Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.
- This character is a member of Spock's family.
- This page details Michael Burnham in the primary universe; for the Michael Burnham in the mirror universe see Michael Burnham (mirror).
- For other uses, see Michael.
- "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?"
- —Michael Burnham to Katrina Cornwell, 2257[src]
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, 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. (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")
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 lieutenant. In that year, Burnham was named the Shenzhou's acting XO over the Chief science officer, Lieutenant Saru. Burnahm, 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 KlingonsEdit
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 KIingons. 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.
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?")
|location||assignment||dates||rank or rate||rank insignia|
|first officer||2255||lieutenant commander|
|imprisoned||2256||rank and position revoked|
|USS Discovery||science specialist||2256-2257||no rank|
|science officer||from 2257||commander|
|USS Shenzhou (NCC-1227) personnel|
|Burnham • Connor • Detmer • Fan • Gant • García • Georgiou • Januzzi • Johar • Nambue • Narwani • Oliveira • Saru • Spyropoulos • ch'Theloh • Troke • Weeton|
|United Earth, Earth Starfleet||Discovery (NX-class)||Brent • Carpenter • Curtis • T. Mayweather • Shea • R. Tallarico|
|Federation Starfleet||USS Discovery (Crossfield-class)||Airiam • R.A. Bryce • M. Burnham • Chiefowitz • Collins • P. Georgiou • H. Culber • Decker • K. Detmer • Gotthelf • Harrington • Kowski • E. Landry • Logan • G. Lorca • Magnus • Molina • J. Owosekun • T. Pollard • Rause • G. Rhys • M. Richter • Saru • P. Stamets • S. Tilly • A. Tyler • Webb • Wells • Wilson|
|USS Discovery (Nebula-class)||M. Dayrit • Grazna • A. Portikos|
|ISS Shenzhou (NCC-1227) personnel|
|Airiam • Burnham • Connor • Detmer • Gant • Januzzi • Owosekun • Weeton|