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Mariner enlists her friends on a rogue mission to exonerate her mother as Captain Freeman faces a military tribunal for the destruction of Pakled Planet.



"I'm Sylvia Ront, and this is FNN's continuing coverage of the destruction of Pakled Planet. What we know at this hour: Starfleet Captain, Carol Freeman stands accused of orchestrating a devastating attack on the Pakled capital; a place they call, "Big Strong City." The USS Cerritos remains in spacedock impounded for further investigation; her crew on temporary leave while their captain stands trial. And the latest shocking development, new surveillance footage retrieved from the attack that appears to place Freeman on the ground at the time of the bombing. In "lighter" news, a swarm of incandescent verugament will be illuminating Earth tomorrow."

Beckett Mariner throws a potted plant in a rage at a viewscreen that was showing the news in her father's home. Frustrated that people are acting like the trial is over before it's concluded, she remains steadfast in her claims that Freeman is innocent in Pakled Planet's destruction. Her father, Alonzo Freeman, agrees and states that plenty of people in the courtroom also agree, but tells her to remain patient and to trust in the system that she will be officially found innocent. Mariner is doubtful the same system that put her on trial in the first place would find her innocent and feels useless while off the Cerritos. Alonzo gets a transmission from Vice Admiral Les Buenamigo who regretfully tells them that the judge assigned to Carol's case is Mith bin Tong, a renowned conservative planets' rights activist. No longer convinced that the trial will end favorably, Mariner decides to act on her own accord since no one else will do anything to save Carol and leaves the room breaking more things as she screams. The commotion clearly heard over the transmission, Buenamigo comments that he doesn't know why Alonzo bothers to keep breakable objects in the house anymore.

Act One[]

In Modesto, Brad Boimler is working at his family's raisin vineyard as Mariner tells him about how she intends to do something before her mother is found guilty, and to her surprise Boimler is more than happy to offer his help, as he finds daily life in the vineyards to be unbearable despite the sexual advances from numerous female staff members to which he is completely oblivious. They discuss how they were saving the USS Archimedes at the time of Pakled Planet's destruction, and Mariner notes that they can't prove it, since the ship's logs were corrupted by the Lapeerian debris field, making it seem like Freeman is covering something up. Boimler then gets the idea to use his own logs as evidence, since he personally re-records the captain's official logs for his own reference. Excited that they have a lead, Mariner enthuses they just need to figure out a way to get aboard the Cerritos, but Boimler states they don't know where it is amongst the "bajillion" dry docks in orbit, and most likely only a skeleton crew of the ship's engineers were the last to disembark after helping to dock it. They realize that Sam Rutherford may have been one of them.

In New Orleans at Sisko's Creole Kitchen, Rutherford and D'Vana Tendi are enjoying a meal of gumbo and their time sightseeing on Earth, as Tendi was so focused on her studies while at Starfleet Academy that she never left San Francisco. As they decide between going back to the Grand Canyon, a London Kings game or visiting Historical Bozeman, they see a news bulletin providing an update on Freeman's trial, and wonder how Mariner is handling everything, just as Mariner shows up with Boimler. They discuss Mariner's plan to sneak aboard the Cerritos but are unsure of the ethics surrounding it. Tendi suggests just telling the court about Boimler's logs, but Mariner believes doing so would just allow Starfleet to cover them up, allowing a California-class captain to be a scapegoat for what really happened. Rutherford tells them he got a look at the orbital coordinates while they were docking the Cerritos, but that the only way to that specific impound dry dock is via a special encrypted transporter at a secure compound.

They make their way to the Starfleet Transporter Facility, and Rutherford warns them that they'll likely have to take out the transporter chief, who is a long-time veteran of Starfleet Security. While scared of taking on such an elite member, Mariner believes them to have the element of surprise and superior numbers, and they rush in, only to find that the transporter chief is a gentle, kind-hearted elderly man named Carlton "Denny" Dennis. He welcomes them inside, assuming them to be students from the Academy, and invites them for a tour of his building, where he's restored numerous older transporter units. Trying to put aside their discomfort of taking out someone that could be their grandfather, they fail to realize that Dennis has actually seen through their plan and makes it aware that most of his visitors are people who try to knock him out and use his transporter to board ships without authorization. Pointing his phaser at them, they crack and admit their plans; he quickly calms them down and assuring that he wasn't really going to stun them, offers to make them some soup.

Dennis serves the ensigns while informing them that he's been following Freeman's trial and doesn't believe the charges against her. On Mariner asking, he says that he would transport them to the Cerritos, but the verugament migration has created a natural scattering field, blocking any transport attempts off of Earth, making the only way of accessing the Cerritos is via another ship. Disheartened that they cannot help Freeman, and likely missed out on a trip to Historical Bozeman because of their attempt here, Dennis fondly recalls how Bozeman has reenactors and a replica ride of the Phoenix that can fly visitors into orbit. Mariner then immediately asks if the transporter can at least transport them to Montana.

Transported to Bozeman's theme park, everyone is taken aback as they see numerous historical sights. However, Mariner directs their attention to the Ride the Phoenix attraction as the reason they are there, just as a replica of the Phoenix majestically launches into the sky.

Act Two[]

After waiting in line, Mariner, Boimler, Tendi, and Rutherford board Phoenix replica number five, planning to override the ship's automation. As they get settled in, a nervous single rider named Gavin boards with them; Boimler tries suggesting he board another ship, but Gavin was directed to their ship by the ride operators and doesn't want to get in trouble. A hologram of Zefram Cochrane appears in the pilot's seat and tells them to get ready for their "trek amongst the stars, " before putting on the rock and roll song, "Magic Carpet Ride" by Steppenwolf. The Phoenix replica blasts off and as they enter orbit, Mariner and Rutherford get up and he disengages the ship's auto-navigation, adding to Gavin's nervousness. With Rutherford able to input the spacedock's coordinates, Mariner engages the warp core, and the ship goes to warp.

They arrive near Luna and passing by the nightside of the moon, spot the spacedock where the Cerritos, still without her outer hull plating, is held, and dock the replica at her side. They apologize to Gavin for hijacking the ride, and Rutherford offers to re-engage the automation to return him to Earth. Gavin however, having become enthralled by the experience of the warp jump, declines and says the replica is his ship now, and that he will no longer be a botanist, wanting to explore the galaxy instead. They leave as Gavin awkwardly takes the Phoenix away from the impound dock and goes to warp.

Boimler fishes out the PADD with the latest logs, going back to stardate 58018.7, from his bunk storage compartment and per his word, he has indeed recorded the captain's log verbatim; however, he's also added many personal tidbits into the logs, making it sound unprofessional. As they go through his logs, trying to find ones that are not altered by different trivial bits of Boimler's personal life, they only find more and more embarrassing entries, leading Mariner to believe they will be useless in court. Rutherford says that Starfleet could still cross-reference the dates on Boimler's log, but Mariner believes that ultimately, they would not believe the word of a "goofy" ensign when they wouldn't believe the word of a captain just because Freeman runs a California-class ship. They gather around her and tell her that they are talking about Starfleet, and that they should trust them that they will make the right decision. Mariner relents, agreeing to take the log to the trial.

They board the shuttlecraft Joshua Tree and after working the console, Mariner tells them she needs to step out to check the port nacelle. As she leaves, the door closes and the shuttlecraft starts up, much to the shock of the others. They quickly realize that Mariner has actually set up the shuttlecraft's auto-navigation and locked them out, as the ship leaves the hangar.

Mariner rushes to the bridge and begins to start up the ship's systems. The shuttlecraft hails Mariner, and she tells them that she won't leave until she has hard evidence of Freeman's innocence. As it is claimed that Freeman was aided by Klingons in the attack, she intends to go find the very Klingons who seemingly collaborated with her and bring them back, unwilling to listen to the protests of the others.

Act Three[]

On the Joshua Tree, the three ensigns are all anxious about what Mariner has just done, fearing she could be incarcerated. No longer caring about any kind of trouble they may face, they all agree to stop Mariner, and her plans. Thinking fast and knowing they won't be able to override the navigation system, Boimler decides to reprogram the "home" of the Joshua Tree from Earth, back to the Cerritos, making the shuttlecraft once again travel towards the ship's hangar. While this works the landing is rough, as the ship believes an atmosphere would slow them down, and it crashes into the hangar, tearing off the port nacelle and landing upside down. The ensigns rush up to the bridge, taking Mariner by surprise. They tell her she's not thinking clearly, and they begin to struggle with each other as Rutherford attempts to lock her out of the navigation systems.

Meanwhile, security aboard the nearby spacedock detects the unauthorized departure of the Cerritos and raises the alarm.

On the bridge, Rutherford manages to stop the ship and lock Mariner out of the ship's navigation systems, much to her dismay. After frantically trying to get control back, she sinks to her knees, recalling how she watched her mother being taken away in handcuffs and being helpless to "do a damn thing about it." She tearfully admits that she's very scared that she may lose her mother forever to this whole ordeal. The others gather around her and reassure that no matter what happens, they will be there to support her through it all. At that moment, security hails the Cerritos, asking what the situation is. As they struggle to come up with an answer, they notice the verugament migration closing in on them, Rutherford realizing he stopped the ship right in their path. While they're initially nervous about what might happen, Tendi learns from the science station that they're incandescent extremophiles, and that they're synthesizing carbon off the hull of the ship, triggering a "mass reproductive event," realizing that the verugament were only in search of a breeding ground.

The security team repeats their message to the Cerritos, and Tendi has them open a channel. Tendi answers the hail and replies that they're in the middle of a biological survey of the verugament. She notes that due to the rare nature of the event, and grounding of the crew, they could not be interrupted. Unconvinced, the security guards say that they're coming aboard: Tendi has the others open the hangar bay doors and follow her.

The security team enters the hangar to find Tendi, Mariner, Boimler, and Rutherford taking care of numerous gametes of the verugament with some difficulty, due to the stinging electrical discharges of the creatures' tentacles. While the work is hard, the team is convinced that the four are indeed, just helping the verugament despite their discomfort, and admire the junior officers' dedication to the pursuit of science. They then ask for their records the officer's name who ordered the mission before leaving, and the four ensigns tense up. As they struggle to think of an answer, Captain Freeman enters with Admiral Freeman, Shaxs, and T'Ana. Carol says that she authorized the mission, and the security team leaves, satisfied. In passing, they welcome back the captain to active service.

Bateson and his elite team

Bateson and his elite team help exonerate Freeman

As soon as the hangar door closes and Shaxs confirms the all-clear, the senior officers scowl at the ensigns. Mariner embraces her mother and asks what's happening with the trial, and if Freeman is potentially on the run. Alonzo tells her that the trial is actually over. Carol explains that while the trial was going on, Starfleet was carrying out a secret investigation into the bombing itself, which was led by Captain Morgan Bateson. A connection was found between the Pakleds and a known Zakdorn data fabricator who was responsible for producing the footage of Freeman planting the bomb, replacing the originally recorded Pakled. They pursued and captured the fabricator in the Romulan Neutral Zone and had him interrogated by Commander Tuvok who used a mind meld on the forger to reveal that the true identity of the bomber was the Pakleds themselves, who were hoping to frame Freeman for an attack on their capital city to force the Federation to help them relocate to a new planet that was richer in resources. The plan nearly worked, but Starfleet's interest in clearing Freeman's name ultimately prevailed.

The other ensigns are awed by Carol's recounting. Mariner is astounded that Starfleet actually came through for Carol, but Alonzo scolds her that she should have just listened to him when he told her earlier that morning to trust the system. He's certain that her three friends pretty much said the same thing. Carol reveals that she wasn't out of court for an hour before she was informed of the Cerritos being stolen from the military impound by her daughter. She orders Tendi, Boimler, and Rutherford to clean up the hangar, and takes Mariner to her ready room.

Ransom lays it down to Mariner

"As far as you're concerned, Mariner, I'm your mama now."

With the Cerritos returned to the impound dock (as it still needs her outer hull to be refitted), Mariner sits with Alonzo on the corner bench of the captain's ready room as Carol paces. Carol acknowledges that Mariner believes she can do and say whatever she wants without consequence, largely because she and Alonzo have been too tolerant with her: they covered for and excused her behavior, and they really only have themselves to blame for how Mariner has turned out. While she loves her and knows Mariner was trying to help, Carol also knows that their daughter is not going to reach her full potential with herself as an authority figure, with Alonzo adding that she won't listen to him either. Mariner groans thinking this means she'll be demoted and transferred again, but Alonzo points out that there is simply nowhere else for her to go; the Cerritos still remains her last chance. Carol then explains that as her mother, she'd never be able to kick Mariner out of Starfleet. However, she does know someone with no family ties who can. At that moment, she answers the ready room's door chime and Commander Jack Ransom enters, much to Mariner's horror. Freeman tells Mariner that she's giving her full and final oversight to Ransom, who will have the final say if Mariner really wants to remain in Starfleet or not. As Ransom thanks Freeman for this task, he then whispers menacingly to Mariner to watch herself, which Mariner reacts in horror.

Back in the hangar, Boimler, Tendi, and Rutherford are happy to be back on the Cerritos as they continue to clean up the sploof left behind by the verugament with phasers. As they clean, they pull up an FNN update to see if they have anything new on the trial. They catch a news story about the malfunctioning Phoenix replica being rescued near the moons of Jupiter, traumatizing the lone rider in the process.

Gavin is seen being dragged away from the pilot's seat by two ensigns from a runabout, as he screams to be let go.

Memorable quotes[]

"The longer I'm off a ship, the more useless I feel! Like that. Like that big dumb red thing."
"Beckett, you know that's the Golden Gate Bridge."
"Nobody drives anymore! Why do you need a bridge? This planet's whack."
"People like the bridge. I like the bridge!"

- Mariner and Alonzo Freeman

"Hey, Bradward! Wanna test the sweetness of my bushel?"
"Ugh, fine, Genevieve." (eats a raisin from her bushel) "Just give it 43 more sun hours at 21 degrees brix."
"Oh. Okay…"

- Genevieve and Boimler

"Uh, when you said your family had vineyards, I just assumed it was for wine."
"Oh, I wish. No, we Boimlers dry grapes. Just dry 'em, and dry 'em, and dry 'em until they're all shriveled, and hopeless, and stuck on Earth forever!"

- Mariner and Boimler

"Bradward. All these varietals are so confusing. Take me to the privacy of the pickery shed and explain them to me."
"Come on, Mandolina. Red goes in the red bucket, white in the white. You know that."

- Mandolina and Boimler

"Bradward! I'm soaked in juice, and I need help getting naked!"
"Just spray off with the hose, Lianne!"

- Lianne and Boimler

"So, what brings you all to my dusty old transporter pad? You kids from the Academy?"
"Uh, yeah that's right. We were just hoping to… learn about your transporter."
"Say no more! If there's one thing I've got in this joint, it's gout! Ha ha, but also transporters."

- Carlton Dennis and Boimler

"Guys, I can't! You gotta do it."
"No way! He's like my grandpa!"
"He's everyone's grandpa!"

- Mariner and Boimler, over knocking out Carlton Dennis

"Hey guys, are we sure we can even fly this thing? I mean, you only have to be a hundred centimeters to ride."

- Boimler, about the Phoenix ride

"Alright, buckos, prepare for your trek amongst the stars! Oh! Before I forget… let's rock and roll!"

- Zefram Cochrane hologram to the riders

"I actually woke myself up, the gas pains were so bad, I just wish I could FART!"

- Boimler's personal log

"We have to stop her. I don't care what trouble I get in."
"I want the trouble! Give me the trouble!"

- Boimler, Rutherford, and Tendi

"Ensign Beckett Mariner, I'm giving your full and final oversight to Commander Ransom. If you do in fact want to remain in Starfleet, it's going to be his call."
"Thank you, Captain. As far as you're concerned, Mariner, I'm your mama now."

- Carol Freeman and Ransom

"Ahh, you know, even covered in alien sploof, there's no place I'd rather be."
"Yeah. Home, sticky home."

- Boimler and Tendi


- Gavin

Background information[]



  • "Grounded" marks the first time five Star Trek series have aired in one calendar year, breaking the record of four series set earlier in 2022 with the premiere of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.


Freeman exonerated

Tuvok, Freeman, and Bateson, et al.

Links and references[]


Special guest star[]

Guest cast[]

Characters with unidentified voices

Background characters[]

FNN reports
Sisko's visitors


21st century; 2376; active duty; admiral; Aladdin's lamp; Alamo; alien bird; alligator; Andorian; artichoke balls; atmosphere; automation; auto-navigation; Bajoran; balloon; bananas; Big Bang; Big Strong City; bin Tong, Mith; biological survey; blooper reel; boiler; Boimler family; Boimler's grandfather; "Boims"; bomber; bombing; books; botanist; Bozeman; breeding ground; bucket; "bucko"; Buffalo Solar Knights; "buffer buff"; "bull *bleep*"; bunk; bushel; butterscotch; Caitian; "Cali-class"; California, flag of; cane; captain; captain (title); captain's chair; captain's logs; carbon; centimeters; chief petty officer; churro; Churro!; Clemonds, Sonny; Cochrane, Zefram; combadge; commander; concert; conservative; country; cover-up; Crash-n-Burn Bar; cry; dad; daughter; degrees Brix; Dennis, Jane; "Denny"; digits; dipping sauce; doctor; dry; Earth; eclipse; ELDS; elite team; Emory Erickson: A Memoir; endangered creature; engineer; ensign; explorer; extremophile; fart (aka "gas"); Fermat's last theorem; fighting; first contact; First Contact Fun Zone; fleur-de-lis; fly; FNN; forger; gamete; gas pains; "Gav"; Golden Gate Bridge; gout; Grand Canyon; grandpa; grape (red grape; white grape); grape juice; green onion; green onion dip; grounding; gumbo; hair color; hair dye; handcuffs; Historical Bozeman; Home of Zefram Cochrane; "home [sweet] home"; hose; hot sauce; hour; impound; incandescent; jazz; Jellico, Edward; joke; judge; jukebox; junior officer; Jupiter; Ketracel White-Hot; king; Kirk, James T.; Klingons; Laapeerian debris field; Laapeerian system; legal system; lieutenant; London Kings; Lower Decks-style; Luna; lunatic; "Magic Carpet Ride"; marble; mass reproductive event (aka orgy); microscopic lifeforms; migration; mind meld; minute; mister; Montana; moons of Jupiter; mother (aka mama, mom); nacelle; naked; nav controls; New Orleans; news anchor; news ticker; orbital coordinates; Orion; oyster; PADD; Pakled; Pakled Planet; Pakled Planet's moon; people; personal log, Brad Boimler; Phoenix music player; pilot; "planet's rights"; port; post-World War III; prison; prosecutor; purple; queen; raisin; red; red alert; reenactor; Ride the Phoenix (aka Phoenix Experience); Rings!; rock and roll; Romulan Neutral Zone; "Ruthy" (aka "Ruthy Ruth"); Samaritan Snare; San Francisco; scattering field; senior staff; ship's log; shorts; shrimp remoulade; SHU; shuttlebay door; Sisko's Creole Kitchen; skeleton crew; sniff; Sol; sound machine; soup; "space critter" (aka "space bug"); spaceflight; sploof; stampede; star (celestial object); star (shape); Starfleet; Starfleet Academy; Starfleet insignia; Starfleet Security; Starfleet uniform (2370s-early 2380s); Starfleet uniform (early 2380s); Starfleet uniform (late 2360s-early 2370s); Starfleet uniform (unknown era); Steppenwolf; Strategema Grandmaster; stuffing; stun; sun hour; surface-to-space beaming; swarm; sweetness; synthesis; Tee Trek; Tellarite; tentacle; theme park; thing; Thirst Contact; three-dimensional chess; toilet; Toys!; transporter; transporter chief; Transporter Facility; transporter pad; trial; tricorder; truth; type 2 phaser; typewriter; "uncle"; varietal; Varuvian bomb; VCD; verugament; vice admiral; vineyard; Vulcan; warp 1; Warp 1 Coffee and Tea; warp core; wife; wind turbine; "writ large"; Zakdorn; Zakdorn youth; Zebulon Sisters

Spacecraft references[]

Akira-class (unnamed); Archimedes, USS; California-class (unnamed); Cerritos, USS; Constitution-class; Contra Costa; Danube-class (unnamed); Death Valley; Defiant-class; Federation attack fighter (unnamed); Joshua Tree; Kings Canyon; Olympic-class (unnamed); Pakled Clumpship (unnamed); Phoenix (original); Phoenix (replica); Pinnacles; Redwood; Regula I-type (unnamed); spacedock (aka dry dock); ship number five; T'Plana-Hath; T'Plana-Hath-type; Type 6 shuttlecraft; Type 6A shuttlecraft; Yosemite II

Opening title sequence references[]

Borg cube (unnamed (x4)); Crystalline Entity; D'deridex-class (unnamed (x8)); Klingon Bird-of-Prey (unnamed (x6)); Pakled Clumpships

Meta references[]

bleep; flashback

External links[]

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"First First Contact"
Star Trek: Lower Decks
Season 3
Next episode:
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