Prodigy Reveals Chakotay as the Protostar's Original Captain

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Star Trek: Prodigy Season 1, Episode 6, "Kobayashi," streaming now on Paramount+.

The new animated series Star Trek: Prodigy revolves around a group of young misfits discovering a hidden Starfleet vessel on the harsh prison colony world of Tars Lamora. And as they use the vessel to escape the planet's brutal despot, the Diviner, fans see the Star Trek Universe through fresh eyes as they explore the cosmos. Guiding this young crew on this interstellar adventure is an advanced hologram program of Kathryn Janeway, providing sage words of wisdom and the tenets upon which Starfleet and the United Federation were founded. And as this ragtag crew finally learns more about their commandeered vessel, the Protostar, they discover that the starship's original captain was a friend and crew mate of the original Janeway: Chakotay.

After eluding the Diviner in the Delta Quadrant, the Protostar and its crew find themselves on the other side of the galaxy, operating on impulse power as they recover from the massive spatial jump. Taking a well-deserved breather as they plan their next move, Janeway learns that her memory banks have deliberately been tampered with in the form of artificial restrictions preventing her from accessing why the Protostar was on Tars Lamora in the first place. The Diviner's daughter Gwyn, now a member of the Protostar's crew after falling victim to her father's cruelty, manages to remove the restrictions, allowing the banned information to emerge.

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The resulting data is fragmented but one recorded clip reveals that the Protostar is an experimental vessel in Starfleet's armada, commanded by Chakotay on an unknown mission. Having since been promoted to captain, Chakotay is seen attempting to defend the starship and his crew only to learn that the vessel has been boarded by a hostile force. Given that the restrictions placed on the Protostar were written in Gwyn's native language, this suggests that the ship may have been boarded by the Diviner or another unseen character from his race while Chakotay and the crew's fate is still unknown as the recording ends.

Chakotay was a Starfleet officer who decided to join the paramilitary group the Maquis to take on the Cardassian Union after growing frustrated with Starfleet's inactivity against them at the time. Warped into the Delta Quadrant along with the USS Voyager at the start of Star Trek: Voyager, Chakotay takes a provisional position back in Starfleet as Janeway's first officer during the ship's long voyage back to Earth. Star Trek: Lower Decks revealed the crew of the Voyager were celebrated as heroes after returning to the Alpha Quadrant, presumably leading to Chakotay's promotion and assignment commanding such an advanced, experimental vessel.

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It is unclear when the Protostar's boarding occurred in relation to the Voyager series finale, but between Prodigy featuring the return of Janeway and beginning within the Delta Quadrant, Chakotay's surprise appearance continues Voyager's legacy. Before ending, the recording reveals that the hologram Janeway assisted Chakotay, confirming that the captain still held his old commanding officer in high regard after taking his own command back as a full Starfleet officer.

Hopefully, Chakotay survived having his ship boarded, giving him the chance to reunite with his hologram facsimile of Janeway while answering what exactly he and the Protostar were doing in the Delta Quadrant in the first place. In the meantime, the new crew of the Protostar has a fresh set of questions to answer after learning more about their ship's history and continuing to explore the cosmos, now no longer in their home quadrant.

Created by Kevin and Dan Hageman, Star Trek: Prodigy releases new episodes Thursdays on Paramount+.

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Sam Stone is a 10th level pop culture guru living just outside of Washington, DC who knows an unreasonable amount about The Beatles. You can follow him on Twitter @samstoneshow and ask him about Nintendo, pop punk, and Star Trek.

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