In Episode 5 of Season 1 of Discovery ("Choose Your Pain"), Captain Lorca attends a meeting with a small number of Starfleet admirals to discuss

the war effort, the wider deployment of spore drives, and the scaling back of Discovery's involvement in the war until that wider deployment.

Why did Lorca attend the meeting in person, especially when holographic communication has been emphasized so heavily in these new episodes?

It seems odd for Lorca to travel to meet with the admirals in person in rather dangerous times in what appears to be a fairly simple shuttle that

was clearly no match for the Klingons who eventually stormed it.

It seems that they could have used the holographic communicators for their conference call, or that Discovery could have chauffeured Lorca directly to the meeting.

Is there a reason why Lorca needed to see them in person and why Discovery couldn't take him there directly?

We have already seen admirals appear holographically, including in this very episode, where an admiral appears holographically to announce to Saru that

Lorca has been captured.

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    So that he could be <spoiler about Lorca>, building tension and resulting in an episode of both action and deep character development? Commented Oct 19, 2017 at 13:30

1 Answer 1


For Discovery not taking him, that can be explained by the ship still being classified. The Klingons know the name because they presumably have scans of the ship that's attacked them multiple times, but it wouldn't be surprising if Starfleet made a point of keeping it out of the way to reduce the chances of it being observed closely by potential spies, which it could be if parked over Earth or some starbase waiting for Lorca's meetings to end and who knows what civilian traffic might be around. Note that when they rescued the colony when they finally had the spore drive working, they simply took off and didn't reveal to the survivors who they were.

As for the in-person meeting, there's all sorts of reasons for that: there was the one meeting with the admirals, but Lorca could have had a bunch of others lined up to deal with while he was there, but we just didn't see them because it's not that interesting to watch a meeting with the Quartermaster-General over an issue with the number of photon warheads being delivered. He could have been attending a larger strategy meeting regarding the war. He could have been taking a day off to attend his sister's wedding. Starfleet Command might have decided there'd be more security with an in-person meeting. He might have been meeting with his Section 31 contacts. Whatever.

This sort of thing isn't unprecedented. Sisko and Picard were occasionally shown to be going to, at, coming back from, or their absence explained by some kind of meeting they were attending in person.

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    There could have been a meeting with the Quartermaster General too, but again: why not do that holographically? Also, Picard made shuttle trips but TNG was in a time of relative peace. Sisko usually used runabouts (which are faster and more heavily armed than shuttles) and, leading up to and during the war, used the Defiant for most travel. Regardless, Lorca seemed to be sufficiently close to enemy territory for the Klingon vessel to capture him, and so this seems like a somewhat unnecessary risk.
    – Praxis
    Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 21:21
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    “Starfleet Command might have decided there'd be more security with an in-person meeting.” They were worried that the Klingons had learned about Discovery. Maybe they thought subspace communication was insecure. (I’m not clear why Lorca couldn’t have taken the Discovery to the meeting, given it can travel anywhere instantaneously, but there we are.) Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 21:30
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    @PaulD.Waite: While I'm aware that STD is just SF, even there one-time pad encryption can not be cracked (unless STD is bad SF). Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 21:43
  • @MartinSchröder I daresay if the klingons are anywhere near the fedeartion in terms of tech...they can crack any encryption the federation has with time (in the new filmseries 1st film.....the federation decrypted a klingon distress call...and easily at that as a CADET did that!)
    – Thomas
    Commented Oct 19, 2017 at 1:39
  • @MartinSchröder: there was at least one reference in Next Gen about not wanting to discuss things over subspace, so presumably there are ways past whatever subspace security stuff they have. Commented Oct 19, 2017 at 7:01

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