- You may be looking for the Preservers.
The beings known as the ancient humanoids were presumably the first humanoid species to evolve in the Milky Way galaxy, some four and a half billion years before the common era. Their true name lost since time immemorial, they have also come to be known as the Ancient Progenitors, and the Galenites, a name derived from the man whose work led to their discovery, Dr. Richard Galen. (TNG: "The Chase", Star Trek: Dark Horizon, Star Trek: Pendragon)
During the height of their existence, they explored the galaxy, but found no lifeforms like themselves. Realizing that their species would one day cease to be, they seeded many primordial planets with the building blocks of life, encoding the DNA so that it would evolve into forms similar to their own. Earth was one such planet. Other species to arise from this seeding program include the Cardassians, Klingon and Vulcans. Encoded within certain DNA fragments were parts of a holographic message, meant for the ancient humanoids' progeny:
- "You're wondering who we are; why we have done this; how it has come that I stand before you - the image of a being from so long ago. Life evolved on my planet before all others in this part of the galaxy. We left our world, explored the stars and found none like ourselves. Our civilization thrived for ages, but what is the life of one race, compared to the vast stretches of cosmic time?
- We knew that one day we would be gone, and nothing of us would survive - so we left you. Our scientists seeded the primordial oceans of many worlds, where life was in its infancy. This body you see before you, which is of course shaped as yours is shaped, for you are the end result. The seed code also contains this message, which was scattered in fragments on many different worlds.
- It was our hope that you would have to come together in fellowship and companionship to hear this message, and if you can see and hear me, our hope has been fulfilled. You are a monument, not to our greatness, but to our existence. That was our wish - that you too would know life and would keep alive our memory. There is something of us in each of you, and so, something of you in each other. Remember us."
Though Dr. Galen died before he could complete his work, the message was discovered by Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of the USS Enterprise, along with representatives of the Klingon, Cardassian and Romulan races. (TNG: "The Chase")
- Episode writer Ronald D. Moore has stated that it is possible, though not explicit, that these ancient humanoids are the Preservers first mentioned in TOS: "The Paradise Syndrome". Many fan fiction authors have picked up on this speculation, as did professional Trek novelists Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens in their books Federation and Preserver. Star Trek Online' also established them as the same species.
In the Banshee Squadron continuity, the Ancient Progenitors are simply called the Ancients. They have no relation to the Preservers, who are a much more recently-evolved species. After the Ancients explored and seeded the Milky Way galaxy, they went on to explore the universe gaining knowledge and power. The Ancients continued to evolve, eventually splitting into two divergent races, one corporeal but highly developed mentally, and the other completely non-corporeal.
It is possible that many of the wormhole phenomena and gateway type artifacts throughout the universe are of Ancient origin, or at least built on pre-existing Ancient dimensional infrastructure. The Guardian of Forever may possibly be an Ancient device. It is known that the Ancients used stabilized Omega molecules to power their civilization.
- See: Guardians