Burnham, Michael

Star Trek: Discovery

Episode: DSC 101 - Vulcan Hello, The

(Portrayed by Sonequa Martin-Green)

Born to human parents, Burnham was adopted by a Vulcan ambassador, Sarek, and his human wife, Amanda Grayson, following her parents’ death during a Klingon raid. She was raised on the planet Vulcan, becoming the first human to attend the Vulcan Learning Center. Nearly killed when Vulcan logic extremists bombed the Center, Burnham was revived by her adoptive father, Sarek, which resulted in her sharing part of his katra.

She was also the first human to attend the Vulcan Science Academy, graduuating at the top of her class. Unbeknownst to her, Burnham could have been appointed to the Vulcan Expeditionary Group but the offer was declined by Sarek so that his son, Spock, could join the Group following his education.

After graduation, she joined Starfleet and served seven years under Captain Philippa Georgiou on the U.S.S. Shenzhou, rising to First Officer. While exploring an unidentified object, Burnham accidentally killed a Klingon Torchbearer, igniting what would become the Klingon–Federation War. During the initial confrontation, she incapacitated Captain Georgiou in an attempt to take command of the Shenzhou and attack the Klingons before they could attack the Shenzhou. Upon the destruction of the Shenzhou and death of Captain Georgiou at the Battle of the Binary Stars, Starfleet convicted Burnham of mutiny and sentenced her to life in prison.

Six months after her conviction, Burnham's prison shuttle was intercepted by the U.S.S. Discovery where Captain Lorca offered her a temporary assignment to the ship's science division. Burnham was later appointed a science specialist on the U.S.S. Discovery bridge by Lorca.