I just got back from Hawaii Con, where Kandyse McClure challenged the audience to write a blog post about the 10 smartest women on Star Trek. Never one to back down from a writing challenge, and agreeing that such a thing should exist in the world, I decided to accept that challenge. How hard could it be?
Much later I stumbled home, weary after a day dodging storm troopers and supervillians, hungry from the complete absence of gluten-free food, but determined to complete my list before sinking into my pillow next to a very noisy air conditioner.
It was harder than I thought.
But if the women of Star Trek could persevere through battles with aliens in the hardships of space, then I could at least finish the list. I fortified myself with chocolate and forged on.
There’s a lot of brilliance to go around on Star Trek, and I wanted to make sure that everyone got a fair shake. So, I decided to include candidates from each of the television shows so that the list crossed both time and quadrants. With that in mind, here’s the list, in chronological order:
- Lieutenant Uhura
Lieutenant Uhura is drop-dead brilliant. She’s a linguist, a philologist, and a cryptologist. Unlike everyone else on the ship, she speaks several alien languages. She takes over the navigation, helm, and science stations whenever that’s necessary, too, so she can clearly do most everyone’s job. She doesn’t have Kirk’s bluster, McCoy’s bellicosity, or Spock’s brows , just a quiet rationalism that gets the job done.
- Carol Marcus
Dr. Carol Marcus is one of the leading molecular biologists in the entire freaking universe. She created the Genesis project—capable of instantly terraforming barren planets. She’s basically as close to a science god on the series—creating all life on a planet in a lot less than seven days. And she has to good sense to realize that Captain Kirk is not someone who will settle down and raise a son.
The Next Generation
- Leah Brahms
Dr. Leah Brahms is a master physicist who literally wrote the book(s) on the Enterprise. Her manuals are so important that she’s the first person Commander LaForge calls upon when the Enterprise is stuck in an ancient trap. Even her cutesy hologram is smart enough to save everyone’s lives.
Guinan possesses great wisdom. Her counsel from Ten Forward solves many a thorny problem for the crew. She’s part of a long-lived race, and helps the Enterprise crew when they travel back in time, and even manages to help them when they are caught in the Nexus when she isn’t even there. Most impressively of all, even Q respects her and says there is more to her than can be imagined. All that, and she pours a mean Samarian Sunset.
Deep Space 9
- Lieutenant Commander Jadzia Dax
Jadzia Dax is a Star Fleet Science officer and a joined Trill. Through her symbiont, Dax, she has access to far more wisdom and experience than a human can acquire in a single lifetime. All on her own before that, she earns premiere distinctions (which I’m thinking are like PhDs, but correct me if I’m wrong) in astrophysics, exoarchaeology, exobiology, and zoology. She even discovers the wormhole to Bajor. Plus, she’s handy with a Bat’leth.
- Captain Kathryn Janeway
Kathry Janeway has the toughest job of any Starfleet captain—getting the crew and ship back from the Delta quadrant over the course of many years and adventures. Her wisdom is what keeps everyone going. She was also originally a science officer and often pitches in to repair the ship. In fact, she’s the only scientist we see captaining a Star Fleet vessel in any quadrant.
- Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix 0
Seven of Nine helped to assimilate millions of beings, including entire species, and she has all that knowledge at her command, making her arguably the most intelligent person in the entire Star Trek series (tied, perhaps, with Hugh from TNG, but he is sent back to the Borg). Although she has some trouble fitting in with the Voyager crew, she constantly rescues them. She helped to design the astrometrics lab, which cut years off their voyage, and was able to make it possible for the crew to communicate with the Alpha quadrant for a while. She even brought Neelix back from the dead. Not bad for a little girl who was taken from her family and assimilated by the age of seven.
- All the Borg Queens
Same arguments as for 7 of 9, but even more so.
- Lieutenant B’Elanna Torres
Chakotay describes her as “the best engineer I’ve ever known” and even though she has some disciplinary problems, Captain Janeway quickly promotes her to Chief of Engineering, because there’s no one else on board even close to her. She’s also fierce and strong, working as hard to integrate her Klingon and human sides as Spock does to unite his human and Vulcan halves.
I left this one open, because I haven’t seen this series yet. Who would you put in here?
Now, before I head off to rest up for another hard day of geeking out (this time with a bag lunch), I’m issuing a challenge to you. Who do YOU think should be on this list? And why?