When someone talks about Orion, they always refer to either the legendary planet or the legendary race that once inhabited that planet. While the names of the planet and of the people that once inhabited it have become interchangeable over eons, there is far more to it than you will ever know.
Introduced within the first Master Of Orion game, the Orions have become the very bedrock foundation on which the MoO universe is built. While being the subject of a lot of speculation by the fans, everything about their race is shrouded by mystery. In a somewhat weird twist of irony, we know more about the Antarans, the ancient enemy of Orion, than about the Orions themselves.
By the beginning of the 23rd century, ten races had emerged with the technology necessary to colonize deep space. For nearly a century, population growth on all planets had outstripped planetary resources, and soon all the races were forced to expand and discover new worlds to colonize. As history has proven time and time again, unrestrained expansion inevitably leads to war.
Even though each race is very different from the others, all have legends of a master race that once controlled the galaxy. It is said that the Masters left behind a world that contained marvellous secrets and powerful technology. The loremasters call it Orion and it is written in legend that he who masters Orion masters the universe.
Orions and Antarans
(Excerpted from “Pre-Psilonic Galactic Civilizations” Vol. II, by Ectron Victor, retired Master Adjudicator, Psilon Central History Institute.)
As a story is told and retold over the course of generations, no matter the attention paid to detail and no matter the importance of the tale, the truth is gradually nibbled away by little mistakes and innocent exaggerations. Carried off on these well-intentioned, tiny feet, the facts deteriorate softly and painlessly into a condition generally referred to as “shrouded by time.”
The legends concerning the Orions and Antarans are shrouded by time.
What is certain is that at one time both races coexisted in the galaxy. The scope of their power and technical advancement has surely been enhanced by hyperbole, but that they were far superior to anything now known is indisputable. Perhaps it was inevitable that two such behemoths would meet in violence. The legends paint the Antarans as ruthless, xenophobic killers, but we all know that history is written by the victors.
The Orion-Antaran war was a protracted holocaust of galactic proportions. While we can never know if they truly flung entire star systems across deep space as weapons (as the storytellers claim), our astrophysicists have uncovered evidence of directed energy bursts, the power of which staggers the imagination. That both races had the ability to raze planets no one contests. The Orions eventually defeated the Antarans.
Rather than exterminating the race, as the stories claim the Antarans would certainly have done, the Orions chose to imprison their enemies in a “pocket dimension”—a volume the size of a single star system, formed and carved somehow out of the fabric of space-time. Physicists to this day puzzle over the theory and the technique, but the result was obvious: the Antarans were banished one and all from this dimension.
At this point, even the storytellers admit that the legends become vague. Sometime after the war, the Orion race inexplicably disappeared. They left only two legacies for the galaxy’s future inhabitants. One was the tales of their power and legends of the Antaran war; the other is the Orion system itself. One planet circles this star, and it is reputed to be the original home world of the Orion race.
Despite the incredible potential this abandoned world must hold, no one has yet plundered or colonized it. The reason for this is that the system is only uninhabited, not undefended. The Orions left a single Guardian to protect their home. Perhaps they intend to return some day.
Perhaps the Antarans intend to return, too.
Main article: Master of Orion 3 backstory
The Orions, or Orionites, were an ancient, enigmatic and incredibly technologically advanced race that once ruled the Orion Sector of the Galaxy. Ancient myths and legends tell that the Orions were a gentle race of beings who loved, nurtured and protected life in all its forms, teaching and protecting younger races until they were ready to join them among the stars.
They even transferred populations from one planet to another to ensure the survival of species and became known to those races as the Preservers, while in the oldest myths and legends of other races, the Orions were simply known as the Masters, a master race that once controlled the galaxy. The races that claimed to be former servant races of the Orions have all lot of myths that described the Orions as strict but merciful masters, they slow to anger, never cruel towards their subjects and willing to forgive then to punish, but when Orions delivers their punishment, it was always swift, direct and heavy, and always directed the leadership and never the people.
It is even possible that their race was not named Orion at all; it may just be a title or name given by the Destroyers to their most hated enemy.
There is barely anything known about the Orions except that they were so far beyond everyone else on the evolutionary and technological scale that there is no frame of reference to compare them with, exception that they are as far above us as we are above the microbe.
Loknar, the Last Orion
Loknar is a ship leader who appeared in Master of Orion II: Battle at Antares; he will only offer to join you after you defeat the Guardian of Orion. This means he won't be available for most multiplayer games.
There many ancient myths and legends about Loknar, it is said that Loknar was the first Orion to rise his weapons against the Antarans when he could not bare seeing so many of the younger races conquered, enslaved or destroyed by Antarans. Loknar, who become know in legend and myth as the Antaran Hunter, for he hunted down the Antarans, cast them off the planets they had conquered, freed the younger races that were enslaved and drove the Antarans back to their homeworld of Antares.
After the Orion/Antaran War was over, the Antarans and their home system were banished into a pocket dimension, Loknar was placed in a statis pod and turn into the main control unit of a gigantic automated vessel that would become known as the Guardian of Orion.
The resaon why he was encased within the Guardian is unknown, some believe that other Orions were appalled by what Loknar had done during the war, as punishment for his war crimes, for protecting his people, his home and saving younger races from cruelty of the Antarans, the Orionites made him the Guadian of their Throneworld for all eternity. While own people saw him as an irredeemable war criminal, the younger races that were saved by Loknar viewed him as a hero.
Located somewhere in the Galaxy lies a planet only mentioned in ancient myth and legends, the mythical and rumored homeworld of the Orions, the crown jewel of their ancient empire, a perfect world. The legendary planet of Orion has been subject of many rumors, myths and legends; many fantastical stories have told that Orion is an untouched paradise world of unparalleled splendor that is somehow able to change its ecology, from its geology, atmosphere and gravity, even the biochemistry of its entire ecosystem, to become the most perfectly habitable planet for any sentient species that colonized it. Not only that, the planet is also a treasure trove of unimaginable wealth, resources and hyper-advanced technologies that the Orions left behind.
If any race is able to colonize Orion, it is said that their civilization would flourish beyond what any other could, and their race would be propelled to the state of Elder Race, rival the Orions and Antarans from the legends of old.
However, nobody has ever landed on the planet or even enter the system to find out if these stories are true, for when the ancient Orions abandoned the Planet all those eons ago they left behind a champion to guard their ancient home, a great machine of such formidable strength and defenses that only a very few have seen it and they barely escaped with their life; all but the mightiest fleets are torn down by this Guardian.
Just as mythical as planet that it's guarding or the race that once inhabited that planet, the Guardian of Orion is subject of many ancient myths and legends. While many are not sure what the Guardian is, many have speculated that it could be a gigantic space creature that made the Orion System its nesting ground or a godly force that strikes down unworthy travelers who dare to enter the System.
However, the very few that return alive from that star system, with their ships heavily damaged, battle-scarred and barely functioning, tell stories that the Guardian is a machine, a massive automated mobile battlestation with advanced weapons and defense systems that is protecting the planet from anyone who dares to claim it.