The Sheliak are a reclusive, non-humanoid species encountered by the Federation during the 23rd Century. After negotiating a complicated and exhaustive treaty with the Federation, the Sheliak avoided any further contact for 111 years, until the Tau Cygna V incident forced them to demand the removal of an illegal human colony. Federation scholars were never able to decipher the Sheliak language, but the Sheliak easily learned several Federation languages. They are a rigorously legalistic and exacting species that considers human beings to be inferior lifeforms. Their species-political organization is called the ‘Sheliak Corporate’, suggesting a goal-oriented cooperative structure. Ship commanders are ‘Directors of the Membership’, first among equals with clearly defined roles and obligations.

Physically, the Sheliak are roughly T-shaped with a stocky central body and two ovoid projections, sort of like stubby wings, on either side. They possess a featureless head-like projection at the top of their torsos. They have no observable limbs or manipulatory appendages. Their skin is grayish with sparkling highlights and has numerous folds or creases in its surface. A pronounced rippling motion is observable when they address humanoid beings, suggesting that at least part of their own language is gestural.

The Sheliak inhabit only Class H worlds, like Tau Cygna V, and have a tolerance or perhaps dependence for hyperonic radiation of the the type that makes Tau Cygna V unsuitable for human habitation.

  • Fitness 2(5)
    • Vitality +1
  • Coordination 1(4)
  • Intellect 3(6)
  • Presence 2(5)
    • Empathy -2
  • Psi 0(5)
  • Force 0(5)
  • Essence 0(5)
  • Culture: Sheliak 2(3)
  • History: Sheliak 1(2)
  • World Knowledge: Sheliak Homeworld 1(2)
  • Law: Sheliak (UFP Treaty) 2(3)
  • Science: Life (Biotechnology) 1(2)
Typical Traits
  • Language: Sheliak (Fluent/R/W) (+4)
  • Enhanced Vision (+2)
  • Excellent Chemoreception (+1)
  • Multi-Tasking (+2)
  • Eidetic Memory (+3)
  • Physical Impairment (+0)
    • Sheliak do not possess humanoid forms, so many types of action that are common for humanoids are impossible for the Sheliak. They do not acquire Acrobatic or Dodge skills at all.
  • Intolerant: Humanoids (-3)
  • Code of Honor: Legal Matters (-2)

The Sheliak use their prehensile outer membrane as a manipulatory organ, forming gripping surfaces at any point necessary along their bodies. The ovoid projections at their ‘shoulders’ are used in reproduction, linking one to another, often in large circles involving many partners (sometimes hundreds or thousands!) Genetic material is passed from one partner to the next around the circle with the individual Sheliak selecting the genetic donation most compatible with its own out of all available pairings. The head-like appendage atop the torso is a sensory organ cluster. The Sheliak brain is spread in loops throughout the torso and is capable of storing far more information, which is more readily accessible, than is normal for humanoid species. Their biomolecular sense allows them to ‘see’ DNA patterns without requiring technological assistance. This has given them a unique understanding of biotechnologies. The Sheliak have a reputation as advanced bioengineers, though limited contact makes this hard to confirm. They may have substantial capabilities for producing, and no ethical limitations on using, biogenic weapons of mass destruction. To the Sheliak, with their alien senses, humanoids appear to be skeletons covered with masses of transparent flesh, spewing out clouds of DNA-fog from every orifice and pore, bizarre and repulsive creatures which they cannot bear to be around. Humanoids contaminate everything they touch with their shed DNA, leaving potentially toxic refuse on everything they touch.

Author’s Notes

The Sheliak appeared only once, in the ‘Ensigns of Command’ ST:TNG episode. Very little was directly revealed about their physiology or culture. Most of the above is purely speculative, designed to portray the Sheliak as implacable and utterly alien creatures.


Star Trek Late Night Deykaras