Star Trek's Latest Episode Had a Bittersweet Tribute to Deep Space Nine's Aron Eisenberg

Ensign Nog has gone up in Starfleet’s estimations.
Ensign Nog has gone up in Starfleet’s estimations.
Image: CBS

Last year, the man behind one of Deep Space Nine’s most fascinating characters—Ferengi delinquent turned war-wounded Starfleet officer Nog—Aron Eisenberg, sadly passed away at 50. Just over a year since his passing, Star Trek: Discovery has honored him with a touching tribute in the far future.

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This week’s episode of Discovery, “Die Trying, opens with our time-jumped crew—who flung themselves into the 32nd century at the climax of the second season—arriving at what’s left of Starfleet and the Federation’s main base of operations in the wake of a cataclysmic resource disaster known as the Burn. It’s the first time this season we’ve had a chance to really get a glimpse of what the starships of a 32nd century Federation—the farthest point we’ve been in the main series in the Star Trek timeline—look like.

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But among all the cool new tech (Detachable nacelles! Programmable matter!) and fun shoutouts like the eleventh model of the U.S.S. Voyager, in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment, one of the new Starfleet vessels Discovery flies by on its way to Federation HQ has a short, simple, touching name: the U.S.S. Nog.

Gif: CBS

Here’s a quick snapshot just in case you missed!

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Image: CBS
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It’s a tiny moment, but a significant one for what it means in Star Trek’s own lore. After all, Nog made history as the first Ferengi in Starfleet, on the front lines with one of the most vital Starfleet crews on DS9 and the Defiant during the Dominion War. He’s not just an example of what a Ferengi can do to overcome the prejudices their species faced, even from an enlightened society like the Federation’s, but a hero of Starfleet.

It’s only fitting that 800 years on from the events of Deep Space Nine, his name is honorable enough to be put alongside the likes of Enterprise and Voyager as more than worth remembering in Starfleet’s vanguard. What a lovely way to honor Eisenberg’s memory.

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James is a News Editor at io9. He wants pictures. Pictures of Spider-Man!

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DISCUSSION

I’m going to say something here that’s going to get me grilled, especially having grown up with TNG. We all know that seasons 1 and 2 of tng were mostly hot garbage. It was in the third season that the show became great. Obviously, it’s also hard to stay on a budget when you produce that many episodes per year, so yes, we can blame that to some extent.

But Disco? Season 1? Meh, but great production value. 2? Really good. Pike was a brilliant addition. 3? Whoa. This is just frigging fantastic.

Where am I going with this? Disco, imho, is at TNG levels of quality and storytelling suddenly, and I’m delighted by this.