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The Omega molecule Ω (also known as Particle 010) is a short-lived, highly unstable molecule, believed to be the most powerful substance in the known universe. Uncontrolled Omega detonations damage subspace in a way that prevents warp-speed travel.
An Omega molecule would be so energetic that even a few molecules would, in theory, be able to power a whole civilization. The molecule could be synthesized using boronite ore. A single Omega molecule was synthesized in the late 23rd century by Dr. Ketteract, a Federation scientist. The molecule remained stable for a fraction of a second before it exploded, killing 127 leading Federation scientists, destroying the research station and causing ruptures in subspace extending several light years, making warp travel impossible in the region.
Starfleet Command immediately realized that the use of even a few Omega molecules could effectively end spacefaring travel in an entire quadrant or even the entire galaxy. Starfleet not only banned research into Omega, but issued the Omega Directive, ordering the destruction of Omega molecules by any means necessary, and the suppression of any knowledge of the particle's existence beyond starship captains and flag officers.
Knowledge of Omega was not restricted to the Federation. The Borg learned of the substance through the assimilation of thirteen species, and were able to synthesize a single molecule of Omega. That molecule also exploded, destroying 29 Borg vessels with 600,000 drones lost. The Borg, who referred to Omega as Particle 010, regarded Omega with near-reverence as they believed it to exist in a flawless state. All Borg were ordered to assimilate it at any cost. From their data, the Borg designed a harmonic resonance chamber which could theoretically stabilize the molecule. (VOY: "The Omega Directive")
Starfleet encounters with OmegaEdit
The first recorded Starfleet encounter with Omega took place in 2267 when the starship Lexington under Commodore Robert Wesley was sent to investigate an unknown but clearly powerful energy signature in the Beta quadrant and near the Romulan Neutral Zone. Following discovery of the molecule, Doctor Bendes Ketteract named it Omega for its perceived power to destroy all life. The crew of the Lexington established that the molecule was used by the insectoid race, the Xenarth, who utilized the powerful particle to relocate their entire race from the Delta Quadrant.
Captain Amaya Donners and the crew of the Agamemnon encountered the Omega molecule in 2372 during their shakedown cruise, immediately triggering the Omega Directive which instructed Donners to seek out and destroy every trace of the molecule to ensure the safety of the quadrant. (The Star Eagle Adventures: "Agamemnon Voyages: The God Particle")
In 2374, the crew of the USS Argus (NCC-75124) encountered a power source that generated its power using Omega molecules in a Preserver Temple on the surface of Tyra III. Initially stable, the power source started to fluctuate when a science and engineering team from the ship attempted to shut it down and collapse the subspace field it was generating to keep the technology out of Dominion hands. These fluctuations allowed the Argus' to detect the presence of Omega particles for the first time and the ships systems initiated the Omega Directive. Captain Lex ordered the immediate extraction the Argus' remaining personnel from the surface and the ship warped away from the system as a new subspace field enveloped the temple and surrounding area. Shortly after the power source went critical, but the explosion was contained inside the subspace field, restricting the damage to subspace to small area within it. (Star Trek: The Adventures of Argus: "Trial By Fire")
Later the same year in the Delta Quadrant, another civilization was actually successful in synthesizing some 200 million Omega molecules. They were able to keep the molecules stable by using Omega's own resonance to calibrate their containment field, though eventually an accident devastated their research facility. The starship USS Voyager managed to neutralize the molecules before they could do any further damage to subspace. Seven of Nine adapted the Borg harmonic resonance chamber design to emit an inverse frequency which would dissolve Omega's interatomic bonds. The remaining Omega molecules were destroyed by a modified gravimetric torpedo. (VOY: "The Omega Directive")
In 2383, Maxine Vasser of Banshee Squadron discovered an ancient artifact that turned out to be an encapsulated Omega Molecule. The device was created by the Ancients billions of years ago, and was probably a type of "battery" to power Ancient technology. The artifact and the Omega Molecule were lost inside an artificial wormhole and possibly caused the birth of a baby alternate universe. (Star Trek: Banshee Squadron: "The Fires of Creation")
In the Andromeda galaxy, the Kelvin society was powered by the Omega molecule. Unknown to them, this was responsible for the gravimetric distortions that formed singularities which were ripping apart the Andromeda galaxy. (Star Trek: Odyssey: "The Lotus Eaters")
In 2384, Biket, a rogue Kelvan scientist, who was running experiments on an omega molecule, lost his ships' test-chamber to a fellow Kelvan rogue, Ramat. Ramat stole the chamber for use aboard his own ship so that he could have the omega molecule as a weapon against his own people. Unfortunately, Theseus, a visitor to the galaxy at the time, boarded his small ship and claimed the experimented molecule for himself and his own long-term, sinister plans. He employed the use of a nearby Andromedan android, Omega, to store and keep dormant the molecule within the android's abdomen. When the crew of the USS Phoenix-X discovered this, they realized Omega's possessed molecule was too high a risk to tamper with, and too high a risk to leave out of their sights. (Star Trek: Phoenix-X: "Forbidden Crossing, Part III")
The nearby Archein empire, realizing their galaxy would be uninhabitable within a century, in 2384 created a wormhole to the Beta quadrant of the Milky Way galaxy and began an invasion of Romulan space. The tetrahedrons found in the Briar Patch contained an Omega-derived residue that researchers in to hyperdimensional physics were able to convert to power a slipstream drive, used to travel to the Andromeda galaxy in a matter of weeks. This was used during that Archein invasion to conduct a surgical strike against their wormhole generator. Starfleet had just enough residue to complete the mission so when the the USS Odyssey (NCC-81302) was stranded in the Andromeda Galaxy there was no way to rescue them. (Star Trek: Odyssey: "Illiad")
In the same year, the USS Helena's crew attempted to harness the Omega molecule's power in hopes of stabilizing it and building a new slipstream drive. Corey Aster and Robin Lefler worked relentlessly on the experiment, and Lefler took a shuttlecraft to a safe distance to test it. Lefler lost control of the Omega molecule, destroying the shuttle and killing her. Once again the subspace distortion makes warp travel impossible in a large volume of space centred on the detonation. The now-fugitive Helena was pursued both by a Starfleet task force that had been infiltrated by Section 31 operators tasked with acquiring Omega technology for their own purposes. During the pursuit a ship impersonating the Helena detonated an Omega molecule near Risa, trapping a conference full of dignitaries in the resulting subspace damage. (Star Trek: The Helena Chronicles: "Letter of the Law", "Red Sky at Morn")