The main assumption in recent episodes of Star Trek: Discovery is that

The Control can't go to the future to get Sphere archives.

But, I see two flaws in the plan:

  • The Control will eventually get to the future by waiting out because it can't age and die. Why didn't they plan to send USS Discovery back in the past?

  • The Control can build an Angel Suit itself because all details are there in the Section 31 archives (from which Discovery crew build the suit) and it can obtain time crystals by infiltrating Boreth easily.


Season 2 finale showed that Leyland is dead, but Control can still continue to exist. Even if you believe that Control is finished, the question is still valid.

What logic motivated the characters to ignore the plan's flaws I listed?

  • 2
    Without the "level up" of absorbing the Sphere Data, Control's major (possibly only) strength is stealth and sneak attacks. At the end of Season 2, its existence is known right across the quadrant. The best and brightest minds would focus on erasing it, so I have no hesitation in believing Star Fleet Command's assertion at the end of the episode. And since "ST: Discovery" is an ongoing show, who knows what may happen? You might be right. Halfway thru season 4, cue dramatic music and gasps at "The Return of Control!!"
    – Blaze
    Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 15:30
  • Possible duplicate of Why did Discovery continue with its mission?
    – Ongo
    Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 15:33

3 Answers 3


Sending the ship to the past is less ideal because the existence of a highly advanced starship somewhere at sometime when it’s not supposed to be could alter the present in some undesirable way. For instance,

The Sphere Data might cause all sorts of havoc if it is now accessible by some society that is completely incapable of handling it. That would be worse than leaving it in the present, given that the Discovery crew seem only very minimally capable of handling it. I mean, they can get rid of it through time travel... what could we do in 2019 if we stumbled on this self-preserving computer program from the future?

As for the Angel suit, it is not clear at all that Boreth can be infiltrated “easily.”

Leland managed to swipe one, but the Klingons found out and killed Burnham’s parents during the attempt to take it back. Attempting to take another one may result in a war that the Federation and Control are not prepared to win.

That assumes that Control has the capability to do this much planning without the data. It’s hard to estimate exactly what Control’s abilities are without the data vs. with the data, and why it needs it so badly.

It should also be noted that an in universe presumption of all of the characters is that reliable time travel is not a technological capability that exists yet. Kirk and crew haven’t “invented” it yet (they accidentally discover a method of doing so in “The Naked Time”, which in universe is 8 years from when this season of Discovery takes place).

  • Federation didn't want to start a war when it snatched Time Crystal for the first time. Control works differently. It doesn't care. Control can even infect monks with nanobots.
    – user931
    Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 10:24
  • 3
    @AvengeTheFallen Think that through a bit more. Nanobots would have to get there from one of these Section 31 starships that its currently living in. Discovery is only able to get there because they have an invitation from L’Rell. I’m pretty sure the Klingons still have conventional military superiority and would have no trouble blasting all those ships to pieces. It’s also not clear that Control is capable of pulling off an infiltration considering that it’s social skills are weak and the “infest with nanobots” trick fails to fool anyone for more than a few minutes.
    – Joe
    Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 12:21

You seem to have missed an important detail about the Red Angel suit in that it was designed specifically for use by Dr Burnham though Michael is as we see close enough genetically to also make use of it.

Also even though the slingshot method of time travel hasn't been discovered yet I'm fairly sure the time travel incidents in the Enterprise series as well as learning of the Defiant's effect on the Mirror Universe have helped them get the hint that throwing ships into the past could be devastating in it's own way.

  • 6
    This suit was designed for Dr Burnham, but I don't see any reason why a replacement suit could not be designed for any other human. You can argue that the Discovery crew didn't have time to design a new one, but that's not true of Control. And that's assuming a human is actually needed to pilot the suit at all - couldn't Control just inhabit the suit? They already said the suit has 'limitless data capacity'.
    – K. Morgan
    Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 11:00

You're making one big assumption: that any remaining version of Control knows that the data exists in the future.

That was the whole point of Spock, Pike, and the others conspiring to lie about the fate of Discovery. They created the story that Discovery (and thus the data) was destroyed in the battle, thus any version of Control that might still exist would only have this information, as the Leland version was destroyed in the battle.

  • This is a good point, but the plan was made before the crew knew that Control was actually destroyable... the assumption was that they could not stop it at all unless the data was inaccessible.
    – Joe
    Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 20:18
  • (1/2) The original plan was that Control wouldn't know where/when Discovery had gone, but the point is that it (and others) would be aware that the ship had gone somewhere, so people would still be aware the ship existed, and that might be reason to look for it. The unstated rationale was that without the opportunity to self-evolve, Control, the immediate threat, could be defeated by conventional means Commented May 7, 2019 at 19:37
  • (2/2) That, however, still left the possibility that Control might go into dormancy, or someone might build another one, but this time knowing the data was out there somewhere, they'd have reason to seek it out. The destruction of the Leland version of Control gave the survivors, now the only remaining witnesses, an opportunity to lie. Anyone who wasn't there, and that includes other versions of Control, now only have information saying the ship was destroyed, so there's now no reason for anyone to look or even plan on looking. Commented May 7, 2019 at 19:41

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