What you call tricks we call progress. The Suliban don’t share humanity’s patience with natural selection.
Module BI-12T(d): Shapeshifters: The Suliban
Of the many shapeshifters we’ve encountered, there are species who have inflicted such harm on our collective self-esteem that we want to hunt the sadists into perpetuity. The Suliban are one of them. Hold your horses before you waste precious effort and photon torpedoes, we have to make a distinction between most Suliban and the Suliban Cabal.
Though you may not care, the Cabal are indeed fiends of the Suliban persuasion but the similarities stop there. Because of their genetic alterations, they are distinctly different from their predecessors. Essentially, a new species of wall crawling misanthropes, shifting just enough to make their transformational modalities spectacular. And that’s not even the worst of it. Suliban use their shapeshifting abilities specifically as weapons of war, radically and suddenly changing shape, consistency, and direction. And these weapons of Satan, though currently quiescent, are in league with Lucifer’s specter from the 28th century, whose shadowy figure appears whenever lying, cheating and stealing are imminent.
Satan’s children actually made planetfall on Earth before the first warp capable starship took flight. And, their presence predictably set in motion a cascade of unfortunate events. Beginning with the serendipitous fact that they were blown into itty bitty particulates when a Klingon strategically detonated a farmer’s silo near their location. Said farmer rewarded the Klingon’s vandalism with the blast of a plasma shotgun, but unfortunately, he survived and put up a fuss.
Later, as Captain Jonathan Archer made history gunning the Enterprise NX 01’s warp drive into deep space, providence cursed our species to see the wretched rubbled visages of the Suliban Cabal. This occurred when the crew was tasked to transport the whining Klingon, Klaang, to his home world, Qo’noS. “Pung ghap! Pung ghap!” he kept expectorating, but no one knew what the heck he was talking about.
Suddenly, Enterprise NX was attacked. Cloaked chameleon Suliban transported into sickbay and clung to its walls and ceiling until the light shone on their situation. Undeterred, they then stole Klaang and disappeared. Good riddance? You would think, but no. Captain Archer was humiliated. He’d been punked by aliens who boldly transported aboard his vessel and grabbed the first warrior their beady little hearts desired. Shapeshifters with transporters. That’s just wrong.
After much intrigue, Archer’s crew discovered they’d been disgraced by specialized Suliban called the Cabal. Then after further demeaning wanderings, they finally found the missing Klaang in the Cabal’s beehive, the Helix. A collective of cell ships stuck together in suspicious formation. Having captured one of the cell ships, Archer and Commander Charles Tucker navigated it to the collective and stole Klaang back.
Now this Klingon must have been the runt of his litter. Why he hadn’t freed himself by then is a matter of much historical debate. Sure, he suffered injuries but when has this ever stopped a genuine warrior of Kahless the Unforgettable? The wimp had no honor. They should have dispatched him where he stood.
While saving his worthless hide, Archer met Silik, a Cabal Suliban whose icky presence continuously slithered in subatomic ways. He had a particularly offensive habit of calling Archer, Jon while fighting him. “You’re very curious, Jon. May I call you Jon?” Silik hissed. “I’ve learned a great deal about you. Even more, than you know.” Archer barely escaped his slimy grasp from a temporal mud pit, when, after much discussion, the Enterprise NX’s crew reluctantly retrieved him.
Subsequently, on Qo’noS, Klaang braced for his well-deserved departure as the Klingon Chancellor approached him, knife in hand. But the chancellor spared him, sadly only nicking him. Analysis of the resultant blood sample showed that he unknowingly carried a message in his DNA. What a wuss. The message detailed meddling by the Suliban Cabal in Klingon affairs, trying to spark a civil war. Most definitely at the behest of Specter.
Still, the pebbly-skinned troublemakers had yet to show off all aspects of their repertoire of genetic enhancements. The creepy crumblies could do something no other shifter of their time could. Actually, slink through small spaces like the rats that they were. Silik demonstrated this repulsive dexterity when trying to steal future tech on the Enterprise NX. Sliding between conduits and manifolds like some kind of cobble-faced rodent.
Mercifully, Silik’s mission failed with the help of temporal agent Daniels from the 31st century, but Daniels paid dearly for his interference. “Did they tell you that the twenty-second century was going to be your final resting place?” Silik taunted as he killed him. He lusted mightily for Daniels’ future tech. He got his hands on this precious briefly before Archer thwarted his efforts, knocked him silly, and tooks it from him. Petulantly, he dove into the vacuum of space (oh, man!) escaping to the waiting arms of his ship.
Fortunately for us, Daniels returned from the dead and helped Archer’s crew out of another Suliban scheme. Specter instructed Silik to frame the crew for the destruction of the Paraagan II mining colony. Fortunately, Daniels gave them more technology to prove their innocence. But the Cabal’s sugar demon didn’t take kindly to the balance of powerful interference and sent his yellow-eyed lackeys to fetch Archer instead.
With numerous cell ships surrounding the Enterprise NX, Silik ordered Archer to board his stealth ship. However, Daniels and his posse whisked Archer nine hundred years into the future. A future just as devastated as the colony. Silik was going crazy trying to find him. And he couldn’t contact his master. He didn’t know the timeline had changed with Archer’s disappearance. So he tortured Sub-Commander T’Pol to calm his nerves.
Meanwhile Archer and Daniels, after making the biggest mistake in time travel history, ingeniously made a temporal viewscreen resembling Specter’s view into hell, from scrap circuitry and rocks. Then they contacted T’Pol who languished in brief respites from Silik’s torment. But because the Vulcan Science Directorate determined that time travel was impossible, she ignored their frantic calls for help.
Yet deciding to suspend belief, T’Pol instituted Archer’s plan to retrieve one of Daniels’ many future toys. Of course, Silik succumbing to his fetish for gadgetry, immediately confiscated it to contact the devil. Experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms after being without Specter’s comfort for so long, he no longer cared about the fate of the Enterprise NX.
So, the crew faked a reactor breach while he was summoning Lucifer. To Silik’s eternal chagrin, Archer used his addiction against him, and the tech toy called forth Archer instead. Who, imminently glad to see him, shouted. “You’re an ugly bastard! You try shape-shifting on me or pulling one of your chameleon routines and I promise you, Silik, I’ll blow your head off!” And desperate to get back to his ship, he dragged Silik’s carcass until he called off the attacking cell ships pursuing the Enterprise.
Archer met Silik once more in yet another temporal incursion, this time in the past. However, on this occasion enlightened self-interest made Silik an ally. And after actually helping to prevent a temporal catastrophe, he mercifully died. Thereby, restoring Archer’s confidence in himself and humanity.
Next, we will journey forward two centuries to discuss shapeshifters who also meddled in our past. But with this, we return to the examination of another kind of carnivorous shifter whose appetite is not for salt but extends to our very essence. Maybe even the soul itself. The Devidians.
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Beck, Stephen. Finch, Tim. “Cold Front.” Star Trek: Enterprise. Paramount Television. 28 November 2001. Television. Retrieved: http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Cold_Front_(episode)
Braga, Brannon. Berman, Rick “Shockwave.” Star Trek: Enterprise. Paramount Television. 23 May 2002. Television. Retrieved: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shockwave_(Star_Trek:_Enterprise)
Braga, Brannon. Berman, Rick “Shockwave, Part II.” Star Trek: Enterprise. Paramount Television. 18 September 2002. Television. Retrieved: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shockwave_(Star_Trek:_Enterprise)