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A visiting reporter on the Cerritos puts Captain Freeman on edge.

Summary[]

Teaser[]

"Captain's log, stardate 58496.1. While the primary mission of the California-class is second contact, Starfleet has never considered our work a top priority. Until today. I'm thrilled to log that my planetary follow-up initiative has finally been given the green light by Admiral Buenamigo."

In the conference room of the USS Cerritos, Vice Admiral Les Buenamigo is congratulating Captain Carol Freeman for the beginnings of Project Swing By. Buenamigo assigns them to go and check on the planet Ornara. As the last time Starfleet made contact with them was through Captain Jean-Luc Picard 17 years prior, Starfleet believes them to be long overdue for a check-in. Buenamigo informs them that if this mission is successful, the entire California-class line will be routinely assigned future Swing By missions. Buenamigo then tells Freeman that he has also assigned a journalist from the Federation News Network to come and document the mission, before ending the transmission.

As her senior staff congratulate her for the success of her project, Freeman is disgruntled that a reporter is going to be visiting the Cerritos. As she believes the ship is unpresentable in the current shape it's in, she orders her senior staff to order the crew to start cleaning it up. While they believe her to be joking at first, they quickly rush from the room when she yells at them to get their departments in order.

Act One[]

As a shuttlecraft carrying the FNN reporter arrives on the Cerritos, Commander Jack Ransom briefs Freeman about what they know about the Ornarans. He tells her of the former exploitations that their neighbors, the Brekkians utilized in the form of the addictive drug, felicium. After Picard severed trade between the two planets, he left. Ransom continues that if the Ornarans relapsed into their old addiction, they would be able to provide medical aid, showing great success for Project Swing By. As they talk, Ensign Beckett Mariner walks by, covered in blueberry pie filling. Freeman angrily asks her to explain herself: Mariner was training for the ship's annual pie eating contest and reminds them that it's scheduled for later that day, suggesting they get the reporter to cover it as she is certain that command division will 'crush' the operations division this year. As Freeman walks away annoyed to the turbolift, Ransom quietly advises Mariner to make herself scarce for the next couple days. Mariner refutes, saying that reporters love her, referring herself as a "mini-captain." Wanting to make a good impression for the reporter, Freeman asks Ransom to reassign some duty shifts as he joins her in the turbolift.

In the crew bunks, Ensigns Brad Boimler, D'Vana Tendi, and Sam Rutherford are anxiously talking about the recent duty changes, having been switched off with Alpha shift (which Boimler wasn't even aware one existed) and orders regarding the reporter's visit, but Mariner says she understands her mother's motivations and tells them that all they need to do is make Freeman look good. Freeman then walks by with FNN reporter, Victoria Nuzé and a hovering holo-imager, who is excited to be onboard a California-class vessel. Mariner walks over as Nuzé admires the view and offers her a tour. Freeman supersedes this telling them that they need to get rest for their next shift before taking Nuzé to the warp core. While the exchange is demoralizing, Mariner believes the free time will give them time to practice for the pie-eating contest.

When they arrive at the room where the contest will be held, they're dismayed to see that it has been cancelled under Freeman's orders. As the contest is seen as one of the biggest crew nights of the year, they enter the room to see security clearing away the setup for the contest, and to the ensigns' distress, dumping the pies into the replicator systems. When they ask if they can at least take some pies off their hands, the lieutenant junior grade officer tells them that no one is allowed to have any. Rutherford begs to have some as he's been starving himself for the occasion, but the officer warns him to stay back, brandishing his phaser. Mariner, Boimler, and Tendi leave to go to the bar, though Rutherford stays behind, begging the officer to either give him some pie or just stun him. But the officer, just as upset as Rutherford says he can't do either.

Nuzé commences interviews of Ensign Barnes, Security Chief Kayshon, Kimolu, Matt, and Ransom, though Ransom's flirtatious behavior makes Nuzé uncomfortable.

Mariner, Boimler, Tendi, and Rutherford arrive at the bar, only to be turned away by another officer, telling them that the lounge has been reserved for interviews with commanders. Mariner protests as she sees Nuzé interviewing Ensign Jet Manhaver, though the officer tells her that Manhaver is on the list of pre-approved interviewees. Angered that Freeman is cherry-picking officers to present an inaccurate representation of life aboard the Cerritos, she leaves, promising to tell the truth about the ship.

The Cerritos arrives at Ornara, and while there is uncertainty about the Ornarans since it's been so long since they were in contact, Nuzé expresses that she feels safe with the crew. They transport down and are surprised to see that the Ornarans have actually been doing very well for themselves, completely overcoming their former addiction. When the local magistrate, B'Nir notices the landing party, he welcomes them warmly. B'nir tells them that Picard's actions of cutting them off of the felicium was the right decision, and that following ten to fourteen years of chaos, they learned to live without it, devoting their way of life to fitness and a healthy diet. Freeman asks if they can be of any assistance, but B'Nir politely declines, before starting a 10K run. Nuzé is unimpressed with the actions, wondering if future Swing By missions will be "superfluous." Freeman steps aside and contacts Buenamigo to inform him of the good state of Ornara. As they need to find a planet in need of assistance, Buenamigo suggests going to the neighboring world, Brekka, to see if they need any assistance at all. Freeman accepts, and they return to the Cerritos.

As the Cerritos departs Ornara, Mariner waits outside the quarters for Nuzé. When she approaches, Mariner offers to tell her some things she "will want to hear" before her upcoming interview with Freeman. Nuzé and Mariner enter her quarters, but not before Ransom sees the two together for their interview.

Act Two[]

Freeman is in her ready room, anxiously awaiting Nuzé, and she invites her in. She boasts about how tight the Cerritos is run, and believes they are capable of more than second contact missions. Nuzé however begins to refute the claim, saying that her interviews have revealed a more chaotic environment, and begins to question Freeman on numerous prior missions that all ended up going awry. As she lists off prior events that did not go well, Freeman eyes a nearby photo of Mariner, theorizing that she is the reason Nuzé knows what she does, and does her best to contain her anger.

Later, Mariner is called by Freeman, and when she reports to the bridge, she is eyed angrily by every officer. She enters the ready room to see Freeman and Ransom waiting for her. She believes that the crew is on edge over the reporter's presence, but Ransom tells her that he saw her talking with Nuzé, and Freeman demands to know what they talked about. Mariner admits that while she wasn't on the list, she wanted to tell Nuzé about what it was like to work aboard the Cerritos. Believing that Mariner made Freeman look like a fool, Ransom tells Mariner that she crossed the line, and Freeman tells Mariner that she has no idea when to stay quiet. Then to Ransom's stunned surprise, Freeman tells her that she's no longer a part of the Cerritos crew, having filled out a transfer order for Mariner to be reassigned to Starbase 80. While Mariner initially believes Freeman to be joking, she quickly realizes that she's serious, but before she can defend herself, Freeman dismisses her, saying that Mariner is no longer her ensign or her problem, along with questioning if she can even look upon her as her daughter anymore. Mariner leaves, infuriated.

As Mariner walks down the corridors, her fellow officers all look down upon her, knowing she is going to be leaving. She comes upon her girlfriend, Jennifer Sh'reyan, and runs over to talk things through. Sh'reyan, however offers no sympathy, saying that Mariner's actions hurt the entire crew when they've all been trying to make a good impression. Mariner says she did nothing wrong, but Sh'reyan doesn't believe her. Mariner urges that she needs Sh'reyan to believe her, but Sh'reyan tells her that she can't trust her, and that she obviously never truly knew who Mariner was. At that moment, Freeman informs the crew of Mariner's status, and orders them not to talk with her in the interest of operational security. Angry and hurt, Mariner leaves in tears.

As Mariner packs up her things at her bunk, Boimler, Tendi, and Rutherford, having just heard about the transfer, rush over to check on her. Boimler tells her that she's done worse than this and that whatever happened will blow over. He suggests considering a fake apology, but Mariner further ensures that she didn't do anything to warrant this. Having been transferred before, she tells them that goodbyes are the worst part of this and requests that they not actually say goodbye to one another. Boimler tells her she can't leave, but being used to this treatment, she tells them that she can and offers a silent Vulcan salute as she sadly walks off around the corner.

Mariner enters the hangar where two ensigns in jumpsuits, discussing a missing item, near a filthy-looking shuttlepod greet her. They are impressed with the ship, noting that it smells neither of garbage or sweat, and accept her transfer while she unenthusiastically interacts with them. They give her a jumpsuit, and upon unfolding it, a sandwich falls to the deck (the missing item) that belongs to one of the ensigns, who happily starts eating it. Mariner sadly gets aboard the cramped shuttlepod, and they depart for Starbase 80.

On the bridge, the officers (plus Nuzé) watch the shuttlecraft depart, and Boimler asks for orders. Freeman orders to resume course for Brekka, and the Cerritos leaves the area.

Act Three[]

The Cerritos arrives at Brekka, and as Freeman gets ready to transport down, she gives command to Dr. Migleemo, much to his excitement. Freeman leaves, and Migleemo asks Boimler to initiate a subspace communication link to his mother as he wants her to see her "special boy" being the captain.

Freeman and the away team beam down to Brekka and as they walk, Freeman tells Nuzé that Mariner's stories are heavily biased, and asks her to focus on the benefits of Project Swing By. However, they quickly realize that the town they have transported to is seemingly deserted. Sensing trouble, they split up to investigate. Ransom quickly finds a frightened woman and informs Freeman. The woman begs them to leave, but Ransom assures her that they're there to help. He asks where everyone is but before she can answer, she is vaporized. At that moment, numerous Breen soldiers ambush Ransom, forcing him to retreat. Returning fire but quickly overwhelmed by dozens of invaders, the landing party emergency transports back to the Cerritos.

Breen interceptors surrounding the Cerritos

Breen interceptors surround the Cerritos

Quickly returning, and interrupting Migleemo's conversation with his mother, Freeman orders Boimler to get them out of the system. As they begin to depart, Boimler warns of three Breen interceptors quickly closing in and firing on them. As the Breen close the distance, one of the interceptors fires what appears to be similar to the energy-dampening weapon used during the Dominion War, disrupting the shields and bringing the Cerritos to a dead halt, while another burst is fired as they fly past to turn around. Having to spread the fire from her phaser banks at three targets, the Cerritos does relatively little damage to the interceptors. A full spread of six photon torpedos towards one ship is rapidly shot down by the beam weapons of another, and another beam causes the shields to fail. A torpedo shot striking near the front edge of the primary hull detonates straight through the bottom of the saucer, causing a massive hull breach and damage to all decks. The Breen briefly hail the Cerritos and surround the crippled ship: realizing they are preparing to board them, Freeman orders all hands to prepare countermeasures. The interceptor directly in front of the ship deploys some type of energy drill on a cable with three armed Breen riding it down, and it attaches to one of the viewports at the front edge of the saucer. Shaxs, Kayshon, and a third security officer immediately arrive via the turbolift right by the window in environmental suits armed with phaser rifles and Kayshon's dagger. Grimly prepared to defend the ship, the officers watch the Breen activate the drill, which begins melting through the transparent aluminum alloy. The soldiers prepare their own weapons to fire the moment the drill gets through.

Just then, another ship is detected closing in. Boimler identifies it as a Starfleet vessel, and the ship drops out of warp, opening fire on the Breen, quickly destroying one interceptor, and blowing away the drill before it can get through. As the interceptors move to engage the new ship, Freeman wonders what kind of ship it is, as their sensors cannot identify it, and onboard one of the interceptors, the Breen are just as equally baffled. The interceptors pursue the mysterious ship, but one is quickly destroyed by a photon torpedo; the other breaks away and flies straight for the Cerritos in an attempt to ram her, but the new ship rapidly bombards it with phaser fire and destroys it in time. As the crew breathes a sigh of relief, Freeman tries to hail the vessel, but Barnes informs her that there are no life signs aboard the ship. At that moment, Buenamigo hails the Cerritos and relieved that the new ship reached them in time, introduces the new Texas-class starship, the USS Aledo; the first of three fully automated starships. Nuzé is astounded by the ship, and Buenamigo offers to answer any questions regarding the ship as it's now officially declassified. While they talk, Freeman is baffled by what just took place, though Ransom tells her that as they just revealed a Breen incursion through Project Swing By, everyone will be impressed.

Later, Nuzé airs her special regarding her time aboard the Cerritos; an exposé of Freeman. Nuzé reveals "a culture of conflict" aboard the Cerritos through a variety of interviews with numerous crewmembers, who, relating anecdotes of their lives onboard, have had their experiences and missions taken out of context and did not realize what they were saying. Nuzé also reveals that some crew had nothing but praise for the Cerritos, ironically showing that Mariner did not say anything bad about the crew, as Mariner referred to the Cerritos as her second family, saying they were the strongest ship in the fleet by heart. As Mariner was transferred off the ship following this interview, Nuzé concludes with rhetorically asking whether Freeman is a good captain or a cruel taskmaster.

Watching the exposé, Boimler, Tendi, and Rutherford realize that Mariner truly was not responsible for saying anything bad about the ship. Boimler wishes he had followed his instincts as he felt something was off about the whole situation, and they regret not making her stay.

Desperate to set things right, Freeman is anxiously hailing Starbase 80. Getting through, she talks to an officer amidst some background chaos taking place. She asks to be put through to Mariner, but after looking through a Rolodex of personnel, the officer informs her that Mariner is no longer working with them, having resigned from Starfleet. The communication abruptly ends when a Pyrithian bat hits the officer and a broom hits the camera. Devastated at what she's done, Freeman gazes out her viewport wondering where Mariner is…

In another part of space, Mariner is aboard a ship, the Free Spirit working alongside independent archeologist and former officer, Petra Aberdeen. Aberdeen informs her of a tip she received on some Vedalan mummies and asks if Mariner would be interested in checking them out. Mariner happily accepts, and they set a course and go to warp.

Memorable quotes[]

"What do we know about the Onarans?"
"They were ravaged by a plague, the cure for which was a plant, felicium, which only grew on their sister planet, Brekka. The Brekkians exploited access to the drug and got the Onarans hooked on it even after the plague was cured."
"Some sister. What did Picard have to say about it?"
"By the time the Enterprise got there, Onara was in shambles due to their addiction. Picard severed communication between the two planets and… uh, let's see. Oh. Then he left."
"He left?"
"Yeah. That's uh, whew... that's how it went down."
"Seriously?! So now it's our job to check in on an entire planet that Picard left cold turkey?"

- Freeman and Ransom


"You better be ready to shovel some *bleep*ing pie, Marty! Your whole division's going DOWN!"

- Mariner


"Pie eating contest is cancelled?! But I've been expanding my GI tract to store more pie!"
"And I perfected dislocating my jaw!"

- Rutherford and Tendi


"Sir, look at me. Look at me! Please just one!"
"I can't. You know I can't."
"Then stun me!!!"
"Nooo!"

- Rutherford and a security officer, when Rutherford begs for pie


"For me, the Cerritos is life in the cave of Garanoga."
"Oh, you poor thing. They make you live in a cave?"
"No no no, it's – the Cerritos is like home to me. I have lived in a cave though."

- Kayshon and Victoria Nuzé


"The Cerritos is the first time I've had unlimited fish in my life!"
"When we're not stellar navigating, we're partying!"

- Kimolu and Matt during their interview with Victoria Nuzé


"Ah, Carol. How's the mission going?"
"There is no mission! The Onarans don't need us!"
"That can't be right. Make them show you their government just in case it's secretly run by kids, or somebody pretending to be the devil"

- Buenamigo and Freeman


"When are you gonna grow up, Beckett?! You have absolutely no concept of when to shut your mouth!"
"Don't talk to me like I'm 15! I'm a Starfleet officer, and an essential part of your crew!"
"Not anymore."

- Freeman and Mariner


"You are no longer my ensign, or my problem. I don't even know if I can call you my daughter anymore. Dismissed!"

- Freeman, to Mariner


"You know, the goodbyes are the worst part, so let's just… let's not say anything."
"Mariner, y-y- you can't leave the Cerritos."
"Yeah, I can. This always happens."

- Mariner and Boimler


"Dr. Migleemo, you have the conn."
"Ah ha ha! A feast of opportunities to make you proud, Captain."
"Keep it together, Doctor. You'll do fine."
"It's really happening."
"Orders, sir?"
"Yes, initiate a subspace communication link to my meema. I want her to see her special boy being the captain!"
"Yes, sir."

- Freeman, Migleemo, and Boimler


"Well, there's a family you're born into, right, and then the family you choose. I got both here on the Cerritos. If you're measuring by heart, this is the strongest ship in the fleet, because we've got the best captain at the helm, my mom."

- Mariner during her interview with Victoria Nuzé


"Mariner didn't say anything bad about the ship; it was everybody else!"
"They didn't even realize what they were doing!"
"I knew something was off! We should've made her stay. I can't imagine how the captain's feeling."

-Tendi, Rutherford, and Boimler, after watching Starfleet's Shame


"Ensign Beckett Mariner! Can you please just connect me?!"
"All right, calm down, lady. You ain't my captain. Let's see, let's see... Marner, Marner... oh, yeah. Nope. Can't connect you."
"You don't even have working communications?"
"Rude. Of course we do, usually. But this one here resigned."
"Resigned?! What?! No! Are you sure?!"
"Yep. Handed in her combadge and phaser and..."

-Freeman and a male Starbase 80 officer

Background information[]

Title[]

Production[]

  • The USS Aledo was named after the hometown of writer Ben M. Waller's wife, Victoria. This made the front page of her hometown newspaper. [2]

Continuity[]

Links and references[]

Starring[]

Guest cast[]

Characters with unidentified voice actors

Background characters[]

USS Cerritos

References[]

10K; 2364; 2374; 2378; 2380; aerial silks; Aledo, USS; aliens; alpha shift; Andorian; Annual Intra Division Pie Eating Contest; Antaran; Arizona; automated starship; Bajoran; bar; beluga whale; Beta III; beta shift; black and white; blueberry; Breen; Breen interceptor (unnamed); Brekka; Brekkian; Brekkian aircraft; Brekkian city; broom; bucket; buffalo; Caitian; California; California-class; cap and gown (mortarboard; tassel); captain (rank); captain (title); captain's log (USS Cerritos, 2381); Castro; cave; Cerritos, USS; chief; "cold turkey"; combadge; commander; commander's lounge; communication; crust; dagger; daughter; Death Valley; Delos system; diarrhea; diploma; doctor; Dominion War; Doopler; drill instructor; "elbow grease"; embroidery hoop; emotional breakdown; engineer; engineering department; ensign; Enterprise-D, USS; EV suit; exceptionalism; exocomp (Peanut Hamper); exposé; family; Federation; felicium; Ferengi; Flagstaff; FNN; Frame of Mind; freaks; Free Spirit; Free Spirit-type; Galaxy-class; Garanoga; Gelrakian; GI tract; glutes; guest quarters; hamburger; head; head of security; hell; helm; holo-imager; "Home sweet [home]"; hover-cam; hovering microphone; Impulian candle; interview; jaw; joke; joking; Joshua Tree; journalist (aka newslady, reporter); junior officer; Karemma; Kings Canyon; Landru; lieutenant; lieutenant junior grade; "losing my mind"; "loud and clear"; lower decker (aka "lower decks"); magistrate; Marty; Merp's species; Migleemo's species; mother (aka mom); mummy; mural; NA; Napean; necktie; needlepoint; nest; neural drain; "number one"; Nuzé's family; obliques; opinions; Ops; Orion; Ornara; Ornaran; Ornaran city; Pandronian; party; phaser (phaser array; type 2 phaser); Picard, Jean-Luc; pie; pie eating contest (aka pie eatin' contest); pie filling; planet; poly-heart attack; Pon Darra's species; pon farrs; pottery; powder horn; praise; prisoners; Project Swing By (aka "Swing By mission"); puppet; Pyrithian bat; Q; question; Red Wood; Redwood; relapse; Rolodex; sandwich; sea trials; second contact; ship (aka vessel); sister; sister planet; Somnusian root; spa; spear; Starbase 80; stardate; Starfleet; Starfleet Command; Starfleet uniform (2370s-early 2380s); Starfleet uniform (early 2380s); Starfleet's Shame; starship; strange energies; strawberry; stun; sugar; synthehol; Tamarian; Tamarian language; Temporal Cold War; Texas; Texas-class; thing; transfer; transporter buffer; tricorder; Trill; trip (vacation); Type 15 shuttlepod (unnamed); typewriter; Vedalan; vice admiral; Vulcan salute; withdrawal; work areas; years; Yosemite II

Meta references[]

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External links[]

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