In 2368, Dathon became the first of his race to successfully establish communications with United Federation of Planets when his ship rendezvoused with the USS Enterprise-D at El-Adrel IV.
Because the Tamarian language was based upon a series of metaphors, prior attempts to communicate verbally had failed. Knowing this, Dathon beamed himself and Starfleet Captain Jean-Luc Picard down to the planet, where he hoped that some time together would better help them understand each other's languages. At first, Captain Picard believed Dathon had kidnapped him and when the Tamarian offered him his dagger, Picard assumed he wished to engage in combat and thus refused. In reality, Dathon was offering Picard a weapon to defend himself against an electromagnetic lifeform that resided on the planet.
After a short time on the surface, the lifeform attacked the two men, wounding Dathon. Picard was able to fend off the creature and tend to Dathon's injuries. It was during this time that Dathon was able to "teach" Picard how his language worked - using metaphors; proper names and places Dathon cited were references to situations in his history. Armed with this new found understanding, the two were successfully able to communicate on a basic level, which assisted in defeating the creature a second time.
However, this victory came with a price as Dathon was mortally wounded. But his sacrifice was not in vain, as when Picard returned to the Enterprise, he was able to successfully communicate with Dathon's ship and explain how their captain was killed, thereby opening a new era in relations with the Tamarian people.