Among the most interesting and mysterious species encountered by Federation and Starfleet exploration vessels is the race of non-corporeal beings known as the Medusans. Celebrated for their unique and formidable mental abilities which lend themselves to the complexities of interstellar navigation, it is this faculty which first attracted the interest of the Federation and Starfleet in the 23rd Century. Despite the Medusans’ desire to participate in efforts to integrate themselves into starship navigational systems, their lack of physical form initially proved a challenging obstacle when interacting with other species. Their appearance is such that simply looking upon them could make a humanoid go mad. Special arrangements were necessary whenever transporting a Medusan to or from their home world. Because of these considerations, there was a time when Medusans met with representatives of other races only on rare occasions.

One of the more prominent interactions occurred in 2268, when Starfleet Command tasked Captain James Kirk and the U.S.S. Enterprise with ferrying a Medusan ambassador, Kollos, to their home planet (Star Trek: The Original Series, “Is There In Truth No Beauty?”). As was typically the case whenever Medusans traveled from their home world, the ambassador arrived aboard the Enterprise ensconced within a special container designed to shield his appearance. Even Commander Spock, with his superior Vulcan mental training and discipline, could only look upon Kollos while wearing a special visor. The ambassador’s human escort, Doctor Miranda Jones, was only able to remain in proximity to Kollos due to her blindness.

Star Trek: The Original Series - "Is There No Truth In Beauty?"
"Is There No Truth In Beauty?"
StarTrek.com

However, Vulcans and representatives of other races possessing the ability to establish telepathic links often remark that their minds and thoughts exude great beauty. A nascent telepath herself, Doctor Jones had hoped to cultivate her gift in order to link with Kollos, forging a new means of collaboration between telepaths and Medusans. Indeed, the first such successful connection occurred during the Enterprise’s escort mission, after the starship was accidentally thrown out of our galaxy and stranding it without any known reference points which could help chart a course home. Spock joined his mind with Kollos, allowing the ambassador to control the Vulcan’s body long enough to assist with navigating the ship back to familiar space. Though Spock inadvertently looked at Kollos without his protective visor and briefly descended into madness, Doctor Jones was able to help heal him and in the process gained her own ability to link with Kollos.

By the late 24th century, Medusan navigational methods were available for incorporation into the computer systems of Starfleet and civilian space vessels throughout the Federation. As for the Medusans themselves, despite continuing to limit their interactions with corporeal beings, they still developed modes of travel which allowed them to move with greater freedom among humanoids and other ambulatory species. These methods usually took the form of small, self-guided personal conveyances designed to conceal their true appearance.

Star Trek: Prodigy - "Lost and Found"
"Lost and Found"
StarTrek.com

One such example is “Zero,” a Medusan recently encountered through unusual circumstances. Based on preliminary reports, Zero utilizes a containment suit that emulates a humanoid life form, controlling it with their telepathic abilities. This allows them to move and interact with their corporeal companions while still concealing their appearance from those at risk. With this expanded mobility, Zero and Medusans are continuing to share their unmatched skills and talents.


Dayton Ward (he/him) is a New York Times bestselling author or co-author of numerous novels and short stories including a whole bunch of stuff set in the Star Trek universe, and often collaborating with friend and co-writer Kevin Dilmore. As he’s still a big ol' geek at heart, Dayton is known to wax nostalgic about all manner of Star Trek topics over on his own blog, The Fog of Ward.

Star Trek: Prodigy currently streams exclusively on Paramount+ in U.S. and Australia, and is coming soon to Paramount+ in Latin America and the Nordics as well as to Nickelodeon international channels, which are available in 180 countries globally. In Canada, it airs on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave. Prodigy is distributed by ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group.

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