Sela was born on Romulus in the year 2345 and grew up in her father's private compound on Romulus's surface. In 2349, when she was four years old, her mother tried to sneak her out of the compound and back to Federation space. Sela, not wanting to be separated from her beloved father and the only life she ever knew, cried out for the guards who captured Tasha, who was then executed in front of Sela. This led Sela to believe that her humanity was a weakness that would be her downfall and stood by this belief all her life. (TNG episode: "Redemption")
By the late 24th century, she had enlisted in the Romulan Star Empire's military forces. While in training, she befriended one of the instructors, Saket, who became her mentor and taught her what it took to become a competent soldier, a good leader, and an expert tactician. It is presumed because of her dominant human features that she suffered racial insults while in training but was able to get through the difficult times with brute force, leading her to adopt a cold and angry attitude to everything. (TNG novel: Triangle: Imzadi II)
Encounters with the Federation
She reached the rank of commander by 2367 and was influential in the Senate and military councils. Given a high-profile mission to destroy the Klingon Empire by any means necessary, Sela initially tried to have an influential Klingon governor who was hostile to the Federation named Vagh assassinated. This would have inevitably led to war as it would confirm Vagh's anti-Federation opinions, especially if the influential Klingon Ambassador Kell (a Romulan collaborator) vouched for him in his memory. To this end, she intercepted the shuttlecraft commanded by Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge and brainwashed him to become Kell's unwilling assassin;fortunately, the plan failed when Lieutenant Commander Data realized the plot and warned Vagh in time to stop Geordi. While Vagh was saved (and now convinced of the Federation's good intentions), Kell was arrested and later executed.(TNG episode: "The Mind's Eye")
Shortly thereafter, Sela then sought to use the Klingons' own political instability to her advantage in the wake of the deaths of K'mpec and Duras, son of Ja'rod. Aided by the surviving members of the House of Duras, Lursa, B'Etor and Toral (Duras's illegitimate son), she plotted to unleash a civil war that would consume the Empire and leave the Federation's position weakened without Klingon military support. Using Toral as their puppet, Lursa and B'Etor challenged Gowron's claim to the chancellorship, since women could not serve on the High Council according to Klingon law. Although the Arbiter of Succession, Jean-Luc Picard, ruled that Toral's claim was invalid, the Duras family's influence was still powerful enough to convince almost half of the Council to rally behind their banner. The conflict quickly spread throughout Klingon space, with ships loyal to the Duras family winning almost every engagement. However, the Federation, convinced by Picard that the Duras forces were receiving outside support, sent a fleet to blockade the Klingon-Romulan border and choke off the supply chain. The civil war ended in favor of Federation-supportive forces under Gowron, effectively destroying any remaining influence the Duras family had in Klingon politics and turning Lursa and B'Etor into wanted renegades. (TNG episode: "Redemption")
With the failure of her latest mission, Sela conspired with Proconsul Neral and Senator Pardek to invade Vulcan. She arranged with multiple criminals (such as Omag) to steal three Vulcan transports and use them to ferry 2000 Romulan troops to Vulcan (all of them on loan from the Senate). Thwarted by Picard, Data, and Romulan dissidents led by Ambassador Spock, she was forced to cover up any Romulan involvement in the attempted invasion, ordering a warbird to destroy the transports before the troops could be interrogated by the crew of the USS Enterprise-D. (TNG episode: "Unification")
Fall from Grace
The failure to sway the events of the Klingon civil war to an outcome favorable to the Star Empire and the ill-fated attempt to conquer Vulcan resulted in Sela falling out of favor with the Senate, and a corresponding loss of influence among her fellow officers. Matters were made worse when she was reassigned as commander of the IRW N'ventnar, an old, B-Type warbird that she regarded as something of an embarrassment.
Offered a chance to redeem herself in the eyes of her people, a few years later Sela accepted a mission to recruit the Elohsians into the Empire. Seeing that the Elohsians' homeworld was located on the border of the Neutral Zone, she felt that the planet would make an ideal staging area for spying on Federation territory. The assignment went even better than she could have hoped for. With the Elohsians formally becoming part of the Empire, she humiliated Picard in public and exposed the ineptness of the Tal Shiar, leading to the agency's many enemies to rally around Sela and pledge their allegiance to her. Upon her return to Romulus, Sela found herself in a far better position than ever before, with far more influence and power than she had wielded prior to her initial encounter with Picard and his crew. (TNG novel: The Romulan Stratagem)
In 2371, Sela commanded a task force of warbirds into Cardassian space to recover a sample of a lethal virus created by the Redeemers, which was held by her old ally Saket (now imprisoned by the Cardassians in a labor camp on Lazon II), and use it to launch a secret biological attack on the Klingon homeworld of Qo'noS. Leading the assault personally, she destroyed much of the camp's defenses in a stolen Federation Peregrine-class fighter before abandoning it and beaming down to the surface. Finding Saket with a new friend, ex-Maquis member Thomas Riker, she took them both with her in the escape, although for most of the time Sela believed that Thomas was in fact, Will Riker. Saket, however, had been injured by one of the camp guards in the escape and died in sickbay, however the mission was a success as the sample was found hidden in an eyeball which Saket had replaced with a false one.
Later, Sela and Riker became lovers, with Sela recruiting him in her plans by tasking him to take what he believed was a sample of poisoned Romulan ale to assassinate Chancellor Gowron. However, her true plan was to release the virus that Saket had hidden, the virus contained in the bottle so that it would be released into the atmosphere when the bottle was opened. To ensure his cooperation, Sela double-crossed Riker, kidnapping Deanna Troi and Alexander Rozhenko from Betazed and holding them hostage on Lintar IV. Unable to bear the thought of anything happening to Troi, he agreed to her demands. However, the attack was foiled when Deep Space 9's security chief, Odo, replaced the bottle with the virus, as well as tipping off Commander Elizabeth Shelby on the USS Excalibur about the hostages' location. With the hostages rescued safely, Riker fled from Starfleet yet again as Sela and her forces retreated, but his actions actually strengthened the Klingon-Federation alliance, Gowron noting that Thomas Riker had been planning to drink what he believed to be poison and argue that he didn't know what was in it before his death. (TNG novel: Triangle: Imzadi II)
After yet another failed attempt to destabilize the Klingon Empire, by 2373 Sela had become an outcast, fleeing underground. While piloting a one-man shuttlecraft over a remote planet, Sela was shot down by its ninja-like inhabitants, the Bodai Shin. Her old nemesis, Picard, was also stranded and they were forced to work together to escape alive. They soon parted ways after this. (TNG - The Killing Shadows comic:)
Somehow regaining her command by late 2375, she led several warbirds to Sector 221-G and attacked the USS Independence. The ship was quickly destroyed by the warbirds, but many of the crew escaped via escape pods. Sela ordered the escape pods destroyed, and many were, before the USS Excalibur arrived and drove her ships away. (TNG - Double Helix novel: Double or Nothing)
- When Sela was last seen in Double or Nothing she was in Starfleet custody and comatose. No explanation was given for her subsequent appearances in Armada and Death in Winter.
In 2376, Sela's new allies arranged to have her promoted to admiral, which led to high-profile projects and command of newer, more capable vessels. At the request of Jal Par, an agent of the Tal Shiar, she was sent with a fleet to capture a recently discovered Omega molecule from the Ferengi and Cardassians and deliver it to a secret research facility. The raid was a success, (through a combination of Ferengi greed for dilithium and the Cardassians' weakened military) and Sela's fleet destroyed countless Klingon patrol ships and invading Borg cubes before escaping through a wormhole to the facility, ensuring the safe delivery of the cargo. Contacting the Borg, she manipulated their belief in the molecule being "perfection itself", further manipulating the Borg into eliminating another threat to the Romulan Empire by destroying Toral's faction in the new Klingon Civil War in exchange for the molecule. After the Borg finished destroying his bases and ships (killing Toral as well), the weakened Borg were then double-crossed and destroyed by Sela, temporarily ending the Borg threat to the Romulan Empire (unfortunately the molecule was later captured by the Borg after they learned where it was being kept by the now-assimilated Jal Par). Sela then served as the Romulan Empire's representative during the negotiations to form the Alliance against the Borg invasion. (TNG video game: Armada)
In 2379, during the power vacuum created by the demise of Praetor Shinzon (whose coup d'état served to cripple the Empire and resulted in the deaths of the entire Romulan Senate), Sela became a personal agent of the new Praetor, Tal'Aura, though she had to accept a demotion back to Commander.
In the days following Shinzon's coup, the Romulan Empire faced a myriad of challenges, the most unexpected of which originated from their farthest outer subject worlds. These worlds were critical components of the Empire's economy, and their native populations had long been dissatisfied with their treatment under Romulan rule, making minor attempts at rebellion and secession over the years. After the coup, the natives began taking their objections to the streets and openly challenging Imperial authority. Soon, their continued submission to Romulus was in jeopardy, and Tal'Aura had a growing list of rebellions to deal with.
As a result, Sela (whom Tal'Aura referred to as "the half-blood"), her best operative, was sent to the frozen planet of Kevratas, which was located on the fringe of Romulan territory and possessing the strongest area of rebellion activity. Due to her own experiences, however, Tal'Aura also sent a second operative and veteran spy, Manathas, to Kevratas without Sela's knowledge. Nevertheless, Tal'Aura was confident that Sela would succeed in her mission against the "crude" rebels, since Sela had performed many such errands in the name of the Praetor's predecessors, gaining a reputation for her cold and ruthless efficiency.
Somehow, Sela received word that a Federation scientist, Doctor Beverly Crusher, was meeting with the rebels on Kevratas. Knowing of Crusher's longtime affiliation with Picard and seeing an opportunity to avenge her past defeats at the hands of Picard and his crew, she personally led a squad of soldiers that successfully trapped and captured Crusher, faking her death in the process. However, Picard did not accept this, and mounted a rescue with the aid of his old shipmates Pug Joseph and Doctor Carter Greyhorse. Following the incident, Tal'Aura ordered Sela to remain on Kevratas for the time being, monitoring the tenuous situation along the empire's border worlds. (TNG novel: Death in Winter)
In 2384, after word got out about Sela's involvement in the plot to obtain slipstream technology from the Federation - a plot which led to the destruction of Deep Space 9 - she was placed under arrest by Praetor Kamemor. During a confrontation in Sela's cell, Sela argued that everything she had done was in the name of ensuring Romulan supremacy, but Kamemor noted that Sela's desire to ensure Romulan supremacy had actually put them in more danger than if she had done nothing. Rather then be extradited to the Federation for trial, Sela then committed suicide in her cell. (ST - Typhon Pact novel: Raise the Dawn)
Accused of attempting to assassinate the head of the Tal Shiar in 2386, Sela was found guilty of treason by the Senate, although no evidence was brought forward at her subsequent trial. As Sela faced execution, Donatra, her main political rival, intervened in the matter on Sela's behalf. Despite being unsuccessful at dropping the charges, Donatra convinced the Senate to reduce Sela's sentence from that of execution to one of exile. Quietly accepting her last-minute reprieve, Sela took a small fleet of ships and set a course for the Delta Quadrant. During the Hobus supernova event a year later, Klingon long-range sensors detected her fleet passing the Beta Stromgren supernova remnant, continuing into unexplored space.
In 2391, a Federation operative within Sela's fleet reported they had settled on a planet within the Beta Quadrant and had begun mining resources.
The Empire was devastated for many years after the Hobus supernova. In 2402, General Velal demanded that the Senate remove Praetor Taris from office. The vote of no-confidence failed by a slim margin, and Sela allied her forces with Velal and returned to Romulan space. In 2403, they reached Nova Roma and Taris fled the planet. Sela was proclaimed Praetor by acclamation.
In 2404, Sela opened a memorial to the Romulan dead in the ruins of Romulus and began settling disputes between the remaining planets, opening a time of peace the like of which the Empire hadn't seen in years.
She took a more active role in the tumultuous year of 2409, personally traveling in her flagship IRW Leahval to Khitomer for an international summit on whether D'Tan's Romulan Republic should be granted political recognition by the Federation and the Klingon Empire. She declared them terrorists but the other superpowers present at the conference largely ignored her. (STO - From Ashes mission: "Turning Point")
Soon after, the Federation was contacted by Sela in an attempt to rebuild relations with the Romulan Star Empire. Admiral T'nae doubted Sela's peace offering and ordered a Starfleet captain to join in as well. With the aid of a Section 31 operative, the captain learned that Sela held a massive grudge against the Vulcans for the destruction of Romulus and vowed to destroy Vulcan in retaliation. Though her hidden thalaron weapons were destroyed, she still planned to head for Vulcan to raze it. After freeing the delegates, the captain joined T'nae's fleet in stopping the invasion of Vulcan. (STO - Romulan Mystery mission: "Empress Sela")
Later that year she arrived in the Delta Corvi system to personally take the Reman Vrimek into custody. The Virinat Survivor, undercover in the Tal Shiar, was forced to hand Vrimek over or blow their own cover. (STO - In Shadows mission: "Cloak and Dagger")
Sela later traveled to a Tal Shiar base on Brea III to meet with Hakeev. The visit was interrupted by a surprise attack by the Reman Resistance under Obisek and allied forces. Sela left Hakeev to die and engaged the attackers in the Leahval using her cloaking device and thalaron generator, but the ship took severe damage. At that moment an Iconian Obex-class starship appeared through an Iconian gateway set into a nearby asteroid. The Obex ensnared the Leahval in a tractor beam and towed it and Sela back through the gate. (STO - Cloaked Intentions mission: "Cutting the Cord")
Sela's disappearance caused a power vacuum in the Empire, one which a Tal Shiar operative, Subcommander Khiana, secretly attempted to convince D'Tan, Proconsul of the Romulan Republic, to fill. D'Tan flatly rejected the proposal, stating that while he wanted all Romulans to unite, "it can only be done in the light of day." (STO mission: "Hidden Camera")
By 2410, Sela and her crew had been imprisoned in an Iconian installation in the Delta Quadrant. During an assault by the AQA she made a break for it but was apprehended by the Romulan Republic. She was transported home aboard the RRW Lleiset and made available to all three Beta Quadrant nations for interrogation. (STO - The Delta Quadrant mission: "What's Left Behind")
Despite being in Romulan Republic custody, Sela refused to answer questions towards them due to how they were acting. However, before her arraignment, she was able to take control of Gaius Selan and force him to free her. (STO website: "Incident at Mol'Rihan Center")
Sela was later discovered by Lieutenant Commander Kyla VanZyl and a member of the Alpha Quadrant Alliance in the old Tal Shiar base in the Hobus system, attempting to activate the Iconian gateway Taris escaped through. Captured, she convinced them to aid her in trying to find an Iconian gateway to get to a secret base where the Iconians are staging for a massive invasion. Though reluctant, they traveled the Nopada system and Hakeev's old base. Before they could use the gate, VanZyl attacked them and was taken down, revealing she was infected by a Bluegill. After evacuating VanZyl, the group entered the portal, emerging in the Herald Sphere, an Iconian Dyson sphere in the Andromeda Galaxy. There, they discovered Taris and cornered her. Sela accused her of wanting to rule with the Iconians, but Taris said that she wanted the Iconians to go back in time and fix Hobus. Sela called her a fool and knocked her off a cliff, apparently killing her.
Detected by the Iconians, the team ran for the gateway, but Sela was able to slip away while the others were confronted by the Heralds. The Herald Sphere then transported itself into the Iconia system, and the leaders of the Alliance forces agreed to let Sela slip away as the Iconians were now the much bigger threat. (STO - The Iconian War mission: "Uneasy Allies")
During the final battle at Earth Spacedock, Sela returned with a fleet of Dominion ships, succeeding in her quest. She followed Captain Kagran and the AQA member into a time portal, arriving 200,000 years into the past on Iconia. There, she attempted to coerce the other two into keeping with their plan of killing off the Iconians during the invasion. However, they both had a change of heart and sought to protect them. As the Iconians attempted to escape, Sela struck, killing a number and crippling L'Miren. As T'Ket vowed revenge for this, Sela came to realize that everything that happened was her fault, shaking her to the core. As everyone celebrated, Sela began to wonder if she could become a better person. (STO mission: "Midnight")
|Chairmen of the Tal Shiar|
|Jekri Kaleh • unnamed male • Koval • Rehaek • Sela • Tesitera Levat|
|Praetor of the Romulan Star Empire
|Empress of the Romulan Star Empire
|Praetors of the Romulan Star Empire|
|primary universe||Pontilus • Sartorix • Colius • Comilius • D'deridex • Gileus I • Varus III • Karzan • Vrax • Gaius • Aratenik • Dralath • Darok • Narviat • Neral • Hiren • Shinzon • Tal'Aura • Gell Kamemor • Chulan • Taris • Sela|
|the Praetorate||Eveh tr'Anierh • Hloal t’Illialhlae • Ahrm’n tr‘Kiell • Urellh tr'Maehhli • Gurrhim tr'Siedhri|
|judiciary praetor||Hloal t'Illialhlae|
|Kelvin timeline||Bervas • Decius|
|Emperors and Empresses of the Romulan Star Empire|
|Valkis • Vitellius • Valkis XIV • Ael t'Rllaillieu • Shiarkiek • Sela|