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Burnham and Tilly hunt the killer of a Starfleet officer as Stamets and the science team race against the clock to prevent the anomaly from killing anyone else.



The USS Credence enters orbit of a planet eagerly awaiting a dilithium shipment from the Federation. As first officer Patrick Fickett orders the shields lowered to transport the dilithium, the computer signals a security breach as three hooded figures transport in, incapacitating the two lieutenants assisting him. The leader, a Romulan, tersely informs Fickett that she requires the dilithium; he tells her to wait her turn, to which she answers that was not possible. Fickett lunges for a phaser, but the Romulan draws her blade, disarms him, and kicks him to the floor. "Please, my friend," she tells him, "choose to live." Fickett then grabs a rod and charges at her, but she blocks and then stabs him in the gut, killing him. "I'm sorry," she says, as she and her cohorts transport away with the dilithium.

The incident is revealed to be a recording being observed at Federation Headquarters by Federation President Rillak, President T'Rina of Ni'Var, Fleet Admiral Vance, and Captain Burnham. Vance explains that this was the fourth such theft of a dilithium cache, but the first time that a Starfleet officer was killed. He identifies the Romulan as J'Vini, a citizen of Ni'Var and a nun of the Qowat Milat. T'Rina asks, given that the thefts began shortly after the gravitational anomaly that destroyed Kwejian was discovered, if there is a connection; Vance admits there is no indication of a motive, but that J'Vini's crimes are clear, and that she must be detained without delay. They are then joined by Burnham's mother Gabrielle, representing the Qowat Milat.

While the crime was committed against a Starfleet officer, President Rillak insists that they will not persue J'Vini without Ni'Var's guidance, as Ni'Var was considered a trusted Federation ally. T'Rina adds her hope that Ni'Var will soon rejoin the Federation, and that the anomaly's threat made mutual cooperation all the more important. She then asks Burnham about the data they recovered from the anomaly, that it randomly changed course and was not presently near any inhabited systems. Burnham confirms this, and adds that Commander Stamets looked forward to working with the Ni'Var Science Institute to confirm his findings. Gabrielle then speaks up, saying that the hunt for J'Vini was an internal Qowat Milat matter and asks for Starfleet to turn over the coordinates, adding her belief that J'Vini is acting as a qalankhkai in service of a lost cause. She admits she is uncertain as to why J'Vini would steal dilithium when the Federation was giving it away, and that J'Vini's whereabouts had been unknown for years, but believes that J'Vini's actions had reason and the Qowat Milat must discover that context. Burnham quickly reminds her mother that J'Vini killed a Starfleet officer, and that cannot be explained away with context. Gabrielle does not excuse her actions, but believes the Qowat Milat must be the ones to pursue her, as only J'Vini's sisters could be counted upon to bring her in alive. T'Rina concedes that the unique ways of the Qowat Milat must be respected. Rillak asks Vance if Starfleet would be amenable to making it a joint mission, as a gesture of mutual goodwill in light of the pending union between Ni'Var and the Federation. The admiral replies that they would be most amenable, under the circumstances, and Gabrielle concurs on behalf of the Qowat Milat. Rillak then recommends Burnham as Starfleet's representative, as she has both her confidence, as well as Gabrielle's.

As Burnham embraces her mother outside the conference room, she is approached by Rillak, who asks to speak frankly. The President reminds Burnham that the joint mission was a political necessity, and that Ni'Var and the Qowat Milat were to be respected, but to make no mistake – she, Burnham, was in charge of the mission. The anomaly is the greatest threat ever faced since the Burn, and it was important to show that it was critical to restore the Federation, something that could not be done without Ni'Var. At the same time, it was important that those who would attack the Federation saw its strength, and that J'Vini must be brought in. "Absolutely," Burnham agrees. When Rillak then begins to ask if her relationship with her mother will make it difficult, Burnham replies that it won't. J'Vini killed a Starfleet officer, and Burnham would see her brought to justice for it.

Act One[]

In the USS Discovery's mess hall, Lieutenant Tilly joins Saru with a bowl of macaroni and cheese. She expresses distaste at the dish, but explains that she had been speaking with Dr. Culber about trying new things outside of her "comfort zone", such as sleeping with her pillow at the other end of her bed and taking the long way to the bridge, among other things, and asks Saru about helping water his plants. When he asks her what she hopes to gain from "novelty", she admits she is unsure, adding that she keeps thinking about the cadets at the newly-reopened Starfleet Academy, and how certain they were that they were exactly where they were supposed to be, a feeling she used to have. She then apologizes, knowing Saru had places to be. Saru confesses he dined in haste because he had to communicate with the Kaminar Council soon about refitting Kaminar's main spaceport, as his people had elected to return to the stars now that the mystery of the Burn had been solved. He promises to find something "meaningfully ununsual" for Tilly to do, but in the meantime welcomes her to mist his plants, warning not to touch the swampkelp while it was in bloom, adding that she did not want to know what happened if she did.

In engineering, Burnham finds Stamets examining equations, and Booker going over the data recovered from the anomaly. She asks Booker if Stamets has put him to another job, and he calls it a "tachyon treasure hunt", but it keeps him in the action, such as it is. Speaking of action, Burnham asks to requisition Booker's ship, apologetically adding that it was Starfleet and Qowat Milat only, and joking that she would return it "washed and waxed". Their attention then goes to Stamets; Booker explains that Stamets' new theory is that the anomaly is a primordial wormhole. As Burnham approaches, Stamets explains that four of the five criteria fit: the gravitational distortions were consistent, as is the shape of the gravitational well, its ability to change direction, and the large amount of accreted dark matter, leading him to dub it the "DMA", short for "Dark Matter Anomaly". Burnham recognizes that tachyons would be the fifth factor to confirm Stamets' theory, but none appear to be present. Stamets is adamant that the data holds the answer, but until he finds it, he can't predict its behavior, or prevent another disaster like Kwejian. Burnham reminds him that the Ni'Var Science Institute will be of great help, and Stamets transmits the raw data to them. After Burnham leaves, Booker approaches, asking to accompany Stamets to Ni'Var. At first, Stamets does not believe he would want to, as it would be boring with all the mathematical discussion, but Booker insists he needs to be doing something to help. Stamets warns that he can't bring the scientists up to speed without a clinical forensic discussion of Booker's loss. Booker assures him he can handle it.

In Discovery's sickbay, the new golem body for Gray is completed, and Gray expresses his feelings about almost being part of the world again, "no more looking in from the outside, feeling invisible." Adira remarks that the world doesn't know what they've missed, and that the crew will love him, though not as much as they do. Gray asks Adira to thank Dr. Culber again, and they tell him he can do so himself in a few moments, in person. At that moment, Guardian Xi appears via holo, and Dr. Culber informs him the preparations are made. Xi calls it "an atypical arrangement, as befits a zhian'tara unlike any other." He greets Adira, who thanks him for his help, and asks if Gray is also present; Adira confirms he is. Gray asks Adira to express his gratitude to Xi, and they do so, adding that Gray had wanted to become a Guardian himself before the accident that killed him. Xi is also hopeful that if the transfer is successful, Gray will be able to continue his training. However, he also warns that there are unpredictable dangers to the procedure, and that he cannot guarantee that Gray's consciousness will find a home in a synthetic body without a host's mind to guide him in. There was the possibility that Gray could be lost forever. Gray (through Adira) says that he understands the risks, and is willing to proceed. Lastly, Xi asks if they have the consent of Tal, and both affirm they do. "Then let us begin," Xi says.

Meanwhile, Burnham is walking through the decks with Saru, explaining the mission, which he dubs to be "difficult". Gabrielle is bringing one of her Qowat Milat sisters, and Burnham wants to bring a tactical officer to even the balance, not wanting the appearance of favoring one or the other. She laments that the mission would be straightforward without the politics, and warns Saru not to get her started on Rillak. To her surprise, Saru recommends Tilly to accompany her on the mission. While agreeing that combat was not one of Tilly's strengths, Saru points out that both Burnham and the Qowat Milat were skilled combatants, and that Tilly's intuitive diplomatic skills could be of aid to a diplomatically sensitive mission. Ultimately, he believes, she will do the mission good, and it will do so for her as well.

Aboard Booker's ship, Tilly excitedly expresses her enthusiasm for the mission to Gabrielle's Qowat Milat escort, then apologizes if it sounded like it was good that J'Vini was getting arrested. The sister notes that Tilly worries that she would be dismayed by the lieutenant's enthusiasm, and tersely tells her she's not. "Absolute candor, I dig that," Tilly says. At the controls, Gabrielle reminds Burnham about what she told her about Spock being accused of murder, and how Burnham's belief in his innocence was justified. Burnham replies it was different, because she knew him. Gabrielle retorts that she knows J'Vini. Burnham asks her mother about who J'Vini was to her, needing to know who she was dealing with. Gabrielle explains that J'Vini was the Qowat Milat sister who found her when she arrived in the future and nursed her back to health. As the ship approaches its destination, Gabrielle warns that they would have to leave their phasers aboard, as they were not part of the Qowat Milat way. Burnham protests at the idea of going in unarmed against a member of the Qowat Milat. "Did I say unarmed?" Gabrielle replies, as her escort gives Burnham and Tilly each a tan qalanq, the blade carried by the Qowat Milat. While Burnham notes they would be at a disadvantage, Gabrielle reminds her that it was agreed the ways of the Qowat Milat would be respected. Burnham and Tilly take their blades just as the ship drops out of warp near a barren moon.

Act Two[]

The ship lands on the moon, and Tilly reports not finding any life signs on the surface. Burnham tells her to scan under the surface, that J'Vini had to be there somewhere. Tilly asks why this particular location, as it was fairly unremarkable. Burnham asks her mother if J'Vini had anything to tie her there, but is told if she did, she chose not to share it with her sisters. Tilly discovers that there was indeed a cavity directly beneath the ship with a breathable atmosphere, and also detects the signal from the tracker on the dilithium cache. Just then, the intruder alert sounds as three of J'Vini's mercenaries beam aboard. The Starfleet officers hold their own, but the mercenaries disarm Gabrielle and kill the other Qowat Milat sister. Tilly is able to throw a blade to Gabrielle, who is able to cut down all three of the mercenaries swiftly. Right then, J'Vini teleports aboard, looking disturbed on seeing the dead, and saying she had not wanted more blood to be spilled. However, she tells them to "choose to live" by leaving immediately; if they chose to follow, their lives were forfeit. She then teleports away. Tilly quietly asks Burnham if they planned on ignoring J'Vini's warning, and Burnham makes clear that they are.

Back in Discovery's sickbay, Adira tells Xi they can't see Gray anymore nor feel his presence. Xi confirms that the unjoining was successful, but he could not yet feel Gray's presence in the golem. He counsels Adira to be patient, and asks Culber to keep him apprised, before ending the communication. Adira is upset and confused, wondering how they could just sit and wait. Culber suggests they both go for a walk, assuring Adira that Dr. Pollard was there, and that Gray's monitors would alert them of any change in his condition. Reluctantly, Adira follows Culber out of sickbay.

The Burnhams and Tilly transport into the cavity below them, which proves to be a cavernous chamber. Tilly wonders if it was a lost cause or a lost civilization, and Gabrielle remarks it felt like a mausoleum. Burnham notes the desiccation on the organic pods in the room indicates they were several centuries old, possibly more. When asked why J'Vini would bring dilithium to a crypt, Gabrielle admits she has no idea, thinking Tilly might be right and J'Vini was simply using the chamber as a safe house. Tilly finds evidence of grave robbers, and Gabrielle recognizes J'Vini's cloak draped over a dead alien. Burnham does not recognize the species, and it was listed as unknown in Federation records. Tilly speculates that the fallen alien was J'Vini's "lost cause", but Gabrielle is not so sure, believing that if she had pledged her sword to it, the oath would end with its demise. Burnham is skeptical that J'Vini is acting from a position of honor at all, given that her mercenaries just killed one of her own sisters. Gabrielle counters that J'Vini would not draw against them unless she felt her cause was threatened, and that "the reasons matter", something she would have thought Burnham would understand. Sensing the tension between mother and daughter, Tilly steps in about how she did not get along with her own mother, who did not like being around children, but that she would give her "the biggest hug" if she were there now. Just then, the cavern shakes. Tilly detects that the dilithium has been activated. They were not on a moon at all; they were inside a massive starship, and J'Vini just activated it. The dilithium tracker is right above them; finding a turbolift-style platform, the three rise up to the source.

On Ni'Var, Stamets explains the data recovered from the DMA to the Ni'Var Science Council, and how the DMA caused massive gravitational instability to anything within twelve astronomical units of the anomaly's ergosphere, such as what occurred on Kwejian, and his belief that it was the work of a primordial wormhole. Provost Sta'Kiar notes that the council is aware of his theory, and suddenly all go into a meditative trance, much to Stamets' exasperation, as he had stated that time was of the essence to discover how to deal with the threat of the anomaly. All throughout, Booker stands on the sidelines, gazing across the desert. T'Rina offers a warm redspice, as it was found to be soothing to those in emotional distress. While she expects grief at the loss of his homeworld and people, T'Rina also notes that Booker's body language indicates guilt, and that it was illogical to blame himself for what was essentially an act of nature. Booker is surprised that Vulcans were so emotionally attuned. T'Rina acknowledges it was a common misconception, noting that while Vulcans did express emotions, sometimes strongly, they were trained to suppress them. Booker half-jokingly asks for "a few pointers on that approach". T'Rina notes that the discipline of the arie'mnu required a lifetime to master, and that the respite would be fleeting for the uninitiated. "A drowning man only needs one breath," Booker replies. T'Rina notes that as a Kwejian, emotion was as essential to his being as air and blood, and what he really needed was freedom from his guilt. Booker believes there should have been a sign the disaster was coming, and that he had missed it; if he had not, he would have been able to save his family, and says that was not illogical.

Aboard the moonship, Tilly notes the "bizarre" reaction system, and believes the controls for the ship must be elsewhere. However, she locates the dilithium, including the tracker. Burnham asks if she can power down the ship from there. Tilly confirms she can, but warns J'Vini will detect signs of sabotage. As Tilly works, Burnham examines the pictograms on the nearby wall, showing a supernova and a moon leaving its world – the ship they're on, fleeing the unlivable homeworld of its creators. Both Burnhams realize that the ship was not a mausoleum, but a refugee ship, and that the pods held the people in cryogenic stasis. Gabrielle is convinced this is the cause that J'Vini has sworn her blade to, and she was protecting them from grave robbers. Tilly manages to deactivate the engine, and asks what is next. Much to her chagrin, Burnham instructs her to stay put... as bait.

In the mess hall, Adira angrily hurls darts into a nearby dartboard, believing it was a mistake to let Gray transfer into the golem; if they hadn't, Gray would still be there, and safe. Culber reminds Adira that it was not their decision, but Adira is still worried that Gray was really gone, and warns the doctor not to say anything about how he would always be in their heart or their memories, as it wasn't the same. Culber agrees it's not, but reminds Adira that they were not alone. Culber then sits down with Saru, who asks if Gray was still in "limbo". Culber notes it could be indefinitely, and that it was the uncertainty that was affecting Adira most. Saru remarks he was reminded of an old Kelpien adage about how "it is difficult to ride two valebeasts with only one set of buttocks", earning a laugh from the doctor, who suggests riding three of them. Saru compliments Culber's ability to act as ship's doctor and ship's counselor, which Culber agrees that was what he was there for, to help. Saru believes that sometimes the most important thing they could do was reach for one another. Adira hears this, and returns to sickbay, where they look at Gray's golem, still unchanged. They tell him how strange it is not to be able to feel him, fearing he was lost and alone. They mention what Culber told them about connecting to people being a light in the dark, and if Gray could not find his way, Adira would guide him. They take Gray's hand, and promise to stay there until he can come back, adding a plea that he does come back.

Back on the moonship, Tilly laughs to herself about how she is most definitely outside her comfort zone, as J'Vini arrives telling her to step away from the engine. As she does, Burnham transports next to her, and Gabrielle directly behind J'Vini. J'Vini tells Gabrielle she should have walked away, and lunges with her blade as Gabrielle tries to reason with her. The Starfleet officers move to help her, but Gabrielle warns them off, saying she could handle this herself. However, their battle is brief, as J'Vini disarms Gabrielle and holds her blade to her throat.

Act Three[]

J'Vini demands that Tilly bring the warp drive back online, while Burnham tries to reason with her, telling her she could be brought in with them without abandoning her cause. J'Vini is skeptical, believing Burnham is trying to get her to drop her guard, but Burnham promises only the truth. Gabrielle vouches for her, revealing that Burnham was her daughter, which surprises J'Vini. When asked about the aliens in the cocoons, J'Vini explains they were called Abronians, and that they were the last of their kind. Their biomatter had high concentrations of latinum, which proved a magnet for grave robbers. J'Vini received a telepathic distress call from the vault's guardian, Taglonen, while traveling through the system; the moonship was under attack. J'Vini killed the grave robbers, and covered Taglonen's body with her cloak, taking his cause as her own. As long as she was breathing, she would find a way to protect them. The revelation of the anomaly led her to start stealing dilithium to be able to move the moonship. When asked why she didn't simply request dilithium from the Federation, J'Vini reveals that she had. Tilly explains that Starfleet does not disperse dilithium to individuals, and that she would have needed to reveal the Abronians to the Federation, which would have jeopardized their safety. Burnham deduces that the uninhabited planet they were orbiting was intended to be the new Abronian homeworld, and that the Abronians would not have remained in cryosleep after arriving at their new homeworld, which meant something was wrong with the cryostasis. She offers to help fix it and fulfill J'Vini's oath. J'Vini gives Burnham until Tilly repairs the engine to figure out the problem.

On Ni'Var, the council emerges from their meditations, and Sta'Kiar explains to Stamets that the absence of tachyons means that his hypothesis remains unproven. Stamets angrily insists that it must be a primordial wormhole, as all of the other factors fit, and reminds them that lives were at stake. Sta'Kiar chides Stamets for his emotional response, as he was supposed to be a scientist. T'Rina suggests that proof may be obtained another way, as they had a witness to Kwejian's destruction present, and turns to Booker. As tachyons were superluminal, they would have created Cherenkov radiation on impacting Kwejian's atmosphere, which would have given off a distinct blue cast. Booker had explained to Stamets what he had seen, and did not remember any glow, but T'Rina notes that stored memories may hold the key, and suggests a mind meld with Booker. Stamets is aghast, as this would mean forcing Booker to relive that trauma again. Booker wonders if she's right, if it was the only way. Stamets insists that Booker should not be made to suffer because of his failure, and that they would solve the DMA another way. Booker thanks him for his concern, but believes if this is how he can help, he would. Stamets steps back, and the other council members depart, as T'Rina initiates the meld. Inside Booker's mind, he relives seeing the birds plummeting from the sky and Kwejian's moon being shattered by the gravitational distortion. T'Rina has seen all she needs, but Booker insists there is one other thing he needs to see: His last memory of his brother Kyheem and his nephew Leto, just before Kwejian's destruction. T'Rina reminds him he could only relive the memories of the past, not alter them, but Booker explains he keeps seeing the last moment he saw Leto in his mind, wondering what he missed. In the memory, Leto turns back to him, and Booker recognizes that Leto had looked back to him, and saw that Booker loved him. Booker looks up to the sky again as T'Rina dissolves the meld, and he thanks her. T'Rina tells Stamets there was no evidence of tachyons in Booker's memory, and departs. Stamets apologizes for making Booker go through that for nothing, but Booker replies that it wasn't for nothing.

Back on the moonship, Burnham discovers the fault in the cryo systems and repairs it. She activates the awakening system, and tells J'Vini that they will be fully warmed up in a few minutes. Gabrielle tells her that her path was ended, and that a new one awaited. Apologizing, J'Vini drops her blade. Burnham produces a pair of binders, which Gabrielle takes, as her responsibility to bring J'Vini in. J'Vini understands, and submits without resistance. Back aboard Booker's ship, they speak death rites over the fallen Qowat Milat sister, and watch as the Abronians descend from the moonship to their new homeworld.

Act Four[]

As Booker's ship returns to Federation Headquarters, Tilly asks Gabrielle about what J'Vini said about her path being set on meeting Taglonen, and what Gabrielle told her about a new path. Gabrielle explains that paths end and change all throughout everyone's lives, and that the Qowat Milat phrase "choose to live" was an abbreviated form of a longer one: "The path you are on has come to an end. Choose to live." When one was at the wrong end of a Qowat Milat sword, she half-jokingly adds, it seems an easy choice: move on to a new path and live, or stay on the same path and die. Tilly asks about the death being metaphorical; Gabrielle concedes the path's end is harder to recognize, but one must be willing to look inside themselves with absolute candor. Gabrielle then joins her daughter on the bridge, and admits she asked for a joint mission because she was not sure that she would be able to bring J'Vini in, and that Burnham would have made her do so. Burnham admits that Gabrielle had been right, that reasons did matter: J'Vini had saved an entire species from extinction. While that did not erase her crimes, it still meant something.

At Federation Headquarters, Burnham is debriefed by President Rillak, President T'Rina, and Fleet Admiral Vance, and asks that mitigating circumstances be taken into account at J'Vini's sentencing. Rillak thanks Burnham for her service, but notes her request was not necessary. With some reluctance in his expression, Vance informs T'Rina that Starfleet was remanding J'Vini into her custody for extradition to Ni'Var. T'Rina raises her hand in salute and offers "peace and long life", then departs with J'Vini. Gabrielle bids her daughter farewell, and hopes she finds peace with what had occurred, before following. Burnham asks if J'Vini will be held accountable, and Vance replies that would be up to Ni'Var now. Burnham had been given a mission to bring J'Vini to justice; Rillak tells her she executed that mission admirably, but her part in the matter was now concluded. As she prepares to leave, Burnham brings up Patrick Fickett and his family – his partner Ha'Ryl and their two children, Krenn and Na'el – and how they would want justice for his death. Rillak agrees, but also points out that returning Ni'Var to the Federation would benefit millions, and that Fickett's family would receive justice "in time", before she leaves. Burnham asks Vance if he is okay with this decision. Vance admits he would have preferred a different outcome, but it was hard to argue with the President trusting in Ni'Var as the Federation asked Ni'Var to trust them. He then asks if Burnham liked music, telling her to think of the Federation as an orchestra, with Burnham as the first-chair violin "with the showy, challenging solos"; himself as the drum section, "setting the pace, providing backbone"; and Rillak as the conductor: "When she signals us, we play." It was not their job to look after the others, but to focus on their own parts, and trust that she knew the symphony. Burnham notes the amount of analogy, and Vance jokes that they paid him "by the letter".

Back aboard Discovery, Tilly enters Saru's quarters, finding him watering his plants to the sound of Kaminar sea frogs, a sound Saru recalls falling asleep to as a child back on his homeworld. He admits that being back on the ship again was a work in progress, but he worked each day to find balance. Tilly asks if he had been the one to suggest to Burnham to take her on the mission, and he confirms he thought it was further her "quest for new experiences". She offers to help water the plants as she had offered, and jokingly puts her hands close to the swampkelp blooms, though he had warned her not to.

In sickbay, Gray remains unresponsive... until brain activity suddenly begins. Adira has fallen asleep holding Gray's hand, and Gray begins to grasp their hand himself as he becomes conscious. Adira awakens, and asks if he is himself. Gray reacts with wonder at having corporeal form again, and replies he was definitely himself. Adira helps him to his feet as Dr. Culber enters, saying that Guardian Xi was on his way. Though told to take it slow and adjust to his new body, Gray has no trouble running to the doctor and hugging him, saying he had words planned to thank him, but they didn't come close to expressing how he felt. Culber assures him nothing need be said. Xi then appears via holo, glad to see that Gray had returned, and Gray promises a hug for him as well when they meet in person. Adira asks him how he feels. Gray answers that he felt whole again, and home, thanks to them. He had heard what they said, and felt them reaching for him. Adira admits they were not sure if he would without Tal linking them both, but Gray assures them he will always be linked to them.

On his ship, Booker lies on his bed, looking at a holoprojection of Kwejian's forest, as Burnham enters. She is surprised to see it, as it was too painful a week before. Booker admits it was still painful that morning, and was still hard to look at, but also nice. He explains he got a memory back, and now feels that someday the grief will fade, but if he didn't want his other memories to fade with it, he had to open himself back up to them, both good and bad. Burnham notices he is wearing his Ikhu Zhen amulet again. Booker had not worn it for years, since it didn't feel right to him, but now it did. She notices he seems peaceful, and he admits that in that moment, he did. "Sometimes that's all we get," Burnham replies, as they look up at the projected sky together.

Memorable quotes[]

"When we say 'choose to live', it's an abbreviated form of a longer saying: 'The path you are on has come to an end. Choose to live.' If you find yourself at the wrong end of a Qowat Milat sword, it's pretty easy to see that particular path is over for you. You either move on to a new path and live, or you stay and die."

- Gabrielle Burnham, explaining Qowat Milat philosophy to Tilly

"Do you like music, captain?"
"Think of us as an orchestra. You're first-chair violin, with the showy, challenging solos. I'm the drum section, setting the pace, providing backbone. She's the conductor. When she signals us, we play. It's not our job to know if the cellist is drunk or the woodwinds and brass are at war. We each have our part, and we must all trust that she knows the symphony."
"That was a lot of analogy."
"Well, they pay me by the letter."

- Vance and Burnham

Background information[]



  • This episode expands upon the Qowat Milat saying "choose to live", first spoken by Elnor in PIC: "Absolute Candor".
  • The Abronians are introduced.
  • The zhian'tara was first and last referenced and used to temporarily transfer the memories of a former Trill host to another person in DS9: "Facets". In that episode, the prospect of permanent transfer was also addressed when Curzon Dax decided, at least for a while, to remain with his temporary host, Odo, establishing that a permanent transfer might be possible. Here, Guardian Xi uses the zhian'tara to permanently move Gray Tal to a new body. Gray already existing "outside" of Adira, the current Tal host, is very similar to the Rite of Emergence, first shown in DS9: "Field of Fire", and might be the decisive factor in making his permanent transfer to a new body a successful one. Interestingly, Guardian Xi is only present as a hologram when he performs the ritual, hinting at the fact it is primarily the symbiont who is responsible for the transfer while the Guardians perform only a ritual function during the zhian'tara.


Links and references[]



Guest starring[]


Uncredited co-stars[]

Stunt doubles[]

  • Maya Macatumpag as stunt double for Sonequa Martin-Green
  • Attipha Moulton-Davis as stunt double for Sonja Sohn
  • Tiauna Steadford as stunt double for Ayesha Mansur Gonsalves
  • E. Nova Zatzman as stunt double for Mary Wiseman


40 Eridani A; Abronians; Abronian colony; Abronian homeworld; Abronian moonship; Abronian transport; accusation; adage; amulet; analogy; analysis; antimatter; arie'mnu; arrest; astronomical unit (AU); atmosphere (air); bait; bed; biomatter; blood; blue; body language; Booker's ship; brass; brain wave; breathing; Burn, The; buttocks; cadet; cellist; century; cheese; Cherenkov radiation; citizen; civilization; cloak; cocoon; comfort zone; community; conductor; Constitution-class; coordinates; council; counselor; Credence, USS; Credence-type; crime; cryo system; cryostasis (cryosleep); crypt; Cuyahoga, USS; dark matter; Dark Matter Anomaly (DMA); darts; database; death; desiccation; dilithium; dilithium tracker; distress signal; drum; emotion; ergosphere; extinction; extradition; family; Federation; Federation Headquarters; Ferengi; field equation; first chair violin; first officer; forest;gardening; grave robber; gravitational anomaly; gravitational distortion; gravitational shearing; gravitational well; grief; Guardian; guilt; Ha'Ryl; hand; handcuffs; head; heart; honor; host; hug; Humans; hypothesis; Ikhu Zhen; incorporation; individual; intruder alert; isoboramine; justice; Kaminar; Kaminar sea frog; Kelpien; Krenn; Kwejian (planet); Kwejian (species); Kwejian's moon; Kwejian language; lab; latinum; laughing; law; leadership; Le Guin, USS; life sign; love; lullaby; Lurian; mac and cheese; manifold; math; matter; mausoleum; medical officer; memory; mercenary; Merian-class; metaphor; mind; mind meld; minute; mission; motive; murder; music; Na'el; name; nap; NCC; Ni'Var; Ni'Var Government; Ni'Var Science Institute; nickname; nun; orchestra; partner; patient; phaser; pillow; plant; politics; Pollard, Tracy; primordial wormhole; prisoner; qalankhkai; Qowat Milat; redspice; replicator; Romulan; Romulan language; sabotage; safe house; Saturn-class; schedule; scientist; sector; shield; ship's counselor; Siobhan; sky; song; Song, USS; spaceport; species; Spock; Starfleet; Starfleet Academy; Su'Kal; supernova; surface; swampkelp; sword; symphony; tachyon; tactical officer; Taglonen; Tal; telepathy; theft; theory; thought; torsion tensor; trajectory; turbolift; UFP Diplomatic Corps; valebeast; Vulcan; Vulcan nerve pinch; Vulcan salute; warp drive; watering; week; witness; woodwinds; wormhole; year; zhian'tara

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Star Trek: Discovery
Season 4
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