Star Trek: Discovery’s Sentient Computer Zora is One of Season 3’s Best Mysteries


Things might not work out exactly how we think

Then again, there are other mysteries about Zora/the Discovery computer that may never be solved. When I interviewed director Olatunde Osunsanmi earlier this season, he said that the connections between “Calypso” and Discovery Season 3 may not be “one-for-one.” Back in 2018,  Michael Chabon told me that “[Zora] had a lot of time on her hands and went through many incarnations. She may have had a male persona and a female persona and all kinds of persona.”

During the 2020 table-read for the Discovery Season 2 finale, “Such Sweet Sorrow Part 2,”  one cut line revealed that Starfleet was replacing the massive A.I. “Control” with something called the “Zora.” Considering this was never mentioned in the actual aired episode, it’s hard to call it canon, but it is an Easter egg about Zora that comes from a time period just before the USS Discovery computer started to fully evolve. Then again, the USS Discovery also raised its own shields and defended itself despite being empty in the same episode. This seems to indicate that merging with the Sphere Data in “An Obol for Charon,” was the start of Discovery’s path to self-awareness. But, what’s up with Zora telling Craft she’d been adrift for 1,000 years?

Time travel laws could explain links between “Calypso” and Discovery Season 3

Because we’re seeing a lot of references to “Calypso” in Discovery Season 3, it seems possible that Zora’s claim about being alone for 1,000 years could have been an exaggeration if not an outright lie. What if Zora was conflating the 930-year journey through the wormhole, with another period of time? In other words, perhaps Zora [the USS Discovery] wasn’t actually left alone for 1,000 years, but instead, she told Craft a version of her story that he could understand. If Captain Saru ordered the ship to maintain position, he may have also ordered Zora to conceal details about the crew and its mission. 

Here’s another reason to believe Zora was lying about being alone for 1,000 years:  In “That Hope Is You Part 1,” we learn that time travel is taboo and straight-up illegal. In “People of Earth,” Saru decides to make it seem like the Discovery is a generational ship, and didn’t travel through time. If Saru orders the crew to perpetuate this lie, then he certainly would have ordered Zora to corroborate that story if and when they all had to abandon the ship. 

If that’s true, then suddenly, the idea that Zora evolved over a long amount of time might no longer be the case. And, even though Olatunde Osunsanmi said we might not see “Calypso” happen this season, there’s now a very reasonable way that the crew of the Discovery might have to leave the ship by the end of Season 3, and leave Zora to her own (starship) devices.

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