In Star Trek TNG episode The Ensigns of Command, the Sheliak Corporate is said to have had a conflict with the Federation causing a treaty to be born.

Is there anything in any other work (one of the novels perhaps) that describes this conflict? I'm also interested to know why the Sheliak weren't more feared by the Enterprise's crew and what tactical capabilities the Sheliak have.

In short, what else do we know about the Sheliak?

  • 1
    Out of universe, the Sheliak costume was the same outfit used for Armus in "Skin of Evil", only without all the oily goop on it.
    – Helbent IV
    Mar 30, 2018 at 14:21

2 Answers 2


There are some snippets of information on the Star Trek official website as well as some of the Extended Universe novels.

StarTrek.com website profile


Origin: Shelia star system. A technological, non-humanoid life-form of classification R-3; in appearance, a wrap of black, mucous-secreting folds appearing as at least a head and gesturing upper appendages (not too unlike the look of the creature Armus on Vagra II). As a culture, they view humans as a lower life form and have no qualms about exterminating those legally in their way -- as with the unknowing human "trespassers" on Tau Cygna V. They have learned several United Federation of Planets (UFP) languages but still consider them imprecise. The Sheliak language continues to elude Federation linguists, and even telepaths have been of no help. In face-to-face dialogue with Captain Picard and Counselor Troi, the Sheliak ship director speaks English without apparent translation aids. His reception room is very large and open, perhaps indicating that space is not critical on the vessel.

The Buried Age

The Breen and the Sheliak don't share mutual borders but have disputes over various regions of space. Their ships and technology are apparently comparable.

A few minutes later, the results were on the screen, and Picard grunted in dismay. “They could hardly have picked a worse place for it. If I recall my Starfleet intelligence reports, that region of space is disputed between the Breen and the Sheliak.”

“I’m not familiar with either.”

“They’re both very mysterious to us, in fact. But one thing we do know is that they’re both very forceful about defending their territorial claims. And neither would respond well to Federation intrusion, even in a border zone.” The region in question, out past Albireo, was in fact well beyond the far border of the Breen Confederacy, but they had been establishing “protectorates” there for decades, expanding aggressively to spinward since their antispinward expansion was blocked by the Federation. The Sheliak’s borders and buffer zones were well defined by the terms of the Treaty of Armens, but the Breen had not signed that treaty and did not honor it.

First contact with the Sheliak happened some time in the 2250s or 60s

But the white-haired admiral smiled, looking for a moment like the grandfather he was. “It’s all right-I can forgive it from a civilian.” His kindly mien faded as his eyes darted in Picard’s direction-specifically at his collar, where the rank pins would be if he were still in uniform. “Of course you understand my problem with what you propose. Relations with the Breen are tenuous at best and-well, we’ve had no actual relations with the Sheliak for a hundred years, and I wouldn’t like our next contact to be a military one, let alone one we precipitated.”

Watching the Clock

The Sheliak have their own temporal security agency. It's described as highly efficient.

“Exactly. Some of the leading theories focus on the Carnelians, a civilization as advanced as your own, more than capable of pulling it off. But since the changes in their history didn’t unmake the defense grid, their role must not have been the pivotal one. The Sheliak have been under attack too, but they’d never deign to tell you, and their own temporal agency is . . . highly efficient, so they’ve escaped significant change. And the Typhon Pact . . . well, you can try getting those stories out of Revad if we get out of here alive.

The Fall: A Ceremony of Losses

The Sheliak maintain commercial relations with other worlds but are known to be highly xenophobic about their contact with those outside their own species

“The first is a Sheliak commercial freighter. Given their extreme xenophobia, I would think it highly doubtful that they would offer Doctor Bashir, or any non-Sheliak, transportation to Andor, or to anywhere else.

Demons of Air and Darkness

Nog acquires a Sheliak shield modulator. It improves defence against radiation at the cost of defence against directed fire. Note that Keith DeCandido's editor doesn't know how to spell Sheliak and gets it wrong in several books.

Nog held up an isolinear rod he'd been carrying. Vaughn peered at the markings, and saw that it contained a replicator pattern. "I, ah, have something that might help. It's a shield modulator that I—acquired from the Shelliak."
Everyone whirled and stared at Nog. Dax's mouth was hanging open.
Bashir asked, "Aren't the Shelliak among the most xenophobic species in the galaxy?"
"Xenophobic's the wrong word," Dax said. "More like xeno-disdainful. They don't really fear other species, they just don't think all that much of them."


Very little.

The Sheliak were featured prominently just in a single episode of all Star Trek, TNG's The Ensigns of Command, and briefly referenced only in another, Starship Mine.

Their government, their species and the history of their relations with the Federation are described only in that episode, so I think that you already know everything there is to know about them.

According to Memory Beta, they appeared on some non-canon books, but again, very little is explained, and they seem to appear just in the background (I've not read these books myself):

  • TNG Novel The Buried Age: it is said that the Sheliak space was close to the Breen Confederacy, and that this caused tensions between the two powers.
  • DTI Novel Watching the Clock: they were part of a representative tasked with create a Temporal Defense Grid.
  • DS9 Novel Demons of Air and Darkness: they were cited as the source of a shield modulator acquired by Nog.

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