Chapel had 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 her fiancé Dr. Roger Korby, a scientist of renown, incommunicado from his expedition to Exo III since 2261.
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 built himself a beautiful companion, Andrea. After exhibiting his madness, the android Korby was destroyed. Initially, Chapel doubted if she should stay aboard, but elected to remain with the Enterprise throughout the five-year mission. (TOS: "What Are Little Girls Made Of?")
Relationship with Spock
Even while she still sought to locate Korby, Chapel was deeply infatuated with the Enterprise's half-Vulcan science officer, Spock. While her attraction never interfered with her professional duties, it was an ongoing source of tension and bemusement throughout the five-year mission.
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")
Three years after confessing her love to Spock, Chapel finally shared a kiss with him. Unfortunately, the situation was forced by powerful telekinetics, compelling Chapel to admit that, despite her long-standing desire to be close with the Vulcan, all she wanted to do, given the humiliation of the situation, was "crawl away and die." (TOS: "Plato's Stepchildren")
When under the influence of the women of Taurus II, the male crewmembers of the Enterprise were incapacitated by the siren's song. Lieutenant Uhura took command of the vessel, and assigned Chapel to acting chief medical officer. They led a landing party down to the planet's surface to rescue Captain Kirk, Spock, and Dr. McCoy. (TAS: "The Lorelei Signal")
When in miniaturized state, Chapel assisted Dr. McCoy mend Hikaru Sulu's broken leg; as she attempted to retrieve a microscope laser, she tripped into the lab fish tank and nearly drowned, before she was saved by Captain Kirk.
Following the Enterprise's five-year mission of exploration, she was able to complete her medical degree. Chapel returned to the Enterprise at the end of its refit as chief medical officer.
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."
- According to the TMP novelization, she was supposed to be the Enterprise's chief medical officer, but the arrival of McCoy changed that and Chapel was very pleased that he was CMO and not her.
In 2286, she was stationed at Starfleet Headquarters, where she coordinated relief efforts while Earth was suffering a severe ecological "attack" from an orbiting space probe. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)
- "The Naked Time" (TOS Season 1)
- "What Are Little Girls Made Of?"
- "Operation -- Annihilate!"
- "Amok Time" (TOS Season 2)
- "The Changeling"
- "The Deadly Years"
- "Journey to Babel"
- "A Private Little War"
- "The Immunity Syndrome"
- "By Any Other Name"
- "Return to Tomorrow"
- "Elaan of Troyius" (TOS Season 3)
- "The Paradise Syndrome"
- "The Enterprise Incident"
- "And the Children Shall Lead"
- "Spock's Brain"
- "The Tholian Web"
- "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky"
- "Plato's Stepchildren"
- "Wink of an Eye"
- "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield"
- "The Lights of Zetar"
- "The Way to Eden"
- "Turnabout Intruder"
- Star Trek films
Christine Chapel was played by Majel Barrett. The voice for the character of Chapel was also provided by Barrett in The Animated Series. In early draft scripts, the character was known as Christine Baker and Christine Ducheaux.
Little canonical information exists about Chapel's life outside of her career in Starfleet.
Simon and Schuster's Star Trek: Starship Creator interactive software, written by Mike Okuda, lists some supplemental biographical details on Chapel. It mentions she is the child of Lauren Chapel and Patterson Chapel of New Orleans, Louisiana, Earth; and has an interest in ballet.
Other information includes a birth date in 2237, Starfleet Medical Academy Nursing Degree in 2266 and doctorate by 2271. She graduated in the 98th percentile of her class, with degrees in bioresearch, medical archeology, and endocrinology.
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". As such, this mistaken identification may have been a joke referring to the fact that both roles were played by the same actress.