Star Trek Has Finally Allowed Hortas To Join Starfleet

By Josh Tyler | 40 mins ago

Star Trek Horta

One of the greatest Star Trek episodes of all time is “The Devil in The Dark”. It’s the twenty-fifth episode of the original series’ first season and in it Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock encounter a strange creature known as a “Horta”. It looks like a moving, slightly hairy rock and at first they don’t think it’s intelligent. By the end of the episode, after a mind meld with Mr. Spock, they discover that not only is the Horta kind and extremely intelligent, it’s also a mother and the last of its species.

In the caverns around them are thousands of small Horta eggs about to hatch and spit out an entire race of little baby Hortas…

Horta Eggs
Horta eggs

We never get to see those baby Hortas and in fact Hortas never show up in Star Trek again. Or at least they didn’t until today, in the very first episode of Star Trek: Discovery season 4. It’s taken a few hundred years, but it looks like the Hortas have finally joined Starfleet. Here’s the Discovery’s Horta crewmember, running around in the halls just doing its thing like it’s no big deal at all…

Horta in Starfleet
Captain Burnham smiles at her Horta crewmember

Obviously there’s no way to put a uniform on a Horta, so it makes sense that there’s no insignia to indicate the creature is part of the crew. However, Captain Burnham reacts to it like the little guy is a normal sight in her ship’s halls, so it’s reasonable to assume its an officer of some kind.

Here’s a closer look…

Star Trek Discovery crew
Star Trek Discovery’s young Horta

This is a much smaller Horta than the one we saw in “The Devil in The Dark” so presumably it’s young, but not so young that it can’t leave the nest and take a post on a Federation Starship. For comparison, here’s the original and ancient Horta mother…

The Horta from “The Devil In The Dark”

Having a little blob running around might not seem very useful in the operation of a Starship, but Hortas have the ability to secret acidic chemicals which will eat through any form of rock or metal. They can also use those secretions in a finite way to do delicate, detailed work as demonstrated by the original Horta using her abilities to write words…

Combine that ability with an armored carapace so strong it can hold up even under heavy-duty phaser fire and you end up with a crew member who’d be a huge asset on away missions. Also, given their familiarity with different types of metals, it’s easy to imagine a Horta being a huge asset in engineering as well.

We don’t know much about what Star Trek: Discovery’s little Horta does yet, but hopefully we’ll get to see more of the first Horta in Starfleet soon.