MA 2009Warning!
This page contains information regarding Star Trek: Discovery, and thus may contain spoilers.

For the mirror universe counterpart, please see Sylvia Tilly (mirror).
"Did you ever think, when you signed up for Starfleet, that you'd be forced to see war and death?"
"Death found me when I was a child, so, yeah, I knew what I was getting into."
"I don't think I did, not really. Does that make me naïve?"
"It makes you optimistic.

Sylvia Tilly was an ambitious female Human Starfleet officer who lived during the mid-23rd century. She served aboard the USS Discovery while still a cadet in 2256, later commissioned as an Ensign.

Childhood Edit

Tilly was born in 2233. (DIS: "New Eden", "An Obol for Charon") Her mother was Siobhan. (ST: "Runaway")

Tilly's year of birth was not outright stated, but can be concluded from the fact that she was fourteen in 2247.

In 2242, when Tilly was nine, she worked out how to make her food synthesizer produce only spumoni ice cream by calculating the exact protein concentration and small particle dispersion of emulsifiers required. (ST: "Runaway")

Tilly described her fourteen-year-old self as a weird kid, who didn't have a lot of friends and with no one who believed in her, including herself. (DIS: "An Obol for Charon") That year, in 2247, Tilly attended the Musk Junior High School for six months, where she befriended May Ahearn, who gave her the nickname "Stilly". (DIS: "New Eden") She transferred schools when her mother got another posting. (DIS: "Point of Light", "An Obol for Charon")

In school, her mother remembered a particularly painful time when she had more trouble climbing a wall than the other children, where Tilly chose to run away rather than confront the challenge. (ST: "Runaway")

USS Discovery Edit

She rated herself as the best theoretical engineer at Starfleet Academy, and was fast-tracked in order to serve aboard the Discovery, where she served in engineering.

She initially had quarters of her own due to her "special needs", since she was allergic to polyester and viscoelastic polyurethane foam, which caused her to snore. (DIS: "Context Is for Kings")

In November 2256, she participated in her first away mission, investigating the crew's deaths aboard the USS Glenn. (DIS: "Context Is for Kings")

Although often socially awkward, Tilly came out of her shell in certain settings, such as the party held on Discovery; even showing aptitude in 20th century beer pong. During the event, Tilly rebuked romantic advances from Lieutenant Rhys. (DIS: "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad") Paradoxically, Tilly also became a social mentor of sorts to Michael Burnham and facilitated her introduction to future romantic interest, Ash Tyler. (DIS: "Lethe")

In 2257, in recognition for her role in ending the Federation-Klingon War, Tilly was awarded the Starfleet Medal of Honor. She received her officer's commission as an Ensign and was placed on the command track. (DIS: "Will You Take My Hand?")

Personal relationships Edit

Michael Burnham Edit

Tilly and Burnham photograph

A photo of Burnham and Tilly, along with Tilly's Starfleet Medal of Honor

Upon meeting Michael Burnham, who at the time was an inmate being assigned to share quarters with Tilly temporarily, Tilly was delighted at the thought of having a roommate, stating "A roommate is like an automatic, built-in friend." While Tilly's offer of friendship was initially rebuked by a cold Burnham, and returned later in engineering, Tilly soon found herself admiring Burnham's courage. While still lacking confidence, Tilly shared her closely held dream with Burnham: that she would be a starship captain some day. Burnham, admiring Tilly's optimism, took her under wing, engaging in physical and dietary training together. (DIS: "Context Is for Kings", "Lethe")

Tilly kept a photograph of herself and Burnham in their quarters, next to both of their Starfleet Medals of Honor. (ST: "Runaway")

Romance Edit

Tilly indicated that she had, at various points, been interested in "musician"-types and "soldier"-types. (DIS: "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad")

Personal interests Edit

Tilly had read everything there was available on Captain Philippa Georgiou, and was exceptionally excited at the prospect of meeting her after her presumed death. (DIS: "Context Is for Kings", "Will You Take My Hand?")

Tilly enjoyed espresso with milk alternative, as well as ice cream. (ST: "Runaway")

Memorable Quotes Edit

"What the heck… heck… hell? What the hell! Hold your horses!"

- Tilly, attempting to impersonate Captain 'Killy' (DIS: "Despite Yourself")

Appendices Edit

Appearances Edit

Background informationEdit

According to, Sylvia Tilly was born with laryngotracheal stenosis. This condition was described as "an abnormal narrowing of the central air passageways that can cause chronic snoring and a dry throat."

The character was named after the young niece of Gretchen J. Berg. (After Trek: "Episode 2")


Tilly is the focus of the novel The Way to the Stars. Her grandmother on her mother's side is revealed to be named Adèle, while Tilly's father is named Iain and serves as a lieutenant specializing in xenoarcheology on the science vessel Dorothy Garrod since a year before Tilly's sixteenth birthday.

Tilly appears in the "Age of Discovery" expansion to Star Trek Online, voiced by Mary Wiseman. In the tutorial for Discovery-era player characters, set shortly after the Battle of the Binary Stars, Tilly is a third-year cadet at the Academy whose engineering aptitude allowed her to be chosen as chief engineer for the cadet cruise aboard a Malachowski-class vessel. When the player character, a fourth-year cadet, unexpectedly becomes the captain, Tilly remains as chief engineer until the ship returns to Earth after rescuing the miners of Corvan II, after which she parts ways with the player just before her eventual assignment to the Discovery.

External linksEdit