Memory Alpha
Memory Alpha
Real world article
(written from a Production point of view)

Mariner faces her past in the season four finale. (Season finale)



Starfleet Academy, thirteen years ago. Joshua Albert is worried; The Kolvoord Starburst got banned for a good reason, and they will be flying way too close to handle, but Nick Locarno is not nervous. They're Nova Squadron, the best pilots the Academy has seen in years. Pulling it off would make them legends. Sito Jaxa laughs and says he is already a legend. However, he points out that once they graduate and get assigned to different ships across the fleet, they will become nobodies again. He claims that Wesley Crusher knows that feeling, but Crusher rebuffs Locarno before expressing concern about the stunt and asking Josh if he is sure and ready. Locarno tries to pressure Crusher by saying that Jean-Luc Picard would be proud of him. At that moment, first-year Beckett Mariner runs up to Sito, geeking out about learning about races like the Preservers and the Xindi after her first xeno-history class, and thanks her for recommending it. However, Crusher notes that if they were to pull off their stunt, they would need to put in a potentially unfeasible number of hours in the simulators. Mariner asks what it is about, but Locarno tells her it is just something for commencement. Sito says that it is something that will make him a legend, but he replies that it is for all of Nova Squadron.

In the present, Mariner asks Locarno if she is a prisoner, but Locarno says he rescued her from the Klingons and Romulans, which Mariner refutes. Locarno reveals that she got transported onto his ship, Nova One, and what he needed for Nova Fleet. Dropping out of warp, Mariner sees various ships that make up the fleet. She is horrified, while Locarno looks proud.

Act One[]

On the USS Cerritos, Captain Carol Freeman is in a video conference with her husband, Admiral Alonzo Freeman, and Admiral Vassery, who affirms that the Cerritos' investigations have proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that Nicholas Locarno is behind the attacks on non-Federation ships. Carol adds that one of her officers got abducted by Locarno and insists they move fast to pick up his warp trail. However, Vassery tells her they can do nothing, as technically, Locarno instigated mutinies on ships from over a dozen non-Federation worlds and thus is concerned about taking any action that could injure a non-Federation member. Alonzo attempts to argue that the mutineers turned against their homeworlds the second they rebelled against their captains. But Vassery refutes that they committed bloodless coups and that the Federation cannot get seen taking the first shot. He assures them that Starfleet is meeting with ambassadors from the worlds entangled in this debacle and orders the Freemans to stand down. As Vassery signs off, Carol complains. They are running out of time.

Back at the Nova Fleet station, Locarno takes Mariner on a tour of Nova One, boasting of it being his design, bereft of any Starfleet carpeting or wood paneling. He then assumes Mariner is joining his cause, intent on embarrassing Starfleet, when it becomes known that the daughter of an admiral has defected, failing to notice her nervous expression. He takes her to the bridge, where he orders the three Bynar operators to open a quadrant-wide subspace channel.

The transmission from Locarno gets detected by the Cerritos. Captain Freeman orders it to be displayed on the viewscreen and jumps from her chair upon seeing Mariner next to Locarno. Locarno greets the Alpha Quadrant, declaring his message for anyone who feels like an afterthought; Rutherford comments that Locarno looks like Tom Paris, though Boimler disagrees. He claims responsibility for the ship attacks across the quadrant and has added them to what he describes as the first independent fleet in the Alpha Quadrant; Boimler remarks that the Maquis would disagree. Locarno's message is on Andorian, Tamarian, and other non-Starfleet ships, including Petra Aberdeen's, who appears to be very skeptical. He calls out to junior officers who resent their captains for not knowing their names, fear obeying orders of incompetent commanders, or are stuck on the lower decks. He invites them to the Detrion system, protected by his indestructible Trynar shield.

Tendi questions his furious outlook, to which Commander Ransom replies that Locarno got kicked out of Starfleet for getting one of his squad killed with a banned flight maneuver and then trying to cover it up. T'Lyn comments that his emotional behavior conflicts with his guilt. Dr. T'Ana says, "Yeah, he's a *bleep*." Locarno then reveals his possession of a Ferengi Genesis Device, giving him the power to wipe out life on any planet he chooses as a deterrent against unwanted trespassers. He declares that everyone, from the Federation to the Klingon Empire to the Romulan Star Empire, will show Nova Fleet respect.

He then turns the floor to Mariner, asking her to tell everyone what life in Starfleet is really like. Instead, Mariner calls him out for his self-serving ways before stealing the Genesis Device and rushing off the bridge. Embarrassed, Locarno quickly terminates the transmission.

Delighted to see her daughter fighting back, Freeman calls on the entire crew, declaring her intent to disobey Starfleet's direct orders to rescue Mariner. She assures them she can't ask them to join her, as they will likely get court-martialed. However, she will be damned if she waits for the politicians to decide Mariner's fate. From reports coming in to the bridge from all departments, the crew's support is unanimous. Freeman then questions how they will be getting past Locarno's shield. Tendi states she has an idea.

Back at the station, Locarno – still chasing Mariner – angrily tells her that she made him look like a fool, which was her plan. She slides down a ladder and hops over some boxes. Two Ferengi join the chase. Finding a ship, the Sabrerunner-class USS Passaro, Mariner races in and locks out the Ferengi, making her way to the bridge, where she buckles up the Genesis Device into the excutive officer's seat and then tries to recall her mother's override command code to activate the ship; much to her relief the computer accepts it, making her very glad she had taken the time to memorize it. Transferring controls to the command seat, she starts her escape. The Romulans want to destroy the ship, but without the Genesis Device, the captains they betrayed will go after them, forcing all of them to chase after Mariner.

On Orion. D'Erika Tendi is upset at the Cerritos crew among them. Freeman tries to explain, but D'Vana takes over, claiming Freeman has no power here. D'Vana tries to explain what's going on, but D'Erika is unmoved. She is too busy overseeing the merger between two criminal enterprises, so she apologizes that does not have the time to collude with the Federation. Desperate, D'Vana invokes barter by combat.

In the Detrion system, Mariner attempts to go into warp, but as she does, the computer stops her as they are too close to the Trynar shield. She pulls up at the last second, the two shields scraping against each other. Locarno tells Mariner that the shield works both ways – no one gets in or out. Mariner mocks that she forgot because the name was so stupid before realizing the name revolves around the three Bynars. Locarno tries to tempt Mariner once again and even offers to let her go, but she refuses as that means giving up the Genesis Device. With the phasers unable to break through the Trynar shield, Mariner pulls away further into the system, the other ships giving chase.

Act Two[]

On Orion. D'Erika explains the rules of 'barter by combat': each side selects a champion. If the Cerritos' champion wins, D'Erika will lend them a battleship, but if her champion wins, Freeman will have to surrender the Cerritos. She chooses B'eth - a frightening woman Boimler describes as a Shaxs and a half - as her champion. In response to this choice, D'Vana chooses a bizarre option: Dr. Migleemo.

Back at the Detrion system, Mariner needs somewhere to hide from Nova Fleet and decides her best option is an unpredictable icy ring system. Dodging masses of ice, she encounters a Ferengi ship and decides to spook them by locking on them. Contacting the ship, she asks Jeef and another Ferengi why he's working for Locarno, given Rule of Acquisition 91, "Your boss is only worth what he pays you.". They refuse to listen, citing rule 289, "shoot first, count profits later.", before opening fire at a piece of debris, causing damage to the Passaro and allowing the Ferengi to get behind her again. In desperation, Mariner vents coolant vapor, which blocks the Ferengi's sensors, enabling her to hide in the shadow of an ice asteroid.

Migleemo's battle with B'eth is unsurprisingly going poorly, to the point where Boimler's wondering if he'll have to start over with a new therapist. That is until he reluctantly fluffs his down at D'Vana's command. When he does, something is immediately wrong with B'eth. She can barely breathe and is uncontrollably sneezing. As it turns out, she's severely allergic to feathers, something D'Vana knew and has been counting on all along. However, her plan backfires when Migleemo becomes cocky and fails to get out of the way, causing B'eth to win when she falls on him. With B'eth's victory, D'Erika demands the Cerritos transferred to her, but D'Vana offers something she wants more than the Cerritos: herself. Even if they can't rescue Mariner, D'Vana has to return to Orion.

Mariner considers her options: She cannot warp out of the system because the Trynar shield is active, and the Passaro is damaged. She has only one option: Find a lifeless planet and set the Genesis Device off there. Mariner asks the computer for information on lifeless planets nearby, and it suggests Detrion 9. She heads there, unaware of the cloaked Romulan starship that just spotted her.

The Cerritos examine the warship D'Erika gave them, the Retribution. But there's a problem: they never said the ship had to be operable, and D'Erika - in Orion fashion - gave them a derelict. Billups has his best team working on it, but that best team is Rutherford and Livik, who are too busy arguing with each other to cooperate. T'Lyn decides on a course of action to get them on the same page. Billups thinks she plans on using a mind-meld them, but she has something less invasive in mind: the A.B. Chambers holoprogram. Rutherford and Livik, both dressed as Mark Twain, eventually come to a compromise. Freeman is still baffled at how Twaining works, but T'Lyn replies that illogical tactics can sometimes lead to logical solutions.

Mariner encounters a level 7 ion storm and tries to go around, but the Romulan starship that followed her out of the ring system ambushes her. Malok contacts her and demands she surrender the Genesis Device. Mariner mocks them for letting a Human order them around, but they say he does not give orders but is a pawn in their game of 12-dimensional chess and that Locarno had given them the ability to scheme at their leisure. At this point, Mariner is blindsided by Nova One showing up, with Locarno boasting that he treats the members of his coalition as equals, shortly before Nova Fleet surrounds her.

Act Three[]

Locarno tells Mariner she has no options and demands she stand down so they can start over, only for her to fly into the storm. Locarno is infuriated at her suicidal course of action - the others are unconcerned as they believe she would not last ten minutes in there - He rebuffs that they will lose their bargaining power and orders them to pursue, contradicting his earlier claim about equality, much to the Romulan's indignation. Disappointed by their cowardice, Locarno pilots Nova One into the storm himself.

As Mariner and Locarno play cat-and-mouse in the storm with the interference rendering their viewscreens barely visible, the latter hails her, once again demanding her surrender. Mariner responds that the whole reason he hates Starfleet is not because he has some deep connection with junior officers but out of resentment for being expelled from the Academy. He rebuffs her, insisting he resents command structure just like her, even trying to justify Sito's death as meaningless. Having earlier come to terms with Sito's death, Mariner tells him that Sito died for her beliefs, and while she acknowledges that Starfleet's not perfect, they still do the right thing in the end. Furthermore, she never took a single shot at Nova Fleet, but he was the one who put them in danger. She then confronts him about Joshua's death, but he is unable to accept that his ego got his squadmate killed, instead blaming their instructors for not letting them get enough flight practice for their illicit Kolvoord Starburst plan. Suddenly, the Ferengi hail Locarno to inform him that an Orion destroyer has just arrived outside the system.

On the Cerritos, Boimler is Acting Captain as the ship is on course for the Detrion system, towing the Retribution via tractor beam. They get hailed by Admiral Vassery, who is initially taken off guard upon seeing Boimler and orders them to turn around. When told that Captain Freeman was going to breach the Trynar shield, a confused Vassery gets cut off.

Boimler orders Ensign Barnes to accelerate to maximum impulse, causing the ship to lose structural integrity. When they are less than 6000 kilometers from the shield, the Cerritos breaks off as the Retribution collides with the shield, causing a massive explosion that creates a breach wide enough for the Captain's yacht, piloted by Freeman, Ransom, Shaxs, and Kayshon to slip through before it closes.

The members of Nova Fleet begin to panic at the revelation that the Trynar shield's not as impenetrable as Locarno claimed. Locarno tries to keep order while accidentally revealing that only he is in charge. But the three Bynars beam off the Nova One onto the Romulan ship as Nova Fleet, already disillusioned with his unstable and controlling behavior, disperses. Arrogantly boasting that he does not need them, Locarno detects the Passaro and opens fire, damaging the port nacelle. With her ship dead in the water, Mariner is forced to arm the Genesis Device with a five-minute countdown just as Locarno beams onboard with a Starfleet phaser rifle (with a scratched chevron). Believing he can disarm the device, Locarno dismisses her insistence on abandoning the ship and boasts that he graduated at the top of his class; Mariner reminds him that he didn't graduate before fighting him. She then tries to reason with him, insisting he does not let his resentment over his past mistakes define him. Locarno ignores her. Locarno said he could've been the best pilot in Starfleet. Though she insists he's no murderer, having stunned all the crews of the ships he captured, Locarno is willing to kill to get back the perfect life he believed was stolen from him. Mariner refuses to move aside and braces for her seemingly imminent death.

Fortunately for Mariner, she is beamed aboard the Captain's yacht just as Locarno fires at her; she is embraced by her mother, who boasts of throwing a battleship at the trynar shield to get through it. Mariner insists they rescue Locarno, however, he has reactivated the shields and refuses to listen while working on the device when Mariner begs him to accept rescue. With detonation imminent, the Starfleet officers are forced to leave without him and flee the storm at full impulse as Mariner helplessly watches the Passaro from the viewport. Just as Locarno cracks the code to disarm the device, he discovers that it has a two latinum bar paywall even as it continues counting down. As he curses the Ferengi for this design choice, the Genesis Device goes off, incorporating the ion storm and everything in it – Locarno included – into a new planet, emitting a Kolvoord Starburst-like flash of light.

Upon her return to the Cerritos, Freeman has to face Vassery's displeasure at her insubordination. Though she takes full responsibility for her actions, Vassery admits that Starfleet Command is pleased that she managed to open diplomatic relations with the Orions for the first time. Freeman - relieved that her punishment's mitigated - follows up, asking what happened to Nova Fleet, to which Vassery speculates they've gone into hiding. And since there were no shots fired, Starfleet managed to avoid repercussions. Starfleet is left to deal with the newly created M-class planet. They decided on the name 'Locarno' since Locarno's molecules were part of its creation. They will monitor it for now and if it proves to be as stable as it currently appears to be, Starfleet hopes to use it as a home for refugees, leading Freeman to remark that Locarno did some good after all. Vassery then changes topics, stating he had to discuss one of her lieutenants.

Meanwhile, Mariner happily reunites with her friends, who happily embrace her, except T'Lyn. She apologizes for her recent reckless behavior but Tendi says they will not accept her apology as they support her unconditionally. Furthermore, Mariner has decided to stop self-sabotaging herself for once.

They enter the mess hall. Rutherford aggressively says, "Livik." with Livik saying, "Rutherford." They only cooperate when they're "Twaining." T'Lyn then receives a communication from Captain Sokel. Despite it being a sign that she could return to the Vulcan fleet, she ignores him to remain on the Cerritos to become Tendi's "science bestie."

Unfortunately, their revelry is cut short as an Orion cruiser sent by D'Erika comes out of warp shortly before Freeman sadly approaches their table to inform Tendi that she has to return to Orion. Tendi remarks that her sister was never one to waste time. T'Lyn suggests that, in the spirit of being a pirate, she could refuse to go, but Tendi insists that she has to uphold her end of the bargain.

The lower deckers gather in the transporter room as Tendi shares a tearful goodbye with Rutherford before beaming over. While her friends remain confident that she will return, as the Orion ship goes to warp, Tendi takes a deep breath and reminds herself that she can handle whatever comes next.

Memorable quotes[]

"He looks like Tom Paris."
"I don't see it."
"They have, like, the same face! They're identical!"
"No, I just don't see it."

-Rutherford and Boimler, arguing about whether Nick Locarno looks like Tom Paris

"They're part of the first totally independent unaligned fleet in the Alpha Quadrant!"
"Um, the Maquis would like a word."

-Locarno and Boimler

"The Federation, the Klingon Empire, the Romulan Empire, everyone has to respect Nova Fleet. Speaking of, I have an officer here who knows how to speak truth to power. Beckett, care to tell them what Starfleet's really like?"
"Oh, uh... hey. What up, everyone? I have an important message to all you lower deckers out there... this guy sucks!"
"He's an idiot, and his plan is stupid! He's gonna get you all killed because he only cares about himself!"

-Locarno, inviting Mariner to participate in the speech, only for her to derail it

"Beckett, you just made us look like a joke in front of the quadrant!"
"Kind of my entire plan!"

-Locarno and Mariner

"Computer, command code override, uh, zero six one zero seven point two?"
"Welcome, Captain Carol Freeman."
"YES! I knew that would come in handy."

-Mariner, hijacking the USS Passaro

"Come on, come on, need somewhere to hide... ooh, dangerous and unpredictable space debris."

-Mariner, while fleeing from the Nova Fleet ships

"It may be hard for you to believe, but we are a coalition of equals–one that has you surrounded."

-Locarno, cornering Mariner in front of the ion storm

"Get away from my Genesis Device!"
"It's too late, Nick; I started the countdown, all right? We have to clear out of here."
"Oh, please! I graduated top of my class; you think I don't know how to disarm a bomb?"
"First off: you didn't graduate. And second: that thing is too dangerous for anyone!"

-Locarno and Mariner

"Ha! Next time, set a shorter timer."
"To deactivate detonation, please insert two bars of latinum."
"They put a paywall on a bomb?! Stupid Feren–"

-Locarno and Ferengi-made Genesis Device

Background information[]


  • According to creator Mike McMahan, "The last couple of episodes for this season are a big swing and I am really proud of them and I cannot wait for you to see them. We held them off [from the press] because I don’t even want a breath of what happens in them to get out. And it just feels like the ultimate Star Trek, the ultimate Lower Decks." [1]

Cast and characters[]


  • This episode establishes Mariner to have been a first-year cadet in 2368.
  • Two new Ferengi Rules of Acquisition are introduced, #91 ("Your boss is only worth what he pays you") and #289 ("Shoot first, count profits later").
  • Mariner's attempt to evade Locarno's forces by entering an ion storm alludes to the climactic battle in the Mutara Nebula at the end of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Music from the film accompanies several shots in this sequence, and the detonation of the Genesis Device produces the same visual effect in both cases.
  • Locarno's last words "Stupid Feren–" mirrored Keevan's last words "I hate Ferengi" in DS9: "The Magnificent Ferengi".
  • This is the first Lower Decks season finale in which the USS Cerritos is not shown to suffer significant damage.

Links and references[]


Special guest stars[]

Guest cast[]

Characters with unknown voice actors

Background characters[]

Andorian ship
USS Cerritos
IAG starship
Nova One
Starfleet Academy
Tamarian ship


2368; A.B. Chambers; allergies; ambassador; Andorian; anger; apologist; arena; atom; Bajoran; barter by combat; battleship; black market; bomb; Bynar; California-class; Cardassian; Cerritos captain's yacht; coalition; collude; command code override; command panel; command structure; compromise; conduit; coolant vapor; Cosmia's ship; Danube-class (unnamed); detonation; Detrion system; down; Earth; ego; fan club; Ferengi; first officer; fluff; Gem's starship; Genesis Device (aka G.D.); Golden Gate Bridge; horse; Hysperians; Independent Archaeologists Guild; inhaler; joystick; junior member; latinum; legend; level 7 ion storm; life support; Locarno; M class; manual steering column; Maquis; merger; Migleemo's species; milkman; mind meld; Monaveen; murderer; namesake (namesake planets); nosebleed; Nova Fleet; Nova Fleet station; Nova One; Nova Squadron; Orion; Orion (planet); Orion destroyer; Orion orbital station; Orion vessel; Paris, Tom; Passaro, USS; pawn; paywall; Picard, Jean-Luc; pilot; pirate; plasma conduit; politician; Preservers; professor; refugee; Retribution; Romulan; Rules of Acquisition; Sabrerunner-class; seat belt; shields; Sh'vhal, VCF; slime; snot; Sokel; sphinx workpod; Starburst Maneuver; Starfleet Academy; structural integrity; support ship; Sword and Scabbard; Tamarian; Tendi Two; therapist; tractor beam; Trynar shield; Twain, Mark; Twaining; twelve-dimensional chess; type 3 phaser; Type 6A captain's yacht; Vrek's starship; Vulcan; Vulcan fleet; warrior; warp drive; warp manifold; warship; xeno-history; Xindi

LCARS references[]

degree; Earth year; equatorial circumference; equatorial inclination; escape velocity; gram per cubic centimeter; kilogram; kilometer; kilometer per second; mass; mean density; mean surface temperature; meter per second per second; natural satellite; orbit eccentricity; orbit inclination; planetary geoscan; radius; rotation period; sidereal orbit period; sols; surface gravity

Meta references[]

bleep; intertitle

External link[]

Previous episode:
"The Inner Fight"
Star Trek: Lower Decks
Season 4
Next episode:
Not yet announced