As always, thanks for reading. Hopefully the following passage will better get at what I was aiming for.
When I started researching polaric ion energy I discovered that it had temporal properties so I wanted to do something with that. I had alluded to the Tholians at the very beginning of the story ("Fire Beings"), but at that point I was thinking they were ancient Tholians. But thinking more about the temporal angle, I decided that they would be contemporary Tholian astronauts who were were flung back into time and space, due to a polaric ion energy malfunction.
Now the Tholians want to erase all traces of their involvement.
I've always wanted to write a Tholian story so I got to thank Gibraltar for coming up with this concept that allows me to do that. Though originally I wasn't planning on involving the Tholians as much as I have, and was perhaps going to save it for a follow up story, I'm glad I included it in this one so that it helps-hopefully-heighten the stakes while making it a bit more personal since a familiar and adversarial nation has such a personal tie to the refugees.