Over half a million years ago, the sun within the Exo system began to cool which left the planet Exo III a veritable frozen wasteland. At the time, the world was inhabited by a race known only as the "Old Ones", who began to age in time. They used their advanced knowledge to create androids as their feeble bodies meant that they had to seek other methods in order to survive. This led to the development of machines that were not only simple artificial intelligence(s) but possessed artificial consciousness-as they believed that the only way to survive was to create true, artificial life.
Ultimately, they succeeded to a certain extent. but their creations were less than perfect. Whilst they were indeed self-aware androids, their consciousnesses were stagnant and could not process new experiences for personal growth. The Old Ones' creations begged their creators to fix them, but the only way to do so was to wipe the slate clean and start from the beginning. At first, the Old Ones sought to destroy their creations, but they grew more demanding as well as dangerous. Realizing the danger they were in, the Old Ones acted quickly and secretly. But, in order to buy themselves time, they promised to fix their androids; even though it was not possible. They were instead working to transfer their consciousnesses into unformatted, android bodies. But their plans were discovered by the androids, who were responsible for killing all the Old Ones.
Whilst their creators were dead, the androids developed a degree of paranoia to all organic life, who they believed were a threat to their existence. As the Old Ones never developed space flight technology, the androids were restricted to their world and hoped that another intelligent, organic species would discover them. When such an event occurred, the androids planned to take over the invaders' space craft. Then, use it to escape in order to find a solution to their inherent problem that the Old Ones denied them. Til that time, the androids decided to enter into stasis and left one of their own behind to serve as caretaker as well as watchman, while they were slumbering. (TNG novel: Immortal Coil)
Earth's military was rumored to be experimenting with android development in the early 21st century. (TOS novel: Strangers from the Sky) During the Third World War, android impostors were used for assassinations, and further research was banned following this conflict. (TNG novel: The Buried Age)
In 2266, Doctor Roger Korby attempted to replace key personnel throughout the United Federation of Planets covertly in order to force his ideals of a perfect medical cure which was immortality. However, his plans were discovered by Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise, who stopped him from completing his goal. This saw the destruction of Ruk, who had forgotten about the slumbering Exo III androids that were in stasis deep within the planet. (TOS episode: "What Are Little Girls Made Of?", TNG novel: Immortal Coil)
In the months after Captain Kirk and the Enterprise stopped Roger Korby's plan the Federation sent a science team to Exo III to study the advanced technology of the ancients. Amongst them was Harry Mudd under a false I.D. who had found out about Exo III and the android manufacturing technology and planned to use it for his latest money making scheme. Using the android manufacturing technology Harry produced several androids of the Andrea type as well as several of the Ruk type to serve as body guards.
Harry's scheme was put to a halt when Captain Kirk and the Enterprise crew became aware of what Harry had been up and returned to Exo III to shut down the production of androids. The Andrea and Ruk androids under command of Harry managed to capture Kirk and his landing party but one of the Ruks killed several security officers despite Harry's direct instructions against this.
During a confrontation between Kirk, Harry and the Ruk androids it was revealed that the Ruk units had inherited the memories from the original Ruk, its memories being share from a single data 'pool'. The androids had only given Harry the illusion that they had been under his control and now felt threatened to the point that they wanted to kill Kirk, Harry and every other living being on the planet.
In order to contain the threat and shut down all the androids Harry had sold and shipped so far Commander Spock and Chief Engineer Scott shut down the technology of the Ancient Ones including the network that connected the androids with each other and allowed them to stay active. Once offline all of the androids on Exo III and off world became inert. (TOS comic: "The Survival Equation")
Sometime after this chain of events in 2304, Noonien Soong, along with Emil Vaslovik and Ira Graves, journeyed to Exo III where they released the androids from stasis. These machines eventually discovered Korby's crashed starship and spent decades-where they used its technology as a template to create their own vessels. Going into space, they began a campaign of secretly gathering intelligence on the Federation and Starfleet for years. This led to their discovery of Starfleet's holotronic android project. This they believed was the cure they needed to fix themselves of their design faults and thus they sought to capture Rhea McAdams, who was the first of this prototype of android. (TNG novel: Immortal Coil)
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The Klingon-Romulan Alliance also developed androids that were cruder models compared to the Soong-type androids of the Federation. These were governed by a rigid and strict programming in order for them to serve as Romulan shock troopers in combat engagements. (TNG novel: Brave New World)