Just watched the first Episode of Star Trek: Discovery and one part confused me. First to give some background, I got this from Wikipedia...

Investigating a damaged satellite near a binary star system on the edge of Federation space, the crew members of the USS Shenzhou discover an object obscured from their sensors. After First Officer Michael Burnham volunteers to investigate the object, she finds an ancient, carved vessel. She is attacked by a Klingon, and when trying to escape, she accidentally kills him. A group of Klingons mourn the death of their soldier, dubbed the "Torchbearer", before the outcast Voq volunteers to take his place.

So I assume this vessel was Klingon, but what was the point of it? If T'Kuvma wanted to lure Starfleet by damaging their satellite, why didn't he just wait for them in his cloaked ship? Why have this other tiny ship just sitting out there with one guy on board?

1 Answer 1


The vessel was the Beacon of Kahless:

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It was not a regular starship/starbase, it had symbolic and religious aspects, and its purpose was not to be a lure to the Federation.

The proper lure, as you correctly pointed out, was the Federation satellite, that the Klingon damaged on purpose just to have someone come and investigate.

The Beacon purpose was to be used to reunite all Klingon Houses. When lit (and the Torchbearer had precisely this task), it emitted a very powerful subspace signal and an incredibly intense light, so strong that it was mistaken for a new star; all of this served as a symbol of unity for the whole Klingon Empire in front of a common threat.

The Beacon was was not meant to be an obvious presence, it emitted a scattering field that blocked sensor reading just because it should have been hidden. The USS Shenzhou discovered it just by chance: a Federation Officer physically walking over it and killing the Torchbearer was just an accident, it was entirely not planned, and could also have been seen as sacrilegious.

In T'Kuvma intentions, it was the damaged satellite that should have served as a lure; then, when Federation starships would have come to investigate, the Torchbearer should have lit the beacon, thus calling all Klingon Houses to the Binary Star system; with two enemy fleets present at the same place, a battle was pretty much ensured, which would have served his plan to reunite the Klingon Empire at his banner under the pressure of an external enemy.

The outcome in the end was more or less the same, but the unexpected discovery of the Beacon from the USS Shenzhou, and the following on-site investigation by Michael Burnham led to the killing of the first Torchbearer and to a different timing of the fleets arrivals.

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