This week’s CHL focuses on Lieutenant M’Ress, voiced by Majel Barrett. She was a recurring character on The Animated Adventures of Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek, which aired on NBC from 1973 to 1974. The character M’Ress is of the race Caitian, and remains the only Caitian character to appear in any Star Trek storylines, although one is briefly seen in the courtroom scene at the conclusion of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.
The character “M’Ress” was a female Starfleet officer assigned to the engineering section of the “USS Enterprise” under the command of Captain James T. Kirk. She also occasionally assumed the role of Relief Communications Officer. M’Ress was Caitian: a felinoid race with long, thick orange fur and yellow, slit-pupiled eyes. She spoke softly and had a cat-like purring quality to her voice. “M’Ress” was depicted to not wear shoes; she had four digits on each paw and a cat-like tail, which was often caught and pinched as the doors on the “Enterprise” automatically closed behind her.
The name of the Caitian’s homeworld is Cait, according to a biography of Lt. M’ress published by (the Gene Roddenberry/Majel Barrett run) Lincoln Enterprises in 1974.
M’Ress’ first appeared in the “Star Trek: The Animated Series“ episode “The Survivor”. She appeared in a total of six episodes: “The Survivor”, “Once Upon a Planet”, “Mudd’s Passion”, “The Eye of the Beholder”, “Bem” and “The Practical Joker”.
M’Ress appeared in the Star Trek novel, The Galactic Whirlpool by David Gerrold published by Ballantine Books in October 1980. She was also featured in several issues of the 1980s DC Comics version of Star Trek. Those stories took place a few years after the original five year mission. M’Ress was featured in a number of storylines in which she even teasingly flirted with Sulu (Ooooohhh my!).
She appeared again in several Next Generation era Star Trek: New Frontier novels, where she was depicted serving aboard the USS Trident. It was explained in the novels that a time anomaly brought her forth to the future. She appears over the course of several New Frontier books, where she is involved in accusations of mental manipulation against a superior officer and is the suspect in the officer’s later murder.
Today she is depicted in internet art, but not much else.