(written from a Production point of view)
As the DMA approaches Earth and Ni'Var, Captain Burnham and the crew of the USS Discovery attempt to make first contact with the powerful species responsible before it's too late.
The USS Discovery approaches Species 10-C's hyperfield as the crew stares in awe at the sheer size. Lieutenant Commander Detmer reports that they are at 250,000 kilometers distance; Captain Burnham orders her to hold position at two hundred thousand. President Rillak notes that the size is estimated to be the distance from Sol to Mars, and Lieutenant Commander Owosekun confirms this, saying it has a radius of 1.5 AUs, with a gravitational presence of 1.3 solar units. Burnham asks Lieutenant Christopher if the 10-C have responded to hails, and he reports there is still nothing. Burnham orders him to keep hailing on all frequencies. Lieutenant Commander Rhys wonders if they should raise shields, but Burnham feels this would signal threat or aggression. She then asks Owosekun if there are any weapons detected, but is informed there are none, in fact no changes to the hyperfield at all; it was like the 10-C didn't even know they were there. Burnham then turns to Rillak, saying the first contact team should implement their contingency plan. Rillak points out that the message being sent was vetted by all the delegates, but Burnham counters that, logically speaking, if the 10-C wanted to acknowledge them, they would have already. She then reminds the President that they have fifteen hours before United Earth and Ni'Var begin to feel the effects of the DMA. If hailing wasn't working, they needed to try something new. Rillak finally concurs.
Dr. Culber reports to the first contact team that they had collected sixteen complex hydrocarbon compounds from the dead 10-C homeworld, each corresponding to a different emotional state: terror, love, sadness, curiosity, peacefulness. Dr. Hirai points out the last as being the one that concerned them now; their contingency plan involved using that particular hydrocarbon to start communication – "basically, 'we come in peace', in chemical form," as he puts it – and asks if someone from Science is putting it together. Saru confirms that Commander Stamets has replicated the hydrocarbon and is deploying it in a fleet of DOT-23s to distribute it on the surface of the hyperfield. General Ndoye is concerned, as this would mean moving closer to the hyperfield to deploy the DOTs, and the radiation of the hyperfield would affect the warp core, which would make it harder to retreat if the 10-C attack. Saru concedes that the power drain, while small, will be "statistically significant". Ndoye questions the prudence of such a risk, but Hirai points out that they wouldn't get a different response without a different input, and given the 10-C's technological capabilities, there was no guarantee they would be able to evade any attack even at full warp.
Saru then asks Stamets if he is ready to proceed; he and Ensign Adira Tal are loading the hydrocarbons into the DOTs, and he reports eleven more to go. As they work, Zora voices concern that something has felt "off" for the past several hours, but she has been able to find any irregularities in her systems. When Adira asks if this wasn't a good thing, Zora agrees it would be, but she remains convinced something is unaccounted for in some part of her system, and wants to make sure that nothing will impact the mission, given its importance. Adira thinks talking to Culber would help, and Stamets agrees – once they were done working. The last of the DOTs are deployed.
Meanwhile, aboard Booker's ship, attached under the port nacelle pylon, Commander Reno comments on how she never knew being kidnapped would be so boring. Tarka corrects her by saying she was just temporarily detained, but Reno dismisses the semantics; "Potato, po-tah-to," as she puts it. Booker is apologetic, for both of them. Tarka has reviewed the intel Ndoye provided from the 10-C homeworld. The 10-C know what it's like to lose their world, and yet they created the DMA, something Booker is unsure what to feel about. Tarka points out that it only mattered what Discovery would do with the data, and how to get them inside the hyperfield, preferably before they were detected. Reno, deadpan as always, comments that her blood sugar was getting low and asks for black licorice. Booker asks Tarka how long he needed to stop the DMA, and the scientist replies it depended on the location of the power source and what defenses it had. As Booker is at the replicator, pointing out that they had fifteen hours to stop it before it destroyed Earth and Ni'Var, Reno slips a spare commbadge out from under her uniform, slipping it back in before Booker returns, offering her the licorice.
Discovery closes to within one thousand meters of the hyperfield, and Lieutenant Commander Nilsson reports the hydrocarbons are loaded and the DOTs are ready. "Okay then, let 'em rip," Burnham orders. The DOTs are deployed, spraying the surface of the hyperfield with the hydrocarbons. At first there seems to be no response. Then, as both Discovery's crew and Booker and Tarka watch, the hyperfield surface begins to ripple like a stone dropped into a pond. Owosekun reports an energy spike from the hyperfield's surface... and something begins to approach the DOTs. Burnham orders Nilsson to pull them back, but the hyperfield effect is too fast, and pulls all of the DOTs inside. Rillak notes that they now seem to have the 10-C's attention; Burnham orders red alert. Owosekun reports another energy spike, a massive one, and Burnham orders Detmer to get them away at maximum warp. But the hyperfield effect catches them before they can escape, disabling engines, weapons, and shields... then Discovery (with Booker's ship along for the ride) is pulled inside the hyperfield.
Burnham asks for a status report. Lieutenant jg Linus reports the ship is encased in an unknown membrane, some kind of orb. Rhys reports basic life support is working, but all engines and defensive systems are disabled. Owosekun reports there was a solar system with three gas giants of identical mass and composition, and that the orb they were encased in was taking them to one of those planets, "like a bug in a jar," as Nilsson puts it. Burnham orders Christopher to get Stamets and his team to work on finding a way to restore their systems.
Alone in one of the corridors, Ndoye contacts Booker. His ship's engines and defenses are offline as well. Ndoye explains what happened, and Booker asks if Zora has detected them yet; the general is unaware, but will look into it. Tarka has detected the DMA's power source on the far edge of the hyperfield, encased in a silicon-ellanium alloy; if they could breach that, they could just pull it out. Booker asks Ndoye to keep them posted, and also asks about Burnham. Ndoye replies she is scared, same as the rest, but is better at hiding it. Tarka begins to prep the transporter for obtaining the power source, but Booker puts him to work on figuring out how to get out of the orb they were first, while Booker tries to bring up the ship's systems. As the two work, Reno pulls her commbadge from her sleeve, and tries to use the licorice she has been chewing on to get the device to work.
Detmer reports the orb has stopped moving in the upper layers of the planet's atmosphere, and Owosekun's scanners show hundreds of life signs all around them. Rhys also reports that they were being scanned, every millimeter of the bridge. Burnham asks for an update on restoring systems, and Nilsson relays from engineering that everything they've tried has failed; the orb is keeping their systems powered down. Just then, Saru calls Burnham for a first contact discussion. Burnham gives the conn over to Rhys, and instructs him to report any changes.
Meanwhile, Stamets explains Zora's concerns to Culber, but even after his checking the logs and Zora running diagnostics, they can't find the issue. Culber thinks that getting to the root cause of a feeling might be helped by focusing on the feeling itself, and promises to talk to her. Stamets sees Culber has something on his mind, and the doctor admits he keeps thinking about what he felt on the 10-C homeworld, the feelings of peace, calm, comfort, something he had not felt in a long time. Stamets has to get back to work with Adira and the team, but promises when it was all over, they were taking a vacation, just the two of them. As Stamets transports back to engineering, Culber gets started with Zora, suggesting the Trill board game she had played with Gray, as it had helped her before.
In the conference room, Rillak wonders why the 10-C would bring them in, scan them extensively, and then not communicate with them. Saru speculates that perhaps the 10-C were trying to understand their technology before proceeding. However, T'Rina curtly dismisses speculation as being of little use, and that they required answers. Burnham theorizes that perhaps the 10-C were using a communication frequency they couldn't detect, but Hirai thinks that perhaps the 10-C is waiting for them to communicate a sense of purpose; their initial attempts conveyed only their lack of threat, not their intent. Ndoye does not see diplomacy as an option while they were held prisoner; while Rillak sees communication as their only option, the general counters by pointing out that they had no idea how to get the 10-C to speak to them. Burnham has an idea, falling back on Federation tradition of offering gifts during first contact, and recalls that Stamets had collected some boronite from the site where the first DMA imploded. Hirai warns that gift-giving was culturally complex, and that the 10-C might not perceive it as how they intended. However, it's the only thing they know the 10-C are after, and Burnham sees it as their only option. T'Rina asks how it could be offered, and Burnham suggests beaming it directly onto the orb membrane, which had been sized to fit their ship; she believes it had to have sensor capabilities. The team agrees.
Aboard his ship, Booker is unable to bring systems back online. Tarka assures him not to worry, as the systems would come back once he broke them out of the orb; "when a nightsprey's done nesting, there's only one way to leave the jajtspat," as he puts it. Reno quietly asks Booker why he's teaming with Tarka, who she thinks is "a couple cherries short of a sundae". Booker replies that Tarka had made a promise to return to someone, something Booker could respect. He mentions his mentor, the original Booker, who believed the measure of someone was in how they honored their promises. When Reno points out the confusing nature of sharing a name, Booker replies that trust meant everything in the courier world, and that the name had a reputation for trust as it was passed down through the generations. His mentor had been the fourth in the line, and passed the name and clients to the current Booker when he retired, making him the fifth. Reno asks if the previous Booker would have approved of a man like Tarka, and Booker replies that he would have understood him. Reno tells him that when her wife died during the Klingon war, she needed a focus, so she joined the USS Hiawatha. When they crashed, there was an ensign who had been horribly burned, and begged Reno to let him go, but Reno felt it was her duty to keep him alive, and kept replicating skin grafts. It took eleven days for the ensign to die, and when he finally did, Reno saw his eyes were the same shade of green as those of her late wife, and that was why she couldn't let him go – not because of him, but because of herself. She points out that Booker and Tarka have made dubious choices, because they were both in pain and couldn't see it. Booker can see that she is trying to play on his emotions, but Reno counters that even if so, it didn't mean she was wrong. Booker turns away from her and asks Tarka when they would be free of the orb; "soon" is his only answer.
Saru reports the boronite was away, but still no response. Ndoye tells Burnham she respects her ability to adapt to the situation, but believes a soldier had to accept when they've hit a wall, because that was when the real hard choices had to be made. Burnham concedes that she had once believed there was no wall, but her experience as a starship captain has shown her otherwise; however, she does not believe they've hit that wall yet. Zora then reports a change in the orb membrane near the shuttlebay. Burnham, Saru, Rillak, T'Rina, Ndoye, and Hirai make their way to the shuttlebay, where Saru can see a lifeform approaching. From their vantage point, Booker and Tarka can see it as well. As the first contact team waits, a massive form can be seen within the cloud layer. "Seems they've decided to say hello," Burnham concludes.
Hirai's scans show that the 10-C has visual receptors and pheromone glands, but can't tell whether it has auditory receptors or electrical sensors; its brain structure was "wildly unusual", which means the universal translator will not be helpful. Zora reports the being was excreting a mist of large organic molecule clusters, and her scans indicate it matches the hydrocarbons found on their homeworld. When Saru asks which ones, Zora reports that it was a mixture of twenty-five percent joy, twenty-two percent sadness, seventeen percent peacefulness, fourteen percent irritation, twelve percent surprise, and ten percent fear – six of the emotional states they know the 10-C to have expressed. Ndoye thinks it nonsensical, while T'Rina believes they were trying to convey each feeling at once. Just then, the 10-C begins emitting a pattern of lights along its form, which Burnham believes to be a form of communication. As it flashes again, Zora agrees, as the light pattern was identical the second time. Hirai thinks that the hydrocarbons provide emotional context to the light patterns, and suggests mirroring the lights back to them. It would show that Discovery understood this as a means of communication, and from there, they would have to find a way to convey simple, then more complex thoughts. Ndoye thinks this will be a long process, and Hirai concedes it can be. As Burnham instructs Zora to relay the pattern back to the 10-C, Ndoye leaves to make contact with Booker.
Booker observes what was going on at the shuttlebay, but Tarka believes it doesn't matter. Ndoye contacts Booker and tells him the situation: the translators don't work, communication has to start from scratch, and they have twelve hours before the DMA reaches Earth. Tarka thinks it will not take that long, but warns that they would need "help" pushing away from Discovery: he would ignite a plasma stream to burn a hole in the 10-C's orb, and use a reverse tractor beam to repel them through, no engines required. However, to do so, Ndoye had to hack Discovery's systems to project the plasma stream from the starboard nacelle. Ndoye protests, saying that feeding information was one thing, but this was essentially a betrayal. Booker assures her they will stand down if diplomacy works, but at the moment, they can't even say "hello". He is confident (and Tarka silently confirms) that this will stop the DMA, and no one else needs to die, but they could not do it without Ndoye's help. The general finally caves, and tells Booker to inform her when Tarka is ready. Booker transmits the override codes.
In the shuttlebay, Burnham believes once the light pattern is reflected, the 10-C will send a new signal, and asks Saru to stand by for analysis. Zora reports she is ready, and begins transmitting the pattern. The 10-C makes the same pattern again, and then retreats. Hirai theorizes that the 10-C may want them to actually answer back, not mimic, and Saru adds that the 10-C may not see them as sentient beings. Rillak points out that they warped there with a starship, but Hirai counters that their technology was primitive compared to the 10-C, comparing the difference between a Human and a monkey with a rock. Burnham asks Zora to compare the pattern to Federation and non-Federation linguistic databases; Zora had in fact been doing so already, but had found no match. The pattern did not seem to match any kind of linguistic analysis Hirai was aware of either. Saru then suggests that since the hydrocarbon analysis had helped them reach this point, perhaps they try using it again. Burnham calls Detmer, Nilsson, and Christopher to the shuttlebay.
In sickbay, Culber sees that Zora's sine wave has stabilized, and Zora agrees the game has helped. She admits she can't understand why she felt so distracted, but notes it happened around the same time as an apparent replicator malfunction Reno had fixed. Culber tries to contact Reno, but is unable to contact her. Zora reports Reno is in engineering, and Culber thinks she is helping Stamets try to break them out of the orb; he leaves to go check.
Back in the shuttlebay, Christopher remembers something he learned from one of his professors at Starfleet Academy: "If a problem stumps you, examine your assumptions." They've assumed up to this point that the hydrocarbons were only about emotions, but what if they were also language of some kind? T'Rina wonders how, and Nilsson compares it to music, how a piano piece can evoke emotion, but it also has structure. Saru has Zora bring up a holo of one of the molecules they received. Christopher thinks it an encryption that requires a key, and Detmer thinks the light pattern might be that key, comparing it to a star map, a 2D rendering to help navigate 3D space, so perhaps the light pattern was a map to read the hydrocarbons in a specific order. As they speak, Ndoye quietly steps back into the mix. Burnham asks Zora to bring up the light pattern, then has her create a 3D model. With a little manipulation, Burnham is able to fit the light pattern to the hydrocarbons. Hirai asks to see the light pattern flashing again, and the lights correspond to certain areas of the molecule. Burnham has Zora begin the analysis.
Aboard his ship, Booker brings down the force field to hand Reno more black licorice; Reno suggests he be a "gentleman" and hand it over. As he steps forward, Reno grasps his arm and pulls him closer, saying that Tarka was going to get them killed. She had seen his calculations; if he pulls the DMA power source while the DMA was still active, the hyperfield would implode, destroying everything and everyone in it. Not only that, the subspace rift it will leave near Earth will kill everyone there almost as fast as the DMA. Booker thinks it a ploy to get him to release her, but Reno challenges him to ask Tarka to show him the math. The equations would not make sense to him, but the look on Tarka's face would, again pointing out that pain blinded people, and that Booker had to make it right. She sits back down, leaving Booker lost in thought.
In the shuttlebay, Zora believes she has decoded the molecule, assigning a letter to each individual hydrocarbon and putting them in an order designated by the lights. The result appears to be a series of mathematical equations, which gets Hirai's attention: He sees that the initial order of the "A" hydrocarbons is larger than the next. Saru explains for T'Rina that the 10-C are teaching them a "bridge language", similar to Lincos, a mathematics-based language developed on Earth that the 21st century organization METI predicted would be helpful in extraplanetary communication. The 10-C believe their language too complicated to understand, so they are teaching a similar one. Hirai needs Zora to give him access to the replicators so he can build a molecule of his own, and then they can project the lights so the 10-C can read it. Zora is happy to assist the doctor, and Burnham puts them both to work. Ndoye takes T'Rina aside, asking if they should find a way to escape the orb. Meanwhile, Burnham asks Saru if all was well, and Saru thought back to how T'Rina had been so "strident" in the meeting earlier. Burnham assures him that it was a matter of "logic above all", that Vulcans tended to overcompensate in public... especially when close relationships were involved. She knows this because Sarek had done it all the time, and she admits it drove her crazy. Saru appreciates the context, and Burnham jokes she is willing to serve as a translator when needed. Hirai reports the message is ready.
Aboard his ship, Booker confronts Tarka about Reno's revelation, and that Tarka had said no one else would get hurt. Tarka tries to explain that he did not want to make it harder for Booker, given how much he had already given up, but Booker shouts at him that he lied. Booker is adamant that he will not do to the 10-C what they did to Kwejian, and most certainly would not put Discovery at risk. Tarka, coldly analytical, dismisses the certainty that the hyperfield would implode, and even if it did, total collapse would take three minutes, so they and Discovery could escape safely; Earth would have a month before the void impacted, plenty of time for their scientists to figure out a solution. Booker insists Tarka should have told him, and that their plan was a last resort. Tarka insists that within forty minutes, they would break out, but Booker intends to tell Ndoye to stand down before they start something they can't stop, and demands Tarka stay away from the consoles. Tarka replies that he can't, not when he was so close to his goal. Booker reminds him that it was his ship and draws his phaser, but suddenly a security field comes up around Tarka, knocking Booker back into the viewscreen.
Back in the shuttlebay, the 10-C return, and send a new pattern that Zora sends to Hirai's holoPADD. Hirai sees it as more equations, all equaling to nine. They have made their first contact. Just then, a metallic egg-shaped object enters the shuttlebay. Saru detects no radiation, but detects the hydrocarbon for peacefulness on its surface... and the interior contains a breathable atmosphere. The surface of the object ripples and creates doors not unlike those of Discovery, and Burnham realizes the 10-C want to continue communicating by having someone go inside.
Booker continues to be knocked back by Tarka's latest "defense upgrades", before finally collapsing to the deck. Tarka takes Booker's commbadge and puts him into the force field with Reno, apologizing that he had never wanted any of this. He felt he had only two real friends in his life, and Booker had been one of them; Reno tells him he had a funny way of showing it, and that what he was doing was wrong. Tarka says only that in thirty minutes, they would be out of the orb and on their way.
Ndoye is skeptical about the risks involved in going inside, but Burnham points out if the 10-C meant harm, they would have done it already, and Rillak agrees; a failure of diplomacy would mean far greater consequences than any personal risk to them. Rillak volunteers to enter, and asks Burnham and Saru to join her, as their skills as a xenoanthropologist and a linguist would help. She asks Hirai to stay, and to continue diplomacy without them should something happen. Rillak also turns to Ndoye and T'Rina to join them as well, as their planets were under direct threat. T'Rina agrees without hesitation, but Ndoye elects to remain behind, choosing to have faith they would convey the proper message. Given the unknowns, Burnham and Rillak both agree that Zora should remain behind as well. Saru will assemble a portable transporter unit and some samples of the hydrocarbons, and thinks Stamets can suggest something to project a light map. Burnham tells him to have Stamets do all of that, as she needed a private word.
In her quarters, with Grudge lounging on her bed, Burnham admits her fears: the 10-C hold all the cards, and everything was slipping through her fingers. Saru agrees that he also struggles when he has a lack of control, but they had to make peace with the idea. He adds that Tarka, interestingly enough, had shown him a method of dealing with it, however unorthodox: yelling. They both start wordlessly screaming, before breaking down into laughter. Burnham confesses that she needed that, while Grudge apparently did not, as she wanders off. Burnham tells Saru that there was no one else she would rather go into the situation with, and Saru replies that it was an honor to be at her side, today and always, before they hug.
In engineering, Culber asks if Zora is sure Reno is there, and her sensors confirm she is. Adira has been there all day, and they have not seen her once. Culber looks around, and spots Reno's commbadge beneath a floor grille. Zora reports it was showing full biometric readings, even though Reno herself was not present. Culber suggests paging her, as she had to be on the ship somewhere.
As Zora pages for Reno to report to engineering, Saru approaches T'Rina in the shuttlebay, expressing his belief that there was no cause to fear. T'Rina wishes she could say the same, and admits she is uncertain about how to step into danger with someone for whom she has "personal fondness", speculating that this is why she avoids closeness with others. He is interrupted by a science officer, bringing him the materials he requested from Stamets. Burnham leads the team through the doors; as the doors close, the object abruptly vanishes from the shuttlebay, leaving Hirai and Ndoye staring in concern.
The team steps onto a recreation of Discovery's bridge, which Burnham believes was created for their benefit. Rillak sees they have lost contact with the ship, and are on their own. "Not entirely," Burnham replies, as something appears before them: an isolytic weapon. Burnham's tricorder shows it to not be armed, thinking they must have built it based on data from the one Tarka detonated in the DMA. T'Rina wonders if it was a threat, while Saru thinks it might be a gift in return for the boronite. Saru's scanners show the 10-C have released a mist of molecules onto the viewscreen, which is then followed by a light pattern. Saru translates the message: 178 plus a mathematical equation equaled a curiosity hydrocarbon. Rillak asks if the message was about the weapon, and Burnham thinks it might be, as 178 was the atomic number for isolynium. Saru thinks the equation was an expression of volume for a convex lens-like shape: the DMA. Burnham realizes it was a question: why was the weapon used against the DMA? Saru theorizes that the 10-C are unaware of the damage the DMA caused, and Rillak replies the response needs to make them understand.
Meanwhile, Ndoye contacts Booker, telling him what has happened to Burnham. Booker tells Tarka, holding Booker's commbadge, to have her stand down, but Tarka thinks they could be dead. Booker points out that if the 10-C wanted them dead, they would be already, but Tarka retorts that they had no idea when Burnham and her people would come back, and that there were only hours before the DMA hit Earth. Tarka sends a text message to Ndoye, telling her to proceed. Ndoye inputs the override, and begins projecting the plasma.
Within the replica bridge, they agree on their response: the DMA equation plus the hydrocarbon for terror. But Rillak is unsure how to convey the concept of "us", then thinks perhaps the number four, as there were four of them. T'Rina suggests six, the atomic number for carbon. Saru fears such numbers may have other meaning to the 10-C, leading to misunderstanding. Burnham realizes T'Rina was on the right track: biology. The 10-C created an atmosphere they needed to breathe – seventy-eight percent nitrogen, twenty-one percent oxygen, .93 percent argon, and .04 percent carbon dioxide – which they would recognize as "us". Saru inputs the message: DMA plus "us" equals terror. The 10-C reply with a "greater than" symbol and the hydrocarbon for sadness, or "great sadness" as T'Rina interprets it. This means they understand, and have empathy, which meant diplomacy would work.
In engineering, Culber explains to Stamets that Zora found evidence Reno's badge had been tampered with. If it didn't sound "completely insane", Culber would think someone took Reno off the ship. Stamets admits he should have realized something was wrong when he couldn't find her. Culber assures him it was not his fault. Zora thinks she has found an answer: access Panel 4351 was briefly opened, but the maintenance check was not scheduled until the next day. Adira goes to check, and finds Tarka's patch. Zora confirms this was the source of her feeling... and then detects Booker's ship attached to the hull. The ship suddenly shakes, with plasma venting from one of the nacelles. On the bridge, Owosekun reports the plasma was burning a hole in the orb, and Stamets reports Booker's ship attached; Rhys, at the conn, is aware, seeing them on scans. The hole is burned through the orb, and Booker's ship uses the reverse tractor beam to escape the orb.
Back in the replica bridge, Saru prepares the message to ask the 10-C to withdraw the DMA, when the lights flicker a moment... and then the four are sent back to the real Discovery. Hirai reports that Booker's ship was attached and had escaped the orb. Meanwhile, Tarka tries to fly the ship to the power source, though weapons and warp drive were still disabled. Booker admits to Reno he should have listened to her, but Reno assures him that even when all seemed lost (and at this point, it seemed like it was), she had a way out: she had a communicator chip, which she stashed on her when she realized Tarka was going to stun her. When Booker asks about the licorice, Reno explains the glycyrrhizic acid in licorice, when it dissolves, conducted electricity. She's tried to call Discovery, but can't get past the ship's security without Booker's access codes.
Returning to the bridge, Burnham asks if they can get out the same way Booker's ship did, but Rhys reports they had nothing to repel against, and the hole was already sealed. Christopher reports an urgent message from Booker's ship. Reno explains that Tarka has her and Booker trapped, and if he takes out the DMA's power source, it would destroy the hyperfield, the 10-C, and probably Discovery along with it, and would also leave a "toxic waste dump" headed right for Earth. "You have to stop us, whatever it takes," Reno urges.
Links and references
- Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham
- Doug Jones as Saru
- Anthony Rapp as Paul Stamets
- Wilson Cruz as Hugh Culber
- Blu del Barrio as Adira Tal
- Shawn Doyle as Dr. Ruon Tarka
- Chelah Horsdal as Laira Rillak
- Tara Rosling as President T'Rina
- Annabelle Wallis as Zora (voice)
- Hiro Kanagawa as Dr. Hirai
- Phumzile Sitole as General Ndoye
- Emily Coutts as Lt. Cmdr. Keyla Detmer
- Patrick Kwok-Choon as Lt. Cmdr. Gen Rhys
- Oyin Oladejo as Lt. Cmdr. Joann Owosekun
- Sara Mitich as Lt. Cmdr. Nilsson
- Orville Cummings as Lt. Christopher
- David Benjamin Tomlinson as Lt. jg Linus
- Jahkeil Goldson as Science Officer
- Fabio Tassone as Book's Ship Computer (voice)
- Jayne Dineo as Discovery sciences crewmember
- Andrea Gallo as Discovery sciences crewmember
- Leeu as Grudge
- Pamela Mars as Discovery bridge crewmember
- Shelley Owens as Discovery medical crewmember
21st century; access code; access panel 4351; alloy; analysis; analysis subroutine; argon; atomic number; atmosphere; AU; auditory receptor; Bajoran; biology; black licorice; blood sugar; Booker, Cleveland: Booker's ship; boronite; brain; bridge language; bug; captain; carbon; carbon dioxide; Cardassian; cat; century; cherry; client; color; commander; communication frequency; communicator chip; console; courier; culture; curiosity; day; delegate; diplomacy; distance; DMA; DOT-23; Earth; electrical sensor; electricity; ellanium; emergency shutoff; emotion; empathy; ensign; equation; eye; face; Federation; feeling; first contact; first contact team; friend; full warp (aka maximum warp); gas; gas giant; generation; gift; glycyrrhizic acid; green; hail; Hiawatha, USS; hour; Human; hybrid; hydrocarbon; hyperfield; idea; impulse engine; isolynium; isolytic weapon; jajtspat; Kardashev scale; Kelpien; kidnapping; kilometer; Kowolian nightsprey; Kwejian (planet); Kwejian (species); language; laughter; light map; life sign; life support; Lincos; linguist; linguistic database; logic; love; Mars; mass; math; meow; meter; METI; millimeter; minute; mission; monkey; month; music; nacelle; name; Ni'Var; nitrogen; override code; oxygen; pain; percent; pheromone gland; piano; plasma; plasma stream; portable transporter unit; President of the United Federation of Planets; prisoner; propulsion; radiation; radius; red alert; Reno's wife; replicator; retirement; Risian; rock; Sarek; Saurian; scientist; second; sensor; sentience; shield; shuttlebay; silicon; sine wave; skin graft; Sol; solar unit; space; Species 10-C (aka 10-C); soldier; spaceship; star map; starboard; Starfleet Academy; Starfleet uniform; status report; subspace rift; sundae; supramolecule; thought; toxin; tractor beam; tradition; transporter; Trill game; UFP-02 type (unnamed); United Earth; universal translator; vacation; viewscreen; visual receptor; volume; Vulcan; wall; warp core; warp drive; weapon system; worker bee; xenoanthropologist; year
|Star Trek: Discovery