Kes (Star Trek)

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Star Trek character
First appearance "Caretaker, Part II" (Voy)
Portrayed by Jennifer Lien

Benaren (father)

Martis (mother)
Children Childless (had a daughter named Linnis with Tom Paris in "Before and After" who was named after Kes' mother).
Species Ocampa
Affiliation Starfleet
Posting USS Voyager (field posting).
Position Medical assistant/student, airponics gardener.
Rank Unassigned rank.
Partner Neelix (boyfriend) until separation. Married Tom Paris in "Before and After".

Kes is a character in the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Voyager,[1][2] played by Jennifer Lien.

She was a main character for the first three seasons, leaving the show in the early season 4 episode "The Gift".[3] She made one guest appearance in the late season 6 episode "Fury".[4]

Concept and development[edit]

The character was among several which were originally included in the initial list for Star Trek: Voyager. Described as an alien "Mayfly," the character did not have an assigned sex, but was intended to live for only seven years with obvious aging taking place each season. She was intended to act as a scout for Voyager as it travels through the Delta Quadrant.[5][6] In expanding the character, it was later suggested that there would be two "Mayflies"; an older one and a younger one. These two "Mayflies" were later separated into the characters known as Kes and Neelix.[7]

A memo on August 17, 1993, by executive producer Jeri Taylor, suggested a superhuman ability for the Mayfly for the first time.[8] The appearance of the character in the pilot "Caretaker"[9] was also suggested in the same memo, as someone caught up in the fighting between two factions—a situation in which Voyager also finds itself.[10] By September 15, the character was confirmed as female.[11]

In a 1996 interview, the actress who played Kes (Jennifer Lien) said: “I like Kes. She's strong and curious and intelligent. We’ve developed the character and these traits over the past two seasons, but she’s still a child in a way with the same fears and inhibitions and worries that we all have. This kind of diversity in a character is challenging and that’s good.”[12]

After three seasons Paramount executives decided to remove Kes as a regular cast member to make room in the budget for a new character in season 4 (Seven of Nine).[13] The decision to do so was, according to executive producers Rick Berman and Jeri Taylor, simply because the character was not working successfully.[14] Executives had reportedly planned on removing Harry Kim, as the actor who played this character (Garrett Wang) was often late for rehearsals, until People featured him as one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world.[13] Some of the series' writing staff were sorry that the Kes character was removed, with Kenneth Biller stating: "I was a little bit regretful when Kes left the show, because I thought she was an interesting character to write for—from a science fiction standpoint—because she had certain... she had telepathic abilities, she had this very compressed lifespan, she had things about her character that often lent themselves to interesting storytelling [....] We lost something in losing the Kes character."[14]

Character overview[edit]


Kes is an Ocampa, a race native to the Delta Quadrant, with a lifespan of only nine years, who was born in 2369. In the series pilot, Kes is taken on board the USS Voyager crew with her partner, Neelix, who was responsible for rescuing her from the Kazon. Kes had been a slave of the Kazon after her attempt to escape the tedium of normal Ocampan life.[1] She had also hoped to develop her psionic powers, which her ancestors were rumored to have possessed with great proficiency. The Ocampa's psionic powers were relatively unknown by that time because of the Ocampa way of life, which depended entirely on the Caretaker for provisions and protection.[1][13]

During her time aboard Voyager, Kes develops a close friendship with The Doctor while working as his assistant medical technician. Kes receives medical training and helps The Doctor learn how to interact more easily with the crew. She also helps him develop social skills, such as helping him get a date with Vidiian Dr. Denara Pel ("Lifesigns"),[15] and supporting him when he deals with the loss of his "daughter" in a holographic family simulation ("Real Life").[16] Kes also becomes a friend and student of Tuvok, who helps her develop and learn to control her psionic abilities.[1][13]


Kes has psionic powers that primarily manifested as telepathy, allowing her to read minds and project her thoughts. When she encountered another group of Ocampans, her powers evolved quickly, and she developed pyrokinesis and almost incinerated her friends with psychic fire. With help, she was able to suppress her pyrokinetic abilities. Finally, Kes began to develop psychokinesis and could move objects with her mind. As her powers evolved, she began to lose physical form and was becoming a psychic entity, and she used her telekinetic powers to launch the Voyager light-years closer to Earth before she became living energy.[1][13]

Notable appearances[edit]


In "Elogium",[17] Kes is affected by emanations from space-dwelling life-forms and prematurely enters the "elogium", the Ocampan female reproductive state. She states that this condition only occurs once in an Ocampan lifecycle, which would mean that her species is in decline, with only one child born to each Ocampan couple. This aspect of Ocampan fecundity is not explained, although it is possible that their dependant lifestyle or the ecological changes brought about by the "debt that cannot be repaid" referred to by the Caretaker may be responsible for this phenomenon.[1]

"Cold Fire"[edit]

In "Cold Fire",[18] Tuvok and an Ocampan (Tanis) helps Kes with her mental abilities as the crew encounter a being who is the Caretaker's female counterpart (Suspiria, a female Nacene). Tanis encourages Kes to develop her destructive abilities. When Suspiria attacks the crew in revenge for the Caretaker's death, Kes attacks Tanis with her powers and Captain Kathryn Janeway deploys a non-lethal toxin to disable Suspiria. Being shown mercy causes Suspiria to leave with Tanis, and his departure caused Kes' power to return to its previous level. Kes was disturbed by the harm she did with her enhanced abilities; while Tuvok told her that she must learn to control, rather than fear, such impulses.


In "Warlord",[19] Kes treats an Ilaran man carrying the consciousness of former Ilaran tyrant Tieran. As he lies there, dying, Tieran transfers his mind into her for his own goal of reconquering Ilara, prompting Kes to steal a shuttlecraft to go to Ilara. He makes full use of her mental abilities, but it becomes evident that Kes is battling with him internally for the control of her mind. Tieran is eventually purged from her mind, but Kes is left somewhat traumatized from the violent acts in which she participated. Tuvok tells her that she will have to learn and adapt from the experience, and that she will never be quite the same again. During this episode, Kes calls off her long-term romantic relationship with Neelix, under the mind control of Tieran during an away mission claiming he is too jealous, suffocating, and protective. Upon resolution of the conflict, Kes decides to not reinitiate their intimacy (the alien's original rationale was based on Kes' own subconscious), though the two do remain good friends thereafter.[1]


In "Darkling",[20] The Doctor tries to graft other personalities into his program, but the resulting 'upgrade' causes him to develop an evil alternate personality and kidnap Kes after injuring a suitor (Zahir). Attracted by his youthful good looks, intelligence, sensitivity and bravery, she spent much time with Zahir to the detriment of her duties aboard Voyager. Zahir was equally attracted to Kes and invited her to travel with him aboard his ship for a few weeks, and initially she accepted his offer despite concerns on the part of Janeway, who reminded Kes of her obligations as Voyager's assistant medical officer, while Tuvok questioned Zahir's choice of route and his apparently reckless approach towards travel. Zahir assured Tuvok that, having fallen in love with Kes, he considered her safety on the trip to be of paramount importance. Kes remained at Zahir's side throughout his initial convalescence, showing great concern; shortly afterwards – when she was kidnapped by The Doctor who had malfunctioned – Zahir assisted Chakotay and Tuvok in their rescue efforts. Having been rescued, Kes decided to remain with Voyager as it continued on its journey home.

"Before and After"[edit]

In "Before and After",[21] Kes participates in Voyager's year-long battle with the Krenim during the "Year of Hell",[22] becoming infected with particles from a chronoton torpedo. She later marries Tom Paris, and they have a daughter Linnis. Linnis is married to Harry Kim and they have a son named Andrew, grandson of Kes. At the beginning of the episode, Kes is nine years old and ready to accept her death at the normal age for Ocampans. The Doctor, however, is not, so he devises a biotemporal chamber, which has the unintentional effect of reactivating chronotons dormant in Kes' body from her exposure to the chronoton torpedo several years earlier. This begins sending Kes on a backwards journey through her life. Kes becomes aware of what is happening, and once she has traveled back to the time corresponding to an earlier part of Voyager's conflict with the Krenim, she informs The Doctor in the past what is happening to her and relays the exact temporal frequency of the chronoton torpedo.[13]

This enables The Doctor to devise a treatment and restore Kes to normal temporal sync. It also renders the events of Kes' future, including her marriage to Tom Paris, as well as her daughter Linnis, into an alternate timeline that never comes to pass. She is, however, still able to inform Janeway about the coming "Year of Hell". It is left unexplained why Voyager's crew is unaware of Kes' warning when they encounter the Krenim later in season 4, during the episodes of the same name (season 4, episodes 8 and 9). However, the omission of her warning could have been due to Annorax's temporal alterations when Voyager reset the original timeline by destroying the Krenim vessel. Voyager was not attacked in the restored timeline, so the alternate reality when Kes got the warning would not have taken place.[13]

"Scorpion" and "The Gift"[edit]

In the "Scorpion"[23][24] and "The Gift" episodes, Voyager becomes entangled in a major conflict between the Borg and the mysterious aliens referred to as Species 8472. Due in part to her exposure to the powerful telepathic influx of Species 8472, Kes begins to "evolve" into a different state of being. She can no longer remain with Voyager, but before leaving, she uses her newly acquired powers to hurl Voyager and crew safely beyond Borg space, 9,500 light-years closer to Earth.[1]


In "Fury", Kes revisits Voyager in a story involving time travel. At this point, she appears much older, is much more powerful, and is vengeful towards the Voyager crew. She travels to the past and attempts to hand the past Voyager over to the Vidiians while she takes her past self home, but this attempt is thwarted. Using their new foreknowledge of these events, the present Janeway and Tuvok create a hologram of Kes at the time who reminds her future self about her affection for the crew and how much they had cared for her, thus showing Kes how irrational her hatred is. The episode ends with her taking her ship back to Ocampa.[13]


In the 2005–2006 novel trilogy String Theory,[25][26][27] it is revealed that the Kes who appeared in "Fury" was actually the manifestation of Kes' dark side, caused by a complex side effect of a confrontation with a renegade Nacene (the same species as the Caretaker). In the 2012 novel The Eternal Tide,[28] Kes assists Q Junior in resurrecting Admiral Janeway after she is assimilated and the Borg Cube she was on was destroyed; Kes' actions restored Janeway's body to its most perfect state after Q was able to teach her how to pull her body back together.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "VOYAGER DELTA QUADRANT UPDATE BIO-FILE: Kes". Retrieved 2017-06-14. 
  2. ^ Ruditis (2016): pp. 200–201
  3. ^ Menosky, Joe (September 10, 1997). "The Gift". Star Trek: Voyager. Season 4. Episode 2. UPN. 
  4. ^ Fuller, Bryan; Taylor, Michael; Berman, Rick; Braga, Brannon (May 3, 2000). "Fury". Star Trek: Voyager. Season 6. Episode 23. UPN. 
  5. ^ Poe (1998): p. 176
  6. ^ Poe (1998): p. 177
  7. ^ Poe (1998): p. 187
  8. ^ Poe (1998): p. 189
  9. ^ Berman, Rick; Piller, Michael; Taylor, Jeri (January 16, 1995). "Caretaker". Star Trek: Voyager. Season 1. Episode 1 & 2 (or 1 pilot). UPN. 
  10. ^ Poe (1998): p. 191
  11. ^ Poe (1998): p. 206
  12. ^ Finch, Amanda (September 1996). "Spotlight – Jennifer Lien". SCI-FI Universe. 3 (1): 10. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h "Kes". Memory Alpha. Retrieved 2017-06-23. 
  14. ^ a b Star Trek Voyager – The Complete Fourth Season (DVD). Paramount. 28 September 2004. 
  15. ^ Biller, Kenneth (February 26, 1996). "Lifesigns". Star Trek: Voyager. Season 2. Episode 19. UPN. 
  16. ^ Taylor, Jeri; Kloor, Harry 'Doc' (April 23, 1997). "Real Life". Star Trek: Voyager. Season 3. Episode 22. UPN. 
  17. ^ Biller, Kenneth; Tayor, Jeri; Diggs, Jimmy; Kay, Steve J. (September 18, 1995). "Elogium". Star Trek: Voyager. Season 2. Episode 4. UPN. 
  18. ^ Braga, Brannon; Williams, Anthony (November 13, 1995). "Cold Fire". Star Trek: Voyager. Season 1. Episode 10. UPN. 
  19. ^ Klink, Lisa; Price, Andrew S.; Gaberman, Mark (November 20, 1996). "Warlord". Star Trek: Voyager. Season 3. Episode 10. UPN. 
  20. ^ Menosky, Joe; Braga, Brannon (February 19, 1997). "darkling". Star Trek: Voyager. Season 3. Episode 18. UPN. 
  21. ^ Biller, Kenneth (April 9, 1997). "Before and After". Star Trek: Voyager. Season 3. Episode 21. UPN. 
  22. ^ Braga, Brannon; Menosky, Joe (November 5, 1997). "Year of Hell". Star Trek: Voyager. Season 4. Episode 8 & 9. UPN. 
  23. ^ Braga, Brannon; Menosky, Joe; Livingston, David (May 21, 1997). "Scorpion (part 1)". Star Trek: Voyager. Season 3. Episode 26. UPN. 
  24. ^ Braga, Brannon; Menosky, Joe (September 3, 1997). "Scorpion (part 2)". Star Trek: Voyager. Season 4. Episode 1. UPN. 
  25. ^ Lang (2005)
  26. ^ Beyer (2005)
  27. ^ Jarman (2006)
  28. ^ Beyer (2012)


  • Beyer, Kirsten (2005). Star Trek: Voyager – String Theory # 2 – Fusion. New York: Pocket Books. ISBN 978-1416509554. 
  • Beyer, Kirsten (2012). Star Trek: Voyager – The Eternal Tide. New York: Pocket Books. ISBN 978-1451668186. 
  • Jarman, Heather (2006). Star Trek: Voyager – String Theory # 3 – Evolution. New York: Pocket Books. ISBN 978-1416507819. 
  • Lang, Jeffrey (2005). Star Trek: Voyager – String Theory # 1 – Cohesion. New York: Pocket Books. ISBN 978-0743457187. 
  • Poe, Stephen Edward (1998). Star Trek: Voyager – A Vision of the Future. New York: Pocket Books. ISBN 978-0671534813. 
  • Ruditis, Paul (2016). The Star Trek Book. London: Dorling Kindersley. ISBN 978-1465450982. 

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