The third episode of Star Trek: Discovery aired this week, and at one point in the episode, Sonequa Martin-Green’s Michael Burnham is tasked with reconciling two suites of code by Lieutenant Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp).
Minor spoilers for Star Trek: Discovery below
In the show, Burnham claims the code is confusing because it deals with quantum astrophysics, biochemistry, and gene expression. And while the episode later reveals that it’s related to the USS Discovery’s experimental new mycelial network transportation system, Twitter user Rob Graham noted that the code itself is a little more… pedestrian in nature.
That’s right — in the year 2256, Starfleet’s latest state-of-the-art science vessel still runs Windows.
More specifically, it seems to be decompiled code for the infamous Stuxnet virus (thanks, aaron44126!), which is a particularly strange thing for a Starfleet vessel to be running, given that the virus was identified back in 2010 as a weapon created to disable Iran’s nuclear program.
Given that atomic power and weaponry are largely obsolete in the time of the Federation, due to the advent of antimatter technology, it’s hard to see what benefit the USS Discovery would get from deploying Stuxnet code.
Maybe Lt. Stamets is trying to make a point of giving useless work to Burnham, given her status as a mutineer? Is this part of a nefarious Klingon effort to undermine Discovery’s experimental technology? Did the VFX team just grab some complicated-looking code that happened to be open source? Only future episodes of Discovery will tell.
Update September 3rd, 2:50pm: Clarified that the code used was derived from the Stuxnet virus and added additional context.