- This is an article about the Sheliak race. You may also be looking for the star Beta Lyrae also known as Sheliak in the real world.
The Sheliak were an intelligent non-humanoid classification R-3 lifeform whose homeworld was located in the Shelia star system. They were warp-capable and their governing body was called the Sheliak Corporate.
The Sheliak were xenophobic, and therefore avoided contact with other lifeforms, especially those they considered inferior. This included Humans (often pejoratively describing them as "creatures" and the presence of humanoid life as an "infestation").
The Treaty of Armens was established in 2255 between the Sheliak Corporate and the United Federation of Planets which ceded several Class H worlds to the Sheliak. The Sheliak insisted on a level of complexity in the treaty which would eliminate ambiguity, as they considered Federation languages (or at the very least the English language) to be "irrational", and thus 372 Federation legal experts helped to draft it. The Sheliak did not contact the Federation after that for 111 years.
In 2366, the Sheliak decided to colonize one of their planets, Tau Cygna V. Having found a Human colony there, they sent a message to the Federation to remove them. The USS Enterprise-D received the message and confirmed the presence of the colony. The Sheliak gave them only a few days to relocate the colonists, but logistically that was impossible for the Enterprise. The Sheliak showed no concern for this, and initially refused to grant the Federation any additional time, eventually relenting after Captain Jean-Luc Picard asked for third-party arbitration in the treaty, and used it to force the Sheliak to cooperate. The Sheliak colonists referred to themselves as "the Membership". The Sheliak colony ship turned back from their journey to the planet to return after three weeks. (TNG: "The Ensigns of Command")
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Background information Edit
According to an internal reference document, listing all the aliens seen in Star Trek: The Next Generation, which was circulated around the time of the production of TNG Season 5, the Sheliak were given the description of "a technological, non-humanoid lifeform of classification R-3, in appearance a wrap of black, mucous-secreting folds appearing as at least a head."
Tau Cygna V was saturated with hyperonic radiation, making it a Class H world and one of the worlds ceded in the Treaty of Armens. Although it is possible that the Sheliak intended to terraform the planet for their needs, the episode suggests that hyperonic radiation was of no concern to their biology.
The Treaty of Armens also at one point referred to them in plural as "Sheliacs".
In a blooper from "Starship Mine", Brent Spiner, as Data, stated, "There is only one way to measure the body temperature of the Sheliak and, uh, I can't say it in mixed company." ("Gag Reel", TNG Season 6 Blu-ray special features)