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This page contains information regarding Star Trek: Discovery, and thus may contain spoilers.

With Moll and L'ak in custody, the Federation is pulled into a diplomatic and ethical firestorm when the Breen demand they be handed over. Meanwhile, Booker looks for ways to help as Tilly, Adira, and Reno work to decipher the latest clue.

Summary[]

Teaser[]

From her stolen Terran warp pod, Moll broadcasts on a loop a special offering for courier services, limited time only. Having picked up the message, the USS Locherer pulls the pod in using a tractor beam as the USS Discovery spore jumps in.

Onboard Discovery, Commander Nhan tells Captain Michael Burnham that the message was broadcasting from the pod on a loop on Subspace Frequency Epsilon 19 which Burnham confirms is a courier channel. "Special offer" is code for SOS, meaning that Moll was hoping that a courier would pick up her distress call and rescue them. Luckily, the Federation got to them first and Admiral Charles Vance has asked Nhan to bring a team aboard Discovery to assist with security as they transfer the prisoners to the USS Federation. Burnham is glad to have her old friend back aboard Discovery, a sentiment that Nhan returns. Nhan gives Burnham Doctor Vellek's diary which Moll had stashed on her when they pulled her out of the pod. Discovery already had some of it on file and Burnham wants to get started on translating the rest which will tell them everything they need to know about the Progenitors' technology. Nhan tells her that she has a Romulan on her team who can help.

Cleveland Booker argues with two of Nhan's team who are keeping him out of sickbay. Burnham points out that Booker isn't supposed to be here, but Booker heard that Moll and L'ak are beaming over. Nhan coldly refuses him access, stating that no one can enter or leave without Vance's okay, but Booker argues that Moll and L'ak may know things that they don't about the clue trail or what they'll find at the end of it. Booker has spent more time with Moll than anyone, so maybe he can get her to talk. Nhan recalls that according to the report, Moll nearly killed him on the ISS Enterprise and sarcastically comments on the amount of trust there. Nhan reminds Booker how the last time that she saw him – also a personal situation – Booker fired on Discovery with photon torpedoes and set off an isolytic weapon. Although Booker has been working to make things right, Nhan still sees him as a security risk, but she agrees to find him if they need help during the debriefing after Burnham objects to her treatment of Booker. Once Booker is gone, Burnham tells Nhan that he's a good man and Burnham does trust him. Nhan admits that she knows what Booker means to her which is why Nhan went easy on him.

Entering sickbay, the two find Doctor Hugh Culber with a biobed prepped for L'ak to beam right into, which Burnham notes isn't a good sign. Culber explains that L'ak is in bad shape and it's a miracle that he's even still alive while the Locherer reports that Moll is dehydrated, half-starved, but still kicking, which Nhan clarifies is literal: Moll went ballistic when they tried to separate the two, which Burnham isn't surprised by. Culber and his staff are modifying the containment field to keep them together as separating Moll and L'ak will only just put more stress on L'ak's system. On Burnham's signal, the Locherer beams Moll and L'ak over, along with two members of Nhan's security team. As L'ak gasps in pain, Culber moves to help him, explaining to Moll that he's giving L'ak something for the pain and then Culber needs to examine him. Burnham promises that they're going to help L'ak, but Moll accuses Burnham of being responsible for L'ak's state. Nhan notes that Moll is as fierce as a sa-te-kru, and Burnham instructs her to keep both eyes open. Culber scans L'ak with a medical tricorder before he and the guards move out of the way for Nhan to activate the containment field around the biobed.

Pulling Burnham aside, Culber tells her that L'ak is dying, guessing that some kind of vital organ must've been hit by the blade. However, they don't know enough about Breen physiology to do much besides ease his pain. Burnham tells Culber that they have to do more, pointing out that a Breen fugitive dying in Federation custody is politically charged, to say the least. Having done a deep dive into Dominion War-era medical research, Culber found some evidence that the Breen are capable of somatic cellular regeneration in extreme cold, so they located a captured Breen refrigeration suit in an old Federation Headquarters storage manifest. It might be possible to use it to convert a biobed into a low-temperature ICU unit so that L'ak can heal on his own, but it's a long shot. Burnham orders Culber to do it and she will alert headquarters to have it ready immediately.

Discovery spore jumps to Federation Headquarters where Vance requests to speak with Burnham before they dock. Much to the crew's confusion, it's classified, meaning that Vance will be coming in person. Leaving Rayner in charge, Burnham agrees to meet Vance in her ready room. A visibly worried Vance beams in and informs Burnham that there's been a change of plans: he's having the refrigeration unit beamed over and Moll and L'ak will remain in Discovery's custody. Once they receive it, Discovery needs to jump immediately and get Moll and L'ak as far away as they can. Vance reveals that they received a message in the Breen language. Translated, it's a demand from the Breen to hand over the two fugitives who have incurred an erigah upon their imminent arrival, and scans show a Breen dreadnaught heading for Federation Headquarters at maximum warp. President Laira Rillak is at a diplomatic summit on Tellar Prime, where she'll remain for her security, and all nonessential personnel will shelter in quarters. Vance guesses that the Breen must have intercepted their communication with the Locherer about Moll and L'ak's capture, and it goes without saying that they cannot be handed over, as they can't allow the Breen to become aware of the Progenitors' technology.

Burnham is incredulous that Vance intends to just deny that the Federation has them, but he explains that while the Breen are too smart for games, having Moll and L'ak elsewhere will at least limit the immediate risk and force the Breen to consider how far they're willing to push the Federation in order to fulfil this erigah. Burnham warns that they can't just keep moving indefinitely: the Breen will eventually figure it out and start tracking Discovery's jump signature and will leave who knows what kind of carnage in their wake as they chase Discovery. Burnham wants to have Discovery stay instead and force the Breen to deal with the Federation right now and find a solution which it'll come to eventually anyways. After a moment's consideration, Vance agrees to her plan, but Moll and L'ak will remain onboard Discovery just in case. Looking at a hologram displaying the dreadnaught's course to Federation Headquarters, Vance worriedly states "let's hope this works."

Act One[]

In a conference room at Federation Headquarters, President T'Rina greets Vance, Burnham, and Rayner, having been delegated by Rillak to lead negotiations with the Breen in her stead. In preparation, T'Rina has reviewed all records of past diplomatic contact with the Breen. There has been no official contact between the Federation and the Breen since before the Burn, so recent intelligence is limited. The Federation does know that the Breen have experienced unrest since the death of the Breen Emperor, and six Primarchs are currently at war for control of the Breen Imperium, but they don't know which one is coming. Rayner declares that it doesn't matter because all Breen are the same and the word diplomacy isn't even in their vocabulary. Although T'Rina intends to teach it to them, Rayner calls it more of a pipe dream than a tactic. T'Rina rebukes Rayner, telling him not to equate a desire for understanding as a lack of nerve on her part. This Breen faction seeks power, meaning that there must be something that the Federation can offer that the Breen will see as beneficial enough to negate an erigah. However, Rayner interjects that Breen will be willing to start a war to fulfil an erigah which is a blood bounty. Rayner reminds everyone what happened the last time that the Breen entered Federation space, but Vance states that it was because Starfleet was caught flat-footed which won't happen this time. Vance has called back some of their ships as a deterrent and they will mount a defense, if need be, they just need to keep things calm until backup arrives.

Burnham realizes that something is not adding up here: the Breen don't need to come into Federation territory to make this demand, as doing so is a risk for the Breen, too. Burnham believes that there is a reason beyond an erigah for the Breen to want Moll and L'ak and as T'Rina has said before, the most powerful weapon in diplomacy is information, of which they need more. T'Rina recalls that Saru, who is currently on a diplomatic mission not far from Breen space, has noted in a recent report that the factional wars stem from a succession dispute amongst the Breen, as there are competing claims from disparate branches of the royal bloodline. Vance wonders what purpose Moll and L'ak could serve a Primarch of the royal bloodline, as the Primarch wouldn't need L'ak for succession. However, Rayner insists that none of it will matter if the Breen think that they can take them. Rayner suggests installing thoron emitters on the hull which, combined with duranium shadows, will give the impression that they're armed to the gills. While it could at least give them pause, T'Rina points out that it could also incite the Breen to attack. The increasingly argumentative Rayner reminds everyone of the Romulan saying "never turn your back on a Breen". T'Rina is irritated with his xenophobia, but Rayner states that he's not the xenophobic one, the Breen are: genocide is a necessity to the Breen, their version of the Prime Directive. Burnham orders Rayner to wait for her outside and insists to Vance and T'Rina that if Moll and L'ak have information that might be helpful, they need to get it out of them sooner rather than later. Burnham was with them on the Enterprise and she got a sense of how they operate so Burnham thinks she has a chance. Vance and T'Rina agree to let her try, but Vance warns Burnham to keep her first officer in line as they can't afford any missteps when the Breen arrive.

In the hallway, Rayner furiously warns Burnham that a defensive position will just get them annihilated, but Burnham points out that Vance is doing the best that he can with what he has and both Vance and Burnham are concerned about Rayner's ability to handle this situation. Rayner insists that neither of them understand what they're up against, but Burnham suspects that Rayner does, noting that this seems to be personal for him and if he has valuable intel, then Rayner needs to share it. However, Rayner states that he's already said what he has to say on the subject, although he apologizes for the tone. Burnham orders Lieutenant Gallo to place Discovery on yellow alert and for everyone to get ready for the imminent arrival of the Breen.

Carrying her belongings, Tilly makes her way through Discovery's corridors, explaining to Stamets that she's returning to Federation Headquarters as her cadets are going to need her if the Breen attack. Stamets insists that they need her on Discovery, showing Tilly the metal card that was found attached to the clue that they found in the fifth weather modification tower on Halem'no. It has a Betazed logo on it with the text translating to the Labyrinths of the Mind. If Tilly and Adira can focus on the meaning of that phrase, then Stamets can figure out the properties of the metal. Tilly wonders why they're talking about the clue right now, reminding Stamets that the last time the Breen paid a visit to the Federation, they destroyed an entire city. Stamets insists that that's why they need to keep focusing on this. The USS Mitchell is outside with orders to stand by in case they receive an encrypted message from Federation Headquarters because they've all died and can't complete the mission. The clue is the most important thing in the Federation right now and they have to get the Progenitors' power and keep it safe; it's too dangerous to let fall into the hands of the Breen or someone else. In addition, Federation Headquarters is the safest place that Tilly's cadets could be right now. Tilly finally agrees to return to the science lab and help Adira with the clue.

In sickbay, Culber reports that L'ak is now improving slowly. The blend of subzero gasses provokes a strong immune response that is unique to the Breen. Burnham warns Moll and L'ak that the Breen are on their way, demanding that the Federation hand them both over. Burnham knows that the two must have foreseen the possibility that the Breen would intercept their distress call, and she wonders what their plan was. Moll just quips that she's always been partial to winging it, while Burnham recalls that Moll and L'ak had said on the Enterprise that they were trying to buy their way out of the erigah using the Progenitors' technology, and she asks if there's anything else the Breen would accept as payment. However, L'ak states that if there was, he and Moll would've paid it. Burnham notes that a dreadnaught – the most powerful warship class in the entire Breen Imperium – is coming all the way to Federation Headquarters to collect Moll and L'ak's erigah, meaning that this Primarch really wants them. The two remain silent and Burnham reminds them that the Federation could have just left them to die out there instead of helping Moll and L'ak, but they are instead risking their lives to help them. Moll states that if Burnham really wants to help them, she'll let them go to take their chances on their own, but Burnham points out that Moll and L'ak won't stand a chance in the condition that L'ak is in.

L'ak tells Burnham that some things are worse than death and Burnham realizes that the Primarch doesn't actually intend to kill them. Burnham guesses that L'ak is a relation to the Primarch and presses Moll and L'ak for answers about what he really wants with them. When they won't answer, Burnham tells the couple her own conclusions: the Primarch wants the throne and somehow L'ak can get it for him if the Primarch can somehow get L'ak under his thumb again. For someone who fought for their freedom, that would be a fate worse than death. Moll and L'ak exchange glances, silently confirming Burnham's guesses, and Burnham finally puts together the last piece of the puzzle. "Oh, it's you, isn't it? You are the bloodline, not the Primarch. He can't succeed without you." L'ak confirms it, sarcastically quipping "lucky him". L'ak is a direct descendant of the Breen Emperor, and the Scion of the Breen Imperium, something that makes him sick to even say. L'ak asks Burnham to do him a favor and spit in his uncle's face when the Primarch arrives. Burnham leaves sickbay without another word.

In the science lab, Zora reports that she's found a match for the phrase inscribed on the metal card. Labyrinths of the Mind is the title of a Betazoid manuscript that was written in 2371 by Doctor Marina Derex, one of the scientists who hid the Progenitors' technology. However, only a few thousand copies were ever published, and Zora doesn't see any that remain available. Moreover, Zora doesn't think that a copy will be helpful because the punctuation of the Betazed symbols points to them needing to find the original handwritten manuscript. If that still exists, Zora has no record of it. Adira asks Zora to do a scan of Starfleet personnel files to see if there's anyone with expertise on ancient manuscripts and while they wait for the results, Tilly recalls how scared Adira was to be on the bridge when Discovery went to Halem'no, congratulating them on how well Adira did with both that and finding the clue. It seems like in general Adira is really finding their way and they shouldn't be afraid to take on more. Zora finds someone with relevant experience whose resumé lists her prior employment as a rare and antiquarian bookseller: Commander Jett Reno.

Tilly and Adira approach Reno for help as she works on a screwy targeting matrix as they will need to have accurate weapons if Discovery has to shoot it out with the Breen, something that everyone seems to think is inevitable which Reno states is because of the Breen's faceless-helmet vibe. Tilly explains that they're working on the latest clue which points to a rare manuscript and given Reno's previous work with them, they thought she could help them. Reno admits that she had padded her resumé with that one and the truth is that she used to move hard-to-find folios for a shady antiquarian archivist. Adira is surprised that Reno used to be a smuggler which Reno confirms, stating that she had used to work a lot of odd jobs before committing to Starfleet such as VIP shuttle pilot, deep mercury welder, and a bartender at a cozy little dive bar on Ashalon IV. Reno is actually supposed to pick up a guest shift tonight at Red's lounge and "you haven't lived until you've tasted Reno's Seven of Limes". Tilly asks Reno about Labyrinths of the Mind, but Reno's never heard of it, although there's a lot of places where something like that could end up such as private collections, museums, or a landfill. Reno promises to help them figure it out while she works on overhauling the shield emitters, but a Code One-Alpha alert goes out and Reno realizes that the Breen have arrived.

An enormous Breen dreadnaught drops out of warp, massively dwarfing Federation Headquarters and casting a shadow on Discovery's hallway through the viewports.

Act Two[]

Burnham beams into Federation Headquarters and warns Vance and T'Rina that the Breen ship is the same ship that she and Rayner had seen while time cycling, the ship that had destroyed Federation Headquarters in an alternate timeline. A nearby officer reports that their scans can't penetrate the ship's deflector shields and Vance orders the ship hailed. Burnham reveals to Vance and T'Rina that she has learned that without L'ak, this Primarch has no claim to the throne and now they just need to figure out how to use that information to get the Breen to leave peacefully. A massive holographic Breen appears in the middle of the room and Lieutenant Teemo translates his message from the Breen language. Introducing himself as Primarch Ruhn, he demands that the fugitives be transferred to his ship. T'Rina introduces herself, explaining that she has been empowered to lead this negotiation. Ruhn refuses to negotiate, but T'Rina tells him that L'ak and Moll are currently receiving medical treatment and any extradition orders would need to be drafted and approved. T'Rina asks for four hours, but Ruhn only gives them one hour, warning that failing to comply will be considered an act of war. Privately, T'Rina quips that extradition orders seemed like a better excuse to buy them time than a tribble infestation and she has bought Burnham an hour to figure out how to use what she learned to end this peacefully. Burnham thanks T'Rina, stating that she does have an idea.

Stamets attempts to pinpoint a star system for the next clue with Zora's help using the minerals found in the Betazoid card, but finds numerous possibilities. Booker arrives looking for Stamets who explains that they're dividing and conquering the clue with Stamets trying to figure out where the card came from while Tilly and Adira are figuring out the phrase. Booker offers his help, and Stamets asks Booker to help him find anything that will point Discovery towards where in space the card was made. The two begin attempting to narrow it down from the numerous possible star systems that Zora had pinpointed as possibilities.

Burnham approaches Rayner and asks him what he knows about Breen leadership, succession specifically. They know that the Primarch needs L'ak to claim the throne and Burnham thinks that they can use that, but she's just not sure how. While the Federation is dealing with a culture that they know nearly nothing about, Rayner knows more given his strong reaction earlier. Having done a little digging, Burnham now understands why: Rayner's homeworld Kellerun was used as a Breen outpost for a number of years. Rayner states that it was a long time ago and it's not something that he likes to talk about. Burnham asks if Rayner has had any run-ins with Primarch Ruhn, but he reveals that it was a different Primarch, Tahal. Tahal had showed up unannounced, her ships filled the skies of Kellerun like a swarm of Golor beetles, and she chose it as a forward base and munitions supply hub. Tahal clear-cut the planet's forests, poisoned its seas and blackened its skies. Numerous Kelleruns died as collateral damaged in whatever war she was fighting. The Kelleruns put up one hell of a fight against the Primarch, but Rayner is the only member of his family who survived. Burnham apologizes for what Rayner went through and he reiterates that the Breen can't be negotiated with when they want something. Burnham tells Rayner that they just need to get Ruhn to believe that the Federation can offer him something that he wants more than Moll and L'ak, and Rayner may have just given them a way. Burnham sympathetically thanks Rayner for sharing his past and pain with her.

Reno tells Tilly and Adira that she used to have a ton of contacts in the book trade 800 years ago, but they're all dead now. Adira explains that the manuscript is a one-of-a-kind, any copies would've been lost a long time ago, and the original might be all that they have left anywhere. Reno asks if they're sure it's a one-of-a-kind and after Tilly confirms that it is as far as they know, Reno notes that Derex would've wanted to protect it if it leads to the next clue. Reno suggests that they try the Eternal Gallery and Archive which Reno describes as being like a bank except it protects knowledge. The Archive is neutral, all worlds are welcome, and a lot of rarities go there for safekeeping. It's in space somewhere and it stays safe by always being on the move. Reno asks about the metal card, suggesting that it might be a library card which is how the Archive granted access. Reno comments that it seems like something out of a holodeck adventure for the littles and Tilly and Adira head off to check out this new lead.

In sickbay, Culber tells L'ak that while he's not out of the woods yet, he is stable now. L'ak warns Culber that while Burnham thinks that she can play Ruhn, it's a mistake to assume that Breen think like Humans do as the Breen are nothing like Humans, not even close. However, Culber believes that no matter how different two species are, there's always common ground, using Moll and L'ak's relationship as proof. L'ak explains that Moll loves him because of their differences, not despite them, something that L'ak didn't even think was possible. Seeing how much L'ak is straining himself, Moll asks Culber to let him rest and Culber agrees. Moll warns L'ak that they can't let Ruhn get them before they have the Progenitors' technology to bargain with, but L'ak believes that the Federation will never give them up, but being stuck in a brig is just another kind of stuck. L'ak tells Moll that he'll get the doctors to lower the containment field, after which she'll escape, steal a shuttle, beam him onboard, and they'll fly the hell away from here. Moll reluctantly concedes that she doesn't have a better idea, but L'ak admits that she's not going to like his plan to get the containment field down. The two are forced to separate as the guards start to get suspicious.

On the bridge of Federation Headquarters, T'Rina confirms with everyone that they're ready to go forward with their plan and Vance orders Ruhn's dreadnaught hailed with the message that they're prepared to hand over the fugitives. Ruhn beams in with a number of other Breen and demands through Lieutenant Arisar where his prisoners are. T'Rina announces that as the hour that they were given isn't up yet, the Federation would like to use what little time remains as an opportunity for conversation. Ruhn refuses, demanding what is his. Much to Ruhn's surprise, T'Rina reveals that she is fluent in the Breen language, and knows that Ruhn had actually said that he has "no need to speak with speak with spineless, insignificant achworms." Vance gives Ruhn their offer: 45 metric tons of dilithium in exchange for Ruhn lifting the erigah. Ruhn switches to Federation Standard so that there can be no misunderstanding, warning that the only payment for a blood bounty is blood and how much will be spilled today is up to Starfleet.

Unmoved, T'Rina tells Ruhn that they would prefer to avoid conflict and so she offers him one final chance to consider their request. Ruhn calls the idea insulting, and T'Rina announces that they have tried to engage in diplomatic negotiations and have been refused, rebuffed, and now ridiculed, so they must now make a difficult decision. Instead of delivering the prisoners to Ruhn, they will accept an offer that the Federation has received from Primarch Tahal. T'Rina claims that Burnham and Rayner have been the leads on negotiations with Tahal with Burnham adding that Tahal has also taken an interest in L'ak as having him by her side would greatly bolster Tahal's claim to the throne which is also what Ruhn wants. "This was never about an erigah. This was about power." Furious, Ruhn arms himself and accuses them of lying as Tahal would rather gnaw her own flesh than strike a deal with the Federation. Burnham claims that Tahal was fierce in her negotiations, but fair in her terms, but Ruhn is unconvinced. Speaking up, Rayner reveals that he knows Tahal well, such as the fact that Tahal named her flagship the Tau Ceti after a lethal viper with a slow-acting venom which is her favorite way of killing her enemies when Tahal wants to watch them die by degree. That's how Tahal killed Rayner's kinfolk on Kellerun when they rose against Tahal at the Twin Gates. Tahal would've killed Rayner too, but she liked the way he fought: ferocious, relentless and almost like a Breen as she put it. Now convinced that they aren't bluffing, Ruhn threatens to blast the station into atoms if they don't bring him L'ak, However, T'Rina knows that Ruhn would never risk it as it could harm L'ak, a risk that Ruhn can't afford.

In Discovery's sickbay, Moll asks to talk to Burnham, distracting the guards as L'ak begins manipulating the supply of tricordrazine attached to his biobed. L'ak injects himself with the entire supply and Culber has the containment field lowered. Culber is shocked as L'ak injected himself with an entire day's dose of the stimulant and Moll makes her move as the biobed's alarms start going off and L'ak starts crashing. Moll attacks the security team, taking them down and grabbing a phaser from one of them. Culber attempts to stop Moll from escaping, but she stuns him with the phaser, promising to be back as soon as she can for L'ak. Nhan enters and the two women fight amongst the gases released from a broken hose.

Ruhn offers to exceed whatever Tahal has offered the Federation, but T'Rina suggests a third option rather than engaging in a bidding war between the feuding Breen factions. They will reject Tahal's offer and Ruhn leaves here in peace, and they get to keep the prisoners. Burnham points out that with Discovery's spore drive, they can be gone with L'ak to Tahal in seconds if Ruhn attacks them. On the other hand, if the Federation keeps L'ak, the Scion is off the table and the status quo is maintained, meaning that Ruhn can settle his dispute with Tahal in battle as he always has unless Ruhn fears he can't defeat her. Seriously considering the offer, Ruhn warns that if any harm befalls L'ak at the hands of the Federation, war will be unavoidable as it is his sworn duty. T'Rina gives the Primarch their word that L'ak will not be harmed while in Federation custody.

Nhan contacts Burnham who beams back to Discovery to find the aftermath of the fight and Moll gone. Zora can't find any sign of Moll's biometric data, suggesting that Moll may have some form of biometric cloaking technology implanted. Burnham orders lockdown protocol initiated and for Zora to do what she can to help find Moll, agreeing to let Nhan go after her. Desperately tending to L'ak, Culber warns that they're losing him. Culber doesn't know enough about L'ak's physiology, and he needs a Breen medic's help. Burnham beams out to get Culber one from the Primarch.

Act Three[]

As Booker studies the star map, Zora announces ship wide lockdown protocol. Zora explains to him that one of the fugitives has escaped and Nhan's team is conducting a search. Booker instantly realizes that it's Moll and asks Zora if any terminals have been used to access ship schematics. Zora confirms that Terminal C-7 on Deck 5 was accessed 30 seconds ago, and Booker starts heading off against Stamets' objections that Nhan has it handled, and they need to solve the clue. Reluctantly stopping, Booker muses that the clue is Betazoid, but it has no trace elements from Betazed itself. Booker suggests one of the Betazoid colonies, but Stamets tells him that there weren't any 800 years ago.

Booker complains that they must be missing something because it feels like they should be further along, causing Stamets to have an epiphany. Stamets realizes that Betazoids are telepaths and Derex may have created a transitive link between the card and wherever it came from as well as left traces of her thoughts and emotions behind. As Booker's an empath, he might be able to read them. Concentrating on the card, Booker is able to access the link and finds remote empty space with a huge dust cloud and a plasma storm as well as plasma blasts. Stamets summons it up as a huge remote plasma storm with possible explosive plasma bursts which would create ionic discharge, all of which is helpful. Booker also had another feeling which he describes as eternity or eternal, but he doesn't know what it means and leaves to search for Moll.

Ruhn on Discovery

Ruhn, a Breen medic, and three Breen soldiers in sickbay

In sickbay, Culber and his staff continue their efforts to save the rapidly deteriorating L'ak. Burnham returns with the news that she got the Breen medic, but the Primarch would only allow it if he could come too. Ruhn, the medic and three Breen soldiers beam in and Ruhn orders Burnham and Culber to step away from his nephew. As the medic starts to tend to L'ak, Ruhn asks about the second prisoner, but Burnham lies that she's being held elsewhere on the ship. Ruhn warns that the Federation will pay if his nephew dies here.

On Deck 5, Nhan orders two members of her team to go around back and thanks Booker for alerting her, admitting that she may have misjudged him. Booker admits that making things right is a process and asks if L'ak had escaped too. As Nhan begins to explain L'ak's condition, they find Moll standing at a terminal holding an engineer at phaser point. As Moll shoots at her, Nhan warns that the ship is locked down and she has nowhere to go, and the engineer yells that Moll has a map to the shuttle bay. To Booker's shock, Nhan reveals that the escape plan had backfired because L'ak misjudged the dose, and he may not survive. Although Moll doesn't believe it, Nhan gives Booker a grim nod, confirming that she's telling the truth, and Booker asks to try. As the two women point their phasers at each other, Booker steps out and tells Moll that Nhan isn't lying. Booker knows that L'ak is her world as well as what it's like to lose your world and he begs Moll not to miss her chance to be there for L'ak. Devastated, Moll surrenders peacefully.

Moll enters sickbay where the Breen medic has stopped working on L'ak and Culber and Burnham give her a grim look as she moves to L'ak's side where he's close to death. Moll promises L'ak that she's here with him and he apologizes to her, guessing that he used too much. Moll begs L'ak not to go as she needs him with her, but L'ak promises Moll that she'll be okay without him. As Moll pleads that this isn't how their story ends, L'ak dies, and Moll breaks down in tears.

Act Four[]

Ruhn furiously accuses the Federation of killing the Scion, but Burnham and Culber explain that L'ak had hacked the biobed and injected himself with a massive dose of tricordrazine. Ruhn doesn't care about the intention but rather the outcome, and he warns them to prepare for battle. In Federation Headquarters, an alarmed T'Rina translates for Vance that Arisar is saying that L'ak is dead and Ruhn has ordered all troops back to their ship and for all torpedo systems to be armed. Vance tries to defuse the situation, but the Breen troops beam out and Vance quickly orders red alert and for the shields to be raised. Rayner urges that Starfleet make the first move, but T'Rina warns that their actions here will make waves that may strike many worlds. As the two argue, Teemo announces that four Starfleet vessels are arriving, much to Vance's relief. The Locherer, the USS Credence, the USS Excalibur-M, and the USS LaMar jump in to join Federation Headquarters, and Discovery in facing off against the Breen dreadnaught.

Burnham argues that the Federation brought L'ak here to save him and they would have no reason to wish him any harm while Culber explains that L'ak had overdosed on a stimulant as part of a plan to escape, but Ruhn doesn't believe them. Moll interjects, confirming that L'ak did it so that he and Moll could be free, but Ruhn is still unconvinced. Moll realizes that Ruhn thinks that a war to avenge his nephew will unite the Breen behind him which Ruhn confirms, stating that if he can't use the Scion in life, then he will use him in death. Moll declares that she goes where L'ak goes, even in death, as the privilege of their joining, showing the Primarch matching symbols on their arms. Ruhn calls it an abomination, but Moll clarifies that it's a marriage. L'ak is her husband which means that Ruhn is obligated to take Moll with him. Ruhn insists that Moll will never be welcome among the Breen, so Moll reveals to him that the Federation is hiding something from him, a power so great that the Primarch won't need L'ak to claim the throne, and no one will stand in his way. Moll can get it for him if Ruhn takes her with him. After checking out the looks on the Federation personnel's faces, Ruhn realizes that Moll is telling the truth and gives Moll being turned over to him as the price for avoiding war. Despite Burnham's protests, Ruhn gives them five minutes to transport Moll to his ship and beams away with his men.

In the Federation Headquarters conference room, Moll is held in a containment field as everyone argues about what to do. Booker argues that Moll isn't thinking straight, but Burnham believes that she has a plan. However, T'Rina finds Moll's motivations to be irrelevant at this moment as she has a decision to make on behalf of the Federation at this moment and that's where their attention should be. Doing a risk analysis, Vance asks if Moll knows any details about the Progenitors' technology that she hasn't yet told the Breen and Burnham gives the floor to Nhan as her team has translated the rest of Vellek's diary. Nhan reports that while there's nothing more of substance in the diary, there is a passage that might be pertinent. Doctor Vellek had believed that since the technology could be used to create life, it might also be capable of resurrecting the dead. Although it's a bit of a stretch, Burnham realizes that Moll thinks that she can use it to bring L'ak back which is why she's doing this. Although the Breen have an erigah on her head, Moll had said that she and L'ak were going to use the technology to pay for it. By helping the Breen, Moll gets L'ak and their freedom at the same time. While Booker worries that Ruhn will kill her the second that he has this technology, Nhan suggests that Moll has a plan for that too.

T'Rina asks about any further considerations from a strategic perspective and Rayner points out that Moll doesn't have the clue from Halem'no which is in Discovery's possession, nor has she ever seen it. Once the clue is decoded, Discovery can jump immediately. Although the Breen can track their signature, speed is on Discovery's side. Booker is shocked that they're actually considering giving Moll to the Breen, but Vance states that they are now in a race with the Breen for the Progenitors' technology whether or not they have Moll's help. Booker asks about putting Moll on trial for what happened on Q'mau, but T'Rina points out that Moll has also committed crimes in Breen space, and she will be held accountable or not according to their laws. T'Rina decides that unfortunately there seems to be little to be lost by allowing the Breen to take Moll and much to be lost by keeping her. Vance reluctantly has the containment field lowered and Moll is beamed out. Telling Burnham that this is wrong, a furious Booker leaves with no one looking any happier than Booker is feeling about their choice. Ruhn's dreadnaught moves away from Federation Headquarters and jumps to warp, departing peacefully.

In Discovery's ready room, Stamets reports that they've figured it out and the next clue is in the Eternal Gallery and Archive. Tilly explains that the Archive changes location about every 50 years, and they've found records for 18 different locations over the last 900 years or so. Adira adds that each of the records on the Archive mention a metal library card used to gain access to a specific item stored in there. Stamets and Adira reveal that thanks to Booker, they know that the Archive is currently located in a region with a lot of ionic discharge in close proximity. At Adira's request, Zora overlays all of the Archive's previous known locations on a map of regions near a lot of ionic discharge. By tracing the Archive's path through space over the centuries, they've landed on a match: the Badlands. Rayner comments that he's been to the Badlands and it's as fun as it sounds. Burnham promises that they'll get in and out quick and thanks her team, ordering them to prepare to jump.

Once the others are gone, Burnham acknowledges that today must've been really difficult, recalling how she herself had mutinied before the Battle of the Binary Stars rather than giving an inch back to the Klingons, but Rayner handled it pretty well today. The two promise not to let the Breen do what they did to Kellerun ever again. Burnham and Rayner beam to the bridge where everyone reports that the ship is ready and Burnham orders black alert.

Memorable quotes[]

"Beaming right into a biobed, not a good sign."
"Well, L'ak is in bad shape. It's a miracle he's even still alive."
"And Moll?"
"The Locherer reports she's dehydrated, half-starved, but still kicking."
"Literally. When we tried to separate them, she went ballistic."
"I'm not surprised."

- Burnham, Culber, and Nhan, as Moll and L'ak prepare to beam over


"Paul, why are we talking about the clue right now? The last time the Breen paid a visit to the Federation, they destroyed an entire city."
"Which is exactly why we need to keep focusing on this. Look, the Mitchell is out there, and their orders are to stand by in case... Well, in case they receive an encrypted message from us."
"You mean in case we can't complete the mission because we're all dead."
"This clue is the most important thing in the Federation right now. We have to get the Progenitors' power and keep it safe. And if the Breen or-or someone else gets it... And, honestly, Fed HQ is the safest place your cadets could be right now. So... can I let Adira know you're on your way to help?"
"Yes. Of course."

- Tilly and Stamets, arguing about her staying to help


"Some things are worse than death."
"What's worse than death?"
"This conversation for starters."
"Primarch doesn't actually plan to kill you, does he? Who are you? His child? Sibling? Cousin? What does he really want with you? Fine, I'll tell you what he wants. The throne. I'm guessing, somehow, you can get it for him, if he can have you under his thumb again. And for someone who fought for their freedom, that would be worse than death, wouldn't it? Oh, it's you, isn't it? You are the bloodline, not the Primarch. He can't succeed without you."
"Yeah. Lucky me. Direct descendant of the emperor. The Scion of the Breen Imperium. Makes me sick to even say it. So do me a favor. When my uncle gets here... spit in his face for me."

- L'ak, Burnham, and Moll, discussing L'ak's true heritage


"What?"
"Nothing, just... Remember how scared you were to be on the bridge when we went to Halem'no? You did a great job."
"I don't know about that."
"No, you did. And you're doing a great job with this. You're just... helping us find the clue. Just seems like, in general, you're really finding your way, and you shouldn't be afraid to take on more, you know? You have it in you."
"Well, thanks, Teach."

- Adira and Tilly


"Uh, Commander Reno, uh we could use your help."
"If you can talk while I work. This targeting matrix is screwy. Gotta have accurate weapons if we start shooting it out with the Breen."
"Everyone seems to think that's inevitable."
"It's the whole faceless-helmet vibe. Truncheons. Jackboots. Where's the nuance?"

- Tilly, Reno, and Adira


"Yeah, so, we're working on the latest clue. Uh, it points to a rare manuscript. We were thinking since you used to work with those, um..."
"Uh... I may have padded my resumé with that one. Truth is, I used to move hard-to-find folios for a shady antiquarian archivist. Try saying that one five times fast."
"Uh, sorry, you were a smuggler?"
"I smuggled. Had a lot of odd jobs before I committed to Starfleet. VIP shuttle pilot, deep mercury welder, bartender at a cozy little dive on Ashalon IV. I'm actually supposed to pick up a guest shift tonight at Red's Lounge. You haven't lived until you've tried my Seven of Limes."
"Wow, you really got around. Uh, not... I'm sor... Not like that."
"Oh, yeah, like that."
"All right, well, story for another time."

- Tilly, Reno, and Adira, discussing Reno's shady past


"Madam President, Admiral. That Breen ship -- that's the same ship that we saw on the time bug cycle. The one that destroyed Federation Headquarters."

- Burnham makes a disturbing connection


"Extradition orders?"
"It seemed preferable to claims of a tribble infestation."

- Burnham and T'Rina


"Okay, so I take it these are our possible origin points?"
"Yeah, well, um, there used to be more of them."
"A needle in a haystack, then."
"Try a needle in a hundred million haystacks."
"Okay. Let's start looking."

- Booker joins Stamets daunting search


"Another Primarch controlled our planet. Tahal. Showed up. No warning. Ships filled the sky like a swarm of Golor beetles. Chose it as a forward base. Used it as munitions resupply hub. Tahal clear-cut our forests, poisoned our seas, blackened our skies. I don't even know how many died. Collateral damage in whatever war she was fighting. We put up a hell of a fight. But I'm the only one of my family that made it."
"I'm sorry."
"Yeah. Breen cannot be negotiated with. Not when they want something."

- Rayner reveals his past to Burnham


"This was never about an erigah. This was about power."

- Burnham sums up Ruhn's true motivations


"Thank you for alerting me. I may have misjudged you."
"Making things right is a process."

- Nhan and Booker make peace


"What you did back in sickbay to get out backfired. L'ak misjudged the dose. He may not make it."
"Yeah, nice try. Sell me a goat farm on Bopak III while you're at it."
[Nhan gives Booker a grim nod]
"Let me try. Moll? Hey, it's Book. Look, I'm coming out."
"Not another step."
"She isn't lying. L'ak is your world. I know that. I also know what it's like to lose one. Don't miss your chance to be there with him. For him."

- Nhan convinces Moll to surrender with Booker's help


"You think a war to avenge him will unite the Breen behind you?"
"If I cannot use the Scion in life, I will use him in death."
"Yeah, well, I go where L'ak goes. Even in death. This is the privilege of our joining."
"An abomination."
"No, a marriage. Which means you are obligated to take me with you."

- Moll and Ruhn argue


"You will never be welcome among us."
"Maybe this will help. The Federation's hiding something from you. A power so great you won't need L'ak to claim the throne. No one will stand in your way. And I can get it for you if you take me with you."
"If you wish to avoid war, she is my price."
"She is under our protection."
"I will allow you five minutes to transport her to my ship."

- Ruhn learns from Moll about the Progenitors' technology and argues with Burnham


"Commander. Today must've been really difficult. Hell, I mutinied rather than giving an inch back to the Klingons."
"A lot of good that did you."
"Yeah. But you did really well today."
"What they did to my planet, though... never gonna happen again."
"We'll make sure of it."

- Burnham and Rayner discuss the difficult day


"Commander Asha, there's gonna be some turbulence. I hope you like a challenge."
"Love a challenge, Captain."

- Burnham and Asha

Background information[]

Title[]

Cast and characters[]

  • Doug Jones (Saru) does not appear in this episode and is not credited in the opening credits.
  • Shelley Owens, a regular background actress since the first season utters her first line of dialog in this episode. Despite having a speaking role, she is still not credited.

Story and script[]

Production[]

Reception[]

Links and references[]

Starring[]

with
and

Guest starring[]

Co-starring[]

Uncredited co-stars[]

Stunt doubles[]

References[]

2371; achworm; °archivist; Ashalon IV; Badlands; bartender; beryllium; Betazed; Betazoid; biobed; bookseller; Bopak III; Breen; Breen dreadnaught; Breen Emperor; Breen Imperium; Breen space; Burn, The; child; chronophage ("time-bug"); Constitution-class; Credence, USS; Credence-type; Code One-Alpha; containment field; courier; cousin; curriculum vitae; death; dehydration; deep mercury welder; Derex, Marina; Dominion War; Dresselhaus-type; duranium; emperor; Enterprise, ISS; Erigah; Eternal Gallery and Archive; Excalibur, USS; extradition; Federation; FedHQ; Federation space (Federation territory); Federation, USS; freedom; gadolinium-154; genocide; Golor beetle; Halem'no; ICU; isolytic weapon; jackboot; Kellerun; Labyrinths of the Mind; LaMar, USS; Locherer, USS; lockdown protocol; manuscript; Mars-class; Merian-class; Mitchell, USS; museum; Ni'Var; personnel file; photon torpedo; primarch; Prime Directive; Progenitors; Q'mau; Red's Lounge; red alert; refrigeration unit resumé; Ruhn's dreadnaught; Romulan; sa-te kru; scientist; Seven of Limes; shield emitter; shuttle pilot; sibling; smuggler; somatic cell; SOS; spore drive; Starfleet; stimulant; Subspace Frequency Epsilon 19; Tahal; Tau Ceti (starship); tau ceti (viper); Tellar Prime; throne; thoron emitter; tribble; tricordrazine; neural truncheon; Twin Gates; uncle; Vellek; Vellek's diary; warp pod; warship; xenophobia; yellow alert

External link[]

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"Whistlespeak"
Star Trek: Discovery
Season 5
Next episode:
"Labyrinths"
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