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"I am a nurse first, Doctor McCoy, and a member of the crew of the Enterprise second."

Christine Chapel was a female Human Starfleet officer who lived during the 23rd century. She served in the medical department, a subsection of the sciences division, aboard the USS Enterprise from the late 2250s to the 2270s, before later serving at Starfleet Headquarters during the 2280s.

Early life and career[]

As a child, Chapel owned a Malamute dog named Milo, who "may or may not have" bitten a girl who once called her stupid. (SNW: "Spock Amok")

Chapel once served on the USS Farragut, a ship that her future commanding officer James T. Kirk was also posted to at one time. (SNW: "Memento Mori", "A Quality of Mercy"; TOS: "Obsession")

Chapel participated in the Klingon War. (SNW: "The Broken Circle") She traveled to J'Gal aboard shuttlecraft 12648 where she was assigned as head nurse in the Mobile Combat Surgical Unit. (SNW: "Under the Cloak of War")

Nurse aboard the USS Enterprise[]

Christine Chapel, 2259

Nurse Christine Chapel in early 2259

In 2259, she was on civilian exchange from the Stanford Morehouse Epigenetic Project when she was assigned to the USS Enterprise as a lieutenant commander under Captain Christopher Pike serving as CMO Joseph M'Benga's nurse. In the early days of her assignment, she met Nyota Uhura and Spock for the first time. (SNW: "Strange New Worlds")

During the Enterprise's mission to the Persephone system, Chapel attended a dinner at Captain Pike's cabin.

When an away team consisting of Lieutenant Junior Grade George Samuel Kirk, Lieutenants Spock and La'an Noonien-Singh, and Cadet Uhura was getting prepped to beam down to investigate the comet M'hanit, she inoculated them with a hypospray to prevent them from being exposed to cosmic rays for two hours. After the away team beamed back to the Enterprise, she entered the transporter room to help the injured Lieutenant Kirk. (SNW: "Children of the Comet")

During shore leave on Starbase 1, she supported Spock during his relationship problems with his fiancé T'Pring and helped him when he was trapped in T'Pring's body. (SNW: "Spock Amok")

When the USS Enterprise was hijacked by pirates, Chapel hid in the Jefferies tubes, evaded capture and managed to overpower some of the pirates when she was discovered. However, together with Spock, she was ultimately captured by the pirate Captain Angel, who sought the release of their lover Sybok from the Ankeshtan K'til Retreat by using Spock as leverage. He and Chapel foiled Angel's plans by pretending to be in love with each other and Spock temporarily ending his betrothal to T'Pring. (SNW: "The Serene Squall")

When an alien consciousness from the Jonisian Nebula brought the fairy tale The Kingdom of Elysian to life on the Enterprise, Chapel was used for the character of Lady Audrey, a healer. She didn't remember the events after the ship was returned to normal. (SNW: "The Elysian Kingdom")

When the Enterprise responded to the USS Peregrine distress call, Chapel was part of the away team. (SNW: "All Those Who Wander")

Christine Chapel, 2259

Nurse Christine Chapel in late 2259

Later that year, Chapel was thinking about applying to the Fellowship of Archaeological Medicine. If selected, she would be stationed on Vulcan for three months. She was denied the fellowship but kept applying until she was accepted. (SNW: "The Broken Circle", "Charades", "Subspace Rhapsody")

Like Doctor M'Benga, Chapel was disturbed when Ambassador Dak'Rah boarded the Enterprise. Before becoming a Federation Ambassador, Dak'Rah was a Klingon General during the Klingon War of 2256-57, specifically on J'Gal where Chapel and M'Benga had been stationed. During the Battle of J'Gal, Dak'Rah had ordered the massacre of civilians before M'Benga had killed his three generals in a black ops mission. After M'Benga killed Dak'Rah, supposedly in self-defense, Chapel backed up his story to Pike and Lieutenant La'an Noonien-Singh despite not having seen the whole altercation. (SNW: "Under the Cloak of War")

Training with Roger Korby[]

Chapel on the Cayuga

Chapel aboard the USS Cayuga during the Parnassus Beta incident

Chapel applied to study under Roger Korby in late 2259. Her application was accepted, and she subsequently left the Enterprise, briefly traveling aboard the USS Cayuga. However, the Cayuga was destroyed by the Gorn at Parnassus Beta. Chapel managed to survive the ship's destruction and aided Spock in killing a Gorn and crashing the wrecked saucer section into a Gorn tower on the planet. After returning to the Enterprise, Chapel attempted to treat Captain Marie Batel who had been infected with Gorn eggs. (SNW: "Subspace Rhapsody", "Hegemony")

Chapel and Korby fell in love while she was studying under him and they became engaged. During this time, she became well acquainted with Dr. Brown, Dr. Korby's assistant, whom she affectionately called "Brownie". (TOS: "What Are Little Girls Made Of?")

Starfleet career[]

Identification card, Christine Chapel

Chapel's Starfleet identification card in 2269

Following her fiancé's disappearance on the planet Exo III around 2261, she abandoned a career in bio-research for a position in Starfleet in the hopes that a deep space assignment would one day reunite her with Korby. (TOS: "What Are Little Girls Made Of?")

By 2266, Chapel had officially joined Starfleet. Her serial number was NI-596 MT21Z. (TAS: "Mudd's Passion"; TOS: "What Are Little Girls Made Of?")

Kirk's five-year mission[]

Christine Chapel, 2266

Christine Chapel in 2266

Chapel was once again assigned to the Enterprise, when it was under Captain James T. Kirk from 2266 to 2270, where she served directly under chief medical officer Leonard McCoy. (TOS: "What Are Little Girls Made Of?")

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Chapel assisting McCoy

Chapel assisting McCoy

During her first year, she assisted McCoy with Joe Tormolen's ultimately unsuccessful surgery to repair a damaged intestine, pronouncing him dead. (TOS: "The Naked Time")

On stardate 2712.4, the Enterprise reached Exo III. Korby was found, exploring and exploiting a sophisticated android manufacturing technology, the legacy of a long-dead civilization. Korby had replaced his own damaged body, transplanting his personality into an android replica, and had built himself a beautiful companion, Andrea. After exhibiting his madness, the android Korby was destroyed. Initially, Chapel doubted if she should stay aboard, but she elected to remain with the Enterprise throughout the five-year mission. (TOS: "What Are Little Girls Made Of?")


On stardate 3541.9, Chapel helped re-educate Lieutenant Uhura after the probe Nomad wiped the communications officer's memories. (TOS: "The Changeling")

By 2267, Chapel was sometimes called upon to help other doctors than McCoy, sometimes with him as the patient. She also often was supportive of Dr. McCoy, even when others questioned whether he could be entirely reliable.

On stardate 3478.2, when Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Montgomery Scott, and Lieutenant Arlene Galway contracted a mysterious rapid-aging syndrome on the planet Gamma Hydra IV due to radiation left by a passing comet, Chapel was called upon to help the visiting Dr. Janet Wallace in an effort to help comfort, if not cure, Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scott, and Galway.

Later, when Dr. McCoy, with Spock's help, figured out that it was increased adrenaline levels that had kept Ensign Pavel Chekov from developing the syndrome, Chapel instinctively knew that McCoy would be able to figure out an antidote for the rapid-aging syndrome in time to cure himself, Kirk, Spock, and Scott (Galway had already died). She stood up for McCoy even while that wisdom was questioned by Dr. Wallace and visiting Commodore Stocker, but let it be known that Dr. Wallace could be of great assistance to her and McCoy. Sure enough, Chapel was proven correct out when McCoy did find the antidote in time to save himself, Kirk, Spock, and Scott.

In a half-hearted attempt to mollify Pavel Chekov's disdain at having to submit to yet another round of medical tests, she assured him, "This won't hurt. Much." (TOS: "The Deadly Years")


Chapel applying psychology

Applied psychology in action

She cleverly made use of psychology (and deception) in a house call to Ensign Garrovick's quarters in 2268, attempting to encourage him to eat some dinner. Brandishing a record tape, she claimed it contained McCoy's prescription to "eat", and assured him the doctor would feed him intravenously if he did not comply. In reality, the tape actually contained "A Survey on Cygnian Respiratory Diseases". When she returned it to a box on McCoy's desk, she did not go into details about her reasons for borrowing the tape. (TOS: "Obsession")

In 2268, though, there were times both when Dr. McCoy greatly confused Chapel, as well as when she was put into danger. On stardate 4657.5, Chapel was in the Enterprise sickbay when McCoy and the Kelvan Tomar brought in Spock from the surface of a class M planet where a landing party had met the Kelvans. McCoy told Chapel that Spock was close to dying, though she could tell that wasn't true. This was a ruse by both McCoy and Spock on Kirk's orders, because Kirk wanted them on the ship to help stop the Kelvans from taking the ship to the Andromeda Galaxy, and Spock had put himself into a Vulcan trance to trick the Kelvans into thinking he was truly gravely ill. McCoy had to hint to Chapel to keep quiet. She did take the hint but remained confused. On stardate 4658.9, with the Kelvans still controlling the Enterprise to return to the Andromeda Galaxy, Dr. McCoy complained to Kirk that he had watched four of his best doctors and nurses, including Chapel, be neutralized and reduced into dehydrated porous cuboctahedron solids, the size of a Human fist, composed of their base minerals, which represented the "distilled" essences of their beings. The Kelvans considered them non-essential personnel. Chapel and the other doctors and nurses were reconstituted, after Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Scott, the only four not neutralized, regained control of the Enterprise. (TOS: "By Any Other Name")

On stardate 5029.5, when children from the Starnes Exploration Party were on board the Enterprise, she cared for and entertained them, showing them how they could use cards to order any ice cream they wished from the Enterprise's food synthesizers. She also was the first to notice how the children didn't cry for their recently deceased parents, and reported this observation to Dr. McCoy. (TOS: "And the Children Shall Lead")

Mccoy and Chapel tend Kirk

Chapel and McCoy administer the tri-ox compound to Kirk, in the transporter room after Kirk was rescued from the Defiant.

On two separate occasions, Chapel displayed excellent skills as a lab assistant. On stardate 5693.2, she assisted Dr. McCoy in developing a diluted theragen derivative to cure mental degradation effects caused by an interphase as the Enterprise was passing through Tholian space. She also assisted McCoy by administering the cure throughout the ship and helping him, in the transporter room, in administering the tri-ox compound to Kirk after he was beamed aboard from the USS Defiant. (TOS: "The Tholian Web")

While serving as a nurse, Chapel considered her responsibilities as a member of the medical profession to supersede her role as a subordinate crew member on the Enterprise, even to the point of disobeying an order from her superior, McCoy, whose welfare she was concerned about. (TOS: "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky")

On stardate 5710.5, Chapel assisted Spock and McCoy in synthesizing an agent to counteract hyper-acceleration effects of Scalosian water. (TOS: "Wink of an Eye")


By 2269 Chapel was promoted to the rank of lieutenant, and held the position of head nurse. (TAS: "Mudd's Passion")

In spite of being identified as a "lieutenant" in The Making of Star Trek (p. 254), which was released during the third season, that rank was not stated nor depicted on-screen until several years later on The Animated Series, by virtue of the lieutenant stripes that were included on her uniform. This was later confirmed by her identification card.

On stardate 5483.7, when under the influence of the women of Planet Two of the Taurean system, the male crew members of the Enterprise were incapacitated by the siren's song. Lieutenant Uhura took command of the vessel, and assigned Chapel as acting chief medical officer. They led an all-female landing party down to the planet's surface to rescue Captain Kirk, Spock, and Dr. McCoy. (TAS: "The Lorelei Signal")

On stardate 5143.3, she informed McCoy that Captain Kirk wanted to know whether his examination of "Carter Winston" was finished, adding that his fiancee Anne Nored was waiting to see him. (TAS: "The Survivor")

On stardate 5577.5, after the Enterprise was struck by a flash of light coming from a planet in the Cepheus star system and the flash temporarily paralyzed the crew, the whole crew started shrinking to fingernail length, at 1/16th of an inch in height. On stardate 5577.6, Spock observed that Chapel's titanium bracelet was staying the same mass, though their uniforms were shrinking at a proportional rate as their bodies. Spock hypothesized (correctly) that their Starfleet uniforms were shrinking because they were made of an algae-based material known as xenylon, and that biological and naturally made material objects were also shrinking, but not the ship itself or other totally man-made material objects.

Chapel drowning

A shrunken Chapel drowning

A short time later, after Lieutenant Sulu broke his right leg in a fall from the helm station on the bridge and was taken to sickbay by Kirk and Lieutenant Arex, Chapel fretted that they couldn't use their bone-knitting laser, as it was now too large. Chapel then had an idea that McCoy thought was a great idea: they could use a microscope laser, which they used to heal the inner ear, to do the surgery to reset and heal Sulu's leg. Chapel was proved correct about that, but – due to her shrinking size, while trying to bring the microscope laser from the medical cabinet – she tripped on a knitting needle that had also stayed the same size, fell into the sickbay's aquarium, and nearly drowned. Fortunately, Kirk was able to save her.

Later, Chapel helped rescue mutant descendants of the Terra 10 colony from the unstable planet they were located on and relocate them to a more stable planet. Along with the rest of the crew, she was returned to her normal height by use of the transporter, which had saved the original molecular structure of each crew member in the pattern buffers. (TAS: "The Terratin Incident")

On stardate 5499.9, when Kirk and Spock mutated into water-breathers, Chapel assisted Dr. McCoy in reversing their mutations. (TAS: "The Ambergris Element")

Chief medical officer of the USS Enterprise[]

Christine Chapel 2271

Doctor Chapel in the 2270s

During the early 2270s, Chapel earned her MD after completing a medical program, and was assigned to the refitted Enterprise.

Upon the return of Dr. McCoy during the V'ger crisis, he explained to Kirk that he was "going to need a top nurse, not a doctor who will argue every little diagnosis with me." Chapel later provided care to Pavel Chekov, whose hands were burnt from a malfunctioning bridge console. She also performed medical scans on the Ilia probe, and assisted in reacquainting the probe with Ilia's former life. She also provided medical care to Spock after his traumatizing mind meld with V'ger. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

According to the novelization of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Chapel was supposed to be the Enterprise's chief medical officer, but the arrival of McCoy changed that. Chapel was very pleased that he was CMO and she wasn't.

Post Enterprise[]

In 2286, Commander Chapel was stationed at Starfleet Headquarters, where she coordinated relief efforts while Earth was experiencing a severe ecological disaster from an orbiting space probe. Later, Chapel attended the trial of Kirk and his senior officers at the Federation Council Chambers and excitedly congratulated her old crewmates when the council dismissed all charges facing them. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)

Alternate timeline and realities[]

Christine Chapel, alt 2266

Christine Chapel in an alternate 2266

Alternate Neutral Zone Incursion[]

In an alternate timeline where Captain Pike prevented his exposure to delta radiation and was still in command of the Enterprise in 2266, Nurse Chapel was still serving aboard the Enterprise during the Romulans incursion into Federation space. She was on duty when an injured Spock was brought to sick bay with severe injuries. (SNW: "A Quality of Mercy")

Unverified Accounts Involving Christine Chapel[]

First Contact Day Party[]

According to an account that was anything but canon, Chapel once attended a First Contact Day party onboard the Enterprise, hosted by Hemmer and Spock. She was disturbed and at one point moved to tears as a result of Spock's blooper reel presentation, in which he showed a series of tragic events the crew had experienced in an attempt at being funny. (VST: "Holiday Party")

Personal life[]

Throughout her life, Chapel changed her hair color back and forth between blonde and brunette. (TOS: "The Man Trap", "Operation -- Annihilate!", "Turnabout Intruder", Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

At some point prior to stardate 5577.5, Chapel acquired a titanium bracelet made by the titanium smiths of Libra, which she occasionally wore while on duty. (TAS: "The Terratin Incident")


Roger Korby[]

Korby and Chapel reunited

Chapel kissed by her "fiancé"

Chapel became engaged to Korby after having been a student of his. Despite his disappearance and the subsequent failure of two previous expeditions to locate him, she maintained hope of his return nonetheless. When asked by Spock if she recognized his voice, she remembered it clearly enough to confirm that it was, in fact, "Roger" who was contacting the Enterprise.

Upon arriving on Exo III, she embraced him tenderly, only to become jealous of Andrea's familiarity with him, as the android also called Korby by his first name. Learning that Andrea was an android, she naturally assumed Korby had created a companion to replace her, or, as she put it, a "mechanical geisha". Korby assured her that Andrea only obeyed orders and that he did not consider her a woman, merely a tool.

Having learned of Korby's ability to manufacture android duplicates of living people, and seeing what became of the other members of the landing party, Chapel was disillusioned. She recalled that the Korby she knew wouldn't harm a living creature, as he believed their lives to be sacred. She was still conflicted about his mental state, and hoped she would not be given orders to betray him, preferring instead to have "Kirk" "push me off the same precipice where Mathews died."

Though Korby tried to convince her that he was still the same man he had always been inside, she refused to believe him. Upon the destruction of his android body and subsequent death, she returned to the Enterprise. (TOS: "What Are Little Girls Made Of?")


Spock and Chapel kiss

Christine and Spock in 2259

When they first served together in 2259, Chapel was immediately attracted to Enterprise's half-Vulcan science officer, Lieutenant Spock, and would occasionally flirt with him. (SNW: "Children of the Comet")

They developed a friendship and Chapel would even support Spock when he had relationship trouble with his fiancé T'Pring. (SNW: "Spock Amok")

When Spock and Chapel foiled Captain Angel's plans to free Spock's half-brother Sybok by pretending to be in love with each other they shared a kiss to convince Angel of their affair. (SNW: "The Serene Squall")

After the mission to Valeo Beta V, Chapel comforted Spock by giving him a hug. (SNW: "All Those Who Wander")

After Spock broke off his engagement to T'Pring for him failing to confide in her that he had been stripped of his Vulcan genes and made fully Human by the Kerkhovians, Chapel and Spock finally decided to enter to a relationship. (SNW: "Charades")

Shortly after, their relationship came to a rocky end when Chapel was accepted in Dr. Roger Korby's fellowship and would be leaving the Enterprise. (SNW: "Subspace Rhapsody", "Hegemony")

Chapel loves Spock

Chapel confessing her love for Spock

Even a decade later, her attraction to him was an ongoing source of tension and bemusement throughout Kirk's five-year mission as well. Even while she still sought to locate Korby, Chapel was deeply infatuated with Spock. Initially Chapel kept these feelings to herself. However, when the Psi 2000 intoxication afflicted the crew of the Enterprise, Chapel admitted her love for Spock, who was shocked:

"I'm in love with you, Mr. Spock. You, the Human Mr. Spock… the Vulcan Mr. Spock… I see things… how honest you are. I know how you feel. You hide it, but you do have feelings. Oh, how we must hurt you… torture you."

Chapel insisted that Spock address her by her first name, as opposed to her title, which he resisted. Chapel was unaware that Spock's inability to react to her emotionally was further complicated by his betrothal to T'Pring. Leading him to the ceremony in which his fiancée rejected him in favor of a different suitor, Spock underwent a period of intense emotional outbursts: a blood fever known as pon farr. Chapel characteristically doted after the Vulcan, preparing plomeek soup, a traditional Vulcan broth. The experience allowed them to discuss, even if briefly, Chapel's confession of love. Despite his acknowledged inability to return her affections, he did refer to her as Christine for the first time. (TOS: "The Naked Time", "Amok Time")

Chapel's longing for Spock was well-known among crew members, and noted openly by Captain Kirk and Dr. McCoy on a number of occasions. During Spock's recovery after a near-death experience on Neural, fellow medical officer Dr. M'Benga caught Chapel tenderly holding Spock's hand while watching his recovery on the medical panel atop his bed. M'Benga was sympathetic, despite Chapel's attempt to hide her feelings. Chapel later proactively aided Spock by secretly holding his consciousness to keep him from being destroyed by Henoch. (TOS: "A Private Little War", "Return to Tomorrow")

Her feelings for the Vulcan briefly interfered with her ability to assist McCoy in treating him for the puncture wound left behind by the flying parasite, prompting the doctor to order her either to put aside her feelings or call another nurse to help him. (TOS: "Operation -- Annihilate!")

Three years after confessing her love to Spock, Chapel finally shared a kiss with him. Unfortunately, the situation was forced by the Platonians, against their will. Having sensed their close bond, they adorned her in make-up that gave her the appearance of a Vulcan. Chapel admitted that, despite her long-standing desire to be close to Spock, all she wanted to do, given the humiliation of the situation, was "crawl away and die." (TOS: "Plato's Stepchildren")

In 2269, while weakened by the polarized conductor, he referred to her as Christine when calling telepathically for help, after initially calling her "Miss Chapel". (TAS: "The Lorelei Signal")

Chapel on Spock's lap

Chapel attempting to interest Spock

Later that year, Harry Mudd provided Lieutenant Chapel with love potion crystals that she used on Spock, much to her embarrassment when they didn't take effect immediately. Though the crystals eventually worked, it wasn't long before Spock realized he was reacting to them and not experiencing genuine feelings of love. Later, when he offered to help her record Mudd's confession, she rebuffed him. (TAS: "Mudd's Passion")

Upon Spock's resumption of his science officer duties on the Enterprise in the 2270s, she was pleased to see him again. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

"Argelius II gal"[]

During Chapel's time on Argelius II, she had a fling with a woman that she told Erica Ortegas about. It was considered a misunderstanding that Chapel ended up being chased by phaser fire. Chapel claimed it was the only time she had a misunderstanding regarding a relationship. (SNW: "Spock Amok")


Chapel had a casual sexual relationship with Lieutenant Dever of the USS Skylark. When Dever tried to figure out where their relationship was heading, Chapel left him without giving him an answer. She later told him that she considered him boring and ended the relationship. (SNW: "Spock Amok")


Leonard McCoy[]

Chapel standing up to McCoy

Chapel refusing to leave

Though McCoy occasionally referred to her by first name only, she was never observed calling him "Leonard". (TOS: "The Naked Time", "Elaan of Troyius", "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky"; TAS: "The Pirates of Orion")

Chapel was comfortable with standing up to McCoy's orders if she believed them to be incorrect or odd; for instance, she made sure the doctor informed Captain Kirk of his (McCoy's) xenopolycythemia diagnosis, remaining in sickbay until the captain arrived, instead of leaving as per the doctor's instructions. (TOS: "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky") She also questioned his request for two ccs of stokaline to treat a "dying" Spock in 2268. (TOS: "By Any Other Name")

Just prior to a dying McCoy beaming down to the surface of Yonada in 2268, she admonished him to make the most of his remaining time, as "A lot can happen in a year." (TOS: "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky")

In an effort to protect her from being penalized for following his orders instead of Arthur Coleman's, McCoy told her to administer a sedative to "Janice Lester", despite the action being against his better judgement. (TOS: "Turnabout Intruder")

Upon hearing that she'd become a doctor during his brief hiatus from Starfleet, McCoy was reluctant to work with her, as he was of the opinion that she, like other doctors, would argue about every diagnosis he made, rather than take the orders he gave. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

Given McCoy's feelings about being "drafted", it's possible he was venting, not criticizing her personally.

Nyota Uhura[]


Chapel and Uhura hugging

In addition to a professional friendship with Dr. McCoy, Chapel was particularly close to Uhura. (TOS: "What Are Little Girls Made Of?", "The Changeling", "Plato's Stepchildren", "The Tholian Web") The two first met when they were both assigned to the Enterprise in 2259. (SNW: "Strange New Worlds")

As Chapel departed the bridge to see Roger Korby for the first time in years, Uhura wished her all the best with a sisterly kiss on the cheek. (TOS: "What Are Little Girls Made Of?")

Chapel closely aided the communications officer in relearning the knowledge Nomad had stolen from her. Upon Uhura successfully reading (in English rather than Swahili) the sentence "The dog has a ball", Chapel hugged Uhura. (TOS: "The Changeling")

Erica Ortegas[]

During her time serving under Christopher Pike, Chapel was close friends with Erica Ortegas, the ship's navigator, to the extend of the two hanging out during some of their shore leave together and Ortegas even providing "moral support" to Chapel's dating life. (SNW: "Spock Amok")

In "Spock Amok", Ortegas mentions having witnessed an "entertaining" incident when Chapel dated an unidentified woman on Argelius II, an event that apparently concluded with Chapel having to escape phaser fire. As SNW: "Strange New World" establishes Chapel as being a new crewmember of the Enterprise, unless the events discussed take place in an unchronicled period during the Season 1 timeframe, it suggests Ortegas and Chapel were friends before Chapel joined the Enterprise.

Joseph M'Benga[]

Chapel met Doctor Joseph M'Benga prior to the their posting aboard the Enterprise, on the moon of J'Gal, where they were both stationed during the Klingon War, M'Benga as one of the doctors and Chapel as Head Nurse. The two grew close over the time they spent there, as they tried (and sometimes failed) to rescue war victims and even children, as the Klingon War grew more bloody and desperate. Near the end, Chapel encouraged him to "stop them", to find the person who's in charge and "make them pay". (SNW: "Strange New Worlds"). When escaping the starship part of the false flag operation started by the Klingons on Cajitar IV, right before they jumped into space without a suit, M'Benga hinted that they'd "gotten out of worse", to which Chapel disagreed. (SNW: "The Broken Circle").

Later, when Klingon Ambassador Dak'Rah arrived on the Enterprise, they recalled their posting on J'Gal. When M'Benga killed Ambassador Rah during a physical altercation in Sickbay, Chapel witnessed the entire exchange and reported what she saw for Noonien-Singh's report. (SNW: "Under the Cloak of War").

Key dates[]



Background information[]


Christine Chapel was played by Majel Barrett-Roddenberry in all of the character's appearances prior to Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. The role was created by Gene Roddenberry, intending the part to be played by Barrett, with whom the married Roddenberry was having an affair. The creation of the recurring role was Roddenberry's solution to pressure that Barrett frequently put on him, as she was insistent that she play a regular character on Star Trek, even though executives at the television network NBC had fired her as Number One in the unaired original pilot "The Cage". As an executive producer on Star Trek: The Original Series of Star Trek, Roddenberry planned to ensure that the resultant character of Chapel would definitely recur. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, paperback ed., p. 224) Roddenberry additionally installed Barrett as the primary voice of the ship's computer, a role she would continue to play for the rest of her life.

In his reference book The World of Star Trek (3rd ed., p. 28), writer David Gerrold reckoned that Chapel "was obviously created specifically" to love Spock and went on to say, "The need to dramatize Spock's Vulcan aloofness requires that a woman fall in love with him and be continually rebuffed. Hence, Nurse Chapel."

In scripts of "The Naked Time", this character was known as Christine Baker and, later, Christine Ducheau or Christine Ducheaux. She was even referred to with the latter name in the final draft shooting script (dated 28 June 1966), which went on to describe her as "dark-haired… more starkly attractive than beautiful… a woman capable of startling vitality… superb efficiency…" [1] In a revised draft of the script, this passage of text was minutely changed, with the only alteration being that the words "a woman capable of startling vitality" were moved to the start of the description. Gene Roddenberry renamed the character to Christine Chapel as a pun on "Sistine Chapel". (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One [page number?edit], Inside Star Trek: The Real Story [page number?edit]) In actual dialogue in "The Naked Time", however, she is never referred to as anything other than "Nurse" or "Christine".

Original appearances[]

Majel Barrett saw her opportunity to appear further in Star Trek by auditioning for the role of Chapel. "I wanted to be a part of it so badly, and I kept watching the scripts that came in, and when this episode ['The Naked Time'] came in, my mind started to go in different directions," Barrett recollected. "So I bleached my hair and waited for Gene [Roddenberry] to come in and take notice of it." (Star Trek Monthly issue 27, p. 44) Barrett, whose hair was now bleached blond, awaited Roddenberry in his office. "I sat there talking to his secretary, Penny, and Gene walked in. He looked at me and at Penny, said, 'Good morning,' and walked in the door… I kept on talking to Penny, and pretty soon Gene came out again, put some papers on Penny's desk, sort of smiled at me, turned around, and walked back in his office. Then the double take happened. He opened the door and said, 'Majel?!' And I said, 'By God, if I could fool you, I can fool NBC.'" (Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before, p. 21) Roddenberry agreed. Concluded Barrett, "He said, 'Yes, you can' […] You just don't come back again when they fire you once, but I so much wanted to be a part of this show." (Star Trek Monthly issue 27, p. 44) Barrett was thereafter cast as Christine Chapel.

An issue that frustrated the show's producers, notably Robert Justman, as well as Majel Barrett herself, was that the character of Chapel was not fleshed out. (Star Trek Magazine issue 144, p. !4) For instance, little canonical information existed about Chapel's life outside of her career in Starfleet. Just after seeing the first footage of Barrett in the role, Justman realized that he didn't much like the performance. He addressed this problem with Gene Roddenberry in the latter's office, saying that Barrett "seemed awkward" in the part. "Gene just smiled," Justman remembered, "as he always did when I told him something he didn't particularly want to hear […] 'I thought she was fine,' he responded. 'Maybe a little nervous this time, but she'll work out great. It's a new character for her, and she'll get even better as she goes along. I like her a lot in this role.' Pushing him further wouldn't work. But I continued to needle him about it from time to time. His response was always the same: a smile, a short remonstration that she was 'fine' in the role, and then a change of subject. I stopped needling him about it after finally becoming aware of their relationship. Years later, I realized it wasn't the actress I disliked, it was the role. Nurse Chapel was a wimpy, badly written, and ill-conceived character." He particularly found fault with Chapel repeatedly pining for another character – whether it be Spock, as is the case in "The Naked Time", or Roger Korby in "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, pp. 224-225) Expressing similar sentiments, Barrett confessed, "I didn't care that much for Nurse Chapel, to tell you the truth. She really wasn't that exciting a person or that exciting a character for an actress to play." (Star Trek Monthly issue 38, p. 39) Clarified Barrett, "I was happy with what I did, except there wasn't that much to do. It wasn't that satisfying, but in those days, I couldn't talk Gene into doing any more; again, I was a woman, and they had already fired me once, so I wasn't given too much to do." (Star Trek Monthly issue 27, p. 44)

The first draft of the script of "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" (dated 26 April 1966) Chapel was originally envisioned as "Margo Korby", the wife of Roger Korby. By later drafts, Margo was changed to Christine and in later revised scripts, the following was included as the description of her character: "She's a strong, calm woman, very much in control of herself which emphasizes only more for us the flickers of emotions that do occasionally show through." Also, as scripted for that episode, Chapel's abandonment of a career in bioresearch was stated to have been specifically for a position aboard the Enterprise, though this ultimately changed to being an assignment aboard a generic vessel. [2] Regarding Majel Barrett's appearance as Chapel in "What Are Little Girls Made Of?", Robert Justman critiqued, "The close-up shots of her eyes misting over and lower lip quivering were beautifully photographed by cameraman Jerry Finnerman, who used special lighting and diffusion lenses. But this only served to emphasize the lack of character written into the character." (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, 1997, p. 225)

According to Herb Solow, NBC did notice the same actress whom they had already fired portrayed Chapel. Solow related that – while he was screening a rough edit of "The Naked Time" for a group of NBC execs, well before the series was broadcast – NBC Vice President Herb Schlosser asked him who the performer was, a question Solow agreed to answer later. When they were alone after the screening, Schlosser repeated the inquiry and, upon Solow revealing the name of the actress, the NBC executive realized it was the same controversial performer. Schlosser was therefore initially puzzled about why the Star Trek producers hadn't cast a different actress for the part. "This was one of those times when the truth would be painful for all concerned," stated Solow. "I answered quickly, 'Putting together a cast is like forming an orchestra. Individual actors are unimportant; it's an ensemble thing.'" Schlosser then correctly assumed that Barrett's casting as Chapel was due to her having an affair with someone who had a lot of influence in the Star Trek production team, a suspicion that Solow didn't confirm until after the series had been airing for a while. Also according to him, the news within NBC that the portrayal of Chapel involved Barrett returning to Star Trek led Jerry Stanley – another executive at the television network – to yodel, "Well, well – look who's back." (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, 1997, pp. 224 & 233) Barrett herself claimed, "For three years, NBC never knew it was the same person." (Star Trek Monthly issue 27, p. 44)

Regardless of whether or nor Barrett actually believed her own claim, it were not only Schlosser and Stanley who found out early, but Desilu Studios Head Lucille Ball as well, and, according to Solow, when she did, she was not amused, not in the slightest; Lucille Ball had by then become well known for her character trait of valuing moral propriety after her failed marriage with Desi Arnaz, which had fallen apart partly due to Arnaz' philandering, and this she expected of her staff and employees as well. When she found out that the married Roddenberry had an illicit affair with Barrett, ironically hired, under her own name Majel Leigh Hudec, by Ball herself for Desilu as a contracted actress, and having personally instructed her in one of her own comedy seminars in 1957. [3] [4](X), she could not abide with this kind of behavior anywhere near her property, and was dead-set on firing the pair of them on the spot. Incidentally, Ball had already wanted to do something similar, albeit at the opposite end of the spectrum, with Mission: Impossible co-stars Barbara Bain and Martin Landau, when she found out that the two were actually a married couple, and wanted to fire them as she suspected a severe case of nepotism, which she could not abide with either. And indeed, this had been the additional reason for Ball for wanting to fire the future Roddenberry couple as well, as she concurrently became aware that he had surreptitiously sneaked an as a blonde disguised Barrett, her new alias (which Ball took as evidence of deliberate deception, not entirely unjustified), back into the Star Trek production as Christine Chapel against the express wishes of NBC. Through an intermediary, her personal publicist Howard McClay, Solow had in both cases – as Mission was also produced under his auspices – the toughest of times to convince the headstrong Ball otherwise. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, 1997, p. 223; These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One, 1st ed, pp. 25-27)

Christine Chapel turned out to be highly unpopular among some fans of Star Trek's original series. "It was because of her love for Spock and his occasional moments of gentleness toward her that Christine Chapel was largely disliked among the Trekkies who adored Spock," explained David Gerrold. "Female fans saw her as a threat to their own fantasies and male fans saw her as a threat to Spock's Vulcan stoicism." However, the fans who met Majel Barrett were often surprised by how beautiful she was. Gerrold concluded, "They just couldn't see it in her as Chapel because of the relationship between her and Spock." (The World of Star Trek, 3rd ed., p. 28)

Later appearances[]

In Star Trek: The Animated Series, the voice for the character of Chapel was provided by Majel Barrett, reprising the role from TOS.

Christine Chapel was intended to be included in the ultimately aborted television series Star Trek: Phase II, in which her promotion to doctor was planned to be established. The Writers'/Directors' Guide for that series said of the character, "Introduced in Star Trek I as Nurse Chapel, her medical degrees have been accepted by Starfleet, and she has returned to the U.S.S. Enterprise to serve as McCoy's associate. She is second in command of the ship's medical section, and McCoy seems to enjoy passing on to her every duty he finds too boring, irritating or annoying to himself. Yet outside of Captain Kirk, she is probably McCoy's closest confidante. An expert in psychotherapy, she has unusual ability to teach patients how to use the healing powers of their own bodies." (The Making of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, p. 119)

In character notes that Gene Roddenberry wrote for Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Chapel was mentioned in the note about Dr. McCoy and was described as being influenced by the fact that McCoy was dealing with a great deal of pressure at the time of the film, even to the point of almost causing him to suffer a nervous breakdown. The section regarding Chapel stated, "[She] must take on an overly large portion of the load of treating the sick, and is likewise subject to breakage." (The Making of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, p. 102) Majel Barrett was delighted that, in The Motion Picture, Chapel was promoted to doctor status and that she herself was not required to ruin her hair by dying it blond to match her TOS appearances as Chapel. In the film, Barrett's portrayal of Chapel was partly based on the description of the character from the Writers'/Directors' Guide for Phase II. (The Making of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, p. 119) Her appearance in The Motion Picture was in keeping with the fact that long hairstyles were disallowed in that film. (The Making of Star Trek, p. 142) However, Majel Barrett had qualms about her appearance as Chapel in The Motion Picture, confessing, "I really didn't consider my work in the first one to be that great an experience." (Starlog #116)

When asked why she herself was absent in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Majel Barrett stated, "The fact that Gene really didn't have that kind of involvement in the second and third movies was probably the reason. There was a new producer on the pictures and I just don't think they, or anybody, wanted Mrs. Roddenberry running around. I'm sure it was politics. Since then, many things have been ironed out and I certainly have greater hopes for Star Trek IV." (Starlog #108, July 1986, p. 56)

In the script for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Chapel was described as a "Starfleet Medical Officer whose history in Star Trek is known to all." The same script featured her in a short, ultimately excised scene. Set in the Federation Council Chamber, the scene detailed Commander Chapel meeting with Sarek upon his arrival there. She thanked him for coming but admitted to being unsure whether he was too late to testify at the then-ongoing trial of Admiral Kirk and the senior crew of the Enterprise. [5] Noted Majel Barrett, "I just had a couple of lines with Sarek, so it was really nothing of consequence." However, Barrett also considered that this scene would have been her "only real scene" in the movie. Chapel's role in Star Trek IV is so minimal that Barrett hypothesized, "If no one had called me Commander Chapel, the audience wouldn't really know that I was there." Longing to have more involvement in Star Trek, she proclaimed, "Somewhere Chapel got lost." On the other hand, Barrett also related about her brief inclusion in Star Trek IV, "I am grateful for having been in it after not being in Star Trek II or III […] I loved it, I had such a great time." (Starlog #116)

Simon and Schuster's officially licensed Star Trek: Starship Creator interactive software, written by production staffer Michael Okuda, listed some supplemental biographical details on Chapel. It mentioned she was the child of Lauren Chapel and Patterson Chapel of New Orleans, Louisiana, Earth, and had an interest in ballet. Other information included a birth date in 2237, Starfleet Medical Academy Nursing Degree in 2266, and doctorate by the 2270s. She graduated in the 98th percentile of her class, with degrees in bioresearch, medical archaeology, and endocrinology. It assigned her original rank as a "brevet," or provisional, ensign, and stated that she rose to become the director of Starfleet Emergency Operations by the time of her Star Trek IV appearance.


DC Comics' Who's Who in Star Trek 1 comic reveals that she had Swedish and Cherokee roots.

Chapel appeared in Vonda N. McIntyre's novelization of Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. She was still serving on the Enterprise in 2285, and was present during Saavik's Kobayashi Maru scenario.

In Peter David's New Frontier novel Renaissance, Scotty mistakes one of the characters, Morgan Primus, the mother of Robin Lefler, as "Christine". It was also suggested in that series that Primus was actually Christopher Pike's "Number One". This mistaken identification was a joke referring to the fact that both roles were played by the same actress.

Dr. Chapel was also seen as the chief medical officer aboard the USS Excelsior in the novel The Sundered.

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