Star Trek Reveals Why Tribbles Are No Longer A Threat In Discovery


By the 32nd century of Star Trek: Discovery, Starfleet had figured out a way to prevent the threat of Tribbles multiplying, and Star Trek: Prodigy just revealed who solved that mystery. Tribbles were first introduced in the classic Star Trek: The Original Series episode, “The Trouble With Tribbles,” as little balls of fur that could reproduce incredibly quickly. When just one of the creatures made it onto the USS Enterprise, Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) soon found himself literally buried in Tribbles.

In Star Trek: Discovery’s season 5 premiere, a Tribble can be seen scurrying along the wall of the USS Discovery as Captain Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Cleveland Booker (David Ajala) walk by. They don’t even glance at the Tribble, suggesting that the little creature is not a threat to the ship. A few episodes later, in Star Trek: Discovery season 5, episode 3, “Jinaal,” Lt. Christopher (Orville Cummings) reveals that he became the new owner of the (neutered) pet Tribble that once belonged to Commander Nilsson (Sara Mitich).

Star Trek: Prodigy Explains Why Tribbles Don’t Breed In Star Trek: Discovery

Rok-Tahk found a way to keep Tribbles from multiplying so quickly.

One of the first scenes of Star Trek: Prodigy season 2 shows Rok-Tahk (Rylee Alazraqui) speaking to a group of Starfleet cadets. When a transmission comes in from Admiral Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew), Rok-Tahk quickly wraps up her presentation, revealing that she has figured out how to keep Tribbles from multiplying. As she puts it: “If you block the chromatin, remodeling at a specific locus, the protein won’t bind.” The Starfleet officers watching her presentation react with surprise and even awe before Rok-Tahk rushes out of the room to join her friends for a new mission.

When Lt. Christopher tells Commander Rayner (Callum Keith Rennie) about his pet Tribble in Star Trek: Discovery, he quickly assures the new First Officer that the creature has been “neutered.” Rok-Tahk’s discovery eliminated the only danger Tribbles posed, which was their rapid reproduction. Now that the cute little balls of fluff can be neutered, it’s not surprising they have become popular as pets. Without the risk of a ship being overrun by Tribbles, a singular Tribble on board no longer poses any danger.


Star Trek: Short Treks’ Tribble Episode & Genetic Experiments Explained

Lt. Larkin altered Tribble genetics in Star Trek: Short Treks season 2, episode 2, “The Trouble With Edward.”

In Star Trek: Short Treks season 2, episode 2, “The Trouble With Edward,” Captain Lynne Lucero (Rosa Salazar) takes over command of the USS Cabot in the 23rd century, where she meets Lt. Edward Larkin (H. Jon Benjamin). Lt. Larkin reveals that he has been working on a genetic experiment involving Tribbles. He believed that tribbles would make a food source if he could discover a way to make them reproduce more quickly. Lucero immediately pointed out the ethical problems with Larkin’s idea and ordered him to work on a different project.

The foolish Lt. Edward Larkin disobeyed orders and continued gene splicing Tribbles, eventually finding a way to make them reproduce extremely quickly. Larkin’s Tribbles were now born pregnant, and they quickly took over the Cabot, leading to the ship’s destruction. Captain Lucero managed to evacuate the ship’s crew, except for Larkin himself, who was caught in a wave of Tribbles. Tribbles would remain a rapidly multiplying nuisance until Star Trek: Prodigy, when Rok-Tahk discovers how to fix the problem Larkin created in 2384. By Star Trek: Discovery’s 32nd century, neutered Tribbles have even become a popular pet.