We prove an analogue of Lang's conjecture on divisible groups for polynomial dynamical systems over number fields. In our setting, the role of the divisible group is taken by the small orbit of a point $\alpha$ where the small orbit by a polynomial $f$ is given by
\begin{align*} \mathcal{S}_\alpha = \{\beta \in \mathbb{C}; f^{\circ n}(\beta) = f^{\circ n}(\alpha) \text{ for some } n \in \mathbb{Z}_{\geq 0}\}. \end{align*}
Our main theorem is a classification of the algebraic relations that hold between infinitely many pairs of points in
$\mathcal {S}_\alpha$ when everything is defined over the algebraic numbers and the degree
$d$ of
$f$ is at least 2. Our proof relies on a careful study of localisations of the dynamical system and follows an entirely different approach than previous proofs in this area. In particular, we introduce transcendence theory and Mahler functions into this field. Our methods also allow us to classify all algebraic relations that hold for infinitely many pairs of points in the grand orbit
\begin{align*} \mathcal{G}_\alpha = \{\beta \in \mathbb{C}; f^{\circ n}(\beta) = f^{\circ m}(\alpha) \text{ for some } n ,m\in \mathbb{Z}_{\geq 0}\} \end{align*}
of
$\alpha$ if
$|f^{\circ n}(\alpha )|_v \rightarrow \infty$ at a finite place
$v$ of good reduction co-prime to
$d$.