The Temporal Cold War is an ongoing conflict being fought between several time-travelling factions in different periods, each trying to manipulate history for its own benefit. The origins, locations, and battlegrounds of the war are highly complex and rapidly shifting, with new incursions and alterations made by temporal agents making it almost impossible to keep track.
It is as of yet unknown exactly what the motivations of the different factions are, although it seems clear that the Temporal Prime Directive has been rescinded (at least partially) by a future Starfleet for the duration of this conflict.
It is quite possible that the war is now over, thought it must be understood that "now" is an entirely relative term when it comes to time travel.
Factions of the Temporal Cold War
- Mysterious benefactor of the Suliban Cabal (29th century). Unable to travel through time, only able to communicate. Motives very mysterious: has tried to both assist and thwart Earth interests in the 22nd century. Usually opposing the Federation, who he holds responsible for violating the Temporal Accord. Also opposes the Sphere Builders.
- Na'kuhl (29th century). Lead by Vosk, this race vehemently opposed the Temporal Accord because they believe time travel is something to be used by all races for self-improvement. Responsible for the Cold War temporarily igniting.
- Sphere Builders (21st and 22nd centuries). Beings from a transdimensional realm able to examine alternate futures, but seem to have limited time travel abilities as well. Tried to destroy Earth to stop their race's defeat at the Battle of Procyon V.
- United Federation of Planets (31st century). Represented to Enterprise by Daniels, who claims the Cabal's benefactor violated the Temporal Accord. Has acted against Cabal interests on several occasions. Also opposes the Sphere Builders and the Na'kuhl.
- Andorian Empire (22nd century). Assisted Earth during the Xindi conflict.
- Earth Starfleet (22nd century). See "Enterprise and the Temporal Cold War" below.
- Klingon Empire (22nd century). The Suliban Cabal tried to destabilize them and start a civil war.
- Nazi Germany (20th century). The Na'kuhl provided an alternate timeline version of the Nazis with advanced technology in exchange for resources and assistance.
- Suliban Cabal (22nd century). Performs actions for their mysterious benefactor in exchange for technology. Lead by Silik.
- Suliban renegades (22nd century). Former members of the Cabal, such as Sarin, who have left and now oppose its actions. Assisted both Earth and the Klingons during the Broken Bow Incident.
- Tholian Assembly (22nd century). Tried to acquire a future timeship. Alliances with any temporal powers unknown, though they seem to be opposed to the Suliban Cabal.
- United Federation of Planets (26th century). Battled the Sphere Builders and defeated them at the Battle of Procyon V in a timeline now likely defunct.
- Xindi (21st and 22nd centuries). Manipulated by the Sphere Builders into attacking Earth.
Enterprise and the Temporal Cold War
The NX-01 Enterprise had frequent involvement in different aspects of the Temporal Cold War, and indeed, its captain was responsible for its discovery by Earth. This involvement goes all the way back to before the launch of Enterprise when a Klingon courier ship piloted by Klaang crash-landed in Broken Bow, Oklahoma on Earth while being pursued by two Suliban in April 2151. In returning Klaang to Qo'noS, Enterprise captain Jonathan Archer learned from Sarin that the 22nd century was a major front in the "Temporal Cold War" and that the Suliban Cabal was attempting to disrupt the history of the Klingon Empire by inciting civil war. This was averted by the return of Klaang and the information he carried showing the Suliban were responsible to Qo'noS.That September, Enterprise learned of another faction in the Temporal Cold War, represented by Captain Archer's own steward, "Crewman" Daniels. Daniels revealed that he represented a 31st century faction working against the faction backing the Suliban Cabal, which was from the 29th century. He claimed that the Suliban's faction was in violation of the Temporal Accord, though Silik, leader of the Cabal, claimed the same about Daniels' faction. Silik attempted to gain hold of Daniels' Temporal Observatory but failed.
In March 2152, the Suliban engineered the destruction of the Paraagan mining colony on Paraagan II, setting it up in such a way that Enterprise was to blame. The ship was recalled to Earth, but Daniels transported Archer to April 2151 to explain to him that the Suliban were to blame and enabled him to prove it. When Daniels attempted to transport Archer to the 31st century to save him from a Suliban attack, he altered future history, wiping out his own civilization as well as the Suliban's benefactor. Daniels did, however, succeed in returning Archer to his proper point in time, restoring history.
In late 2152, Enterprise learned that the Tholians were in some way involved in the Cold War when it was drawn into a three-way battle with the Tholians and the Suliban for the possession of a 31st-century timeship. Though Enterprise had no direct contact with any future forces this time, Daniels' faction apparently recovered the timeship once its temporal distress beacon was activated.
In March 2153 the Suliban benefactor informed Captain Archer of yet another faction in the Temporal Cold War, explaining that this one had informed the Xindi that humanity would destroy their homeworld in the 26th century, leading to the Xindi attack on Earth. He also provided information on the location of the Xindi, the Delphic Expanse.Archer's encounters with Daniels while hunting for the Xindi superweapon in the Expanse showed that the faction responsible for the Xindi foreknowledge was the same people who had built the Delphic Expanse spheres. These "Sphere Builders" (or Guardians) were trying to prevent their invasion of our dimension from being stopped by the Federation in the 26th century at the Battle of Procyon V. Their intention was to destroy Earth, and thus stop the formation of the Federation in 2161. Archer's destruction of the Xindi superweapon in 2154 stopped that plot, and Enterprise's eradication of the sphere network halted their invasion wholesale.
The Cold War turns hotOne particularly dangerous faction in the Temporal Cold War was the Na'kuhl, led by Vosk. They believed it was their right to do as they wished with time travel, and because of that they were perceived as the most dangerous faction in the Cold War by Daniels' group. Daniels' organization nearly captured Vosk, but he used a newly-developed form of stealth time travel to escape from the 29th century to an alternate 1940s Earth where Germany invaded the United States of America. Since Vosk's time portal was one-way, he allied with Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany, promising them advanced technology in exchange for the resources to build a temporal conduit back to the future.
Upon returning to the future, Vosk's people managed to defeat Daniels' and began a series of drastic alterations to the timeline. Chaos broke about amongst the temporal powers; with this blatant violation of the Temporal Accord as an instigation, dozens of agents from all the factions began to try to wipe out one another's histories. One faction assassinated Vladimir Lenin in 1916, creating the alternate Earth Vosk had traveled to in the first place (a "chicken or the egg" paradox).
Daniels used the last of his resources to bring himself, Enterprise, and Captain Archer to 1944 in a last-ditch effort to stop Vosk from building his temporal conduit. The sheer volume of temporal incursions created turbulence in the timestream that severely injured Daniels; he died in the Enterprise sickbay after managing to explain the situation to Archer and T'Pol.
The Suliban's benefactor took advantage of the chaos, and seeing that Daniels was sending Enterprise to 1944, he had Silik infilitrate the ship beforehand; he planned to have Silik steal the plans for the Na'kuhl temporal conduit so that when Enterprise returned to 2154, he would finally be able to travel through time. Silik succeeded in acquiring the plans, but he was found out by Archer and Phlox, and was forced to help in destroying Vosk's conduit. Silik was killed by Nazis in the operation, but the conduit was successfully destroyed and Vosk died in the blast.As a result, the timeline reset itself: Vosk never wiped out Daniels' faction, and the Cold War never went hot as a result. Earth's history, and that of the rest of time, was restored to its previous path. Daniels told Archer that the Cold War was "coming to an end because of what you did. You have no idea how many lives you've saved." It may be that in witnessing the potential devastation that would result from a full-fledged Temporal War breaking out, the various factions were inspired to reach a peaceful accord.
In any case, Archer informed Daniels that he was done with him and his "damned Temporal Cold War."