Varley attended Starfleet Academy in the 2320s, where he attended an archaeology class taught by Richard Galen. Both Varley and his classmate Jean-Luc Picard developed a profound interest in archaeology at this time, especially as it related to the long-dead Iconian civilization.
In 2355, Varley sent Picard his condolences after the loss of Picard's ship, the Stargazer. During the next few years, Varley and Picard kept in touch, and Varley frequently assisted Picard's independent research with Starfleet resources. In 2358, he provided Picard with Starfleet navigational charts of the Scorpius Reach; he was interested in joining Picard on an expedition to that area, but felt obligated to stand by Starfleet due to tensions with the Cardassians. The next year, he recommended that Picard contact Captain Onna Karapleedeez when her ship, the USS Mary Kingsley, entered the Scorpius Reach.
In 2365, Captain Varley was given an Iconian artifact which included a star map. After accounting for thousands of years of stellar drift, he was able to obtain the coordinates of the planet Iconia. Fearing that the Romulans would find the planet and make use of any technology left behind on Iconia, Varley violated the Romulan Neutral Zone to prevent such technology from falling into Romulan hands.
The Yamato was able to elude a Romulan warbird, and arrived at the planet Iconia. Shortly after arriving at Iconia, the Yamato was scanned by an Iconia probe, which infected the ship's computer systems with an Iconian computer program. The incompatible Iconian program caused increasingly severe malfunctions on board the Yamato. Captain Varley and his entire crew were killed when the Iconian program caused the antimatter containment fields on the Yamato to collapse, destroying the ship in a warp core breach. (TNG episode: "Contagion")
|USS Yamato personnel|
|Steve Gerber • Daniel Kwan • Richard McKenzie • Ramsey • Donald Varley • Beth Woods|