The Iconian gateways were a technology invented by the ancient Iconian civilization which allowed instantaneous transportation between locations all over the galaxy. The ability to appear out of seemingly nowhere earned the Iconians the nickname "Demons of Air and Darkness".
The Gateways allowed instantaneous transport throughout space within the network of gateways extending throughout much of the Milky Way Galaxy and to at least one gateway just outside it. Some gateways could also be used to travel through time and to other dimensions. (DS9 short story: "Horn and Ivory"; NF novel: Cold Wars; CHA novel: Chainmail)
All that was required for an individual to travel through the gateway was by stepping through the doorway, whereupon they emerged on the other side in a matter of seconds. This effectively allowed individuals to travel throughout the galaxy without the use of starships. (TNG episode: "Contagion")
The doorway formed by the technology was variable in size depending upon the needs of the user of the controls, which allowed them to create small enough gateways that simply allowed transmissions to be sent to allowing individuals to travel from one point to another. (TNG novel: Brave New World)
There were numerous different types of gateways that were constructed by the Iconians which had taken on a number of sizes and shapes. These different series varied from being large and inelegant to being small and functional with there being a few models that were able to be held in the palm of one's hand. One such model was known as the Hezlat gateways which were in orbit around planets and were noted as being among the first and largest that were constructed. (DS9 short story: "Horn and Ivory")
Each gateway was attuned to one another and the entire network was capable of being shut down through the use of the Master Resonator which served as an emergency shut down tool. (TNG short story: "The Other Side")
The controls worked both verbally and manually with straightforward commands being needed to address the command system. When shut down, the entire system began configuring the relays with the networks closed down and relays disconnected. It was capable of being reactivated but a restart command was required to be entered into the computer. (TNG short story: "The Other Side")
Normally, when a gateway exhausted its power supply, it tapped into any energy source that was available. This meant that they were perfectly capable of tapping into an entire planet's resources and draining them dry. Those worlds that relied on geothermal or hydraulic power would have their ecosystems compromised as a result. In addition, the gateways were said to consume solar energy with some fears that entire stars could destabilize by the additional power demands of this ancient technology. (TNG novel: Doors Into Chaos)
What was unknown to many was that the Q Continuum were also responsible for providing the Iconians the means to develop the gateways due to the fact that they were fond of the race and wished to aid them. (VOY short story: "In the Queue")
During the development of the gateway network, the Iconians decided not to place any of the devices within ten light-years of the Bajoran wormhole. This was because they had a great deal of respect for the beings that dwelled within it and agreed not to interfere in the worlds that they watched. (DS9 short story: "Horn and Ivory")
- This indicates that the Prophets have other worlds similar to Bajor that they observe and watch over, a theme which would be revisited in the DS9 relaunch novels, most notably Rising Son.
However, their use of this technology led to suspicion and hatred being directed at the Iconains with a number of races bombarding their homeworld of Iconia in fear of the gateway technology. The gateways were used to transport Iconian survivors to a number of worlds which included DiWahn, Ikkabar and Dinasia. One of the last of the race, Kanda Jiak, attempted to follow his compatriots during the desertion of Iconia but the Gem instead used the Gateway to transport him to Vulcan, where he died. (TNG novel: The Devil's Heart)
It was later believed that one of the things that doomed the Iconian Empire was that their gateway technology meant that they could no longer travel as they had lost sight of the journey in their desire to reach their destination. (DS9 short story: "Horn and Ivory")
Despite their supposed destruction, the Iconians had actually survived but remained removed from the known galaxy in order to focus on other matters in peace. They created a group called the Sentries which were charged with watching over the activity of the gateway network. (TNG short story: "The Other Side")
Something that was not known to many was that the Klingon moon of Praxis once held a Gateway on its surface. Hidden deep within the moon, it remained undetected by the Klingon Empire which meant that it was destroyed in 2293 as a result of Praxis's destruction leaving remnants of it on the remains of the Qo'noS moon. (TNG novel: Doors Into Chaos)
In the year 2365, Starfleet Captain Donald Varley of the Federation starship USS Yamato discovered clues as to the location of the lost Iconian homeworld. After the destruction of the Yamato, the search was taken up by Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise-D, who discovered the homeworld located deep within the Romulan Neutral Zone and discovered a functioning gateway on the planet's surface. Unfortunately, Picard was forced to destroy the gateway in order to keep the technology out of the Romulan Star Empire hands. (TNG episode: "Contagion")
Two years later in 2368, the Romulans discovered another gateway in a desert on Rete Mire. However, the gateway was locked in a "rift" on a planet where there were hostile lifeforms. The officer in charge, Commander Tomalak, seeing a forthcoming danger to the empire, decided to kidnap the USS Enterprise-D's second officer, Lieutenant Commander Data to help them close the gateway. Tomalak's and Picard's crew were then able to close it before more of the lifeforms came through. (TNG - Intelligence Gathering comic: "Disgrace")
The Dominion discovered a gateway on Vandros IV in 2372. A group of Jem'Hadar rebelled against their Vorta leaders and seized the gateway for themselves, hoping to take control of the Dominion. They were stopped by Captain Benjamin Sisko and Weyoun's crews, who mounted a joint assault to destroy the gateway. (DS9 episode: "To the Death")
In the year 2376, the Petraw once again tampered with the gateways and activated a number of them across the galaxy as part of a display to other races. Masquerading as the ancient Iconians, they claimed that they were going to sell the technology to the highest bidder, which led to the Gateways Crisis where ships from different parts of the galaxy crossed into one another leading to a number of disasters. The Orion Syndicate was one of the factions that sought to acquire the technology whilst the Europa Nova colony faced near destruction when Theta radiation from a Malon freighter was accidentally spilt into a gateway which opened near the Human colony. During the events of the Gateways Crisis, the Klingon government detected the activation of the Gateway network and learned that Praxis once held a Gateway, with remnants of the device left behind after the moon's destruction. (DS9 novel: Demons of Air and Darkness, TNG novel: Doors Into Chaos)
During this event, Kira Nerys was accidentally transported into Bajor's distant past until she was returned to her timeline by a custodian who used a hazlet gateway to take her back to her time period. The crisis was only brought to an end when Captain Picard met the Sentries; Watchers of the Gateways and the true Iconians. After this encounter, he was informed to find the Master Resonator which was capable of being used to shut down the gateway network which ended the threat posed by it. (DS9 short story: "Horn and Ivory", TNG short story: "The Other Side")
In 2409, a Romulan Republic spy masquerading as a Tal Shiar agent discovered the renegade Taris in the Hobus system. At the planet, an Iconian gateway was discovered where Taris fled into the device from her pursuers. (STO mission: "Revelation")
At some point, a gateway was established within Fluidic Space and was used to provoke hostilities against the Undine thus leading to the species invading the Milky Way galaxy. (STO mission: "A Light in the Dark")
On the planet later designated as New Romulus, the Romulan Republic discovered the existence of an ancient gateway deep underground that was partly responsible for the destruction of the civilization that once inhabited the world. (STO mission: "Secrets of the Ancients")
A delegation from the Klingon Empire and United Federation of Planets arrived on New Romulus in order to witness the test activation of the gateway. Romulan Republic scientists had managed to improve upon the geo-thermal power generation system for the device in order to open the gateway. However, the Federation delegation believed that the machine should be destroyed after previous experience in the technology. Despite this view, the Republic intended to continue the operation of the gateway and saw it as being no different than the wormhole at Bajor. Instead, it was agreed to put spatial charges on the gateway in case it needed to be destroyed. When the gateway was activated, the device caused a destabilization that nearly killed all the delegates in the underground facility. This saw Ambassador Worf and the delegates fleeing into the gateway where they emerged at Storage Facility Z98. Whilst there, the expedition encountered the machinations of the Iconians and their Solonae servitors. Ultimately, they managed to reactivate the gateway system and emerged on Obelisk 1 back in known space from a starship sized gateway in the Jouret system where they defeated Elachi attackers. (STO mission: "Sphere of Influence")
Through the Jouret gateway, the Klingon Empire, Romulan Republic and United Federation of Planets created a joint venture to travel to the Solonae Dyson Sphere. This saw the establishment of Dyson Joint Command where the Allied forces entered into the dyson sphere that bordered the Delta Quadrant. However, attempts at securing the massive construct were obstructed by the presence of the Voth. (ST video game: Star Trek Online)
In 2410, the Iconians invaded New Romulus, attacking the Iconian gateway in their search for the Preservers. The gateway was used one last time to get to Lae'nas III before it was rendered inoperable. (STO mission: "Blood of the Ancients")
Brave New World
In one timeline where Doctor Noonien Soong's vision of widespread development of androids came true, Commander Data led a group of Soong-type androids away from the Federation after gaining near equal sentient rights in order to explore the limits of artificial life. Their traveling led them to the Romulan Neutral Zone where they settled on the planet Turing which they discovered to contain an Iconian gateway. After examining the technology for many years, the androids developed a culture on the planet and were able to use the gateways for their benefit but not recreate it.
Through the gateway, they deployed android infiltrators in other interstellar governments in order to quicken the acceptance of android life. They later contacted the USS Enterprise-D under the command of his former Captain, Jean-Luc Picard in order to ask for his aid to stop a war which Data believed would come from the Romulans when they discovered the colony on Turing. Whilst on the android homeworld, Wesley Crusher unlocked the secrets of gateway technology allowing for the machines to be developed. In order to prevent a war, Picard and Data offered the widespread development of gateway technology by the major races in the hopes that this would promote peace and that any government that used it as an offensive weapon would face the possibility of a gateway attack on them.
This prompted peace in the quadrants and by wide scale development of the technology by creating gateway hubs, the Federation was able to expand into the distant Gamma Quadrant where they encountered the Dominion. It was believed that eventually the Iconian gateway technology would mean that widescale exploration of the galaxy would happen in a short matter of time which meant that new horizons were expected such as journey to other galaxies. (Myriad Universes novel: Brave New World)
In the mirror universe, the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance destroyed the Iconian homeworld rather than allow the gateway technology to fall into the hands of the Romulan Star Empire. Despite this being the case, by the 24th century, an Iconian portal was found by Intendant Kira Nerys.
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