Legend has it the Iconians were conquerors, who were never seen and long extinct by the 24th Century. However their dark reputations were most likely a myth and with time running out, history would never remember them as peaceful explorers.... Something dreadful happened to the Iconian home world. Stationed in the Neutral Zone, the Iconian Portal is the last vestige of a mysterious and powerful civilization which vanished over 200,000 years ago. So what happened on Iconia?
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Iconia's Portal technology is by far the most advanced transporter ever discovered by Captain Picard and Commander Data of the USS Enterprise NCC 1701-D. However it was Jean Luc's curious friend, Donald Varley of the ill fated USS Yamato NCC-71807 who was the first Federation captain to locate Iconia in 2365. Yamato's captain risked his entire crew on a hunch which eventually blew them all to bits. He violated the Neutral Zone in-order to solve a fantastic rumor which was later checked out and verified by Picard's away team.
Contagion is an epic episode loaded with vengeful computer viruses, distress calls, cryptic alien technology, self destructions, emergency shutdowns, serious malfunctions affecting both Galaxy class starships and the Romulan warbird. Even warlike computer programmes launched from Iconia's orbit in space probes are determined to finish off their perceived enemies. Brent Spiner is fascinating to watch as Data gets snared by a real nasty computer program and suffers a meltdown!
Picard has to act fast or the Enterprise will explode into a fireball just like the Yamato. Worf, Data and Picard beam down to the source of the alien probe amidst the remains of the ruined Iconian city.
The Portal's hardware operates in stark contrast to starfleet transporters which separate life form energy patterns to the subatomic level. The subject is then transmitted by "beaming" to their new co-ordinates and re-energized into flesh and bone. The normal operating range of Starship transporters is limited within 15,000 to 40,000km but with starship deflector shields engaged you can forget about beaming up or down. Accidental deaths do occur occasionally resulting in deformed bodies etc as Commander Sonak (TMP) had the misfortune to experience. However despite this, the Federations 150 year old technology is still perfectly reliable.
However, Iconia's Portal is far superior and dangerous. Based on starfleet records there are no reports to prove that Iconia's transporter dematerializes, transmits and reassembles lifeforms. Instead the portal opens several doorways like a precise wormhole, leading to new destinations in the Galaxy, capable of transporting Iconians over 60,000 light years to planet Vandros IV in the Gamma Quadrant. That means survivors! right?
It a great legend but were Iconians demons? Their past is shrouded in mystery with their demonized home world at the center of much interstellar conflict. Their transporter technology merely enhanced Iconian Legend as "demons of air and darkness" enabling the Iconians to instantly traverse vast distances across the Galaxy without employing starships or warpdrives. In Star Trek's TNG episode "Contagion" there is evidence to suggest that Iconia was attacked during orbital bombardment by alien aggressors, who feared Iconian power. The planets inhabitants had little option but to flee to safety or die in vain as their skies slaughtered them.
Picard discovers the Iconian Control Center equipped with a blue sphere which crackles with energy once activated. A circular table stands in the middle of the room directly beneath the sphere with several control panels in ancient Iconian script. Data is able to translate the Iconian symbols by running a comparison with Dewan, Iccobar and Dinasian languages. This gave him a flawed working common root language sufficient to operate the Iconian control panels. Data makes a mistake! He used manual override to activate the Portal! A sphere emits a striking blue beam of lightening which arcs across the room activating the Portal and its gateway with real view images to other dimensions somewhere else in the Galaxy.
Once the "journey" portal is activated the blue energy beam disengages, although the sphere continues to pulsate with power located beneath the planet's surface. The doorway displays several locations in a regular sequence which gave Lieutenant Worf and an injured Data the chance to return to the safety of the USS Enterprise NCC 1701-D bridge.
Picard deduces that this is how the Iconians survived the bombardment of their world. Its the end of a legend as Picard sets the control center to self destruct preventing the alien technology from falling into enemy hands....or so he thought. With seconds to go before the explosion, the captain steps through the Portal and steps aboard the bridge of the infected, self destructing Romulan Warbird! Our heroic captain is saved by O'Brien who beams him back to the Federations 24th Century flagship.
Live Long and Prosper, Trekkers and Trekkies.
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