The Iconian War was a major interstellar conflict fought between the Alpha and Delta Alliances against the Iconian Empire and its servitor races in the early 25th century. The war consumed the Alpha and Beta Quadrants and later involved factions across all four quadrants of the galaxy being one of the greatest and most devastating conflicts in galactic history.
Prelude to War
Approximately 200,000 years ago, the Iconian homeworld, Iconia, was victim of orbital bombardment by several species which had rebelled against the Iconian rule. This event led to the fall of the First Iconian Empire. A little group was able to escape the planet and settled themselves on several primitive worlds because of a group of non-iconians known as the Others. For over 200,000 years, these survivors were slowly rebuilding their forces and preparing for the day when they would return to reclaim all that was once theirs. Being forgotten by time and considered nothing more than legends, the Iconians influence on other species, however, dates back to at least the early 24th century. The Iconians' goal was to destabilize diplomatic relationship and stability between governments of several galactic nations to make them unprepared and unable to defend themselves when the invasion began. Despite many, some of these events were highlighted for causing a greater historical impact. (TNG novel: The Devil's Heart; STO video game: The Iconian War)
Infiltration of the Federation
In the year 2364 a neural parasite known as the Bluegill tried an outlet of the Federation by infecting Starfleet's key leaders, thus getting control of their minds. However, this attempt was discovered by Captain Walker Keel of the USS Horatio and neutralized by the crew of the USS Enterprise-D. With the failed attempt, the Bluegill's Spawnmother sent a signal into deep space, later revealed to be a message to their masters: the Iconians. It was also discovered that the Bluegill had been genetically modified by the servitor race Solanae. (TNG episode: "Conspiracy")
During a mission of charting the Amargosa Diaspora globular cluster in 2369, several Enterprise crew members were being abducted and subjected to several experiments unknowingly - later revealed to be Solanae's work. A power grid overload in Cargo Bay 4 is later revealed to be a collateral effect of a Solanae subspace pocket being formed inside the Enterprise. The crew was successful in closing the rift and the charting mission continued as planned. (TNG episode: "Schisms")
"Whoever it was that sent that thing was more than simply curious..." - Riker
The Hobus Incident
In 2387, the star of the Hobus star system unexpectedly went supernova, sending a wave of devastation across the quadrant. This supernova was especially threatening because of its ability to transform anything it contacted into energy, which increased its power and allowed it expand. To stop the threat, Ambassador Spock planned to use red matter to create an artificial black hole that would consume the supernova's energy. However, before he could successfully carry out his mission, the supernova traveled through subspace, destroying Romulus and Remus.
Years later, an investigation was conducted into the Hobus supernova which led to a trail to Iconia itself. A Romulan Republic captain, following clues from classified Tal Shiar files, discovered a base in the remains of the Hobus system, where former Praetor Taris was discovered. Although she escaped from Hobus through an Iconian gateway, a Starfleet vessel working with a Republic agent tracked a Reman commander in Taris' employ from Hobus to a facility on Iconia, where the Starfleet captain captured Taris, and discovered evidence linking her to the Hobus supernova. Obisek, who headed the Reman Resistance also learnt that the Tal Shiar had allied themselves with the Demons of Air and Darkness. He believed that this threat remained in the shadows and intended to exact revenge on those that had driven them from their homeworld. Colonel Hakeev revealed the ties the Tal Shiar had with the Iconians on Nopada Prime along with his goal in finding ways of provoking conflict amongst various races. After Hakeev's death, a battle erupted at Brea III where Empress Sela's flagship, the IRW Leahval, was seemingly captured by an Iconian ship that had emerged from a gateway. (STO missions: "Revelations", "Taris", "Frozen", "Coliseum", "Cutting the Cord")
Following these events, Obisek wondered about the threat the Iconians posed to the galaxy. This worry was also voiced by Captain Va'Kel Shon during the Borg conference at Deep Space 9. According to Commander Mesi Achebe, Taris seemingly managed to escape during the riot at Facility 4028 with the apparent aid of the Iconians. Investigators on New Romulus revealed the ties the planet had with the ancient Iconians. (STO missions: "Darkness Before the Dawn", "Second Wave", "Facility 4028", "Secrets of the Ancients")
The Undine Threat
Also in 2387, it was discovered by the Klingon Empire that Species 8472 had infiltrated most of the Alpha and Beta quadrant powers, through their infiltrator agents. During this same period, an interrogated member from Species 8472 revealed their real name to be Undine. It was also revealed that the Iconians were responsible for crossing into Fluidic Space where they attracted the Undine's attention. This chain of events saw the Undine being provoked into believing that they had faced hostility from the other universe. As such, the tripedal aliens began a campaign of infiltration and destabilization of the Milky Way Galaxy. Unknown to anyone, this all went in line with the Iconians' plans in setting the various races against one another in order to keep them all divided. (The Path to 2409, STO mission: "Fluid Dynamics")
In early 2410, the Undine launched a massive invasion in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants. As a distraction from their main target, the Undine launched an ambush in the Sol system, while in fact pushing to destroy Qo'nos with a planet killer. This same tactic was used to attack Ferenginar, Gornar, Cardassia Prime and Andoria. Although several casualties as the almost complete destruction of Earth Spacedock, the invasion was neutralized thanks to the efforts of the newly formed Federation-Klingon-Romulan alliance, later becoming the Alpha Quadrant Alliance. (STO mission: "A New Accord")
When the Federation and Klingon Empire agreed to cease war after the Undine attack on Earth and Qo'noS, an Iconian entered the Great Hall through a gateway to give a cryptic warning to the newly formed alliance about things that would happen if they drew the Iconians' attention again. (STO mission: "Surface Tension")
"You have come further than we expected, but still you chase our shadows... We give you a single warning: Do not attract our attention again." - M'Tara
Conflict with the Vaadwaur
With the discovery of a gateway in the center of the Solanae Dyson Sphere in 2410, the AQA began to send ships to explore the region and see how much it had changed since USS Voyager's journey 32 years ago. During the operation, the Alliance heard rumors from several species about a threat in the quadrant, known to appear out of nowhere, leaving a trail of destruction behind. Despite not being considered a threat by the crew of the USS Voyager due to their 900-year-old technology, the Vaadwaur made an unexpected leap in technology, and threatened the security of the entire quadrant. Seven of Nine observed that not even the Borg had such powerful ships as the Vaadwaur. This was due to the fact that the Vaadwaur, seeking a way to regain their former power, had made contact with the Iconians, who gave them sufficient technology to launch a campaign of conquest throughout the Delta Quadrant. In exchange, the leadership of the Vaadwaur Supremacy was taken over by Bluegills. This meant that ultimately, the Iconians controlled the Supremacy through its Bluegill-infected leaders. As their first act after the agreement with the Iconians, the Supremacy overthrew the Krenim Imperium and subsequently the B'omar Sovereignty. (VOY episode: "Dragon's Teeth", STO video game: Delta Rising)
To put an end to this threat, the Alpha Quadrant Alliance started an operation to unite the Delta Quadrant species in an attempt to create a new alliance that would stop the Vaadwaur purge. Among these races were the Hierarchy, the Kazon, the Benthan Protectorate, the Borg Cooperative, the Hazari, Kobali, Talaxians and the Turei. This new coalition was dubbed Delta Alliance. Alliance operatives exposed Vaadwaur leaders as Bluegill hosts, igniting a civil war between Supremacy loyalists and Vaadwaur rebels under the command of Eldex. Delta Alliance then organized a task force led by Alliance High Command to attack in the heart of the Supremacy, Vaadwaur Prime. During the battle, Eldex's rebels joined Alliance forces, and the Delta Alliance was victorious. (STO video game: Delta Rising, STO missions: "Revolution", "Takedown")
Although the Bluegills that possessed the Vaadwaur leaders were defeated, a small number of Vaadwaur ships remained loyal to the Iconians during the beginning of the war. (STO mission: "Time in a Bottle")
On the eve of war, while following a lead by Sela, who had escaped capture, members of the Alpha Quadrant Alliance entered a Dyson sphere hidden in the Andromeda Galaxy through a gateway on Nopada Prime, where they discovered a massive Iconian invasion force inside. Also, they found Taris, whom they pursued until they caught up to her and cornered her against the edge of a building. Taris begged them to understand her actions which caused the destruction of Romulus, as well as her reasons for contacting the Iconians, wherein she thought the Iconians could somehow go back in time and undo the Hobus catastrophe. Outraged by Taris' actions, Sela insulted Taris' lack of knowledge, and then threw her off the edge. Obsessed with her homeworld's restoration, Taris hadn't discovered the simple fact that the Iconians themselves couldn't travel through time anyway because of their chroniton-based minds. After gathering as much information as they could, the Alliance team escaped, though not before the Sphere jumped to a location near the Iconia system. Upon returning to Nopada Prime, the Alliance officers discovered that Sela had traveled to a different, unknown destination. Later, over the course of the war, she sent several transmissions to the Alliance officer and revealed information about her location and her progress in bringing allies to fight the Iconians. (STO mission: "Uneasy Allies")
Battle of New Romulus
During a meeting between the leaders of the Alpha Quadrant Alliance in the Sol system to prepare for the imminent conflict, a Herald fleet suddenly appeared on New Romulus, signaling the beginning of the invasion. Herald forces were also sent to attack the Federation Starbase 234, which was the only thing standing between the Iconians and New Romulus. In order to defend the Romulan homeworld, Captain Tom Paris was sent to assist the Republic with his task force alongside with the bulk of the fleet. The others were ordered to report to Starbase 234.
At Starbase 234, Herald ships engaged the Alliance forces in space, while Herald forces took control of the starbase, boarding it through their gateways. In the end, Alliance efforts were not sufficient to save the starbase from the Heralds, who overran the station. Fortunately, all of the civilians and most of the crew managed to evacuate.
While Captain Paris led the fight in orbit, an Alliance admiral transported to the surface, managing to improve the situation, which had become desperate. However, as the Alliance retook control of the Hwael Ruins, another Iconian, T'Ket, arrived through a gateway and destroyed an entire group of Republic officers with only one strike. Escaping into the caves which housed the gateway on New Romulus, the Alliance admiral followed a Herald strike-force through the gateway to the Preserver Archive on Lae'nas III. Having cleared the area of Heralds, the Alliance officer woke a Preserver, asking the ancient alien for help in the fight against the Iconians. However, as the Preserver attempted to access information regarding the Iconians, another wave of Heralds distracted the Alliance team long enough for M'Tara to kill the Preserver, declaring the Iconians' right to rule. Soon afterwards, a Herald dreadnought destroyed the Archive from orbit.
The Solanae Plot
During the first days of the war, Captain Paris' task force, Delta Flight, alongside another Alliance ship, infiltrated in the Calbriden system. Alliance Intelligence believed the Iconian had destroyed Calbriden III to gather materials for a subspace disruption device. They intended to use this device to bring a little portion of subspace into normal space in order to bring in Solanae forces to directly aid in the Iconians' efforts. Though the team succeeded in preventing the Solanae from breaking through and recovering data on the location of a key Iconian installation, the USS Campbell was lost with all hands and the Iconians kept the upper hand in the war. (STO mission: "Delta Flight")
The Emperor's Return
Seven years earlier, Emperor Kahless of the Klingon Empire had departed Qo'nos, handpicking a crew from the Order of the Bat'leth for his flagship IKS Batlh. He left a message behind saying that the Klingons no longer needed his guidance and he would return when he was most needed.
As the war continued, the Alliance suffered a series of demoralizing defeats. During a covert mission deep in Iconian territory in the Dynassia system, led by a group of Klingon black op agents known as House Pegh, Emperor Kahless revealed himself to be the leader of House Pegh.
Believing that his people needed a symbol to inspire them in the difficult times of the war, Kahless challenged T'Ket to single combat. Seeing that he was unable to hurt the Iconian, Kahless' team managed to wound T'Ket by firing on her with a discharge of Omega particles. Kahless then cut off T'Ket's left arm. Though he was killed before he could deliver the final blow, and the strike force was forced to retreat, he proved that the Iconians were not invincible, thus invigorating Alliance forces. (STO mission: "House Pegh")
The Krenim Join the Fight
Soon afterward, Alliance leadership discovered a Krenim device in the possession of a Ferengi named Qwen. Due to the fact that the Iconians had ordered the complete extermination of the Krenim, the Alliance decided that it was worth investigation, and sent representatives to procure the device. With assistance from Captain Nog of the USS Chimera, they acquired the device and then traveled to the Kyana system, where Qwen had said the device was found. Using the Krenim device, the Alliance team discovered a Krenim base hidden out of sync with normal time in one of the system's moons. While hidden in this fashion, Nog and the other Alliance captain witnessed a meeting between twelve Iconians, during which M'Tara, T'Ket, and L'Miren discuss the Alliance's unexpected resilience, highlighting the destruction of the Solanae station in the Calbriden system. T'Ket proposed the utter destruction of Alliance forces, an idea that M'Tara and L'Miren dismissed, stating that there was no pride in ruling a dead galaxy.
After the Iconians left, Krenim leader Pross re-synced the base with normal time, also revealing that they had actually hidden the entire planet. He then presents a scheme with plans for the constructions of "a wondrous vessel" which could manipulate time, capable of erasing entire civilizations like they never existed. Nog theorized that the Krenim could give the Alliance a much-needed advantage, and they ended up negotiating an agreement with the Krenim, alongside with their allies of the Zahl and the Nihydron species to fight the Iconians. (STO mission: "Time in a Bottle")
Battle of Iconia
Three months after the war began, the Alliance's situation had become critical. The only option left was an all-out assault on the heart of the Iconian Empire. Though the chances of success were minimal, if nothing was done immediately, the Alliance would certainly fall. To that end, the Alliance powers gathered a massive fleet in the Kyana system, and under the command of Tom Paris, attacked the Herald Sphere near Iconia. Unfortunately for the Alliance, the Herald forces were more prepared than they imagined.
As the fleet arrived in the Iconia system, distress calls began pouring from all over the system. When the Iconian flagship entered the battle through a gateway, Captain Paris' task force, Delta Flight, attempted to intercept it. After losing three ships, Captain Guroth of the IKS Kortar sent his ship on a collision course with the Iconian flagship. The impact gave the task force another chance to strike, forcing the dreadnought to retreat back through the gateway into the Herald Sphere, followed by the USS Mercury and a small Alliance battlgroup. Once there, away teams boarded the flagship to neutralize the ship's power junctions. During the operation, M'Tara was revealed to be onboard and attacked the Alliance teams. After discovering that the junctions "fed" the Iconian with energy, the group began to deactivate them one by one. In the end, M'Tara was forced to use her own essence to fight the Alliance forces. With her final breath, she summoned L'Miren and T'Ket, asking for revenge moments before she died.
After seeing that her sister was killed, L'Miren threw in her support of T'Ket in her plan to exterminate the Iconians' enemies instead of conquering them, prompting the Alliance team to beat a hasty retreat. When the surviving ships exited the Herald Sphere, they found the area littered with thousands of destroyed ships. After returning to the Kyana system, Captain Kagran, CO of the Allied forces, insisted that the Krenim temporal weapon needed to be used immediately. However, Captain Nog stated that if they used the weapon without completely understanding its power, it would result in irreversible damage to the timeline. Now, without sufficient ships, the Alliance's last hope was that the death of the Iconians' leader would weaken them, and that the Krenim temporal weapon ship could be finished as soon as possible, thus turning the tide of the war. (STO mission: "Broken Circle")
With desperation mounting, final simulation testing was done to create a temporal incursion in order to stop the war or slow it down considerably. The first choice was to pluck out certain stars. What they found out was that, by doing so, it would cause the Klingon Empire to tear itself apart in civil war, the Romulans more than happy to push it further and leaving the Federation weakened so that the Dominion could conquer the Alpha and Beta Quadrants. The next choice was to set it so that the USS Voyager would be prevented from discovering the Vaadwaur, which would deprive the Iconians of a key ally. Instead, the Iconians would choose the Hierarchy leading to the dissolution of the Delta Alliance. The final choice would be to prevent the USS Yamato from discovering Iconia. While it would lead to Romulus being restored, complete with the Romulan Star Empire in control, D'Tan's movement was also in full swing as well and they felt that the Borg nipping at their heels was a small price to pay. At Commander Tiaru Jarok's suggestion, they would use that last option.
However, when it was performed, to everyone's horror, Romulus was reborn, but as an assimilated world in the hands of the Borg. Worse, the Borg had cloaking technology thanks to assimilating the Romulans. Beaming down to the planet, the members of the Delta Alliance participating in the incursion discovered that the Borg had assimilated a race known as the Tuterians, granting them superior tech. After dealing with Hakeev, who became Secundus of Borg, the decision was made to strike at a Borg transwarp gate to try to restore the timeline. However, damage caused by the Borg weakened the ship's temporal shielding, erasing everyone's memory of the previous timelines, as well as the continued existence of the Tuterians. Data left inside a temporally shielded computer, however, still had data from those timelines. (STO mission: "Butterfly")
Battle of Sol
Desperation mounted greatly within the Alliance as the Iconian forces were heading for their final target: the Sol system. One last plan was set into motion: modify the Krenim temporal weapon ship to allow it to create a time portal which would allow the Alliance to eradicate the Iconians during the bombardment of their homeworld 200,000 years ago. Despite the reservations of several Alliance captains, especially Captain Va'Kel Shon of the USS Enterprise-F, the plan was put into motion as Earth Spacedock was brought under attack.
As losing Earth would mean the fall of the Federation and consequently the Alliance, forces from three quadrants were united for their final stand for freedom. Herald ships engaged the Alliance in orbit of Mars, Jupiter Station and Earth. As the fight was growing desperate, Sela returned from her quest with a fleet of Dominion ships, stating that the Dominion knew of the Iconian threat and were more than eager to protect what they wanted. With the backup ready, the Krenim ship created the portal, and three ships managed to cross it before it collapsed, Kagran's ship, a Dominion Dreadnought carrying Sela and another Alliance starship.
Kagran arrived first, and two weeks later Sela and the other allied ship appeared over Iconia, two hours before the orbital bombardment. Reuniting with Kagran, they observed the ancient Iconians, only to find them to not be what they expected. The Iconias were actually a peaceful race, even having their own version of the Prime Directive to protect lesser species from technology that was too advanced for them. They also collected the knowledge of everything their people were in a device called the World Heart, which they considered their most precious possession. Resenting the Iconians' policy of restricting access to their technology, the "lesser" races who desired it, as the Iccobar and the Dinasians, launched a massive joint fleet to invade the planet.
Realizing that the description of the Iconians being an aggressive, warlike species was actually a myth, and they had done nothing to deserve annihilation, the allied group decided to aid the past versions of M'Tara, L'Miren and T'Ket and other eleven Iconians in trying to escape, certain that they were doing the right thing. However, as the Iconians attempted to escape to Dewa III through one of their portals, Sela, vowing to complete the original mission, opened fire, killing two of the Iconians and crippling L'Miren. Taking the World Heart from L'Miren, Sela prepared to kill them all for what happened to Romulus before Kagran stopped her. As T'Ket left, she vowed to destroy Sela's people for her treachery. Shaken by this, Sela came to realize that the real cause for the Hobus supernova and the destruction of Romulus was her fault.
Having the World Heart, the trio returned to the present and one of the allied captains hailed L'Miren's flagship, calling for a cease fire and presenting the World Heart. Brought to the flagship, L'Miren realized that the captain was indeed one of the Others, the ones who saved the Iconians in their darkest hour. Realizing that their people's enemies could have defeated them but instead shown compassion and helped them, L'Miren and the other Iconians stood down, though T'Ket refused, vowing to keep fighting even if she had to do so alone. With the World Heart in her possession, L'Miren agreed to stop the fighting on the condition that the Alliance was to avoid Iconia and that, perhaps in another millennium or two, the Iconians would be cleansed from those vengeful feelings which had blinded her people for so long. The Iconians then returned to Iconia to begin the process of rebuilding their once mighty civilization, ending one of the most devastating conflicts in all of galactic history. (STO mission: "Midnight")