Lieutenant Valeris was a Starfleet officer who served as helmsman aboard the USS Enterprise-A, during its mission to escort the Klingon Chancellor to Earth in 2293. In that capacity, she was a key participant in a conspiracy to sabotage peace talks between the Klingon Empire and the Federation.
Prior to her assignment to the Enterprise, Valeris was mentored by Captain Spock at Starfleet Academy, and became the first Vulcan to graduate at the top of her class. So impressed was Spock that, upon being reunited with her aboard the Enterprise, he informed her of his intentions to retire subsequent to the completion of their mission, and of his desire that she should fulfill his role aboard the ship.
Upon establishment of contact with the chancellor's flagship, Valeris suggested to Captain Kirk the service of Romulan ale during a dinner which the Enterprise crew was hosting for Chancellor Gorkon and his party. Later, after Kirk and Doctor McCoy were placed under arrest for Gorkon's murder, Valeris supplied her compatriots in the Klingon Empire with a recording from Kirk's personal log, in which Kirk admitted that he held the Klingons personally responsible for the death of his son, which became a damning piece of evidence in their subsequent trial. Valeris also personally murdered Yeomans Burke and Samno, her fellow conspirators and Gorkon's actual assassins, in an attempt to eliminate them as witnesses.
After the Enterprise crew's successful rescue of Kirk and McCoy from the Klingon prison planet Rura Penthe, Kirk and Spock set up a sting operation in an attempt to uncover the conspirator aboard the ship, by announcing that Burke and Samno had, in fact, survived the murder attempt, and were recuperating in sickbay. This was done by calling the ship's court reporter to the sickbay over the shipwide intercom system. Their ruse proved successful, and they confronted Valeris as she entered the darkened sickbay in another assassination attempt. Captain Spock activated the overhead lamp of one of the biobeds on which he and Kirk were laying. Spock challenged Valeris, saying that if she were truly logical she would have to shoot and kill him.
Scared, Valeris said she did not want to and Spock stated "What you want is irrelevant; what you have chosen is at hand.", before angrily slapping away Valeris's weapon. Captain Kirk subsequently attempted to interrogate Valeris as to the details of the conspiracy, but was met with frustration as Valeris refused to cooperate. In response, Spock forced a mind meld on Valeris, during which he was able to learn of the involvement in the conspiracy of Starfleet Admiral Cartwright, Klingon General Chang, and Romulan Ambassador Nanclus, as well as the fact that Captain Sulu would be able to supply them with the location of the imminent Khitomer Conference, wherein another assassination attempt would take place. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)
|Helmsmen of the starships Enterprise|
|Enterprise NX-01:||Mayweather • Hutchison • Tanner|
|USS Enterprise:||DePaul • Hadley • Hansen • Kyle • Leslie • Mitchell • Number One • Rahda • Spinelli • H. Sulu • Uhura • Walking Bear|
|USS Enterprise-A:||H. Sulu • Valeris|
|USS Enterprise-B:||D. Sulu|
|USS Enterprise-C:||Castillo • Fredericks|
|ISS Enterprise (NCC-1701):||H. Sulu|
|USS Enterprise (alternate reality):||McKenna • H. Sulu|
|USS Enterprise-A (alternate reality):||H. Sulu|
Background information Edit
Saavik was to have reprised her role in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, but was replaced with Valeris, reportedly because Gene Roddenberry was concerned that fans had become so fond of Saavik that they would react negatively to her turning out to be a traitor. In addition, no one wanted to have to cast a third actress to play the same role: Kirstie Alley had declined to return, and Nicholas Meyer was not a fan of Robin Curtis's portrayal.
While referred to as "lieutenant", Valeris wore the rank insignia of a lieutenant commander. Her Starfleet uniform jacket had the gray insignia patch and wristband of a sciences division officer, but her uniform undershirt was red (denoting a cadet or student officer). This mismatch was caused because no new uniform pieces were being made and the wardrobe department simply found Cattrall existing items that fit her. Robert Fletcher's uniform notes specify that an officer's collar and uniform patch should match, so a division specialty color could have been added as a strip on her shoulder patch and wristband.
Kim Cattrall designed her headband, suggested her hairstyle and even helped in naming the character – after Eris, the Greek goddess of strife, hinting at Valeris' role in the events of the film. The "Val" prefix was added to make it sound more Vulcan, contradicting, however, the typical naming convention for female Vulcans (T'Pring, T'Pol, and T'Pau, for example). (I Am Spock) The shooting script spells the name "Val'eris", but the apostrophe doesn't appear in the closing credits, DVD subtitles or publicity materials.
The novel Cast No Shadow depicts Valeris' life both before and after Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, when she is offered a chance at relocation to a colony world under a new name, seven years after her arrest and imprisonment, in exchange for assisting in an investigation into what appears to be a new branch of the Khitomer Conspiracy as the last known living member of the scheme. During the storyline, she is forced to acknowledge that the real reason for her participation in the conspiracy was not her logical assessment that the Klingons would be a future threat to the Federation, but her own past trauma from a time she was taken hostage as a child by Klingons attempting to convince her ambassador father to abandon a planet that was negotiating to join the Federation. At the conclusion of the story, she risks her life to disable a bomb that would have decimated the remains of Praxis and the Klingon homeworld, and is given a pardon and a new life on a colony world under a new name.