As the quasi-Greek Chorus member said, "And so ends the rescue of B'Elanna Torres. Half-Klingon B'Elanna Torres. Half-human B'Elanna Torres, Chief Engineer".
Kelis the Poet was certainly on to something in his otherwise inspired play about The Voyager Eternals. As Roxann Dawson herself rather fittingly once commented: "I'd like to hope that I created a character that, when viewed years to come in reruns, will still touch people. That the character is somewhat eternal". Rescued by the Maquis, rescued by Voyager, and ultimately rescued by herself, B'Elanna Torres' time in Star Trek certainly left its mark. We may not be able to live up to the works of Kelis, but we are still writing about B'Elanna all these years later.
B'Elanna came out swinging (her fist at Lieutenant Carey), a conflicted character with a complex and traumatic past who grew — perhaps more than any other — during her seven years on Voyager into a highly respected member of the crew, beloved by all, but most of all, of course, by former inmate, and all-round Turkey Platter, Tom Paris. Just as she was accepted by the Voyager crew, B'Elanna began to accept herself and the diversity of her heritage.
So, let's put the coolant assembly reconfigurations off until tomorrow; it's time we get to know our honourable ex-Maquis Chief Engineer a little bit better.
10. From Con(n)cept To Character
In the heady days of the early 1990s, when Star Trek: The Next Generation was coming to a close and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was entering its second season, secret discussions were being held to add another series to the Trek pantheon. The show didn't yet have a name — options included Star Trek: The Journey Home, Flight of the Voyager, Voyager's Mission, Outer Bounds… Galaxy's Rim (!) — but its cast of characters was already beginning to take shape.
If not quite B'Elanna herself, the idea for a B'Elanna-type character was there from the very start of the development process. Published in Star Trek Voyager: A Vision of the Future, Voyager co-creator/executive producer Jeri Taylor's notes from July-August 1993 mention a half-human, half-alien character as a possibility for the new show. However, at that early stage, the then-unnamed officer was not half-human/half-Klingon, nor even Maquis, but the "latest thinking" was "Bajoran/Cardassian". This officer also had B'Elanna's future husband's job at the Conn.
In fact, Taylor's initial outline for "STAR TREK: THE NEW SERIES" gave the engineer character as "an older human male". But (and, sorry Carey, but you're about to be bumped), by the time it came to the first draft of the Voyager Series Bible, completed in September 1993, the "Engineer" was already "B'Elanna., R, half Klingon, half-human female".