The Red Angel

For the DIS episode with a similar title, please see "The Red Angel".
"It appears this person is attempting to change the outcome of our current timeline."
– Michael Burnham to Christopher Pike, 2257 ("If Memory Serves")

The Red Angel was an entity sought by both Starfleet and Section 31 in relation to a series of mysterious red bursts that occurred in the late 2250s. The crew of the USS Discovery adopted the term "Red Angel" from Spock, who had encountered her during his youth. (DIS: "Point of Light", "An Obol for Charon")

While Starfleet could not link its appearance to any known winged or avian lifeforms in the Federation, it became gradually clear that the Red Angel was a time traveler operating a suit developed under the Daedalus Project by Section 31. It was ultimately discovered that the Angel was in fact two separate entities wearing different time-travel suits, and their identities were later determined to be Gabrielle Burnham and a future version of her daughter Michael. The former had attempted to prevent Control from taking over the galaxy, while the latter set the red bursts in order to guide Discovery's mission in a way conducive to defeating Control. (DIS: "An Obol for Charon", "The Red Angel", "Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2")

Daedalus Project

The deactivated Red Angel suit

For more information on the angel's origin, please see Daedalus Project.

The Red Angel suit was a product of the Daedalus Project, a time travel program set up by Section 31 in the 2230s out of concern of a temporal arms race with the Klingons. Developed by Mike and Gabrielle Burnham, the suit was capable of allowing a single pilot to travel through time via micro-wormholes with the assistance of a time crystal. Since wormholes were inherently unstable, the Angel needed to hold them open in order to get home again, which was believed to be achieved by the suit generating a membrane. The membrane was a protective layer that traveled with her, with one end remaining attached to her starting point in the future. The suit left in its wake an anomaly that generated tachyon radiation. (DIS: "Saints of Imperfection", "The Red Angel")

The technology was on the verge of being tested on Doctari Alpha when the Klingons found out and staged a terror raid, after which the suit was believed destroyed and its creators killed. In reality, Gabrielle Burnham managed to use the suit to escape to 950 years in the future. There, she found that there were no signs of life anywhere, antimatter detonation across the galaxy indicating that Control had wiped everything out. She also found that she was able to travel in time but was anchored in this era, so that no matter how many times she went back in time, she would always be pulled back to this era. (DIS: "The Red Angel", "Perpetual Infinity")

Subsequently, Gabrielle Burnham started to work to avert this future, focusing on trying to stop Control from acquiring data on artificial intelligence collected by the Sphere lifeform. However, she kept failing. Among the changes she made to her past were putting Discovery in contact with the Sphere in the hope that it would receive the data and keep it safe. (DIS: "Perpetual Infinity")

Known appearances

These appearances are presented in chronological order from the perspective of Starfleet, rather then the order in which the Angels experienced events.


The Red Angel seen in 21st-century camera footage

The Red Angel depicted in stained glass, telling the story of the "First Saved"

After being stranded in her future, Gabrielle Burnham built a home base on a remote planet. She moved a group of people from Earth to Terralysium, where they thrived, thus proving that time was fluid. These people were abducted from the East Fork Presbyterian Church in Richmond, Indiana on Earth in 2053, during the height of World War III and shortly before they would have been killed by nuclear weapons. (DIS: "Perpetual Infinity", "New Eden")

The survivors recounted the Angel entering the building "surrounded by pillars of fire" and bringing the church and everyone in it to the planet they named Terralysium. Their descendants remained undetected on the planet for two centuries and created a religion which ascribed importance to the entity. Investigating a red burst in 2257, Captain Christopher Pike and an away team visited the planet where Amesha shared the story of the Red Angel with them. Pike later obtained the helmet camera video footage, which showed a red, angel-like figure. (DIS: "New Eden")


After the apparent death of her parents, Michael Burnham was taken in by Sarek and his wife Amanda, who also had a child called Spock, to live on Vulcan. At some point, Michael was targeted by logic extremists, and she decided to run away from home to avoid making her new family a target. (DIS: "Brother", "If Memory Serves")

Gabrielle Burnham jumped back to this incident in her daughter's life to prevent her from being killed by a wild animal. She accomplished this by contacting Spock and telling him where to find Michael, information which Spock then gave to his parents. Spock's parents wrote the vision off as a figment of his imagination, assuming Spock used logic to pinpoint Michael's direction, but Spock never wavered in insisting the Red Angel was real. (DIS: "Perpetual Infinity", "Point of Light") The incident left Spock with what his mother identified as nightmares, but in time he learned to control his fear by drawing. (DIS: "Brother")

While in "Point of Light" Amanda says Spock never wavered and said the Angel was real, in "If Memory Serves" Spock says to Michael he thought it was "a dream, a premonition". Note that this is not necessarily a continuity error: young Spock might simply have been unwilling to admit to his parent's interpretation.

Spock turned out to be the only person Gabrielle Burnham was able to communicate with during her time jumps. She observed that his Vulcan logic training and Human emotions seemed to give him the psychological balance to comprehend her existence, while his dyslexia allowed him to process the effects of atemporal dysplasia. (DIS: "Perpetual Infinity")

Second encounter with Spock

Years later, in the 2250s, a now-adult Spock was serving aboard the USS Enterprise. Two months before the appearance of the red bursts, Spock noted in a personal log that the nightmares of his youth had returned. He had the same vision, which he would later describe as a premonition or a dream, again and again. His commanding officer, Captain Pike, felt that something had shifted in Spock, as if he'd run into a question he couldn't answer. Spock encoded a rendering of the signals in his log and asked Pike for leave, which was granted. Through the premonition, the Red Angel guided Spock to a remote planet, where they met and achieved a mind meld. The meld revealed emotions of loneliness and desperation in the Angel. She also shared memories, some of which did not immediately occur to Spock, and some which Spock interpreted as being from his future. (DIS: "Brother", "New Eden", "If Memory Serves")

Later episodes imply that the time traveler Spock was in communication with was Gabrielle Burnham, but in "Perpetual Infinity" she claimed to not know anything about the red bursts, even though Spock drew them based on his premonitions.

Shortly thereafter, about a week after the start of his leave, Spock was committed to a psychiatric unit on Starbase 5 at his own request. He also requested that his family would not be notified of this. The experience had led him to experience time as a fluid rather than a linear construct, something he could not interpret using conventional logic. (DIS: "New Eden", "If Memory Serves")

USS Hiawatha

After Starfleet observed the red bursts, the USS Discovery was tasked with investigating it. At the location of the first burst, it discovered the wreck of the USS Hiawatha, where Michael Burnham briefly observed the figure. The Red Angel was in fact also Michael Burnham, who had traveled back from the future to create the burst. It was the first of the bursts she set up, and its goal was to have Jett Reno join Discovery. (DIS: "Brother", "Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2")


After setting the signal at the Hiawatha, Michael Burnham traveled to Terralysium, where she set a red burst to bring the Discovery there, so the planet could be identified as safe harbor for the ship after it traveled through the wormhole at the Battle near Xahea. Discovery did not observe the presence of the Angel. (DIS: "Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2", "New Eden")


Discovery next observed the figure on the planet Kaminar, the third red burst it investigated. While there, the Red Angel appeared to generate an electromagnetic pulse to prevent the Ba'ul genocide of the Kelpiens. Again, this appearance was caused by Michael Burnham traveling back to cause a red burst, which she did directly after causing the red burst at Terralysium. As a result of the Discovery traveling to Kaminar to investigate the burst, the Kelpien species was liberated, which was meant to set them up to assist in the Battle near Xahea. (DIS: "The Sound of Thunder", "Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2")

Essof IV

After some investigation, and learning that the suit was built by Section 31, the Red Angel was captured by a combined team of the Discovery and Section 31 personnel on Essof IV. The Angel's time crystal was de-activated by an electromagnetic pulse, trapping her. After the suit was de-activated, the pilot fell to the floor, and was identified by Michael Burnham as her mother Gabrielle. Gabrielle Burnham gave some information, including, crucially, her logs, from which her daughter learned the basics of flying a Red Angel suit. Control managed to infiltrate the planet and destroyed her suit, but Gabrielle was yanked back to her anchor in her future. (DIS: "The Red Angel", "Perpetual Infinity", "Such Sweet Sorrow")


Directly after setting the red burst at Kaminar, Michael Burnham traveled to Boreth, where she caused the fourth red burst. The reason for luring Discovery there was so that it could acquire a time crystal. While at Boreth, Burnham was not observed. (DIS: "Through the Valley of Shadows", "Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2")


After creating the red burst at Boreth, Michael next set a signal at Xahea, the last in her original series of five. Again, she was not observed by Discovery. By luring the Discovery to Xahea, Burnham meant to put it in contact with its ruler, Me Hani Ika Hali Ka Po, who she described as the one person in the universe capable of powering the time crystal it had received at Boreth.

By this time, the conflict with Control had reached a critical point, and the Discovery was joined by the Enterprise in preparation for a battle. Discovery had been unable to delete the Sphere's data from its computers, and had failed to destroy the data by auto-destructing the ship. A new plan was emerging: to create a new Red Angel suit, to be powered by the crystal from Boreth, charged with the help of Po, and use it to send Discovery itself on a one-way trip to the future, thus keeping the Sphere data out of reach of Control. As a battle commenced near Xahea, Michael Burnham donned the new suit, and with the help of Spock realized that she needed to travel back to set five bursts in order to close the time loop: at the Hiawatha, Terralysium, Kaminar, Boreth, and Xahea. After she had done so, she created a sixth burst, aimed at helping Discovery cross through the wormhole created by the suit. She and Spock also agreed that she would create a seventh burst if the ship safely made it to the future. That burst was later observed. (DIS: "Such Sweet Sorrow", "Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2")




The Red Angel appeared to Spock in the novel The Enterprise War after he was stranded on a planet for several months, this following several months of having been enslaved in service to a group called "the Boundless." He mind melded with the angel and experienced visions of the decimation of several planets, beginning his descent into madness.


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