masters 1,000
Delbaj Venator/Hunter 3,000
Astatu Decurion/Leader 5,000
Mendor Primus/Commander 15,000
Alasho Legatus/Director 20,000
Shodar Dux/Chief 1,000,000

Rogues and others without rank working with or for the Syndicate were j'hordak, meaning 'shadows', or less politely, 'hanger's on'. These ranks were also used for crew positions on some Orion pirate ships, though the buy-in was much smaller, usually only 10%.

Structure

The Syndicate had a fragmented cell-structure, making it more like a subversive or resistance organization, or a secret society, than a traditional crime gang. In each cell, a compromised member could only identify a few other immediate members.

Enemies and Allies

Starfleet Security placed the Syndicate at the top of their list of criminal groups. However, into the late 24th century, they were still no closer to infiltrating the upper ranks, let alone bringing them down, than they were when the Syndicate first came to their attention.

The Syndicate had conflicts with other crime gangs, including Lost Heritage. They aided the Maquis and then betrayed them to the Dominion, whom they subsequently had dealings with. They also had links to the Iotian Outfit.