The "Critters" followed a belief in manifest destiny for their species and intended to conquer all races in the Milky Way Galaxy. Those who opposed them were considered meat.
The "Critters" originated far from the galaxy or perhaps another dimension. They traveled to Federation space by way of a wormhole rift located near the Romulan Neutral Zone and operated from one "Critters" starship. Spock was unable to correlate navigational data in their ship to any known celestial or galactic references.
A "Critter" varied in length from about six to nine feet. It was surrounded by a dark green, chitinous exoskeleton. It had a disproportionately large head, two very large red eyes, and a mouth containing dozens of pointed, yellow teeth. Its back was covered with a single hard shell. Individuals appeared to have two or three pairs of arms, all of which were prehensile. One pair ended in large pincer claws used to grab and crush. Other limbs could grab, but also expelled large quantities of a goo to immobilize and cocoon victims. Its body narrowed to a tail ending in three small projections. A variety of feelers or antennae were scattered about the body.
Individuals were unusually resistant to beam weapons, so much so that a phaser would need to be set near overload power to disintegrate it, exhausting most of the weapon's power in one shot. A close-range phaser rifle shot could wound one. "Critters" were more susceptible to bladed and projectile weapons.
For most of the 23rd century, their overall strategy was to attack lone vessels sent to investigate major galactic events. The vessels targeted were usually the best examples of their government, with the most advanced technology. Attacks were known to have been made against the Federation, Klingon Empire, Romulan Star Empire, Gorn Hegemony and First Federation. Isolated attacks scattered over the decades hid that they were masterminded by one species.
Attacks on an enemy vessel were systematic. Projectiles containing several Critters were fired at a target vessel's hull. The projectiles had armor-piercing tips which smashed through the hull. The tips opened and the Critters then disembarked, disabled engines and defenses, turned off artificial gravity, and then hunted down the crew. The Critters tore apart captured vessels and genetically altered prisoners. They showed no interest in weapons, relying only on their physical capabilities for combat.
History EditIn 2257, the creatures attacked the Constitution-class USS Farragut. As they took control of the secondary hull, Lieutenant James T. Kirk and half-Romulan, half-Vulcan T'Cel manually decoupled the hulls for an emergency saucer separation. The secondary hull was detonated to prevent further incursion. Kirk and T'Cel survived aboard an escape pod, disembarking at Watchtower 13, a monitoring station near the Romulan Neutral Zone. When a Romulan ship arrived to investigate the detonation, T'Cel hid the injured Kirk in a stasis tube so only she would be captured. Kirk was the only surviving crewman to see the "Critters." With no data recoverable from Farragut's primary hull, Starfleet's best assessment was just to stay out of that sector.
In 2267, as the USS Enterprise underwent repairs following the fight with the Doomsday machine, Nyota Uhura picked up a tight-beam distress call from near the Neutral Zone. The Enterprise arrived to discover ChR Phoenix (a Romulan Bird-of-prey) connected to a D7/Stormbird-class. Kirk, Leonard McCoy, security chief Barry Giotto and others beamed over to the D7, engaging with Romulans against the Critters. Survivors escaped to the Phoenix, which was commanded by Subcommander T'Cel. After the landing party returned to the Enterprise, Phoenix followed the D7 to see what the Critters would do with it, but lost the trail when the D7 cloaked and went to warp.
In 2273, as the refit USS Enterprise journeyed back along the path V'Ger had taken near Klingon space, they came across the wreck of a Klingon Dreadnought class warship. Phoenix decloaked nearby. T'Cel, Kirk and Spock beamed onto an intact section of the dreadnought. They found remains of Critters throughout the wreck, but also found a planet-destroying cannon, a Klingon first-strike weapon. Kirk and T'Cel mutually agreed to avoid interstellar war by not reporting the find to their governments, but that decision also meant not being able to report evidence of the Critters. Kirk saved a copy of the Dreadnought cannon's schematics.
In the late 2280s, an all-volunteer crew of the USS Enterprise-A rendezvoused at Watchtower 13 with Kor's IKS Revenge and T'Cel's Phoenix. They planned to confront the Critters, and started building the Dreadnought cannon. Revenge was employed as Trojan Horse bait while Phoenix and Enterprise were interlinked and cloaked nearby. In short order, Revenge was attacked and boarded by Critters. Then a massive, 10,000-meter spheroidal "Critters" starship approached. Launching from Phoenix, a small Assault shuttle rammed into the hull of the "Critters" ship, allowing an armed team to enter. The team discovered what was left of Diane Morwood, a prisoner from the Farragut who had been genetically altered. The "Critters" ship opened a wormhole and prepared to return to their origin point. Phoenix flew through the wormhole to investigate the other side, and then Kirk fired the Dreadnought cannon. The blast, combined with antimatter detonating from Revenge, triggered a supernova-like explosion on both sides of the wormhole, destroying the "Critters" ship and closing the rift. It was the only known doorway the Critters had to the galaxy. (TOS comic: "Debt of Honor")
In 2308, Phoenix and T'Cel transported Jamie Finney out of a holding cell on Qo'noS. It was not known how they got back, what they learned about the "Critters," or if the "Critters" remained a threat. (TNG comic: "Cry Vengeance")