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5 Things D'Vana Tendi Taught Us About Orion Culture

As one of the few Orions in Starfleet, this junior officer is determined to dispel the stigmas surrounding her species.

D'Vana Tendi with her left hand resting on her hips

I just hate that you guys had to see the real me.

D'Vana Tendi, "Something Borrowed, Something Green"

Despite being a culture introduced over 50 years ago in The Original Series, the Orions have remained an elusive enigma, especially to Starfleet.

By the 24th Century, that changes with enlistment of junior science officer D'Vana Tendi. With Star Trek: Lower Decks, we begin to uncover more about the matriarchal society. Across the first four seasons, Tendi has done her best to downplay and conceal her past life as the Mistress of the Winter Constellations. However, while she sometimes feels anger when it comes to others' insensitive assumptions of Orions, she's proud of her culture, just a tad ashamed of her past criminal experiences as an assassin and pirate.

Here are five things we've learned about Orions from passing comments from Tendi to actually visiting the Orion planet with her.

A Matriarchal Society

Mariner, masquerading as an Orion, and Tendi stand outside the Orion Pirate Outpost in 'We'll Always Have Tom Paris'

"We'll Always Have Tom Paris"

In "We'll Always Have Tom Paris," Dr. T'Ana tasks Tendi with retrieving a family heirloom on Qualor II. Tendi invites Mariner on to the mission for a girls trip. Unfortunately, they break the Caitian libido post and end up on a series of detours to fix the escalating damages. They realize they don't know that much about each other after Mariner tells her to use her pheromones to grease their dom-jot game with a couple Nausicaans.

Tendi reveals how hard it was for her to join the Academy due to the stigmas that reduces Orions down to thieves and pirates. That said, Tendi believes her cousin D'Onni who works at a pirate outpost may be able to help them out. Because she turned her back on the family business, D'Onni is apprehensive to even talk to her, worried about the trouble he'd incur with the Orion Syndicate. When a far more confident Tendi puts him in his place, he immediately yields and kisses her boots. It's here that Mariner first hears someone refer to Tendi as the "Mistress of the Winter Constellations." Shocked by what she witnessed, Tendi explains to Mariner that her actions and D'Onni's response was specific to Orions.

The Prime Daughter

Tendi and D'Erika hash out their sisterly frustration in a sword-stick fight in 'Something Borrowed, Something Green'

"Something Borrowed, Something Green"

When Tendi returns home for her sister's wedding in "Something Borrowed, Something Green," Mariner and T'Lyn accompany her for the triple-threat girls' trip so they can see the secretive planet closed off to outsiders and learn more about Orion culture.

Upon arrival, they learn that the Tendis are the fifth largest family in the Orion Syndicate. In addition to that, they discover that all Orion families have a "Prime," the responsibility and title of the daughter to train as an assassin and protect the family's honor.

We see Tendi's elite training put to the test in "Veritas" when Ransom, mistaking her for The Cleaner, recruits her to his highly classified mission in the Neutral Zone.

'Mone Heads Are a Thing

Tendi is approached by Orion men who are under the influence of pheromones while Mariner and T'Lyn cower backwards. Tendi pulls out a hypospray that counteracts the pheromones in 'Something Borrowed, Something Green'

"Something Borrowed, Something Green"

On the Orion planet, Tendi, Mariner, and T'Lyn find themselves at pheromone pleasure harem. From her years serving aboard the Cerritos with Tendi, Mariner came to realize how offensive it was to believe that all Orion women used pheromones to manipulate men. She ultimately believed it was Starfleet propaganda to uphold these insensitive stereotype to protect one of their own — Captain Scott Bakula (see: "Bound").

Tendi clarifies not all Orion women control men through the pheromones they emit. Some do, just not her. In fact, Ingreeta, the Orion scentuary's madame notes, "It never mattered she didn't have the pheromones; she didn't need it. Men would simply fall at her feet, stricken!"

An Orion Science Vessel Discovered the Krulmuth-B

Boimler smiles with his hands on his hips admiring Dr. M'Benga's tricorder as Spock scans the Krulmuth-B portal in 'Those Old Scientists'

"Those Old Scientists"

In "Those Old Scientists," The Cerritos is dispatched to the planet Krulmuth-B to run routine scans on a time portal located on its surface. Boimler expresses enthusiasm to be at the very spot Captain Pike's crew stood a century prior when they discovered it. However, Tendi counters that it was actually found by an Orion science vessel, the D'Var, which her great-grandmother served aboard, much to Boimler's disbelief.

When Boimler and Mariner accidentally find themselves stuck in the 23rd Century aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise, they disobey temporal protocols in an effort to change Captain Christopher Pike and his crew's perceptions towards Orions, noting how insensitive it is to assume all Orions are pirates, revealing in his time, Orions would serve in Starfleet.

The Enterprise crew also learns that when it comes to negotiations with Orions, it's best to offer a trade, which they view as a gesture of respect.

Barter by Combat

D'Vana Tendi approaches her sister D'Erika on her throne and tosses her Starfleet PADD at her as the crew of the Cerritos and the Orion guards all stand watch in 'Old Friends, New Planets'

"Old Planets, New Friends"

In "Old Planets, New Friends," Mariner is trapped on the disgraced ex-Starfleet Academy cadet Nick Locarno's ship in the Detrion System, which is protected by a Trynar shield. Intent on saving her friend, Tendi heads back home to appeal to her sister D'Erika to let them borrow an Orion battleship.

Uninterested, D'Erika dismisses them, leading Tendi to invoke a "barter by combat," where each party selects a champion to fight for their cause in a battle arena. Tendi's fighter ultimately loses, forcing her to make good on her end of the bargain — leaving Starfleet to return to Orion and help D'Erika run their family's crime syndicate. An in true Orion fashion, D'Erika throws them a bone and gives them a battleship, except it's an inoperable one.

It's not all a lost cause as Starfleet Command praises Captain Freeman for opening diplomatic relations with the Orions for the first time.

We'll have to wait until Season 5 to learn more about the Orion planet and its culture, which series showrunner Mike McMahan promises a lot more of!