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On stardate 5781 Captain Kathryn Janeway of the U.S.S Voyager is alerted to the presence of an element about which only Starfleet captains and flag officers have been briefed. This highly secret, and hugely powerful, element is named after the last letter of the Greek alphabet: the Omega Molecule.

Omega is the most powerful substance known to the Federation; a single molecule contains the same energy as an entire warp core. Such is Omega´s nature, and potential catastrophe, Janeway´s standing orders state that should she ever encounter Omega, she is to isolate it, and then destroy it at any cost. This is known as the Omega Directive, and it overrides all other Federation commands, even the Prime Directive of non-interference with other races.

Starfleet vessels are programmed to drop out of warp immediately on detection of the Omega Molecule, which can be picked up at a distance on excess of one light year. Sensors are automatically disabled at all operational stations, and the omega symbol replaces all onscreen data, leaving the crew powerless to respond. Only command codes of Clearance Level 10 or above can clear the omega symbol, return normal functions to the ship, and access the secure data file Omega 1, containing all information relevant to the molecule.

As the ships computer is the first system to become aware of the existence of the molecules, it follows a preprogrammed protocol, reminding the captain that the Omega Directive is now in effect, and all other priorities are rescinded. Knowlegde of Omega is strictly governed; even log entries detailing any contact with the phenomenon must be encrypted.

Federation cosmologists originally theorized that the molecule once existed naturally for an infinitesmal period of time, at the exact moment of the ”big bang”, and that it was the primal source of energy for the creation of the universe. Later theories suggested that a small chain of Omega particles could even sustain a civilization, and it is for this reason that many races have attempted to synthesize the molecule from boronite ore, always with terrible results.

A century ago, a Starfleet scientist name Kiteract kept an artificially-created Omega particle stable for just a fraction of a second, at his classified research station in the Lantaru sector. His efforts to create an inexhaustible power supply met with disaster: 126 leading scientists died when the particle destabilized. Several subspace ruptures, extending out several light years, were created, preventing the development of a stable warp field in that sector. The disaster was blamed on natural phenomenon, but Starfleet Command knew the truth about Omega: one particle can destroy subspace in a localized area, meaning that only sublight speeds can be attained.

A chain reaction involving a handful of molecules could devastate subspace across an entire quadrant. Warp travel would become impossible, and the whole structure of spacefaring civilizations, built up over the centuries would cease to exist. As such, discovery of a race working on the particle within the Alpha Quadrant would lead to immediate contact with Starfleet Command, who would in turn dispatch a specialist team to deal with what the Federation believes to be a threat of the enite Galaxy.

The problem facing Captain Janeway is that she does not have the same facilities available to her, although, unknown to Janeway at first, her knowledge is shared by one other member of her crew, Seven of Nine knows all about the Omega Directive from the memories of numerous Starfleet captains who have over the years been assmilated by the Borg. Starfleet is not alone in attempting to harness the massively destructive energy within the destructive within the intricately structure molecule. In 2146, 229 years before the Voyager encounter, the Borg gained knowledge of the particle when they assimilated a race they designated Species 262.

The strong oral traditions of Species 262 told of ”powerful substance that could burn the sky”, a description which naturally intrigued the Borg collective. Following a trail of rumours, the Borg assimilated a further 12 species, until they finally absorbed one that had some scientific knowledge of Omega. What they learned fascinated them: here was a single particle, infinitely complex and yet beautifully harmonious, that was the closest thing to a representation of perfection that the Borg could ever imagine. There followed a series of attempts to synthesize the molecule, name 010 by the Borg. They were successful in creating one molecule, and keeping it stable for one trillionth of a nanosecond, but its structure finally broke down. The Federation would seek to destroy Omega because of its huge threat ot life, but the Borg instead attempted to harness its colossal power for their own means: this resulted in the destruction of 29 vessels, and 600 000 Borg drones.

Many approaches have been taken to protct personnel working with Omega and to contain its potentially catastrophic reactions. Multiphasic shielding is known to be effective in protecting areas around a test site, as is the use of duritanium impregnated doors; extreme thermal stresses, of up to 12000 degrees Kelvin, also have to be considered. with the huge amounts of radiation present, any rescuers arriving at such a site have to be inoculated with 20 milligrams of orithrazine before going into the vicinity of Omega damage.

Starfleet have designed, within a standard photon torpedo, a specially configured gravimetric charge with a huge payload of around 80 isotons, in order to destroy one molecule. Such an explosion could demolish a small planet.

The Borg have also designed a harmonic resonance chamber, which can contain and stabilize molecules for a very short time. Using the additional information gained from the Delta Quadrant race that worked on their ill-fated version of the Omega particle, a method of destruction, and even possible control of the unstable molecules, is devised by the crew of Voyager.

Former Borg crew member Seven of Nine adapts the Borg original chamber design to emit an inverse containment field frequency of 1.68 terahertz, the natural resonance of the Omega particles, thus dissolving the bonds between the Omega molecules atoms. Before the molecules are detonated into space, Seven witnesses 3.2 seconds of spontaneous Omega Molecule stabilization. Captain Janeway, however, deems further stabilization experiments to be too great a risk. As she says at the time ”The final frontier has some boundaries that shoud not be crossed”. Despite its great untapped power, and terrifying perfection, the Omega particle represents one such boundary. Until the Federations scientists can be sure technology has reached the point where these incredible molecules can be safely contained, the policy of destruction will continue.

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