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Burnham and Book race to evacuate a group of stranded colonists in the anomaly's path as one of the Federation's brightest scientists comes aboard the USS Discovery to do high-stakes research with Saru and Stamets.



USS Janeway and NSS T'Pau

Three starships observe the DMA

The USS Janeway comes into visual range of the Dark Matter Anomaly when they detect massive ionic fluctuations, and requests a confirmation from the other two ships in their task group. The NSS T'Pau confirms the Janeway's readings, and also detects a spike in X-ray radiation, just as the DMA suddenly disappears right in front of them. Commander Stamets, observing the live data feed from the USS Discovery, is perplexed by this, as is Commander Reno, who says it was impossible. 4.2 seconds later, it reappears on sensors, having moved one thousand light years. Stamets reports this occurrence to Captain Burnham, who asks if it was the same anomaly; Stamets confirms the scans are identical, and notes that the odds of an identical anomaly were "virtually nil". Saru adds that natural phenomena did not disappear and reappear in such a manner. Booker asks if such an event violated the laws of physics. "Every law we know of, that is," Stamets confirms. Burnham asks Zora to cross-reference the Sphere data to see if any other such events have ever occurred naturally; Zora replies in the negative. If this was not a natural phenomenon, Burnham realizes there is only one logical conclusion: someone created it. This idea does not sit well with any of them, particularly Booker, who asks who could have created such a thing.

Burnham reports to Fleet Admiral Vance that the DMA was now near the Radvek asteroid belt, a former Emerald Chain colony populated by the Akaali; the DMA's trajectory places the colony right at the edge of the impact zone. One degree one way or the other could lead to either safety or death. Stamets warns that there was no way of telling whether or not it would impact until after the interference from the dark matter in the anomaly interfered with transporters, so the colony had to be evacuated before that point, which Burnham adds will be within four hours. Vance orders the evacuation to proceed immediately; while the Akaali were not members of the Federation, the Federation was the only body capable of carrying out a mission of that size. He is preparing to divert all available ships in the region to carry out the evacuation, as well as Discovery; Burnham volunteers to lead the way herself. Saru asks whether effort is being made to address the panic, now that it was known the DMA was not a natural phenomenon. Vance assures him that President Rillak is meeting with planetary leaders at that moment to discuss that very issue. Saru is relieved to hear that, as he had received word from the Kaminar High Council, and the fear in their voices was unmistakable; they were desperate for answers. Vance agrees that they all were, especially about who was responsible. Federation Security had identified a number of possible civilizations capable of creating the DMA, including the Metrons, the Nacene, or the remnants of the Iconians. It was even suggested that the Q Continuum might have been involved, but they had not been heard from in six hundred years, and this was unlike anything they had done before. For now, those responsible are being classified as Unknown Species 10-C. Burnham believes the priority should be figuring out the technology behind the DMA, and tracing it back to its creator. Vance had come to that conclusion as well, which is why he has asked Ruon Tarka to advise Starfleet; he was heading a number of scientific endeavors, including the next-generation spore drive, working in concert with Aurellio. Stamets notes that they still have not solved the navigator problem, meaning any new spore drive was useless without himself or Booker. Vance is confident Tarka can find the way, and that his expertise will also help to solve the DMA. Stamets protests that he already has the people he needs, between himself and the task force scientists, but Vance believes someone at the leading edge of both Federation and non-Federation technology was required, and that Stamets would find him a valuable asset. Since Saru would be in command while Burnham oversaw the evacuation, he would be required to give Tarka anything he needed.

Aboard Booker's ship, Burnham assures Booker that everything was being done to figure out the DMA, but Booker insists that more needed to be done, that they had to find whoever was responsible and stop them. Burnham promises him that they would, but for now, they had to focus on evacuating the people from Radvek V. Booker volunteers to help with that, feeling the need to do something so that no one else had to suffer the loss of their home and people as he did. Burnham agrees, and both transport to the bridge. Saru reports that three ships have arrived at Radvek, and that Tarka was aboard. Burnham orders Lieutenant Christopher to open a shipwide channel, and she explains the mission – to evacuate the Radvek chain before the DMA rendered transport impossible, and they now only had three-and-a-half hours to do it. "Let's go save some lives."

Act One[]

Akaali magistrate

The Magistrate of Radvek V

Saru reports there are 1,206 individuals on the surface waiting for evacuation. Burnham orders a channel opened to the Akaali magistrate, while also ordering Commander Nilsson to prepare the loading bay on deck four for refugees, where they would be beamed up while Discovery facilitated their move to the other ships. Booker points out that the transport array could only bring up forty people at a time, which would cut it close. "We do our best work when we're close," Burnham quotes Booker, referring to a nitrium delivery on Oonla, joking that at least there were no noodle stalls for him to blow up. Christopher reports the magistrate is on comms, and Burnham orders him to open the channel. The magistrate is grateful to see her, as the colony had already sent off all of their ships with only a quarter of their population; the remainder are waiting, and have begun to panic. Burnham reassures him that they would get everyone out. Saru then reports six lifesigns remaining stationary beneath the north dome generator, far from the evac point. The magistrate identifies them as the "Examples"; the north dome generator is the colony's prison. When Burnham insists they must be evacuated as well, the magistrate dismisses them as criminals, noting that they were chosen to demonstrate the cost of misbehavior, a tradition they inherited from the Emerald Chain. Both Booker and Burnham are adamant that they should not be left to die, but the magistrate remains firm, saying that the prison was automated and anyone who knew the systems had already left, and reminding them that the law-abiding citizens were waiting for them before closing the channel. Burnham instructs Saru to assemble a team to assist the evacuation, while she and Booker went to the prison. Commander Rhys speaks up to volunteer to lead the evac team. Saru reports a pattern interrupter around the prison, disrupting both communications and transporters within a half-kilometer radius.

Stamets and Culber 3190

Stamets and Culber share a moment together.

Stamets returns to his quarters, where his husband Hugh Culber is surprised to see him. Stamets explains about Tarka being aboard, how he was considered a genius, but is notably bitter about Tarka not reaching out to him about the new spore drive. He notes he has already worked with Tarka's team about propagating the spores and not harming the jahSepp, as well as providing numerous samples of his tardigrade-enhanced DNA, but Tarka is always too busy to speak to Stamets, using Aurellio as a go-between. He wonders how he is supposed to work with someone who doesn't show professional courtesy; Culber suggests he "let it roll off [him]", as there was much more at stake now. Culber prepares to go aid with the evacuees, but Stamets stops him short, noting he had already had five therapy sessions that day, and asks if he could take a few minutes before "jumping into the next one". Culber notes that people needed help, and that knowing that someone had created the DMA made it all the more unsettling. When Stamets prepares to offer some advice, Culber insists he is fine and quickly leaves. Moments later, Tarka arrives on the bridge, noting that it was like "walking into an antique". Saru introduces him to Stamets, who sarcastically remarks how nice it was to finally meet him. Tarka mentions that Aurellio has spoken about him a lot, and that there was so much to admire about Stamets' work (which pleases Stamets), and so much to improve upon (which very noticably doesn't). Tarka is eager to get to work, and Saru leads them both to their workspace. Tarka notes Saru is the first Kelpien he has ever met, and notices the strangeness of their feet, earning him an incredulous stare from Stamets.

Meanwhile, Burnham reports to Discovery that she and Booker are approaching the boundaries of the prison's pattern interrupter, and asks for an update from Rhys. He reports 160 have been beamed out so far, and that while it had started chaotic, it was under control now. He thanks Burnham for letting him lead the evacuation, explaining that his town had been destroyed by a hurricane when he was five years old, and that he had been rescued by a Starfleet crew, so he understood what the Akaali were going through. As they proceed into the boundary, Booker notes the door is standard Emerald Chain design, while Burnham is unable to detect any signs of defense systems – something they both find suspicious as they draw their phasers. Booker reminds her about the incident on Oonla, reminding her that he had to choose between the noodle stands and the fusion reactor, and remarks on the "simpler times" when they were couriers before Discovery arrived. Ahead of them, they spot a large insect pushing up out of the dirt, which Burnham identifies as a Narisa beetle, indigenous to the Akaali homeworld, and possibly brought along when they settled the colony. When Booker expresses his dislike of the sound its chitin makes while moving, Burnham notes the irony given how he found beauty in trance worms, and suggests that he ask it to go away. Booker worriedly replies that he's tried, but can't communicate with it. Burnham is also concerned; it has moved in the exact same path four times by that point, something no living thing was precise enough to do. As they both duck behind a boulder, Booker throws a rock at the beetle, which explodes on impact: it is a mobile land mine disguised as a native lifeform, a weapon rumored to be used by the Chain. Burnham detects a lot more heading their way.

Back aboard Discovery, Tarka nonchalantly flips a tool around in his hand while Stamets reviews the scans from the precise moment the DMA disappeared, how it collapsed into the central aperture, which appeared to be a device of some sort, which also disappeared; Stamets also notes the presence of a subspace rupture. Tarka impatiently cuts him off, as he had already seen the data and dubbed it inconclusive, and that subspace damage could be the result of many different thing. He continues to talk over Stamets as he observes that, for something so powerful, it was an "exceedingly blunt instrument". When Saru begins to explain their own questions about the DMA's purpose, Tarka unexpectedly asks where the replicator was located; on being pointed to the console, he asks for a plate of cold mashed potatoes and a single green pea, and proceeds to use it as a visual aid. The potatoes are the DMA, the accreted material moving through space; the pea was the device at its center. He mentions Stamets' original theory that it might have been a primordial wormhole, which he believes was not "completely wrong"; he theorizes that someone, somehow, tunneled the DMA through space-time, though he admits he has no idea why. In the meantime, he suggests "getting [their] hands dirty" by creating a working model of the DMA controller in miniature scale, and shows Stamets the schematics of the device. Saru is concerned about constructing a device that could create a wormhole inside the ship, but Tarka is adamant that a real-world trial was necessary to determine the answers to the questions they had: How much power did it need, and did it rupture subspace? If they could find those answers, they would find who created the DMA. Stamets agrees that it could work, if they contained both ends of the wormhole in a containment field. Saru finally agrees, intending to leave Nilsson the conn so that he can supervise. Tarka notes they would need a bigger room.

Outside the prison, Booker is firing on the beetle-mines, some of which begin producing flying saw blades that could cut through rock, while Burnham attempts to disable the shared control matrix that powers them. She is successful, and they proceed towards the prison proper.

Act Two[]

As they enter the prison, Burnham tells the prisoners to prepare to be evacuated, and tells them a gravitational anomaly is headed toward them. One of the Akaali prisoners, Luda, bitterly realizes this is why the guards left, leaving them to die. A Human prisoner named Felix asks why a Starfleet captain would bother to rescue them, to which Burnham answers that the Federation did not leave prisoners to die. Felix notes that they were all sentenced to life, no matter how small their crime; one was there for stealing food for their family, another for trading in counterfeit latinum, and Luda for counting cards at a tongo club. Luda adds that Felix was there for "one joy ride in a sand-copter", and asks how that warrants being held for thirty years and counting. Felix continues that the prison "was not a place of justice", and that the Federation had done nothing. Burnham reminds him that they couldn't do anything because it was Emerald Chain territory, but that they did care about the lives of the oppressed. She explains that transporters and communications would be lost within the next hour, and that they didn't know if the anomaly would hit them or not, but that they would be evacuated to the ship until it was safe. Felix tells them that the prison controls were on the basement level, but were biometrically locked to the guards; Luda suggests overloading the force field generator. Booker scans the generator, whose casing was of a quanarium alloy, one of the strongest metals known, but Burnham also knows it was an exceptional heat conductor, and they could overload the system by heating it up with their phasers.

Dr. Culber enters his office to find Dr. Kovich waiting on holo; Culber explains he had to cancel their appointment, but Kovich reminds him that there were others helping the refugees, and that he, Culber, had requested the meeting. Culber tries to explain that this was before he knew about the evacuation, but Kovich gets to the point: he was a busy man and had cleared the time specifically for Culber, and they could both forego the "therapeutic niceties". Culber begins by mentioning his duties as ship's counselor, and how Kovich had worked with Georgiou, which Kovich takes as a request for "brutal honesty". Culber explains how the DMA has affected the crew, and how he has offered hope to the crew, that it would not last forever and they would find a way to stop the DMA. He mentions his recent session with Booker, where he almost admitted to Booker that he, too, was struggling, and that he realized he had been lying to the crew. It was a realization made worse by the revelation that the DMA was created by someone with incredible power; whether he lied or not, Culber admits he was failing. Kovich asks him if he wanted him to affirm that Culber was failing, just so he could take a break; Culber heatedly insists that was not what he said, but Kovich retorts that it was. As Culber angrily prepares to leave, Kovich reminds him that he had died and been brought back to life. "Little wonder you're a mess," he notes, mentioning that Culber's Starfleet file was "stunningly generic" about his feelings on that unique situation, so he offers to fill in the blanks.

Kovich being brutally honest

Dr. Kovich's brutal honesty.

He sees that Culber asks himself the same question every morning and every evening: "No one else gets a second chance, so why me?" This then led Culber to believing there was a purpose to his survival, which led to a "savior complex", because if there was no purpose behind Culber's existence, the fact that he was alive would be a "middle finger" to anyone who had ever lost someone, which was in fact everyone. Culber sarcastically asks if he had a recommendation to go with that "sparkling analysis". Kovich's recommendation is simple: Whether or not he was considered a miracle, Culber was still only Human, which meant he needed to rest too, just as he advised his patients. If he couldn't find fulfillment outside of work, then he would be failing anyone who sat in the chair in front of him. Kovich notes he had a 2:00 appointment, and curtly bids Culber goodbye before closing the channel, leaving the doctor in thought.

Back in the prison, Burnham and Booker bring down the generator. Luda bluntly tells the others there was no way she was going to sit in the brig, and elects to leave on her own. Burnham raises her phaser to stop her; it was set to stun, but it "still won't feel good". Booker reminds them that their ship was the only way for them to get off the colony, but Felix does not see how they can expect trust when they treat him and his fellow prisoners no differently than their jailers, and tells Burnham to lower her weapon. After a moment, she does so. Felix then asks if they would get their freedom if they were rescued, believing that if they went off on their own, they could be free, and if the anomaly missed the colony, they'd find their own way out. Burnham reminds him that it was a big "if", and Booker tells him about the DMA's power, about how it destroyed his homeworld, and how whoever was behind it didn't care how many it killed. While sympathetic to Booker's loss, it changes nothing so far as Felix is concerned; he demands a guarantee, or they go nowhere.

In the spore drive lab, Tarka has created the model controller and activated the containment field. Reno expresses the wish that she could see Tilly's face when she finds out that Discovery got sucked into a wormhole three days after she left; Saru adds that he misses Tilly as well. Stamets tells her they were ready for the power transfer. Tarka notes that in addition to the smaller size, the major difference between the model and the real DMA controller was that the real thing had its own internal power source using technology far beyond their capabilities, but that he has the rest of it down completely. As Reno adds the power, the model looks almost exactly like the DMA. Tarka smugly remarks on how good it was to have a theory proven right, remembering that the first time he did so was at age five, when he atomized a live caracal. He felt he was never understood growing up on Risa, as he was "surrounded by idiots", feeling like "Gaily Leo" before the Inquisition, and that great intellect could be costly – something he believes he has in common with Stamets, having heard about the neural lock put on him when the Emerald Chain seized Discovery. Saru brings their attention back to the experiment, which appears to have stalled; Tarka sees he will need more power, but Reno has already diverted everything without pulling from the transporters – something Saru is adamant will not be allowed. Stamets pleads with Reno to find some other way, noting her love of a challenge. Reno speculates that they could pull ionic radiation from the main phaser array to act as a temporary power source, noting that on a scale of one ("nothing to worry about") to ten ("insane"), she would give it a six. Tarka insists that "great science was never accomplished with caution", and Stamets adds that every bit of data was needed to solve the puzzle of the DMA, but Saru believes neither of them are concerned enough about the risks. Suddenly, Tarka begins yelling in his face, trying to get a response, and challenging him to yell back. Saru does so, causing Tarka to rear back slightly, but the scientist chuckles and asks if it felt good to be out of control for a moment. Saru concedes that it did. While Tarka was aware that Saru did not particularly like him, he admitted he loved himself too much to allow himself to be blown up, and by extension, the ship would be fine as well. Stamets also points out that they were making headway into discovering what lay behind the DMA for the first time since they encountered it. Reluctantly, Saru gives in and allows the additional power, but only if Reno provides a cutoff switch for when he deems necessary.

In the prison, with thirty minutes left before they were blocked out, Burnham comes across something in General Orders and Regulations which allows a Starfleet captain to provide asylum in extreme circumstances, which would bring the prisoners under Federation law, which would allow their cases to be reviewed, and their sentences would likely be commuted. Felix asks why the Federation would grant asylum. Burnham remembers how the magistrate called them the "Examples", and that their sentencing was political theater rather than true justice; if they also believed that to be true, and they wanted their cases reviewed, she wanted them to say so. One by one, they do so. As they get moving, Felix moves back to his small cell, saying there was something he could not leave behind. In a low voice, he tells Burnham that unlike the others, he does belong there, because he had taken a life… and something else: under the floor of his cell, he pulls out a small object – a lalogi orb, a record of an Akaali family's heritage. Felix had kept it hidden from the guards for thirty years, promising himself that he would return it to the family he had taken it from. He had devoted his life to doing penance for his crime, and considered helping the others to escape as part of that. While he knew Burnham would run into difficulties in offering them asylum, he knew that the right choice was never the easy one. As they walk towards the door, an alarm sounds, and the door suddenly slams shut, a force field coming up to block it. Luda realizes her biometric signature triggered the prison's automated systems. The prisoners and their rescuers are trapped.

Act Three[]

The scans show the door is covered by a layer of nanomaterial that could not be shot through. When Burnham asks for ideas, Booker suggests reactivating the beetle-mines to blow open the door. Burnham tells the others to take cover, as she was bringing the beetles right to them. Booker jokes that he would have thought she considered the idea too crazy; Burnham admits she does, but she doesn't have a better one. Outside, the beetles swarm the door and blow it open; Burnham is able to deactivate the system again just before they begin launching their saw blades, and the group makes its way outside.

Back on Discovery, Saru asks for an update from Rhys, who reports the evacuation was nearly complete with only two groups remaining, and Burnham and Booker's comms were still dark. Saru orders him to complete his mission and then proceed to the prison to assist them, then turns to Stamets and Tarka, telling them to finish the experiment as he was needed on the bridge. Reno has diverted the power, but warns that the more power the model DMA gets, the more that would be needed for the containment field, and has also provided Saru with the kill switch. Tarka allows Stamets to begin the experiment. As he increases power to the device, the containment field weakens, and Saru orders Reno to divert power to the field, which stalls the reaction. Stamets insists he can control it, and Saru reluctantly allows the experiment to continue while asking Zora for real-time feedback of the containment field's integrity. As the model DMA begins to react, both scientists excitedly observe that Tarka's theory was right – the model, working exactly like the real DMA, was accreting dark matter and also creating a subspace rupture. Zora warns of the containment field's failure, counting down every five percent in power drop. As it reaches five percent before failure, Saru pulls the kill switch, much to Tarka's consternation, and curtly tells them the experiment is over before leaving for the bridge.

Burnham and Booker lead the prisoners outside the pattern interrupter, which allows Burnham to contact Discovery. Rhys reports they had been trying to reach her, and that the evacuation was complete. Burnham orders five to be transported, with more coming. As the others are beamed away, Felix tells them he wanted to be sure the others got out, but he was choosing to stay.

Act Four[]

Burnham reminds Felix that there were only six minutes left before the interference blocked their transporters, but Felix tells her he had resolved to die there years ago, and will remain until either his jailers return or the anomaly hits. Booker calls this insane, but Felix considers it part of his penance. Booker is convinced he is not thinking clearly. Felix concedes they could force him to leave with them, but asks if that was truly their choice to make. He committed his crime while on the colony, and so chooses to stay, whether he would remain there for years or only for a few more moments. Booker adamantly tries to convince Burnham to take him along, motivated perhaps by his own survivor's guilt, but Burnham chooses to respect Felix's wishes, removing her communicator from her vest so that she could tell him where the anomaly was heading. In return, Felix gives her the lalogi orb; he had kept it safe for thirty years, and now asks Burnham to do the same, and expresses his gratitude for her. Booker remains convinced it was wrong, but Burnham orders only two to be transported. As they materialize on the bridge, Booker exchanges a look with her and quietly leaves for the turbolift.

Burnham congratulates the crew on the work they've done, as they'd saved over a thousand lives. Nilsson reports that the colony will be in the DMA's impact zone. Burnham orders the ship to remain in comms range, and then opens a channel to Felix, who now knows the anomaly would impact. He offers to tell her about his crime, something he had never told anyone, and yet also did not want to carry the burden "beyond this life". Burnham orders Christopher to raise the privacy barrier, but Felix tells her not to, that he wants all who were present to hear. He explains that thirty years before, he had nothing, until a stranger offered him food and shelter. When the man went to sleep, Felix proceeded to rob him, waking his host. There was a struggle, and the man died… with his daughter asleep in the next room. Felix did not realize until later that among the things he had taken was the family's lalogi orb. Not only did he take the girl's future, he had taken her past as well; he has thought about the girl every day, how the event must have changed her. When Burnham asks if he knew her name, Felix replies that the family was called Doxica. Then the comms go to static as the leading edge of the DMA pushes the colony asteroids into the sun. Watching for a moment, Burnham then quietly orders black alert, and to jump away before the wave hit the sun.

As the ship retreats to safety, the Akaali magistrate storms onto the bridge, demanding that the prisoners brought up from the colony be put into the brig. Burnham bluntly rebuffs him, reminding him that he no longer had any authority to make such demands, as his colony no longer existed. The prisoners were now under Federation protection, and thus subject to Federation law… as was the magistrate himself. She points out that wherever he and his people were resettled, they would be refugees, seeking shelter and care, and adds the hope that whatever society took them in proved to be more just than the one that the magistrate had a hand in creating, before subtly telling him to leave the bridge, as she had a ship to command.

In their quarters, Stamets and Culber review their days. For Culber, the refugees are settled down, and that their resettlement would begin the following day; for Stamets, he believes they learned a lot about the DMA (though not as much as they could have), and concedes that Tarka is actually a genius, but also frightens him somewhat due to his single-mindedness – a trait that sounds familiar to him. When asked how he was feeling, Culber says he was fine, but Stamets notes that was an avoiding "fine" as opposed to a real "fine", because he looked down when he said it. Culber tells him about his meeting with Kovich, about how he believed Culber was wearing himself out and needed a break. Stamets believes that he must have fallen in love with Culber because they had the same pathology, the same obsession with their work. Culber jokes that this made Stamets either a narcissist or a glutton for punishment; Stamets concedes it was "little column A, little column B", leading Culber to observe how they had jumped nearly a thousand years into the future and solved the Burn, but "can't figure [their] own shit out".

In the turbolift, Zora confirms to Burnham that the woman she is looking for is on deck four, near airlock two... then, to Burnham's surprise, offers condolences, as her analysis of Burnham's voice indicates sorrow. Burnham admits it had been a tough day, to which Zora observes the difficulty of balancing duty and compassion. Burnham was unaware Zora had the operational parameters to make such an observation. Zora explains that the understanding and experience of emotion naturally led to empathy for others. This surprises Burnham further, leading her to ask if she had emotions; Zora admits it was a "recent development", before the lift arrives at its destination. Burnham approaches Patri Doxica, the daughter of the man Felix killed, and also visibly pregnant. She introduces herself, and holds out the lalogi orb. Patri is shocked, having thought it lost years before, and wonders how Burnham found it; Burnham replies she was helping someone keep a promise. Patri activates the orb, showing a literal family tree, and points out her father. Akaali were meant to add to the tree when they came of age, but Patri never had the chance until now. Burnham expresses the hope that it would continue to grow for many generations to come.

In the crew lounge, Tarka takes a seat next to Booker, remarking on how he could smell synthehol from across the room before offering a flask of Risian whiskey and introducing himself. Tarka had seen the colony pushed into the sun, and remarks on how it was good that they got everyone out. "Almost," Booker replies, thinking of Felix as he takes a drink of the whiskey. Tarka agrees that "almost" had been his day too, that he had come close to discovering something remarkable. Booker asks point-blank if he knows what was behind the DMA, remarking that one only got as close as Tarka did if he had "some idea what's over the cliff". Tarka admits he doesn't know who yet, but knew it was not the Metrons, the Nacene, or the Iconians before he arrived. If that was the case, Booker asks, why the experiment that put Discovery at risk? At first, Tarka tries to wave it off by saying that science had many purposes, but Booker isn't buying it. Tarka finally explains that he had constructed the miniature DMA controller on a scale of 3.22 times 10 to the negative 17th, and yet Discovery couldn't provide enough power to stabilize it, leading him to realize that the actual DMA had an energy source equivalent to a hypergiant star, providing unfathomable power. He speculates that perhaps the DMA's creators were gods, but Booker bluntly tells him that whoever they were, they weren't gods, nor were they immortal. Tarka comments on Booker's anger and having no place to put it. Booker replies that Tarka didn't know him, and Tarka agrees – but he did know anger, "a wonderfully productive emotion" as he puts it, while rubbing at a large scar on the back of his neck. "Nice to meet you, Mr. Booker," he says, as he stands and leaves.

Memorable quotes[]

"You died. You died and came back to life. Little wonder you're a mess. Your file is stunningly generic as to your feelings on this rather unique fact of your existence, so allow me to fill in some blanks. 'Why me?' It's the question you ask yourself every morning and every evening. 'No one else gets a second chance, so why me?' That led you to the idea that there's a reason for your survival. A purpose you're meant to fulfill, right here, right now. And that led you to a savior complex, because if there is no reason, if there is no purpose, then your existence is a middle finger to anyone who's ever lost someone. Which is everyone. How's that for brutal honesty?"
"Do you have a recommendation to go along with that sparkling analysis?"
"Whether or not you were a miracle, Dr. Culber, you are only Human. You need to allow yourself time to rest, as you advise your patients."
"Well, I can't just stop. Not now, anyway. It's what I do. It's… it's who I am. It's…"
"It's the way you escape the persistent guilt of being alive. This is a uniquely challenging time, yes. But if you don't find fulfillment in something other than work, then you will fail those in the chair in front of you."

- Kovich and Culber

"I can just picture Tilly's face when she finds out that we got sucked into a wormhole three days after she left."

- Reno's observation of the DMA experiment

"Thirty years ago, I was a man with nothing. A stranger gave me shelter and a meal. I waited until he went to sleep and I robbed him. He caught me in the act. We struggled. I killed him. His child was in the other room. It wasn't until later that among the things I stole was the family's lalogi orb. Not only did I take that girl's future from her, I took her past as well. I think about her every day. How that must have changed her. How she's carried it with her."

- Felix, unburdening himself to Burnham

"I constructed a model of the DMA controller at a scale of 3.22 times 10 to the negative 17th. This entire ship couldn't provide enough juice to keep it stable. Which means the actual device has an energy source equivalent to a hypergiant star. Unfathomable power. Maybe they're gods."
"Whoever they are, they're not gods. And they sure as hell aren't immortal."
"So much anger, no place to put it."
"You don't know me."
"No, but I know anger. It's a wonderfully productive emotion."

- Tarka and Booker

Background information[]



Cast and characters[]

  • Mary Wiseman and Blu del Barrio are not credited and do not appear in this episode. Though there have been previous episodes in which Wiseman did not appear, this is the first episode in which she did not receive a credit.
  • This episode marks the first occasion Tig Notaro is listed in the opening credits (as "with Tig Notaro").


Production history[]

Links and references[]



Guest starring[]


Uncredited co-stars[]


23rd century; 26th century; 3160; 32nd century; Airlock 2; Akaali; ale; alloy; analysis; anger; anomaly; antique; arthropod; asteroid; Aurellio; authority; basement; black alert; Booker's ship; boundary marker; braid; brig; Burn, The; cage; captain; caracal; chair; chitin; civilization; cliff; colonist; colony; compassion; comms range; console; Constitution-class; containment field; control matrix; coordinates; costume; counterfeiting; Courage-class; courier; crime; criminal; Crossfield-class decks; dark matter; day; device; diplomat; DMA; DMA controller; DNA; door; Doxica; Draylan; duty log; Eisenberg-class; Emerald Chain; Emerald Chain territory; emotion; empathy; evening; Example; exoskeleton; experiment; eye; face; family; Federation; Federation Headquarters; Federation law; Federation members; Federation Security; food; foot; force field generator; freedom; fusion reactor; Galilei, Galileo ("Gaily Leo"); General Orders and Regulations; generation; genius; gig; god; gravitational anomaly; gravitational lensing; guard; hour; Human; hurricane; hypergiant; Iconian; Iconian Empire; immortality; individual; Inquisition; ionic radiation; jacket; JahSepp; jailer; Jameson; Janeway, USS; joyride; jurisdiction; justice; K-value; Kaminar; Kaminar High Council; Kelpien; kilometer; Kwejian; lalogi orb; land mine; latinum; laughing; life sign; light year; loading bay; lying; magistrate; main phaser array; mashed potatoes; math; Merian-class; metal; metaphor; Metron; middle finger; minute; miracle; mission; monster; morning; Mr.; Nacene; nanomaterial; narisa beetle; navigator; neural lock; nitrium; Non-Federation; noodle; noodle stall (noodle stand); north; NSS; observation (observation deck); Oonla; patient; pattern interrupter; pea; penance; phaser; phenomenon; Georgiou, Philippa; physics; playing card; political asylum; polysaccharide; population; primordial wormhole; prison; prison control system; prisoner; privacy barrier; protocol; Q Continuum; quanarium; question; radiation; radius; Radvek V (Radvek asteroid belt, Radvek chain); refugee; replicator; Risa; Risian; Risian whiskey; robbery; room; sand-copter; Saturn-class; savior complex; schematic; science; scientist; second; ship's counselor; Schlerm; size; society; space; spacetime; species; spore drive; Starfleet; subspace; subspace rupture; surface; survivor guilt; theory; Tilly, Sylvia; T'Pau, NSS; T'Pau-type; synthehol; tongo club; town; tradition; trajectory; trance worm; transport array; transport system; tunnel; Unknown Species 10-C; Venari sector; voice; wall; wormhole; X-ray; year

Galactic map references[]

Akaali; Altair; Andoria; Arcturus; Argelius; Barradas; Benzar; Bolarus; Calder; Celes; Cor Caroli; Deneva system; Denobula; Dessica; Devron; Draken; Draylax; Earth; Hyralan; Inferna Prime; Kaitos; Kaleb; Kelfour; Mab-Bu; Maluria; Memory Alpha; Nausicaa; Nelvana; Ni'Var; Ophiucus; Orion; Pollux; Priors World; Proxima; Pyrithia; Qualor; Rator; Rigel; Starbase 1; Starbase 9; Starbase 10; Starbase 22; Starbase 39; Tagus; Tau Ceti; Tellar; Tellun; Teneebia; Toroth; Veda; Vega; Wolf 359; Yadalla; Zetar system

External links[]

Previous episode:
"All Is Possible"
Star Trek: Discovery
Season 4
Next episode:
"Stormy Weather"