The Solanagen-based entities were a species of Solanagen-based lifeforms who could only live in subspace. The true name of this species has not been determined and they were given the designation Solanae by Starfleet Xenobiology. (TTN novel: Sight Unseen).
Biology and appearance
Their language consisted of a series of rapid clicks. (TNG episode: "Schisms") It was also beyond the capabilities of the universal translator with computers being unable to find any baseline for use in translation. (TNG comic: "The Unconquered")
Speculation held that the aliens had a portion of their society that desired something from normal space they could not acquire in their home galaxy. It was believed that they conducted acts of mutilation on other species to expand their knowledge base. It was theorized that the solanagen-based aliens were divided into two factions, one wanting to leave the normal universe alone and the other seeking to experiment on other sentient species. (TNG comic: "The Unconquered")
The majority of Solanae, or at least their central leadership, viewed other lifeforms as utterly inferior and dealt with other cultures with an attitude of disdain and general disgust. They viewed other beings, particularly the carbon based lifeforms native to the Alpha Quadrant as little more than animals. The Solanae believed that other lifeforms existed for them to use as they see fit and had no qualms about attempting acts of genocide in order to achieve their goals. (TTN novel: Sight Unseen)
Rebel entities were shown to uphold a strong sense of justice and opposed the actions of their more cruel kin. (TNG comic: "The Unconquered") In 2386 the crew of the USS Titan encountered members of a dissident movement within the Solanae. The dissidents identified themselves as the Ciari and they sought peaceful interactions with other cultures. Some of these dissidents had participated in the brutal experiments conducted on crew members from the USS Enterprise-D in 2369 and deeply regretted their actions. (TTN novel: Sight Unseen)
In 2369 the lifeforms attempted to create a pocket of their space inside usual space and began to abduct members of the crew of the USS Enterprise-D to perform medical experiments on them. They were trying to learn how to remodulate their cellular energy states in order to survive outside of their tertiary subspace manifold. Abductees included Data, Kaminer, Geordi La Forge, Worf, Sariel Rager, William T. Riker and Edward Hagler, the latter of which died when the entities replaced his blood with a liquid polymer. The Enterprise crew were able to close the spatial rupture the entities used to pull victims into subspace when Riker took a homing-device with him during an abduction. The device allowed the crew to target the tetryon particles being used to form the rupture and close it. (TNG episode: "Schisms") During the defeat of the entities, a burst of energy emerged from their gateway. It was believed some probe had entered into the normal universe, an indication the aliens had further plans for normal space. In the aftermath of the incident, Starfleet vessels were warned not to enhance their sensors in order to avoid the attention of these entities. (TNG comic: "Gateway")
Despite the precautions over sensor enhancements, the aliens returned into normal space once more in 2371 when a dimensional gateway was opened by an abandoned space station. This allowed the solanagen-based entities to bring a starship into real-space that began searching for the probe that emerged into normal space during their previous encursion. The incident attracted the attention of the USS Enterprise that was accompanied by the USS Hornet. The Starfleet vessels arrived at the Ormethean system to stop the alien ship from aquiring the probe. A second alien ship appeared during the confrontation and took the probe. This vessel retreated into the dimensional gateway at the abandoned space station. The aliens forced the USS Hornet into the gateway. (TNG comics: "Gateway", "The Unconquered")
This led to the crew of the Enterprise to determine that the remaining solanagen-based alien vessel belonged to the peaceful faction. While the more aggressive members of their kind boarded the Hornet, the Enterprise crew managed to open the dimensional gateway with the peaceful aliens in order to rescue the stranded crew in the subspace realm. After defeating the aggressive aliens, their peaceful entities expressed their gratitude to the Starfleet crew. The crew managed to escape the subspace dimension with the Hornet and destroyed the gateway to the entities home realm. While there were fears of future incursions, Captain Picard held onto the hope that the peaceful lifeforms could perhaps police their own kind. Despite this he knew the solanagen-based lifeforms would remain as a potential threat to the Federation. (TNG comic: "The Unconquered")
The harrowing experience of the experimentations' lay within Riker's mind for years to come and was one of the things he remembered during flashbacks caused by the Orb of Memory in 2376. (DS9 - Avatar novel: Avatar, Book One)
Encounter with the USS Titan
In 2386, the solanagen-based lifeforms (now given the designation "Solanae" by Starfleet Xenobiology) were again encountered in an area of space colloquially known as the Alpha quadrant frontier zone. The Federation starship USS Whitetree was assigned to the region and were engaging in a cultural and technological exchange with a race called the Dinac. Dinac exploration vessels had a unique type of warp engine that attracted the attention of the Solanae. Whilst the Whitetree was assisting the crew of a Dinac exploration pinnace with repairs, the Solanae opened a subspace rift and pulled the Starfleet vessel into their realm. At some point the Solanae boarded the Dinac ship and abducted the crew. The USS Titan, also on assignment to the frontier zone was ordered to locate the Whitetree, which was 31 hours overdue for their check-in with Starfleet. On arriving at the last known location of the Whitetree, the crew of the Titan discovered the wreck of the pinnace but no sign of the Starfleet vessel. The Dinac requested that Titan return the ship to their homeworld of Casroc in order to observe the proper funeral rites of their people. Whilst en route Titan was pulled out of warp by a subspace rift. The Ship was almost pulled into the Solanae realm, but managed to escape. Afterwards, the Solanae began to abduct members of the crew.
When members of the crew began reporting sleep disturbances to Counselor Troi, it was quickly determined by the Senior staff that Solanae had returned and were most likely responsible for the disappearance of the Whitetree and the fate of the Dinac crew. Whilst preparations were made to prevent further incursions by the Solanae, an engineering team lead by Torvig was investigating portions of the Dinac wreck that had been beamed aboard Titan. During the investigation, Ensign Kekil, discovered strange orbs that were not made of materials used by the Dinac. Kekil inadvertantly activated the orbs which sprouted organic parts akin to an Earth cephalopod. After attacking the Engineering team and killing Ensign Kekil, the Orb-Drones escaped and began to infiltrate other areas of the Ship. The Orb-Drones objectives was to build a subspace interplexing beacon using equipment from various sections of Titan. After a lengthy battle, the Orb-Drones were all deactivated.
After the neutralization of the Orb-Drones, Captain Christine Vale determined that the crew's priority was in locating the missing crews of the Whitetree and Dinac. With the assistance of SecondGen White-Blue the Titan was able to use the cellular energy state of the Orb-Drones to locate Solanagen based life signs on a cometary mass 2.7 light-years from their current location. After a brief battle with the Solanae outpost in which Titan's weapons proved ineffective, an away team led by Lieutenant Commander Ranul Keru boarded the outpost with the intention of deactivating the Solanae weapons systems and determine the size and strength of the enemy forces. It was at this time that the away team encountered Solanae civilians consisting of both Adult and Juvenile Solanae. After being advised of the situation by Commander Keru, Admiral William T. Riker ordered an immediate cessation of hostilities. At the same time subspace ruptures opened within Titan on all decks, leading to the abductions of Counselor Troi, Titan's new first officer Commander Dalit Sarai and T'Pel along with thirty-four others, nine of which were children.
Admiral Riker and Captain Vale went to the outpost in order to demand the return of the missing from the Solanae and seek a diplomatic resolution to the conflict. It was then discovered that the Solanae on the outpost considered themselves exiles from their people and that they had nothing to do with the disappearance of the Whitetree or the recent abductions from Titan. The Solanae on the outpost, who identified themselves as Ciari, sought to distance themselves from the actions of their brethren. The Ciari explained that the experiments of 2369 were conducted to determine whether the dimension containing the Milky Way Galaxy was capable of supporting the Solanae species. The home dimension of the Solanae was in a state of entropic decay and within three-hundred years would face critical collapse, as such the Solanae were searching for a new home. In addition to determining whether they could survive in another dimension, the Solanae sought understanding of the various native species biologies in order to create biogenic weapons. Their aim was to be able to depopulate entire worlds to support the mass colonization of the Alpha Quadrant and most likely the entire galaxy. The Ciari opposed the proposed mass genocide and became fugitives. The Ciari had developed a way to survive outside of their realm and fled to the Alpha Quadrant. The Solanae became determined to find them and take the knowledge of the Ciari to assist in their invasion plans.
Meanwhile, the abductees from Titan found themselves in a Solanae facility along with the crew of the Whitetree and the Dinac. After attempts by Commander Troi to seek a diplomatic resolution with the Solanae failed, Lieutenant Ythiss of the Whitetree, formerly of the Titan, devised a way to escape confinement. Commanders Sarai and Troi along with Lieutenant Ythiss and two crew members of Whitetree went to explore the facility. After discovering a monitoring center, the team observed the Whitetree via holoscreen and saw the alterations that the Solanae had made the to the ship. Commander Sarai determined that the alterations to the hull and warp core where to facilitate the opening of a subspace rift. The team were then discovered by Solanae guards and in the ensuing conflict one of the Whitetree crew was killed and the others returned to confinement.
After reaching a fragile peace, the Ciari assisted the crew of Titan by providing the dimensional spectra of their subspace domain. With this information Melora Pazlar and White-Blue were able to develop a computation to create a wormhole to the Solanae realm. After transferring all non-essential personnel to the Ciari refuge, Titan with the guidance of White-Blue entered the domain of the Solanae. Upon arrival, Titan was quickly engaged by Solanae forces. Unable to use conventional weapons in the subspace realm, Titan disabled the Solanae attack ships by using the transporters to keep the vessels and their crews trapped in transporter suspension. The crew then discovered a Solanae base, located on a series of asteroids. A scan of the base by White-Blue, located the hulk of the Whitetree. Commander Pazlar reported that the Whitetree's warp core was exposed and running hot, but could not determine why. It was determined by Captain Vale and Admiral Riker that two away teams should be sent to the base. One would seek to shut down the Whitetree's warp core to prevent the risk of a breach and subspace space fissure. The other team would attempt to locate and rescue the abductees. Using shuttles, Team One lead by Commander Keru, beamed to the outpost, while Team Two lead by Lieutenant Zurin Dakal beamed to the Whitetree's bridge and made their way to engineering.
Team One located the abductees, but there were too many to take back to Titan via shuttle. Titan was unable to use it's transporters due to holding the Solanae in transporter suspension. Commander Tuvok suggested dispersing the transporter patterns of the captured Solanae ships but Captain Vale was unwilling to do this. After the suggestion by Lieutenant Commander Sariel Rager, Titan rammed the Solanae outpost so the abductees could gain access to a docking port and board the ship directly. After a running battle with Solanae forces, Commander Keru and his team successfully got the abductees back to the safety of Titan.
Team Two made their way to the Whitetree's engineering department. The team covertly observed that in addition to the warp core being turned into a subspace rift generator, the Solanae were also preparing to launch biogenic weapons. After a brief battle with Orb-Drones Lieutenant Dakal assessed the Solanae modifications to the ship's warp core and quickly determined that due to the complexity of the alterations there was no way to safely deactivate the device. Dakal advised that the only way to stop the device was to remove the dilithium crystal matrix, which would result in a warp core breach. Lieutenant Dakal was the only member of his team with the training to do this. Understanding the threat that the subspace rift generator posed his crew and ultimately the Milky Way Galaxy, Lieutenant Dakal ordered the rest of Team two to get to the Whitetree's escape pods. The team launched the escape pods and were rescued by the Horne piloted by Ensign Olivia Bolaji. Once Team two were clear of the Whitetree Lieutenant Dakal decoupled the matrix initiating a warp core breach and was killed in the resultant explosion.
With the Solanae base heavily damaged by the antimatter explosion, the crew of the Titan began their escape from the Solanae realm. Before departing, Admiral Riker decided to make one last attempt at diplomacy restoring two of the eighteen patterns trapped in transporter suspension. After the Solanae demanded to know why they had not been killed, Commander Troi informed the Solanae that the crew of Titan were aware of the impending collapse of the subspace realm. Troi went on to say that they understood why the Solanae had attacked. Admiral Riker then offered to provide the Solanae with assistance in finding a new home and the opportunity for a truce. The Solanae responded dismissively and mocked what they viewed as weakness. The Solanae threatened to take what they needed from the Ciari by force once they located them. The Solanae declared that they had no fear of the Alpha Quadrant species, who were beneath them and that they would not participate in any type of peace. The Solanae continued, saying that they were preying on the species of the Alpha Quadrant because they could and that they would take what they wanted whenever they wanted and that the Federation would never see them coming. In disgust, Admiral Riker ordered the two Solanae and the remaining sixteen in transporter suspension beamed to one of the two in bound Solanae ships. Commander Tuvok also beamed two torpedoes into the engine nozzles of the ships. The ships were disabled and Titan was able to escape the Solanae realm without further incident.
Upon return to the Alpha Quadrant, the Ciari and Dinac entered into an alliance. Whilst some Ciari were suspicious of maintaining contact with other cultures, they changed there minds upon hearing of Lieutenant Dakal's sacrifice. It was Admiral Riker's hope that due to this conflict, the Federation would be ready for the Solanae when they eventually came. (TTN novel: Sight Unseen)
In 2409, a group of Allied officers were stranded at Storage Facility Z98 where several of their number were captured by the species. They were studied by the Solanagen-based creatures who later fled when confronted by their comrades but not before deploying their robotic guardians against them. (STO mission: "Sphere of Influence")
This race had tetryon based technology that allowed them to form interdimensional gateways into realspace that they could manifest at any moment. The process allowed them to bombard realspace with tetryon particles that consumed matter in those areas and bringing quasi-molecular flux. This not only broke down matter but also created an environment for the aliens solanagen-based anatomy to function. Such tetryon clouds remained as anomalies in space until the aliens generated a tetryon disturbance that reformed the doorway back to their realm. (TNG comic: "Gateway")