The Temporal Cold War was introduced in “Broken Bow,” when Captain Archer discovered that the Suliban were manipulating events in the Klingon Empire at the direction of an individual from the future.
Though time travel has been an element in Star Trek virtually from the beginning, the Temporal Cold War itself was only recently added by Star Trek: Enterprise in 2001.
The origin of the Temporal Cold War can most likely be traced back to those early episodes of Star Trek. In “The Naked Time,” the Enterprise made the first discovery of a replicable method of time travel while escaping from the planet Psi 2000 as it began to disintegrate. Not long thereafter, the crew discovered another method, sometimes referred to as a Slingshot Maneuver or the Lightspeed Breakaway Factor, in “Tomorrow is Yesterday” when they were sent back to the late 1960s when they used the technique to escape the gravity well of a “black star” while at warp. This method was later reused on numerous occasions. Finally, in “The City on the Edge of Forever,” one of the single most powerful time travel devices known, the Guardian of Forever, was discovered late that same year.
As the nature of a conflict fought across time and space has no traditional boundaries as we typically understand them, it is not too far a stretch to conclude that the various time travel agencies viewed over the years likely had some involvement. Indeed, the 24th Century United Federation of Planets’ Department of Temporal Investigations is most likely the forebear of the faction to which Daniels would eventually claim allegiance, if not the very same organization.
The Temporal Cold War was described as a conflict between multiple factions with differing views on the application of time travel technology. These factions can be divided into two groups: those for or against the Temporal Accord, an agreement which regulated the use of time travel and restricted its use to observation and documentation of historical events. One faction was dedicated to enforcing the Accord, while all other factions were opposed to it. The faction which enforced the Temporal Accord was represented in the 22nd Century by a man known only as Daniels.
Another faction, which caused significant damage to the timeline before being prevented from initiating the changes, was led by a man named Vosk. He believed that time travel could best be applied by eliminating mistakes made throughout history, saving lives that would otherwise have been needlessly lost and speeding overall technological advancement. While his intentions may have been noble, the resulting chaos inflicted on the timeline was nearly irreparable. Only by preventing his initial time travel was the damage averted.
During the mid-22nd Century, the Suliban served as willing pawns to a faction from the 27th Century. In exchange for advanced technology, particularly in the field of genetic engineering, the Suliban carried out the agenda of a faction that was able only to project a vague holographic image back through time. The identity of the Suliban’s contact, who appeared as an indistinct humanoid figure, remained a mystery.
Also in the 22nd Century–in multiple timelines–the Tholians attempted to manipulate events from the past and future. In the mainline universe, the Tholians sought to claim a timeship recovered by the Enterprise NX-01, while in at least one incarnation of the Mirror Universe, their experiments with manipulating spacetime opened a rift that pulled the U.S.S. Defiant NCC-1764 from more than a century into the future of the mainline universe to their current reality.
Another faction during the 22nd Century was known as the Guardians to the Xindi. Extradimensional beings seeking to remake the mainline universe into one suitable for themselves, the Guardians had an ability to see potential future events, an ability they used to manipulate the Xindi into an unprovoked attack on Earth. This act drew the attention of the factions of both Daniels and the Suliban’s contact, who provided information to Captain Archer in order to minimize the damage to the timeline.
Several individuals from each faction have stood out during the course of the Temporal Cold War. Vosk, perhaps, is among the most significant, while Daniels is one of the most visible, as is, ironically, the Humanoid Figure who directed the Suliban.
Vosk, more than any other being, is probably most individually responsible for determining the shape of the Temporal Cold War, according to Daniels in “Storm Front.” His faction was responsible for more disruptive attacks throughout history than any other known faction. Vosk was killed when his temporal rift collapsed during an attack on his facility in an alternate New York City in 1944 by the Enterprise NX-01, which had been brought back in time by Daniels when Vosk began manipulating history.
Daniels, who claimed to be from the 30th Century, represented the pro-Temporal Accords faction and was perhaps the most visible participant in the conflict. He had frequent contact with the crew of the Enterprise NX-01, particularly Captain Jonathan Archer, relying on them several times to aid him in protecting history as he knew it; during the first few months of the Enterprise’s mission, he even posed as a member of the crew.
The unnamed Humanoid Figure, humorously referred to as “Futureguy” on numerous occasions by the fans, was another oft-“seen” participant in the conflict. Details about him are few, though according to Daniels he was from the 27th Century.
Though not a time traveller himself, 22nd Century native Jonathan Archer was also a key figure in the Temporal Cold War. With occasional assistance from Daniels, Archer thwarted the plans of the Humanoid Figure and Vosk on numerous occasions, and often found himself in conflict with Silik, the leader of the Suliban Cabal, who answered directly to the Humanoid Figure. Silik was killed in an alternate 1944, when he traveled back in time aboard the Enterprise at the direction of the Humanoid Figure in order to thwart Vosk’s plans.
In conclusion, it is safe to say, the details of the Temporal Cold War remain in large part a mystery. As long as the ability to travel through time remains, however, the conflict between those who would alter history and those who would preserve it will continue.