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Nurse Christine Chapel from the Star Trek TOS Season One episode "What Are Little Girls Made Of?
|Affiliation||United Federation of Planets
|Posting||USS Enterprise nurse, doctor
|Portrayed by||Majel Barrett|
The character was written for Barrett by Gene Roddenberry, after a previous character that he had written for her, Number One, had been dropped. Christine Chapel made her debut in the first season episode "The Naked Time". She was established as a regular character shortly afterward in the episode "What Are Little Girls Made Of?".
The Original Series
Chapel had abandoned a career in bio-research for a position in Starfleet, in the hopes that a deep-space assignment would one day reunite her with her fiancé Dr. Roger Korby, a scientist of renown, incommunicado from his expedition to Exo III. Five years after Korby's disappearance, Chapel was assigned to the USS Enterprise, under the command of Captain James T. Kirk. She served as head nurse under Chief Medical Officer Dr. Leonard McCoy.
Shortly after she joined the crew of the Enterprise, the ship reached Exo III. Kirk and Chapel beam down to join him and his party and they both soon discover Korby's sinister plot: Korby has been exploring and exploiting a sophisticated android manufacturing technology, the legacy of a long-dead civilization. Capturing Kirk and preventing him from warning Spock, Korby later attempts to take over the Enterprise by creating an android duplicate of Kirk to further his mad quest to populate the universe with androids but the plan backfired. Then it was revealed that Korby himself had replaced his own damaged body, transplanting his personality into an android replica. Kirk convinced Korby that he was no longer human and was just a machine. When Korby saw Chapel's horrified reaction at his current condition, he killed himself and his android companion Andrea in despair. After Korby's death, Chapel doubted if she should stay aboard, but elected to remain with the Enterprise throughout the five-year mission.
Relationship with Spock
Even while she still sought to locate Korby, Chapel was deeply infatuated with the Enterprise's half-Vulcan science officer, Spock. Initially, Chapel kept these feelings to herself. However, in the episode "The Naked Time", when the Psi 2000 intoxication afflicted the crew of the Enterprise, Chapel openly admitted her love for Spock, despite the Vulcan's confession of his inability to return her feelings. Chapel's feelings for Spock were revisited and alluded to only a few times in the series, but most notably in "Plato's Stepchildren". In the episode, the Platonians telekinetically forced Chapel and Spock to kiss passionately. This compels Chapel to admit that, despite her long-standing desire to be close with the Vulcan, all she wanted to do, given the humiliation of the situation, was to "crawl away and die." In the episode "Amok Time", she brings Spock some soup to help him through a sacred Vulcan ritual, the Pon farr. Spock refuses the soup, telling her to "go away" and throws it at the wall because she is not willing to leave, but later acknowledges her thoughtfulness. In the episode "Return to Tomorrow", Spock's consciousness is transferred into Ms. Chapel's body temporarily.
In Star Trek films
Chapel appeared in two of the Star Trek films featuring The Original Series cast. In Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Chapel had become a full-fledged doctor. Her second appearance was in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, where she and Janice Rand were stationed in Starfleet Headquarters in San Francisco. The 2009 film Star Trek also refers to a nurse Chapel who speaks a line of dialogue off-screen. The 2013 film Star Trek Into Darkness has a small scene where Carol Marcus tells Kirk that after being with him, Chapel left for a distant station to become a nurse.