In Star Trek: Discovery, Michael Burnham was sentenced to life imprisonment. Given that she is serving on Discovery, does this mean that her crime is forgiven?

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    I'm making a rather substantial edit to clarify what I think is the meaning of your question. If I'm mistaken, please feel free to roll back the edit. – Adamant Oct 10 '17 at 17:22
  • The producers should get life in prison for what they've done to Star Trek – Kai Qing Nov 13 '17 at 22:42

Not at all. Burnham has not been pardoned. In fact, S1E5, "Choose Your Pain" makes it clear that she's basically been pressed into service under Star Fleet regulation 139.82, which allows conscription in a time of war. While she no longer seems to be confined to quarters when off duty (for example, nobody thought it was odd she attended the party in S1E7, "Magic To Make the Sanest Man Go Mad"), she still has no rank--strictly speaking she has to take orders even from Cadet Tilly right now. She has merely been remanded to the Discovery's custody for the time being.

In S1E8, "Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum", and S1E9, "Into the Forest I Go", Burnham makes it clear that she fully expects to be remanded back to prison when the war ends.

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    Pretty much agree. Though I'd also add that the Discovery is a top-secret ship, conducting fringe science experiments. Its existence is only known to its crew and a few very high-level Star Fleet people. And probably Section 31. The captain of the Discovery has a lot of freedom to do (almost) anything he wants - including diverting one of the very best scientists from prison to serve under him. – Tim Oct 10 '17 at 19:35
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    For Burnham, practically speaking there's not much reason to be anywhere other than her cabin. Until the end of the 4th episode where Tilly implied that people's opinions on the ship were starting to change, what was she going to do outside her cabin other than work or eat? It's not as if people would be going out of their way to socialize with her. – Keith Morrison Oct 10 '17 at 21:58
  • I've updated my answer after "Choose Your Pain" made some things clearer, including the fact that Burnham's impressment is not a secret. – Michael Scott Shappe Oct 16 '17 at 21:08
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    There have been numerous occasions in prior Trek series where for whatever reason--an experiment, a particular mission--a "specialist" (even if not called that) has been brought aboard, often times civilian. It would make sense that she's been given that title, making it clear to the crew, especially those that might still have issues with her, that she's recognized as belonging on the ship, but at the same time she isn't officially in the chain of command. She'd also be expected to leave the ship once her particular reason for being aboard was over, in this case the war. – Keith Morrison Nov 11 '17 at 6:04
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    @KeithMorrison: As to your first comment, Burnham doesn't look like the social type regardless of whether people want to socialize with her or not. But she is driven by her passions, so it stands to reason that she's always working (possibly on personal projects in her downtime). As to your second comment, Burnham's position is different than that of a guest or civilian. Burnham is still following hierarchy, whereas guests are accommodated and not put to work (specialists obviously work, but tend to work independently where possible and relevant). – Flater Nov 14 '17 at 14:05

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