Arik Soong was a brilliant doctor of genetics in the 22nd century. He believed that Humanity's abandonment of genetic engineering after the Eugenics Wars was a mistake, and hoped to show that genetically engineered Humans would not necessarily become tyrants like Khan Noonien Singh. He argued that the source of the problem wasn't, in fact, the technology, but Humanity's own inability to use it wisely.
Soong was the senior medical director at Cold Station 12 in the 2130s. While there, he stole a group of Augment embryos, raising them on Trialas IV. He traded for goods and supplies with the Orion Syndicate so he could provide for his "children," but he was captured ten years later in 2144, and imprisoned.
In 2154, Dr. Soong was "recruited" by Captain Jonathan Archer of the Enterprise NX-01 to help capture his children, who had hijacked a Klingon Bird-of-Prey and killed its crew. When Captain Archer arrived at his detainment cell, Dr. Soong demonstrated his genius. Among the reams of paper on the floor and those pinned to the walls of his prison, all regarding DNA sequences, he highlighted research on modification of the T-cell that would cure Sharat Syndrome as well as work toward a five percent increase to the Human visual spectrum. Soong explained he was not allowed standard record-keeping equipment, since he was able to modify a simple PADD to open every lock in the prison. Apparently, he would make such astounding discoveries in genetic engineering only to have the papers destroyed by the guards.
When Enterprise was attacked by Orion interceptors, the Orions abducted nine of Enterprise's crewmembers, including Commander T'Pol. The crewmembers were taken to Verex III, to an Orion processing station where they were auctioned off as slaves. Soong was able to lead the starship to Verex III, where he used an old authorization code so Archer could enter the auction area. He helped Archer in freeing the prisoners by deactivating their neurolytic restraints. During the chaos that followed the freeing of the crewmembers, Soong attempted to escape by deactivating a subdermal transponder he had implanted in him, but he was eventually recaptured by Archer.
When the Augments came to talk to Enterprise, the Augment Malik took Archer hostage as the rest of the Augments broke into Enterprise's brig and released Soong. Soong escaped Archer's custody and began his work with the Augments once again. (ENT: "Borderland") Soong led the Augments to Cold Station 12, which held about 1,800 Augment embryos left over from the Eugenics Wars. He gave orders to the Augments that the capture of the station and freeing of the embryos was to be done without any killing.
Although Soong was considered a father to the Augments, he and Malik, the leader of the Augments, did not see eye-to-eye concerning the use of force. When Malik killed one of the station's personnel to get the codes to open the embryo chamber, Soong was shocked. (ENT: "Cold Station 12") Soong's relationship with Malik became increasingly hostile, and Malik began to question Soong's leadership. Soong found out that the Augments intended to fire torpedoes loaded with pathogens stolen from Cold Station 12 at a Klingon colony, which they hoped would start a war between the Klingons and Humans. Conversely, Malik was upset to discover that Soong had decided to manipulate the DNA of the embryos to make them less violent. Malik removed Soong from command and had him confined to quarters.
With the help of Persis, another one of the Augments, Soong left the ship in an escape pod and was retrieved by Enterprise. Not wishing to see his children commit mass murder, he assisted Captain Archer in stopping the Augments. Afterward, Malik destroyed the Bird-of-Prey, but not before covertly beaming aboard Enterprise and attempting to kill Soong, but Archer managed to shoot Malik through the torso with a particle rifle.
Soong was returned to prison to serve out his sentence, and gave up his work with genetics, which Archer told him had actually been stored for posterity, deciding instead to embark on other studies, this time concentrating on artificial life. (ENT: "The Augments")
In late 2154, the Klingons encountered a crisis when they attempted to create Klingon augments by using Augment DNA left over from an Augment attack on, and destruction of, the stolen Klingon Bird-of-Prey. A plan to kidnap Soong was abandoned when the Klingons discovered that he was too heavily guarded. (ENT: "Affliction")
Arik Soong was played by Brent Spiner, best known for playing Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Comments by production staff (and the casting of Spiner) indicated that Arik Soong was intended to be the great-grandfather of Noonian Soong, Data's creator (also played by Spiner). This is supported by Arik Soong's comment about cybernetics, when he said that developing an artificial lifeform "might take a generation or two." While writing his notes, it can be noted that Arik Soong is left-handed, just like his great-grandson, and his android creations.