Can someone please explain how in Star Trek: Discovery they say they haven't seen a Klingon in 100 years but the main character's family was killed by Klingon and she couldn't be much older then 30 years old.

This seems like a clear contradiction.

  • 3
    There are likely to be many plot holes and contradictions in Discovery. Sep 25 '17 at 14:03
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    “they say they haven't seen a Klingon in 100 years” — nope. The captain says almost no-one’s seen a Klingon in 100 years. Sep 26 '17 at 8:48
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    It's possible that Michael saw the Klingons, but Starfleet never officially recognized it.
    – I' Robot
    Sep 28 '17 at 4:20
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    Honestly, bad writing I think. I don't buy @NKCampbell's answer that "saw" literally means seeing an individual Klingon. That's like saying Americans didn't "see" the Japanese at Peal Harbor. I don't buy a lack of Star Fleet recognition either. Sorry. A raid that killed people would be recognized by Star Fleet. Oct 27 '17 at 10:39
  • 2
    Orbital Bombardment. If the Klingons stay on their ships and don't talk to anyone on a viewscreen, nobody will see a Klingon
    – geewhiz
    Jan 4 '18 at 15:37

Is there evidence that Burnham "saw" a Klingon in person, or that the attack on her home was simply an orbital bombardment? We don't know exactly what happened at Doctari Alpha.

The admiral says that they have been in a 'cold war' with the Klingons and that they have had 'fleeting run-ins' with them over the century. Not zero interactions.

Also - remember that Burnham is not just any human.

She was raised on Vulcan

which apparently has had more interaction and possibly more diplomatic ties w/ the Klingons than the Federation

  • 2
    But they're a founding member of the Federation.
    – OrangeDog
    Sep 26 '17 at 8:49
  • 3
    @OrangeDog Agreed. If the Vulcans have more interactions with the Klingons, then the Federation does as well, by association. I think this is a plothole.
    – Hans Olo
    Sep 26 '17 at 10:54
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    @OrangeDog it seems there is some sort of rift between Vulcans and the rest of the Federation (or at least Starfleet) at this point. In the flashback in Episode 2, Michael indicates the transporters on the Shenzou are quite outdated and the subsequent dialogue indicates Vulcans might remain somewhat more advanced than Starfleet. Also note we haven't seen any Vulcans in Starfleet uniforms yet. Spock would have been in Starfleet, although we learn his decision to join this was looked upon unfavourably by at least Sarek. Sep 27 '17 at 0:36
  • 3
    T'Pol was in Starfleet though.
    – OrangeDog
    Sep 27 '17 at 9:19
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    Actually T'Pol was not in StarFleet she was a member of the Vulcan High Command or whatever it was called for the lower ranks. She was assigned to the enterprise. Oct 31 '17 at 2:36

I may point out that in TOS "Balance of Terror" nobody has seen a Romulan in 100 years and yet a Romulan war ship destroys outposts along the Neutral Zone, killing the crews of those outposts.

Actually by the time of "Balance of Terror" nobody on the Earth and Federation side has ever seen a Romulan, realized that the Romulan was a Romulan, and lived to report to other people that was what Romulans look like. Ever. Even during the bloody Romulan war a century earlier when many Earth and Romulan ships were destroyed and their crews killed, there was no report about what Romulans looked like.

So if someone said literally that nobody has seen a Klingon for 100 years, that is still consistent with Klingons sometimes killing Federation citizens like Michael's family and vice versa.

And if someone actually said there has been little contact with the Klingons for 100 years that means there has been a few contacts and/or conflicts with the Klingons in that period. And thus it would be Michael's bad luck that her family were killed in one of those very rare and unusual contacts.


This claim seems really sketchy, based on the rest of what we're seeing.

  • Lots of Klingons obviously feel like the Federation are a huge threat, which doesn't jive well with the idea that the Klingons have been hiding away so thoroughly.
  • Burnham feels like she understands Klingon culture and psychology, which doesn't make sense (or is just the height of hubris) if nobody gets to see Klingons ever, or interact with them.
  • The Vulcans have an out-and-out treaty with them -- that must have been, you know, negotiated, and once it exists, they should have at least some form of formal relations.

Note how broad the claim is, in context of the scene:

BURNHAM: There are Klingons out there. We need to go to red alert.

GEORGIOU: Michael. Almost no one has seen a Klingon in a hundred years.

Georgiou isn't merely saying "Klingons are awfully private and/or stealthy, so we never see them face-to-face." She's saying "There can't be Klingons here, we don't expect to find them anywhere, because nobody encounters them ever." She's skeptical at the idea that encountering Klingons -- hidden, stealthy, secret Klingons! -- is even possible. That doesn't seem to match up to points like the ones I've mentioned.

It's possible the series will go back and resolve this, but so far, I'm inclined to write it off as hand-wave-y worldbuilding, and dismiss it as a one-off error.


They specifically reference at least one indecisive battle that was also mentioned by Spock in TOS, and given the timing would have occurred about 10 years before "Discovery".

Human example of today: there's essentially no contact between the outside world and the people of Sentinel Island, and hasn't been since the modern world became aware of them in the 1800s. Yet there's still been brief episodes of conflict between the Sentinelese and people who, intentionally or not, land on the island or get close to it. So they've been in isolation, but that doesn't mean there's no contact.

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