In the almost 35 years since Star Trek: The Next Generation first aired, one of the things which has continually rankled a member of the show’s cast is his character’s love life (or lack thereof).
Even as recently as last month, LeVar Burton bemoaned the fact that the Enterprise-D’s Chief Engineer, Geordi LaForge, had been unlucky in love, with an interviewer pointing out it was weird his character had seen less romantic action on the show than the android Mr. Data (who, to be fair, was known to be fully functional; Geordi’s status was never determined during the series’ run). Honestly, you could hardly argue the poor chap had been given anything other than the fuzzy end of the lollipop in the coupling stakes.
Much to Burton’s chagrin, LaForge had ended up forming an emotional attachment to a hologramatic version of Dr. Leah Brahms, which he had created to help with working through a situation which had arisen. What made it worse for hapless Geordi was that when he eventually met the real Dr. Brahms, not only was her personality significantly different from that of his simulacrum version, but she was also married. It does seem the guy could never catch a break, and so he ended up being (metaphorically) married to his job.
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In light of this still being quite a hot issue for Burton, it does appear to make one of the creative choices in Star Trek: The Mirror War be rather interesting, namely in having a ‘Mirror Universe’ version of Leah Brahms actually serving on the ISS Enterprise-D alongside Geordi. Thankfully, it seems that all potential awkward romantic undertones have been avoided here, seeing as how pretty much everyone on the ship – and making up the entirety of the Terran Empire, it seems – acts purely out of motivated self-interest.
There seems to be no love lost between Leah and Geordi, nor any of her crewmates, and writers Scott & David Tipton take the character in a very interesting and unexpected direction. The same, unfortunately, cannot be said for poor old Geordi, who sadly remains as nondescript and unremarkable here as he ever did in the show. It seems the lion’s share of the main character development here is going to Data and Barclay, as the duo look to be tentatively forming a bond of sorts, which even cuts Geordi out of the picture here, given his friendship with Data in TNG proper.
A little more nuance in some of the characterisations would not go amiss, given that the majority of the ‘Mirror Universe’ crew seem to share the defining traits of muscly and shouty, but very little else. Hardly great tactical thinkers either, this bunch, as they tend to use not just a sledgehammer to crack a walnut, but a barrage of photon torpedoes. This crew does seem to lurch from one crisis to another, always being on the defensive, and it says a lot about them that the reader is left feeling conflicted about whether to actually root for them or not.
Still, some nice efforts are made to gradually integrate more bits of the main Star Trek canon, in a way which manages to feel neither clunky nor intrusive. And, who knows, perhaps the Tiptons will even go so far as to do something genuinely radical, like give Geordi LaForge a relationship with a living, breathing female. As long as he can avoid having premature ejection issues. Of the Enterprise’s Warp Core, obviously, you filthy so-and-sos.
Star Trek: The Mirror War #3 is out now from IDW Publishing.