Yeoman Leslie Thompson’s moisture was drained out of her body by Kelvan aliens who turned her into a little cube and crushed her. But before those events in the episode “By Any Other Name,” this one-off Star Trek character had a rich life and full life, now chronicled in the latest issue of IDW’s comic series Star Trek: Waypoint.
Though technically classified as one of Trek’s ill-fated “redshirts,” Leslie Thompson (played by Julie Cobb in the original episode) has now been given a rich backstory by writer Sam Maggs, with art from Rachael Stott. The short tale in the latest issue of Waypoint starts with Thompson’s death in “By Any Other Name” and then backtracks to illustrate her life in Starfleet. To be sure, this is retroactive continuity, but the importance of giving a forgotten side character a real story breathes some humanity into what was originally — in the old episode — a sloppy piece of writing.
In a sense, Sam Maggs as reclaimed this piece of Star Trek with this new story. “I thought to myself, ‘I’d be so interesting to know how she got onto the Enterprise,’” Maggs told The Nerdist. “What her story was, why she would’ve felt like the sacrifice that she made for the Federation was necessary or important.” And Thompson’s sacrifice does have a really touching conclusion. Because the coolest detail about this character’s legacy is easily the last panel of the comics. (Spoiler warning!)
After we get all of Thompson’s backstory — including her academy days, her family, and all the times she’s saved the Enterprise — the story briefly shoots forward, and we see a young woman at Starfleet Academy looking at Thompson’s name on a memorial. The woman turns, and it’s clearly a young Kathryn Janeway, years before she would Captain of the USS Voyager. And with that ending, Waypoint gives us the Star Trek version of a mic drop.
IDW’s Star Trek: Waypoint #2 is in comic book stores now.