Release date: December 24, 2020
WOMAN: Georgiou was something else.
Such a force of nature.
Wherever she is, I’m sure she’s giving them hell.
ADIRA: You guys are really lucky to have each other.
You’re a part of that, you know. You have them, and… you have us.
We’re sort of a package deal.
You have me, too.
Is that Gray?
You’re lucky that we are at a memorial service, or I’d be giving you a piece of my mind. Um, I’ll just be… checking some data.
I’m sorry. I…
Uh, is that it? What, you show up out of nowhere and then you’re sorry?
I just, I… haven’t known how to be. You get to interact with the world and… be who you are, and I’m just… stuck. You’re the only one that can see me, and… that’s not how it’s supposed to be. I’m supposed to be connected. But that-that doesn’t excuse my disappearing. I…
I-I… I get it. As much as I can, anyway. We’ll figure this out. We’re gonna figure this out.
Computer must have found data from the Khi’eth. The Kelpien ship where the message came from.
Captain, um… the Khi’eth, there’s a life sign. Someone is alive inside that ship.
TILLY: Wait, how is that possible? The crash happened before the Burn. The radiation alone would… How could Dr. Issa survive that long?
Not her. The child.
Those marks on Dr. Issa’s head, they were not from radiation poisoning. She was pregnant. We need to set course for the Verubin Nebula.
The crash site is 200 kilometers into the nebula.
DETMER: There’s a nasty storm in there. I’ll do my best.
SARU: Take us in, Lieutenant. Quickly. Whoever’s down there, they’ve been waiting for rescue long enough.
SARU: Shields up. Red alert.
We’re being barraged by ionizing radiation.
Scan for the life sign.
Way too much subspace density interference.
Damn it, the storm is not supposed to be this bad.
We’ve got a mass of hydrogen and dust collapsing.
Shields at 80%.
Where’s our secondary emitter?
Nilsson’s working on it.
Shields down to 60%.
Take us closer to the planet.
If we lose shields, the hull breach will be catastrophic.
We cannot simply leave.
Shields at 50%.
Captain? Captain Saru.
Let me take my ship in to scout. Discovery’s too big. Radiation winds hit your disc like a sail.
I’ve lost ten percent of starboard-side thrusters.
My ship is smaller and can morph. She can take the heat. Trust me.
Go. And be safe, Mr. Booker. Mr. Rhys… Transport him now.
You in, Book?
Let us know the moment you get a clear scan of the life sign.
Copy that. Found a subspace fissure – should make it possible to complete the scan.
COMPUTER: Warning. Radiation breach detected
(quietly): Come on.
How are your shields holding, Book?
I’m diverting auxiliary power to strengthen them. I found the crashed ship’s approximate landing site.
COMPUTER: Emergency force fields failing. Radiation at critical levels.
BURNHAM (distorting): Book, how are you doing? Book? Book!
COMPUTER: Life sign detected.
I’ve got the life sign. It’s in a structure with a breathable atmosphere. Has to be the crashed ship. Transmitting coordinates. I have a visual on the planet, and I’ve located a pocket where Discovery can jump in safely.
Got ’em! We got the coordinates!
Get the hell out of there.
(panting): I’m fine.
COMPUTER: Autopilot engaged.
SARU: I trust Mr. Booker will be all right?
BURNHAM: Culber said he should be fine after a few cycles of DNA recombination.
SARU: Well, good. Then let us see what Ensign Tilly has for us.
Data from Book’s ship shows the Khi’eth crashed into a massive supply of dilithium.
SARU: Well, they were on a mission to investigate a dilithium nursery.
Sir… I’m reading that there is dilithium dispersed throughout this entire planet.
BURNHAM: We triangulated those black boxes, Ni’Var’s data led us to the nebula. Now we find a dilithium planet inside? I think we may have just found the source of the Burn.
(original Star Trek theme plays)
A planet made of dilithium. The Federation could use that kind of news right about now. Nice work. And the life sign?
SARU: We have confirmed that it is within the crashed ship, Admiral.
SARU: Catastrophic outside the vessel. Inside, however, there is a breathable atmosphere with only moderate radiation exposure. Provided we bring the appropriate medications, we can safely beam in to recover the Kelpien.
SARU: I plan to accompany the away team. While I am gone, my number one, Ensign Tilly, will be in charge. I have every confidence in her.
You believe this planet is also the source of the Burn.
BURNHAM: Yes, sir.
Is Discovery safe out there?
SARU: Well, it has been 120 years. Presumably, whatever unique phenomenon caused the Burn then could repeat now. But in that case, distance would not spare us.
Any chance the life sign could have been somehow involved?
SARU: The scientists were members of the Federation. And the child would have been perhaps four or five at the time.
So no. There’s one thing you should be aware of before you go: I had to send part of the fleet to Kaminar.
VANCE: Soon after you left, we received word that the Chain were conducting military exercises nearby.
SARU: Well, we could jump there immediately.
Remember what Osyraa did to draw Book out. She attacked Kwejian.
VANCE: We believe she’s doing the same with Kaminar. Trying to lure Discovery.
She wants our spore drive.
We will take good care of your home. I promise.
SARU: Thank you, Admiral.
VANCE: Now go rescue the life sign. And find out what we need to do to get that dilithium. And Captain… do be careful down there.
Hello there, lady.
Did you miss me?
I know you missed me.
Did I? How’d his DNA recombination go?
He’ll be fine.
I’m always fine.
Her DNA recombination was also successful. She’s good as new.
Well… on the ship, she was favoring her front left paw. Could you check her out?
I’ll let you know when she’s ready.
(Grudge yowls softly)
How’s my ship?
DOTS are working on it. She’ll survive. Glad the autopilot kicked in when it did.
Yeah. Me, too. See the data?
Hell of a thing, all that dilithium.
Game changer, right? No more planets stuck out on their own, held hostage by Osyraa. The galaxy just got a whole lot smaller. Hey. What’s on your mind?
I’m going. With Saru. And Culber.
And Saru worries you.
I’m not sure he can be objective. How he’ll handle it if he has to make a hard call. A painful one. One that costs him. But that’s what it means to be a captain.
He’s gonna need you down there.
Well, whatever answers we find… I just hope they’re enough. For all of us.
No, no, no, no, no. Radiation levels are off the charts.
And… and the odds of-of someone surviving for that long are-are vanishingly small.
I know that, too.
You can’t go, Hugh. You have me, you have Adira. And everyone here.
Paul… I need to go for me. I was so lost after I came back. And ever since we came to this future, I… I found a purpose I didn’t even know I was looking for. I can help Saru. And if there is a survivor… they’ve been alone for decades. And maybe I can help them, too.
Just… promise me that you’ll be safe.
We’ll keep comms open. You can listen in the whole time. Mm. I gotta go.
Hey. What’s up? We’re gonna, um… we’re gonna jump in, like, ten minutes.
Come sit. Before things get crazy.
(laughing): Oh, things are already crazy.
Fair enough. I know it’s a lot. Taking the conn. The first time Georgiou left me in charge, I don’t think I took a deep breath the entire five hours and 37 minutes she was gone.
Okay. (sniffles) Well, you know, it’s like my Granna Adele always used to say. Um, “until you’ve flown a starship into a flaming nebula, and gotten everyone out alive, you haven’t lived.” So… She didn’t really say that.
Right. Listen, there is a metal burr under the left armrest of the captain’s chair. We had one in the same place on the Shenzhou. Construction glitch at the San Francisco Fleet Yards. Whenever Georgiou got into a tricky situation, and she felt like all the different choices were mind-numbing, she would press on it with her thumb. To kind of stay in the moment. You know. And the first time she made me acting captain, when I sat down I immediately felt for it. But all that was there was this little shiny spot where she had rubbed that burr into a dent. And I’ve seen Saru touch the one here. On Discovery. So… burr, dent, shiny spot… whatever. It’s there for you. (whispers): You belong in that chair, Tilly.
Thank you. (exhales) Keep an eye on those radiation levels, okay? I need you all to come back in one piece.
MALE: Ensign Tilly, please report to the bridge.
(inhales) (exhales) Okay. Here we go.
SARU: Status report.
Shields dropping as expected, sir.
Ship’s holding steady in the pocket. Nice find, Book.
Coordinates for the Khi’eth are locked in, Captain. Sending to your badges now.
SARU: Dr. Culber?
Radiation levels on the Khi’eth are significantly lower than on the rest of the planet, but still too high for us. So keep an eye on your radiation levels. The meds we’ve just taken will help, as will the anti-radiation boosters that we’re bringing with us, but we’ll still need to be back in sickbay in four hours, at the most.
The shields will be repaired in three hours. As soon as they’re ready, we’ll jump back in to get you and the life sign.
Shields at 35%. Thirty.
SARU: It is time.
SARU: Number One, you have the conn.
Culber? Culber. You’re Bajoran.
You’re a Trill.
What the hell is going on?
Where’s Saru? Saru?
SARU: My heel is touching the ground.
SARU: What is happening?
BURNHAM: Where are we?
CULBER: Well, if we’d beamed directly to the planet, we’d be dying right about now. Gruesomely, I might add, so…
SARU: So we are on the ship. Discovery. Come in, Discovery. I have no badge.
No phaser or tricorder, either. Our supplies.
We need those radiation meds.
We must be in some kind of advanced holoprogram.
SARU: It is possible that our supplies are being simply masked by the program. Computer, exit program.
SARU: EXIT PROGRAM. EMERGENCY END PROGRAM.
SARU: I suppose that was too much to hope for.
Do you think Discovery can still hear us? I guess there’s no way to tell for sure.
SARU: At what point should we begin to worry about our health?
Well, as long as the ship returns as scheduled, we’ll be sick, but, uh… we’ll live.
BURNHAM: Four hours. Clock starts now.
SARU: We must not waste any time. We must locate the source of the life sign as quickly as possible…
FEMALE: This is a replicator. As you may remember from our earlier lesson, a replicator takes sub-atomic particles and turns them into the component molecules of the food or object, and then forms the food or object from those molecules. Like a peanut butter sandwich, hasperat, or sautéed– sautéed algae.
SARU: Uh, greetings.
FEMALE: When the replicator goes down, you’ll need a sub-micron scanner– a sub-micron scanner like this to get inside the panel.
SARU: We are here in response to a Federation distress call.
FEMALE: You are in the wrong– wrong program. Go to History and Current Events.
The computer sees us as part of the program. That must be why we look like this. What is the purpose of this holo environment?
FEMALE: Its purpose– purpose– purpose is training. Its purpose– purpose– purpose- Program malfunction…
125 years of radiation. I’m surprised it hasn’t broken the system down further.
CULBER: I can only imagine what it’s done to the life sign.
SARU: We have to find it. Somehow.
BURNHAM: Maybe that holo led us over here for a reason.
(creatures calling in distance)
SARU: We should proceed carefully. The rest of this training program may not be so innocuous.
(low growling in distance)
SARU: Oh, my.
The holo’s changed our clothing again.
Oh. Do human bodies respond negatively to heights?
My heart seems to be racing.
(chuckles softly) Yeah, that makes two of us.
Looks like an ancient stepwell.
A lot of pre-warp civilizations used them for irrigation.
The holo’s damaged there, too.
We have to be careful.
Look at that.
Looks like no one wants that door to open.
These appear to be a ritual of some kind.
Gonna take a wild guess and say it’s for protection.
The shape is… vaguely familiar.
Maybe the holo can tell us where we are.
What are you doing here?
You don’t belong here.
What program are you from?
Um, I realize that our appearance might be confusing to you.
We are not from any program.
I don’t understand.
I am Saru.
Uh, this is Michael and Hugh.
We are so relieved to find you.
Uh, we came in response to–
I believe it was your mother’s distress call?
Where are you from?
We are from outside. Outside the program.
You woke the monster.
Those doors unlocked from the outside.
The moment he got scared.
We only scanned one life sign down here.
So whatever’s in that room, what-whatever its emotional connection to him, it still has to be a holo.
Unless it leaves that room and threatens us or him, it is not our priority.
We are wasting time.
What if the survivor doesn’t know the outside world even exists?
What if he’s never heard of the Burn?
What if he doesn’t even know he’s on a planet?
Think about it. If all he knows is this program, we’re basically dealing with a child.
She’s right. We should be careful.
Emotionally, he’s likely to be fragile.
We should go slowly, treat this as a first contact.
Yes. Of course.
You two should go find him.
I’ll stay here and make sure whatever’s in there stays in there.
STAMETS: We need shields up and running to get back into the nebula.
Reroute all additional power from backup systems.
And hurry it up. They’re on a clock.
Three of our shield generators are too damaged to take the charge.
GRAY: Someone check structural integrity?
STAMETS: Boost comms, please.
BURNHAM (staticky): If you can hear us, we found something.
What was that?
STAMETS: Captain Saru?
This is Discovery. Please respond.
Bridge, are you monitoring comms?
We heard it, Commander.
We need to bring them home.
We can’t jump back into the nebula without full shields.
Only at 40%.
Commander Stamets, take all the power you need.
Captain, long-range sensors have picked up a ship approaching.
There shouldn’t be any Federation ships here.
Unless they’ve been stranded since the Burn.
This is not the place I’d want to stay for 125 years.
BRYCE: They’re not answering.
But they sent the correct response codes.
They’re ten minutes out.
VULCAN (staticky): The Federation is honored to welcome… to welcome the Kelpien… Kelpien and Ba’ul Alliance…
…as the newest members of the United Federation of Planets.
It’s the day that Kaminar officially joined the Federation.
SARU: The first holo led us inside.
Perhaps these can help us find the survivor.
CULBER: I’ll ask.
You are… Anticipated input.
Classification: rescuer. If true, skip-skip-skip…
Process emotion: ecstatic gratitude.
What did we just do?
I’m so pleased you have finally come.
You are… Anticipated input.
Yes or no?
Uh, may I ask, uh, “anticipated input”?
You are rescuers, are you not?
The child has been waiting for– cache database– 125 years, three months, 17 days, four hours.
How did you keep him alive for 125 years?
Executed protocols include life support, education, preparation for arrival of anticipated input.
Does he have a name?
How has he survived the radiation here?
Does he take medicine?
Were his genes epigenetically altered in utero?
My friends, the child may be frightened of your true appearance.
You will be the first sentient beings he has encountered since the program was initiated.
Therefore, your appearance has been… altered to be consistent with the program.
Are you the anticipated input?
If no, then initiate defense protocols.
Y-Yes, we are the anticipated input.
We have come to rescue the child.
Now, please, uh, where is he?
What are you?
Are you a part of the program?
Unknown vessel will be in range in two minutes.
Why didn’t we notice its signature when we jumped in?
Could be interference from the nebula.
Are there any M-class planets within five light-years of this location?
OWOSEKUN: None, Captain.
I’d have set a course for a new home ages ago.
Owo, scan again, but, this time, don’t scan the ship.
Scan the area around the ship.
Neutrino emissions around the ship are off the charts.
They make no sense.
That’s because that’s not a Federation ship.
We have a spore drive and we’re right next to a dilithium planet.
There’s only one person who wants both of those things enough to come all the way out here.
Red alert! Shields up!
Osyraa’s coming in weapons hot.
Ready photon torpedoes.
DETMER: How the hell did she even get here?
There’s a transwarp tunnel on the courier maps,
but no one in their right mind would actually use it.
DETMER: Should we jump away?
We can’t jump away.
We have to stay near the planet to protect the away team.
She’s scanning us.
We had the ability to cloak since the retrofit, right?
Yes, but we can’t jump while cloaked. If anything happens…
One crisis at a time. Do it.
What do you want to do now, Captain?
You are a program, are you not?
I am a program.
I knew it! Which one?
Let me guess.
Um, survival skills?
I’ve done the others so many times.
I did not think I would find something new.
I am teaching… the dynamics of social interaction.
For sentient beings, connection to others is incredibly important.
It helps sustain them.
Like my connection to the holos.
And this can prepare you for when you talk to someone else one of these days.
The other holo, the human, was he also part of your program?
Why do you ask?
He was unexpected.
He said he was from Outside.
I have not heard that teaching in a long time.
How long has it been?
Uh, there used to be lots of holos that talked about Outside.
But the Outside never came inside.
Probably the Outside is dead by now.
Well, I was also programmed to help you understand what is outside.
I’m sorry to have to tell you you are obsolete.
Then I suppose I should deactivate
if you don’t want a new connection.
No. No, wait.
We can still run the program.
It’s been a long time
since I encountered a new program.
Let’s talk about… social units.
Can anyone hear us?
He must be in here.
SARU: That is an Elder.
When I was a boy, the village Elders would gather around the fire with us at-at night and tell stories.
It was how we preserved our history.
But they never survived to this age.
So this is the oldest Kelpien you’ve ever seen?
I know it is not real, but…
CULBER: Hopefully, he knows where the survivor is.
Captain, look at this.
That is his name.
Does it have any significance?
Well, it does not directly translate, but it means something like “beloved gift.”
It is a tradition in Kelpien families that after you have suffered a great tragedy, the next child born in your family is named Su’Kal.
The child symbolizes the end of suffering.
Hello. Would you like a story?
No, Elder, thank you.
We are looking for Su’Kal.
Do you know where he might be?
I am programmed to teach Kelpien and Ba’ul history and traditions and to provide social and emotional support for the growing child.
Can you tell us who created you?
Why, his mother, of course.
We are all from her.
She knew she was dying.
That they were all dying and that Su’Kal would survive.
That’s what this is.
A whole world created to raise her son and protect him until somebody came to rescue him.
To know that she was leaving her child, must have been heartbreaking.
BURNHAM: Tell me what you know about families.
Families are where children are nurtured and loved and taught the norms and rules of the society in which they are raised.
Do you remember your family?
We played together.
Harvested kelp. I liked that.
I liked being in the water.
I liked the way it smelled.
I had a…
We ate together.
Those are family things.
It was a long time ago. The harvesting environment is no longer functional.
Do you remember anything before all of this?
I wonder if you might remember a time with your family before the harvesting environment.
When you were on a ship, perhaps?
Computer, reset parameters.
You’re here to teach me.
Forgive me. My programming is unstable.
Where is the exit?
I don’t understand.
There is always an exit.
A way to turn off the holoprogram.
To reset all parameters.
No. No. No, no.
Why would you do that?
I do not like this program.
I know this is meaningful for you, but we can’t stay here, Captain.
We need to finish the mission,
find Commander Burnham and get out of here.
(Saru clears throat softly)
Elder, uh, we understand the nature of your programming, but in order to provide social and emotional support for the growing child, we must locate him.
When he is afraid, he goes to his fortress.
The child hides away from all of us.
I’ll try to find it.
May I examine the book?
Would you like a lullaby?
(singing in Kelpien)
SARU: This totem.
I saw these near the entrance.
The All-Seeing Eye has become…
Uh, Su’Kal, he uses this design to build these totems.
What is he protecting himself from?
The monster from the story.
It rises from the sea, covered in kelp, to remind the children of Kaminar that to be truly free…
They must face their deepest fear.
I remember that story.
Su’Kal’s afraid of whatever’s behind that locked door.
So long as he will not face it, he will remain in this place.
As will you.
Discovery, if you’re listening–
Paul, hurry back.
We need you.
Any sign of Osyraa?
TILLY: How did she even find us?
If she wants your spore drive, she’s probably been tracking it.
DETMER: You mean scanning for our jump signature?
BOOK: She’d have gotten a read on it back at Kwejian.
Why didn’t she fire on us?
BOOK: It’s not like her.
Whatever she’s got planned, I’m guessing she’ll need us whole to make it work.
Engineering, what’s the status on shields?
STAMETS: 30 more minutes before we can jump.
BRYCE: Uh, we’re being hailed.
Tell Stamets we need shields in ten.
Put her through.
Where’s the captain?
I’m acting captain.
The Kelpien left you in charge?
Damn straight. I’m kind of busy right now, so could you get to the point?
You are not really captain material.
Oh, nice try. You don’t know anything about me.
Oh, sure I do.
Everybody’s friend, right?
Good with people, team player.
But deep down in that pretty little heart of yours, you know that you’re just a fraud.
How am I doing?
Mm, a certain 19th-century Earth neurologist would say that you’ve just proven the idea of projection: you tell me I’m a fraud because deep down inside, you kind of feel like a fraud.
It’s interesting. It’s not just a human defense mechanism.
Don’t test me, Red.
Okay, we’ll skip Freud.
What do you want?
Your ship, your spore drive and your crew as leverage.
Oh, no. Not gonna happen.
You will not take this ship or anyone on it.
Not now. Not ever.
(Su’Kal singing quietly)
MONSTER: See me.
SARU: That holo– it is the monster from Su’Kal’s story.
No! No! No!
There’s some kind of disturbance from the surface.
And it’s increasing.
STAMETS: The warp core!
Lock down the magnetic constrictors.
What do you think I’m doing?
Adira, purge the dilithium chamber.
TILLY: Stamets, what’s happening?
Something is destabilizing the dilithium in the core.
It’ll cause a chain reaction.
I have to reroute all power.
TILLY: Well, if it’s happening to us, it’s got to be happening to her, too.
OWOSEKUN: She’s got weapons locked.
DETMER: We’re not ready to jump.
Prepare to fire!
Shields at 54%.
Stamets, get in the spore cube.
You’ve got to be kidding.
I will not let Osyraa take this ship.
No! We-we can’t leave them.
I will come back for them, I promise you, Paul.
I’ll get them. Right now. I’ll take my ship.
Bring them back safely?
I got them, don’t you worry.
Go to the spore cube. Now.
Hugh will die down there. They all will.
I have an idea, but I need your badge.
Ready to jump on your mark.
No! No! (whimpering)
(Saru singing Kelpien lullaby)
Captain, the disruption from the planet has stopped, and we’re being hailed again.
Owo, tell me the second Book’s ship is clear.
Put her through.
We found each other.
You do realize that I have bigger torpedoes.
And an even bigger ego, but don’t forget, last time we ran you off with just our itty bitty little scout ship.
What your ship exploited was a structural anomaly, and I assure you it’s been fixed.
Well, we can fire on each other all day if that’s your thing, but in the end, I will self-destruct Discovery before I let you have her spore drive.
Just to be clear.
You know, I’ve been asking myself, why are you not just jumping away?
What is it that you’re protecting out there in the nebula?
I wonder… is your captain out there?
TILLY: Stamets, why aren’t we jumping away?
Down with you! Move!
If you can hear me, I’m in the nebula.
Whatever just happened down there, you can’t let it happen again.
It nearly caused another Burn.
He caused the Burn.
CULBER: Bodies adapt.
All this dilithium and subspace radiation– his cells acclimatized to it in utero as they divided.
BURNHAM: But he was only a child.
CULBER: Then something must have happened to trigger him.
BOOK: I’ll have to pull you all out now.
I’m in a stable pocket, but it won’t be stable for long.
Meet me at the rendezvous point.
Michael, I must ask the impossible.
I need you to stay.
If we leave Su’Kal alone,
it is only a matter of time before the Burn happens again.
With your xenoanthropological skills…
But it has to be you.
I am the captain.
He responded to you when you sang.
You have a connection with him.
Osyraa is here. My responsibility is to Discovery and her crew.
You’ll be distracted.
I will not allow my emotions to factor into my decisions.
You already have.
Whatever Tilly needs, I will be there for her.
Okay. Come on.
I know what it’s like to be all alone in a world that doesn’t make sense, Captain.
No one should experience that.
Not you and not Su’Kal.
You tell Paul I love him.
BOOK: I’m here.
Where are you?
I’ll come back for both of you.
If more than a day goes by, there’s no point.
Come on, Michael. Where are you?
COMPUTER: Radiation levels elevated.
Shields at 60%.
I’m beaming down.
There’s no way
I’m letting you off my ship.
They’ll need this medication to survive until Discovery comes back.
Reno gave me her badge to transport.
I’m not asking for permission.
(sighs) Damn it, Adira.
Shields at 40%.
Come on, Michael.
Where the hell are you guys?
Radiation levels critical.
You’re dangerously radioactive.
Shields at 30%.
This should help.
But you’re gonna need some love from Dr. Pollard.
Let’s worry about that when I get back on the ship.
Where are the others?
We have to go back for them.
I’ll explain on the way.
Shields at 20%.
Adira was here. They beamed down.
I couldn’t get a lock on them.
On the bright side, they took my radiation pills.
Should buy them all some time.
I hope so.
Shields at critical levels.
TILLY: Stamets, what’s happening down there?
I won’t help you.
You can’t use it without me.
What you want is irrelevant.
No! Please, no!
DETMER: I can’t get us out of this.
Commander Stamets, respond.
Take their badges.
You’re gonna have to kill me first.
And get blood all over the chair?
You two, make the smart choice.
Take your hands off the console.
This isn’t over.
I think it is.
Coordinates for Federation headquarters are already set.
(laughing): I mean, how convenient.
Now, tell me, what is it you say when you do your jumpy thing?
Get us out of here.
BURNHAM: No. No.
Oh, no, no.
We’re too late.