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Taurik's dry wit was typically Vulcan, which played off his roommate and friend Sam Lavelle. Other friends aboard the Enterprise-D included Nurse Alyssa Ogawa, Ensign Sito Jaxa, and Ten Forward waiter Ben. The group had regular poker nights in Taurik and Lavelle's quarters.
While at Starfleet Academy, Taurik had the opportunity to review preliminary findings by Doctor Nils Diaz. He discovered that causing the plasma flow in the warp nacelles to become out of sync increased overall warp field stability. Using Diaz's work, Taurik designed modifications to the warp drive of the Galaxy-class Enterprise-D in 2370 which increased its warp field stability by seven percent. He was eager to begin field tests on this and a number of other enhancements under the auspices of Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge.
La Forge was irritated by the upstart ensign, who was also extremely inquisitive and perceptive. La Forge had Taurik help him damage the shuttlecraft Curie, claiming that it was part of a hull resiliency test. Taurik recognized that the phaser blast patterns were consistent with making it appear as if the shuttle had fled an attack, although he also realized that La Forge wanted him to keep quiet about the task. La Forge later decided that Taurik was not annoying him on purpose, and invited him to Main Engineering to begin work on the engine modifications.
After Sito Jaxa left the Enterprise-D on a covert mission to Cardassian space, Lavelle tried to get more information about her whereabouts from Taurik, but he remained silent. After her escape pod was destroyed and she was believed killed, Taurik mourned her loss with his friends. He also assuaged Lavelle's guilt over receiving a promotion for which Sito was also considered, telling him that the best way to honor Sito's memory would be to excel in his new position. (TNG: "Lower Decks")
Background information Edit
The concept of writing a young Vulcan character into TNG: "Lower Decks" was thought up by Ron Wilkerson and Jean Louise Matthias, who wrote the episode's story together. Their interest in seeing such a persona in the outing was due to Vulcans having rarely been shown on Star Trek: The Next Generation. However, the character concept was met with some resistance from the producers of the series, essentially because they were wary of comparisons to Spock. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 25/26, No. 6/1, p. 78)
The original name of this character was Sorik. The name was changed to mirror the new "T" male Vulcan naming method, as with Tuvok from the then-forthcoming spinoff Star Trek: Voyager. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 282)
Despite the minor name change, René Echevarria – who wrote the script for "Lower Decks" – had the same impression of the Taurik character as Ron Wilkerson and Jean Louise Matthias, imagining Taurik as an odds-figuring "young Spock" who exhibited barely concealed, pithy sarcasm. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 282) In the final draft script of "Lower Decks", Taurik is described as being in his "early to mid-twenties," as of the episode's setting. The same teleplay also states, "Taurik is extremely intelligent and knows it -- he has enormous confidence in his own abilities."
Casting the role of Taurik was challenging, particularly due to the risk of making the part seem too Spock-like. “There were big shoes to fill,” offered René Echevarria. (Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, p. 337) Taurik was played by Alexander Enberg, who happens to be Executive Producer Jeri Taylor's son. Despite this, Taylor wanted Enberg to be given no special treatment on account of them being related and preferred the option of casting Enberg in the role to be based solely on the quality of his acting. Reflected René Echevarria, "I don't think she even told the director, 'This is my son.'" Instead, the idea of considering Enberg to play Taurik was influenced by the actor having recently appeared in the pilot episode of a series called Dead at 21, a guest appearance which impressed the creative staff of TNG. ("Lower Decks" audio commentary, TNG Season 7 Blu-ray special features)
Although Alexander Enberg had also made a brief appearance as a Young Reporter in TNG: "Time's Arrow, Part II", the possibility of getting more screen time by portraying Taurik excited him, though he soon realized how under-prepared he was to accept the part. (TV Zone, Special #29, p. 36) He was given two weeks to prepare for playing Taurik but was extremely intimidated by the task. Enberg was not only about to play one of TNG's few Vulcan characters, subjecting himself to the scrutiny of the many fans of Leonard Nimoy's portrayal of Spock, but had also recently read a negative critical review of a Vulcan character from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, berating that character for having been too dissimilar to Nimoy's Spock. "It was anxiety-provoking," Enberg noted. To help ready himself for assuming the persona of Taurik, he watched as many installments of Star Trek: The Original Series as he possibly could, taking particular influence from Nimoy's performance as Spock in "The Galileo Seven". (Cinefantastique, Vol. 25/26, No. 6/1, p. 79) "I knew the only way I could truly learn how to be a Vulcan was to try to follow the precedent set by Leonard Nimoy and his performance as Mister Spock on Star Trek [....] I really got into studying Leonard Nimoy’s work and I also spent a significant amount of time practicing my eyebrow arching," he remarked, jokingly. "One thing I made sure to do during the audition was the Vulcan hand salute. I knew it would be ridiculous if they hired somebody who couldn’t do that. Other than that I just went in and read my lines as straightforward and as logically as I could. I have a deep voice and dark eyes, which are reminiscent of Leonard Nimoy’s looks, so I think that helped my cause as well. Whatever I did must have rung true to how a Vulcan behaves because they hired me. I was psyched." (TV Zone, Special #29, pp. 36 & 37)
The pressure Alexander Enberg felt he was under in portraying Taurik had an effect on him during production; in breaks from filming, he repeatedly asked himself, "Am I really going to be put up there as a Vulcan for everyone to see and criticize?" (Cinefantastique, Vol. 25/26, No. 6/1, p. 80) However, he ultimately found playing the character "ended up being a lot of fun." (TV Zone, Special #29, p. 37)
Taurik turned out to be one of the most well-received characters in "Lower Decks", warmly embraced by fans. (Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, p. 337) For example, Alexander Enberg related, "Just because I was on the show and played a character they found interesting and endearing, [fans] lined up around the corner to have me sign a head shot." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 25/26, No. 6/1, p. 80) There was even mention of Taurik becoming a recurring guest character, if TNG had continued. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 282) This would have been likely, if the series had proceeded into an eighth season. Concerning the task of playing Taurik without making it appear to be an imitation of Leonard Nimoy, René Echevarria enthused, "Alex really pulled it off." (Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, p. 337) Similarly, in their reference book Star Trek: The Next Generation 365 (p. 337), Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann characterize Taurik as having been "well played" by Enberg.
Because Alexander Enberg additionally portrayed the similarly named yet different Vulcan Vorik on Star Trek: Voyager, Jeri Taylor once suggested that Taurik was Vorik's twin brother. (Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, p. 337) On the other hand, René Echevarria laughed off the notion of Taurik having a familial connection to Vorik, for example as a cousin of his. ("Lower Decks" audio commentary, TNG Season 7 Blu-ray special features)