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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
For the colony of the same name, please see New Eden.

A new signal appears, prompting Stamets' emotional return to the mycelial network and leading Burnham, Pike, and Owosekun to a pre-warp planet, where they face a complex ethical dilemma. Tilly's over-eagerness lands her in trouble but when the planet – and Discovery's landing party – are threatened, her curiosity may be the one thing that can save them.

Summary Edit

Teaser Edit

"As a child, I had what my mother called nightmares. She taught me to control my fear by drawing it, rendering fear powerless. The nightmares have returned. The same vision, again and again. I now understand its meaning and where it must lead me. In the event of my death, I have encoded it within this audio file. This may be my last entry aboard the Enterprise."
PIke's Discovery ready room

Burnham and Pike discuss Spock's whereabouts.

Aboard the USS Discovery, Michael Burnham reviews Spock's last log entry with Captain Christopher Pike, explaining that she had taken the drawing table he had kept since he was a child to show what she had found. Spock had drawn a map of the red bursts' signals two months before they had even appeared; Pike calls up the Starfleet rendering of the signals, showing it to be virtually identical to Spock's drawing. Burnham emphasizes that they need to contact Spock and ask him about the signals, to which Pike explains that a week after he took leave, Spock was committed to the psychiatric unit at Starbase 5 at his own request, and that he did not wish his family to be informed. However, his connection to the signals outweighs his desire for privacy in Pike's judgment, and he suggests Burnham extend an olive branch. Burnham does not believe Spock would accept the overture from her, as they have not spoken in years. Pike understands how complicated family dynamics are, as his father was a science teacher who taught comparative religion, leading to a "confusing household" in which they didn't often agree. Pike has shared everything he knows about Spock, and invites Burnham to tell him anything she thinks he needs to know. Thinking back to the angelic figure she saw on the asteroid, she considers telling him about it... before saying that she did not properly thank him for rescuing her.

Just then, Saru calls Pike to the bridge, explaining that they have detected another signal, and that Ensign Sylvia Tilly had the notion of pinpointing the signal. Tilly explains that she modulated the ship's deflector dish to let out gravimetric distortion that would act like SONAR. Burnham concurs, adding that if they were closer, they would be able to detect gravitational redshift and use long-range sensors to find the coordinates, and suggests briefly going to warp. Pike orders Keyla Detmer to go to maximum warp for five seconds. As the Discovery drops out of warp, Burnham pinpoints the signal in the Beta Quadrant, 51,450 light years away, which would take 150 years to reach at maximum warp. Saru suggests the spore drive would do the job, but explains that Starfleet Command ordered it decommissioned until a non-Human interface to replace Paul Stamets could be found. Discovering the source of the signals was of the utmost importance to the Federation, and Pike believes Starfleet will grant dispensation just as they did during the war. In engineering, Stamets explains to Tilly that when he was trapped inside the mycelial network, he saw Hugh Culber after Ash Tyler had killed him, and was afraid that he would see him there again. Despite this, he makes the jump successfully, then storms out of the engine room.

Discovery orbiting Terralysium

Discovery enters orbit of a distant class M planet.

Discovery enters orbit of a ringed class M planet, but just as with the asteroid, there is no sign of the signal. Burnham reports no signs of power sources or warp signatures in the area, then reports Human life signs on the surface, much to the surprise of the crew, as Humans were not known to have settled this far into the Beta Quadrant. Communications Officer R.A. Bryce reports a transmission coming from the surface, and the audio makes clear that the signal is some kind of distress call. Pike orders red alert. Pinpointing the source of the distress call, they find a small settlement with no apparent signs of struggle. Burnham confirms that there are no other power or warp signatures other than their own. Saru examines the transmission and finds it has been set on a loop for two hundred years – before Humans had developed warp drive.

Act One Edit

Pike at the White Church

Captain Pike in the White Church

White church stained glass window - right

Diverse religious ideology integrated together

Burnham reveals that the arrival of the Humans on the planet directly coincides with World War III, a nuclear holocaust which had killed six hundred million people and destroyed most of Earth's governments. Saru pinpoints the transmission to a church in one of the settlements. Pike is emphatic that they must have arrived through interstellar travel, yet Burnham indicates that while there are eleven thousand people in ten separate settlements on the planet, not one of them shows any signs of even using electricity. As their society is thus considered a pre-warp civilization, they are subject to General Order One, the Prime Directive. Nonetheless, Pike wonders why the signal would beckon the Discovery there, quoting Hamlet ("There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio..."). When Burnham questions whether Pike believes the people were brought there by divine intervention, Pike replies with a reinterpretation of Clarke's Third Law – that any advanced extraterrestrial intelligence was indistinguishable from God. In order to find out more, however, they would have to beam down; in addition to herself and Pike, Burnham suggests Joann Owosekun, as she had grown up in a Luddite collective on Earth.

In the shuttlebay, Tilly approaches the asteroid fragment, with her personal shielding phase locked with the gravity simulator, the computer warning her that any change in the gravimetric stability would cause an explosion. Tilly's scans show that the asteroid is charged with metreon particles, and that a cubic centimeter of the asteroid would weigh 1.5 metric tons. As she activates her laser core sampler with its internal artificial gravity, a fragment floats out of the radius of the gravity simulator and flattens her worktable. The computer detects a metreon fluctuation and advises terminating the project, but Tilly refuses; metreon-charged dark matter is the only solution to finding a replacement interface for the spore drive. She secures a core sample, which releases an energy discharge that hurls Tilly across the shuttlebay, knocking her unconscious.

Amesha

Amesha, All-Mother of New Eden

Meanwhile, Pike, Burnham, and Owosekun beam to the surface and enter the church. The stained glass windows are two centuries old and show the symbols of many of Earth's religions, indicating that the people created their own religion based on those faiths. Pike also explains they were used to tell the stories for those who could not read. As Burnham seems to recognize a figure in one of the windows, a man named Jacob enters, demanding to know why they are not working in the fields. Maintaining their cover, Pike identifies himself and his landing party by their first names only, and explains they come from the north. Jacob brings them to the All-Mother, Amesha, at a prayer gathering that night. Amesha tells the story of the First Saved, the soldiers and civilians who hid in the church during World War III and were rescued by an "angel", "surrounded by pillars of fire" as Amesha relates it. The "angel" brought the church and its survivors to the planet which they called Terralysium, settling in their colony of New Eden, and solving the problem of their religious diversity by combining their faiths. Burnham, who suggests her religion is science, asks for explanations for how they got there; Amesha explains that Jacob and Rose have worked to restore the church's lights, while Jacob also mentions that he had a camera from a soldier's helmet from the time of the First Saved, but it was broken and no one had the technology to fix it. Pike asks Amesha if he and his companions could shelter in the church, to which she agrees.

Tilly awakens in sickbay to find a nervous engineering ensign fretting about her condition, explaining she had found her unconscious in the shuttlebay. As Tilly attempts to rise, Saru and Dr. Tracy Pollard enter. Saru rebukes Tilly for attempting to examine the asteroid by herself, which put the ship at risk and nearly got her killed (the latter of which is sarcastically confirmed by Dr. Pollard). This has not jeopardized Tilly's place in the Command Training Program, but Saru warns that further reckless behavior may well do so. Tilly explains that she was trying to get a sample of the asteroid to help Stamets, in order to create the replacement interface for the spore drive. Saru is sympathetic, as Tilly is the youngest candidate accepted into the CTP, and like himself being the only Kelpien in Starfleet, she feels she has to take on greater risk to prove herself. He warns her to take better care than he did, before he is called to the bridge.

Tactical Officer Gen Rhys reports increasing levels of ionizing radiation in Terralysium's upper atmosphere, which Detmer attributes to a disruption in the gravitational stability of the planet's outermost ring. The level of radiation is so high that in approximately 64 minutes it will envelop the planet in nuclear winter, causing an extinction level event. The radiation is interfering with transporters and communication, leaving them unable to communicate with or retrieve Pike's landing party. Arriving at that moment, Stamets adds that the ionized carbon exhaust of a shuttle's engines would cause a feedback loop that would accelerate the process, and that the people on the planet below likely cannot see the outer ring and won't know what is coming. Saru deduces that perhaps this is what the signal was for – to bring them to the planet to prevent the cataclysm – and orders the crew to get to work.

Act Two Edit

Pike, Burnham, and Owosekun descend into the basement of the church to shut down the signal so that no one else would bother them. As Owosekun goes to disable the transmitter, Burnham confronts Pike, asking if he intends to leave the people behind, to leave them believing that Earth is destroyed and they were rescued by divine intervention. Pike replies that as they did not arrive by starship, the Prime Directive applies; Human or otherwise, he will not interfere with their development. Owosekun finds the transmitter, and realizes that it has been jury-rigged to continue transmitting. Jacob then arrives, explaining that he was descended from the scientists among the First Saved, and that he and his ancestors had maintained the beacon in the hopes of being found. They believed that Earth had survived, that there were other Humans out there. Though Pike tries to explain that he is mistaken, Jacob is not convinced; when they try to leave, Jacob uses a stun grenade to knock them out, and takes their utility bags with their phasers, tricorders, and communicators, then locks them in the basement. Owosekun is able to manipulate the sliding bolt of the door lock to get them out; Pike emphasizes that they are still bound by the Prime Directive, and are not to break cover for any reason.

In sickbay, Tilly paces anxiously, a PADD in her hand, trying to work on calculations to prevent the catastrophe. She is interrupted by the ensign she saw earlier, asking if she can help. Using her friend, whom she recognizes as "May", as a sounding board, Tilly explains she has run models using the ship's tractor beam to pull the particles away from the planet, but both realize that Discovery cannot put out a graviton beam of sufficient power. Suddenly, Tilly comes on the idea of using the asteroid, remembering the incident with her worktable, and immediately rushes out of sickbay (and in a slight circle) to the bridge. There, with less than five minutes before the wave reaches the planet, Rhys suggests using the phasers to destroy the debris, to which Airiam counters that it would cause a greater concentration of radioactivity. Just then, a disheveled Tilly – still in her medical gown – rushes onto the bridge with her plan to release the asteroid at the right trajectory, requiring Detmer to perform a "donut" maneuver in the center of the ring's debris field. While Detmer says she cannot pilot inside the ring, Stamets volunteers to use the spore drive to get them in.

Act Three Edit

Rose holding a Discovery phaser

A curious child discovers the away team's equipment

Back in New Eden, Jacob brings the crew's gear to Amesha as proof that their visitors from the "north" were in fact from the "First Earth". Just then, Pike enters, maintaining the cover, explaining that Jacob attacked them in violation of their faith. Jacob continues to plead his case, saying that the others came with a starship and could take them home, to which Amesha chides him for following the ways of the "old Earth". Owosekun spots Rose holding a phaser; Pike leaps in front of the weapon, taking the blast squarely in the chest. While Jacob calls on fellow scientist Burnham to use her technology to save him, she instead asks Amesha and the others to take them to the church to "pray for another deliverance".

Donut

Initiating a "donut maneuver"

In orbit, Discovery makes the jump into the ring's debris field. As the ship holds the asteroid in its tractor beams, Detmer performs the "donut manuever" and successfully diverts the debris, clearing the radiation enough to beam out the landing party. As a relieved Tilly enters the turbolift to return to her quarters, she is congratulated by May, who calls her "Stilly" just as the doors to the turbolift close. Down below, Burnham and Owosekun bring Pike inside the church, closing the door behind them while Jacob tries to break the doors open; just as he does, the landing party is transported away in a bright light, which Amesha attributes to the "angel". Dr. Pollard remarks to Pike that he made it, but that his ribs would feel like "a xylophone in a Klingon marching band" for a time.

In her quarters, Tilly accesses her old yearbook from Musk Junior High School, class of 2247, and accesses the signatures page, recognizing "May" as May Ahearn, one of her classmates. But when she tries to find where Ahearn's quarters are, the computer does not show anyone with that name in the ship's manifest; when searching Federation records, the computer reports that May Ahearn has been deceased for five years.

Act Four Edit

Pike calls Burnham to his quarters and thanks her for following his instructions despite his "impairment", to which Burnham replies that she remembers what happened the last time she did not follow her captain's orders. She admits that this made her consider what he had said about telling him anything she thought he needed to know, and reveals she had seen the "angel" on the asteroid before Pike rescued her. She had dismissed it as a hallucination at first, attributing it to being injured. Pike is convinced it is not a coincidence, with two signals and two sightings of these "angels", and that while Burnham does not ascribe divine properties to it, the people in New Eden do and would see her experience as a "revelation". He feels the new information creates new context, which could alter their perspective; Burnham then asks about Jacob, if he's entitled to some context. He and his family had sought that context for two hundred years, and they chose to lie to him. While Pike is sympathetic, he is still bound by the Prime Directive. Burnham counters that the helmet camera, and the answers it might contain to solve the mystery, was more important than the Prime Directive, and that one would have to be sacrificed to uphold the other – and only the captain could make that choice.

Jacob

Jacob witnesses the truth.

In New Eden, Jacob enters the basement of the church where he is met by Pike, now in uniform. Pike admits that he lied to protect the other people from the truth, and that Jacob was right about him and his crew: they were from Earth, and came to Terralysium on a starship. He also explains that he is bound not to interfere with their society. Jacob disables the transmitter, accepting that he has an answer to a question he and his family had long asked, and it was enough for him to know that he was right – that he and his people weren't lost anymore. Deciding to go one step further, Pike gives Jacob a power cell in exchange for the soldier's helmet camera, and shakes his hand, hoping they will meet again; Jacob is convinced that they will. That night, Jacob hooks up the power cell to the church's electrical wiring, flooding the inside of the church with light.

World War III

Recovered World War III helmet camera footage.

Back aboard Discovery, Pike examines the helmet camera footage, and stares in astonishment as he sees the "angel" in the doorway of the church... just as the video ends in static.

Memorable quotes Edit

"If you're telling me that this ship can skip across the universe on a highway made of mushrooms, I kind of have to go on faith."

- Christopher Pike, to Saru, on Discovery's spore drive


"Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous. Black alert."

- Christopher Pike, to the crew of the Discovery prior to his first spore jump


"Let's jump."

- Christopher Pike, to the crew of the Discovery prior to his first spore jump


"Fortunately for you I was raised on Vulcan. We don't do funny."

- Michael Burnham, to Christopher Pike after being told to not make him laugh.

Log entries Edit

  • "As a child, I had what my mother called nightmares. She taught me to control my fear by drawing it, rendering fear powerless. The nightmares have returned. The same vision, again and again. I now understand its meaning and where it must lead me. In the event of my death, I have encoded it within this audio file. This may be my last entry aboard the Enterprise."
- Spock, recording a personal log

Background information Edit

Production Edit

  • This episode was directed by veteran Star Trek director and actor Jonathan Frakes.

Cast and characters Edit

Music and sound Edit

Continuity Edit

  • This episode takes place shortly after DIS: "Brother".
  • The stardate for this episode was given in "Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2"
  • This episode reveals that Spock has been committed to the psychiatric ward on Starbase 5.
  • Christopher Pike says that USS Discovery would need around 150 years to cross the distance of over 51,000 light years at maximum warp. This implies a much slower maximum warp speed than 24th century Starfleet ships possess, as USS Voyager was said to be able to cross 70,000 light years in about 75 years. This is consistent with Captain Janeway's statement about starships of the Kirk's time being "half as fast" as ships of the 2370s. (VOY: "Flashback")
  • This is the fourth Star Trek episode dealing with the descendants of Humans who had been removed from Earth by external forces and have no knowledge of recent Human history and/or the Federation. The first was TOS: "The Paradise Syndrome", the second was VOY: "The 37's" and the third was ENT: "North Star". Only in this episode and "The Paradise Syndrome" were the original Humans removed on errands of mercy rather than subjugation.
  • This episode marks one of the rare confirmed mentions and appearances of the Beta Quadrant, with Terralysium being located there, far away from Federation territory.
  • Pike determines that the colony is subject to the Prime Directive despite being populated by Humans. A similar determination was made in "The Paradise Syndrome". The colonies in this episode and "The Paradise Syndrome" were considered pre-warp civilizations due to their overall technology level and lack of awareness of Earth. This was not the case for the Humans encountered in "The 37's".
  • After Pike commented that he needed a new ready room in "Brother", it is now seen redecorated with cultural items reflecting Pike's southwestern United States heritage.

Reception and aftermath Edit

The Ready Room "Episode 1" discusses the making of, and events in, this episode. This is the first episode of Discovery to have a companion The Ready Room episode.

Production history Edit

Links and references Edit

Starring Edit

and

Guest starring Edit

Co-starring Edit

Uncredited co-stars Edit

References Edit

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External links Edit


Previous episode:
"Brother"
Star Trek: Discovery
Season 2
Next episode:
"Point of Light"
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