In 2167, the Archon disappeared while investigating the planet Beta III. The fate of the Archon would remain a mystery for a hundred years, until the USS Enterprise visited Beta III in 2267, and learned that the sentient computer Landru had destroyed the ship, and had murdered or absorbed her crew. The Archon's visit became an apocryphal tale to the Betans, who mixed it in with their quasi-worship of Landru; her crew became known as the Archons. (TOS: "The Return of the Archons")
- See: Archon personnel
In the Star Trek Encyclopedia (1st ed., p. 14), the Archon was depicted with the Daedalus-class model with no visible registry. According to Michael Okuda, the authors "[...] speculate that the Archon was a Daedalus-class starship, since it was contemporary with the USS Essex from TNG: "Power Play"." For Star Trek Encyclopedia (3rd ed., p. 20), the Archon entry showed a drawing of the USS Essex (NCC-173), though the Archon was elsewhere listed as NCC-189. (p. 470) The Star Trek Encyclopedia (4th ed., vol. 1, pp. 41 & vol. 2, p. 326) listed and depicted the registry as NCC-189.
In "The Return of the Archons, Part 2", an issue of IDW's Star Trek: Ongoing comic series, it was revealed that Landru (first name Cornelius (β)) was the head of Starfleet's Advanced Research Division and was apparently creating an artificial intelligence to assist in colony development. His true intentions were more sinister: he was attempting a means of population control. The crew of the Archon attempted to stop him, but the ship was destroyed: the ship's crashed remains were built into a temple by the descendants of the crew's survivors. After the computer was removed, Admiral Pike was admonished by an unseen superior for not keeping a tighter leash on his protege Kirk after exposing the secret experiment that lasted for decades.