Hoshi Sato was a noted Human linguist stationed aboard the United Earth starship Enterprise NX-01 during its historic mission of exploration. Beginning service as the ship's communications officer in 2151, Sato was eventually responsible for the creation of the linguacode universal linguistics matrix in the following decade.
Childhood and youth Edit
Born in Kyoto, Japan on July 9, 2129, the second of three children, Hoshi Sato showed from an early age that she was gifted. Most of her childhood was spent with private tutors, learning languages. Sato did not have the opportunity to become very close to anyone. To her, it was often normal to spend an entire day virtually alone. This feeling of isolation stayed with Sato throughout her life; even as an adult surrounded by other people, Sato still felt alone. The reason she studied languages was to try to make connections to other people and cultures. The last person Sato was really close to was her grandfather, Michio Sato. (ENT: "Exile") She also had a black belt in Aikido. (ENT: "Observer Effect") Sato mentioned that when she was twelve years old, she had a pen pal from Brisbane, Australia. She loved receiving the letters, noting that "it was like this little window into distant places with strange-sounding names." (ENT: "Dear Doctor")
When Sato was younger, she would often use "my stomach is a little unsettled" as an excuse not to eat her grandmother's soba noodles, which she disliked. Eventually, though, it became one of her favorite foods. (ENT: "Exile") Sato was never called to the principal's office. (ENT: "The Council") Her mother wanted her to become a pianist, but Sato chose a scientific career instead. (ENT: "Damage")
Early years Edit
Sato went to school to become an exo-linguist. She graduated second in her class and went on to spend three years in Starfleet training. She had two training tours and she would note that both times she had portside quarters. In her second month, Sato was discharged for breaking her CO's arm after a dispute about a weekend poker game she organized for new recruits. Starfleet allowed her back in on probation since they needed language experts. By the end of her training she had been cleared for EM sidearms and Class 3 pulse rifles. (ENT: "Fight or Flight", "Observer Effect")
While a university professor in Brazil, Sato and two colleagues took a hydro-skimmer to see the wildlife around the Amazon River but she was terrified by it. (ENT: "Fight or Flight") She took a commission aboard Enterprise as communications officer to have the chance to experience new languages from outer space. She was initially reluctant to leave her position, but was convinced by Jonathan Archer to join Starfleet. Archer tempted Sato with the realization that she would encounter numerous species and have the opportunity to discover many new languages. (ENT: "Broken Bow")
On board Enterprise Edit
The reason Archer chose Sato to be part of the crew on Enterprise was due to her superior language skills. Sato was the first Human to become fluent in Klingonese, which she learned from a linguistic database provided by the Vulcans. Her skill in translating Klingonese came in handy during Enterprise's first mission in returning the Klingon warrior Klaang to Qo'noS and preventing the Suliban from starting a civil war. When Klaang regained consciousness aboard Enterprise en route to Qo'noS, Sato was able to obtain information that helped the mission. She also convinced Klaang that he was not among enemies, and was able to facilitate enough communication between the Klingons and Archer to allow them to visit Qo'noS and return Klaang. (ENT: "Broken Bow")
Shortly after the beginning of the ship's mission, Sato demanded a transfer off the ship after a harrowing experience aboard an Axanar vessel: The crew had been killed and drained of their fluids. Her fear of that almost overwhelmed her, and she believed that she wasn't cut out for deep space exploration. Sato was able to overcome her fears and re-board the ship to decipher the controls to send out a distress call to the victims' fellow beings. When they arrived, they began to fire on Enterprise. Sato broke the language barrier and communicated that Humans were not responsible for the massacre. The two ships cooperated in destroying the aliens who had caused the massacre. Sato's linguistic abilities had established favorable relations with another new race, and she had been strengthened by the experience. (ENT: "Fight or Flight")
Sato's knowledge of Vulcan proved invaluable. When an away team led by T'Pol became infected by the plant life on the planet, making them paranoid and dangerous to each other, she was able to tell T'Pol in Vulcan that an antidote was on its way. Sato was able to translate encrypted Vulcan messages that T'Pol was receiving. (ENT: "Strange New World", "Breaking the Ice")
Sato was in charge of monitoring other vital systems besides communications. When the Suliban Silik had infiltrated Enterprise disguised as a religious pilgrim, she discovered that he attempted to bypass the lockout codes in Shuttlepod Launch Bay One. (ENT: "Cold Front")
Later that year, Sato, T'Pol, and Reed became stranded on a disabled Klingon ship sinking into a gas giant. The ship was too low for Enterprise to rescue them. Sato deciphered the ship's logs, controls, and readouts so that they could get the ship running under its own power. She suggested that they fire the ship's weapons to move them to a higher orbit. This worked, and Enterprise was able to rescue them. (ENT: "Sleeping Dogs")
The crew of Enterprise was attacked by an organism that was trying to assimilate the nervous systems of the people it entangled in its tentacles. All attempts to free them failed. Sato, using her language skills, was able to communicate with the entity, who released the crewmembers in return for being transported back to its home planet. (ENT: "Vox Sola")
When Enterprise was called back for destroying a colony, they found evidence that the Suliban Cabal was to blame. They were captured by the Cabal on orders to bring Archer to their master. Though the crew was confined to their quarters, they were able to communicate with their room comm systems. The only escape was through the air vents, which were too tight for everyone to squeeze through except Sato. She made her way to Phlox' room to retrieve a pair of needles before moving on to Reed's room. Just as she arrived, her shirt caught on a hook, and was torn off, leaving her to answer Reed's door with her hands over her chest. They were barely able to escape the Suliban Helix. (ENT: "Shockwave", "Shockwave, Part II")
Sato helped translate for the Kreetassans, who were a race very easily offended. She not only translated the language, but their customs as well. This helped Archer settle a misunderstanding between him and the aliens. Affected by a spatial anomaly that caused obsessive behavior in the crew, Sato was determined to duplicate one of her grandmother's dishes. (ENT: "Minefield", "A Night in Sickbay", "Singularity")
During her first experience with the transporter in 2152, Sato imagined she was starting to disappear after returning to Enterprise, and that aliens were attempting to destroy the ship. While attempting to stop them, she materialized on Enterprise and discovered she had imagined it all while being the caught in the pattern buffer for several seconds. (ENT: "Vanishing Point")
Sato's body was taken over by alien entities that wished to steal Enterprise. The alien who took over her body attacked Phlox, who was trying to find a way to drive the aliens from the crew's bodies. (ENT: "The Crossing")
The Xindi mission Edit
In early 2153, during Enterprise's mission to find and destroy the Xindi superweapon, Sato, along with Jonathan Archer and Malcolm Reed, were infected by a virus, left behind by the extinct Loque'eque race, that transformed her into a Loque'eque. She, along with Reed and Archer, were cured by Phlox. (ENT: "Extinction")
During contact with the Osaarians, Sato discovered a manifest. After translating it, she discovered that the race had been in a battle with the Xindi, leading Archer to interrogate the Osaarians and obtain valuable information about the Xindi. (ENT: "Anomaly")
In October of 2153, Sato was telepathically contacted by Tarquin, an exile residing on a nearby planet. Tarquin told Sato that she had a unique mind, one of a few that he could connect to on a deep level. He tried to force her to stay with him in exchange for providing Enterprise with information on the Xindi, but Sato refused, despite his claims that he understood her loneliness better than anyone ever could. Tarquin later provided information on the Xindi. (ENT: "Exile")
Sato helped take the ship back after Archer, infected by Xindi toxin, endangered the mission. She discovered that the pod Archer was returned in after the battle of Azati Prime contained a message that Degra, leader of the Xindi-Primates, wished to meet with Archer. (ENT: "Hatchery", "Damage")
In February 2154, Sato was kidnapped by Commander Dolim. Using Xindi neural parasites, she was compelled to assist the Xindi-Reptilians in decrypting the Xindi-Aquatic activation codes for the Xindi superweapon. Sato fought bravely against them, scrambling the codes further and even attempting to kill herself to prevent them from gaining access to the codes. The Xindi-Reptilians eventually forced her to comply and she decrypted the codes, but was subsequently rescued by a team of MACOs led by Major Hayes. Although Sato was still suffering from the effects of the parasites, Archer insisted that she accompany his team in their attempt to destroy the weapon. Sato was successful in decrypting the schematics for the weapon, allowing Archer to successfully destroy it from within. (ENT: "The Council", "Countdown", "Zero Hour")
The return home Edit
Some months after Enterprise's return to Earth, Sato was infected with a silicon-based virus while part of a landing party on a planet's surface, looking for salvage among Klingon waste. While quarantined in the decontamination chamber and in a delirious state, she displayed skill in decrypting the locking sequence for doors on the entire deck, causing a ship-wide quarantine breach alert. Although Sato initially died due to the virus, she was cured by two Organian observers, who were watching the crew's reaction to the virus. (ENT: "Observer Effect")
Sato participated in Enterprise's effort to capture Augments whose action threatened the peace between Earth and the Klingons. Also, she served during the Vulcan Awakening and the Klingon Augment Crisis.
In January of 2155, Sato was responsible for improvements made to the universal translator. During the Terra Prime crisis, Cpt. Archer left her in command of Enterprise, fondly recalling when she used to jump every time the engines hiccuped. Hoshi replied that she still did, she had just gotten better at hiding it. While the rest of the senior staff were rescuing Trip Tucker and T'Pol from the surface of Mars, Sato disobeyed orders from Nathan Samuels to destroy the array after the deadline for all non-Humans to leave the Sol system had passed, despite her orders left by Archer to destroy the verteron array if his team could not stop it from firing on San Francisco, hoping Archer would stop Terra Prime in time; going as far as to prevent Samuels from contacting Admiral Gardner. Luckily, Tucker managed to alter the target so the array fired into the ocean, just as Sato was about to open fire. (ENT: "Demons", "Terra Prime")
Later career Edit
Sato was still serving aboard Enterprise with the rank of ensign when the ship was decommissioned in 2161. After the ship's final mission to rescue Talla, the daughter of the Andorian Shran, and following the death of her crewmate, Commander Charles Tucker III, she attended the historic founding ceremony of the United Federation of Planets in San Francisco. Sato presumably returned to Brazil a few weeks after the ceremony, as she told Travis Mayweather. (ENT: "These Are the Voyages...")
Following the signing of the Federation Charter, Sato went on to serve in the Federation Starfleet for a time. She retired from Starfleet with the rank of Lieutenant Commander, sometime in the mid-2160s, married, and went on to develop the linguacode translation matrix. (ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II")
A holographic representation of Sato was part of an historic 24th century holodeck program depicting the final voyage of Enterprise NX-01. This program was accessed aboard the USS Enterprise-D by Commander William T. Riker in 2370. (ENT: "These Are the Voyages...")
Alternate timelines Edit
In an alternate timeline where Earth was destroyed by the Xindi, Sato had been promoted to lieutenant by 2165 and was the executive officer of Enterprise. She was killed that year when the bridge of Enterprise was destroyed in a Xindi attack in the Ceti Alpha system. (ENT: "Twilight")
Background information Edit
Sato's given name of Hoshi means "star" in Japanese, a fact which is likely not coincidental. "Hoshi" is not typically used as a name by itself in the current day. Her translated name appears in katakana in the Japanese dubs of the series. "Sato" (also written Satou) is the most common of Japanese surnames and usually written with characters meaning help/assistant and wisteria. However, the dropping of the "u" may be intentional – "sato" means home/village, so she's "at home in the stars."
Hoshi Sato was conceived as a feisty but somewhat astrophobic character. Series co-creator and Executive Producer Brannon Braga explained, "In our minds, especially initially, we saw Hoshi Sato as a real point-of-view character [....] We wanted to show, what would it be like when you go to warp and the ship rumbles, and if you're a white-knuckle flyer like Hoshi, what would that be like?" ("Broken Bow" audio commentary, ENT Season 1 DVD/Blu-ray)
In the series bible for Star Trek: Enterprise, Ensign Hoshi Sato was described thus; "Com Officer. Human, late twenties, Japanese. Striking and intelligent, Hoshi has a feisty spirit that often tests the patience of the crew. She's in charge of communications systems on the Enterprise, but she also serves as ship's Translator. An expert in exo-linguistics, she learned to manipulate her vocal chords to emit a range of alien sounds no human has ever produced. Hoshi has a natural affinity for picking up languages. Give her ten minutes with a Klingon, and she'll be chatting about the weather on Kronos." The document went on to say that, owing to difficulties with the universal translator, "Hoshi must always be prepared to step in and act as intermediary." The series bible further commented, "Hoshi doesn't like the idea of being trapped in a 'tin can' hurtling at impossible speeds. Every time the Enterprise jumps to warp, she grips her console and closes her eyes. She's a 'white knuckle' space-farer." Thereafter, a description of the relationship between Hoshi and T'Pol followed, the series bible remarking, "[They] are like oil and water. Hoshi loves to tweak the Vulcan; get her to show emotion. This unlikely duo will share a conflictual relationship... but in the field, they'll be like sisters. They'd die for each other."
Brannon Braga and fellow series co-creator and Executive Producer Rick Berman were obviously looking for an Asian actress to play Hoshi Sato. ("Broken Bow" audio commentary, ENT Season 1 DVD/Blu-ray) Other aspects of the role were outlined in a character breakdown sheet that Paramount sent to talent agents upon seeking an actress for the part. There, Hoshi Sato was described thus; "Comm Officer. Japanese. Mid to late 20s. Striking and intelligent, Hoshi has a feisty spirit that often tests the patience of the crew. She's in charge of communications on Enterprise, but she also serves as ship's Translator. An expert in exo-linguistics, she learned to manipulate her vocal chords to emit a range of alien sounds no human has ever produced. She has a natural affinity for picking up languages. Hoshi doesn't like the idea of being trapped in a 'tin can' hurtling at impossible speeds. Every time the ship jumps to warp she grips her console and closes her eyes. She's a 'white knuckle' space farer." 
Hoshi Sato was played by Linda Park. "When Linda came along," Rick Berman recalled, "she just knocked us out; she was perfect for our communications person, our linguist." Berman felt the character remained an asset to the series and that they "managed to continue to need Hoshi, and to get a lot of story material and also a lot of humor out of the fact that we need her to help us translate." Brannon Braga felt that, when first introduced, Hoshi is depicted as "a very feisty character" but that this quality was lessened while the series progressed. "Once she got on board and essentially became terrified," Braga laughed, "[when] everything was happening, she lost a bit of her edge, as the episodes went by. I think we envisioned her as a bit more feisty than she ended up becoming." ("Broken Bow" audio commentary, ENT Season 1 DVD/Blu-ray)
Early promotional material around the character of Hoshi Sato stated that she had at some point undergone surgery to her voicebox in order to be able to speak extraterrestrial languages that would normally be beyond Human capacity. This fact was never stated in any episode, however. (Star Trek: The Magazine (citation needed • edit))
Sato's biographical data seen in "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II", was written entirely by episode writer Mike Sussman. A portion of her biography created for the episode not seen on-screen stated that she and her family were among the four thousand people who died on Tarsus IV in 2246 when a food shortage caused by an exotic fungus threatened the colony's population. Governor Kodos ordered the deaths of Sato and the others in order to save the rest of the colony. She was buried in Kyoto with her husband, Takashi Kimura. (See External links below for stills of original production artwork.)
Chronologically, Hoshi is the earliest known member of Starfleet to hold the rank of lieutenant commander. Since the rank never appeared in the run of Star Trek: Enterprise up until after the formation of the United Federation of Planets, it appears the rank didn't exist before that point, a hypothesis which is supported by comments from costumers who agree that rank couldn't have existed any earlier in Star Trek history. (Star Trek: The Magazine (citation needed • edit))
Coincidentally, the non-canon reference comic book Who's Who in Star Trek suggests that "Sato" is additionally Hikaru Sulu's middle name. Also, in "Ain't NASA-Sarily So", an episode of the animated television series The Real Ghostbusters that parodied the original Star Trek series, the counterpart of Hikaru Sulu was named "Lieutenant Sato".
The communications officer of the Battlestar Pegasus and later Galactica on the Ronald D. Moore-produced Battlestar Galactica is, coincidentally or not, also named Hoshi, although this is his last name.
According to author David Greven, "Ensign Hoshi Sato is an Asian American linguist and the communications officer. Prone to fearful fits and generally seen as ineffectual in any terms other than the linguistic aspects of her job, Hoshi is the resident screamer." (Gender and Sexuality in Star Trek, p. 123)