Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: Discovery Provides A Major Clue How The Burn Happened

Star Trek: Discovery has just provided a major clue that will help discover how the Burn happened. Star Trek: Discovery season 3 has taken the crew of the USS Discovery into a quasi-dystopian future where the Federation is in retreat as a result of a mysterious event known simply as "The Burn." Galactic civilization has always been dependent upon a crystalline mineral called dilithium, but one day almost all dilithium in the galaxy was rendered inert. The result was catastrophic, because dilithium is used in a starship's warp core, stabilizing the matter/antimatter reactions. Every ship with an active warp core was destroyed. Millions died across the cosmos, and interstellar travel became a lot more difficult overnight.

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Nobody knows why the Burn happened. There are theories, but frankly nobody has ever been in a position to investigate it. But, having newly arrived in the 32nd century, Michael Burnham is determined to discover the truth. She believes the Federation can never be restored until the cause of the Burn is understood, because there will always be the fear it could happen again, rendering the remaining dilithium inert, causing more devastation. The Federation has given up on this - after all, they have had over 100 years to acclimatize to this new reality - but Burnham refuses to do so.

In Star Trek: Discovery season 3, episode 6, Burnham discovers an important clue to the Burn. She believes the Burn did not happen all across the galaxy at once, but rather that it had a point of origin. In order to prove her theory, she has successfully located the black box from a starship destroyed in the Burn. The Federation already possess the records from two black boxes, and by combining this with the data from the third, she hopes to be able to triangulate the source of the Burn.

Burnham's theory is sound. In truth, it has always seemed strange that Starfleet insisted the Burn happened simultaneously across the galaxy, simply because that seemed rather improbable. But the confusion is understandable, because - depending on the cause of the destruction - the difference in time across each quadrant of the galaxy may have been miniscule. What's more, with warp travel being difficult and expensive, the Federation never had the resources to investigate different parts of the galaxy to check for any more significant variations.

The Burn is currently a mystery. The most reasonable cause is some sort of resonant frequency that affected the dilithium crystals, changing their properties. This sound may well be linked to the equally mysterious music that Burnham has noticed across the galaxy. Whatever the truth may be, though, it's reasonable to assume Star Trek: Discovery is about to reveal it - because if Starfleet can triangulate the source of the Burn, the USS Discovery is the rapid response vessel perfectly equipped to investigate it.

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