Star Trek Discovery – S03E09 – Terra Firma: Part 1 [Transcript]

The U.S.S. Discovery crew journey to a mysterious planet in hopes of finding a cure for Georgiou's deteriorating condition. Stamets and Adira make a stunning breakthrough with the newly acquired Burn data.
Star Trek Discovery - S03E09 - Terra Firma Part 1

Release date: December 10, 2020

KOVICH: If you’d come to me sooner, I could have saved you a lot of trouble.

I wasn’t aware you had any medical training.

Yes, well, I guess I’m a man of widely varying interests. Now, I understand she’s been presenting with physiological symptoms, but the cure won’t be found anywhere in this room. Or in this galaxy, for that matter. Computer, open classified file Beta-4895-Omega. Lieutenant Commander Yor. Deceased. Time soldier.

Time solider?

Consider yourself lucky to have skipped the Temporal Wars. Amongst the many horrible things we discovered when weaponizing time: temporal travel can make you pretty sick. Turns out our molecules are designed to function in the time in which they’re created.

But everyone on Discovery traveled through time.

Yes, but only one of you is also from a parallel universe. Yor here traveled forward from 2379 and across from an alternate universe created by the temporal incursion of a Romulan mining ship. Before Georgiou, Yor was the only individual known to have traveled across both time and dimensions.

So, you knew this would happen to her?

Suspected. Every molecule fights to either go back in time or jump a cosmic divide. By the end, Yor was in such pain the doctors petitioned the Federation for euthanasia.

They couldn’t send him back to his own universe?

KOVICH: Not without breaking the Inter-dimensional Displacement Restriction. Part of the Temporal Accords. Which are ironclad.

But Georgiou didn’t get sick when she first crossed to the Prime universe.

900 years have passed. The Prime and Mirror universes have been drifting apart the whole time. Yor’s experience was a breeze compared with what Georgiou is about to face.

Well, thank you. I’ll tell her what’s happening.

No, you won’t. A dying Terran’s basic instinct is to find a way to die in battle. The more glorious, the better. You want to set that loose on your ship? Honestly, the best thing you could do is sedate her and put her in a comfortable cell in the brig.

Computer, incorporating new data, is there another solution to help Georgiou? Include data sets from before we jumped to the future and after.

This is pointless. There is absolutely no…

COMPUTER: There is a solution.

Show us.

(indistinct chatter)


(clears throat)

Well, if it isn’t Saru’s walking command blunder. Find a way to kill everyone on board yet? Maybe they’ll call you “Killy” after all.

If you’re struggling with everyday tasks, we can help you. Privately.

What are you insinuating?

I saw your hand.

My hand is fine.


See? Where I’m from, wars have been started over much less.

Thankfully, we’re not there. Culber’s asking for you.

GEORGIOU: Let me guess. He has found another way to say he has no idea what’s happening to me.

No. There’s been a development.

It won’t matter. If I were you, I’d find a phaser and put me down like a dog.

CULBER: Apparently, the cure can be found on Dannus Five. Every time we queried the Sphere data for treatment, no matter how we entered it, it gave us this same result.

KOVICH: That your computer merged with a sentient intelligence is… It’s great for movie night. Doesn’t mean we should trust it.

It was bringing the crew together. Helping them. Maybe it’s trying to help one of our own again?

Discovery’s computer has acquired all current Federation databases in addition to those from our original time– databases that were lost or damaged in the Burn. It has a scope and context we can’t even conceive of.

What are the odds we’re talking about here, really?

CULBER: According to the computer’s metadata analysis of probabilities, Georgiou has a five percent chance of survival if we take her there. Zero if we don’t.

SARU: Emperor Georgiou and I have not always seen eye to eye, yet I am sympathetic to her plight. That said, I regret that this is an instance wherein the needs of the many must outweigh the needs of the one.


SARU: We have received reports that the Emerald Chain is about to conduct the equivalent of military exercises as they did near Argeth. The entire fleet is being placed on yellow alert, Commander.

Where is this planet again?

Just shy of the Gamma Quadrant, near the galactic rim.

So nowhere near the Chain.

Georgiou will be a menace to any civilization she runs across.

And Dannus Five is uninhabited.

Well, an uninhabited planet is better than the brig in a starship.

Well, if we don’t find a cure there,

I doubt she’ll even make it back to Discovery.

♪ ♪

All right. I’ll authorize it. Providing Commander Burnham can answer a question for me.

Yes, sir.

Will you really be able to let her go when it comes down to it? ‘Cause the odds are not good here, and according to your files, you hesitated last time. Couldn’t make the hard call.

You’re referring to Commander Airiam.

Your entire crew would’ve died.

Which is exactly why I will never hesitate again. Sir.

Disclosure to crew will be need-to-know at Captain Saru’s discretion.


Captain Saru, a word?

(door whooshes shut)

Not what you would have done?

Well, given my understanding of the Federation’s priorities, I would have made a different choice, yes.

I never listened to advice when I was green, but take it from an old salt who’s made a lot of bad calls in his day. A crew member is drowning. If we let her, then your crew will never look at you or the Federation the same way again. And you will never look at yourself the same way, either.

Yes, sir. And thank you, sir.

We’ll deal with the Chain. See you when you get back.


BURNHAM: Georgiou. Philippa, I’m talking to you.


Planet in the middle of nowhere. Barely any chance there’s anything there. Being sent there by a sentient computer with a sense of humor. What am I missing?

Maybe we’ll find something that can help you.

Enough of your help. Your help is useless.

Fight me!

This is the coward’s way out. You know I would never hurt you.

Then you will die. (shouts) Killing me would have been the greatest honor of my Burnham’s life. It would have been my greatest honor to have been killed by her.

I’m sorry to disappoint.

A Terran greets death every morning. Being ill simply means that my birthday is arriving sooner.

Philippa, you’re never gonna get the death you want here. You’ll be a study. Just a point of reference. You want honor? It’s out there. No more tests or poking or prodding. Just you and me and whatever’s waiting for you on that planet.

In my universe, I plucked you off a rubbish heap.

How kind of you.

You think you are so different from her. (exhales) You have the same need to bend people to your will. The only difference is that you lie about it to yourself.

Does all that mean you’re coming?

(inhales) (sighs) Lead me to my death, Angel Michael.

Hold out your wrist.

GEORGIOU: What is that?

Death’s alarm clock. Dr. Culber wants you to wear it. It’s a bio-scanner to monitor your condition. Let’s just hope it doesn’t get to red.

It’s hideous.

Wear it anyway. And get ready. We’re about to go to black alert.

(original Star Trek theme plays)

BURNHAM: Bridge says we’ve arrived at Dannus Five. You preparing to meet an army down there?

One can hope. Those who I will take with me in battle will be my servants in the afterlife.

BURNHAM: I never thought I’d get you to keep that on your wrist.

Oh. I’ll let it fall off next time it flickers away. Saru. Come to see me off? How nice that you’ll be rid of me.

I do hope for the best of outcomes, but thankfully, you and I have never had to parse words with one other. I fear this may be the last we see of you, and I want you to know that I have learned as much from you as I learned from our prime Georgiou.

Where I’m from, we were prime and you were the mirror.

As it should be. Good luck, Emperor.

Thank you, Captain. Number One. I expect your crew may survive you after all.

You’ve been good for me. Weirdly. Good luck.

(quietly): Let’s go, shall we?

(wind whistling)

GEORGIOU: Where the hell are we?

BURNHAM: Right where the Sphere data told us to be. But I’ve never seen a planet look so…

Empty? A perfect place to die. Okay, we’re here. Now what?

Says we’re supposed to go this way.

♪ ♪

ADIRA: Come on, you’re a distress call. You want to be heard.

(computer beeps)

Hey. Hey, that’s sensitive equipment.

Sorry, sorry.

I take it that the algorithm is still stuck?

It’s been like that for hours.

Did you do a diagnostic?

I did ten.

No, wait. Y-You forgot to reinitiate.

No, I didn’t.

You paused the algorithm when you put in a new storage array. You need to restart it again. See? Right here.

I just cost us so much time. (laughs softly)

You’re tired. You haven’t slept. You’re angry with Gray.

Um, I’m not angry. (chuckles)

It’s okay to miss him.

I don’t miss him. Okay? The last few weeks have been great. Yeah, I-I am enjoying my life so much more without him. And if he was here right now, I-I would thank him for leaving without a word.

Maybe he’s doing what he thinks is best. Um, he did say that he wants you to make ties with the outside world, right?

Yeah, but he-he doesn’t get to decide what’s good for me.

No. He doesn’t.

COMPUTER: Video rendering complete.

What the…?

(exhales) Is-is that…?

Go find Saru.

Okay. Um… Yeah. Okay.

BOOK: Hey, Captain. A word?

If you do not mind talking on the move, Mr. Booker.

Yeah, sure. Look, I want to thank you again for what you did on Kwejian.

No need for thanks. It is the reason for the Federation’s existence.

That’s what I wanted to talk to you about. I think I can help you.


I want to stick around for a bit, and I plan to earn my way. I’m not sure if you heard, but I’m skilled a pilot, an engineer. And I have information.

I am listening.

I’m hearing the Emerald Chain is getting ready for what they like to call “training exercises.” Only most times, it’s not to train.

That confirms intelligence we have already received. Who are your sources?

Couriers. I-I can’t say who, but it does confirm your own intel, so let me keep at it, yeah?

I have no doubt you are a man of many resources, but this is the United Federation of Planets. We have a way of doing things. We must lean on protocol when situations are unclear.

So you want me to, uh, sit back, relax and read the field manual?

You may find it informative.

How exciting.

When we first arrived, I, too, was eager to assist. Ultimately, we had to wait for our moment to prove ourselves. I trust you will find your moment as well, Mr. Booker.

♪ ♪

BURNHAM: We’re gonna find it. Whatever it is, we’re not leaving here without a solution for you.

GEORGIOU: My Burnham wouldn’t have bothered trying to make me feel better. She’d have found a solution already.

BURNHAM: Is that so? Tell me something, Philippa. Why her?


Why did you pick her off the rubbish heap?

(laughs softly) All the other children came running, hands out, pleading. You stayed on the heap, prepared to be your own salvation.

Sounds nice, but that’s your Michael Burnham. Not me.

(chuckles) Well, that’s the part to make the gods laugh, isn’t it? You won’t give me a suitable death because you’re trying to save someone who’s already dead. Perhaps I should join your Philippa Georgiou in hell.

Things don’t always have to be so hard between us.

It doesn’t always have to be a fishing expedition for something to make you feel better.

You’re antagonizing me because you killed her and you regret it.

I’m antagonizing you because you are not her, and I regret that. We followed the damn directions. What are we doing here?

I’m picking up a li– Well, it’s not exactly a life sign, but…


BURNHAM: Looks like right here.

Hmm. Well, look at that. I was just reading about you. “Emperor Georgiou dies horribly painful death.” Geez, you know, read all about it, huh?

What the hell is this?

This is obviously… this.

Who are you? And what are you doing here?

I’m, uh, I’m Carl. And you’re asking the wrong questions.

BURNHAM: Fine. What is that?

What do you call a cute portal? A-door-able. A clown held a door open for me. It was a nice jester. Hmm. No sense of humor, huh?

Why is it here?

So she can go through. Maybe you should have studied up on doors a little before you came down here.

Where does it lead?

It doesn’t lead. It follows. The cure to all your ills could be through here. Who knows?

No radiation. No energy signature. Nothing out of the ordinary. It doesn’t really register at all.

(device beeping)


BURNHAM: Philippa? Did you do that?

It’s not my work you’re seeing here.

But we’re here for a reason, so do something. Help her.

You’re antagonizing me because you’re pissed at her. Am I right?


(device beeps)


You know, you really should just read the paper. Everything you need to know is right here in black and white.

That infernal paper says I’m dead, but I’m still very much alive.

Well, that’s because this is tomorrow’s news. You’re still very much alive today. But by all means, continue wasting time.

(watch ticking)

This is Dr. Issa of the KSF Khi’eth, registry number 971014… (distorted): broadcasting across all channels. We are stranded, but we have not lost hope. Six months ago, we were contacted by Captain Robert Weems of the USS Hiraga Gennai. They were coming to rescue us, expecting to reach us in two weeks at maximum warp. But we have heard nothing since…

She was already being affected by the radiation.

…that the Hiraga has been destroyed,


tying to penetrate…

TILLY: Those marks on her forehead must be radiation burns.

(distorted): It is urgent that the Verubin…

Sorry. We tried to fix the end, but that’s the best we could get.

The message is over a hundred years old. Made sometime after the crash. Has to have been at least a few years before the Burn.

They were Kelpiens.

Federation records show that the mission was to investigate a “dilithium nursery” located within the Verubin Nebula.

The Khi’eth is still broadcasting this distress signal?

On a loop, sir.

I-It’s kind of amazing their systems are still working.

Their ship must have retained some semblance of integrity. I want to know what is happening inside of it.

We have the prefix code to the onboard sensors. We should be able to open up a back door to the systems.

Do it.

Should I debrief the admiral, sir?

Admiral Vance is… well, he’s focused on the threat posed by the Emerald Chain. Let us wait until we have something more substantive to report.

Aye, sir.

Uh, dismissed.

(door whooshes open)

(door whooshes shut)

This is Dr. Issa of the KSF Khi’eth, registry number 971014, broadcasting across all channels. We are stranded, but we have not lost hope.

What happens if she goes through the door?

She’ll be on the other side.

Give me a straight answer.

The answer follows the question. It’s dangerous if it goes the other way.

Is this the cure?

Goodness gracious. Is she sick?



This is the chance.

Ah. Now, there is an answer.

This is the chance your computer was pointing us to, and I’m taking it.

CARL: Fair warning. Your lovely bracelet will remain safely in the green. But there are other ways to die.

BURNHAM: This is ridiculous. We’re going back to Discovery.

No. Whatever comes, at least I’ll die standing on my feet.


No time.


God, Michael, know when to shut the hell up.

(door creaking)

♪ ♪

♪ ♪


OTHERS: Terra firma!

OWOSEKUN/KILLY: Terra firma!

Terra firma!

Terra firma!

OTHERS: Terra firma!

Welcome aboard, Emperor Georgiou.

♪ ♪


A most excellent welcome.

Imperial Command from Discovery. The emperor is safely arrived. Emperor, it is truly an honor to have you aboard. Once we break Terra’s orbit, we’ll be off on our journey. Emperor?

Yes, Captain Killy?

Do you need to refresh in your stateroom first?

No. I want a full status report. Tell me everything you know.

We’ve received reports of discontent in the outer sectors. Insurrection among the slave systems. You know how slaves are.

The first Uprising?

Not to worry. We’ve sent out fleet ships to deal with the unrest. Any civilizations that don’t come to heel will be destroyed.

I see. And what about our journey?

Once we’re outside the Terran Defense Grid, we’ll set out at maximum warp. We’ll arrive at the Imperial Shipyard at Epsilon Indi Four within a few hours.

Imperial Shipyard. This is… this is the day we christen the Charon. Hmm. This is… This is the day Lorca betrays me. He’s plotting a coup. As you are aware.

You must know I would have nothing to do with a plot against you.

Of course not. If I thought so, I wouldn’t ask, and you’d be dead. Tell me what you’ve learned.

I was waiting to speak to you somewhere more private.

The Honor Guard can be trusted.

Very well. You are correct. There is a plot against you. Lorca. He’s inciting violence, claiming that you’ve authorized arrests and executions for unproven acts of sedition.

And now he wants me dead.

So it would seem. And, um, well, there is more, but…

GEORGIOU: You wish to inform me that Michael has betrayed me. They are sleeping together. I already know that. (exhales) And today is the day she will try to take my throne and my life.

Emperor, this is high treason.

I will handle it.

Imperial law is clear on the act of treason. Death is mandated, regardless of the perpetrator’s relationship…

Let me make myself clear. Lorca’s coup will fail, Michael will return to the fold and the path of what has been set in motion will change because I will change it.

My apologies, Emperor. You know I seek only to protect you. And so I must tell you that if this situation were known, you would risk losing the trust of your loyalists. And they will show you no mercy.

Then I will need you to make certain that it is not known by anyone. I will not die today. I know Michael. It is not too late for her to make a different choice.

(dance music playing)

(loud chatter)



You may proceed.

Her Imperial Highness, Mother of the Fatherland, Overlord of Vulcan, Dominus of Qo’noS, Regina Andor, Emperor Philippa Georgiou Augustus Iaponius Centarius.

ALL: To the Empire. Long live her Imperial Majesty, Emperor Philippa Georgiou!

Long live the Empire.

(door whooshes open)

Hello, Mother.

It is so good to see you.

I’ve missed you.

How long has it been? Six months?

Feels like much longer.


You were recently on a mission to Kepler 174d. I remember scouting that planet. It was quite beautiful.

Yes. The flora, the architecture. I visited the family of artists you mentioned.

Their paintings and sculptures are sublime. None like them anywhere.

Truly. And they will be all the more appreciated, now that I’ve blinded the artists and removed their hands. What survives of their art will only increase in value.

I’d forgotten how thorough you can be.

(laughs softly)

GEORGIOU: Despite your triumphs, you seem troubled.

MIRROR BURNHAM: Oh, what could be troubling? Profits are up, our grip is stronger than ever.

I’m merely saying you’ve always been able to bring your cares to me. No matter what they are, we can talk about them.

My cares are simple. When you prosper, I prosper. When you’re happy, I’m happy.

(glass clattering)

Clumsy bastard! Did you just spill kuur sauce on my boots?

KELPIEN: I’m sor– I’m sorry. I’m sorry.

Did you?!


This one’s ripe for the plucking.


Have him sent to the butcher. We’ll have fresh soup tomorrow.

Fear not. Your pain will be over soon. The madness will not take you. Can you stand?

(quietly): Yeah. Yes.

I am sorry, Commander. My comrade is ill. I will see that another servant attends to you immediately.

Can you believe these things?

GUARD: Let’s go, Kelpien.

MIRROR BURNHAM: Kelpiens. What a waste of evolution. We should kill them all.

Michael, have you heard? It seems Captain Lorca is moving against me.

Lorca? (laughs softly) If he is, he’s aiming well above his station.

When was the last time you had contact with him?

I slept with him a few times last year, but I quickly grew bored.

You can’t hide your feelings from me, you know. It’s always better to tell the truth.

The truth is easy. Anyone who betrays the Empire deserves death.

I couldn’t agree more.


Did I call… for wine?! Did the emperor?! I saw what you did, slave. You dared speak to an officer of the Empire?

I am sorry, Master.

You’ll join your friend. And your ganglia will be sweetened for dessert. Take him!

No! This Kelpien is your slave.

You gave him to me yourself, Mother.

GEORGIOU: Well, I’m taking him back. When I’m finished, he will wish he were dead, but his service will reach the level of art.

You may speak.

Thank you for the chance to serve. I will endeavor to learn the proper ways.

It seems you are already quite skilled.

This has been my life’s work.

Your friend who was ill, it was the Vahar’ai, wasn’t it?

You know Vahar’ai?

It happens before we cull you, isn’t that right?

The cull is your gift to us, to save us from madness. For that, we are grateful.

Sometimes, it is good to go a little mad.

Emperor? Vahar’ai is a term we only use amongst ourselves. There is no need to coarsen your tongue. I-I’m surprised you know it at all.

My eyes see all. My ears hear all.

You honor us.

But perhaps I don’t see everything. There are worlds the slaves are privy to that even I cannot enter. So let me ask you. Why is my daughter betraying me? What am I missing?

I am afraid I do not know what you mean.

You do know what I mean. And you are not afraid. Check your ganglia. Your instincts have spoken. If you answer me truthfully, no harm will come to you. She is plotting to kill me. Perhaps even today. Why? What are Michael and Lorca whispering in the dark?

They fear that you have changed.

Go on.

If they knew, even that you had learned the term Vahar’ai, they would be unsettled.

You mean they would smell weakness.

I once overheard a Terran commander say, “There is only one rule for Terrans in this world. He who sheds the most blood makes the laws.” Everything I have seen confirms that to be true. She cannot love what is weak. Not if she is to survive.

From now on, you will be my eyes and ears. What unfolds from here is not up to her. It is up to me. My robe.

♪ ♪

If strength is what my Michael seeks, she will find that I have more than enough.

(indistinct shouting, clamoring)


Rhys challenged Owo for her position as the new security chief on the Charon.

Is that all you got?

You’ll need a closed casket when I’m done.

He doesn’t really want the job. He just wants the title and the dominion of the Charon over the red-light district.



I don’t know. Looks like there’s about to be a changing of the guard.

Care to make a wager? Say, a hundred credits?

Make it 500.


(shouting, grunts)


She fights for loyalty to the throne.


Loyalty always wins… if the focus of that loyalty is strong and worthy.

And feared.

KILLY (over P.A.): Honored crew and guests, please gather in the shuttle bay. It is time.

Enough! The emperor will not miss her dedication ceremony for this. Kill each other later.


This isn’t over.

Are you ready?

♪ ♪

MIRROR STAMETS: Attend, attend, all foe or friend. A tale for you at journey’s end. She planted steel and glory sowed–  our sovereign, Emperor Georgiou!


When Klingon forces savage, vile, encircled us with guile and wile, a then unknown, a peasant girl, did vanquish them and save the world.

♪ ♪

Honorable, kind, demure, from heaven sent, of spirit pure, her blade was swift, her aim was true, her enemies were bowed from rue.

Then armies of evil assembled against us, that child, now a woman, was there to defend us.

Guided by light against forces perverse, she brought peace and love to the whole universe.


♪ ♪

Overlord of Vulcan, Dominus of Qo’noS, Regina Andor.

Such gravis onus.

Slayer of Klingons.

Daughter of Rome.

Welcome, Georgiou, to your new palace home.

Behold, the Empire’s new flagship and the new seat of power for our great emperor, the Charon!


♪ ♪

GEORGIOU: Friends, comrades, warriors of the Empire. I have seen our future. Tonight we stand on the brink of greatness. But greatness requires strength. The will to do what needs to be done. Our enemies fear a future they cannot understand. They attack from without. They attack from within.

(all gasp)

As we christen the Charon… forces have been plotting against our Empire. One disloyal individual can destroy everything which we have built. Everything we will yet become. And I will not allow that.

♪ ♪

Long live Georgiou!

ALL: Long live Georgiou!

Terra firma!

ALL: Terra eterna!

♪ ♪


Hello, Captain.

(weapons whirring)


GEORGIOU: Seeing as we are here at the Charon, I assume you were rushing off to prepare the way for my arrival on board?

If you have something to say to me, say it.

GEORGIOU: You need to find better assassins. I know you’re working with Lorca and Stamets was helping you.

My daughter, I know everything. Confess. And I will spare your life.

(laughing): “Confess and I’ll spare your life”? (continues laughing) Who are you? Your weakness grows every day.

Do not confuse growth with weakness. My power is absolute, as you have seen. Now tell me what this is really about. You owe me that.

Why, because you “plucked me out of a trash heap”? (chuckles) I was master of that trash heap. And now I’m nothing. I’m a tool. I’m just this reflection of you who can never stand on my own. But Lorca… he loves me for me. And he honors me… for me.

I gave you every opportunity. It didn’t have to come to this.

Of course it did. You want a confession? (laughs) Yeah. I planned a coup with Lorca. I betrayed you. I betrayed you. And I’d do it again. So come on. What are you waiting for? Execute me, Mother. Do it.

♪ ♪

(panting softly)

(breathes raggedly)

No, that is the easy way. And I know how that story ends. You die, I die, or both, but… as of this moment, our future is unwritten. Let’s make it count, shall we? Take her to the agonizer.


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