"You are now the property of the Orion Syndicate. Break the rules and you will suffer. Follow the rules and you will suffer less."
- - Orion Slaver, to newly processed slaves
The Orion Syndicate was a criminal organization created and maintained by the Orions. The Syndicate's activities included gambling, racketeering, smuggling, piracy, slave-trading, extortion, and assassination.
The Syndicate was ruthless in its tactics, and its members were extremely loyal. Entry required a substantial membership fee, and any member would take their own life before testifying against the Syndicate. In addition, it was customary for the Syndicate to financially support any family member of a deceased associate. (DS9: "The Ascent", "Prodigal Daughter")
In an act called "witnessing," Syndicate members would often vouch for the loyalty of any new recruit whom they brought into the organization. This was a method of ensuring trustworthiness amongst its members, as any Syndicate member who was found to have brought in a disloyal recruit would be killed along with that recruit. (DS9: "Honor Among Thieves")
- See also: Orion - History
During the 22nd century, the Orion Syndicate controlled an area of space bordering the Klingon Empire. The area of space between the two powers was a volatile and lawless region known as "the Borderland." It was in this region that a group of Augments, relics from Earth's Eugenics Wars, attacked a Klingon Bird-of-Prey in 2154, murdering the crew and stealing the ship. In order to avert a war with the Empire, Enterprise NX-01 was sent into the Borderland in an attempt to locate the Augments. While on this mission, however, Enterprise was attacked by an Orion Interceptor, and nine crewmembers were kidnapped. The crewmembers were taken to a processing station on Verex III, where they were intended to be auctioned off as slaves. Although Captain Archer was able to rescue his crewmembers, his actions in stealing Orion "property" made him a wanted man in the Syndicate. (ENT: "Borderland")
Later that year, an Orion named Harrad-Sar attempted to kidnap Archer and deliver him to the Syndicate. It was during this incident that it was learned by the Enterprise crew that Orion females, previously thought to be little more than commodities to be bought and sold, were actually in charge of the Syndicate, controlling the males via highly potent pheromones. (ENT: "Bound")
In 2268, in response to the possible admission of Coridan into the Federation, the Orions engaged in a covert mission to prevent such an occurrence, in order to preserve their piracy activities in the Coridan system. To this end, they placed a spy amongst the Andorian delegation to the conference to debate Coridan's admission, and sent a ship on a suicide mission to attack the USS Enterprise, which was transporting the various delegations to the conference, in an attempt to provoke mutual suspicion and interplanetary war amongst the Federation worlds. The Orions' plot was eventually uncovered, however, and Coridan was admitted into the Federation. (TOS: "Journey to Babel"; TNG: "Sarek")
By the 24th century, the Syndicate had expanded its membership to include operatives from a variety of worlds, becoming an interstellar organized crime consortium.
In 2371, an Idanian Intelligence operative was placed undercover in the organization of a man named Draim, a Syndicate member who specialized in blackmail and extortion. Due to the fact that Draim employed telepaths to screen all potential associates, the operative's memories were removed and placed on a data crystal, and she was given a new identity. Believing her name to be Arissa, she worked as a net-girl in Draim's operation, obtaining information which Draim would later use for blackmail. Arissa stayed undercover for two years, never realizing that she was an undercover operative, until she was recalled by Idanian Intelligence, and her memories were restored. (DS9: "A Simple Investigation")
In 2373, the Syndicate attempted to murder the Ferengi Quark, who was being transported to Inferna Prime to testify against the Syndicate in a grand jury, by planting a bomb aboard the runabout he was being transported aboard. Although the bomb successfully exploded, it had been discovered beforehand by Quark and Constable Odo, who was transporting Quark to testify. Odo managed to beam the bomb into space, but the bomb had been set to go off should anyone attempt to use a transporter on it. Anticipating this, Odo channeled the explosion through the transporter buffer, saving the lives of both himself and Quark. (DS9: "The Ascent")
The next year, Starfleet Intelligence recruited Miles O'Brien, Deep Space 9's chief of operations, for an undercover operation to infiltrate the Syndicate, tasking him with discovering the identity of a leak within Starfleet. Although O'Brien managed to complete his assignment, he also discovered that the Syndicate had begun working with the Dominion in a conspiracy to destabilize the Klingon-Federation alliance. Upon learning this, Chadwick, O'Brien's Intelligence contact, decided to warn the Klingons about an assassination plot against their ambassador to Farius Prime, a decision which would lead to the deaths of the Syndicate members with whom O'Brien had become acquainted. O'Brien, however, who had become close to Syndicate member Liam Bilby, chose to disobey orders and warn Bilby of the plot. Bilby refused to abandon the assassination attempt, however, knowing that to do so would let the Syndicate know that he had brought an infiltrator into their midst, ensuring the death of Bilby's family. (DS9: "Honor Among Thieves")
Bilby was subsequently killed in the operation, and the Syndicate, who made a practice of financially supporting the family of their deceased associates, blackmailed the Tigan family on Sappora VII into putting Bilby's widow, Morica, on their payroll. Thadial Bokar, a Syndicate operative, had offered financial assistance to the Tigans, whose pergium mining company had begun to take a downturn, and, in return, ordered them to support Morica. Morica, however, began demanding larger sums of money, which the company could not afford, and was subsequently murdered by Norvo, the youngest of the family. Upon losing contact with Morica, O'Brien traveled to New Sydney, the primary inhabited planet in the Sappora system, to conduct an unofficial investigation into her whereabouts, uncovering her murder. Initially believing the Syndicate to be responsible, O'Brien continued his investigation, but the truth was eventually uncovered when Ezri Dax, Norvo's sister, realized what he had done. (DS9: "Prodigal Daughter")
- Arissa (Idanian undercover agent/net-girl)
- Liam Bilby (minor operative)
- Thadial Bokar (high-ranking boss)
- Connelly (Starfleet undercover agent)
- D'Nesh (Orion slave girl)
- Draim (low-ranking boss)
- Flith (minor operative)
- Graife (associate)
- Harrad-Sar (slave trader)
- Krole (minor operative)
- Maras (Orion slave girl)
- Navaar (Orion slave girl)
- Raimus (high-ranking boss)
- Sorm (assassin)
- Janel Tigan (exploited civilian)
- Norvo Tigan (exploited civilian)
- Traidy (assassin)
- Yint (supplier)
The Orion Syndicate appears in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine novel Demons of Air and Darkness, as well as A Time to Heal and A Time to Kill. The Orion Syndicate also features in the Star Trek: The Lost Era novel Well of Souls.
According to the Star Trek: Starfleet Command - Orion Pirates video game, the Syndicate is just one of eight Orion pirate cartels, the others being the Orion Cartel, Crimson Shadow, Camboro, Prime Industries, Tiger Heart, Beast Raiders, and Wyldefire Compact.
In the 25th-century alternate timeline of Star Trek Online, the Orion Syndicate (and much of the species) has allied with the Klingon Empire in its war against the Federation. The legitimate Orion government is not mentioned directly, but it seems to be implied that either the government has taken control of the Syndicate or vice-versa, as the leader of the Syndicate, Melani D'ian (β), was apparently the Matriarch of the Orion homeworld as well.