Published Jul 27, 2023
Who Had the Best Time on Shore Leave?
We're ranking all of Risa's wayward lovers.
By Jennifer Boudinot
If you’re on a starship (or space station) in the Alpha Quadrant, and you’re in desperate need a vacation, there’s only one place you should go — Risa. Plenty of Starfleet officers over the centuries have taken leave on the pleasure planet, but not all of them have had as good a time as promised.
Who loved love — and their time on Risa — and who were the poor souls who couldn’t wait to get home? From worst to best, this is the definitive ranking of time on the Pleasure Planet.
12. Sub-Commander T’Pol
Leave it up to the notoriously serious Vulcan to have a worse trip to Risa than anyone else in the Star Trek universe. But T’Pol wasn’t on the planet for pleasure — she went to hunt down fugitives. She partially succeeds, but with devastating results; she shoots and kills one of them, and it leaves her so scarred she undergoes a Vulcan ritual to forget the memory. It’s not until years later, tasked with finding the second runaway, that she begins to remember.
11. TIE — Lt. Reed and Lt. Commander Tucker
After trolling the nightclubs for suitable ladies to help them “broaden their cultural horizons,” they meet an attractive pair who seem to fall for their lie about being captains who switch-off duties commanding the Enterprise. But when the women convince them to go see Risa’s famous subterranean gardens, they instead lead the officers to a basement where they tie them up, knock them out, and rob them. It turns out that the femme fatales are actually shapeshifters. Trip and Malcolm survive the ordeal (which gives new meaning to the phrase “what’s ours is yours”), but their biggest fear is being embarrassed to death, so they don’t tell anyone about their adventures.
10. Lt. Commander Worf
The only person on this list to throw a horga'hn at the wall, Worf has a pretty miserable time on Risa. He doesn’t set himself up for success; he not only neglects to pack a bathing suit, he doesn’t bring any civilian clothes at all (“Starfleet uniforms are designed for comfort, even in the most extreme environments!” he tells Jadzia).
Disapproving of just about everything he sees around him, he falls in league with a group of dissenters called the Essentialists, and helps them sabotage Risa’s perfection-producing weather system. A heart-to-heart with his girl and a little skinny dipping make the trip slightly bearable, but overall, Worf is much happier on Deep Space 9.
9. Ensign Mayweather
Travis Mayweather heads to Risa with one goal only — to climb the cliffs of Galartha. Unfortunately, its constantly changing rockface makes it hard to find a hand-hold, and an injury lands him in the hospital. Presumably the first human that Risian doctors have ever seen, they treat him with a painkiller that causes an allergic reaction, cutting the adventurous Ensign’s trip short. Maybe he’d do better at Yosemite?
8. Lt. Commander Dax
The first vacation with your new lover is always a bit stressful, but it’s even more nerve-wracking when you’re dating a pleasure-adverse Klingon. Jadzia Dax spends most of her time on Risa trying to get Worf to loosen up, but she’s not one to let a guy ruin her good time. She still gets to go swimming, show off her spots, and even indulge in a clay-molding session with Curzon’s beautiful ex-lover that’s reminiscent of Demi Moore and Patrick Sawyze in Ghost.
We don’t get to see much of Quark’s trip to the pleasure planet, but maybe it’s because he was busy trying to sell horga’hns to tourists. He is on hand to lend some witty commentary about Dax’s problems with Worf, and he seems to do okay with the ladies, too. The only thing that truly ruins Quark’s Risa trip is the glebbening — one of 178 Ferengi words for “rain.”
6. Dr. Bashir
It’s hard to find anyone who feels bad Leeta left Julian Bashir for Rom, and maybe that’s because of their trip to Risa together. Observing an ancient Bajoran tradition, they enjoy both each other’s company as well as the company of several other willing Risians before participating in a separation ceremony that Quark finds disgusting for its civility.
5. Captain Archer
Yes, he ends up getting smacked in the head by his love interest, who turns out to be some kind of medically-modified spy. But other than that, Captain Archer has a truly lovely trip to Risa — quality time with Porthos, a room with a view, and a glimpse through a telescope at the Terran sun from farther away than any other human has ever been.
Throw in a trip to one of the best seafood restaurants in the galaxy and some flirty moments with a dog-loving neighbor (hey, she could have killed him instead of just knocking him out — she seems nice!) and you have a vacation worth writing in your personal log about.
4. Captain Picard
Jean-Luc Picard doesn’t start off his Risan holiday enjoying himself — he gets yelled at by a Ferengi, he’s visited by aliens from the future, and ladies won’t stop treating him like a piece of meat when he’s just trying to read a book in his short shorts. Though, it’s not long before he gets into the spirit of the pleasure planet.
For a man like Picard, this means having a romantic cave sex with a renegade on a sparkly blanket during an adventure to solve an archaeological mystery. As Riker says, “I knew he’d have a great time!”
3. Curzon Dax
We only hear a snippet about Curzon Dax’s time on Risa, but it’s enough to earn him a prominent place on this list — “death by jamaharon.” For a man who lived so well, and will live on through future hosts, it seems fitting.
2. Commander Riker
One of Risa's most well-known fans — Commander Riker — has been to his personal paradise enough times that Counselor Troi is sick of hearing about it. We don’t get to see many of Riker’s trips there, but if the one we do see is any indication, his usual visits to Risa include playing sexy hide-and-go seek with feisty ladies (like the one who gives him the infamous “game” the entire crew gets addicted to). He also appears to be wearing some kind of futuristic wrap dress. Anything goes on Risa!
1. Ensign Sato
Romantic dinners, unexpected sexy times, and a whole lotta linguistics — there’s no better vacation if you’re Communications Officer Hoshi Sato. Unlike Malcolm and Trip, Hoshi goes into her two-day, two-night shore leave with low expectations, simply hoping to relax and learn Risian. But instead, she gets a romance fit for a Julia Roberts movie, proving that maybe it’s when you expect the least that you have the most fun on the pleasure planet.
This article was originally published on August 16, 2019.