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Sajen, an unenhanced male Suliban

Sarin, a female Suliban

Suliban script

"The Suliban don't share humanity's patience with natural selection."
– Silik, 2151 ("Broken Bow")

The Suliban were a largely nomadic warp-capable humanoid species. They were notable during the mid-22nd century for their involvement as foot soldiers in the Temporal Cold War, which set them into conflict with several other civilizations including United Earth.


The physical capabilities and tolerances of natural Suliban were comparable to those of Humans. Their respiratory system contained three bronchial lobes. (ENT: "Broken Bow")

Suliban of the Cabal received extensive physical enhancements via genetic engineering. These enhancements varied among individuals and could include greatly increased flexibility in all parts of the body, the ability to cling to walls and ceilings, the ability to alter the color and texture of their skin for camouflage or to mimic other humanoids, compound retinas granting enhanced vision, increased numbers of bronchial lobes with modified alveoli clusters for processing different atmospheres, and the ability to tolerate vacuum. An ex-Cabal agent, Sarin, could measure trust by physical contact – a seemingly passionate kiss, in the case of Jonathan Archer. (ENT: "Broken Bow", "Cold Front")


The Suliban homeworld, located in Sector 3641, became uninhabitable in the 1850s. Most Suliban adopted a nomadic lifestyle, while some settled in the territories of other species, such as in the Tandar sector, and assimilated into the local populace. (ENT: "Broken Bow", "Detained")

At some point, a group of Suliban came into contact with a mysterious figure from the 31st century, who represented a faction in the Temporal Cold War. This individual offered physical "evolution" and advanced technology to the Suliban in exchange for their service. These Suliban formed the Cabal and began to carry out clandestine attacks designed to destabilize various powers in the region, such as the Klingon Empire and the Tandarans. (ENT: "Broken Bow", "Detained") The Cabal opposed various other factions in the Temporal Cold War, including the Tholians, the Sphere Builders, and the Na'kuhl, whose leader Vosk once attempted to disrupt the evolution of the Suliban into a sentient species. (ENT: "Future Tense", "The Expanse", "Storm Front, Part II")

In April 2151, two Suliban agents pursued the Klingon courier Klaang to Earth in an attempt to prevent him from carrying intelligence about Cabal activities to the Klingon High Council. During the ensuing Broken Bow Incident, they were killed in an explosion caused by Klaang. The Suliban subsequently attacked the NX-class starship Enterprise but were ultimately unable to prevent the craft from delivering Klaang to Qo'noS. (ENT: "Broken Bow") The Suliban Cabal encountered Enterprise on several subsequent occasions; for example, in 2152, they attempted to frame the ship's crew for destroying a colony on Paraagan II and fought Enterprise to acquire a time travel pod. (ENT: "Future Tense")

The activities of the Cabal soured perceptions toward the Suliban people as a whole. Some began to see all Suliban as potentially dangerous monsters, due to the modifications of Cabal soldiers. These sentiments stirred resentment in uninvolved Suliban toward both the Cabal and their former neighbors of other species. After Cabal attacks began in 2144, the Tandarans began to inter their resident Suliban in detainment camps, ostensibly for their "protection." (ENT: "Detained") Some Suliban actively opposed the activities of the Cabal. (ENT: "Broken Bow")

In the mirror universe, the ISS Enterprise had acquired a Suliban cloaking device by January 2155. (ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly")


The most common type of Suliban cell ship

Until their contact with the Cabal in 2151, the Vulcans regarded the Suliban as relatively primitive and non-threatening. (ENT: "Broken Bow")

However, the Suliban Cabal was able to obtain various advanced technologies from their benefactor from the 31st century, including cloaking devices and genetic engineering techniques. Genetic enhancements could be given to or removed from individual Suliban at will for reward or punishment. The Cabal operated from massive space stations called helixes and had available large numbers of small, stealthy cell ships armed with high-yield particle weapons. Cabal soldiers wore a biomimetic garment that could change in appearance, complimenting the soldier's own shapeshifting abilities. (ENT: "Broken Bow", "Cold Front", "Shockwave")




Additional references

Background information

Depicting the species

The name "Suliban" was coined by Rick Berman, after the Taliban, months before the September 11, 2001 attacks. According to Berman, the "Taliban was just a mysterious, exotic name to me. Several years ago, I went to Afghanistan. I used to make documentary films and traveled around the world, and the Taliban regime was just getting a stronghold there. To me, there was something incredibly dramatic about the name Taliban it was like something out of a Sinbad story." (TV Guide, May 5-11, 2002 ed.; Template:Brokenlink)

When the Suliban are introduced in the script of "Broken Bow", they are referred to as "a genetically engineered species with an unusual dappled texture to their skin." [1] Similarly, in the final draft script of "Detained", they are introduced with the description, "Their skin has a familiar texture, dappled and hairless."

There was definitely a standard way of naming Suliban, so much so that, in the final draft script of "Detained", Tandaran Major Klev remarked that the name Malcolm "doesn't sound like a Suliban name."

In the final draft script of "Two Days and Two Nights", Keyla Terrana likened the Suliban to rats, saying they could "writhe through tiny cracks like rats."

The Suliban were ultimately featured a lot less than they originally were intended to be. Stated production illustrator John Eaves, "The Suliban were a strange race and they were to be so prominent in the new series, but by season 2 they had pretty much faded away." [2] In fact, the Suliban seemed to have settled down by the 23rd and 24th centuries, as they are not mentioned in any series other than Enterprise. Early in the series' development, the creators hinted that the audience would learn the fate of the Suliban species (and why they never appeared outside the prequel series), but that too must have been changed when the Temporal Cold War arc was prematurely ended in Enterprise's fourth season.


A letter from Danik's wife to he himself was, as evidenced by the final draft script of ENT: "Detained", meant to be written in the Suliban language. However, the contents of the letter cannot be clearly seen in the episode's final edit.

A sheet with Suliban script remained in Hoshi Sato's quarters aboard Enterprise. The sheet was part of a bulletin board which was sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay. [3] Also sold at the same sale and auction were a Suliban interrogation device, seen in "Broken Bow" and "Shockwave, Part II", [4], a Suliban wall panel [5], and a special effects make-up head wrap. [6]

According to Star Trek: Star Charts (p. 60), the home system of the Suliban was named Suliban. This star system was located in the Beta Quadrant. The system's primary was a red dwarf.

External links

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