'Star Trek Online: House Shattered' recruits a Cylon as a Klingon

"Star Trek" veteran actor Rekha Sharma said she was surprised when the phone call came inviting her to make her second appearance on the popular free-to-play game "Star Trek Online."

"They said, 'Do you want to be a Klingon?' " Sharma told Space.com. She described her reaction. "Excuse me, what? That's beyond my dreams. You bet I want to be a Klingon."

"What was really cool was for some reason, in my head, I just thought I would be the voice behind a character, similar to a lot of animated movies and stuff. Like, Mike Myers didn't look like Shrek," she continued. 

Actor Rekha Sharma of "Star Trek Discovery" joins Star Trek Online's House Shattered expansion as the Klingon Adet'Pa.  (Image credit: Star Trek Online)

But when the screengrab was sent to Sharma showing her character had an uncanny resemblance to the sci-fi actor, Sharma found herself surprised again. "My jaw dropped. I almost fell over. 'Oh my God. It's me. As a Klingon!'"

Sharma's character, Klingon officer Adet'Pa, will appear in the PC update "House Shattered" today (Oct. 6). The storyline continues the war against Klingons that broke out during the last PC update, "House Divided." Due to the need to avoid spoilers, Sharma said she could only reveal a few details about her character. 

"She's this spy. She's been living in hiding for a long time, like this mysterious figure. and I love that … she's not the stereotype of the Klingon for my role. She's unique. She's multilayered. She's seen some things, and she's very virtuous. It felt like an honor to play her."

Adet'Pa is Sharma's latest foray into the "Star Trek" universe since 2017. She's now been on "Star Trek" shows and spin-off content so often that Sharma said she feels she has found a second fandom home, after her memorable role on "Battlestar Galactica" (2004-2009). 

Battlestar was a reboot of a brief 1970s show, but the sequel went deeper into mythology and science as a fleet of ships fled an Earth devastated by a Cylon (robot) uprising. Sharma joined the cast in 2006 as the characters gradually came to grips with the knowledge that five prominent Cylons were hiding among the refugee humans. No one on the cast knew who the Cylons were until near the end, and Sharma told Space.com she was surprised to find that her character — the presidential advisor, Tory Foster — was among the group.

Sharma, who is from Vancouver, Canada, started her career with bit parts steeped in the sci-fi shows so prevalent in the city at the time. "The Lone Gunmen," "The Outer Limits," "Dark Angel," "Smallville" and "The Twilight Zone" were some of the shows she had small roles on, sometimes returning for a few episodes, before her breakout "Battlestar" co-star role. After "Battlestar," she made frequent appearances on "V" and "The 100" before her "Star Trek" fandom finally went professional.

Sharma's connection with "Star Trek" began in 1978 when the then eight-year-old watched reruns of "Star Trek: The Original Series" (1966 to 1969), which were presumably airing on network television in the run-up to the first "Star Trek" film in 1979.

"I was watching … reruns on television with milk and cookies," Sharma said with a laugh. "Then I watched Next Gen ["Star Trek: The Next Generation"] as a kid and also, never ever thought I would get cast in "Star Trek."

But things began to happen quickly a few years ago. Sharma was at a convention in Germany (which included Trek's William Shatner from TOS, she said) when she ran into somebody working on the fan-run web series "Star Trek Continues." From that chance interaction came Sharma's first appearance in any "Star Trek" show, playing Avi Samara in a single episode in 2017.

Sharma next joined the cast of "Star Trek Discovery" as Commander Ellen Landry, making appearances in three episodes in 2017 and 2018, a role she reprised on "Star Trek Online."

"I didn't think there would be another Star Trek; I thought that was it for Star Trek in terms of television series," Sharma said. Before "Discovery," the last franchise show had been "Enterprise," which was canceled in 2005 after four seasons.

"That [role on Star Trek] was totally thrilling. It was an incredible experience," she said. "I learned I could be somehow blessed and lucky enough to have two sci-fi families in my life, with Battlestar and Star Trek. I learned that those morals and those virtues that made me watch this totally cheesy show that most kids at 8 years old would not have been watching, that's what pulled me in," she said.

"Star Trek" is well-known for values such as diversity, which continue to play out in the Trek universe as "Discovery" prepares to introduce its first transgender and non-binary characters into the franchise this month.

"Those virtues are still holding strong in 2020, we need them like nobody's business," said Sharma, who is of Indian descent. "I found an incredible group of people, fellow actors and everybody in all aspects of the show and the Star Trek family, who all really believe the world can be a better place."

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for Space.com for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace

  • Mergatroid
    It's not really a war against the Klingons, it's more of a Klingon civil war, and since the federation is allies with the Klingons they have an obligation to assist the Klingon government.
    The rebel Klingons are actually from the past, "Discovery" era (which, as we all know, doesn't fit with any Star Trek canon). I won't hold that against her though because she makes a hela cute Klingon.

    Star Trek Online has been one of the few places where fans can see real Star Trek. Even though these poorly though out shows (like the JJ movies or Discovery) have come along, the people working on Star Trek Online have done a much better job of it than CBS or Paramount have done.

    I still think that, if they were smart, they would invite the people who made Axanar on Youtube to make a movie or series. The fans would love it, and judging by what they have done so far, it would be much better than anything from CBS or Paramount over the last 10-years.