If it's true that behind every great man is a great woman, then we really must look again with fresh appreciation at Captain James T. Kirk's female counterpart, the woman behind Kirk's chair: Lieutenant Uhura.
Talk about nerves of steel: Uhura was right there on the bridge facing everything the big boys were facing, and she never quailed or faltered. She admitted to being frightened a couple of times, but fear didn't incapacitate her. She was always on the job when she was at her post. She was knocked out of her chair and sent flying every time everybody else was, and she got right back into her chair and got right back to work every single time. When her memory was wiped clean by Nomad in The Changeling she really showed what she was made of by reeducating herself and getting right back to work. Stubborn, determined and dedicated, Uhura confronted awesome and horrifying things with incredible bravery, and did it like a lady.
Uhura is not a guest star, not a one-episode wonder: she was one of the most prominant regular characters - one of the rare, proud few who was always involved in the action. Whether lurking quietly in the background, or flamboyantly demanding our full attention in the foreground, one way or another, she was always there - and always solid as a rock.
Intelligent, beautiful, graceful and powerful, the goddesslike Uhura hovers near the center of the action and serenely observes everything. As communications officer she probably was responsible for knowing everything that's going on all over the ship. Since it would be her job to administrate the ship's BBS (which I certainly suppose they have) she would know who's speaking to who, what chat rooms anybody aboard frequents, and what the hot topics of the day were, therefore she's probably up on all the gossip too.
With her perfectly manicured finger resting lightly right on the hot pulse-point of the crew's moods, she could communicate instantly to Kirk with a word or a look what the rest of his people were feeling, and I'm sure she often did. Kirk has to make decisions that effect everyone aboard *and* everyone everywhere who is depending on them, and he sometimes has to make a huge decision fast. He's got a lot on his plate: he doesn't really have time to keep up with all that his people are thinking and feeling, but Uhura does, and I'm sure it's an important part of her full time job.
Uhura is the perfect gal for that job, because she gets along beautifully with everybody. With her smooth, warm, gently modulated voice and calm demeanor she'd make an excellent mediator in disputes. Soothing and persuasive, she's able to convince even the prickly and aloof Mr. Spock to strum his Vulcan lyre and accompany her as she entertains their shipmates with song. Heck, he even lent her his lyre, and apparently even taught her to play it!
In Mantrap, the salt vampire adopts the form of a handsome black crewman to entice her, but because she doesn't recognize him she is instantly suspicious, in spite of the creature's overpowering allure. She MUST know everyone aboard the ship, by name, rank, section, shift, nick name and BBS nick. NN played that beautifully, walking hesitantly nearer like a wary doe approaching a farmer's truck patch, as if she knows it must be dangerous. Not just "Who is this handsome stranger?" but "Who the hell IS this guy!?".
Uhura was more than the communications specialist, she could also pilot the vessel. She had the conn whenever the other main characters had to all be somewhere else, but she wasn't always left behind to run the ship: she went ashore with the landing party more than once. In one episode we saw her climb under the console to make repairs, so she was an electrician, too.
Uhura was a boldly confident show-off when she was on her own time. She loved to entertain her shipmates by singing for them. She also learned to play Spock's Vulcan lyre. She's a woman who would speak her mind without hesitation - brazenly chastizing Spock in Mantrap, for example, or unashamedly admitting that she was afraid, to Kirk, in City On The Edge Of Forever.
Uhura, an amazon with an iron will and silken manner, had little trouble convincing her "mirror universe" shipmates that she was the real deal. She devastated the evil mirror Sulu using unleashed sex appeal and an unsheathed dagger, with perfect aplomb, then slipped easily back into her comparatively domesticated regular universe persona without stirring a hair or breaking a sweat. In Gamesters Of Triskelion, her firmly decisive answer to Laars the drill-thrall when he tried to force himself on her was to slap him so hard that he probably lost a tooth. He got the message! Hey, hey, Uhura! You GO GIRL!
Plus, she wore red throughout the whole series and DIDN'T DIE! Even Scotty can't say that!
Lt. Uhura is arguably the empress of TOS: the jewel in the crown of the bridge crew. Dignified, beautiful, appealing, SEXY, emotionally mature, multi-talented, courageous, dedicated, intelligent, respectable, competent, unfailingly dependable, loyal to the bone, cool-headed and warm-hearted with a spine of steel, she exemplifies the best of the Star Trek women.
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