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Temporal Cold War
The pinnacle conflict of Star Trek: Enterprise
Canon information
Date Retroactive
Location Alpha Quadrant, Delphic Expanse
Result Federation Alliance/Starfleet victory
Restoration/Protection of Timeline
Starfleet (Pre-Federation)
Captain Jonathan Archer
A singular Starfleet vessel Unknown number of Xindi, Suliban, and Sphere Builders spacecraft
Extreme military casualties, At least 6,000,000 Civilian casualties, exact numbers are unknown Extreme military casualties

The Temporal Cold War is a fictional conflict waged throughout history in the Star Trek universe, notably during the 22nd century AD. First established in the pilot episode of Star Trek: Enterprise and recurring until that series' third season finale, 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 Russia which influenced the original Star Trek series.[1]




Factions in the war include:

  • 26th century Sphere Builders working through the 22nd century Xindi
  • 29th century "Future Guy" 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 and 31st century United Federation of Planets' Starfleet 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

The Temporal Accords were an historic agreement to preserve the integrity of the timeline. Its principles were rejected by Vosk, who started an outright rebellion 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.

The war was mainly fought in the 22nd century, the main focus point at where the Federation was founded. One faction, the Sphere Builders, who were defeated by the Federation during the 26th century, convinced the Xindi to destroy Earth; no Earth, no Federation, no one to stop them. The 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, lead 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

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

Thousands of years ago

  • 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.

Twentieth century

  • An unknown temporal agent assassinates Lenin, preventing Russia's Bolshevik Revolution and the rise of Communism. As a result Nazi Germany expands and by 1944 has invaded the Eastern Seaboard.
  • 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

22nd century

  • The Sphere Builders tell the Xindi Council that Humans will eradicate them in the future.
  • The Suliban Cabal begins taking orders from the 29th Century.
  • Daniels infiltrates the Enterprise crew to protect them.
  • Enterprise is implicated in the destruction of a mining colony by the Cabal.
  • 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 combination fleet consisting of Enterprise (NX-01) and several Xindi ships (as well as help from the Andorians).

24th century

26th century

29th century

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

31st century


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.[1] According to Braga himself, they did not even firmly decide on the identity or back story of the 29th century leader of the Cabal [2] (dubbed "Future Guy" and "Temporal Shower Guy" by fans [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"
121 "Detained"
124 "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"


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