Tal Celes was a Bajoran Starfleet crewman who served aboard the Federation starship USS Voyager, which became stranded in the Delta Quadrant in 2371. By 2376, Celes was a grade three sensor analyst assigned to Voyager's astrometrics department under Seven of Nine, the department's head.
At Starfleet Academy Celes had great difficulty with her enlistee training courses and worked three times as hard as her classmates in order to keep up. She frequently had to spend all night cramming to pass her training. She believed that she was graduated from training due to sympathy over her homeworld's conflict, and the desire of Starfleet to have Bajorans in the service.
Celes especially had difficulty with sensor data analysis. As a sensor analyst, her work had to be constantly double-checked much to Seven of Nine's immense irritation. Often, Celes had to call upon her closest friend on Voyager, crewman William "Billy" Telfer, to help her with the analyses. (VOY: "Good Shepherd")
In 2376, Voyager was boarded by an electromagnetic lifeform. The lifeform's home, a Class J nebula, had destabilized and dissipated due to Voyager mining it for deuterium. Shortly after the lifeforms arrival, Celes was about to run a diagnostic on a circuit panel when Seven of Nine stopped her. She moved aside as Seven began to run her own diagnostic to find a fault which she thought Tal had caused, and which had cut power to Astometrics. She was surprised when Tal told her she had not even started as yet, thus the fault could not have been hers as the alien caused ship-wide power outages and system malfunctions, including power loss. Later, with the ship's lights out, Celes wandered the corridors of the ship alone for a number of hours, looking for other crewmembers. Terribly frightened, she believed the ship had been taken over by hostile aliens, such as Hirogen or Borg. She eventually ran into Ensign Harry Kim, who was looking for other crewmembers, and attacked him on seeing his shadow, believing him to be an alien intruder. She struck Kim in the stomach with the equipment case she was carrying. Kim managed to calm her down and took her with him to a temporary command post that had been set up in main engineering. (VOY: "The Haunting of Deck Twelve")
Later that year, Seven of Nine conducted an efficiency analysis of the ship's operations. Her results, presented to the senior staff in a briefing, indicated that Celes, Telfer and a third crewman, Mortimer Harren, were not performing at acceptable levels, and were reducing the efficiency of the ship's operation. Captain Janeway decided to take the three on a simple survey mission on the Delta Flyer, hoping to inspire them to better performance and since the only time they got off the ship was during general shore leave. The mission was to conduct a simple field analysis of a Class T cluster. Janeway assigned Celes the task of analyzing the sensor data.
During the mission, Celes was quite nervous and obsequious, especially toward Captain Janeway. She noted with depression Janeway's constant checking of her work, which to her was further proof of her inadequacy. When the Delta Flyer became severely damaged via an unknown force impacting it, shearing off part of the outer hull, Celes suggested that the piece be beamed aboard to try to determine the cause of the impact by scanning it for a quantum signature. Janeway approved of the idea and, though it did not offer any conclusive evidence, she applauded Celes for her unconventional thinking, trying to boost her confidence. But this failed, as Celes insecurity was fueled by a very real competence issue, which she was well aware of. She responded by telling Janeway that she did not belong on Voyager; she "just lived there". Harren, at one point, referred to her as "intellectually deficient."
However, despite all her difficulties Celes proved herself not lacking in bravery later on in the mission when Janeway ordered her, Telfer and Harren to abandon the Flyer when a swarm of aliens thought to be dark matter lifeforms advanced on the Flyer. She firmly refused to do so, stating that, misfits though she and the others were, they were the crew and "a crew does not abandon its captain." (VOY: "Good Shepherd")
In 2377, Celes and the rest of the crew were brainwashed by a species known as the Quarren. The Quarren altered the memory engrams of the entire crew, replacing their memories with false ones of voluntarily coming to work for the Quarren. They then put the crew to work as industrial workers on their homeworld, Quarra. Celes and the crew spent approximately three weeks in Quarra's largest city, where she worked at the primary fusion reactor with Ensign Mulcahey. The entire crew was eventually rescued and their memories restored. (VOY: "Workforce")
Tal Celes was portrayed by Zoe McLellan.
Celes shared her quarters on board Voyager with an unknown female crewmember, but it was never stated or shown who this roommate was.
She was referred to as Crewman Celes (implying "Celes" is her family name), and only Billy Telfer called her Tal (implying "Tal" is her personal name), therefore her name would be Celes Tal according to traditional Bajoran naming. In TNG: "Ensign Ro", it was noted that some Bajorans changed the order of their names for the benefit of relations with Humans.
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