"Based, I'm told, on your recommendation, admiral. Thank you."
Commander Sonak was a Vulcan Starfleet officer in the 23rd century. He was in the engineering and maintenance branches of the Operations division. Upon the recommendation of Rear Admiral James T. Kirk, he received an appointment to the refitted USS Enterprise as the starship's new science officer. Per the request of Captain Willard Decker, he was at Starfleet Headquarters for a final science briefing before he went to the Enterprise.
Sonak and a female crewmember were killed in a transporter accident shortly before the starship left to deal with the V'ger crisis in the mid-2270s. The ship's transporter was 'temporarily' out of order that time; Janice Rand operated the transporter when she saw their silhouettes being deformed, and despite Kirk's attempts to complete the transfer, they disappeared. When Kirk asked Starfleet if they ended up with their disfigured masses, a transporter operator at Starfleet Headquarters said what they received mercifully didn't live long. Kirk instructed him to contact Sonak's family through the Vulcan Embassy to extend his sympathies. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)
|Science officers of the starships Enterprise|
|USS Enterprise:||Spock • Chekov • Kyle • Sonak • Decker • Saavik|
|USS Enterprise-D:||Data • Swenson|
|ISS Enterprise NX-01:||T'Pol|
|ISS Enterprise (NCC-1701):||Spock|
|USS Enterprise (alternate reality):||Spock|
|USS Enterprise-A (alternate reality):||Spock|
Background information Edit
The unnamed crewmember with Sonak was Vice Admiral Lori Ciana according to the novelization, and the novelization stated that the transporter inverted them: they formed with their internal organs outside their bodies. Director Robert Wise indicated in the DVD commentary for the Director's Cut edition that this woman was to be the ship's navigator, and that Ilia was a last-minute replacement.
In the script for the Star Trek: Phase II pilot episode "In Thy Image", which subsequently evolved into Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the character of Commander Ronak was virtually the same as Sonak and his manner of death was very similar (albeit significantly less gruesome).