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When the crew gets trapped in the holodeck by a mysterious malfunction, they aren't sure what's programmed or what's real.


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The crew of the USS Protostar is in the holodeck trying to formulate a plan to leave the Romulan Neutral Zone and safely approach Starfleet. Unfortunately, every scenario they attempt ends in failure, leading the group to conclude that they can never go to the Federation. After commiserating over bowls of ice cream in the mess hall, they take Holo Janeway’s advice and all head to bed. Soon, they all start seeing and hearing strange things, including a character named Glittersmooch from Rok's "Delta Heart Magical Veterinarian" holodeck program. Soon, a strange fog rolls in and they find themselves on a dark inland where they come across a lighthouse which Zero recognizes immediately. It’s the headquarters for the "Cellar Door Society" milquetoast mystery program. Zero informs the group that means that they’re still on the holodeck. When their attempts to exit fail, they contact Hologram Janeway who states that she’s working on the problem which was apparently caused by some subspace interference.

Zero theorizes that they should be able to leave the holodeck once they solve the "Cellar Door" mystery. As per for the norm for the program, a letter should arrive at midnight which will reveal what the mystery is. When multiple letters arrive, Rok correctly guesses that the individual letters must be a code that’s revealed when all pages are placed on top of one another. The code reveals that this is "The Case of the Lost Skeleton Key". The group walk through a door and find themselves in an alley facing a group of menacing bikers who all look exactly like Dr. Noum, the Tellarite who insulted Jankom weeks earlier at the Denaxi Depot. Apparently, Jankom's been letting off steam in a street fighting sim with the bikers. When Jankom faces off with the bikers, he discovers that the holodeck safeties must be turned off. Dal calls holo Janeway for help and gives her his command code to override whatever’s gone wrong with the program. When it doesn't work, Rok subdues the bikers herself. They then discover that one of the bikers has a tattoo on his chest of a skeleton key.

This clue leads them a black and white film-noir 1920s-era club called The Key Club. The group realizes this program must belong to Murf when he jumps on stage and begins singing, or perhaps lip syncing to an old jazz song. Meanwhile, Gwyn heads to the bar to order a jumja tea and is astonished to see that the bartender looks exactly like her father. As Gwyn lays out her problem to the sympathetic bartender, the rest of the crew contend with some seedy gangsters who all resemble Noum. Suddenly, Rok notices that the piano sounds funny and surmises that the lost key may refer to a piano key.

Their search leads them through a portal and onto an old style pirate ship. Recognizing his program, Dal orders his pirate crew, who now all look like Noum, to find the lost key. Meanwhile, a giant sea creature emerges – Rok's holo-creation, "Sparkle Sea-Hugger" – and almost hugs them all to death. Soon, Murf finds a compass with a skeleton key on it. At this point, Zero deduces that the holodeck isn't randomly malfunctioning. It appears to be actively keeping them trapped. They declare the only way to win is to refuse to play "her" game.

At this point, the program end. When a relieved Holo Janeway enters, she is accused of locking them all in the holodeck. When she denies it, Zero points that her program must've been corrupted by a "secret subroutine" triggered by the living construct when the crew decided to give up going to Starfleet. The security logs show that she, unknowingly, used Dal's command codes to take over the ship, exit the Neutral Zone and set a course for the Terran sector. Suddenly, they find themselves nose to nose with the Dauntless.

Memorable quotes[]

"The mystery is afeet."

- Zero, when letters are deposited at each of their feet at the start of their "Cellar Door Society" holodeck mystery program.

"My father put the fate of our world on my shoulders without ever asking me."
"Sounds like despite your pop's intentions, you gotta find your own way."

- Gwyn and Hologram Diviner

"Let's pop this blow-stand."
"I don't think that's how it goes."

- Gwyn and Dal

"I'm so sorry. I'd never intentionally do anything to hurt you... I don't remember doing any of this. I, I think Zero's correct. There's something wrong with me."

- Hologram Janeway

Background information[]



  • Like "Masquerade", which was aired by Nickelodeon in some European countries such as Croatia, Hungary, and Poland ahead of US release, this episode was originally scheduled to be aired there on 22 November 2022. However, other programming was aired instead on that day. [2]
  • The episode was released on 23 November 2022 on CANAL+ online in Poland ahead of US release.
  • "Mr. Murfy No Shoes'" song "Smile and Forget It" was written by Troy Kline and acquired through Songtradr, a platform whose content is licensed for use in films and television.
  • Dal's command code, GB64N32X, appears to obliquely reference several video game systems. With GB being an abbreviation for Game Boy, 64N derived from Nintendo 64 and its abbreviation N64 and 32X referring to Sega's 32X.


Links and references[]



Uncredited co-stars[]

Background characters[]


24-hour clock; adventure; arch; "aye"; alley; Augment; banana; barista; black and white; bones; "brace for impact"; briefcase; Brikar; cannon; "cap'n"; captain (title); "Case of the Biting Ghost, The"; "Case of the Lost Skeleton Key, The"; "Case of the Phony Pharaoh, The"; Cellar Door Society; chapter; clue; combadge; command code; compass; computer virus; control panel; coordinates; cream; dance; databanks; Dauntless, USS; Dauntless-class; Delta Heart Magical Veterinarian (aka Delta Heart Hospital, Delta Heart Vet); detective (aka amateur sleuth); Diviner, The; envelope; evasive maneuvers; father (aka "pop"); Federation; Federation space; fedora; feral; fiber; formal wear; fruit; funeral; gibberish; Glittersmooch; gold-pressed latinum; grand piano; grandfather clock; hand; happy place; headquarters; heirloom; holodeck; holoemitters; holo-pet; holo-program (aka holo, holo-sim, sim, simulation); hooligan (aka ruffian); hug; Human; hybrid; ice cream; jazz; jowl; Jumja tea; kettle; Key Club; Key Club, The; "ladies and gentlemen"; language; library; library book; life sign; lighthouse; "like you've seen a ghost"; linguistic skills; lip sync; living construct (aka construct); "look what the cat dragged in"; lunatic; mail slot; malfunction; malnutrition (aka malnourished); maze; "me hearties"; Medusan; Mellanoid slime worm; mess hall; microphone; midnight; milquetoast mystery; monster; Morse code; motion floor tracking; motive; motorcycle; music soundtrack; neon sign; Noum; orange; paper; patient; percent; Petri dish; phaser beam; piano key; piano man; pirate ship; Protostar, USS; Protostar-class; pull-up; purveyor; puzzle; recreational time; rock and roll; rogue; Romulan; Romulan Neutral Zone; sadness; safety protocols; scoop; scribble; security feed; shields; singing; skeleton key; slap; "Smile and Forget It"; snack; song; sparkle sea-hugger; speak; Starfleet; Starfleet uniform; street fighting sim; subspace disruption; tattoo; Tellarite; tentacle; torch; tractor beam; treasure; Vau N'Akat; Vau N'Akat language; vet; visual horizon manipulation; water; whipped cream; whipping; words

LCARS references[]

active line; auto scan; comm center; diagnostic check; impulse engine control; operations; synch; system update; Terran sector; Yadalla sector

External links[]

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