In the most recent episode S02E12 of Star Trek: Discovery,

Tenavik told Pike that if he could choose to walk away from the future he saw and if if he took the time crystal, his fate would be sealed forever.

How exactly does it work?

  • I'm not familiar with the show but that doesn't seem POB? If it's a matter of future works policy, please leave a comment before you send it to queue, people.
    – Jenayah
    Commented Apr 9, 2019 at 6:28
  • I wondered why Pike didn't touch a dozen time crystals and pick the one with the better future. Makes no sense why he took the first one. Maybe the Klingons prevented him from doing it off camera. I wouldn't take my melting face scenario without asking, at least. Commented Apr 16, 2019 at 15:38
  • @JerryNixon-TOS see this answer. I'm pretty sure any crystal would have shown him the same fate. It's not the act of touching the crystal that will lock the future, regardless of what Tenavik says. It's just knowing how to defeat Control that will bring about nasty personal side effects ;)
    – Andres F.
    Commented Apr 19, 2019 at 18:42

2 Answers 2


Now that we've seen the finale, I think this question has a logical answer.

Taking the crystal is a necessary pre-condition for defeating this season's antagonist. By taking the crystal, it is possible for the Discovery crew and Pike to solve all of the problems that led them to this point, which means that Pike's story continues as we expect it to based upon the Original Series, e.g. the vision Tenavik talked about becomes true.

The alternative to defeating the antagonist has been stated to be the complete destruction of all known intelligent life in the galaxy. Indeed, later events in the finale show that without the time crystal,

The entire plan to stop Control would have failed, with Discovery and Enterprise destroyed in the final battle or before it, because Burnham would have been unable to guide Discovery to collect all necessary plot tokens (Reno, Kelpians, the time crystal, the Klingons, Po) to win the battle by being the Red Angel who created the Seven Signals they were looking for in the first place.

In that case, Pike would have avoided the future that he was shown by Tenavik because the Federation would likely not exist, or Pike would have died sooner, so he would not be able to have the future we already expect him to have based on the Original Series.

So the trick here is that Pike is shown the good outcome in a very misleading way that looks very bad for him. Pike is not shown the alternative, which also would have been bad for him, but in an entirely different way.

  • 3
    +1 This. I think it's not that physically touching the crystal (or any other crystal) will lock Pike into that future, that's just the usual ambiguous wording typical of Mysterious Monks And Oracles Guarding Secrets (tm). I think it's actually that the crystal is telling Pike that, by acting according to the visions of the future the crystal will show them, they will choose a path among many others that will eventually lead to Pike's horrific fate (besides saving the galaxy, of course).
    – Andres F.
    Commented Apr 19, 2019 at 18:39
  • 1
    Doesn't the fact that the signals do exist prove that Burnham will in fact succeed? The final battle's outcome is essentially foretold. Commented Jul 10, 2020 at 19:16

Star Trek Discovery is a prequel series, and Pike's future as seen in the vision given by the time crystal, has already occurred in Star Trek:The Original Series, in The Menagerie Part One and Part Two. These episodes show exactly what eventually happens, that Pike saw fragments of in the vision.

As it seems the events of ST Discovery are canon for the main Star Trek universe, Pike now knows part of his own future but is probably unwilling to tell anyone and risk damaging the future.

  • 1
    I think what he asks is, why should not taking the time crystal with him enable him to avoid this future, while taking it with him will seal his fate. There is no logical connection between taking the crystal and the possibility to change his fate and the future. And if there is, it would be more logical that with a time crystal you are more able to change the future than without.
    – Hothie
    Commented Apr 9, 2019 at 9:23
  • "Pike now knows part of his own future but is probably unwilling to tell anyone and risk damaging the future." - actually, Admiral Cornwell tells him: "This isn't where your story ends. And I think you know that." right before sending Pike to the other side of the torpedo-safe blast door (the one that withstands a detonation that would otherwise cripple the ship) so she can pay the price for a UI design failure, err, I mean go out in a heroic self-sacrifice instead of Pike. Commented Jan 10, 2021 at 20:34

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