Section 31
UniverseStar Trek
In-universe information
TypeAutonomous intelligence and counter-intelligence agency
FoundedPrior to 2151
LocationAlpha and Beta Quadrants
Key people
  • Harris (2150s)
  • Philippa Georgiou (2250s)
  • Leland (2250s)
  • Luther Sloan (2370s)
PurposeDefend the United Federation of Planets by any means necessary.
TechnologiesClassified Federation technologies

Section 31, in the fictional universe of Star Trek, is an autonomous intelligence and defense organization that carries out covert operations for the United Federation of Planets. Created by Ira Steven Behr for the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Inquisition", the organization was intended to act as a counterbalance to the utopian portrayal of the Federation.[1]

Section 31 settings and characters have appeared in dozens of episodes, novels and comics.[2]: 551  In 2019, CBS announced a new series was in development about Section 31, starring Michelle Yeoh.[3] However, this has since been changed to a movie to be streamed on Paramount+.[4][5]


Ira Steven Behr was inspired by a line of dialogue from Deep Space Nine episode "The Maquis" spoken by Commander Benjamin Sisko: "It's easy to be a saint in paradise." Behr said in the 1999 reference companion to the series, "Why is Earth a paradise in the twenty-fourth century? Well, maybe it's because there's someone watching over it and doing the nasty stuff that no one wants to think about."[2]: 551  He expressed an interest of exploring what life was really like for those living the fictional 24th century, saying "Is it this paradise, or are there, as Harold Pinter said, 'Weasels under the coffee table'."

The name, Section 31, is explained in the story as being taken from the fictional Starfleet Charter: Article 14, Section 31. The article, according to agents, allowed for extraordinary measures to be taken in times of extreme threat.[6] Such measures included malicious sabotage of enemy installations and technology, biological warfare, and preemptive assassination.[7]

According to Ronald D. Moore there was considerable debate on the origin of the organization, in particular on how the organization was formed and how long ago.[8]

Costume designer Bob Blackman chose the black leather costumes worn by Section 31 agents to appear fascistic.[2]: 53  Behr had asked for dark black, severe, hostile looking costumes. In Star Trek: The Human Frontier, Michèle and Duncan Barrett explain that Section 31 agents not wearing Starfleet uniforms or dressing as Federation citizens further enhanced their role as an organization that is not constrained by ethics.[1]


Writer David Weddle said many fans felt Section 31 betrayed the value system created by Gene Roddenberry, while others were indifferent or intrigued. "Fans would get into these long ethical and political arguments, really struggling with issues like that, which was great to see."[9]: 56  Moore replied to criticisms of betrayal saying, "The idea that there's a rogue element within the Federation doing dark deeds outside the normal chain of command is certainly a provocative one."[8]

Actor Jeffrey Combs, who portrayed Weyoun in Deep Space Nine, enjoyed the appearances of Section 31, saying the stories "gave everything a real flair."[10]


In order of appearance:

Actor Character First appearance Notes
William Sadler Luther Sloan "Inquisition"
  • Former Starfleet intelligence who joined Section 31 sometime before 2374.[11]
Dominic Keating Malcolm Reed
  • Tactical officer aboard the Enterprise NX–01 recruited by Section 31 sometime after graduating Starfleet Academy.[12]
Eric Pierpoint Harris "Affliction" ‡
  • A former Starfleet Intelligence officer who ordered Malcolm Reed to sabotage evidence of a Klingon attack.[13]
Noel Clarke Thomas Harewood
  • Destroyed a secret weapons facility in 2259 after his terminally ill daughter was saved by John Harrison.
Benedict Cumberbatch John Harrison
  • Pseudonymous with Khan Noonien Singh.
  • Recruited into Section 31 by Alexander Marcus to assist in the militarization of Starfleet in 2258.
Peter Weller Alexander Marcus
  • Commander-in-Charge of Starfleet until 2259.
  • Recruited John Harrison to assist in the militarization of Starfleet.
Shazad Latif Ash Tyler (human) / Voq (Klingon)
  • As Voq, he was Torchbearer for the Klingon spiritual leader T'Kuvma.[14]
  • He was surgically altered to appear human, and planted aboard the USS Discovery as Ash Tyler, instilled with Tyler's (dominant) consciousness.[15]
  • He briefly served as Torchbearer for High Chancellor L'Rell.[16]
Michelle Yeoh Philippa Georgiou (alternate)
  • "The Wolf Inside"
  • "Point of Light" ‡
Jayne Brook Katrina Cornwell
  • "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry"
  • "The Sounds of Thunder" ‡
  • Starfleet Flag Officer with operational command of Section 31.[19]
Alan van Sprang Leland "Will You Take My Hand?" ‡ (bonus scene)
  • Agent sent to recruit the exiled Emperor Philippa Georgiou.[20]
  • Commander of NCIA-93, a Section 31 starship with cloak capability.[16]
Control (artificial intelligence) "If Memory Serves"
  • Rogue artificial intelligence originally developed by Section 31 on behalf of Starfleet.
  • Originally programmed to conduct threat analysis and research for Starfleet.[16]
  • Coerced the crew of the Discovery into delivering information to it about advanced artificial intelligence.[21]
  • Occupied the body of Leland via some kind of nanotechnology transfer.[22]
Tara Nicodemo Patar (Vulcan)
  • Starfleet Flag Officer, with operational command of Section 31, who was murdered by Control.[21]
  • Her likeness was used by Control to communicate with the crews of Discovery and NCIA-93, and with Admiral Cornwell.
Sonja Sohn Gabrielle Burnham / Red Angel "The Red Angel"
  • Engineer responsible for the development of time travel technology commissioned by Section 31, which was dependent on a quantum time crystal stolen from the Klingon planet Boreth.[23]
  • Burnham was displaced in the future following a Klingon raid on her research facility approximately twenty to twenty-five years before "The Vulcan Hello".[22]
Jack Quaid William Boimler (transporter duplicate)
  • "Kayshon, His Eyes Open"
  • "Crisis Point 2: Paradoxus" ‡
  • Junior grade Lieutenant under William Riker who fakes his death to join Section 31.


Deep Space Nine (1998–99)

Main article: List of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episodes

Enterprise (2005)

Main article: List of Star Trek: Enterprise episodes

Discovery (2018–19)

Main article: List of Star Trek: Discovery episodes

Lower Decks (2020–present)

Main article: Star Trek: Lower Decks § Episodes

Picard (2023)

Main article: Star Trek: Picard (season 3) § Episodes


Tie-in media


Main article: List of Star Trek novels

Section 31 characters appear in the following novels:

Title Author(s) Date ISBN
What You Leave Behind (novelization) Diane Carey June 1999 0-671-03476-6
Hollow Men Una McCormack April 26, 2005 0-7434-9151-3
A Time to Kill David Mack July 27, 2004 0-7434-9177-7
A Time to Heal August 31, 2004 0-7434-9178-5
Collateral Damage October 8, 2019 978-1-9821-1358-2
The Good That Men Do Andy Mangels and Michael A. Martin February 27, 2007 978-0-7434-4001-1
Kobayashi Maru August 26, 2008 978-1-4165-5480-6
Beneath the Raptor's Wing Michael A. Martin October 20, 2009 978-1-4391-0798-0
To Brave the Storm October 25, 2011 978-1-4516-0715-4
A Choice of Futures Christopher L. Bennett June 25, 2013 978-1-4767-0674-0
Patterns of Interference August 29, 2017 978-1-5011-6570-2
Zero Sum Game David Mack October 26, 2010 978-1-4391-6079-4
Raise the Dawn David R. George III June 26, 2012 978-1-4516-4956-7
Plagues of Night May 29, 2013 978-1-4516-4955-0
The Future Begins
  (Corps of Engineers, Book 62)
Steve Mollmann and Michael Schuster April 1, 2006 1-4165-2046-5
A Ceremony of Losses
  (The Fall, Book 3)
David Mack October 29, 2013 978-1-4767-2224-5
Elusive Salvation Dayton Ward April 26, 2016 978-1-5011-1129-7

Section 31 crossover series

Main article: Star Trek: Section 31

Star Trek: Section 31 is a crossover miniseries that includes four thematically linked novels from each of the television series which had aired before 2001, excluding Enterprise.[24] The series was relaunched in 2014 as part of the Deep Space Nine book line.

No. Title Author(s) Date ISBN
1 Rogue
  (The Next Generation)
Andy Mangels and Michael A. Martin May 22, 2001 0-671-77477-8
2 Shadow
Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch 0-671-77478-6
3 Cloak S. D. Perry June 26, 2001 0-671-77471-9
4 Abyss
  (Deep Space Nine)
David Weddle and Jeffrey Lang 0-671-77483-2

Section 31 relaunch series

Novels linked to Deep Space Nine and Next Generation relaunch book lines. The story continues in Collateral Damage (2019), also by David Mack.

Title Author(s) Date ISBN
Disavowed David Mack October 28, 2014 978-1-4767-5308-9
Control March 28, 2017 978-1-5011-5170-5

Graphic novels

All comics published by IDW Publishing.

Collection Issue(s) Date ISBN
The Space Between
  (The Next Generation)
"An Inconvenient Truth" (Part 6) September 25, 2007 978-1-60010-116-8
Year Four: The Enterprise Experiment Part 5 November 18, 2008 978-1-60010-279-0
Mission's End Parts 1 – 5 November 3, 2009 978-1-60010-540-1
Star Trek, Vol. 3 The Return of the Archons, Part 1 November 27, 2012 978-1-61377-515-8
Star Trek, Vol. 6 After Darkness, Parts 1 – 3 November 26, 2013 978-1-61377-796-1
Star Trek, Vol. 7 The Khitomer Conflict, Parts 1 – 4 April 1, 2014 978-1-61377-882-1
Khan Parts 1, 4, and 5 June 3, 2014 978-1-61377-895-1

Star Trek Online

Main article: Star Trek Online

Star Trek Online is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game developed by Cryptic Studios. The game has continued to receive updates which are organized into episodes containing five to seven missions each. All Section 31 missions are introduced by Franklin Drake, a character created for the game.

Episode Missions Available
"Cardassian Struggle" Suspect (removed from game) February 2, 2010 – October 27, 2015
"Specters" Skirmish (Mission 1) October 16, 2010
Traelus System – Satellite Repair (locked mission)
Spin the Wheel (Mission 2) October 23, 2010
What Lies Beneath (Mission 3) October 30, 2010
Everything Old is New (Mission 4) November 6, 2010
Night of the Comet (Mission 5) November 13, 2010
Hearts and Minds (special mission) April 12, 2012
"Romulan Mystery" Empress Sela (Mission 2) January 29, 2015

See also


  1. ^ a b Barrett, Michèle; Barrett, Duncan (2000-12-13). Star Trek: The Human Frontier. New York: Routledge. pp. 65–66. ISBN 978-0-415-92982-0.
  2. ^ a b c Erdmann, Terry J.; Block, Paula M. (August 2000). Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion. New York: Pocket Books. ISBN 978-0-671-50106-8.
  3. ^ Otterson, Joe (2019-01-14). "Michelle Yeoh Standalone 'Star Trek' Series in Development at CBS All Access". Variety. Retrieved 2019-02-08.
  4. ^ a b April 18, Nick Romano; EDT, 2023 at 11:00 AM. "Michelle Yeoh's 'Star Trek' spin-off is now 'Section 31' movie event". web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ a b Otterson, Joe (April 18, 2023). "Paramount+ Greenlights 'Star Trek: Section 31' Film Starring Michelle Yeoh".
  6. ^ Reeves-Stevens, Judith and Garfield (2005-02-25). "Divergence". Star Trek: Enterprise. Season 4. Episode 16. UPN.
  7. ^ Thompson, Bradley; Weddle, David (1999-05-19). "Extreme Measures". Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Season 7. Episode 23. UPN.
  8. ^ a b Moore, Ronald D. (1998-04-13). "Subject: Answers". Retrieved 2019-02-15.
  9. ^ Kaplan, Anna L. (November 1998). Clark, Frederick S. (ed.). "Deep Space Nine Episode Guide". Cinefantastique. Vol. 30, no. 9/10. ISSN 0145-6032.
  10. ^ "Jeffrey Combs". Star Trek: The Magazine. Vol. 1, no. 17. Fabbri Publishing. September 2000. p. 20. ISSN 1523-9195.
  11. ^ "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges". Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Season 7. Episode 16. 1999-03-03. Syndicated.
  12. ^ "Divergence". Star Trek: Enterprise. Season 4. Episode 14. 2005-02-25. UPN.
  13. ^ "Affliction". Star Trek: Enterprise. Season 4. Episode 13. 2005-02-18. UPN.
  14. ^ "The Vulcan Hello". Star Trek: Discovery. Season 1. Episode 1. 2017-09-24. CBS All Access.
  15. ^ "Choose Your Pain". Star Trek: Discovery. Season 1. Episode 5. 2017-10-15. CBS All Access.
  16. ^ a b c "Point of Light". Star Trek: Discovery. Season 2. Episode 3. 2019-01-31. CBS All Access.
  17. ^ "What's Past Is Prologue". Star Trek: Discovery. Season 1. Episode 13. 2018-01-28. CBS All Access.
  18. ^ "Will You Take My Hand?". Star Trek: Discovery. Season 1. Episode 15. 2018-01-28. CBS All Access.
  19. ^ "Saints of Imperfection". Star Trek: Discovery. Season 2. Episode 5. 2019-02-14. CBS All Access.
  20. ^ "Will You Take My Hand? (bonus scene)". Star Trek: Discovery. Season 1. Episode 15. 2018-01-28. CBS All Access.
  21. ^ a b "Project Daedalus". Star Trek: Discovery. Season 2. Episode 9. 2019-03-14. CBS All Access.
  22. ^ a b "Perpetual Infinity". Star Trek: Discovery. Season 10. Episode 11. 2019-03-21. CBS All Access.
  23. ^ "The Red Angel". Star Trek: Discovery. Season 10. Episode 10. 2019-03-21. CBS All Access.
  24. ^ Ayers, Jeff (2006-11-14). Voyages of Imagination: The Star Trek Fiction Companion. New York: Pocket Books. p. 441. ISBN 978-1-4165-0349-1.

Further reading