In Star Trek Discovery S1:E8 Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum, we see Lieutenant Stamets refer to Cadet Tilly as 'Captain'.

In S1:E6 - Lethe Tilly has expressed an aspiration to be Captain one day.

In S1:E7 - Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad - we see that Stamets is not affected by the time-loop because he has some ability to be outside the timeline.

Now there are a few possible explanations of what is going on in this situation:

(a) Stamets has overheard Tilly's ambitions that she talked about whilst jogging through the corridor, and it is at the front of his mind, and slipped out whilst he was speaking.

(b) Stamets has a visual impairment due the spore drive or his other work, and for a moment genuinely believed he perceived the Captain.

(c) Stamets was thinking "I have to tell the captain [something]" and that was at the front of his mind. When he saw Tilly there was a social trigger to speak, and the conversation with the Captain tumbled out.

(d) He actually is outside the timeline and was remembering something from another part of time/space.

My question is: Is Stamets calling Tilly 'Captain' an error due to the effects of the spore drive connection?

  • 3
    Obviously it is, and obviously we are meant to think so. Why is this question here?
    – J Doe
    Commented Nov 24, 2017 at 17:53
  • What else do you think it might be? Scriptwriter error? Commented Nov 24, 2017 at 23:35
  • Additional theory: Elsewhere it's been theorized that Lorca is from the mirror universe and at the end of E09 that's where they've ended up. Maybe Tilly is Captain of the mirror Discovery, and that's what Stamets saw.
    – Plutor
    Commented Nov 28, 2017 at 0:45
  • It seems to me it is normal for a cadet to hope and maybe expect to someday reach a high rank like captain. So there is no need to suppose that Stamets need any special insight to think that Tilly wants to be a captain someday. If he called Tilly "captain" while they were off duty nobody would seek an explanation beyond joking. If he calls Tilly "captain" while on duty that needs an explanation ranging from being slightly drunk to seeing the future. Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 17:27
  • 1
    I've updated my answer to include new info from 1x11 and 1x12. Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 16:59

1 Answer 1


Yes, although it's not the spore drive itself that caused the error

As we discover in 1x10 "Despite Yourself", the mycelial network that the spore drive uses is capable of linking to parallel universes, including the the Mirror Universe, in which Tilly is "Captain Tilly".

In 1x11 "The Wolf Inside", Tilly remembers Stamets' comment and draws some conclusions.

Tilly: He called me "Captain". I-I didn't think much of it at first, save that it had a pretty sweet ring to it. But then we came here, to this universe, where I am captain.

Saru: You hypothesized that Mr. Stamets began receiving glimpses of this alternate plane that preceded our physical arrival.

[They discuss some of the brain activity of the tardigrade]

Tilly: Neurons firing nowhere, or so we thought at the time. [Changes screen] This is Stamets today. The micropatterns are a symptom of mycelial travel, but what we hadn't considered then was that they could also be a neuronal link. A kind of internal transdimensional portal to this universe. Or, theoretically, any dimension accessible via the network.

Thus the conclusion Tilly reaches is that Stamets' earlier comment wasn't precognitive insight, but rather a connection to the Mirror Universe due to the effects of the Spore Drive connecting to the mycelial network.

The next episode, 1x12 "Vaulting Ambition", gives us the full explanation when Stamets interacts with his Mirror Universe counterpart.

Mirror Stamets: From what I can tell, my physical form is also in a catatonic state. I was losing hope until you navigated the mycelial highway for the first time. I tracked your comings and goings. I've been trying to make contact, but I haven't been able to transmit more than glimpses—images of my universe.

Prime Stamets: That explains what I've been seeing. Visions of a palace. Tilly as a Captain. I thought I was going insane, but it was just you reaching out!

So while it wasn't the spore drive itself that was causing the error, the Mirror Universe Stamets wouldn't have been able to give Prime Stamets the notion that Tilly was Captain had he not been connected to the spore drive.

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