(written from a Production point of view)
As a young child, Michael Burnham learns to be brave in the face of the unknown, from a story told by her father about a little girl who fought against her own fears a long time ago.
On a distant space station, a young Michael Burnham wakes up frightened and screaming for her father. He rushes in to comfort her, and the little girl asks the computer to turn on the lights. Surrounded by photos of her and her father, Michael grabs her stuffed tardigrade and admits that the dark had scared her. Her father suggests it was the idea of being afraid that was the problem, and tells her the story of the girl who made the stars to help her not be afraid.
The story is set "a thousand centuries ago, in Africa...", where the elephants, zebras, and rhinoceroses of the savanna lived alongside the first people. They celebrated the sun, but feared the dark as there were no stars in the night sky, conceiving of that fear as the "night beast."
The first people were hunter-gatherers who had only recently learned to farm, and were discovering that planting on the same land repeatedly meant the land was less fertile. The village and their elders came together and "freaked out."
Michael, imagining herself in the role of brave, creative young girl, suggests that new lands could be farmed. The lead elder reminds her it would take days to get to new land, and that would mean angering the night beast. Despite this, the girl goes off on her own one night with the light of a firefly. The firefly escapes, but just as the darkness is about to envelop the girl, a light in the distance appears to be a ship crashing.
The girl overcomes her fear to investigate the mysterious light and meets a being. The being witnessed the bravery in the young girl, and reveals to her that there is a wide universe beyond the valley. The girl asks how to show the others not to be afraid, and the being replies that she must show them, and gives her an orb to bring back to the village. The being's ship is repaired and he flies off into space.
Young Michael, in her bedroom on the space station, is inspired by the story and announces that she no longer needs the night light. Her father lets her go back to sleep, where she can dream of the great queen who conquered fear.
"Computer, aluminum... I mean... lu."
"That’s what I said, make it brighter."
- - Michael Burnham and her father Mike Burnham, as she struggles to turn the lights on after awaking afraid
"But, how can I tell everyone that they don’t have to be afraid?"
"You must show them"
- - The Girl to The Being, as gives her the gift of the universe
- The title of this episode was first revealed in a trailer released on 20 July 2019 at San Diego Comic-Con.
- The release date was announced on 5 October 2019 at New York Comic-Con. 
- This is one of two animated Short Treks in the second season.
- To date, this is the shortest episode of Short Treks, clocking in at just under eight minutes.
- Alex Kurtzman stated that this episode and "Ephraim and Dot" are both "tied to Discovery, but in interesting and surprising ways." 
- This short, along with "Ephraim and Dot" which premiered at the same time, are the first animated episodes in the Star Trek franchise since the last episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series, "The Counter-Clock Incident", first aired in 1974.
- The official episode description describes the spatial disturbance seen around the space station as a "lightning storm in space". That exact phrase was a plot point in Star Trek, where the uniqueness of a phenomenon described as such tipped off James T. Kirk that what he was seeing was linked to the incident in which his father was killed. Lightning-like phenomena in space were also seen in the region the USS Discovery found itself in "Calypso".
- Young Michael has a plush doll strongly resembling Ephraim, the tardigrade from "Ephraim and Dot".
Links and References
Africa; aluminum; Being; Being's orb; Being's ship; bow and arrow; constellation; elder; Elder, the; elephant; explorer; farming; firefly; first people; galaxy; Girl, the; "girl who made the stars, the"; hunter-gatherer; lantern; lion; navigation; night beast; night light; NX-class; queen; rhinoceros; Section 31 uniform; shadow; stars; Starbase 1-type (unnamed); Starfleet insignia; stuffed animal; tardigrade; warrior; zebra
"Ephraim and Dot"
|Star Trek: Short Treks
"Children of Mars"