In the opening scene of Star Trek Discovery’s pilot, Michael and Cpt. Georgiou walk across a desert, fix a well, then try to beam out, fully expecting it to work. Why didn't they just beam down to the well and save a walk?

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During that scene, they were talking about General Order # 1 - "No starship may interfere with the normal development of any alien life or society."

As indicated via the dialogue, apparently a nearby asteroid mining accident had affected the planet, causing a planetwide drought that would kill the inhabitants within "a thousand hours" (probably hyperbole on the part of Burnham but the point was taken)

Had they dropped right into the well, they could have risked exposing themselves to the natives, which would violate the Prime Directive.

Additionally, the storm/interference that made it difficult for them to be found may have made it equally difficult for them to pinpoint the location prior to beaming in.

  • Ah, didn’t remember that that was the alternate term for the Prime Directive. But wouldn’t beaming out also cause a violation? Or for that matter, opening the well? Sep 25, 2017 at 3:17
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    they were saying the intention was to just re-establish the well without the locals knowing about it. Turns out - at least one local saw something, but ultimately just two figures walking away in the distance.
    – NKCampbell
    Sep 25, 2017 at 3:43

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