(written from a Production point of view)
This page contains information regarding Star Trek: Short Treks, and thus may contain spoilers.
Ensign Tilly encounters an unexpected visitor in need of help. However, this unlikely pair may have more in common than meets the eye.
On board the USS Discovery, shift five is coming to an end. As crewmembers leave cargo bay 3 for its decontamination, one of the cargo containers unlocks, and a hand, appearing partly transparent, emerges from the container. Catching itself on a jagged edge of the container hatch, the inhabitant shrieks in pain, and bright orange blood drips onto the deck.
In her quarters, Sylvia Tilly has an awkward conversation with her mother, Siobhan, about her participation in the command training program. Commenting on the intelligence of Tilly's stepsister, and the untidiness of Tilly's desk, Siobhan compares the situation to a time when Tilly was a child and ran away when she was unable to climb a wall that her schoolmates could. With the transmission ended, Tilly falls back onto her bed, grabs her pillow, and screams into it.
Tilly orders a quadruple espresso in the mess hall, despite the disapproval of the ship's computer. Contemplating her coffee, she is suddenly disturbed by movement, noises, and the appearance of a strange orange fluid. A figure then drops to the floor, and the mess hall systems suddenly malfunction – lights flickering, and the food synthesizers ejecting random foods into the room. When the food storm calms, Tilly watches as an alien woman shimmers into view, growling. Despite the woman's aggression towards her, Tilly is able to scan the orange fluid with a nearby tricorder, and discovers that the woman is Xahean, and a teenager.
While the teenage Xahean is distracted by the ice cream staining her clothes and the other food around them, Tilly spots a communicator, explaining that it can translate for them, and asks for the Xahean's name. Although she responds sarcastically, noting that she built a translator herself when she was a child, Tilly's retort about reprogramming her food synthesizer to only output ice cream at the same age leads to the Xahean finally identifying herself as Me Hani Ika Hali Ka Po – which she shortens to "Po" when Tilly has trouble following.
As Tilly tries to explain how bad Po's situation is stowing away aboard a Federation starship, and how worried her family must be, the Xahean says that she had to run away, and that her parents and brother are dead. Just then, the mess hall doors open, and the next shift enters to see the mess, which Tilly attributes to a "hormonal space rabbit".
Getting Po back to her quarters, Tilly begins a search for recent incidents on Xahea. To Tilly's initial scepticism, Po explains that her species was born with their planet, which makes them twins and ensures a natural balance on her world. Tilly's search soon reveals that Po's disappearance has triggered a diplomatic hail for her safe return as "strategically critical", which Po says is the result of her developing a dilithium incubator, which she did to give something back to the world she grew up with, but her people ignored her desires, becoming greedy and desperate for warp technology. Tilly sympathises with Po's feelings of being unheard, but asks who else will be able to help shepherd her world through this transition, and Po comes to the realization that she is the only one who can protect her "twin sister".
As they get ready to return Po to Xahea, she quickly discerns how the transporter works, and Tilly asks who she learned from. When Po notes that it was her brother, but that he wasn't a scientist, but rather the king, Tilly suddenly realizes that Po isn't just a Xahean – she's about to be their queen. Po says she ran because she felt unprepared for her role, and didn't tell Tilly because she wanted to talk to another person, not someone awed by her status. She gives Tilly a dilithium crystal from Xahea, and then asks her about her earlier comments about the command program being a "mistake"; Tilly responds that it was "something dumb" that is gone now, before beaming her friend away.
"I will remember to expect nothing... even from this espresso. Espresso - I release you."
- - Sylvia Tilly
- The episode title, synopsis, and airdate were announced on 20 September 2018. 
- The episode takes place at some point after "Will You Take My Hand?": Tilly is an ensign, and her Starfleet Medal of Honor is visible in her quarters. Both her rank and citation were awarded at the end of that episode.
- The episode was filmed in 2.39:1 aspect ratio, wider than Season 1's 2:1 presentation. 
Links and references
- Geet Arora as Worker Bee #2
- Milton Barnes as Deck Crew #1
- Joe Delfin as Worker Bee #1
- Julianne Grossman as Discovery Computer
2239; 2248; APB; arm; articulated vehicle; best friend; brig; Burnham, Michael; cargo bay; Caesar salad; caffeine; catalogue number; cave; cheeseburger; cheesecake; chicken noodle soup; chicken pot pie; citizen; class M; Command Training Program; coordinates; coronation; decontamination; desktop; dilithium; dilithium incubator; diplomatic hail; door; doughnut; emulsifier; engineer; espresso; evolution; Federation; french fries; fugitive; gelato; hairline fracture; hormonal space rabbit; Human; ice cream; key; kid; king; lab; lemon; lycopene; magnetic lock; matter synthesizer; meat sauce; milk alternative; Milky Way Galaxy; minute; mood swing; natural balance; orbital socket; post-larval intermediate quiescent-stage development; protein concentration; quarantine protocol; queen; reality; school; scientist; second; snack; soul; spaghetti; species; SPT 21-type; spumoni ice cream; Starfleet Command; Starfleet database; Starfleet Academy; Starfleet Medal of Honor; "strategically critical"; sugar; teenager; temperature; twin; universal translator; vulture; wall; warp capacity; worker bee; Xahea; Xahean; Xahean blood-based circulatory fluid; Xahean Council
- "Runaway" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- Runaway (episode) at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
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