Starlog 10: The U.S.S. Enterprise as a Character

Check out this post if you haven’t read about the Star Trek course I’m taking yet!

In what ways does the U.S.S. Enterprise function as a character, not just a vehicle in Star Trek? Does “she” have a personality? Do the other ships in the Star Trek universe have the same level of character development?

I think the Enterprise is absolutely a character in the Star Trek franchise, and one of my favorites! The human and alien characters interact with it as a tool, not only to carry them around but also to help them meet the challenges of exploring new worlds and going where no one has gone before. The show simply wouldn’t be the same without it.

The scene that really makes this hit home for me is when the saucer section crash lands in Generations. It’s an absolutely cringe-worthy scene for anyone who loves Trek.

I think this can also be seen in episodes revolving around the holodeck, which sometimes seems to have a life of its own.

I don’t think the other ships have quite the level of character development that the Enterprise does. There’s a history behind her, showing that ships have carried that name for centuries and that they will continue to do so. She was specifically developed to be something different than the typical rocket ship that was usually seen in sci-fi, a ship that wasn’t even meant to land.

While giving her Majel Barrett’s voice doesn’t inherently give her a personality, I have to think about Alexa. She sits in my kitchen, answering questions and setting timers. She doesn’t have a personality the same way another human would, but I do think having a voice makes Alexa seem more realistic and connectable than, say, a Google search bar.

In a discussion group, someone expressed their thought that ships being given a female “character” only served misogynistic ideals for men like Kirk, who would have a wicked woman to blame. I don’t agree, but let’s say for a moment that it’s true. With the progress made with feminism, would this still hold true? Or would a ship having a female character encourage its captain and crew to build more of a connection and a sense of responsibility?

What’s your favorite Star Trek ship? I’d love to know!

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside Detective.  Her short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

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