|Portrayed by||Linda Park|
Sato, born in 2129, is the communications officer aboard the starship Enterprise (NX-01), and also a linguist who can speak more than forty languages (polyglotism), including Klingon. She is an acknowledged linguistic genius and expert at operating the universal translator, which was a key instrument in allowing cultures from different worlds to communicate.
Relatively little of Sato's background has been explored in the series. It is known that she briefly suffered from space sickness and is also claustrophobic. The fourth season episode "Observer Effect" revealed that Sato was once dishonorably discharged from Starfleet for running a floating poker game and breaking the arm of a Starfleet instructor who tried to break it up. She was subsequently allowed to rejoin Starfleet because of her exceptional linguistic skills.
Before posting to the Enterprise, Sato taught linguistics in Brazil; it is not known whether she was an active Starfleet officer or was reactivated to serve under Jonathan Archer. She later (again, in "Observer Effect") expressed regret at leaving without saying goodbye to her students.
There have been hints that Sato might be attracted to her colleague Travis Mayweather, and to Charles Tucker III too. She also appears to be very close to Captain Archer - he is often protective towards her and they appear to have some history that predates her posting to Enterprise, but the full nature of their relationship has also yet to be explored.
The series' final episode, "These Are the Voyages...", reveals that Sato remains Archer's communications officer throughout his tenure as captain, and was considering resuming her teaching career in Brazil following the ship's decommissioning. The final episode also revealed that, after serving aboard Enterprise for ten years, she still wore an Ensign's insignia. The reasons for this lack of promotion (or possible future demotion) have not yet been revealed, although it is not unheard of for an officer to remain at a set rank for many years without promotion (examples include William Riker and Pavel Chekov, who remained at the rank of Commander for many years without moving on to become captains, and Harry Kim, who never moved beyond the rank of Ensign during the seven-year run of Star Trek: Voyager). As noted in the records aboard the USS Defiant, Sato only ever achieved the rank of Lieutenant Commander during her Starfleet career, suggesting either a slow rise up the ranks or an early retirement from active duty.
According to a computer bio screen, barely visible in the episode "In a Mirror, Darkly", and taken from the memory banks of the USS Defiant, Sato was born in Kyoto, Japan. She was instrumental in the development of the universal translator. She eventually marries a man named Takashi Kimura, and retires from Starfleet with the rank of lieutenant commander.
In the Mirror Universe, Sato held the rank of Lieutenant. In addition to being the communications officer, she acted as the "Captain's Woman" (a combination yeoman/concubine) of Captain Maximillian Forrest and then Commander Jonathan Archer after Archer took control of the ISS Enterprise.
After Archer used the USS Defiant to put down the rebellion, Sato poisoned him and took command of the ship, taking the Mirror Travis Mayweather as a new consort. Upon reaching Earth, she demanded Earth's surrender and proclaimed herself Empress.
Episodes in which Sato's character is expanded or plays a key role.
- "Broken Bow" - Introduction to Sato's character; assigned to Enterprise.
- "Fight or Flight" - Sato faces her fears on an alien ship whose crew was murdered.
- "Vanishing Point" - First use of the transporter.
- "Exile" - Remains on an alien planet to learn more about the Xindi.
- "The Council" - Imperative in communicating with the Xindi council.
- "Countdown" - Kidnapped and tortured by Xindi-Reptilians, she is brainwashed to assist in destruction of Earth.
- "Zero Hour" - Crucial in the destruction of Xindi superweapon before Earth is destroyed.
- "Observer Effect" - Chosen to carry a deadly pathogen in an experiment observed by the Organians.
- "In a Mirror, Darkly" - The Sato of the parallel universe is promiscuous, conniving and ambitious, who ultimately declared herself as Empress Sato of Earth.
According to author David Greven, "Ensign Hoshi Sato is an Asian American linguist and the communications officer. Prone to fearful fits and generally seen as ineffectual in any terms other than the linguistic aspects of her job, Hoshi is the resident screamer."
- Season 1, Episode 24: "Two Days and Two Nights", http://www.startrek.com/startrek/view/library/episodes/ENT/detail/124460.html
- David Greven (26 August 2009). Gender and Sexuality in Star Trek: Allegories of Desire in the Television Series and Films. McFarland. p. 123. ISBN 978-0-7864-5458-7.