First Contact with the Tholians was made by the NX Enterprise as it carried out an unexpected recovery mission of a human vessel thought to be from the future. During the salvage operation, a Tholian scout appeared, and was able to easily out-maneuver the Enterprise. Archer, captain of the Enterprise, was warned unconditionally by the Tholians to surrender the futuristic vessel. However, he successfully dissuaded them from attacking and was later able to hold-off a Tholian ambush by intervention from the Vulcans and a fleet of marauding Suliban who were also interested in the strange ship. The futuristic vessel disappeared before capture following activation of a "temporal beacon" that caused the ship to be, reportedly returned to the future.
Just a century later, the U.S.S. Enterprise, commanded by Captain Kirk, while investigating a distress call issued by the U.S.S. Defiant, was confronted by a Tholian scout. Following a brief misunderstanding a second Tholian scout appeared, only to begin with the first to weave a complicated energy web. The U.S.S. Enterprise barely escaped intact.
In the early twenty fourth century, the Tholians broadcasted a message to all of the Alpha Quadrant explaining that they were leaving this dimension entirely. They left behind their planets and bases. Recently, however, they have returned, six decades having passed. Entrenching themselves again in the quadrant, they watch silently, patiently, their current plans unknown.
The Tholian Assembly is an empire upon the fringes of the Federation border, whose spatial location is very near to the Gorn Confederation (hired as mercaneries) and the Klingon Empire. They are ruthless expansionists, enslavers of worlds, xenophobes, and punctual defenders of their territory; a species both alien and beautiful to behold. A silicoid lifeform born from a hot, gaseous planet (in excess of 450 Kelvin) with a very high gravity level, the Tholians are estimated to be perhaps one of the oldest races within the galaxy. Highly spiritual and religious in nature, their government can best be compared to terran hegemony, with raiding parties frequently annexing star-systems outside their core territory. Their "leader" is the Hegemon, who represents both the political and spiritual essence of the Tholian community.
It is important to note that every Tholian is born with a specialized and predetermined function, though in respect and status all Tholians are held equal. Furthermore, there is no specifically recognizable gender within the Tholian race (a few believe them to be hermaphroditic), making reproduction a mystery. The Tholians function in a rudimentary collective (assembly), yet, unlike the analogous Borg who share a similar "hive voice," the Tholians do not lose their individuality in the choir. Instead, a Tholian contributes their own thoughts to the greater whole of the decision making process. Tholians can emit high-frequency harmonics via their crystalline exoskeleton, and prefer to use this medium (which can span long distances of space) when communicating with one another. However, Tholians are capable of a form of "verbal" communication through a thin, nearly invisible membrane within their crystalline "face." Normally, this speech sounds harsh: a series of high-pitched, translatable screeches, often painful to humanoid's ears.
The Tholian Assembly is not known for adhering easily to diplomatic practices and often is considered difficult to negotiate with. They are a blunt and straight-forward species that consider all others inferior. Amoral, they are concerned little with the atrocities of the universe or the injustices they themselves might cause. They are only driven to pursue their own interests and preserve their ancient survival. It is not uncommon for them to annex neighboring star-systems, keeping their borders in flux.
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