'Star Trek: Discovery': Does Book have to become an official Starfleet cadet to stay close to Michael Burnham?
Spoilers for 'Star Trek: Discovery' Season 3 Episode 9 'Terra Firma' Part 1
Sooner or later, one's career starts to take precedence over one's relationship - it's a problem that can be dealt with, but the way forward isn't always the most conventional. Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Book (David Ajala) have been together for about a year, happily roaming throughout space and having fantastic adventures before the Discovery popped into the 32nd Century to change everything about the future. Though she's had her doubts, Burnham is fully dedicated to going back to her life as a Starfleet officer - something that happened at about the same time that she and Book began a romantic relationship, and Book appears to be considering a major career change just to stay close to her.
In the latest episode of 'Star Trek: Discovery', Book approaches Saru (Doug Jones), asking the Kelpian Captain for ways he can be useful for the ship. He offers his services as a pilot, an engineer, and as someone who knows the ins and outs of the less-than-legal side of life in the 32nd Century. He appears quite eager to be of service – through Saru tells him that Book ought to wait, be patient, and study up on Starfleet protocols while waiting for his time to shine. Knowing 'Star Trek', that moment will surely come before the Season is out, but should it, and does Book really need to go this far just to stay close to Burnham?
On one hand, it's not that big of a jump for Book. He's already lived most of his life as a nomad – while he has a lot of love for his home planet, the last episode shows that he doesn't have a strong connection to the place, at least in terms of living there. He's lived life wandering the universe, from one adventure to the next, doing all he can to preserve life and help people, and life aboard the Discovery is all about that kind of thing.
On the other hand, making a big career move like that is a big thing to do for a relationship. Book's not a believer in the Federation - he's lived his life in a future that doesn't really care about what the Federation stood for, while Burnham believes with her whole heart that the Federation's principles are what the universe truly needs. There's also the question of whether or not Book truly needs to be a member of Starfleet to be able to stay on the ship - surely there is some provision for civilians to stay on the ship with their partners without needing to go through years of Starfleet training?
In either case, the fans are sure to be happy to know that they're going to be seeing more of Book around. In fact, his dedication to stay close to Burnham may mean that he remains as a character on the show even if the crew finds a way to return to the past. Now all he has to do is convince his cat Grudge that that's a good idea.
The next episode of 'Star Trek: Discovery' airs on December 17 on CBS All Access.