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

"Every mission's personal. It's called doing my job."
– Rayner, 3191 ("Red Directive")

Commander Rayner was a male Kellerun Federation Starfleet officer who lived in the 32nd century.

Early life[]

Rayner lost his family at a young age during the Breen occupation of his homeworld. They were killed by the Breen Primarch Tahal when they rose against her at the Twin Gates. The method used was a slow acting venom from a type of viper called Tau Ceti. It was her favorite way of killing enemies when she wanted to watch them die slowly. Rayner himself would have been killed, but Tahal liked the way he fought, ferocious and relentless which she compared to a Breen. (DIS: "Face the Strange", "Erigah")

Starfleet career[]

He had joined Starfleet by the 3160s. During his time in Starfleet, he went on seven Red Directive missions and he served point on four. He also met Charles Vance and began a thirty-year friendship. (DIS: "Under the Twin Moons")

Commanding the USS Antares[]

As of 3191, he held the rank of Captain and was assigned to command the USS Antares. (DIS: "Red Directive")

During his time commanding the Antares, Rayner always told his crew to think like their enemies and to get out of their heads. Rayner and his crew also had a mutual trust and shorthand. (DIS: "Under the Twin Moons", "Jinaal")

In 3191, he was asked by Fleet Admiral Vance to accept early retirement due to his lack of perspective and willingness to take questionable actions while pursing criminals on an away mission. Such actions could have resulted in substantial loss of life.

Executive officer of the USS Discovery[]

Later, Rayner was asked to replace Captain Saru as Captain Michael Burnham's executive officer. Admiral Vance supported Captain Burnham's choice. Rayner accepted the appointment, but told Captain Burnham that he was not "a yes man." The Captain responded that she was counting on that. (DIS: "Under the Twin Moons")

Upon taking the position he was demoted to the rank of Commander. Though he was tasked with acquainting himself with the crew of Discovery, he maintained a curt, distant demeanor with them, asking them to describe something about themselves in 20 words or fewer that could not be gleaned from their personnel files. (DIS: "Jinaal")

Alongside Burnham and Paul Stamets, Rayner got caught in time cycling due to Moll and L'ak. While Burnham convinced the bridge crew of the 2256 Discovery to help them, Rayner aided Stamets in engineering and used his personal knowledge of Burnham and Lieutenant Gen Rhys to convince their past selves to stand down. Rayner injured his hand removing the time bug, but seeing Burnham when she first stepped onto Discovery as a former mutineer and how far she had come gave Rayner a new perspective on her. Rayner subsequently got his hand fixed by Dr. Hugh Culber and adopted a less gruff personality. (DIS: "Face the Strange")

After tracking the next clue to a wormhole to a pocket of interdimensional space, Burnham decided to go in herself along with Cleveland Booker, leaving Rayner in command of the ship. Rayner expressed reluctance at being left in charge of Discovery and discouraged her from going. During Burnham's absence, Rayner had the crew work on finding a way to boost comms before Burnham used a tractor beam to send a makeshift distress call to Discovery that was inspired by the Ballad of Krul from Rayner's culture. Rayner rallied the crew to find a solution to open the wormhole more continuously, promising the bridge crew Kellerun citrus mash as an incentive for their brainstorming a solution. During the rescue, Discovery successfully opened the wormhole and helped to pull out the ISS Enterprise, much to the crew's surprise as the ship was from the mirror universe. However, Moll and L'ak managed to escape in a Terran warp pod before either the Discovery or the Enterprise could stop them. Rayner promised to put out an alert to all ships to keep an eye out for the warp pod. (DIS: "Mirrors")

After the next clue was tracked to Halem'no, Rayner once again took command of the ship while Burnham beamed down to the planet with Tilly. During this time, Rayner allowed Ensign Adira Tal to spend time manning a bridge station, something that they had asked for but was nervous about when the time actually came. Rayner encouraged Adira throughout the ordeal, recognizing that they were blaming themself for the time bug incident and reassuring Adira that it wasn't their fault. With Rayner's encouragement and support, Adira was able to talk Burnham through repairing the High Summit. When Tilly fell into danger, Rayner tried to help find a solution and protested when Burnham decided to reveal herself to the Halem'nites as that would be breaking the Prime Directive. However, Rayner supported her efforts after Burnham explained her reasoning and was willing to face the consequences from Starfleet for breaking the Prime Directive. (DIS: "Whistlespeak")

After capturing Moll and L'ak, Discovery returned to the USS Federation only to learn that a Breen dreadnaught carrying a Primarch was on its way. Rayner was vocally opposed to negotiating with the Breen to the point of outright insubordination to Burnham, Vance and President T'Rina, eventually revealing to Burnham his history with Primarch Tahal. When Ruhn arrived, Burnham recognized his dreadnaught as the same ship that she and Rayner had seen in the future while time cycling. During T'Rina's negotiations with Ruhn, Rayner used his personal knowledge of Tahal to help sell their deception that the Federation was negotiating with her, convincing Ruhn that they actually did know the other Primarch. Following L'ak's death of an accidental tricordrazine overdose, they were forced to turn over his body and Moll to the Breen, but Rayner pointed out that the Federation still had the lead in the treasure hunt as Moll had never had access to the Halem'no map piece. Burnham later commended Rayner on his handling of the situation, recalling her mutiny for similar reasons before the Battle of the Binary Stars. (DIS: "Erigah")

After reaching the Eternal Gallery and Archive for the final clue, Rayner beamed over with Culber after Burnham became trapped in a mindscape, leaving Gen Rhys in charge of Discovery. When the Breen invaded the station, Rayner recognized the shield-tunneling technology that they were using and teamed up with Booker to fight off the boarding parties. Rayner impressed Booker by thinking like a hunter, something that Rayner admitted came from what he had to do to survive during the Breen occupation of Kellerun. The two men took out a number of Breen before being forced to retreat when Booker was wounded. After beaming back to Discovery with the last clue, Burnham gave the completed map to Ruhn after he swore a tergun to leave the Archive alone and faked Discovery's destruction as they fled, citing Rayner's previous advice to never turn her back on a Breen. Although both sides were left with the coordinates of where the Progenitors' technology was located, Burnham had learned something inside of the mindscape that Discovery would need to know when they arrived, something that neither Moll or Ruhn knew about. (DIS: "Labyrinths")

During the mission to retrieve the structure containing a portal to the Progenitors' technology from Ruhn's dreadnaught, Burnham left Rayner in charge and Rayner chose Tilly as his acting first officer. Both Tilly and Lieutenant Christopher noted Rayner's continuing refusal to take the captain's chair, but an annoyed Rayner rebuked Tilly's attempts to reassure him about it. In order to buy Burnham's team some time, Rayner opened communications with Moll and revealed the Federation's discovery that Primarch Tahal was coming to seize Ruhn's forces for herself, citing his own experiences with the Primarch as Rayner tried unsuccessfully to get Moll to accept the Federation's help. After Burnham and Booker were captured by Moll and Arisar, Burnham discreetly signaled Rayner to ram the shuttle bay with Discovery and grab the structure with a tractor beam once it was blown out into space. Although the ramming maneuver was successful, effectively destroying the dreadnaught, both Moll and Burnham entered the structure which exploded in space, releasing its portal. Taking the captain's chair for the first time, Rayner rallied Discovery's crew to get their captain and the Progenitors' technology back before Tahal could arrive with her fleet. (DIS: "Lagrange Point")

Alternate timeline[]

In an alternate timeline where the Breen had acquired the Progenitors' technology, possibly through purchasing it from Moll and L'ak, Rayner was killed in action. (DIS: "Face the Strange")

Awards and honors[]

Key dates[]

  • 3160s: Joins Starfleet
  • 3191:
    • Captain of the USS Antares
    • Relieved of command and asked to accept early retirement following the Q'mau Incident
    • Instead demoted to the rank of Commander and made first officer of the USS Discovery at the request of Captain Burnham



Background information[]

Rayner was portrayed by Callum Keith Rennie. His casting of Rayner was announced on 22 October 2022. [1]

External links[]