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The lovable but awkward Ensign Fletcher makes work difficult for Mariner and Boimler. Rutherford introduces Tendi to a holodeck training program he created.

Summary

Teaser

In the lower decks crew quarters, Ensign Brad Boimler is hissing while he puts something away near his bunk. Ensign Beckett Mariner asks him about it, and Boimler tells her how sometimes he likes to imitate the sounds of the warp engines to soothe himself. Mariner simply says that his imitation is not what the USS Cerritos sounds like at warp, and Boimler tells her how he was imitating the USS Enterprise-D at warp 4, before imitating the Cerritos in a different tone. Ensign Fletcher joins in and does his own interpretation, but Boimler says his version sounds wrong due to the inverted plasma distributors aboard the Cerritos, which gives it a higher pitch. Mariner disagrees and begins to do her own rendition of the Cerritos warp engines at a slightly lower pitch. Ensign Sam Rutherford joins in with his portrayal of the USS Voyager. Ensign D'Vana Tendi excitedly begins her own rendering of the engine.

Outside the corridor, Commander Jack Ransom notices all the ensigns in a circle, making their engine sounds, and believes that something is wrong with them, calling security to the deck. He pulls out his phaser and demands that they get on the ground, taking them by surprise. Boimler tries to explain what they are doing, but Ransom tackles him. As this happens, Mariner realizes that Boimler is right and that the Cerritos does have a higher engine pitch.

Act One

"Security log, stardate 57663.9. Our standoff with Drookmani scavengers continues. Their claim of salvage on Starfleet cargo is ludicrous! Thus far, my recommendation of full assault has been ignored in favor of a more… diplomatic approach."

On the bridge of the Cerritos, Captain Carol Freeman is in a heated debate with the captain of a Drookmani salvage ship, which has discovered the wreckage of a 23rd century Starfleet Antares cargo ship. She says that while Starfleet appreciates the Drookmani's discovery of the wreck, they can only offer the Drookmani a finder's reward, and cannot let them claim the actual wreckage of the ship. The Drookmani captain argues that since the wreckage has been abandoned for well over a hundred years they are free to claim it. He then has his ship begin to load the wreckage with his tractor beam, but Freeman simply has their own tractor beam lock on the same piece of debris, starting a tug-of-war competition with the Drookmani ship. Freeman notes that with the cargo still containing a large amount of Starfleet technology, they cannot let the Drookmani have it. Lieutenant Commander Andy Billups notes that if they fire on the Drookmani, it's an act of war, a fact that Lieutenant Shaxs has no problems with, and he recommends firing on them. Freeman hopes that they can resolve this peacefully, and has the Cerritos go to yellow alert. She also notes that if things do go south, their crew is ready and focused.

Fletcher hangs with Boimler and Mariner.

Meanwhile in the mess hall, Fletcher is drinking cantaloupe purée straight from the replicator in an attempt to beat a record, and is being cheered on by his fellow lower decks crewmates when Mariner accidentally bumps into Dr. T'Ana, causing her face to fall into her plate of nachos. T'Ana furiously scolds Mariner, noting how difficult it is to clean nacho cheese out of her fur in a sonic shower, and Mariner tries to apologize. T'Ana simply remains angry with her, noting her past insubordinate behavior, saying that if she wants to goof around, she can go work at Starbase 80. Before the situation can escalate any further, Fletcher gives T'Ana a towel, and a new plate of nachos. T'Ana thanks him and walks away, angry at Mariner. Boimler notes how Fletcher is a natural peace negotiator, and how he always seemed to defuse situations, going as far back as the Academy. Fletcher says that Mariner wouldn't be here if she wasn't great at her job, and the three walk off laughing.

Meanwhile, Rutherford and Tendi are having lunch together, and wondering what kind of cargo might be in the cargo ship they're scavenging. Rutherford wonders if there might be some cyro-frozen princesses or some fruit on board, and Tendi wonders if it might be some old communicators. Rutherford notes how once the diplomatic crisis with the Drookmani is resolved, they will probably have the lower decks crew engage in a space walk to get everything cataloged, but when he says this, Tendi gets nervous, and confesses that she never finished her space walk unit at the Academy. Rutherford gets an idea and offers to help her train in the holodeck with a program he has been writing. Tendi happily accepts his offer.

Mariner, Boimler, and Fletcher are recalibrating the ship's isolinear cores, and Mariner is worried that she and Boimler will not be able to finish in time to go to the Chu Chu dance party which is happening soon. Fletcher sees how disappointed they seem to be that they won't make it, and offers to finish recalibrating the cores on his own so they can go. Boimler and Mariner happily accept his offer, and Fletcher notes how the lower decks crew has to stick together. Boimler and Mariner excitedly leave him to go get some Chu Chu shirts that Boimler has made for the occasion and leave Fletcher in the corridor.

Tendi meets Badgey.

Tendi and Rutherford enter the holodeck, and Rutherford loads Rutherford Training Beta 2.5. The holodeck loads an anthropomorphic combadge named Badgey, a virtual tutor that Rutherford has designed to help with virtually any Starfleet exercise, and he eagerly asks if he can help teach them a lesson. Tendi loves how cute he is, and she asks if he can help her learn to perform untethered cargo retrieval in open space. It takes a moment for Badgey to process this request, but he cheerfully loads an open space environment. Tendi is impressed with the detail in the program, and Rutherford admits that holodeck programming is a hobby of his. Tendi at first seems to struggle with controlling herself in the simulated space environment, but she starts to get the hang of it. Badgey appears and asks if they want to recover lost cargo, which Rutherford confirms, but as Badgey loads the simulation, he freezes. Rutherford gets impatient, and angrily tries to get Badgey to restart the cargo recovery simulation, but is unsuccessful. Rutherford loses patience, calls Badgey a glitch, and kicks him. As soon as he kicks him, the cargo loads, and they begin to train, while Badgey floats with a frozen, slightly ominous smile.

Fletcher's mysterious attacker

Boimler and Mariner exit the Chu Chu dance hall excited, and they excitedly talk about how much they had fun together when they find Fletcher still in the corridor, only unconscious. They rush over and ask him what happened. Fletcher says how he was working on the core when suddenly, someone came from behind and stunned him with a phaser. They notice that one of the isolinear cores for the shield array is missing. Noting how they regulate auto-repair when the shields are damaged, they conclude that someone is likely trying to frame Fletcher for messing up the ship without actually damaging it. Fletcher is scared he will face a court martial, but Mariner and Boimler assure him that they will figure out who did this to him.

The first suspects they come up with are the delta shift, and they pay them a visit in the lower decks crew quarters. Upon visiting, there is a bit of smack talk between them and the members of delta shift, which quickly begins to escalate as Fletcher gets hostile with them. Mariner and Boimler calm him down, and Boimler asks if they know about the missing core and Fletcher's assault. The delta shift is annoyed that they would accuse them of the assault, which only angers Fletcher even more and he gets ready to fight. However, when they ask about when this happened, the delta shift notes how they were at the Chu Chu dance with Boimler and Mariner, and that they saw Mariner begin to cry when the Chu Chu dance was starting. As this proves delta shift innocent in this, they ask if Fletcher remembers anything else when the ship shakes suddenly.

On the bridge, Freeman watches as the Drookmani start to throw bits of debris at the ship with their tractor beam, since they lack weapons on their ship. Shaxs notes a problem with the deflector shields, noting that they are fading unusually fast. Freeman remains resolved in finding a peaceful conclusion to this, as the Drookmani throw another large piece of debris at the ship, damaging the ship's internal systems.

On the holodeck, the program glitches, and power is diverted away from the holodeck. This causes the holodeck safety protocols to disable. Rutherford tries to end the program, but is unsuccessful. Rutherford asks Badgey to run a diagnostic, but Badgey simply attacks Rutherford instead. Badgey apologizes, noting that he's just a "stupid worthless glitch", and continues to attack Rutherford, damaging his environmental suit. Rutherford tries to re-engage the safety protocols, but is unsuccessful. He and Tendi then instead begin to flee, and Rutherford has the computer load a Bajoran marketplace. Badgey simply begins attacking the other holographic characters in the program and starts to chase Tendi and Rutherford as they flee.

Act Two

The Drookmani ship continues to throw debris at the Cerritos, and Shaxs notes how their shields won't be able to take much more of the beating. Ransom suggests that the Drookmani's provocative actions are enough to justify an aggressive reaction, and Shaxs begs for permission to shoot the Drookmani's warp core, but Freeman remains steadfast in peacefully resolving this (much to the dismay of Shaxs). The Drookmani captain hails them and says that their evasive maneuvers constitute as fighting, and refuses to listen to Freeman's attempts to talk things out.

As the Cerritos continues to shake from the Drookmani's debris, Boimler notes that the shields are getting slammed. Mariner seems confused by this turn of events, since the Drookmani are mainly scavengers and not known for their hostility, and Fletcher suddenly accuses the Drookmani of stealing the missing isolinear core to sabotage their defenses. He says that the person who stunned him was alien, and that they should report this to the bridge. Unwilling to jump to conclusions, Boimler says that they should instead scan the Cerritos for any intruders, and Mariner agrees. They rush to their bunks to get their scanners.

As Boimler grabs his equipment and notes what decks he will search, he notices a large lump on Fletcher's bed which is covered by a sheet. Removing it, he finds the missing isolinear core. Fletcher tries to play it off as aliens trying to frame him, but Boimler and Mariner don't buy it. Fletcher then confesses that after Boimler and Mariner left for the Chu Chu dance, he continued the task, but that it was getting too hard for him. He thought to himself that the task would be easier if he were smarter, and decided to take one of the isolinear cores and directly hook it up to his brain, thinking that since the computer was smart, it could make him smarter as well. However, this plan didn't work as he'd hoped, and Fletcher ended up damaging the core. He therefore hid the core so that he could come up with the story of how he was attacked so that Boimler and Mariner wouldn't be let down.

Boimler scolds Fletcher that he wanted to lie to the captain about an alien attack. Boimler also notes that while he and Mariner have constantly had his back, Fletcher has only lied in return. Fletcher replies that he just wanted them to be proud of him, and that he messed up, and Mariner reluctantly tells him that everything's okay. Boimler notes that they can reformat the core, and everything will end up fine. Fletcher is relieved, and says that this has all been a learning experience for him, and Mariner commends him, noting that Starfleet is all about learning from your mistakes. However, as she says this, the isolinear core comes to life and uses nearby equipment to simulate a body and become monstrous.

Act Three

As the core adds to its body, Fletcher begs Mariner and Boimler to fix the core. They realize that Fletcher's brainwaves have corrupted the core and that it's incorporating anything it can grab. Mariner tells Fletcher to call this in, noting that if it gets loose, the core could mess up the whole ship. As reporting it in would get him in trouble, Fletcher instead attacks the core, and inadvertently makes the core a bit stronger. As Mariner and Boimler pull him away, he begs them to help him or he'll report them to the captain and say that it was all their idea. Mariner scolds him, saying he's not behaving like a Starfleet officer at all, and Fletcher simply retorts that she breaks rules constantly. Mariner replies that the only rules she breaks are trivial, and that she only breaks them so that she can do a better job, and that she would never put anyone in danger (except maybe Boimler on occasion). The core continues to absorb more into its body as they argue.

On the holodeck, Tendi and Rutherford are running up a large mountain away from Badgey. They are quickly getting winded from the chase, and Rutherford apologizes to Tendi, but Tendi says that he was only trying to help her. Rutherford confesses that he knew his program was not ready to be run like this, and that he was just trying to impress her, noting that she's really cool. Tendi assures him that he impresses her every day, and that Badgey is an amazing piece of programming, despite wanting to kill them. Rutherford then notes how unusual it is that Badgey hasn't killed them yet. He looks down the mountain and sees Badgey, who is strangely just as winded and tired as they are. Rutherford finds it odd that Badgey is affected by the physical parameters of the simulation, and comes up with an idea that if Badgey can feel fatigue, then perhaps he could be affected in the same way by a colder environment. Rutherford then loads a freezing environment, and he and Tendi resume running.

On the bridge, Shaxs notes that the shields have dropped below 40% and that auto-repair is not functioning, before switching to manual repair.

Boimler and Mariner lure the core into the airlock.

In the corridors, Boimler, Mariner, and Fletcher manage to capture the haywire core and try to drag it to the transporter when Fletcher comes up with an idea to let the core beat them up a bit so that they can blame the whole incident on a Q, noting that their story will check out since they'll be injured, and that Q are very unpredictable in nature. He urges them to find some odds and ends to make it bigger in order to do so. Fed up, Mariner and Boimler tie him up and leave him by his bunk as they continue to drag the core to the transporter. As they move the core, Mariner tells Boimler that she doesn't like Fletcher, and Boimler agrees that they should probably rethink their mindset of lower decks crew standing together all the time. Mariner finds it nice that she and Boimler aren't fighting for once, and Boimler agrees that they make a good team. As they've been on the move, the core grows as it tears everything it can from the bulkheads they are passing by and the pair realize that it will soon be too big to move before they can reach the transporter room, but then notice they're by an airlock and bait it inside with a thrown tricorder before blowing it out into space. They seem happy that they managed to avert disaster, only to realize that the core is drifting towards the Drookmani ship. To their horror, the core starts to rip the other ship apart; Boimler sighs that they're "so getting fired."

The Drookmani don't seem to notice, and continue to throw debris at the Cerritos, finally bringing her shields offline. Realizing that she is out of options, Freeman tells Shaxs to target their warp core. Shaxs is ecstatic to finally be able to fight, but his happiness turns to dismay as he realizes that the ship's weapons are disabled. T'Ana recommends an evacuation of the ship, but before Freeman can give the order, they notice the Drookmani ship beginning to break apart. Shaxs cheers and kisses T'Ana, not knowing quite what they did, but that they were successful in stopping the Drookmani.

Rutherford kills Badgey.

On the holodeck, Rutherford and Tendi continue to flee from Badgey in the freezing environment. Rutherford realizes that they can't outrun Badgey, and tells Tendi to keep running, while he confronts Badgey. Badgey taunts him and says that once he kills Rutherford, he will slice open Tendi's throat and bathe in her blood, and Rutherford attacks Badgey. They two engage in hand-to-hand combat, before Badgey grabs a shard of ice and stabs Rutherford in the shoulder. Badgey gloats that Rutherford can't hurt him, and Rutherford apologizes that he called Badgey a glitch, confessing that he just wanted to impress Tendi since she's so cute. Badgey doesn't accept the apology, but before he can do anything, he begins to freeze. The two have a moment of reconciliation, before Rutherford breaks what would be Badgey's neck.

As this happens, Billups is successful in restoring main power to the ship, and this resets the holodeck to its proper working order. Tendi and Rutherford stand in the holodeck as Badgey loads up again, his usual happy and chipper self, eager to teach them a lesson. Worn out from their chase, Tendi and Rutherford politely decline, and leave the holodeck.

Boimler and Mariner return to Fletcher and untie him. Fletcher notes how the core had his brain pattern, and that if they find the core and kick him off the ship, he intends to take them with him. As he says this, Ransom and Shaxs appear in the crew quarters. Ransom notes an unauthorized airlock ejection, a missing isolinear core, and the unknown attack on the Drookmani ship, and demands an immediate explanation. Mariner steps up and says she will tell him exactly what happened, and Fletcher braces himself for the worst.

Fletcher gets promoted.

Mariner however ends up telling a different account of what really happened. She claimed that Fletcher improvised weaponizing the isolinear core and used it to attack the Drookmani, thus saving the Cerritos. This impresses the senior staff so much that they later promote Fletcher to lieutenant. Ransom commends Fletcher for demonstrating selfless heroism that Starfleet stands for and rewards him with a transfer to the USS Titan. Fletcher is astounded by this reward, and as the crew cheers for him, Boimler seems distraught by this turn of events. Mariner however says that it's best to keep your friends close, and your enemies "way the hell somewhere else". Rutherford and Tendi walk over and Rutherford notes how an assignment to the Titan is actually a dream job for Boimler. Boimler is annoyed, but admits that perhaps this will result in a new Fletcher, hoping that the transfer will help Fletcher turn things around and become a better person.

Six days later, Mariner and Boimler get a transmission in the repair bay from Fletcher that he was fired from his position aboard the Titan (and apparently demoted back to ensign) for dumping garbage in the warp core, and will be going back to Earth. He asks Mariner and Boimler to help him get a position back on the Cerritos, but they quickly claim that the transmission is getting garbled, before ending it altogether. Boimler admits that he'd rather serve with several Mariners than one Fletcher, and that despite her rule breaking, Mariner truly is Starfleet at heart. Mariner thanks him for the nice compliment, and invites him to the captain's yacht, as she was able to sign out the keys in Boimler's name. Boimler chases her in protest as they run out of the room.

Log entries

  • "Security log, stardate 57663.9. Our standoff with Drookmani scavengers continues. Their claim of salvage on Starfleet cargo is ludicrous. Thus far, my recommendation of full assault has been ignored in favor of a more… diplomatic approach."

Memorable quotes

"Do you know how hard it is to get cheese out of fur in a sonic shower?!"

- T'Ana, after Mariner accidentally hits her into her nacho platter


"Damn, Starbase 80?!?"

- An unnamed crewman, after hearing Dr. T'Ana suggest that Mariner go work there to goof around


"The holodeck, gah! Why didn't I think of that sooner?"
"Yeah, you know it's not just for hanging with Sherlock Holmes, and Robin Hood, and Sigmund Freud, and Cyrano de Bergerac, and Einstein, and da Vinci, and Stephen Hawking, and Socrates"

- D'Vana Tendi and Sam Rutherford


"Hi! Can I teach you a lesson?"

- Badgey, upon being activated


"I can't believe I actually made eye contact with one of the Zebulon sisters! Oh God! I forgot how to breathe."
"Oh my God, and then when they added the third Chu and they were doing the Chu Chu Chu dance? They're geniuses!"

- Brad Boimler and Beckett Mariner


"You wanna dance? I'll take you to the dance. I'll pick you up at your mom and dad's house!"
"YOU DON'T TALK ABOUT MY DAD!"

- Karavitus and Fletcher


"Fun fact: I'm gonna rip your eyes out!"
"That fact wasn't fun!"

- Badgey and Tendi, as Badgey goes corrupt


"Phasers locked onto their warp core, Captain. Please, please let me shoot their warp core! I have been very good this month!"
"Evasive pattern Sulu-Alpha."
"OH, COME ON!"

- Shaxs and Carol Freeman


"I thought you said this trash wasn't worth fighting for."
"We're not fighting."
"Avoiding damage is fighting!"
"Ugh! We can talk this out."
"*bleep* you!"

- The Drookmani captain and Freeman


"We are so getting fired for this."

- Boimler, as the sentient isolinear core rips apart the Drookmani ship


"You know what they say, keep your friends close, and your enemies way the hell somewhere else."

- Mariner

Background information

Production history

Continuity

  • Although most of the holodeck characters that Ensign Rutherford mentions appeared in previous holodeck stories, he also mentions a couple of characters that were not depicted on the holodeck, such as Cyrano de Bergerac and Robin Hood. These are most likely references to Reginald Barclay performing the role of Cyrano onstage in TNG: "The Nth Degree", and Captain Jean-Luc Picard's transformation into Robin Hood by Q in TNG: "Qpid".
  • Leonardo da Vinci is among the holodeck characters Rutherford mentions, who would appear a few episodes later in "Crisis Point".
  • This is the first episode of the series to feature a log entry without any interruptions.
  • Delta shift has been previously mentioned in "Temporal Edict". This is the first time we see them on screen.

Notes

  • The key for the captain's yacht appears to be attached to a keychain with a toy tribble.

Links and references

Starring

Guest cast

Background characters

References

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Meta references

bleep; intertitle

External links


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Star Trek: Lower Decks
Season 1
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