Star Trek Discovery Season 3 has taken the Discovery’s crew into the future. After our heroes travelled through a wormhole and a millennia into the future, they realize the universe is now under threat from a new kind of problem. The Burn happened about a hundred years prior to Discovery’s arrival. All of Dilithium exploded simultaneously and the Federation was left without its deep space exploratory wing. Starfleet breathed its last and the galaxy descended into chaos. The Burn was the downfall of all life. It signaled the beginning of a dark age.
After 8 episodes into Star Trek Discovery Season 3, we are yet to figure out the source of the Burn. The real reason why Starfleet is dead is not yet known. Despite the USS Discovery’s crews best efforts, most we could see is the good guys closing into what is most likely a ‘potential’ source. Fans are still scratching their heads. Who or what could have caused the Burn? We dive into the deep lore of Star Trek to find out a few key theories that might help give us an answer.
These are a few possible and plausible reasons for The Burn.
The Burn Was A Force Of Nature
In Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Force Of Nature”, it is revealed that Warp Travel has a dangerous side effect. When travelling through war space over and over again, you tend to create tears in the space-time continuum. Think of it was walking with the same shoes for a few hundred miles. Eventually the soles will wear out, leaving a gaping hole in your shoe. The episode reveals Warp ravel creates a similar tear. Although microscopic at first, gradually, as Warp Travel becomes more mainstream, the tears increase in dimensions. Data of TNG concluded that things will be exceptionally difficult in a span of just 40 years. Since Dilithium based travel still existed even after a millennia, there is one of two possibilities. Either a solution was found or the tears increased in size, making warp travel dangerous. The Hekaraans, who first discovered this phenomenon, might have initiated a fail-safe protocol that caused the Burn to ensure the safety of the Galaxy.
The Mystery Music
For now, we do not know the source or the reason behind the Mystery Music. The music is coming from the distant Verubin Nebula. Some theories claim the Music is responsible for making all Dilithium explode. Even though we do not know why the Music exists in the first place or who created it, there seems to be one logical explanation to prove who the music might be the culprit. We take the help of the Flatland illustration. In a two dimensional world called Flatland, any three dimensional object would be a cause of chaos and mayhem. Since Flatland-Citizens cannot interpret a third dimension, its properties would appear impossible. The Mystery Music might be coming from an alternate dimension or have aspects that exceeds the regular three dimensions of space. This music might have made the Dilithium crystals to explode.
Michael Burnham Made The Burn Happen
For all the hatred the whispering angel of the USS Discovery receives, you have to admit she is responsible for quite a lot of things in the show. She was responsible for starting war with the Klingons. She was revealed to have been the Red Angel. Her role was pivotal in dealing with the Terran universe and bringing in Georgiou. In other words, the show has always been (sadly) about Michael Burnham. What if the time travel adventure of Burnham was responsible for creating rifts in space and time? The show keeps mentioning the Temporal Accords multiple times. The accords forbade time travel. What if Burnham traveling a millennia into the future was one of the many consequences of time travel that the Temporal Accords were trying to prevent from happening?
The Alternative Factor
In Star Trek: The Original Series, Kirk and Spock meet a man named Lazarus in “The Alternative Factor”. The episode shows us a man who is literally built of out space and time. Every time he disappears and re-appears, he is shown to be slightly different. Lazarus also possesses a peculiar ability. He can drain the power of all dilithium he comes into contact with. Halfway through the episode we realize there are two versions of him – Lazarus A and Lazarus B. The two versions are caught in an eternal struggle that transcends time itself. If the two ever came into contact with each other, it would lead to ‘rampart destruction’. What if the destruction this episode spoke of was the destruction of all dilithium sources to ever exist? Lazarus does possess a strange connection to drain dilithium energy. This theory seems plausible. If Lazarus makes it to Star Trek Discovery: Season 3, it would be a cool call-back to The Original Series.