Cleveland "Book" Booker, born Tareckx, was a male Kwejian who lived during the 32nd century. He owned a cat named Grudge. He had the ability to connect empathically with plants and animals, during which a glowing orange pattern appeared on his forehead. (DIS: "That Hope Is You, Part 1")
Booker was born after the Burn to a family of "killers" and "poachers." However, Booker said that occasionally someone like himself is born into his family as some sort of "balance," and that his relatives no longer welcome him.
As an adult, Booker worked as a courier, using his ship to ferry goods between buyers and sellers out of the exchanges, including the Mercantile on Hima. Doing so provided him with necessary dilithium for clandestine conservation activities, including rescuing trance worms and delivering them to wildlife sanctuaries. His ability to connect telepathically with plants and animals appeared to aid his quests. Michael Burnham commented that he was effectively enforcing the Endangered Species Act after the Federation's collapse following the Burn.
Some time before he met Michael Burnham, he was mentee to a man named Cleveland Booker. The real Booker had such an impact on Tareckx that he would adopt his name as his own, as a motivation to himself to live up to the impact his mentor had on Tareckx. (DIS: "That Hope Is You, Part 2")
Partnering with Michael Burnham
In 3188, Booker stole a trance worm named Molly from another courier, Cosmo Traitt. Traitt was pursuing Booker in orbit of Hima when Burnham shot out of the wormhole she had opened using the Red Angel suit. She collided with his vessel, damaging his dilithium recrystallizer and forcing his ship to crash on the surface. When Burnham approached his ship on the ground, Booker was initially hostile and engaged her in hand-to-hand combat. However, she quickly persuaded him that the collision had been accidental and that she was effectively stranded. Burnham agreed to trade her tricorder and other 23rd century technology at the Mercantile in exchange for dilithium Booker needed. Once inside the exchange, Booker betrayed Burnham, trapping her in a security field and taking her technology to trade himself.
After being questioned by Ithyk and Ithor, Burnham revealed that Booker had an unidentified stolen cargo. The Mercantile regulators quickly surrounded Booker, who had been unable to trade Burnham's goods. He teamed up with Burnham to steal a significant amount of dilithium and escape the exchange. On the way back to his cloaked ship, Booker demonstrated his abilities when he called forth a Hima water plant to obtain a liquid in its leaves to treat Burnham's wound. He also allowed Burnham to attempt, unsuccessfully, to contact USS Discovery, and correctly deduced that she was a time traveler. Ithyk, Ithor and others caught up with them back at Booker's ship, but he released the trance worm, which then ate the regulators, killing them. It also ate Burnham, but Booker used his telepathic connection to convince it to spit her out. Booker and Burnham then took Molly to Sanctuary Four just in time for her breeding cycle. (DIS: "That Hope Is You, Part 1")
Booker continued to work with Burnham on and off for the next year, with Burnham sometimes traveling in her own small vessel and sometimes teaming up with Booker for adventures in places such as Donatu VII and Iso VII. In 3189, Discovery emerged from the wormhole at the Colony, where Booker used his vessel's tractor beam to break it free of the planet's parasitic ice. (DIS: "Far From Home")
He and his ship then traveled with Discovery to Earth via the spore drive. He used his vessel's cloaking device to conceal Discovery's dilithium from Earth's sensors, for which Saru repaid him with a portion of Discovery's dilithium reserves. Beaming over to Discovery, Booker was surprised to find the controls operated not by Keyla Detmer or Sylvia Tilly but rather Philippa Georgiou. Georgiou proceeded to inquire about his relationship with Burnham, briefly flustering him before he refused to discuss it further. Later, Burnham and Booker used his ship to distract and capture Wen, which ultimately led to the cessation of hostilities between Wen's people and Earth. He remained in the area to make a fresh start away from rival couriers who knew his reputation, such as Zareh. While saying goodbye to Burnham, Booker playfully winked at her. (DIS: "People of Earth")
Sometime after parting ways with Discovery, Booker was traveling to the Bajoran exchange when he heard about a black box from a ship destroyed in the Burn located on Hunhau. He left to track down the device and programmed his ship, with Grudge aboard, to rendezvous with Discovery if he did not return within 24 hours. However, Booker was captured by Tolor and held as a slave for the three weeks it took his vessel to rendezvous with Discovery. Burnham and Georgiou took his ship on an unauthorized mission to rescue him and find the black box. During his time on Hunhau, Booker befriended an Andorian named Ryn who was punished for speaking against the Emerald Chain and forced to install explosive devices in workers' necks. After Burnham and Georgiou deactivated the facility's fence that would trigger the device in any worker who tried to escape, most of the slaves escaped on a transport vessel while Booker took the injured Ryn aboard his own vessel. They returned to Discovery, where Booker was pleased to learn Ryn would recover. In a turbolift, he thanked Burnham for saving his life and noted that they "always find each other." The two were about to kiss when Linus, who was having trouble adapting to his new portable transporter, inadvertently beamed in and interrupted them. After he left, Burnham nearly laughed off their near-encounter before Booker pulled her back in for a passionate kiss. (DIS: "Scavengers")
Booker and Burnham quickly advanced their fledgling romance, but it raised questions given her dedication to Starfleet and his nomadic lifestyle as a courier and conservationist. Booker told Burnham that he felt awkward living on his ship parked in Discovery's shuttle bay and among a crew that didn't know what to make of him. Booker joined Burnham to watch a recording of her adopted brother Spock from stardate 45825 in which he told Jean-Luc Picard that Romulans and Vulcans either needed to learn to live with enmity or change their situation. Booker teased Burnham and Spock for being "chronic overachievers." (DIS: "Unification III")
Booker received a message from his adopted brother Kyheem asking him to return to their home planet, Kwejian. Kyheem had worked for years with Osyraa and the Emerald Chain to address an environmental disaster on Kwejian: Sea locusts emerged from the planet's ocean because of tidal changes following the Burn, and threaten to consume the planet's harvest. The Emerald Chain provided them with a pesticide to repel the locusts, but forced Kwejian to produce its trance worms in exchange, to be eaten as a delicacy. Burnham convinced Admiral Charles Vance to deploy Discovery as an observer entity. On the planet, Booker and Burnham were taken hostage by Kyheem, who had been directed by Osyraa to lure Booker to the planet in the hopes of recovering Ryn as well. Since Ryn was aboard Discovery, Osyraa instead decided to take Booker and Burnham as leverage. However, Kyheem hesitated, causing Osyraa to attack the planet. Its defense systems held long enough for Lt. Keyla Detmer, piloting Booker's ship, to damage Osyraa's cruiser, the Viridian. After they repelled the Viridian, Discovery was able to amplify the electromagnetic connections between the locusts, allowing Booker and Kyheem to work together to move the locusts back out to sea. Afterward, Booker showed Discovery to Kyheem and his son Leto, who was fascinated by the molting Linus. Booker promised to tell Kyheem the story behind his name the next time they meet, which they hope will be in less than 15 years. Later, while preparing to repair his ship from battle damage, Booker told Burnham that he was grateful for Discovery's help solving the planet's ecological crisis and that he wishes to help other worlds like that. (DIS: "The Sanctuary")
Working with the Federation
Eager to work more closely with the Discovery crew, Booker offered Saru intelligence gleaned from the courier network about Emerald Chain activities. The intelligence matched with what Starfleet knew via other methods, but Saru said Booker would have to wait for an appropriate opportunity to contribute. (DIS: "Terra Firma, Part 1") When the Discovery crew was unable to connect remotely with the KSF Khi'eth, Booker provided a subspace range extender used by couriers to amplify weak subspace signals. Vance was wary of using technology obtained from the Emerald Chain, but Booker promised it was safe and said he had used it on his own ship for years. Booker abruptly departed that meeting to greet Burnham, who was returning from the surface of Dannus V without Philippa Georgiou, who had been sent back in time by the Guardian of Forever and was considered effectively deceased. (DIS: "Terra Firma, Part 2")
When Discovery jumped to the Verubin Nebula to find the Khi'eth, Booker volunteered to fly his ship through the radioactive storm because the Stafleet vessel was too big. He quickly found a subspace fissure that allowed him to scan for lifesigns, but the nebula's intense radiation quickly wore down his shields and caused Booker to become disoriented. After locating the Khi'eth and a stable pocket of space where Discovery could jump with its spore drive, Booker returned to Discovery, where he and Grudge had to be treated with several cycles of DNA recombination. Once recovered, Booker speculated that the dilithium planet, later designated Theta Zeta, could greatly benefit the galaxy given the fuel shortage. With Discovery staring down the Viridian and still too weak to jump into the nebula, Booker left in his ship to retrieve the away team. After arriving at Theta Zeta, he informed the away team that Osyraa was attacking Discovery. He was surprised to find Adira Tal stowed away on his ship, where they placed radiation medication in their mouth and then transported to the surface. Only Burnham returned with him, though they planned to return once again later to retrieve the rest. However, Booker and Burnham emerged from the nebula just in time to watch Discovery, now under Osyraa's control, jump away. (DIS: "Su'Kal")
Booker and Burnham piloted his vessel back to Federation headquarters via a transwarp tunnel, though debris littering the passage damaged his ship, including communications. Unable to contact Starfleet and with just seconds before the Osyraa-controlled Discovery entered the Federation's distortion field, Booker crashed his ship into Discovery's shuttle bay. Booker provided Burnham with a device to dampen her lifesign but remained behind as bait for the regulators. The two confessed their love for one another before parting. Booker was quickly captured and imprisoned in the ready room with the bridge crew. He eventually helped them escape, but remained behind with Ryn to fight off the guards that would come looking for them, giving the Starfleet officers time to retake the ship. Held captive on the bridge, Booker promised to guide Osyraa to Theta Zeta in exchange for sparing Ryn's life. However, Osyraa murdered Ryn in front of Booker and planned to use truth serum to force him to reveal the planet's location. (DIS: "There Is A Tide...")
Impatient for Aurellio's truth serum to take hold of Booker, who was being held in the ship's sickbay, Osyraa and Zareh used the neural lock on him instead. Because of his Kwejian ability to connect with other species, the device proved excruciatingly painful. Osyraa used the torture to pressure Burnham into revealing the information she sought. Burnham eventually mimicked acquiescence and was able to maneuver herself away from the guards and next to Booker's bedside, ostensibly to apologize for causing him pain. She used the opportunity to activate a quarantine forcefield that allowed Booker and herself to escape. The pair made their way to the ship's data core, but Booker eventually remained behind to fight off Zareh and more regulators, allowing Burnham to reach her destination. While fighting in an open turbolift cab traveling through the underbelly of Discovery, Booker was nearly defeated by Zareh before managing to gain the upper hand and throw the courier to his death. After retaking the ship, Booker reported to the bridge along with the senior staff, where Burnham revealed a daring plan to overload and eject Discovery's warp core in order to destroy the Viridian while also jumping back to Theta Zeta to rescue the away team. Aurellio, having broken from Osyraa, explained that Booker's Kwejian empathic abilities would allow him to make the necessary connection to the mycelial network. Before jumping, Booker promised to tell Burnham the story of the original Cleveland Booker, his mentor, explaining that he seeks to live up to his name each day. Booker successfully piloted Discovery to Theta Zeta, saving the away team. He was later present on the bridge, still dressed in civilian attire, when Burnham arrived for the first time after being promoted to captain. He joined the rest of the crew in replying ready to depart before the ship left on its mission. (DIS: "That Hope Is You, Part 2")
Cleveland Booker was played by David Ajala.