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A consultant arrives on the USS Cerritos to run drills that require the lower deckers and bridge crew to swap duties.



Ensigns Beckett Mariner, Brad Boimler, D'Vana Tendi, and Sam Rutherford are engaged in space walk activity, completing some repairs on a satellite and gazing upon a nearby nebula in awe. While monitoring from nearby, the USS Cerritos receives a distress call from the USS Bakersfield, which has been caught in a temporal causality loop. The Cerritos enter high warp, leaving the four behind, stranded on the satellite's exterior. Mariner is concerned about how much oxygen they have left in their EV suits, but Tendi predicts that the Cerritos will return for them "any second."

Six hours pass and the Cerritos return only when they realize they left them behind. They beam the shivering ensigns, their suits rimmed with ice, directly to Sickbay, throwing blankets over them and treating them for lung trauma as the senior staff rush in.

Act One[]

Dr. T'Ana continues to treat the four ensigns. Mariner angrily criticizes Captain Carol Freeman for leaving them behind, resulting in Commander Jack Ransom telling her that it would not have happened if they had signed their magnetic boots out as protocol dictated. Mariner says it wouldn't have mattered since the lower decks crew is disposable. Shaxs refutes this and says that all crewmembers are virtually equal, but Ransom quietly reminds him that the lower decks sleep in a hallway. Freeman also rebukes the claim, saying that she is forced to make life and death decisions every day involving the crew before telling Mariner to lose the attitude as they have a Starfleet drill instructor visiting the ship later for crew tests, and doesn't want her to hurt their score.

Cerritos crew

The crew assembles.

The crew reports to a giant room full of simulator holopods and get greeted by a Pandronian named Shari yn Yem, who gives them a brief motivational speech before telling the crew that they will enter the pods and get tested in situations that previous Starfleet crews have experienced and that each test has several points to get earned. Yem tells them she will switch their ranks to evaluate the crew's readiness. With the ensigns tested as high-ranking officers. With the senior officers tested as low-ranking officers. The crew starts to enter the pods in excitement, eager to experience what it's like to be in command, as Freeman and her senior officers believe that they will pass their tests easily since the duties of the lower decks will be very simple. Dirk comes by and tells the 'Lower Decks' to move to the Yellow line, angering the senior staff.

Beckett Mariner (mirror)

"Mirror" Mariner

Mariner enters her pod and is in a scenario where she is a captain who finds herself in the mirror universe and must find her way back home. At first, Mariner gets immersed in her part but decides to try and deviate from her objectives, hoping to infiltrate the Terran Empire and dismantle it from the inside. However, as she tries this, the test docks point from her score for deviating from the mission parameters. Mariner encounters the Terran counterpart of Boimler and salutes him. But he immediately realizes that Mariner saluted him with her left hand, and since the Beckett Mariner of their universe is right handed, he sees her as an imposter. She tries to cover for it with the excuse of straining her right shoulder from flogging a Vulcan, but Boimler interrupts her to raise the alarm by pointing at her and shrieking. With Mariner restrained by the counterparts of Jet Manhaver and Dahae, he uses an agonizer on her, and the test fails Mariner.

Tendi enters her pod and is to assist a paralyzed Klingon in a ritual suicide as chief medical officer. Tendi tells the Klingon that she is not allowed to cause any harm, which results in a docking of her score. Seeing this, Tendi pulls out a hypospray, ready to give him a quick and painless death. The Klingon demands that Tendi use his ceremonial blade. When she objects, her score gets lowered further. The Klingon, furious that she's refusing to honor his culture, tries to take his blade back but falls off the bed. Two nurses run into Sickbay and ask why the Klingon isn't dead yet, and begin to try and assist him in his death, but the Klingon's backup organs heal him, and they give up, much to the Klingon's dismay. Tendi apologizes as the test fails.

Mariner finds herself in a literal façade of a 19th century old west town as the Captain of a three-man away team and told to survive as a wanted man. To her confusion, she immediately gets points deducted when she heads for the saloon, even though she wasn't trying to be creative. But then, looking over and seeing her group mounting horàses, Mariner realizes that is what she's supposed to do and goes over to one. Confident that she can ride it, as she took lessons in the past, she climbs onto the saddle, but the horse gets agitated, bucks her off, and tramples her, resulting in another failure.

Rutherford's test puts him in engineering as chief engineer of a Constitution II-class starship, where the warp core is in the process of a breach. Rutherford moves to try and enter the core to stop the breach, but the door handle burns his hand due to the radiation. Rutherford gets the idea to take his boots off to cover his hands and opens the door that way, but unfortunately, he takes too long, and the ship explodes, resulting in his test failing, to his annoyance.

Borg Encounter

Boimler begins the "Borg Encounter" program.

Boimler is in a test where he must fight off the Borg and escape a Borg cube, but he is more than confident as he's read everything written about the Borg. Boimler fights off the Borg drones and runs through the cube before encountering a chamber of Borg babies. He chooses to enter a shaft above the chamber, which leads to a room with a Borg sphere that he uses to escape the cube. The test ends with him passing, but Boimler is unhappy that he only scored 79%. Boimler asks if he can do the test again, eager to do better.

The pod's computer warns Boimler that if Boimler gets a failing score, he will get locked out of the test. Undeterred, Boimler restarts the test. He fights off the drones, but upon finding the Borg babies, he takes them before escaping on the sphere. He once again passes but scores 83%, making him want to try again. He retakes the test and rescues even more babies, along with a couple of drones, before escaping on the sphere, resulting in a score of 84%. Boimler, getting frustrated, orders the computer to restart the test.

Mariner is about to start her final test in which she is the Captain, and the entire crew is afflicted with polywater intoxication. While she is not enthusiastic about the nature of the mission, she tries to pump herself up and enters the mess hall to see the crew completely naked and involved in an orgy. Rutherford can be seen, possibly with Ensign Castro. Mariner tries to ignore and talk everyone out of their outrageous behavior but is unsuccessful. She sees Boimler showing off his genitals, causing her to run out of the mess hall in horror to see Steve Stevens spanking Ransom while holding him on a leash. Shaxs then runs up to her while T'Ana clings to him. Unable to take the lewd nature of the test anymore, Mariner runs to an airlock and blows herself and the crew into space, begging to return to the old west scenario.

As the test ends, the ship's average score falls to 37%.

Act Two[]

In Freeman's ready room, Mariner, Tendi, and Rutherford are enjoying a fancy meal of senior officer replicator recipe codes at the Captain's desk, but distraught that they all failed their tests so horribly and never thought that the command duties of the senior officers could be so demanding.

Tendi tries her bowl of pasta with pesto and finds the sauce delicious, but being unfamiliar with it, she has to ask the computer to identify it.

Mariner wonders where Boimler is as he loves the senior officer's recipes, and Rutherford replies that he heard he was still taking his test. Mariner speculates that he probably failed like them and is too embarrassed to admit it.

Boimler is still in his Borg drill, retaking the test, altering his approach each time, and scoring as high as 94%. The pod's computer points out that this places him in the top 10%, but he's not satisfied and snaps at it to retake the test.

Mariner doesn't like to admit it, But she admits that the senior officer's jobs are more than they thought. Tendi replies that they probably realize that their jobs are challenging.

In the Lower Decks, Shaxs is already asleep in Rutherford's bunk as Ransom stretches, and Freeman, sitting in Mariner's bunk, talks about how she's nearly forgotten how easy it is to be in the lower decks, noting how all she did was stand in the back of a banquet all day.

T'Ana notes from Tendi's bunk how all she did was stand in the transporter room until someone needed to get transported somewhere.

As Ransom wonders why they even bothered ranking up as he gets into Boimler's bunk, Freeman notes how the cramped showers and limited selections from the replicator (such as only one slice of pizza at a time) is a small price to pay for a job.

T'Ana also notes how she likes the close quarters of the bunks before cuddling with Shaxs. They all lay down, sleeping, but the ship's red alert alarm positioned above the bunks startled them. T'Ana painfully falls to the deck when Shaxs jerks awake.

Tired and grumbling, they enter a group holopod and begin a test involving a Klingon encounter. They get instructed to support their commanders and find themselves in a cargo bay as the ship shakes from a supposed attack and knocks down large stacks of crates.

A commander enters and tells them to stop goofing around and to restack the crates in the cargo bay; Shaxs asks what happened but gets told not to worry about it and to get to work.

Freeman was dumbfounded as they were in the middle of a Klingon attack, and their job was to stack crates, which was more difficult due to the hexagonal shape of the crates themselves and the continued rocking of the ship under attack. The commander returns and asks if they've seen Q anywhere before running off to screaming about a Jem'hadar attack and ignoring Freeman's pleas to help.

Shaxs successfully manages to stack a wall of crates, but as the ship rocks again, it crashes down, resulting in the test failing.

A joint exercise between the senior officers and the Lower Decks crew will be on the bridge for the crew's final test. They are to steal the Cerritos from Spacedock to save Spock from the Genesis planet.

Mariner takes the command chair and has Ransom get them some coffee before instructing Freeman to take them out of Spacedock. As they approach the doors, Shaxs gets up and starts to stretch, as his back hurts from sleeping in the cramped quarters of the lower decks.

But, as he continues to stretch, Mariner is reminded of how he looked fully naked in her final test and is visibly disturbed.

Freeman speculates that Mariner remembers her bad experience with the horse and how she failed despite having had horse riding lessons, which angers Mariner, and she tries to send Freeman to the brig.

The two start to quarrel and pay no attention to the test, resulting in their ship colliding with the Spacedock's doors and ending the test in failure in record time as Ransom didn't even have enough time to return to ask how they liked their coffees prepared.

Later in the lounge, Freeman and Mariner are at the bar having a drink, distraught that they didn't even make it out of Spacedock (they scored an 'incomplete' not even a percentage), and they apologize to one another, realizing that they never truly realized that each other's duties were so strenuous.

With a newfound respect for each other's work, they notice a new sense of respect with the crew as the senior officers and lower decks crew bond and laugh about their performances in the tests.

It leads Freeman and Mariner to realize that the tests were malicious with the intent to make the crew better understand what their fellow officers go through.

Freeman and Mariner head to Yem's office and tell her they figured out that her tests were to bring the crew closer and move forward.

The crew will show more empathy and appreciation toward one another.

But as they say this, Yem laughs, shows them their failed grades, and says they won't be moving forward.

Act Three[]

Yem continues to laugh and says that their scores are way below passing and that she intends to have the entire crew reassigned.

She also reveals that the drills' only purpose was to save her job as the crews of other ships passed her drills, and Starfleet was beginning to question the necessity of her job.

To fight this, she deliberately targeted the Cerritos, whose Captain had left four ensigns stranded in space for a distress call and rigged the tests to be impossible to show Starfleet that the drills were still necessary. Mariner accuses her of being the reason she failed the old west scenario, but Yem reveals that she didn't have time to reprogram the horses and amusedly notes that Mariner's failing was her fault. Freeman tries to get the crew to do more drills and improve their score.

They can do this since the entire crew got locked out of the tests due to their failing scores. Yem is about to submit the finalized scores when Mariner notes that one test is still active: Boimler is still in the Borg drill, trying to score higher than 98%. Yem wonders what he's still doing in there but notes that one passing grade will not save their scores. Mariner realizes the scores won't get finalized if the drills are incomplete. Mariner contacts Boimler in the holopod.

Boimler is about to finish the drill, having finally achieved a perfect 100% after saving most of the Borg crew, beating the Borg Queen in chess, and teaching her empathy.

Freeman orders him not to finish the drill, and Mariner tells him that Yem is trying to fail them and that as long as he's in the drill, she cannot end until he finishes the drill.

Boimler continues to interact with the drill despite it lowering his score to 99%, much to his disappointment.

Freeman and Mariner rush to the bridge, as Yem wonders what they're trying to do since they're just delaying her finalized scores and torturing Boimler. Freeman expresses faith in her crew, noting that despite being on a small ship, the crew is stubborn.

Yem boasts that she's read all about life on a starship and the work in space and doubts that they are more reliable than any other crew she tested. Freeman notes that Yem has read about it all but has never really experienced it in person. They reach the bridge, and Freeman orders Tendi to make a long-range scan for any potentially dangerous anomalies. Mariner notes a tetryon wormhole, a chroniton radiation stream, and numerous Crystalline Entity sightings in the immediate area. Freeman orders Rutherford to set a course for one of the entities, and Yem notes how the entity is in her drills and is eager to see what they intend to do.

Boimler is running from the Borg drones but running out of places to evade them and finds himself coming face-to-face with the Borg Queen. He asks how her empathy is, and she says she was able to assimilate it. After this, two Borg drones take Boimler away, and he screams about his score.

USS Cerritos flying toward Crystalline Entity

The Cerritos approaches a Crystalline Entity.

The Cerritos reaches a crystalline entity that is feeding on unstable nebula radiation, and Yem is a bit unsettled that the entity is much bigger than she thought it was. Freeman orders the shields raised and orders Rutherford to take them closer, much to Yem's discomfort, since in her drills, one was not allowed to approach the entity. They ignore her protests and get closer. Tendi notes that the shields are holding but detects transphasic energy close to the perimeter. Freeman orders a closer look, causing more protest from Yem. The Cerritos is then caught in an electromagnetic resonance belt, and Freeman notes their dire situation.

Back in the holopod, Boimler is strapped to a table and is scared as the Borg Queen approaches him and gently blows on his skin. The Borg Queen calls Boimler a "remarkable creature," and he nearly passes as Human, which makes Boimler say that he is Human; this surprises the Borg Queen, and she recommends that he drink more water as his skin isn't in the best condition. She decides to assimilate him, despite his protested argument that his hay fever and acid reflux would be counter-productive to the Borg's goal of perfection.

On the bridge, Freeman orders a graviton pulse to get fired so they can escape the crystalline entity and takes her time to give the order, much to Yem's terror. The Cerritos got away from the crystalline entity with ease. Freeman ordered another scan for something dangerous, hoping they could find a black hole. Yem asks why she's doing this, and Freeman says they will keep doing this until she changes their scores. Mariner notes a black hole feeding on a temporal rift nearby, and Freeman orders a course for it. Yem angrily says that she can't get blackmailed at the expense of Freeman's crew, and Freeman only says that her crew does this kind of work daily and that they will be engaging dangerous anomalies until she changes their scores.

The Cerritos approaches the temporal black hole, and they begin to experience numerous distortions. Yem panics and screams for it to stop, finally saying she will change their scores. She shows their passing score of 100%, and Freeman orders Rutherford to get away from the black hole, and Rutherford effortlessly stops the ship from spinning. Yem is confused at how easy it was to get away from the temporal black hole, Mariner notes how it is just a regular black hole, and Freeman notes how Yem would have known the difference if she weren't a fraud at her job and vows to mention that in her report.

Mariner tried to contact Boimler so that he could leave his drill now but got no response.

Excretus of Borg

Excretus of Borg

Boimler steps forward, but The Borg has already assimilated him.

Outside his holopod, Shaxs notes that he can hear Boimler shuffling around within, and Freeman calls him to come out, but Boimler replies that he is Excretus of Borg.

Ransom orders Andy Billups to get Boimler out of the pod, who cuts the door open, and Shaxs catches the exhausted Boimler as he falls out, dazed but back to his usual self.

Boimler asks where he is as Freeman tells him that the crew owes him a debt of gratitude, and Mariner approaches him as Boimler laments about his assimilation and guides him to the lounge so they can have a drink.

As they leave, he asks if he got his perfect score, and Tendi says that he did, despite him getting a score of 8%.

Later on in the mess hall, Freeman tells the lower deckers that Yem has resigned from Starfleet due to "on-the-job stress," and Mariner notes how good it feels to ruin the career of a jerk. Freeman agrees but notes that there was one thing she managed to show them.

At that moment, Shaxs and T'Ana wheel a new replicator into the mess hall, updated with most of the senior officer menu codes, believing that as the Lower Decks crew constantly faces danger, they deserve better food.

Tendi excitedly realizes she can get more pesto in the future; Boimler eagerly asks if it makes the lobster mac and cheese with the breaded top, causing Shaxs to tease him that the Borg didn't take away his appetite, and everyone laughs at the joke. Boimler laments how the Borg took everything he was.

Memorable quotes[]

"A view like this make you realize it doesn't matter what deck you work on, we're all in it together." (The Cerritos warps away) "And they left us. They left us. How much oxygen do we have? A lot? A little? Ballpark?"

- Mariner

"They actually think they're gonna be able to handle our jobs?"
"This is gonna be rich."
"Alright, Deck 12, follow the yellow line. Move it along, lower decks."

- Ransom, Freeman, and Dirk

"Nothing makes me hornier than torturing someone. I'm horny all the time."
"And being horny always gets me in the mood to torture!"
"Oh, you can lose a whole day to that cycle."

- Billups (mirror hologram) and Rutherford (mirror hologram)

"It's NAKED TIME!" OH! Fail me! Fail me! Seriously, why is this drill still going?! Fail me! Put-Put me back in the western!"

- Shaxs (hologram), affected by polywater intoxication and Mariner, horrified over the "Naked Time" scenario

"You must help me kill myself. I broke my back picking up a peanut."

- Paralyzed Klingon (hologram)

"Oh yeah! That's right! Boimler's the Borg man!"

- Boimler

"If they wanted us to stack these, then why are they shaped like this?!"

- Shaxs, about the hexagonal crates

"Dang, that's gotta be a record."
"Actually, it is."

- Ransom and Shari yn Yem, about the failed bridge simulation

"I knew it! That mirror universe drill was rigged!"
"They were all rigged!"
"And those horses? I would never get trampled by a horse!"
"Oh, actually, no. The horses weren't rigged. I ran out of time. That one's on you."
"Horses love me! Shut up!"

- Mariner and Shari yn Yem

"A remarkable creature. Your design very nearly passes as Human."
"I am Human."
"Oh! Wow. Then you need to drink more water, your skin is a mess. But still, I think I should add your biological distinctiveness to our own. It's kind of our thing."

- Borg Queen (hologram) and Boimler

"We need to fire a graviton pulse to punch a hole out. On my mark. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…"
"Say mark! Say mark! What are you waiting for?!"
"Just making sure you're as scared as you're gonna get."
"You're *bleep* crazy!"

-Freeman and Shari yn Yem

"You can't blackmail me at the expense of your crew!"
"They do this kind of work every day. You're gonna give us a passing grade, or are we just gonna keep seeking out dangerous situations for you to see up close?"

-Shari yn Yem and Freeman

"Get me out of here! GET ME OUT OF HERE!"
"Whoop, whoop! Oh, we could do this all day, lady!"

- Shari yn Yem and Mariner

Background information[]



Popular culture[]

  • The holographic Mirror Boimler sounds the alarm that Mariner was an imposter by pointing at her and shrieking. This references how Pod people publicly identified Humans in the 1978 film version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Links and references[]


Special guest star[]

Guest cast[]

Characters with unidentified voices

Background characters[]

USS Cerritos
Simulator holopod characters


19th century; 24-hour clock; acid reflux; agonizer; airlock; ally; Andorian; Antaran; anus; appetite; artificial satellite; assimilation; attacking Klingons; baby; back; Bajoran; Bakersfield, USS; banquet; battle stations; Birdseye-type (unnamed); black hole; blackmail; Bolian; boot; Borg; Borg Collective; Borg cube (unnamed); Borg drone; Borg sphere (unnamed); brak'lul; breading; bridge; brig; bunks; bycocket; Caitian; California-class; "cap'n"; captain; captain (title); ccs; ceremonial blade; Cerritos, ISS; Cerritos, USS; chamber; chess; chief; chief engineer; chief medical officer (aka head of medical, senior medical officer); chroniton radiation stream; coffee; collar; combadge; commander; commander (title); commander's tub; Constitution II-class (unnamed); Constitution II-class decks; crate; cream; creativity; creature; crew; Crystalline Entity; culture; "damn"; danger; Danube-class (unnamed); design; disease; distress call; doctor; drill; drill administrator (aka drill instructor, drills consultant); drills program; drinking; ear; Earth; eating; electromagnetic resonance belt; EMH; empathy; ensign; environmental suit; evil; Excretus of Borg; experience; failure; feather; Federation; flight control; flogging; fraud; Freeman, Carol; frisky; frontier town; *bleep*; Genesis Planet; girl; God; goosing; graffiti; graviton pulse; guys; Haliian; hallway; hand; hate; hay fever; head; hearts; Hegh'bat; "hell yeah"; hijab; holographic duplicate; horga'hn; horny; horse; hours; hull; Human; hypospray; improvement; impulse power; infestation; inhibitions; Jem'Hadar (attacking Jem'Hadar); jerk; job; joint exercise; kiss; Klingon; Kzinti; lady; laughing; lawless; leash; lessons; lie; lieutenant; lieutenant commander; lieutenant junior grade; life-and-death situations; lobster mac and cheese; love; low-level officer; lower decks; lower decker; lung rejuvenation; magnet boots; Mariner, Beckett; master systems display; maturation chamber; maverick; maximum warp; medical tricorder; menu codes; Merp's species; Migleemo's species; mirror universe; mission parameters; mister; Moxy's species; murder; nachos; Napean; net negative; nudity; numerical score; nurse; Obena-class (unnamed); order; organs; orgy; Orion; oxygen; Pandronian; paralysis; pasta; peanut; percent; perch; permission; pesto; phaser; "piece of cake, a"; pizza; playback; points; poison; polywater intoxication; Pon Darra's species; protocol; proximity alert; puke; Q; Q (species); radiation; rank up; record; red alert; replicator; report; rescue; right handed; rogue planet; ruff; saloon; scan; "screw us [over]"; scrubs; second; senior officer; sex; "Shari Bing Bang" (aka "Shari Yingo Yango"); shields; ship; shoulder; showers; simulator holopod; sir; skin; sleep; slice; soaking; son; Spacedock One; spacewalk; spanking; spin; Spock; stacking; Starfleet; Starfleet Command; Starfleet insignia; Starfleet uniform (2370s-early 2380s); Starfleet uniform (early 2380s); Starfleet uniform (late 2270s-2350s); Starfleet uniform (mirror); Sto-vo-kor; stress; stretch; stuff; surgical gloves; Tamarian; team building; teamwork; temporal causality loop; temporal black hole; temporal rift; temptations; Terran Empire; tests; tetryon wormhole; thing; Tholian; thrusters; tickling; tightrope walk; time quake; torture; transphasic energy; transporter bay; transporting; tribble; trickster; Trill; triple threat; tumbleweed; unstable nebula radiation; Vaarza; void; Volis' species; Vulcan; warp 4; warp core; warp core breach; warrior; water; Western; whale; years; yeoman

Starfleet simulation scenario references[]

Borg Encounter; Carbon Based Units; Cause & Effect; Chain of Command; Crystalline Entity, The; EMH Tak[...]; Escape from Spacedock; Escape the Void; Evolution; Extreme Engineering; From Q to Q; Good of Many, The (aka The Good of the Many); Hero Worship; Klingon Encounter; Kobayashi Maru; Medical Ethics; Mirror Universe Encounter; Naked Time; Natural Selection; Old West Planet; Survival of the Fittest; Teleportation Death Tag; Tholian Web, The; Time Loop; Time Trap; Tribble Infestation; Tribble Troubles; Whale Rescue

Meta references[]

bleep; censor bar; intertitle

External links[]

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Star Trek: Lower Decks
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