20 Star Trek Women You Should Know

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Mary Kay Adams as Grilka (left) on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (Image via Paramount/CBS)

3. Grilka (Deep Space Nine)

To be honest, this is the deepest of deep cuts. Unless you’re a super nerd, you’ve probably never heard of Grilka. Also, unless you’re the ur-nerd, the geekiest of geeks, you might not totally understand why I want to include her. Let me explain.

Grilka first shows up in the Deep Space Nine season three episode, “The House of Quark”. Quark, you will remember, is the sexist Ferengi bartender on the station. He’s also a blustering, self-important idiot who boasts about killing a Klingon in his bar (the drunken, enraged Klingon had actually fallen on his own knife). That Klingon’s wife – Grilka – arrives with a set of very pressing grievances for Quark to address.

Grilka is in danger of losing her home and family honor, both big deals in Klingon culture. She gets Quark to marry her in a canny bid to retain her power by taking advantage of a loophole in Klingon law. While it might not be as bad as Ferengi culture, Klingon society is still deeply sexist. Grilka has to do all that she can to succeed and take control of her own fate.

Grilka also persuades/forces her new husband to fix her family’s failing finances. This plot point in particular eventually creates a situation in which Quark walks confused Klingon high council members through the 24th century equivalent of an Excel spreadsheet. Maybe that doesn’t amuse you as much as it did me. Oh well.

Quark is hardly endearing, but pairing him with a strong (if somewhat terrifying) Klingon woman is a pretty smart move. It’s also highly satisfying seeing an unabashedly ambitious and shrewd character like Grilka gaming the system.