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The Cytherians were an advanced species who lived near the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. They were explorers and made contact with various other races. The manner in which they initiated first contact was atypical; they brought other races to them rather than traveling the galaxy in search of intelligent life.
In the year 2367, the USS Enterprise-D encountered an alien probe while attempting to repair the Argus Array. The probe interfaced with Lieutenant Barclay, and gave him the advanced knowledge needed to bring the Enterprise-D through a subspace distortion to the Cytherians, the presumed makers of the device. After the Enterprise-D had arrived at the Cytherian homeworld, Barclay was returned to normal. (TNG episode: "The Nth Degree")
Following this, the Cytherian Caster sought to travel further, assembling a basic ship that would allow him to safely explore the Alpha Quadrant. However, this action was opposed by a Cytherian group who preferred their current isolation, with Proctor transmitting part of her own consciousness into Caster's ship to take control of it. With this power, she augments eight 'diplomats' from various key powers in the Alpha Quadrant and 'programs' them to attack assorted long-range Federation communication outposts; the intention is that, while the attacks themselves are not intended to cause any actual loss of life, the resulting hostility will lead to the Cytherians being identified as the cause of the attacks and encourage them to remain in isolation. However, the truth is exposed when Admiral William T. Riker is able to complete his 'assignments' faster than anticipated by transferring to the USS Aventine, allowing him to delay his return to the Cytherian outpost and provide the USS Enterprise-E with the clues needed to work out what was going on. With Riker's aid, Captain Picard was able to infiltrate the Cytherian ship and make contact with Caster and Proctor, stripping the other seven delegates of their augmented intelligence and helping the Cytherians establish clearer limits for their future interactions with the galaxy. (TNG novel: Takedown)
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