The Shedai were an ancient and powerful civilization that flourished circa 100,000 B.C., when they ruled over the area of space now known as the Taurus Reach. (VAN novel: Harbinger, TNG novel: The Buried Age)
The Shedai were not confined to a single body, and were able to transverse the space in between worlds instantaneously by means of a technology known as "the Conduit." The Shedai apparently shared a master/slave relationship with the prehistoric ancestors of the Tholian species, who they called "Kollotuul." The two races had certain similarities in their genetic structures, allowing the Shedai direct mind-control over the lower species.
At some point in the distant past, most of the Shedai went into a state of hibernation, to await a new era where they could rule anew.
In 2265, Starfleet's discovery and investigation into the mysterious Taurus meta-genome — actually the remains of ancient Shedai technology — caught the attention of the Shedai known as the Wanderer. The Wanderer, in the form of black obsidian sentinels, massacred Starfleet forces at the worlds of Ravanar IV and Erilon, as well as Klingon forces at Palgrenax, before deciding she had to awaken the rest of her people in order to deal with the encroaching species.
Most of the awakened Shedai agreed that the aliens in the Taurus Reach must be destroyed, and on the word of the Shedai Maker launched an assault on the Human and Klingon colonists on Gamma Tauri IV in 2266. In order to contain the Shedai on Gamma Tauri, Starfleet Commodore Diego Reyes ordered the starship USS Endeavour (subsequently joined by accompanying Klingon forces) to execute General Order 24, and destroy all life on the surface of the planet with a sustained photon torpedo bombardment.
Meanwhile, on the Shedai "First World" of Jinoteur IV, a Starfleet officer named Vanessa Theriault made first contact with the Shedai known as the Shedai Apostate. The Apostate disagreed with the course of action taken by his race, and destroyed the Shedai Conduit system. This robbed the Shedai of their means of interstellar travel and curtailed their threat to other species, as well as causing the entire Jinoteur system to blink out of existence. The Apostate was believed lost with the Jinoteur system. (VAN novels: Harbinger, Summon the Thunder, Reap the Whirlwind)
The Shedai "metagenome" finally resurfaced again in 2381. Its data was covertly supplied by the Tholians to Andorian scientists seeking to solve that species' breeding-problems. The Tholians' intent was to further aggravate relations between Andor and the Federation, resulting in the former's secession. Julian Bashir was able to use the Shedai metagenome to solve the Andorian problem. (ST - Typhon Pact novel: Paths of Disharmony, ST - The Fall novel: A Ceremony of Losses)
The Shedai metagenome was the inspiration for the Federation's ill-fated Project Genesis, with Doctor Carol Marcus using data collected during her stint aboard Vanguard Station in the late 2260s to later develop the Project Genesis subroutines and infrastructural matrix-protocols. (ST - Typhon Pact novel: Paths of Disharmony)
By 2277, the Terran Empire had discovered many Shedai artifacts in the Taurus Reach, and had imprisoned the Shedai Wanderer on Imperial Starbase 47. In that year, the Wanderer was intentionally released from its prison by Terran insurgents opposed to Imperial rule, and destroyed the starbase. (Mirror Universe short story: "The Black Flag")
The following are examples of known Shedai terms:
- kollotaan – The Tholians of modern times;
- kollotuul – The Tholians of ancient times, when the Shedai ruled the area now known as the Taurus Reach;
- serrataal -– The "Enumerated Ones," a subgroup of the Shedai race; and:
- telinaruul – Subject species in general.