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The crew forgo their dreams of Starfleet to return to Tars Lamora in a no-win scenario.


Act One[]

In crew quarters, Rok-Tahk explains to her shipmates that she was able to save them and the USS Protostar from the recent fractured time incident by getting Hologram Janeway back online and restoring the warp matrix. Jankom Pog, Zero, and the rest of the crew take a moment to acknowledge the team's capacity for innovation, bravery and teamwork. Dal realizes the crew will never be able to let their guard down while The Diviner is after them, knocking over Dred 2 and initiating a recorded holographic message from The Diviner.

The Diviner's holo ultimatum

The Diviner issues an ultimatum

The Diviner delivers an ultimatum: insisting that this "chase across the galaxy" must end, the crew will return the Protostar to him in one day in exchange for releasing The Unwanted, or the miners will pay the price. Gwyn, frustrated by her father, stabs Dred 2's head with her heirloom and storms off.

Around a conference suite table, the crew considers their options: formulate a rescue mission to Tars Lamora on their own or reach out to the Federation and Starfleet. While Dal thinks over their limited time to decide and/or plan, Zero reminds them the ship only has power for one proto-warp. Janeway acknowledges it's a difficult decision, but as Dal is the captain, it's ultimately his decision to make. Jankom then enthusiastically jumps on the table in support of saving the miners they left behind. Seeing the crew's support for a rescue mission, Dal leaves, though Gwyn follows.

Gwyn enters the captain's quarters behind Dal, asking if his indecisiveness is based on fear or selfishness. After years of trying to escape the mines of Tars Lamora, he's that worried if they return, they may not be able to escape again, a fear Gwyn didn't have to experience. With the crew's lives on the line, Dal realizes the rescue mission can't be one of his half-baked plans, that this is his Kobayashi Maru no-win scenario. Gwyn reminds him of the ongoing lesson of their time on the Protostar: that they are not alone, and that the crew must plan together as a team.

Janeway oversees the crew working together to prepare for their mission, arming themselves with phasers, snacks and coffee. One final touch to the plan: Dal takes a last look at some of his belongings and looks to the Protostar captain's uniform and the combadge that united the crew during their time together.

Dal R'El in uniform

Dal in uniform

Dal and the crew join Janeway on the bridge, having all adopted the Protostar uniforms. Janeway upgrades her uniform as well, and commends the crew for coming together on "a seemingly impossible mission to save others. To bring hope to a hopeless cause. Nothing's more Starfleet than that."

The Protostar jumps to maximum warp headed for Tars Lamora. The crew, unified and resolved, engages the proto-drive.

Act Two[]

The Protostar drops out of proto-warp and approaches Tars Lamora. The Diviner watches, his plan coming together and Drednok deactivates the chimerium cloak. The miners, including a Caitian child, look up, unsure of what to make of the ship. Rok takes Murf to the cargo transporter where Zero and Gwyn are. Gwyn notices Zero being unusually quiet and they explain that they're worried The Diviner will capture them and be used as a weapon again. But Gwyn assures them that won't happen as long as everyone does their part.

Suddenly, they feel the ship shake and Janeway reports that the Rev-12 has activated its tractor beam and is pulling the Protostar in.

The Protostar lands and the crew walk out where they meet The Diviner and Drednok. Dal warns them not to try anything hasty as Janeway was given the order to self-destruct the ship if needed. The Diviner agrees to let the miners go in exchange for, not just the Protostar, but Gwyn, as well. Gwyn agrees to his terms as long as her father agrees to leave the prisoners the Rev-12 so they can leave the planet.

Finally in control of the Protostar, the Diviner overrides Janeway's program to make her obedient to him and orders the Rev-12's power generator targeted for destruction--leaving the prisoners with nothing. When Gwyn objects, the Diviner points out that he promised them a ship; not their lives. As the Protostar leaves the planet, the Gwyn asks for answers from her father--namely why did he choose the ship over her? The Diviner confesses to Gwyn that he made a mistake by doing that. The Diviner begins to confess his true mission to Gwyn, then stops when he realizes she's merely stalling for time. He orders Drednock to engage the protostar drive, only for Drednock to report that the drive's been removed.

Act Three[]

Back on Tars Lamora, it's revealed that the Protostar crew anticipated the Diviner's double cross and were each armed with thruster packs so they could navigate the micro-gravity atmosphere. In addition, the proto-core is protected within Murf himself. Dal assures Rok that they can still save everyone, and they have time for their plan to work.

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Memorable quotes[]

"This is a no-win scenario, Gwyn. This is our Kobayashi Maru."
"So, what are you saying?"
"It can't be one of my half-baked plans."

- Dal and Gwyn

"Suddenly, I feel underdressed." (changes uniform) "That's better."

- Hologram Janeway

"I just wanna say, I know you never thought you were Starfleet material, but today, you're risking everything on a seemingly impossible mission to save others, to bring hope to a hopeless cause. Nothing's more Starfleet than that."

- Hologram Janeway to the Protostar crew

"On my mark. Ready? Go fast."

- Dal, ordering proto-warp speed

"I never wanted to see this place again. Too many bad memories."
"Then let's make some better ones, kid."

- Rok-Tahk and Jankom Pog

Background information[]



  • By acknowledging the entire writers' room for their contributions, this episode holds the record for most writers credited on a single episode of Star Trek. [2]


  • Dal R'El references the lessons he learned about the burden of command and the consequences of command decisions in the Kobayashi Maru scenario in "Kobayashi".
  • This episode shows the crew of the USS Protostar wearing Starfleet uniforms for the first time. Hologram Janeway also updates her uniform to match the style of the rest of the crew.
    • According to the Hagemans, these new uniforms and combadge are unique to this specific ship: "Since the USS Protostar is an experimental starship, we felt it gave us some freedom to create our own uniform design, as long as it fit alongside the uniforms of this era. We, [executive producer] Ben Hibon, and our design team spent a lot of time discussing the badge and uniforms. We had to balance the style of our series, while also recognizing these kids aren’t actually anywhere close to being Starfleet Officers, which is why we went for a stripped-down design." They added that, "we all know different styles of combadges often co-existed in the same era, and we knew we wanted something special for Prodigy." [3]
  • Jankom references his familiarity with a pus hog, an animal previously referenced by Neelix in the VOY Season 2 episodes "Projections" and "Twisted".
  • Drednok attempted to reprogram Hologram Janeway in order to make her obedient to The Diviner. Similar reprogramming had been experienced by Data when his ethical subroutines were shut off by Lore in TNG: "Descent", and by The Doctor when Captain Rudolph Ransom deleted his ethical subroutines in order to make him perform an incredibly damaging medical procedure on Seven of Nine in VOY: "Equinox, Part II".

Production history[]

Links and references[]



Background characters[]


acting; asteroid; asteroid system; atmospheric shields; augment; Brikar; bunk room; Caitian; captain; captain's chair; cargo transporter; chimerium cloak; coffee; computer; cycle; day; double double cross; dress up; duty; emergency evacuation thruster pack; emergency reserves; exotic matter dilithium matrix (aka proto-core); Federation; freedom; friend; full impulse; goggles; gravity; gravity boots; haunted; heirloom; hoof; hope; hybrid; impulse; joyriding; Kobayashi Maru; Ktarian game; maximum warp; Medusan; Mellanoid slime worm; memory; Milky Way Galaxy; miner; monster; negotiate; no-win scenario; "Nok-head"; oxygen; order; penny; phasers (type 2 phaser; type 3 phaser); phlegm; power; power generator; progeny; proto-drive; proto-jump (aka jump); proto-warp; Protostar, USS; Protostar-class; pus hog; rapid regeneration protocol; rescue mission; Rev-12; salvation; self-destruct; shields; snack; Starfleet; Starfleet uniform (early 2380s); Starfleet uniform (late 2360s-early 2370s); Tars Lamora; Tellarite; thief; time; tow; tractor beam; trade; truth; ultimatum; Unwanted, The; upgrade; Vau N'Akat; vehicle replicator; warp matrix; warp signature; Watcher; "Z"; zero g

Console references[]

alignment target; bridge; conference suite; crew's quarters; flight controls; flowchart; long range sensor; observation lounge; offset; operations; phaser array; profile view; proto-core; sec; setting; sick bay; subspace antenna; tactical array; target; tractor beam; wireframe mode

External links[]

Previous episode:
"Time Amok"
Star Trek: Prodigy
Season 1
Next episode:
"A Moral Star, Part 2"