What if TOS had 900% more central female characters?
(Since I don’t want to stretch your dashboards any more than I have already, I’ve written some thoughts about the characters and the process that went into making the graphics under the cut.)
This AU was inspired by many things seen around Tumblr, but especially this graphic. I wanted as much diversity as possible, so I tried to dig up TOS crewwomen of as varying ethnicities as I could find.
Uhura was the most obvious choice for captain, since she’s the boss anyway. A fun fact is that Prime Uhura was actually on the command track before transferring to the operations division, as evidenced by the yellow uniform she wears in Mudd’s Women and The Corbomite Maneuver. According to the Trek novel The Fire and the Rose, Kirk was not happy with her choice, since he felt that she was throwing away her command abilities and leadership potential. Well, in this AU that potential is realized! :) I always found the TOS command uniforms to be a really drab shade of yellow (and so did Nichelle Nichols, apparently, since she requested that she could have a red uniform instead of the yellow one she wears in those two episodes), so I made them this really saturated shade of lion/saffron yellow instead. By the way, the background of the graphic is the Federation star chart “The Explored Galaxy.”
According to comics, Prime Carol Marcus was a member of Starfleet, so I made her the first officer and science officer of the Enterprise in this AU. Though it was more of an excuse to try out my Photoshop “skills” and splice together at least half convincing younger Carol. I used a promotional TOS Uhura image as a base and attached the head of a younger Bibi Besch to it… after first having colored the black and white photo (since it was the only one I could find). Such fun.
Charlene Masters is probably the only good thing that came out of the dreadful episode The Alternative Factor. Though she wears science blues in it, she seems to have primarily engineering duties, which is why I decided to make her the chief engineer.
Making Chapel the CMO was a no-brainer. I’ve given her the same rank McCoy had in TOS, but since he didn’t have the rank braids in his medical tunic (the short-sleeved one), I didn’t Photoshop them into Chapel’s sleeves either. They would of course be present in the standard female duty uniform which she, I imagine, wears on away missions and such.
Rahda appeared only in That Which Survives. The bindi on her forehead and her name (which is similar to the the Sanskrit Radha ‘success’) suggest a South Asian descent, though she was played by a white actor in brownface. In this day and age I fully expect that an actor of said descent would be chosen for the role, but I didn’t want to leave Rahda out just because of the stupid 60s casting practices. I think there’s a lot to admire about her character: her calm dignity (just look at how she handles Spock being, shall we say, more Vulcan than usual), her grace under fire, and the fact that she’s the first female pilot on the show. (The first who’s in command division, in any case. Janice Rand did briefly pilot the Enterprise in The Naked Time.) I also love that Rahda is a little older than most of the other crewwomen we see – it would be interesting to explore how the age difference might affect the interpersonal relationships on board.
Yeoman Tamura is another one-off character, seen in A Taste of Armageddon. In Trek literature she is given the first name Keiko. Making her an ensign and a communications officer is a nod to Star Trek: Enterprise, in which ensign Hoshi Sato is Enterprise NX-01’s comm officer. I imagine Hoshi could have been a role model for Tamura, inspiring her to join Starfleet.
I’ve always had something of a soft spot for Yeoman Zahra from Operation — Annihilate! In the reboot Trek comics she has the rank of lieutenant and is often depicted as having security duties, so in this AU I made her the chief of security. She doesn’t have a last name (or a first name?) neither in TOS nor the reboot comics, but “Jamal” seems to be a rather widespread candidate – I’m not sure where it comes from originally, maybe the books? (EDIT: I did some digging and found a bit more info about the name.) Anyway, I like it, doubly so because the meaning of her full name would then be “brilliant beauty” in Arabic. I imagine Zahra as this deceptively delicate and feminine looking character with tough-as-nails personality who can kick your ass from here to Beta Antares if you give her any reason to. She’s also the ship’s weapons expert.
I just really wanted to see Janice Rand in command yellow, which is why I made her the navigator. Plus, in the books her parents were explorers and she spent most of her early life aboard ships and space stations, so I imagine that might have left her with a desire to navigate the stars herself.
Marlena Moreau is someone I wish we could have seen more of in TOS. Her mirror version was apparently a chemist (she said they had to clean up the chem lab after the ion storm in Mirror, Mirror), so I imagine her prime universe version was one too. (That is the reason for the not-so-subtle periodic table of elements in the background. :) She is the first in line to assume the duties of science officer when Carol has first officer business to attend to or is otherwise unavailable.
If this AU ever inspires you to write/draw/graphic/what-have-you anything, send me a message – I’d love to see your interpretations!