Organians were once corporeal, but they eventually evolved a non-corporeal form. They implied that their desire to avoid physical pain was a reason for that.
For ten thousand years, they observed a planet that contained a silicon-based virus, and the reactions of species that encountered it, in an attempt to find a species with a higher level of intelligence. Among the species which the Organians observed as they attempted to deal with this deadly virus were the Klingons, the Cardassians, and Humans.
In 2154, the Enterprise NX-01 investigated a Klingon waste site on the planet, and a landing party consisting of Commander Charles Tucker III and Ensign Hoshi Sato contracted the virus. Following their protocol of non-interference, two Organian observers watched the crew's reaction to the situation by inhabiting the bodies of crew members, and subsequently altering their memories so that they had no recollection of the Organians' actions. One of the two observers (apparently the more senior of the two) felt that the Organians' protocols should be followed strictly; the other, who was impressed by the Humans' compassion, felt that the time had come for the protocols to be altered. The less senior being argued that intelligence alone was not a sufficient measure of a species' worthiness to be contacted. The senior observer initially occupied the body of Lieutenant Malcolm Reed, while his associate occupied the body of Ensign Travis Mayweather. All of the senior staff of Enterprise were possessed by the observers at one point or another.
After a period of rapid deterioration, both Tucker and Sato died from the virus. However, at the moment of Tucker's death, the junior Organian inhabited his body and communicated his admiration to Captain Jonathan Archer, who had become infected himself in an effort to save his crewmen. He explained his mission to Archer, who pleaded for the Organians to save his crew members – to experience compassion, not merely observe it. Although it was a violation of their protocols, the Organians complied and revived Tucker and Sato, as well as eliminating the virus from their systems and Archer's. The crew of the Enterprise NX-01 retained no memory of their interactions with the Organian observers. Before they left, the junior Organian told his superior that they should begin preparations for an official First Contact mission, which they felt gave them only about five thousand years. (ENT: "Observer Effect")
The Organians later took the appearance of a simple pre-industrial humanoid society for the purpose of interaction with other lifeforms. Based on the preliminary Federation surveys, the Organian society rated a class D-minus on the Richter scale of culture. When Organia was invaded by the Klingons at the start of the Federation-Klingon War (2267) in 2267, Captain James T. Kirk and his first officer, Spock, attempted to convince the apparently-primitive Organians to accept Federation protection. The Organians seemed completely unconcerned with external affairs, almost to the point of apathy. It was only when Kirk and Spock began conducting a guerrilla war against the Klingon occupation that the Organians abandoned their false humanoid forms and intervened, forcing an end to the interstellar war. They imposed the Treaty of Organia, establishing a framework for interaction between the two enemies, accurately predicting that, in time, they would eventually become friends. (TOS: "Errand of Mercy") This event placed official first contact between the Organians and the Federation much sooner than the Organians had first anticipated.
Abilities and physiology
The Organians demonstrated a number of abilities. At least one of them, Trefayne, was aware of events at great distances, reporting that space vehicles had assumed orbit about his world and that men had beamed down. Another was able to tell where the helmsman and armory officer were on the ship, while in sickbay.
The Organians also had the ability to occupy the bodies of humanoid hosts including the crew of the Enterprise NX-01 consisting of Humans, Vulcans, and Denobulans as well as alter their memories of their activities.
Ayelborne was able to move through a crowded citadel without attracting the attention of anyone there. He was able to prevent the Klingons from returning to the Council chamber to search for Kirk and Spock, whom he had rescued from the citadel. He was able to appear in at least three places light years apart at the same time, these being his own world, Earth, and Qo'noS.
Kirk believed that the Organians made it possible for Spock and himself to enter the Klingon citadel in defiance of long odds against them. Collectively, the Organians were able to neutralize Starfleet and the Klingon fleet, wherever they were. To prevent the conflict between Humans and Klingons, they managed to make emanate extreme heat from every harmful object available, including phasers controls in both fleets. As beings of pure thought, they are either immortal or extremely long-lived; Claymare commented that no one had died on Organia in "uncounted thousands of years".
It is unclear exactly what the Organians really looked like but they stated they had once been humanoid. They had developed beyond the need for physical bodies millions of years earlier and "that of us which you see ... is mere appearance ... for your sake". Two of them then disappeared, first passing through a state in which they radiated intensely bright light.
Organians consider intervention in the affairs of others to be most disgusting, but felt they had no choice when they imposed the peace treaty in 2267 – they simply could not watch idly as the Federation and the Klingons slaughtered each other and perhaps others. They find the discordant emotions of less evolved beings highly painful. As a gesture of hospitality to visitors, they create conventional points of reference – physical bodies for themselves, buildings, and other objects. In 2267, the setting they created was reminiscent of a primitive agrarian community.
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