Guinan is a member of the El-Aurian species.
She was born sometime after the 1600s on the planet El-Auria and lived in the city of Lauresse. During her early one-hundreds, she migrated away from home to travel around the galaxy, paying her way by using her listening skills as a bartender as she lacked the patience to earn psychiatric degrees on all the worlds she visited and was uninterested in sex work. (TLE novel: The Buried Age) She visited the planet Earth on several occasions during her youth, including in 1893, where she met the time-traveling Jean-Luc Picard and Data from 2369. (TNG episode: "Time's Arrow"; ST website: StarTrek.com)
In 1984, Guinan told Gary Seven about the top secret research happening at Da Vinci Research Base in Antarctica, leading to Seven and Khan Noonien Singh undertaking a successful mission to stop the research. (TOS novel: The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh, Volume 1)
She was also on Earth in the 1990s. (TOS novel: The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh, Volume 2) An adversary of Q since the 22nd century, and has remained such up until the latter half of the 2300s. (TNG episode: "Q Who")
She had returned to her home world of El-Auria by the mid-23rd century, and was among the refugees when the Borg destroyed it, though she wasn't a witness to the attack. Her young daughter was killed, and a despondent Guinan fled the planet aboard the freighter Lakul. The freighter came into contact with the Nexus, and Guinan, along with 46 others (including Yuriel Tyvan and Tolian Soran), was temporarily transported into that paradise. She was removed by rescuers from the USS Enterprise-B. (TNG movie, novelization & comic adaptation: Generations, TNG episode: "Q Who")
In 2294, Guinan met retired Starfleet Captain Montgomery Scott in a bar in Glasgow, Scotland while she was on Earth; the two shared several rounds of Saurian brandy. She delayed Scott from leaving long enough that he met Matt Franklin, although she did not know the reason at the time. (Star Trek novel: Engines of Destiny)
She drifted through life in the Alpha Quadrant until 2333, when, while living on an outpost on Oblivion, she met a young Jean-Luc Picard. He was able to reach out to her, and they developed a strong relationship. Years later, in 2365, she accepted his offer to live and work on the USS Enterprise-D as hostess of the Ten-Forward lounge. (STA novel: Oblivion, TNG episode: "The Child")
In 2366, new Lt. Reginald Barclay III made such an impression on her (from his superiors, such as Geordi La Forge) that he reminded her of her uncle, Terkim. A sort of "atypical" family member, whose uncommon sense of humor influenced his niece. In four years' time, she was carried by Barclay himself into sickbay from the unbearable strain put on her special, space-time senses brought on by Trelane. (TNG episode: "Hollow Pursuits", TNG novel: Q-Squared)
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On the Enterprise-D
In January 2365, Picard's ship, the USS Enterprise-D, picked up Guinan from Starbase 80, and she subsequently served as hostess at the Ten-Forward lounge until the ship's destruction in 2371. She befriended many of the crew, listening and giving advice. (TNG novel: Fortune's Light, TNG episode: "The Child")
In 2368, Guinan began receiving memories of things she felt she should not actually remember. When the Doctor arrived on the Enterprise and experienced the same problem, Picard brought him to Ten Forward to meet Guinan. They had a familiarity with each other that they shouldn't otherwise have. These memories were due to their abilities to sense disturbances in time, and they realised that the Cybermen had somehow altered history in order to bring their respective universes together and forge an alliance with the Borg. (TNG - Assimilation² comic: "Issue 4")
In 2369, Guinan heard the news that the Enterprise-D had rescued Scott from the USS Jenolen; she considered again offering him Saurian brandy, but decided against it, figuring he was already disoriented enough. (Star Trek novel: Engines of Destiny)
In 2370, the Enterprise rendezvoused with Scott's loaned shuttlecraft, the Goddard; this time, she brought the Saurian brandy, but Scott evaded the opportunity; instead, he was secretly working on a method to go back in time and save his former commanding officer, Captain James T. Kirk. Guinan shared her misgivings with Picard, but too late they discovered Scott had departed the Enterprise and set course for the Arhennius star, intending to gravity slingshot back in time; the Enterprise was forced to follow and found themselves in an alternate timeline where the Borg had taken over a significant amount of the Alpha Quadrant
Although Picard had trusted her instincts, he became frustrated when she could not immediately offer further assistance; in truth, she was withholding information - Earth was completely assimilated, and humans no longer existed in this universe, but her homeworld of El-Auria was untouched by the Borg. A vessel from the universe approached the Enterprise, and the alternate versions of Romulan Commander Tal and Guinan greeted them. The alternate Guinan beamed aboard and spoke with Picard, sharing her false memories of the "normal" timeline, and her relationship with Tal; the two Guinans then spoke, determining the split of time must have been in Earth's twenty-first century.
The alternate Guinan, having had a relationship with Tal for nearly a decade, and having saved his life at least once with her premonitions, was tolerated aboard the D'Zidran. The alternate convinced Tal to speed ahead to Gateway where Guinan spoke with the Guardian of Forever, learning the source of their power - the echo of Guinan within the Nexus linked her through all of time and across universes, but was not enough to give them knowledge of the future, only mysterious feelings of the present.
Meanwhile, as Picard and Kirk attempted to determine how to return the timeline to its proper flow, they suspected that it was Kirk's death that had made the difference. Kirk offered to kill himself, but Guinan insisted that he could not die, and instead must be returned to the Nexus. As the alternate Guinan spoke with the Guardian, all the others went catatonic, until they learned the same knowledge. Picard's Guinan went and apologized to Scott for affecting his life in a significant manner before the Enterprise was able to return Kirk to the energy ribbon, righting the timeline.
The echo of Guinan in the Nexus was at peace knowing that the Collective's attempt to stifle Earth had failed, and eventually they would fall, although she did not know how; there were many things that she did not or did not want to know, but was thankful, since it would leave her in a tedious Q-like existence, and to know that was all as was it should be was enough. (Star Trek novel: Engines of Destiny)
- Johnson is actress Whoopi Goldberg's birth surname.
On the Enterprise-E
Her whereabouts since 2371 have been mostly unknown, though as of 2374, she was living on Earth, and she attended the wedding of William T. Riker and Deanna Troi in 2379. (TNG novel: The Q Continuum, TNG movie: Star Trek: Nemesis)
In early 2380, Guinan officiated Jean-Luc Picard and Beverly Crusher's wedding. By late 2380, at Picard's request, she briefly served as hostess of the lounge aboard the USS Enterprise-E during the third Borg crisis of the year. Although she admitted to a deep-seated fear of the Borg, Picard convinced her that he needed her. Guinan explained that every time she faced the Borg and was victorious, she did so while on a starship Enterprise. Jasminder Choudhury suggested the Guinan simply wanted support from a friend following the recent Borg attack on Earth, which Guinan mused could be true. At the conclusion of the mission, and motivated by her belief that she could best serve her dear friend by letting him face his problems without her, she disembarked from the Enterprise, but promised to visit when Picard's baby (with new wife Beverly Crusher) was born. (TNG novel: Greater Than the Sum)
After the Enterprise
As of 2382, Guinan had agreed to become the bartender aboard the Starfleet Corps of Engineers vessel USS Challenger as she felt that she had a stake to be aboard the ship during its mission. While on the Challenger, Guinan participated in the mission to restore the derelict Intrepid where she was reintroduced to Berlinghoff Rasmussen. Guinan would remain aboard the Challenger following its transfer to her friend Geordi La Forge. In 2383 Guinan revealed to La Forge that she had flashes of events happening both in the past, present, and future due to her time in the Nexus and she knew that she was instrumental in the investigation of trans-slipstream. Through Guinan, the Challenger crew was able to communicate with the creatures who were capable of trans-slipstream flight. Guinan was also confronted by Sela and helped her to make amends with her origins as the daughter of Tasha Yar. When the Challenger was destroyed, Guinan decided to visit Romulus after being given a visa by Sela and hoped to become bartender for the Romulan Senate. (TNG novel: Indistinguishable from Magic)
In an alternate reality in which the Klingons conquered the Federation, Guinan was a resistance member and Picard's lover. (TNG - Myriad Universes comics: "Do Not Close Your Eyes", "No Cure For That", "What Happens Now", "Inevitability")