Temporal Cold War

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The Temporal Cold War is a fictional conflict waged throughout history in the Star Trek universe, predominantly during the 22nd century AD. First established in the pilot episode of Star Trek: Enterprise and recurring until the series' fourth season premiere, it is a struggle between those who would alter history to suit their own ends and those who would preserve the integrity of the original timeline. One reason for using this plot device was in order to explain any differences in continuity between the events and details portrayed in Enterprise and the corresponding events and details shown in earlier Star Trek series and stories. It also derived some dramatic resonance from the historical Cold War between the US and the USSR which influenced the original Star Trek series.[1]



Factions in the war include:

  • 26th century Sphere Builders working through the 22nd century Xindi.
  • 28th century "Mysterious benefactor of the Suliban Cabal" working through the 22nd century Suliban Cabal.
  • 29th century Na'kuhl faction headed by Vosk across millions of years, notably through 1940s Nazi Germany.
  • 29th century United Federation of Planets' Starfleet Temporal Integrity Commission, represented by Captain Braxton and Lt. Ducane, although the involvement in the conflict of this century's Starfleet is only supported by the fact that the Temporal Cold War is going on in the 31st century.
  • 31st century United Federation of Planets' temporal agents, represented by Daniels.
  • 22nd century Enterprise crew are somewhat involved though for the most part their actions consist of being manipulated by the other factions (rather than initiating action themselves).

Throughout history[edit]

The Temporal Accords were a historic agreement to preserve the integrity of the timeline. Its principles were rejected by Vosk, who initiated an outright war using stealth time travel. Unlike Earth's historical Cold War, the Temporal Cold War involves countless unknown factions, each with its own agenda. Humanity in the 31st Century is attempting to ascertain the identity of their adversaries and to thwart their efforts.

Although the scope of the war was unprecedented, most of its casualties were unaware that they were involved in an organized conflict, hence the term "Cold War". Timelines were changed frequently, with history being rewritten or significant events being erased. Eventually the struggle broke out into full-scale war.

One front of the war was fought in the 22nd century, the main focus point at where the Federation was founded. One faction, the Sphere Builders, who knew that they would be defeated by the Federation during the 26th century, convinced the Xindi to destroy Earth: no Earth, no Federation, no one to stop them. The Earth starship Enterprise managed to stop them and send them back into their trans-dimensional realm.

However, this was not the end, for the dangerous time faction, the Na'kuhl, led by Vosk, ended up in 1944. They made an alliance with the Germans to exchange technology for supplies for a "temporal conduit". In an alternate timeline, they went back to their time period and made several alterations to history, causing a "chicken or the egg" paradox. Luckily, Captain Jonathan Archer and the crew of the Enterprise were sent back in time by Daniels to before the Na'kuhl entered the conduit in New York City, and, with the help of Silik (the leader of the Suliban Cabal), destroyed the conduit. In the subsequent explosion, Vosk was killed. As a result, the Cold War "never heated up", and the present timeline was restored.


Millions of years ago[edit]

  • The Na'kuhl prevents the Suliban from attaining sentience, but this incursion is undone by Daniels' colleagues.

Thousands of years ago[edit]

  • As a prelude to invasion, a number of planetoid-sized spheres are constructed to reconfigure space and make it suitable for transdimensional beings known as the Sphere Builders. The region becomes known as the Delphic Expanse.

20th century[edit]

  • An unknown temporal agent assassinates Vladimir Lenin, preventing Russia's Bolshevik Revolution and the rise of communism. As a result Nazi Germany does not view Russia as a military threat and postpones their invasion, allowing them to succeed in conquering Great Britain without the diversion of resources to the Eastern Front and to follow the victory with the occupation of the Eastern Seaboard of the United States by 1944. Germany did eventually invade Russia and had occupied Moscow by 1944, although there was continued resistance.
  • Vosk travels to 1944 and makes an alliance with the Nazis. He trades the promise of advanced technologies for help in building a time portal to return to the future.
  • The Temporal Cold War ends, and is at least partially negated, with the death of Vosk.

21st century[edit]

22nd century[edit]

  • The Sphere Builders tell the Xindi Council that in the future Humans will destroy their yet to be discovered new homeworld.
  • The Suliban Cabal begins taking orders from its benefactor in the 28th Century.
  • The Suliban Cabal launches attacks on the Tandarans, resulting in the Tandaran government imprisoning innocent Suliban in internment camps.
  • Daniels infiltrates the Enterprise crew to protect them.
  • Enterprise is implicated in the destruction of a mining colony by the Cabal.
  • Enterprise discovers a 31st-century time travel pod whose pilot is dead. Vessels of the Suliban Cabal and the Tholians intercept Enterprise and demand that they hand over the pod. In the ensuing battle, four Tholian starships destroy several Suliban ships and seize the pod. However, Enterprise Chief Engineer Tucker manages to trigger the pod's temporal beacon, allowing the pod and the corpse of its pilot to be retrieved by operatives from the 31st century.
  • The Xindi test a prototype for a preemptive strike on Earth, killing 7 million.
  • The final version of the Xindi weapon, capable of destroying a planet, is built and then destroyed by a combined efforts of Enterprise (NX-01) and several Xindi ships (as well as help from the Andorians).

24th century[edit]

26th century[edit]

28th century[edit]

  • A faction led by the mysterious Future Guy contacts the Cabal in the past to employ them for their own ends.

29th century[edit]

  • Starfleet developed its own dedicated time travel technology some point prior to this century due to the existence of the timeships Aeon and Relativity in the 29th century.
  • Vosk rejects the Temporal Accords.

31st century[edit]

Apocryphal events from DTI: Watching the Clock[edit]

Cristopher L. Bennett's novel Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations: Watching the Clock establishes that a lot of other time travel related events occurring in the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th century during the events of several Star Trek episodes and films are in fact more or less related to the Temporal Cold War. For example the temporal vortex device the Borg use in First Contact is given to them by the Sphere Builders in an attempt to prevent the Federation from ever existing.


According to Manny Coto, a new executive producer during the fourth season, his fellow producers Rick Berman and Brannon Braga never fully planned out the Temporal Cold War storyline.[2] According to Braga himself, they did not even firmly decide on the identity or back story of the 28th century leader of the Cabal.[3] At the end of the second season of Enterprise, poor ratings and reviews led to a new attempt to revamp the show by creating the Xindi race.

By the end of the third season, Coto felt the need for change, one of these being the removal of the TCW arc. According to him, "I felt that everything that had been said about the Temporal Cold War had already been said. I felt a heavy reliance on time travel at the beginning of Enterprise."[4] Nevertheless, he says "I was secretly hoping for a season five to address the time travel."


The following is a list of episodes which involve the Temporal Cold War story arc. A subplot of this arc involves the aftermath of Archer freeing a group of Suliban wrongly detained as a result of the Cold War.

# Title
"Broken Bow"
111 "Cold Front"
120 "Detained"
123 "Desert Crossing"
125 "Two Days and Two Nights"
126 "Shockwave"
201 "Shockwave (Part II)"
216 "Future Tense"
226 "The Expanse"
311 "Carpenter Street"
318 "Azati Prime"
324 "Zero Hour"
"Storm Front"


  1. ^ Geraldine Mary Harris (2006), Beyond representation, pp. 126–127, ISBN 978-0-7190-7458-5 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ [3]