- "Can I be of help, captain? Do you need a tow?
...Relax, captain, enjoy the ride."
- —Harrad-Sar demonstrating cluros to a foe. (ENT episode: "Bound")
Cluros was the primary code of conduct practiced in Orion culture.
Though Orions were said to have no honor, to be barbaric and savage, cluros was a code of conduct that attempted to impose self-control and restraint upon their often brutal excesses, though without really altering their behavior. Cluros translated to 'cold' or 'coolness', and the concept was akin to 'keeping one's cool'. It meant keeping one's head in even the most devastating or infuriating circumstances.
By the rules of cluros, one had to always speak formally and levelly to one's opponents, whether armed or not. Those who were disarmed and powerless were always treated with respect and courtesy, since they were harmless. One could not forget details or allow distractions, setbacks or suffering to interfere with their smooth demeanor. One could not reveal that they had been injured (whether financially, professionally or emotionally), nor reveal the source, and to downplay it otherwise.
There was said to be great nobility in cluros, even that it was the highest expression of Orion civilization. Examples of great cluros were of a ship-owner shrugging after losing a billion credits worth of cargo, of a pirate grinning in the face of enemy guns as his ship laid helpless, or of a father calmly burying his son while he planned revenge on his killers. A humiliated slave girl who happily pleased her master while manipulating his downfall could equally be said to have cluros.
To maintain their cluros, Orions could go to great lengths to conceal their sense of loss, grief, rage or frustration. They did this to save face or to get close enough to get revenge without alerting those who wronged them. To lose one's temper, to shout or scream or cry, or to use more force than necessary indicated a lack of cluros, and an Orion who spurned it risked being shamed and losing the respect of friends, enemies, neutrals and dependents, and worse still elevated his or her enemies. (FASA RPG modules: The Orions: Book of Common Knowledge, The Orions: Book of Deep Knowledge) Being embarrassed by one's opponents, and losing face before one's clan and clients could cause an Orion to seek revenge to erase the shame. (DS9 novel: Wrath of the Prophets)
Cluros concealed a battle of wits beneath a mask of courtesy, and was common in negotiation and diplomacy. The victor was one who kept more hidden than his opponent. The highest goal of cluros was to force one's enemies to lose it, by baiting them and being maddeningly polite in the face of provocation, to infuriate their tormentor into losing control. In this sense, it could be a bloodless weapon.
Dedication to cluros followed class-lines. A Ruddy Orion focused on maintaining cluros, but expected the lower-classed Green Orions to lack it altogether. (FASA RPG module: The Orions: Book of Common Knowledge)