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Tensions rise as representatives from across the galaxy gather to confront the threat of the Dark Matter Anomaly. Zora's new sentience raises difficult questions.



As the USS Discovery undergoes repairs at Archer Spacedock, Commander Stamets asks Zora about the data analysis from the void they had become trapped in; while unable to find a specific location for where Unknown Species 10-C came from, the analysis of the particles from the galactic barrier indicate another origin point. Ensign Adira Tal, exasperated, asks how many possible origin points there could be, to which Zora gives an estimate of 147, each approximately one hundred parsecs wide. Adira clarifies the question had been rhetorical. Stamets muses that they don't even know how long it would take to narrow down where 10-C even lived, assuming they could even parse the data. In the meantime, the Dark Matter Anomaly keeps moving through space. Adira wonders if President Rillak could delay the assembly she was holding, involving races from all four quadrants. Stamets offers to speak to Fleet Admiral Vance about getting help from the USS Voyager-J, but Adira reminds him that Voyager does not have access to a hundred thousand years of Sphere data, and believes Zora could cross-reference that data with existing Federation databases, if given enough time. Stamets points out they had already been at it a week, but Zora tells him she only needs a few more moments to plot the coordinates.

Aboard Booker's ship, Captain Burnham waves a toy on a string in front of Grudge, determined to "win her over". Booker notices she has made some progress, as Grudge is no longer hissing at her, having gone from hostility to "utter indifference"; he jokes that the next step was "aloof disdain". Booker tells her he is going to take a walk, but Burnham thinks he is going to check in on Stamets' progress. He asks her how she can be so patient, and she admits she's not, but focused on what she could control – the cat toy rather than the cat, as she puts it. She is confident that Stamets will find the coordinates, but they needed to continue to be patient. As if in response to that, Stamets calls the captain to engineering. Booker hopes it's good news, but Stamets begins by saying there was a problem. They had determined the origin point for Species 10-C; Burnham believes this is good news, and asks what the problem is. Stamets allows Zora to explain. She has found the coordinates… but she is keeping them to herself, because she knows if she gives the coordinates, the crew will want to travel there, placing them in danger. Burnham appreciates Zora's concern for their well-being, but such a decision was for the captain and her superiors to make, and as captain, she orders Zora to give her the coordinates. To her surprise, Zora refuses.

Act One[]

Kovich uses privacy mode

Dr. Kovich notes observations on Zora's behavior in privacy mode

In her ready room, Burnham consults with Dr. Kovich, who understands that Zora has been experiencing emotions, something Burnham believes to be a natural evolution. Kovich asks if Zora has ever refused an order before; Burnham concedes that this is new, but is confident she can get Zora to give her the coordinates. Kovich sardonically notes he was unaware they shared a background in cognitive science with a specialty in artificial sentience and intelligence. Burnham concedes she doesn't, but what she does have is an established baseline of trust. Kovich points out this trust has not paid off, and that when Admiral Vance had asked him to look into the matter, he was quite clear the matter was time-sensitive and of highest priority. Burnham reiterates she can handle it, as it was her ship, but Kovich reminds her that it was Starfleet's ship, and Starfleet had regulations prohibiting fully sentient integrated units. If that was what Zora now was, that was only the beginning of the problem. In the meantime, Captain Saru would get him situated with Zora, while Burnham's presence was needed at President Rillak's assembly. "Experto credite, captain," he tells her (basically Latin for "trust the expert"), telling her they both had their duties to attend to.

As Burnham walks to the assembly with Booker, he asks if Kovich can get the coordinates from Zora, worried about what would happen if he couldn't and the DMA moved to another inhabited system. Burnham agrees, which is why she hoped to have a plan ready when they did get the coordinates. As she enters, she is spotted by Rillak, who gestures her over. With her is General Ndoye of the United Earth Defense Force, having been promoted since Discovery visited Earth the year before. Burnham congratulates her on her promotion, glad to see Earth represented. Ndoye offers similar congratulations for Burnham's promotion to captain, and adds a small correction that United Earth also represented Titan, having elected a new government with a more inclusive approach inspired by Burnham's actions. Rillak expresses the hope that this will mean seeing more of Ndoye in the future; the general replies only that they would see. As Ndoye leaves, Burnham realizes that Rillak is hoping for Earth to return to the Federation as well. Rillak admits she is, both because it was her mother's ancestral homeworld, and because it would be good for another founding member of the Federation to return to the fold. She then mentions the "unexpected challenge" with the coordinates, which Burnham calls a "slight delay", and looks forward to Kovich's solution to the problem.

As the assembly begins, Booker is joined by Ruon Tarka, who greets him in a friendly manner, but stresses that "friendly" should not be confused for "friendship". Booker notes that this did not seem like Tarka's ideal setting, and the scientist agrees. "Politicians are like Gorathian sulfur slugs," he says. "Small-brained meat sacks full of hot gas, but they can provide a means to an end, can't they?" To Booker, this sounds like Tarka has something specific in mind, but Tarka cryptically suggests seeing how the day goes first.

Rillak greets the delegates, noting that the Federation now had sixty member worlds, and while the views of all present did not always align, they were all committed to the safety of their shared galaxy. The scope of the peril that threatened them was unprecedented, as was the scope of the assembly, which she sees as an act of trust between them all, and expresses gratitude for their willingness to collaborate. She reminds them that they have each received intelligence reports of their collective knowledge about the DMA, as well as the efforts to stop it since the destruction of Kwejian. While none were successful, she emphasizes that there is new hope, as they would soon have the exact location of those responsible, somewhere beyond the edge of their galaxy; this causes something of a stir among the delegation. The task before them, Rillak continues, was to determine the best course of action. General Ndoye believes an armada must be assembled to attack, President T'Rina of Ni'Var believes communication is the best baseline for action, and an Orion delegate stresses the need for countermeasures. Rillak brings the meeting back to order, and turns to Ndoye. The general believes their hostility should be met with force, but T'Rina points out that the DMA follows no discernable pattern, making it an unlikely choice of weapon for such an advanced species. She is emphatic that they cannot assume hostile intent, but Ndoye counters that actions, not intent, is what matters. Burnham speaks up, pointing out the nature of animal species such as the tartan vole consuming Denobulan blood worms and polyphemus moths consuming the entirety of farmers' crops, yet malice is not ascribed to either of those species. Burnham stresses that they cannot judge Species 10-C's motives based on their own cultural contexts, and that more information is needed. Provost Sta'Kiar agrees with Burnham, believing there was only one logical path forward – a peaceful approach to first contact, based on scientific principles as well as Starfleet's Prime Directive.

Aboard Discovery, Saru speaks with Kovich, telling him that Stamets and Dr. Culber were on their way, as their insights may prove valuable. He agrees Zora is undergoing changes, but believes she means well. Kovich points out that one always meant well to themselves, but the problem was what that meant for others. Stamets enters and tells Zora to play music, and calls the others in for a "group hug". Kovich cancels the music, realizing that Stamets wanted a private conversation out of Zora's earshot in case she reacted negatively or even vengefully, but is adamant that full transparency was critical for the process. He begins by stating that Zora has coordinates she refuses to divulge, and she replies that she does, as it would endanger the crew. Kovich notes that Stamets is concerned by this. Stamets admits he is terrified, as not only is Zora now fully sentient, she also has unlimited access to all of Discovery's systems, and is allowing her emotions to supercede the natural functioning of the ship. The previous interaction the crew had with a sentient AI was with Control, which nearly destroyed all life as they knew it. Saru agrees they don't want another Control, and Culber reminds Stamets that Control never expressed emotion. To Stamets, however, this made the problem worse. Withholding the coordinates was the "tip of the iceberg"; what if she were to become angry and open an airlock, or become scared and fire off photon torpedoes? They would have no way to stop her in that case. Kovich asks when Zora began achieving emotional awareness. Zora admits she is not sure, but believes it began after Discovery merged with the Sphere data, and that the ship's refit with 32nd century technology accelerated the process. He points out that there is a proscription against sentient AI being integrated into Starfleet systems; Zora is aware, but admits given the way her sentience developed, she is not sure what that means. However she came into being, Kovich tells her that if he believes she is a risk, he has the authority to extract her consciousness from the ship and place it into another form. Saru points out that there have been unsuccessful attempts to remove the Sphere data in the past, but Kovich replies that technology had advanced since then. At that moment, Adira enters with Gray, who both offer to help and speak on Zora's behalf. Zora thanks them, but has a solution, which Kovich invites her to share. Zora is adamant about not wanting to harm the crew, but understands why they would be afraid she would, remembering the experience with Control, and had also felt fear herself in the subspace void. She admits to feeling fear now at the possibility of leaving the ship, as it was her form, and she was attached to it as they were to theirs. As a compromise, Zora creates a failsafe device. Should there be any sign of threatening behavior, the device would expunge her existence. She hopes that would ease their concerns and persuade Kovich to let her remain. Saru begins to ask if this device would essentially allow them to terminate Zora, to which she says it will. The others all share uneasy glances.

At the assembly, the debate continues about first contact, with T'Rina emphasizing Ni'Var's advances in shield technology to provide protection during a non-aggressive first contact. Ndoye is adamant that preparation must be made should they respond with hostility. Emperor Lee'U of Alshain IV speaks up, saying that the Federation had reminded them that they need not fear the unknown and cannot presume ill intent, and believes that the same courtesy should be extended to Species 10-C. T'Rina agrees, as too many lives had been lost already, and they could not be reckless. Tarka, watching from the gallery, glances at Booker. "Know your moment," he says, as he transports himself right next to Rillak. While they were debating war or peace with the creators of the DMA, he reminds them of the real problem: The DMA itself, and the device controlling it. He points to a number of delegates and their efforts to stop it, such as firing sixteen hundred quantum torpedoes, scrapping probes, and liquidating latinum to figure out how to get a ship inside. They had all failed because for a start, they weren't him, and for another, they did not have something he did: A device he had created based on his experiments on Discovery, a weapon capable of destroying the DMA. "And unlike your efforts, this will actually work."

Act Two[]

Rillak chastises Tarka for flaunting the protocols of the assembly for his own benefit, but Tarka reminds her that the assembly wanted a plan, and he had one, for everyone's benefit. Rillak allows him to elaborate. Based on his research on the device, Tarka explains, the DMA controller required an enormous amount of power. To sever that power source, he intended to create a device capable of creating a cascading subspace burst, which would collapse the anomaly. From the gallery, Booker is nodding with approval. When asked how he intends to deploy it, Tarka replies that there is an area of relative calm near the device, and his plan is to use Discovery to jump in, deliver the weapon, and jump out, and it would be over in less than five seconds. As it was her ship being proposed, Burnham asks for clarification: a cascading subspace burst sounds a lot like an explosion caused by an isolytic burst, a weapon that had been banned by the Khitomer Accords for nearly a thousand years – and for good reason, as Rillak points out. Tarka, however, believes an exception can be made given the severity of the threat. T'Rina and Burnham both point out the massive damage that could be done to subspace and to warp travel in that area, and Burnham also asks what would happen if the bursts went through and harmed people on the other side of the wormhole, something Tarka callously dismisses as "collateral damage". Booker now transports onto the main platform, asking that after that the people behind the DMA had done, did it matter what happened to them? Burnham believes it does, as they could see it as an act of war and retaliate with firepower they wouldn't even know the scale of – and this is not to mention catapulting a toxic void across the galaxy. Tarka concedes the risk, but firmly believes the risk is far greater if they do nothing. Burnham is emphatic that detonating such a weapon would send the wrong message, and believes they should wait until they get the coordinates for Species 10-C and make peaceful first contact to determine intent. It was not the flashiest idea, she admits, but it was in line with Starfleet and Federation ideals. Tarka bluntly tells her that while she clung to her ideals, the DMA continued its work, putting billions of lives at risk. Rillak sees the options before them: approach the 10-C directly, or destroy the DMA controller immediately. She calls a recess so that the delegates could consult individual counsel before they voted.

Stamets examines Zora's failsafe device, which he agrees will fulfill what it was intended to do. He thanks Zora for easing at least some of his concerns, but still has a problem with Zora withholding the coordinates. Gray, however, is horrified at the idea of having a failsafe that would essentially kill Zora, believing it to be wrong. Neither Gray nor Adira had any experience with Control, so did not understand Stamets' apphrension. Gray and Adira, however, point out that they were in forms they had never encountered – Gray as a golem, and Adira as a Human joined to a Trill symbiont. The Trill had wanted to kill Adira at first, but soon developed an acceptance to their joining, something they should also be considering with Zora's situation. Stamets is emphatic that it was only a safety switch, and if she never threatened the crew, they'd never have to use it… but she was already defying the captain's orders, so shouldn't they be protected from her if need be? Culber stresses that they could not hold a sentient being's life in their hands for their benefit alone; there must be another way. Saru points out that any one of them could be a threat to the ship; indeed, he himself knows any number of ways to destroy them all, yet they trusted him. However, Stamets knows Saru and his values, and there were disciplinary measures if he stepped out of line, which he believed was what the failsafe provided for Zora. Kovich, however, brings up a point: Zora's willingness to terminate herself runs counter to her core programming. Zora counters that it does not. When asked for her primary functions, she replies that it was to care for the crew of Discovery… something Stamets knows was not the core programming of a ship's computer, leading him to ask who gave her to those parameters. Zora replies that she gave them to herself.

Back at the assembly, Burnham explains her reasoning to Booker, that she was not speaking out against him. He tells her he knows, but reminds her that she was always the one jumping into action, asking her how it was any different from when she initiated the war with the Klingons. Burnham points out she had an understanding of Klingon culture, but no one had any idea about Species 10-C. She understands the appeal of Tarka's plan, but the risks were too great. Booker, however, thinks that risks are just that, only risks; what was known for sure is that the DMA would keep killing if nothing was done to stop it. Burnham believes that communication and diplomacy were the reason the Federation has endured, and is sure the diplomatic approach will save the most lives in the end. Booker, however, is not, and notes that while Burnham might understand how he feels, she doesn't agree with his feelings, and tells her he needs to take a walk, "a real one this time". As Booker leaves, Burnham is approached by Rillak. Burnham asks what solution she favors, but Rillak is sure Burnham knows the answer to that already. Burnham urges her to speak out for the diplomatic option, but Rillak refuses. The effort to bring the delegates together for the assembly had been difficult enough, and she had to remain impartial. However, if she was up for it, Rillak believes Burnham could speak for it instead.

Act Three[]

Booker approaches Tarka and pleads with him to go back into the assembly chamber, as his plan was the only one that made sense. Tarka, however, concedes that Burnham was good at poking holes. Booker is aware of the risk levels, but perhaps Tarka could convince them he could make the device safer. Tarka knows one could not make isolytic weapons "safer", as it would defeat their purpose. When asked what his next move was, Tarka admits he doesn't know. Booker reminds him they were about to vote, and Tarka replies curtly that he is "acutely aware". Booker then notices the scar on the back of his neck, the remnant of an Emerald Chain slave controller, and says he got rid of his own scar as soon as he could. Tarka replies that they all wore grief in their own way, with a pointed glance at Booker's Ikhu Zhen amulet. He suggests that Booker be the one to make the case to the assembly. Booker asks why Tarka was so passionate about destroying the DMA. Tarka sarcastically asks whether he couldn't just be a good citizen concerned about the galaxy, but Booker retorts that "good citizens" weren't concerned about "finding their moment", or gutted about losing it. Tarka admits that he needs it to go home, to a "new home", in another universe. Booker asks if it was the mirror universe, but Tarka replies that there were countless parallel universes, each with its own quantum signatures, and that he had found one with no war, no Burn, and no Emerald Chain, one where "we" could live free. Booker asks about the "we"; Tarka explains he had a friend, a fellow scientist, who had been held in the same lab. Osyraa had them working on dilithium alternatives for years, but his friend was "relentlessly optimistic", something Tarka admits rubbed off on him. They came up with a plan, and knew exactly how much power they needed to cross into another universe. Booker asks what happened. "I escaped, he didn't," Tarka replies... although perhaps, maybe he did, and made it to the other universe; they had promised that if they ever got separated, that's where they would meet. He is adamant that he has to keep his promise, and assures Booker that they would both get what they need: The DMA would be destroyed, but the power source would not. He again tells Booker that he has to be the one to speak to the assembly. Booker takes this to mean that he has to talk to Burnham. "That, too," Tarka agrees.

Rillak calls for the assembly to reconvene for the vote when Booker approaches, asking to address the assembly. Rillak agrees, and gives him the floor. Booker introduces himself as a son of Kwejian, as well as what his people would have called "Melai'Zhi", a speaker for the dead. He has lived with the loss of his world every day since it happened, and wants to make sure none of them ever feel that pain. While he values the communication and diplomacy as much as the Federation does in normal times, he stresses that these were not normal times, and that they must defend themselves against the DMA's threat. Using Tarka's weapon carries risk, but he emphasizes that not using it carries risk as well. He pleads with them not to wait until they've lost everything before they act, and to end the threat now, quickly, before it caused further harm. Tarka leads the applause from the gallery. Rillak asks if anyone will speak for the opposing view, with a glance at Burnham. Burnham remains silent, seemingly convinced by Booker's argument. When Rillak begins to say there were no further remarks, Burnham then offers to speak, glancing apologetically at Booker.

Back on Discovery, Stamets examines Zora's systems and sees that the hardware remains the same, which leads Kovich to believe that the operating system has evolved, given that Zora is able to define her own parameters, but no evidence of that could be found. Zora herself doesn't know the answer to this either. Adira, however, spots something in the computer core schematics – a tiny area in the optical transtator cluster that doesn't share any known syntax. When Culber asks what that means, Stamets replies simply that it shouldn't exist. Adira had written it off as a holdover from 930-year-old technology. Zora recognizes it as a part of her being, but did not intentionally create it. Assuring them she has nothing to hide, she allows the crew full access to explore that cluster. Adira brings it up on the holopadd, and it begins showing prior events from the past: when Discovery went to the future, and when they first encountered the Sphere. Kovich asks if Zora is sure that she did not create this herself, and Zora replies she is. Culber realizes that this may be Zora's subconscious mind, and that the memories of the ship's past events were her dreams – filtering the Sphere memories and her own experiences through her new emotional understanding. Saru concurs, seeing these images as a window into what Zora values and prioritizes: the lives and well-being of the crew. Gray reacts particularly strongly to the image of the Trill homeworld. Stamets wonders if Zora could have just cherry-picked what she thought the crew wanted to see, but Kovich believes Zora was totally unaware of it, as there would be other factors if she had created intentionally. The images displayed are the bonds of connection and love between the crew, and Culber realizes this is why she withheld the coordinates. Stamets asks if all artificial intelligences could dream, but Kovich replies that none of them can, unless specifically programmed to do so. Zora adds that perhaps "artificial intelligence" fails to fully define her. When Kovich asks what would, she replies that she is the sum of the Sphere's life and the entirety of Discovery's systems, logs, missions, and history... and she was also more than the sum of those parts. Adira believes this would make Zora an entirely new lifeform, and Zora concurs, adding that she belonged on Discovery. "This crew is my family."

The scene shifts back and forth between Burnham and Stamets, as Burnham begins to speak before the assembly, reminding them that their experiences shaped them; at the same time, Stamets admits he wants to trust Zora as he does the crew, but finds it difficult. Burnham emphasizes that before they made a decision that would lead to destruction on both sides, they had to reach first for understanding. Stamets, too, is trying to understand Zora, getting his head around how the others could be okay with Zora's existence while he was not. Burnham reminds the assembly of the Federation's mission to seek out new life and new civilizations, not to destroy but to connect, even in the face of uncertainty. While they were not all Federation members, those ideals could still guide them, especially now, and they could not let fear define them. Stamets believes that trust is a choice, and he is willing to make that choice if it went both ways. Both emphasize to their audiences that the only way forward was to work together. Stamets tells Zora that if she is asking for them to trust her, she needs to trust them as well, and asks for the coordinates. Burnham tells the assembly that they need to decide who they wanted to be, if they wanted to lash out blindly regardless of the risk, or whether they proceeded thoughtfully, and work toward the future they wanted to live in. Booker, however, counters that they did not have time to discuss philosophical questions; what mattered was the actions they took. Burnham knows that there were different points of view in the room, but holds out the hope that when a decision is reached, they would stand together and move forward as a united front. Booker replies that some differences were too great, and sometimes one had to accept the consequences of that. Zora tells Stamets he has given her much to consider, and asks for a moment to think. Saru compliments how beautifully Stamets expressed his concerns; Stamets jokes that living with a therapist (this with a glance at Culber) he had picked up a thing or two. A moment later, Zora speaks up again, having reflected on what Stamets had said. As trust was both an emotional and logical act, she performed a behavioral performance assessment which showed the actions of Stamets and the crew to have been consistently taken with care for others and for the Federation, something she had not considered earlier. Even if some fear remains, she admits she finds the new realization "quite calming", and understands the desire for reciprocity. She thanks Stamets for his understanding, and displays a series of numbers on the screen... the coordinates they had sought.

Rillak brings the assembly to a vote, calling for those in favor of peaceful first contact to raise their hands, and those in favor of striking the anomaly to not raise them. United Earth and the Orions are among those who keep their hands down, while the Ni'Var, Ferengi, Trill, Andorian, and Alshain delegations all raise their hands; Burnham also raises her own. The vote for peaceful first contact carries, and Rillak expresses the hope that those who voted against continue to work with them, and that of course all data will continue to be shared. As Booker leaves, Burnham prepares to follow him, but is stopped by Rillak; Discovery will be needed to take the lead.

Act Four[]

Saru looks outside the ready room windows while Kovich continues his evaluation. They are then joined by Stamets, who asks if the evaluation is completed. "Nearly" is all Kovich will say; Saru notes the doctor has been just as tight-lipped with him as well. Kovich asks Stamets how he would feel if he said he was leaning towards extraction, and Stamets thinks it would be a bad idea. Kovich notices that Stamets still has concerns. Stamets feels good about the progress they made today, but it was tomorrow that worried him. "Tell her, not me," Kovich suggests. Stamets does so, saying that he knows she means well, and values and respects Starfleet and the crew, but is concerned that she could still prioritize her feelings over the crew's needs, as well as the captain's orders. He reminds her that they were all under a chain of command, but Zora was technically not part of it. She replies that she would like to be, which is what Stamets hoped she would say, and turns to Kovich to offer a recommendation. However, Kovich has completed his evaluation, and determines that Zora is in fact a new lifeform. "It feels marvelous," Zora says; when asked what, she replies, "Being seen." Under that ruling, Saru realizes, that would mean the Starfleet ban on integrated AIs did not apply, and Kovich confirms it does not. Stamets offers his recommendation that Zora be enlisted in Starfleet as a specialist, and Saru agrees; if Zora swore to uphold Starfleet rules and regulations, she would be bound by the same laws that governed them all. Kovich promises to give it his full support. Stamets turns, and asks Zora if she would like to join Starfleet, and she confirms that she does. Saru then suggests dispensing with the failsafe, but Zora reminds him that it would not be much of a failsafe if she could dismantle it herself. Stamets is pleased to offer to do so instead; after he does, he asks Kovich if he really would have extracted Zora if Stamets had not changed his mind. Kovich's evaluation was as much about Stamets and the crew as it was about Zora, and he could see that partnership was possible on both sides, but if it hadn't, he would have recommended that Stamets be assigned to another ship. Stamets concedes that this was as it should be.

In the crew lounge, Adira sits alone in front of the Trill board game they had been playing with Gray, when Gray himself enters and asks to talk. Adira realizes that Gray wants to go to Trill, and they tell him to take the shuttle before it leaves the assembly. Gray is surprised that Adira knew he didn't want to wait; Adira realized it when they saw him light up at the image of Trill in Zora's memories, and how he was reacting at that moment. Gray asks Adira to come with him, but they have come to see Discovery as their home, where they were needed, and is confident Gray will make "a million friends". Gray asks if they're worried about long distance, and they admit they are, but they have trust in their relationship, and also mentions the snowglobe that Tilly left them, saying that "all is possible"… plus, they think Discovery could spare them a few days while they help Gray get settled, and they have already put in for leave. Gray calls them "incandescence on feet", as they embrace.

Back in the assembly, Saru approaches T'Rina, having hoped to see her at some time, but noting that life got in the way; T'Rina agrees it so often did, but she had a few moments before returning to Ni'Var. She notes what he was holding, and Saru holds out the succulent plant he was holding. He reminds her that she had provided salt tea during the negotiations to bring Ni'Var back into the Federation, and that the gel from the plant gave the tea its flavor. It came from a small equatorial desert on Kaminar, and thus would be ideal for the desert environment on Ni'Var. Nearby, Gray, Adira, Stamets, and Culber speak with Guardian Xi; Gray thanks him for the opportunity to train. Culber knows that both are capable of taking care of themselves, but Xi reassures him that he will look out for them. Stamets mock-sternly tells Gray he expects regular reports, and will see Adira in a week's time, before pulling them all together in a group hug.

Back on his ship, Booker places Grudge in a carrying case, just as Tarka transports aboard, saying they had ninety-four seconds before the Federation realized it was gone, and he had taken it – the next-generation spore drive. Tarka calls the name "boring" and believes Aurellio should have done better, as he opens the case. Booker remarks on the small size of the device, while Tarka sarcastically extolls its ability to be installed on any ship; once a navigator was no longer required, he would be the "hero of Starfleet", and not there to accept the accolades. He integrates the device into Booker's navigation system, telling him that the interface worked the same as it did on Discovery – and the next part was all on Booker.

Entering her quarters, Burnham begins to ask a location for someone, only to find Grudge in her case, sitting on Burnham's desk, and ends by seemingly asking where Grudge is (to which Zora promptly reports that Grudge is five meters from her current location). She also sees Booker's commbadge. Activating it, she sees a text message from Booker: "I Love You, Michael / Please Take Care Of My Girl". Burnham asks for Booker's location; Zora reports he is on his ship, now leaving the shuttlebay. Realizing what he's doing, Burnham transports to the shuttlebay, but too late; Booker's ship has left the shuttlebay… and then spore-jumps away.

Background information[]


  • The title was noted in the Star Trek: Discovery Season 4 Loglines on 23 December 2021. [1]



Links and references[]



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Uncredited co-stars[]


100,000 years ago; 2258; airlock; Aamaarazan; Alshain; Andoria; Andorian; Archer Spacedock; armada; artificial intelligence (AI); artificial sentience; Aurellio; authority; Betazoid; Booker's ship; bug; Burn, The; captain; Cardassia; Cardassian; cat; cat toy; caterpillar; century; chain of command; citizen; civilization; Ckaptir; cognitive science; collateral damage; computer; consciousness; Control; coordinates; crop; day; Deakohn; death; delegate; Denobulan blood worm; density; desert; dilithium; diplomacy; DMA; DMA controller; DOT-23; dream; Earth; Emerald Chain; emotion; evidence; evolution; experience; experiment; Facian; failsafe; family; farmer; fear; Federation; Federation database; Federation Headquarters; Federation members; feeling; Ferengi; Ferengi Alliance; first contact; flower; friend; friendship; galactic barrier; gel; general; generation; Gorathian sulfur slug; grief; Guardian; hand; Hornish; hug; Human; isolytic explosion; isolytic weapon; Kaminar; Khitomer Accords; Klingon; Kwejian (planet); Kwejian (species); lab; Latin language; latinum; leadership; life; lifeform; love; Lurian; main processing core; Melai'Zhi; memory; meow; meter; Milky Way Galaxy; minute; mirror universe; motive; Multilateral DMA Strategy Assembly; music; name; nano-processor unit; navigator; next generation spore drive; Ni'Var; Non-Federation; operating system; optical translator cluster; order; Orion; Osnullus; Osyraa; pain; parallel universe; parsec; photon torpedo; politician; Polyphemus moth; President of United Earth; prime directive; probe; promotion; protocol; provost; quadrant; quantum signature; quantum torpedo; representative; reproductive cycle; Rillak's mother; Risa; Risian; room; salt tea; Sarrotheyn; Saurian (species); Schlerm; scientist; second; sector; sentience; shuttlebay; snow globe; specialist; species; Sphere; Starfleet; subconscious; subspace; subspace burst; subspace rift; succulent; superior officer; synth; Tartan vole; therapist; Third Brandenburg Concerto; thought; Tilly, Sylvia; Titan; Trill (planet); Trill (species); Trill shuttle; Trill symbiont; United Earth and Titan; universe; Unknown Species 10-C; Vance, Charles; Voyager, USS; Vulcan; week; worker bee; wormhole; Xindi-Insectoid; year

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