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"I prefer saving lives to taking them."
– Joseph M'Benga, 2250s ("Under the Cloak of War")

Doctor Joseph M'Benga was a male Human Starfleet officer and physician who lived during the mid-23rd century.

Early life[]

Joseph M'Benga's personnel file

Joseph M'Benga's personnel file

Joseph M'Benga was born on December 29, 2223 in Nakuru, Kenya on Earth to Wangera and Gichinga M'Benga. He had a brother, Nicolas and two sisters, Nyawira and Sikudhani. (SNW: "Under the Cloak of War")

M'Benga conducted his medical internship on Vulcan, an experience that made him particularly skilled in treating members of that species. (TOS: "A Private Little War") During all of his time studying Vulcan medicine, M'Benga never had an opportunity to deal with a katric transfer. (SNW: "Spock Amok")

M'Benga had a relationship with a woman named Debra. In 2248, she bore a daughter, Rukiya. (SNW: "Ghosts of Illyria", "Lift Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach", "The Elysian Kingdom")

Starfleet career[]

Early career[]

Joseph M'Benga 2250s

M'Benga during the Klingon War

At some point prior to 2259, M'Benga served aboard the USS Cuyahoga and a Sombra-class starship. (SNW: "Memento Mori", "All Those Who Wander")

At some point he served as a Starfleet special forces operative, known as "the Ghost", with most confirmed hand-to-hand kills. He also developed the combat drug known as Protocol 12. (SNW: "Under the Cloak of War")

During the Klingon War of 225657, Commander M'Benga served on the front lines. He was stationed on J'Gal and was present at the Battle of ChaKana and the Battle of J'Gal. By this time, he considered himself "just a doctor" and initially refused to take part in further special operations. (SNW: "The Broken Circle", "Under the Cloak of War")

After witnessing the death of special forces commanding officer Va'Al Trask and his people, M'Benga took Trask's captured d'k tahg off his body and used it to attempt Trask's mission personally. He succeeded in killing General Gra'val, Commander Kiff and Captain Ruh'lis, but failed to assassinate General Dak'Rah who commanded the Klingon forces and gave the order to indiscriminately slaughter civilians on J'Gal. (SNW: "Under the Cloak of War")

Service aboard the USS Enterprise[]


By 2259, he was assigned to the USS Enterprise as chief medical officer under Captain Christopher Pike, with Nurse Christine Chapel as part of his staff. (SNW: "Strange New Worlds")

After his daughter Rukiya developed cygnokemia, he secretly kept her in the transporter buffer of the USS Enterprise so she could stay in stasis. Sometimes, he brought her out to read her a book. One favorite was The Kingdom of Elysian by Benny Russell. (SNW: "Ghosts of Illyria", "Lift Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach", "The Elysian Kingdom")

As the Enterprise was surveying the Jonisian Nebula, M'Benga found himself and the rest of the crew in a surrealistic recreation of The Kingdom of Elysian, which was lifted from Rukiya's mind by a sentient non-corporeal lifeform. M'Benga himself took on the form of King Ridley, with him and Hemmer being the only people aware of their real identities. Eventually, Rukiya and M'Benga decided she would be better off staying with the alien entity, named Debra by Rukiya, as pure consciousness rather than risk time running out while M'Benga searched for a cure. (SNW: "The Elysian Kingdom")

Later that year, now Ambassador Dak'Rah boarded the Enterprise, having taken credit for the deaths of his three generals in the Battle of J'Gal, becoming known as the Butcher of J'Gal for it. M'Benga was haunted by memories of his actions taken during the battle and the shame that it brought him. M'Benga eventually confronted Dak'Rah who claimed remorse for his actions before supposedly attacking M'Benga who killed Dak'Rah, apparently in self-defense, with the same d'k tahg that he had killed Dak'Rah's generals with years before. Analysis by the Enterprise computer found the blood of all of the Klingon warlords killed by the Butcher of J'Gal still on it along with both Dak'Rah's and M'Benga's fingerprints. With Nurse Christine Chapel backing up M'Benga's story of self-defense, Pike was sure that he would be cleared of any possible wrongdoing, but M'Benga continued to be haunted by his actions. (SNW: "Under the Cloak of War")


By 2265, he was succeeded as chief medical officer by Doctor Mark Piper. (TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before")

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By the 2260s, M'Benga had stepped down as chief medical officer and served as a general physician. After Doctor Leonard McCoy became CMO he continued to serve under Captain James T. Kirk, where, in the event of McCoy's absence, he served as the ranking medical officer.

In 2268, M'Benga treated Commander Spock for a serious gunshot wound he was inflicted with on Neural. He had to slap Spock violently to bring him out of his Vulcan healing state. (TOS: "A Private Little War")

Later that year, Dr. M'Benga supervised his colleague Dr. Sanchez with an autopsy of Ensign Wyatt, who had died after Losira merely touched him. M'Benga reported that Wyatt's entire body had suffered cellular disruption: the touch had "blasted" every cell in his body from the inside out. In reply to Spock's inquiry regarding the incident, M'Benga explained that Sanchez had found that no known disease-causing organism had been responsible for the death.

He later reported that engineering Technician John B. Watkins had also died from a similar cellular disruption. (TOS: "That Which Survives")




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Christopher Pike[]

Pike and M'Benga

Pike and M'Benga hugging

Prior to 2259, M'Benga was previously acquainted with Christopher Pike, with Pike having guided M'Benga through his home of Mojave, California and M'Benga having guided Pike through Kenya. (SNW: "Strange New Worlds")

Christine Chapel[]

M'Benga first met Chapel when she was assigned as a head nurse to the Mobile Combat Surgical Unit on J'Gal he served in as a doctor during the Klingon War. (SNW: "Under the Cloak of War")

Alternate timeline[]

Joseph M'Benga (alternate 2266)

Dr. M'Benga in an alternate 2266

In an alternate timeline where Captain Pike avoided his exposure to delta radiation and remained in command of the Enterprise during the Neutral Zone Incursion of 2266, Dr. M'Benga was still serving as CMO. (SNW: "A Quality of Mercy")

Key dates[]



Background information[]

Doctor Joseph M'Benga was played by Booker Bradshaw in The Original Series and Babs Olusanmokun in Strange New Worlds.

This character was actually created by Darlene Hartman, in her purchased (but never produced) TOS script entitled "Shol". The notes for that script give Dr. M'Benga's first name as "Joseph" (confirmed in canon only in SNW: "The Elysian Kingdom"), and stated that he was originally a native of Uganda. His brother, Commander Simon M'Benga, was the first officer of USS Hope, a Federation hospital ship, in the planned-but-never-developed Star Trek spinoff Hopeship. [1]

An early draft of the script for "Obsession" (dated 6 September 1967) included a character by the name of "Nurse M'Benga". However, in research notes submitted for that episode (on 29 September 1966), de Forest Research noted the redundancy, stating that "M'Benga is the name of a doctor in 'A Private Little War'."

In a later inter-department communication between Gene Roddenberry and John Meredyth Lucas (dated 2 October 1967), Roddenberry noted that regarding "Nurse M'Benga. There is no such Nurse existing on our spaceship. If we need a Nurse, we use our semi-regular Nurse Chapel."

The first draft script for "That Which Survives" misspelled this character's name "Mboya".

M'Benga's rank of commander was confirmed when it appeared on his personal locker that appeared in "Under the Cloak of War".


Jean Lorrah's novel The IDIC Epidemic gave his first name as "Geoffrey". Meanwhile, David Mack's Harbinger established his first name as "Jabilo", a word for "healer" in the Luo language of Kenya, [2] and set his assignment before the Enterprise as Starbase 47, also known as "Vanguard". The novella The Tears of Eridanus, set in an alternate universe, gives his full name as Jabilo Geoffrey M'Benga.

The Vulcan Academy Murders presented M'Benga's time at the Vulcan Academy hospital and McCoy's subsequent recruitment of M'Benga for Enterprise. Tying into this, The Klingon Gambit, by Robert E. Vardeman, established that his internship on Vulcan lasted four years.

Andrea M'Benga (β), a great-granddaughter of this character, is portrayed in several novels written by William Shatner.

M'Benga's mirror universe counterpart appeared in the novel The Sorrows of Empire. Following Leonard McCoy's death from xenopolycythemia in 2269, he succeeded him as the chief medical officer of the ISS Enterprise. He continued to serve in that position until at least 2287. The novel likewise stated that his first name was "Jabilo".

Jabilo M'Benga (alternate reality)

Jabilo M'Benga of the alternate reality

M'Benga's alternate reality counterpart appeared in the mobile game Star Trek: Fleet Command. He spent many years on Vulcan before its destruction at the hands of Nero in 2258. By 2263, M'Benga had close ties to the Vulcan Science Academy on New Vulcan and worked with Doctor Leonard McCoy aboard the USS Enterprise as part of the medical staff. The game likewise also stated that his first name was "Jabilo".

External links[]