First Appearance: Hyperdrive - Season 1, Episode 1 (8 Jan. 2006): "A Gift from the Glish"
Number of Appearances: 12
Employer: Space Force
Worked for: HMS Camden Lock
Nation: United Kingdom
Note: an "Enhanced" (cyborg altered to run spaceship)
Sandstrom is an "Enhanced" (or "enhanced human"), which means she is a regular human whose mind has been radically altered through the implantation of a cybernetic interface which allows her to fly a spacecraft more efficiently. She is the essentially the pilot of HMS Camden Lock, but she is more than a regular pilot who simply uses controls to fly a ship. The interface allowing her to better control the spacecraft is literally built into her.
Sandstrom, like other Enhanced Humans flying similar starships, uses a rather distinctive control system to pilot the HMS Camden Lock. She stands in the middle of a ring of brightly colored columns located on one edge of the bridge. Without actually touching anything, she moves her entire body, but especially her arms and hands, in way that interacts with the surrounding control columns and controls ship movement and operations. The cybernetic implants presumably enhance her ability to do this in a number of ways, including providing her information from ship's sensors and systems. Other crew members sit or stand at computer traditional screens or look at the central view screen for information, but Sandstrom does not.
Sandstrom was born and raised as a regular British citizen. She volunteered to become an "Enhanced" in order to pay off heavy debt incurred by student loans. In one episode, some of her "pre-Enhancement" memories and she speaks words she spoke before the procedure. This scene makes it clear that she was a very normal person who had no real concept of how extensive her personality would be altered by the Enhancement process.
Sandstrom's personality as an "Enhanced" makes her seem more like a robot or ship's computer than a regular human. Officers of the ship give her orders with regards to how and where to fly the ship. She can succumb to computer viruses and she literally is programmed by human users. The Enhancement process appears to have cost Sandstrom her very soul. It is not clear that this can be reversed. The ethical ramifications of subjecting a human being to such a procedure are rarely addressed in the Hyperdrive TV series, which is not surprising given the fact that it is a sitcom. The future British citizens of the year 2151 depicted in this series seem to accept Sandstrom's Enhanced nature as a normal part of space travel. They are aware of how altered she is, but nobody on the crew questions the necessity of having such a person as part of the ship's operational systems, even though other spacecraft seen in the series clearly do not utilize an Enhanced Human in order to function.
One time when the ethics of what has been done to Sandstrom are pointedly addressed was in the aforementioned episode "Admiral's Daughter." Arabella, the 19-year-old daughter of an admiral who is being transported to her first semester in college, is not part of the regular crew but she is spending some time on the HMS Camden Lock while en route to college. She is portrayed as young, idealistic and "liberal" in many ways. At one point, senior officers are called to the bridge, only to find Arabella has grabbed Sandstrom and is threatening to forcibly rip off her cybernetic implants (which Arabella believes to be a mere helmet). Arabella accuses the crew of treating Sandstrom like a slave. The ship's officers admit that she does exactly what they well her to do but they all protest that Sandstrom is not at all a slave and that she actually likes being given orders.
Physically, Sandstrom looks like a regular human woman except for the smooth metallic cybernetic hardware that surrounds her head except for her face. This hardware is not merely a helmet. In the episode "Admiral's Daughter," the titular character (Arabella, being transported to her first semester at college by the Hyperdrive crew after trying to run away) mistakenly thinks that the hardware encasing Sandstrom's head is like a cap or helmet. She tries to rip it off in order to free Sandstrom from being a "slave," but doing so injures Sandstrom. Some of Sandstrom's brains apparently spill out onto the floor and some of her brains appear attached to the hardware piece removed by Arabella. (In later scenes, Sandstrom is okay, no doubt after undergoing off-screen repair.)
It is unknown if she has cybernetic implants or modifications anywhere outside of her head and brain, but it is quite possible that she doesn't. Given the extensive nature of the cybernetic implants in her head, any additional cybernetic implants seem unnecessary.
Note that in the episode "Green Javelins," another "Wendover" class starship (the same class of starship as the HMS Camden Lock) is shown being piloted by Mason, a non-Enhanced human, using the same control system that Sandstrom uses. Mason's ship is usually piloted by an Enhanced Human, but in the episode Mason went rogue, locked his Enhanced pilot and other crew members out of the Bridge, and piloted the ship himself.
Suggested links for further research about this character and the character's religious affiliation: