|Assignment(s):||chief science officer, USS Chimera|
Prior to her arrival Deep Space Three, Lieutenant Karen Denali was a Junior Science Officer with a PhD in Astrospectography aboard the Miranda class science vessel USS Remington (NCC-19827). She, along with her colleague, Lt N'Kana had finished their survey of the Venderis Nebula and had been invited to speak at the Astrophysics Symposium at Mars University. Her closest friend onboard was the Second Officer, then Lieutenant Gregory Torkelson. When he recieved the news that he had been promoted to Lieutenant Commander, and reassigned to Deep Space Three as Station Executive Officer, and Captain of the sole starship stationed there, the Oberth class USS Chimera (NCC-11555), Denali was the first person he told. After Karen found out, she brought a bottle of 2237 Scotch she won from the engineer on the Ru-Tang. As they shared a parting drink, Greg asked if she would be interested in coming along. In no uncertain terms, she declined, stating that she had her own career to think about.
It came as a complete shock to Karen when the Remington's CO, Captain Russell Steele told her she had been reassigned to Torkelson's ship. She was furious. "I'm not going to follow him across the galaxy like some Meruvian puppy!" Captain Steele tried to calm her down, but she merely shot back, "I am calmly thinking of all the pain I'm going to inflict on my dear friend who can't live without me so much he's ruining my life!"
Her distress at being taken from her assignment on the Remington, combined with the deteriorated state of DS3 and Chimera caused Karen to openly lament the sorry state of the Station and the Chimera, not only to Chief of Engineering LT Jennifer Forrestal, but also Engineer Jack Graves and other senior staff. Her complaints were instantly regretted, but the damage was done.
Her first mission created new difficulties for Karen. Prior to her departure from the Remington, She had requested placement onto the command track, with a temporary posting to Second Officer. All of that was sidetracked following her transfer. With Chimera's mission to transport Ambassador Nemon to the Planet Melnora, plus acting Captain LT Exler beaming down to the surface, Denali found herself taking orders from the ship's Second Officer, Ensign Owen Kyle. When her bitter attitude towards the bridge situation became too pronounced, Kyle gave her a choice after pulling her into the ready room. Either return to her station, and be the officer he knew her to be, or leave the bridge and let him get someone to take her place.
Denali finally got a chance to stretch her command muscles when the station was infested with metal eating insect-like arthropods. With all the other Chimera officers on the station leading assault teams against the bugs, she was left behind in charge of the bridge with Ensign Thomas her sole bridge officer. Exler has shown sufficient trust to leave the bridge in her hands when she had to leave while still on duty.
With her peersEdit
Lieutenant Commander Jennifer ForrestalEdit
Following Denali's arrival on DS3, Chimera was departing immediately to assist LT Exler, Dr Winston and Goshen aboard Goshen's Antarean shuttle Successful Negotiations. LCDR Torkelson told her, "You're not going, LT Denali. Report to DS3 immediately." He also told her told locate Lieutenant Jennifer Forrestal for assistance. She caught up with her in the observation lounge, watching the Chimera depart. As thery struck up a conversation, she casually remarked, "That's my new posting. A battered ship, made up of scavenged parts, based at a forgotten station thats probably been botched together with salvaged junk too." When Forrestal revealed she was the Chief Engineer of the Station, Denali remarked, to herself, "Chief of Engineering? Way to go, Karen! You just alienated another member of the station staff!"
The two women were forced together during the incident with the Sovereignty, when Chirrok, the aide to the ship captain mistakenly identified Denali as a physician. Refusing to allow the error to be corrected, both Admiral Thomas and Captain Buchanan ordered Denali to impersonate an M.D., and for Forrestal to assist, over Dr Breetal's protests. In spite of the obstacles, they were able to complete the task, though not to the satisfaction of ship captain.
Forrestal did broach the subject of LT Denali, along with her 'issues' with Torkelson, and he assured her that he would not allow his relationship with Karen to compromise his position as Executive Officer.
Lieutenant Commander Renova ExlerEdit
Karen first met Lieutenant Renova Exler following the return of Chimera following the ship's second battle with the Solar Winds. Their first real chance to talk came when Karen was escorting the Betazoid Ambassador, Briz Nemon following the blow-up in sick bay. They ran in into Exler and Chief Burt Knox while they were in the middle of a heated arguement. Despite Ambassador Nemon's (unwelcome) intervention, Exler decided that since Chief Knox wasn't going to listen, she would find LCDR Torkelson. She told Karen, "If you happen to see your boyfriend before I do ............" Denali protested "He's not my boyfriend! He's a nice guy, just a little awkward socially. He's someone who needs . . a big sister." Exler replied, "Ooh. Ouch. I'm sure he'd love to hear that." Denali replied, "I've been very up front with him." Contrary to her difficulties with Lieutenant Kyle, Denali didn't appear to have any issues with LCDR Exler's command authority.
Lieutenant Owen KyleEdit
In her first mission as Chief Science Officer aboard the Chimera, Denali chafed at being the subordinate of then Second Officer, Ensign Owen Kyle. There were a couple of reasons for this. Prior to her departure from the Remmington, Karen had started on the command track, replacing Gregory Torkelson as Second Officer. Her natural abrasiveness caused her to be borderline insubordinate towards Kyle. Kyle pulled her from her science station to talk with her in the ready room. "It really bothers you, dosen't it? Taking orders from an Ensign?" Denali replied, "I do outrank you!" he replied,"But you don't have the experience I have with this crew, this ship, or this area of space or in command! You're a scientist, not a line officer!" she shot back, "I was starting out on the command track just before I was reassigned out here. Just one more thing that was yanked away from me!" He countered, "I'd be bitter about that too, But then you should understand lieutenant, that the attitude you're displaying on the bridge is detrimental to the cohesion and morale of the crew, such as it is! . . . . but becoming _that_ officer, the one who makes everyone around them miserable, the one who can empty the lounge just by walking in, the one who is passed over, not because of ability, but because of attitude isn't going to do you any good. I know this situation isn't ideal, but out here on the frontier, we work with what we've got. I may not have the pips on my collar you do, but LT Exler left me in charge. If you can't accept that, I will excuse you from the bridge. Now I'll give you two minutes alone to make your decision. When you walk out that door, I expect you to either take your station, and act like the officer you are, or continue walking into the turbolift, and allow me to get someone else to do your job." Since Kyle's promotion to Lieutenant and reassignment as Chimera's [First Officer], Their professional relationship settled into a modicum of amiability.
Lieutenant Commander Gregory TorkelsonEdit
Karen Denali and Lieutenant commander Gregory Torkelson share a complicated, but close friendship since his days aboard the USS Remington. Despite his efforts, Karen considers their relationship to be closer to that of a brother and sister. Torkelson, to his credit, has accepted said boundaries. Despite this fact, he still tended to 'tread lightly'. This did not prevent a schism between the two when Admiral Bartholomew Thomas reassigned Karen to Torkelson's ship, the USS Chimera as a 'peace offering'. Karen saw the transfer as an act of selfishness on Torkelson's part. It was not until Admiral Thomas revealed that he was the one that arranged the transfer that Karen could even speak with a civil tone to Greg. It was following the end of the 'bug crisis' that the relationship settled back into normalcy following Torkelson's injury. Karen still frets that Tork has not accepted the restrictions she had placed on their relationship.
Dr Rachel WinstonEdit
Karen Denali first met Dr Rachel Winston at the welcome home party at DS3 following the Chimera's victory over the Solar Winds. It was there she accidentally revealed Greg Torkelson's nickname of "Tork" to LT Renova Exler and the Doctor. It wasn't until she reported to the Station sick bay for her physical exam that the two of them got to have a chat. Denali conceded that she'd been avoiding the crew of Chimera because if she got to know them she might like them, beacuse she didn't want to be there, on the station. Winston deduced that there was one part of her that wanted to return to her old life on the Remington, and another that tapped into her natural curiousity regarding the Pinchot Expanse. Denali replied, "How could you know what I'm feeling? How could anyone know what I'm feeling? Heck, I don't even know how I'm feeling!"
With her superiorsEdit
Admiral Bartholomew ThomasEdit
Initially, it was Admiral Bartholomew Thomas' plan to send Karen Denali to the Chimera as a "peace offering" to LCDR Torkelson following their row at the Admiral's reception. By the time she arrived, he needed something more. He solicited her help in being his eyes on the station. Denali protested that she wouldn't spy on her shipmates. The Admiral countered that all he wanted was to be on top of what was happening on the station, even when he was absent. He had a "plan" for the station.
"How dare he! I have a life of my own! I'm not going to follow him across the galaxy like some Meruvian puppy!"
" I am calmly thinking of all the pain I'm going to inflict on my dear friend who can't live without me so much that he's ruining my life!"
"He's not my boyfriend! He's a nice guy, just a little awkward socially. He's someone who needs a big sister."
"I was starting out on the command track just before I was reassigned out here. Just one more thing that was yanked away from me."
"I knew him, once. Pretty well, I thought. It seems like a long time ago."
"That's my new posting. A battered ship, made up of scavenged parts, based at a forgotten station thats probably been botched together with salvaged junk too."
From episodes 1 to 18, Karen Denali was played by Melissa D. Johnson. In all subsequent performances, Deborah Adams is her voice actress for Star Trek: Outpost.