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In Discovery episode 2x04, "An Obol for Charon", temporary crewmember

Reno

describes her task as follows:

Chief engineer sent me to firewall off the critical propulsion systems.

She tells this to Tilly and Stamets.

Who is that chief engineer? During season 1, I was convinced Stamets is the chief engineer of the ship, but the above statement makes it obvious that someone else holds that position - have we seen him or her, or has their name been mentioned so far?

  • "Lt. Commander Paul Stamets is the U.S.S. Discovery’s science officer and chief engineer, and was the partner of the late Dr. Hugh Culber." - startrek.com/database_article/stamets – Valorum Feb 25 at 20:35
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    @Valorum: Based upon the quoted piece of dialogue, that is wrong. – O. R. Mapper Feb 25 at 20:40
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    Well, indeed... – Valorum Feb 25 at 20:52
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    One assumes that after he became catatonic, then mentally unstable, then decided to leave the ship, he probably was replaced as Chief Engineer. – Valorum Feb 25 at 21:00
  • It's open to question whether Stamets was ever really the Chief Engineer because all he ever worked on so far as we know was the magic mushroom drive. That may have been been his place in the ship's rank heirarchy but someone else was apparently in charge of the real engines. – David Johnston Feb 25 at 21:04
5

There's nothing on screen to indicate that Stamets was the chief engineer, ever. He was the spore-drive specialist, and was never seen doing anything outside of that which a chief engineer would be responsible for.

The confusion likely arose because Discovery was the first Star Trek series where the Chief Engineer wasn't one of the primary characters. Likewise, we have no idea who the Chief Medical Officer is, and before Burnham was reinstated and given the assignment, it wasn't clear who was Chief Science Officer.

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    Good grief! Three departments where we don't know who the chiefs are? I suppose that's the problem with focusing on "lower decks" crew members. If the stakes are big enough that the department chiefs would naturally get involved, their constant absence just seems ridiculous. – Thunderforge Feb 25 at 23:27
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    @O.R.Mapper, Stamets wasn't in charge of main engineering; he only dealt with the spore drive (which makes sense, as he was primarily a biologist). He was never shown as dealing with the warp core, warp drives, ship damage and repair, or a whole host of the other issues Chief Engineers on Starfleet ships typically are. – Keith Morrison Feb 26 at 17:36
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    In 2016, when Rapp was cast, this is how Stamets was described: "an “astromycologist,” fungus expert, and Starfleet Science Officer aboard the Starship Discovery." – Keith Morrison Feb 26 at 21:19
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    O'Brien was de facto chief engineer, as engineering clearly fell underneath his Operations assignment. It's possible that for fixed installations Starfleet didn't use the exact same terminology as they did for equivalent positions on ships. – Keith Morrison Mar 4 at 16:09
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    @Pod, no, Culbert was never stated to be CMO, nor Pollard. Culbert was, indeed, explicitly pulled off a patient, which wouldn't be the case if he was CMO. – Keith Morrison Mar 5 at 15:48

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