One of the bigger mysteries to come out of the first season of Star Trek: Discovery (out of many, I suppose) was: “What’s up with those black badges?” We’ve gotten hints that this could be connected to a major group in the Star Trek universe. An alternate ending for the first season has not only confirmed this, it’s also brought an important character into the fold.
The last episode of season one, “Will You Take My Hand,” ended with Mirror Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) alive and well in the main universe, seemingly scampering off to whatever smoke-filled sex den she feels like going to. An unused scene revealed at WonderCon shows Georgiou doing just that, because Mirror Georgiou does what Mirror Georgiou wants. Only thing is: She’s not alone. Georgiou encounters a black-coated Trill, who’s secretly a human in disguise. After exchanging some repartee about how awesome Mirror Georgiou is, the Not-Trill leaves her a black badge and an invitation:
“Welcome to Section 31.”
This is pretty major, as it confirms the black badged officers onboard the Discovery were actually Section 31 agents, bringing a major group into the series. Section 31 is a secret organization that doesn’t follow Starfleet’s rules, but uses its network of spies and saboteurs to advance the Federation’s agenda. The group was first introduced in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and were later brought into Star Trek: Into Darkness and Enterprise. The black badges were spotted in the third episode of Discovery’s first season, “Context Is For Kings,” and we’ve long speculated they were connected to the secretive group.
Named after Article 14, Section 31 of the Starfleet Charter, which allows for extreme measures in the wake of an existential threat, Section 31 is no small force to be trifled with. Bringing Mirror Georgiou into their organization doesn’t seem that bad of an idea—not only does it keep Georgiou away until the plot needs her, but it shows how far Section 31 is willing to go when playing by its own rules.
This raises a lot of questions for season two. Why does Section 31 have an active presence on Discovery, if they’re autonomous and don’t really answer to Starfleet? What are the purposes of all the experiments taking place on board? And what role will the group play on the ship moving forward? As of now, it’s as much a mystery as Section 31 itself is. We probably won’t know for awhile whether they’ll become a major problem in the second season, but as we’ve seen, Section 31 is definitely here to stay.