WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS MILD SPOILERS
When we first met Lt. Paul Stamets, who is brilliantly played by Anthony Rapp, he was strictly a scientist on a vessel conducting research. Back in Season One of Star Trek: Discovery, he made it clear more than once that he was not interested in helping defeat the Klingons. His work was purely scientific in nature. He and his partner on the U.S.S. Glenn were attempting to make ships fly beyond the speed of light, by harnessing the power of mushrooms.
Then, thanks to Michael Burnham’s rouge actions, the Discovery became an important weapon in the war against the Klingon Empire. When audiences saw Stamets clash with Captain Gabriel Lorca (Jason Isaacs) in Season One, Episode Three, ”Context is For Kings,” the Federation was losing the war.
After the Discovery’s sister ship, the Glenn, was destroyed, Lorca ordered Stamets to go onto the Glenn in order to recover all spore-drive research and related hardware. Lorca told Stamets that the accident happened near Klingon territory.
“Really?” Stamets said. “We’re running drills near Klingon space now?”
“We are at war, Lieutenant!” Lorca shouted. “I’d appreciate a day going by without me having to remind you of that.”
It turns out that Stamets resented the fact that Starfleet used his research and breakthroughs to create a weapon, even if this weapon helped save them from the Klingons.
We can’t help but wonder if this same situation will happen in the 32nd Century with Admiral Charles Vance (Oded Fehr), who now leads a Starfleet which can barely get ships up to warp speed at all. Recently, in “Scavengers,” Vance ordered that the Discovery stay on standby just in case something were to happen which they would need an immediate response for. Thanks to the dilithium shortage, the Discovery was the only ship that could get to a place at a moment’s notice.
It then makes sense that Stamets could object to the Discovery here and everywhere to put out fires, especially if they become more militaristic in tone.
Stamets is beyond just a normal engineer or scientist now. He’s the heart of the ship and is the reason why the spore drive is still functional. Though Stamets seems to have calmed down (thanks to Dr. Culber’s return and his new friendship with Adira), a small event, accident, or death of a loved one might put him back into an oppositional state of mind.
Then what would the Federation do?
Star Trek: Discovery is currently streaming on CBS All Access.