The Orz are — or perhaps "is" — an alien species first encountered by The Captain in the space near where the Androsynth had been known to reside. Despite a notable distaste for the human-derived Androsynth and for the mysterious Arilou, the Orz happily joined with the New Alliance of Free Stars and provided its powerful Nemesis starship designs to aid in the Second War.
Orz appear as gill-breathers who resemble yellow parrotfishes with eyestalks, though it is not known if this is their actual true form. It is likely that Orz come from another dimension, and when asked about their origins, Orz explain that the Arilou are from *above* and that Orz is from *below*. The precise meaning of this explanation is still up to debate, although the Arilou make it clear that Orz is not from QuasiSpace.
There has been some discussion that the Orz as they are seen in normal space are actually a projection of some higher-dimensional being studying our reality. The Orz-entity refers to what is seen of itself in the known dimensions as its *fingers* and explains that it is not like other races who are *many bubbles*. The Orz sometimes refer to themselves in the singular third person, although whether this is another quirk of the Orz's odd speech pattern or a reference to their true essence is unclear.
The Orz are a newcomer to TrueSpace that appeared suddenly in the vicinity of the Vulpeculae constellation, the adopted homeworlds of the Androsynth. As the Androsynth vanished about the same time Orz arrived, it is reasonable to think that the Orz did something to them, but asking the Orz about the subject infuriates them. It is possible that the Dimensional Fatigue Experiments that were being performed by the Androsynth (and apparently the Taalo before them) may have been what brought the constellation to the Orz's attention.
Just where the Orz resided before arriving in the area of Vulpeculae is unknown. The Orz indicate that they like TrueSpace and even prefer TrueSpace over their origin dimension and are now engaged in the process of fully moving to TrueSpace.
Relations with other races
Only a few of the races in Star Control II mention the Orz at all. This is not surprising as they appear to be new in TrueSpace. The relations that they do have are as mysterious as the Orz themselves.
The appearance of the Orz coincided with the disappearance of the Androsynth from the same location. In fact, both the Arilou and the Orz themselves suggest that it was the IDF research of the Androsynth which enabled the Orz to come to TrueSpace.
Whether the Orz themselves were the cause for the disappearance of the Androsynth is the subject of a lot of speculation. Evidence for it exists, but is very circumstantial. Whatever their involvement, asking enough about the Androsynth is enough reason for the Orz to attack you.
Dialogs with both the Arilou and Orz suggest that they have had contact outside of TrueSpace. The Orz do not like the Arilou very much, and complain that the Arilou always "*jumping in front*". Conversely, the Arilou warn not to trust the Orz, as they are dangerous.
The Melnorme know of the existence of the Orz, and that they appeared when the Androsynth disappeared. Whether they've met them in person is unclear. While there is a Melnorme trader in Orz space, the Orz never mention Melnorme.
The Spathi also mention that the Orz entered this space when the Androsynth disappeared. They think that they are creepy and warn against an alliance. This is all based on their own speculation though. Whether they met the Orz in person or only heard about them from description is unclear.
The Orz mention the Taalo on several occasions. They seem to have been in contact over a longer period of time. According to the Orz, the Taalo have fled Truespace to some space where they can go to themselves. The Orz refer to Delta Vulpeculae as the Taalo playground, where the Taalo "are making *Time jokes*". As the Orz's language isn't very clear, it may be that this is all in the past though.
The Orz briefly mention the VUX, as being "*silly cows*" for asking too many questions about the Androsynth, which prompted the Orz to attack the VUX.
There are various theories to explain the various mysteries surrounding the Orz.
The Orz are Them
There are theories that the Orz are in fact the ghost-like creatures that the Androsyth IDF researchers ran into. They are mostly based on the fact that They were coming into this world just before the Androsynth disappeared, which was when the Orz appeared.
Even when accepting that the timing of the appearance of the Orz is not a coincidence, they do not have to be Them. They could have detected the Androsynth in the same way as They did.
The Orz killed the Androsynth
This is based again on the timing of the appearance of the Orz and the disappearance of the Androsynth, combined with the fact that the Orz refuse to talk about the Androsynth.
This is suggested by both the Melnorme and the Spathi. In the same dialogs however, it has been made clear that they don't actually know that. This may suggest that this theory is what the creators of the game want the player to think, in which case it's probably not what has "actually" happened.
The Orz are protecting races by killing those that ask too much questions about the Androsynth
This reflects the remarks made by the Arilou about parasites from beyond that can detect you when you show yourself. If you reject the theory that the Orz killed the Androsynth, this would provide an alternative explanation that connects 'Them', the disappearance of the Androsynth, and the Orz.
===The Orz seek to take advantage of indigenous races in some undefined way=== The Orz say they dislike the Arilou because they are "jumping in front." The Arilou claim to have changed humans to protect them from the "parasites" that would like to find them. Perhaps the Orz want space the Arilou did not get to first as this would be easier to conquer?
Translating Orz Communications
Translating Orz speech is problematic at best. The Orz sense of reality is likely completely different from ours. Even the most sophisticated and powerful translators can't fully process its bizarre alien language, having to use many lingual best-fits in conversation. These are marked in text by surrounding the word with asterisks (*). It is possible that all words that appear in (*) can have more than just one meaning.
- *above* — where the Arilou come from, QuasiSpace
- *below* — where Orz comes from
- *camper* — starfaring or sentient races? an individual or species that is liked by Orz? — "Happy *campers* are the best."
- *dance* — combat — "I am *frumple*. It is *dancing*."
- *dissolving* — destroying a ship, dying
- *fingers* — an "individual" Orz; see *many bubbles*
- *frumple* — to become, or the state of being angry or sad or violent — "Do not ask about [the Androsynth]. You make me *frumple*."
- *game* — the action being done presently
- *GO! GO!* — space marines
- *heavy space* — Adjective for TrueSpace, *heavy* is also used. — "These are best for letting go near *heavy space* planet bodies." An example of universe/dimensional differences.
- *many bubbles* — the numerous distinct individuals of a species, or possibly organic cells or even atomic particles — "Orz is not *many bubbles*, Orz is *fingers*."
- *new town* — new/previously unknown universe
- *open* — advance your mind/understanding/technology
- *other* — the unknown enemy of the Orz
- *party* — alliance? conversation? opportunities for *dancing*? If *dance* means combat or battle, then *party* may mean war. Party may refer to something far more sinister/extreme that humans cannot understand yet. Orz refer to parties a lot, signifying its importance. It seems that it is somehow related to *campers* and may be the reason they are here in our dimension. They say, "We can not have *parties* when Arilou always *jumping in front*." Just as we cannot fully understand the Orz words/ideas, they may have misinterpreted our word "alliance" to mean something else. (might simply mean "contact")
- *playground* — Orz gives the coordinates of Delta Vulpeculae as the location of *playground*. The significance of this star system to Orz is unknown, although it is inside the general area that they occupy. Also, Delta Vulpeculae IIc is the location of the Taalo Shield and the former homeworld of the Taalo, possibly giving the Taalo some significance. Possibly a good place for them to *slide*. A planet or star itself. Something with a significant amount of gravity.
- *relatives* — allies
- *sad animal* — one who is disliked by the Orz — "The Kohr-Ah are *sad animals*."
- *silly cow* — one who annoys the Orz, *silly* is often used independently to mean annoying — "First the VUX, but they are such *silly cows* ... they ask so much about the Androsynth we must *dance* with them."
- *slide* — dimensional travel. Some interesting quotes using this: "*Happy campers* not going to *heavy space* *slide* near Chandrasekhar. Especially not ever! These are *fat* words." "Arilou can *slide*. Also Taalo." "Finally we find you, the *happy campers* and the Taalo *playground* for sliding through."
- *slippery places* — dimensional portals, usually formed with IDF
- *slow time* — An example of universe/dimensional differences.
- *squishy* — good, goodness
- *sticky* — unable to move between dimensions.
- *the middle* — not *above* or *below*, between *above* and *below*?, this dimension (ie, TrueSpace)?