Star Trek: Discovery changes what the DMA is but its actual purpose means that Species 10C’s weapons are greater than what the Federation can handle.
The truth about the Dark Matter Anomaly changes what Star Trek: Discovery knows about its season 4 villains, Species 10C, which is revealed to be much more powerful than the United Federation of Planets. Despite the members of the Federation and allies like United Earth voting to establish diplomatic relations with Species 10C, Dr. Ruon Tarka (Shawn Doyle) and Cleveland Booker (David Ajala) went rogue on a personal mission to destroy the DMA. This would risk provoking war with Species 10C, an alien threat from beyond the Galactic Barrier whose power dwarfs the Federation.
Like The Burn in Star Trek: Discovery season 3, the DMA has been season 4’s driving mystery. Presumably, a weapon that originates from outside of the galaxy, the DMA’s first appearance destroyed Book’s home planet of Kwejian. The DMA’s behavior during its random attacks on Federation space eliminated the possibility that it was a naturally-occurring cosmic phenomenon. Dr. Tarka deduced that the DMA is artificial and controlled by a central device, and his investigation led to its creators, dubbed Species 10C, an alien race that the Federation has had no prior contact with. But the Federation’s belief that the DMA is a weapon colored how Starfleet and the USS Discovery commanded by Captain Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) has responded to the massive device. Book and Tarka took it upon themselves to destroy the DMA with an isolytic subspace weapon invented by the mad scientist, but, if successful, they could inadvertently doom the entire galaxy if Species 10C retaliates with hostility.
In the closing moments of Star Trek: Discovery season 4, episode 8, “All In,” Commander Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) and Mr. Saru (Doug J0nes) updated Captain Burnham, Admiral Charles Vance (Oded Fehr), and Federation President Rillak (Chelah Horsdal) that the DMA isn’t a weapon after all. Instead, Burnham deduced that it was actually a piece of mining equipment Species 10C uses to acquire boromite, the substance that powers the hyperfield that surrounds Species 10C. Beyond the Galactic Barrier, Species 10C exists in a protective bubble large enough to house a star and a few orbiting planetary bodies. Judging by how powerful the Dark Matter Anomaly is, Burnham and Discovery’s cast realized that if the DMA is just a dredge to mine boromite, then Species 10C’s actual weapons must be even more overwhelming, which is a frightening thought.
Star Trek: Discovery has continually raised the stakes of its galactic threats since season 1’s Klingon War and season 2’s Control. Species 10C is now hinted at being the greatest intergalactic power Starfleet has ever faced. Star Trek is no stranger to alien menaces that puzzle Starfleet’s finest, at first. The DMA was a villain in the vein of the robotic planet killer in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode “The Doomsday Machine,” to V’Ger in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, to the Whale Probe in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. It was a twist that the Dark Matter Anomaly was a weapon from beyond the galaxy. The new revelation that the DMA is really a remote-controlled piece of mining equipment is another big change that sets up its creators, Species 10C, as an opposing force the Federation doesn’t have the sheer firepower to deal with.
But just as V’Ger was revealed to be Earth’s Voyager 6 rebuilt by alien machines and the Whale Probe simply needed to communicate with humpback whales, there must be another swerve still to come in regards to Species 10C. Burnham, Vance, and Rillak trying to prevent a war between the Federation and Species 10C is based on their fears and presumptions about who or what is waiting on the other side of the Galaxy. Given that this is Star Trek, all-out war may not be Discovery season 4’s endgame and it’s logical to expect another surprise when Captain Burnham actually meets Species 10C. But even if the USS Discovery manages to stop Book and Tarka from destroying the DMA in Star Trek: Discovery season 4, Species 10C’s technology is obviously far beyond anything the Federation has encountered before.
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