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This character is a member of Spock's family.

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow: The following content contains spoilers!
This page details Michael Burnham in the primary universe; for the Michael Burnham in the mirror universe see Michael Burnham (mirror); for the Michael Burnham in all other alternate universes see Michael Burnham (alternates).
For other uses, see Michael.

Michael Burnham was a 23rd century Human woman, a career Starfleet officer in the 2250s decade. (DSC novel: Desperate Hours; DSC episodes: "The Vulcan Hello", "Battle at the Binary Stars")

Convicted of mutiny against Captain Philippa Georgiou, she was stripped of her rank and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2256. (DSC episodes: "The Vulcan Hello", "Battle at the Binary Stars")

Due to her efforts in helping to bring an end to the Federation-Klingon War of 2256 she was pardoned by the Federation President in 2257, and restored to the rank of commander. (DSC episode: "Will You Take My Hand?")


Burnham was born on Earth in 2226. In the early 2230s decade, Burnham lived with her father aboard the Torus 4 deep space research outpost[1], and he told her stories about the girl who made the stars. Later, Burnham and her parents, Mike and Gabrielle Burnham, lived at a Vulcan-human facility on Doctari Alpha. Her parents planned a trip to Mars, but she wanted to stay to watch a star go supernova. Unfortunately, the Klingons attacked the facility. As Burnham's father barricaded the kitchen door, her mother hid her in a cabinet. Despite not seeing her parents' deaths, Burnham heard the Klingons gloat about killing her father quickly and her mother longer. Burnham continued to listen as the Klingons laughed and had dinner. (Short Treks episode: "The Girl Who Made the Stars", DSC episodes: "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry", "Will You Take My Hand?")

Burnham was taken in by Vulcan Ambassador Sarek and his human wife, Amanda Grayson on Vulcan. She became the first human to attend the Vulcan Learning Center. During her time there, Burnham was targeted by Logic extremists who were against Vulcan-human interactions. Burnham was physically dead for three minutes and Sarek was forced to initiate a mind meld with her in order to revive her. As result of this meld, a portion of Sarek's katra remained in Burnham's mind and the two would share a link with each other that would allow them to communicate over great distance and feel each other's pain. (DSC episodes: "The Vulcan Hello", "Battle at the Binary Stars", "Lethe")

Burnham and her foster brother Spock would listen to Amanda when she read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Burnham was given a hard copy from Amanda that she would keep with her well into adulthood. When she was ten years old, Burnham and Amand went with her to a book exchange on Eridani D. (DSC episodes: "Context Is for Kings", "Lethe")

In 2245, Burnham attended the Vulcan Science Academy, studying quantum physics. She graduated in 2249 at the top of her class and received the Vulcanian Scientific Legion of Honor. Burnham applied to the Vulcan Expeditionary Group, but was rejected. Unknown to Burnham, she was rejected because she was human and Sarek was forced to choose between her or Spock, who was half-human. Thus, Sarek chose Spock and Burnham believed that it was her weaknesses that resulted in this choice, and that Sarek was wrong to believe in her – a sentiment Amanda dismissed. Sarek's shame ultimately only grew when, eventually, Spock unexpectedly chose to join Starfleet instead of the Expeditionary Group, rendering Sarek's sacrifice of Burnham's Vulcan career pointless. (DSC episodes: "The Vulcan Hello", "Battle at the Binary Stars", "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry", "Lethe")

Starfleet career

Commander Michael Burnham in 2255.

USS Shenzhou

Sarek spoke with the USS Shenzhou's captain, Philippa Georgiou about taking on Burnham. Thus, in 2249, at the age of 23, Burnham joined Starfleet and the Shenzhou's crew as a xenoanthropologist. By 2255, Burnham was a lieutenant. In that year, Burnham was named the Shenzhou's acting XO over the Chief science officer, Lieutenant Saru. Burnham, along with the USS Enterprise's science officer and foster brother, Spock were sent to board the Juggernaut at the Sirsa III colony. After they boarded the ship, Burnham and Spock agreed tests to see if they were worthy to join the Turanian Dynasty. During their tests, Burnham and Spock were able to overload their phasers and disable the Juggernaut. Burnham was promoted to Lieutenant Commander and became the XO. (DSC novel: Desperate Hours; DSC episodes: "The Vulcan Hello", "Battle at the Binary Stars")

In 2256, Burnham went with Captain Georgiou to the Crepusculan homeworld. There, they were able to save the Crepusculans from extinction by drilling through bedrock to release water to them. During their time there, Georgiou spoke with Burnham on possibility of being given her own command of ship. (DSC episode: "The Vulcan Hello")

Encounter with the Klingons

In May of 2256, the Shenzhou was sent to investigate damage done to a interstellar relay in a binary star system. When an object that created a scattering was found, Burnham was allowed to use a Environmental suit and thruster pack to investigate this object. Enroute to the object, Burnham lost contact lost contact with the Shenzhou. There, she discovered a Klingon there and tried to make contact with him. Unfortunately, Burnham inadvertently killed the Klingon and returned to the Shenzhou.

Burnham woke up three hours later in the ship's medical bay. She told Georgiou and the crew that the object is Klingon and that they were there. Burnham contacted Sarek and asked him about how the Vulcans established a relationship with the Klingons. After listening Sarek's story about a Vulcan ship's excursion in H'atoria, Burnham recommended to Georgiou that they should open fire on the Klingons before they do. However, Georgiou refused this idea and ordered Burnham to stand down. Unfortunately, Burnham used the nerve pinch on her and decided to take command of the Shenzhou. As she ordered the crew to open fire, Georgiou came about and charged with mutiny as more Klingons arrived.

Burnham was relieved of her post and was sent to the brig. However, Burnham was released from the brig when the Shenzhou suffered damage. Burnham suggested to Georgiou that they capture the Sarcophagus's commander, T'Kuvma. Georgiou agreed to the plan and they both beamed aboard the Sarcophagus. Burnham fought with T'Kuvma's protege, VoQ. Unfortunately, T'Kuvma killed Georgiou in front of her and Burnham chose to kill him. Burnham tried to bring Georgiou's body back with her but was unable. After the Shenzhou was abandoned, Burnham was taken to Earth where she was court martialed and pleaded guilty to the charges of mutiny, assaulting a fellow officer, and precipitating war between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. She was stripped of her rank and imprisoned for life. DSC episodes: "The Vulcan Hello", "Battle at the Binary Stars")

For the next six months, Burnham was sent to prison. Burnham, along with three other prisoners – Stone, Cold, and Psycho – were on board the shuttle SPT 21 being transferred to Tellun. Enroute to Tellun, the shuttle ran into Species GS54. Luckily, the shuttle, Burnham and the others were rescued by the USS Discovery.

USS Discovery

Onboard the Discovery, Burnham met up with several crewmates from the Shenzhou, such as Keyla Detmer who refused to speak with her. After a scuffle with the other prisoners, Burnham was brought before the Discovery's captain, Gabriel Lorca. Despite Burnham asking why she was brought aboard the Discovery, she listened to Lorca offering to help him with his mission. Despite Burnham refusing the offer, Lorca was able to get her to agree to briefly assisting them in their mission. Burnham was given quarters to share with Cadet Sylvia Tilly. (DSC episode: "Context Is for Kings")

Due to her role in bringing the 2256-57 war with the Klingons to an end, Burnham was pardoned by the Federation President and her rank of commander was restored. (DSC episode: "Will You Take My Hand?")

32nd century

Burnham was able to use the Red Angel suit to travel into the future. She landed on Hima in 3188 and sent to the suit back to 2258 to signal Spock and the USS Enterprise that she arrived. Burnham also set the suit to self-destruct in order to ensure that it and the crystal would not be used. (DSC episodes: "That Hope Is You, Part 1", "Die Trying")

After meeting with courier Cleveland Booker and Federation liaison officer Aditya Sahil at Spaceport Devaloka, Burnham spent the next year working as a courier and investigating The Burn. During her time as a courier, she was able to hire a fleet to take on the White Palm syndicate. She was also able to discover a message from Starfleet Admirals Charles Vance and Senna Tal from Earth asking people to come. She was then shown Donatu VII, where couriers' families lived in secret. Burnham and Booker were able to help defend the world from the White Palm and suggested turning Donatu VII into Mercantile exchange in order to protect.

Burnham, along with Booker and other couriers were able to defeat White Palm and take control of Starbase 906 away from the Stabases "Chief XO", Remington. She then named Iliana Pa'Dan as the new commander of the starbase. Burnham considered continuing on as a courier with Booker. However, she was informed by Sahil that Discovery had been found at The Colony. She and Booker took his ship to the Colony and rescued Discovery before the Parasitic ice could crush the ship. She told the crew that it had been a year since she last saw them. (DSC episodes: "Far From Home", "People of Earth"; DSC novel: Wonderlands)

Captain of Discovery
"Let's Fly"
Michael Burnham, 3189[src]

For her actions in retaking Discovery, Burnham, with Vance and Saru's approval, was promoted to Captain of Discovery. For her first assignment, she would be dropping off dilithium at several Federation world, non-member worlds and a starbase. (DSC episode: "That Hope Is You, Part 2")

Service record

location assignment dates rank or rate rank insignia
USS Shenzhou 2249-2254 ensign
tactical officer 2254-2255 lieutenant Rank insignia.
first officer 2255 lieutenant commander Rank insignia.
2256 commander Rank insignia.
imprisoned 2256 rank and position revoked
USS Discovery science specialist 2256-2257 no rank
science officer from 2257-3188 commander Rank insignia.
Alice Courier 3188-89
USS Discovery first officer 3189 Rank insignia.
science officer 3189 Rank insignia.
commanding officer 3189- captain Rank insignia.


"There comes a point where a degree of risk has to be accepted,” she went on. “This ship wouldn’t be out here if that wasn’t true. Starfleet wouldn’t exist"
Saru: "I find it difficult to understand why someone raised in the Vulcan doctrines fails to grasp the logic of being careful"
Michael Burnham: "Just as I fail to understand how a being who grew up around lethal predators can’t make a value judgment between a real danger and an illusory one. Only so much can be achieved by watching from the sidelines, Saru."
— Saru and Burnham[src]
"We see something we don't understand and immediately cast judgement? Maybe it's lost. Maybe it's afraid to show its whole self."
Burnham, to Saru and Georgiou[src]
"The real world doesn't always adhere to logic. Sometimes down is up, sometimes up is down… and sometimes when you're lost, you're found."
Burnham, telling Tilly about Alice in Wonderland read to her by Amanda Grayson[src]
"We would've helped you get home if you had asked! That's who Starfleet is. That's who I am. That's why I won't kill you now."
Burnham, to Gabriel Lorca upon defeating him[src]
"A year ago, I stood alone. I believed that our survival was more important than our principles. I was wrong. Do we need a mutiny today to prove who we are?"
Burnham to Katrina Cornwell, 2257[src]



USS Shenzhou (NCC-1227) personnel
Emblem of the United Federation of Planets BurnhamConnorDetmerFanGantGarcíaGeorgiouJanuzziJoharNambueNarwaniOliveiraSaruSpyropoulosch'ThelohTrokeWeeton Seal of the Federation Starfleet
Discovery personnel
United Earth, Earth Starfleet Discovery (NX-class) BrentCarpenterCurtisT. MayweatherSheaR. Tallarico Earth emblem. Starfleet emblem.
Federation Starfleet USS Discovery (Crossfield-class) AiriamR.A. BryceM. BurnhamChiefowitzCollinsP. GeorgiouH. CulberDeckerK. DetmerGotthelfHarringtonKowskiE. LandryLinusLoganG. LorcaMagnusMolinaD. NhanE. NilssonJ. OwosekunC. PikeT. PollardRauseJ. RenoG. RhysM. RichterSaruP. StametsA. TalS. TillyA. TylerWebbWellsWilsonZora UFP emblem image. Starfleet emblem.
USS Discovery (Nebula-class) M. DayritGraznaA. Portikos
Personnel roster
ISS Shenzhou (NCC-1227) personnel
AiriamBurnhamConnorDetmerGantJanuzziOwosekunWeeton Seal of the Terran Empire.

Appearances and references




External link