The ancient homeworld of the Orion race.. It is by agreement stronger than law a neutral world among the neutral worlds. It is owned by no single house and any Orion can come there.
The massive City of Kulian is a stunning 500 kilometers across and holds more towers over a mile in height than perhaps any city in the known Galaxy. Conversely the slums located at the base of those towers never see the light of day and are a very bad place to find yourself. Kulian represents the best and worst of Orion society.
Every House that is anyone must have a tower in Kulian. Power flows vertically. The higher you live the richer and more powerful you are.
There are other Settlements on the planet, but none are important. The remainder of the world is divined into plantations and forest districts. Each owned by some house. Again property on Botchok is money in the bank no matter how mean. The only way to get deed to anything is to pull some truly creative caper.
In the ealry 21st century, Botchok iss home to 4.3 billion people, the most populous of the know Orion worlds. They live in the cities and semi-dispersed agricultural communities that are scattered around the world.
A primitive Orion cave-drawing on Botchok depicts a spaceship landing on the plains, with bulky suited aliens emerging to capture and carry away the stick-figure natives.
As the ancient homeworld of the Orion people, the cultural and spiritual center of their civilization, and rife with artistic types, Botchok is thick with shrines and temples, monuments and memorial parks, statues, museums, and relics and ruins of its long history, with countless festivals, celebrations and remembrances. These are all exploited for the tourism industry.
The disparate Orion worlds see Botchok as the shinny city on the Hill, the big rock candy mountain. The reverence of old names and customs many long forgotten except in name is complete.
Botchoki architecture includes fluted and spiraled towers with minarets, knurled blocks of apartments with balconies, all faced of colored stone and adorned with cloth hangings. There are bazaars, cantinas, markets and clubs. The roughest taverns on Botchok have ears nailed to the wall.
With nearly all of its natural resources and raw materials used up, Botchok depends on imports from other worlds, even lumber and oil, while it salvages and recycles all it can, to support itself and its own meager supplies.
It produces no goods; its primary exports are information, expertise, entertainment and cultural artifacts. A sizable proportion of the population consists of authors, artists, entertainers and specialists. Their earnings made up a large part of the planet's total income, and a liberal tax system encourages more to come to Botchok from other worlds. Local governments even offer package deals to prospective valuable residents.
Tourism is also a significant industry, with three billion visitors arriving on Botchok each year to see the historical and cultural sights or attend business meetings and conventions. To cater to them, there are hotels, convention centers, casinos, guided tours, museums and countless festivals, celebrations and remembrances.
Botchok has a 1.0 g. gravity and aa 28-hour day, with 40.8% land mass and 59.2% water. A class M world with a terrestrial atmosphere, the climate was warm and dry, though with an average temperature of 19.2° Celsius, and it is said to be rather pleasant. As Rigel is a B class star|bright blue-white star, the sun here is exceptionally bright.
As the site of many proxy wars fought with Orion slave soldiers, and once enduring the Atom War and an ensuing holocaust called the Long Winter, the ecology and atmosphere of Botchok suffered greatly. To correct the damage, the Orions attempted to repair it in the historic First Stage project, though with inferior terraforming technology, little care and a lot of zeal. Ever since, they have were forced to make frequent corrections to many oversights and natural imbalances.
As a result, Botchok's climate and most of its ecology are artificially maintained at an incredible cost, but also tuned for greatest comfort, with little bad weather. It is nearly free of dangerous animals and plants, and cured of serious diseases, but maybe only five percent of all life-forms on the planet are native to it, including the microbes and the Orions (and this was doubtful given speculation about their prehistory). All the rest have either been imported from other worlds, or altered in some way. Nearly all of its natural resources have also been depleted, necessitating imports from off-world if these were to be cut off, the biosphere management system would fail in a few days, and Botchok would turn into a half-frozen wasteland within a year.
The alien overlords of the Orion people originally created the nations of Botchok for their convenience, with different factions controlling different regions and using them as pawns against each other in proxy warfare. They were bound together by[Nallin the Unconquerable during the battle for Orion freedom. These ancient nation-states survived into the late 23rd century since nothing replaced them, with their original power and independence intact—with relatively little of either compared to the powerful Orion families and corporations.
Of these nation-states, the so-called "Big Four" were Kulian, Mazak, Tipot and Yuin, their delegates controll the Botchok Planetary Congress (BPC) and the Orion Colonies Intelligence. There are few disputes between the nations and their governments, and history blurred the distinctions between them and their forms of government. Usually they just disagree on matters regarding the BPC itself and its role in the Orion Colonies.
Around 998,000 BCE (reference stardate −10,000/00), the Masters seeded Rigel VIII with life, new and promising forms intended to evolve over a million years or so into an intelligent species capable of space-flight and revering the long-dead Masters as gods. These species may have become the Orions. The time-scale is approximately correct, with prehistoric Orions appearing 980,000 years later and some claim descent from the Masters. However, their later appearance was a surprise, with no sign of sentient life previously detected, while Preserver relocation has also been suggested. Thus, it is not known if these plans were successful or were disrupted by alien interference.
Prior to the appearance of the Orions, Botchok had already been thoroughly picked over by the starfaring alien races that visited the Rigel system, and their records showed no sign of sentient life. At this time, it was cold temperate wilderness.
Thus it was a surprise when primitive Orions attacked a Yugai colony, who destroyed the village responsible, around 18,000 BCE (stardate −200/00). The Sugg, however, used them as slaves, and alien slavers created puppet nations on Botchok to fight their proxy wars, under the terms of the Treaty of Kammzdast, whose signing in 15,956 BCE (stardate −179/56), beginning the Orion Era. An Orion bid for freedom in 12,237 BCE (stardate −142/37) resulted in the punitive Atom War, and the ensuing twenty-year Long Winter. On 9143 BCE (stardate −111/43), the Orions were allowed to conduct terraforming to repair the damaged world; this First Stage was concluded in 7730 BC (stardate −97/30).
Botchok was finally liberated in 5495 BCE (stardate −20/9508), when Nallin the Unconquerable led the overthrow of the alien slavers and bound the nation-states together by founding the Botchok Planetary Congress. The Battle of Botchok in 5494 BCE (stardate −20/9401.03) defended the newly freed world and began the Orion War of independence. Botchok became the hub of the new free Orion nation and the core of the Great Orion Empire.