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Mariner and Boimler are stranded on an uninhabited planet with a sentient computer. On the Cerritos, Lt. Commander Billups must prove his engineering abilities to an old adversary.

Summary

Teaser

Captain Carol Freeman and Commander Jack Ransom are securing an evil computer, named AGIMUS, which is responsible for manipulating a society to fight a war that lasts over a century. AGIMUS tries to get them to plug him into a mainframe, but Freeman is not fooled, and has him packed away to be given to the Daystrom Institute.

After returning to the USS Cerritos, they receive a hail from the starship, Monaveen, and Paolana, queen of the Hysperians, appears onscreen. Freeman asks what they can do for her, and she says that the Monaveen is having engine trouble that their engineers are unable to solve, and requests the help of their chief engineer, since the Cerritos is the closest Starfleet vessel in range. Freeman is unsurprised. As Andy Billups enters the bridge, Paolana excitedly greets him with a barrage of questions. Billups sighs in annoyance, and replies, "Hello, mother."

Act One

In the lower decks crew bunks, Ensign Beckett Mariner notices Brad Boimler cleaning a phaser rifle, as he will be going on a mission to wrangle giant centipedes on Dansk. Boimler calls her jealous of his mission, since she will be taking AGIMUS to the Daystrom Institute, and he's happy that Ransom seemingly taking his experience aboard the USS Titan more seriously. However, as he says this, he gets a message on his PADD to report for reassignment, as he will be joining Mariner on her trip to the Daystrom Institute, much to his disappointment.

The Cerritos rendezvous with the Monaveen, and Billups addresses engineering that his mother will be aboard, and reminds them of her usual deceptions. Ensign Sam Rutherford is confused by what he means, and Billups tells him that his mother is the queen of Hysperia, which is his homeworld. Upon joining Starfleet, he abdicated his birthright as prince. However, his mother never approved of him joining Starfleet, and is actively trying to trick him to engage in sexual intercourse, since by Hysperian law, if he were to lose his virginity, he would be forced to resign from Starfleet and take his place as king of Hysperia. Paolana enters engineering, and Billups tells her that he will not be tricked into having sex, but she reassures him that she is not here to do that, saying that while she still sees his career as insignificant, she realizes that trying to coerce him into sex was only pushing him away. She tells him that her ship's engines have been breaking down, and they cannot find the problem. Worried that Hysperia will be defenseless without them there, she asks for Billups to help her, not as a prince, but as an engineer. Billups accepts this requests, and assigns Rutherford to assist him.

Rutherford is nervous about assisting Billups, as he feels he will be out of his element on the Monaveen, but Ensign D'Vana Tendi assures him that he belongs there as much as anyone else, telling him to get out of his comfort zone. She asks him if he can truly turn down working on a new engine he's never seen before, and Rutherford admits that it would be interesting to see how the engine works. Tendi gives him further encouragement, before bombarding him with advice on how to behave around the crew of this ship, making him more nervous.

Mariner and Boimler are on a shuttlecraft, heading to Earth, and Mariner tries to cheer Boimler up, who is still disappointed that he got reassigned to this mission. She tells them that once they drop AGIMUS off, they will grab some Okinawa ramen, but as she says this, the shuttlecraft lurches violently, and begins to spiral out of control. They quickly realize that they've hit a gravimetric shear and are caught in the gravity well. Losing control, they find themselves careening towards the surface of a desert planet, and crash into the surface.

Act Two

Mariner and Boimler regain consciousness after their crash. Mariner has suffered a fracture on her arm, but pops it back into place, before taking a reading on her tricorder. She determines the atmosphere to be breathable, and looks outside, noting a large amount of wreckage around them. Boimler reports that the shuttlecraft's systems are down, and that they're unable to send a distress call, and since they were outside communication range, it will be at least a week before anyone notices they are missing. Mariner notes that at least the replicator has survived, and orders some iced tea, but the replicator instead replicates black licorice, much to her dismay. At that moment, they hear a call for help, and move some wreckage aside to see that AGIMUS is the source of the voice. As they are prohibited from interacting with him, Boimler tries to close the case he's in, but the case is too badly damaged to close. AGIMUS tries to reason with them, saying he is able to contact help, and asks to let him help them.

Rutherford and Billups board the Monaveen, and Billups tells Rutherford that Hysperian culture can be quite distracting, and to be ready for it. They walk past numerous family portraits, and enter a majestic room that is based heavily on designs mirroring the Renaissance. Rutherford is astounded by the environment, though Billups is less than impressed, and annoyed when the crew of the Monaveen enthusiastically welcome him back. They make their way to the engine room, where Paolana briefs them about the problem using terminology that confuses Rutherford, as Hysperians rename their equipment to make everything sound more magic. They begin to inspect the levels of the primary fusion reactor (called the "dragonsblood flame"), and Rutherford notes how the subspace field matrix should be online. Billups notes that with the matrix offline, the plasma levels would be unregulated, and Paolana asks if this problem is too much for him to handle, much to his annoyance. He says they will need to run a full diagnostic, and Paolana leaves with her guards as Billups and Rutherford begin their work.

Back on the planet, Mariner and Boimler are eating some emergency rations, and AGIMUS voices concern about Boimler's health, and Mariner warns him that talking to AGIMUS will result in him letting his guard down with AGIMUS. AGIMUS offers to power a sonic shower for them if they connect him to an engineering conduit, but as he offers this, a creature roars in the distance, and charges them. They fire their phasers at the creature, but it resists their phaser fire. They retreat back into the shuttlecraft, and realize that the creature is eating the rest of their rations. While they hold back the creature, AGIMUS connects into Mariner's PADD, and initiates a data transfer, before Mariner cuts him off. AGIMUS apologizes, and says he won't cause any trouble.

The next morning, Mariner tries to replicate some water, only for the replicator to replicate more licorice, and AGIMUS offers to fix the replicator. Boimler notes that they will need to find water soon, and that since there is life on this planet, it's safe to assume that there is water nearby. AGIMUS offers to guard the computer while they go look for water, and Boimler begins to strap him to his chest. Mariner wonders why they don't just bury him, but Boimler reminds her that as Starfleet officers, they have to respect sentient life.

They journey through the desert, and eventually come upon a tree that bears fruit, and Mariner offers to climb up and get it, but Boimler decides to climb up instead due to her fractured arm, and the fact that he took up rock climbing on the Titan. Mariner expresses frustration that she is getting tired of him constantly talking about his time on the Titan, but Boimler just believes that she's jealous that he's picking up more of her skills. Boimler ends up falling from the tree, and when Mariner teases him, he kicks the tree in frustration, causing some of the fruit to fall. They realize the fruits are filled with a liquid, and they eagerly grab the fruits and quench their thirst, only to find that the liquid tastes exactly like black licorice. They continue to drink it reluctantly, while AGIMUS says that he could have fixed their replicator, and tempts them, saying they could have been enjoying a cheeseburger, blueberry muffins, or guacamole. Fed up with him, Boimler and Mariner bury him in the sand as he protests.

Later that night, AGIMUS is unearthed by some crabs that are carrying him away. Boimler chases the crabs away, and as thanks, he reveals to Boimler that he accessed the memory banks of their ship, and shows him an exchange between Mariner and Ransom, in which Mariner asks Ransom to take Boimler off the mission to Dansk. Angry, Boimler approaches Mariner and berates her for pulling him from the mission. Mariner realizes that AGIMUS revealed this to him, and tells him that AGIMUS is deliberately trying to get them to fight, but Boimler isn't convinced. He's angry that this will make Ransom believe that he's not ready for harder tasks, and Mariner says that the fact that he's being so easily manipulated by AGIMUS only proves that. She picks AGIMUS up and refuses to let Boimler get close to it.

On the Monaveen, Rutherford is impressed with the speed at which Billups is able to recalibrate the plasma injectors, Billups finds some faulty resonators that are degrading from the resonance. Billups finds it odd that they didn't come up in the initial scan. Paolana declares the royal navy saved, and the crew cheers for Billups and Rutherford. She admits that she is impressed, but will only be proud when he takes her place on the Hysperian throne. At that moment, Freeman calls Billups to report to her ready room. Billups instructs Rutherford to finish up, and that he will be back.

Billups reports to Freeman, and Freeman admits that she only called him over because she assumed that his mother would be up to her usual antics. Billups admits that it has been different this time, and believes she finally respects him. Freeman understands Paolana's position as a mother, and that she only wants what's best for Billups, and at that moment, a massive explosion rips a hole in the side of the Monaveen, much to their horror.

Freeman and Billups rush back to the Monaveen, where the crew is in disarray, confused as to what has happened. Billups is at a loss for what happened, as the readings he took were nominal. At that moment, one of Paolana's royal guards approaches him, and kneels, holding Paolana's scarf, and laments, "Long live the queen. The queen is dead."

In the Cerritos sickbay, Dr. T'Ana approaches Tendi reluctantly, and tells her that there was an accident on the Monaveen. Tendi says she can prepare for triage, but before she can say anything else, T'Ana hands her a PADD , which lists Rutherford as killed in the accident. She rushes over to see the massive hull breach, and she begins to cry.

Act Three

Mariner and Boimler come upon a ship, and they discover that the engines are intact, but the hatches that lead into the ship are sealed shut. AGIMUS offers to open the doors, but Mariner says they will check another ship. Boimler objects, saying that AGIMUS can get them in right here. Mariner says that since they've crashed, AGIMUS has done nothing but try to connect to a computer. Boimler tells her that he thought she would be willing to do anything to get them out of here, and she says that asking AGIMUS to help would be a stupid idea. Boimler demands Mariner to give AGIMUS to him, and she says that he is too naïve. Boimler charges Mariner, and tackles her to the ground, sick of her bossy nature. The two get involved in a fistfight, much to the delight of AGIMUS. Mariner approaches AGIMUS, and Boimler pulls out his phaser, threatening to stun her. Mariner ignores him, doubting he would shoot her, but as she says this, Boimler opens fire, and stuns her. AGIMUS assures Boimler that he had no choice, and urges them to get to the ship. Boimler takes AGIMUS to the door, and AGIMUS successfully opens the door.

Back on the Cerritos, Freeman is going over the casualty list, and Billups enters the room followed by two Hysperian royal guards. She expresses her deepest condolences, and Billups regretfully says he must resign from Starfleet. Billups says that he was trying to prove something to his mother, and all it resulted in was getting people killed. While Freeman tries to convince him otherwise, Billups says that as the throne is vacant, the Hysperians need him to step up as king, and he must perform the Royal Copulation, as he no longer has the luxury of being her chief engineer. She asks if he is sure he wants to do this, and Billups replies that he needs to do this. Freeman bows, and wishes him luck, and Billups is escorted out of the ready room by the royal guards. As they leave, Billups asks if it will hurt.

Tendi is still in shock of what has happened, but refuses to believe that Rutherford is dead. She goes to a computer and asks it to locate Rutherford. The computer detects Rutherford's cybernetic implant on the Monaveen. Realizing that the implant is still transmitting, Tendi realizes that Rutherford could still be alive, and rushes to get to the ship.

Back on the planet, Mariner regains consciousness while Boimler and AGIMUS make their way to the bridge of the downed spacecraft. Boimler asks if AGIMUS is sure the ship can still fly, and AGIMUS assures Boimler that he can bring the ship online when he has access to the ship's computers. Boimler gives him access to the navigation controls, but realizes the access port is locked behind a panel, and that they need an auxiliary power source to open it. AGIMUS offers the use of his own battery, and Boimler connects him to the console. Immediately, the ship's power comes online, much to AGIMUS' delight.

On the Monaveen, Tendi is regretting convincing Rutherford to take up this mission, and she comes upon a fancy dining room, where the crew of the Monaveen are merry, and eating a grand feast of mutton. Tendi spots Rutherford, who is alive, and unharmed, and tackles him in joy. She asks how he survived the explosion, and Rutherford is confused about what she's talking about, as he was transported here by Paolana for doing a good job with the engines. At that moment, Paolana, who is also very much alive, raises a glass in a toast for her son, who will soon be king since he is in the process of losing his virginity. Realizing that Billups has been tricked into giving up his career as an engineer, Rutherford scolds Paolana that he doesn't want to be the king, and Paolana only replies that she doesn't care, and that he shouldn't be wasting his time on the Cerritos. Rutherford tries to contact Billups, but a lute player plays a melody that blocks the signal of his combadge. Rutherford rushes out of the dining hall, eager to stop Billups from losing his virginity, but Paolana mocks him, saying he is too late.

Rutherford rushes as fast as he can, as Billups gets ready to give himself to two Hysperian Royal Guards, and Rutherford barges into Billups' quarters, worried he wasn't in time to stop the act. However, Billups is in his bathroom, having trouble getting aroused, and Rutherford rushes to him saying that everything was just a trick by his mother, much to Billups' joy.

As Boimler connects AGIMUS to the ship, Mariner rushes into the bridge and trys to stop Boimler, but AGIMUS boasts that she's too late, and with the materials of the ship, he will be able to produce a fleet of murder drones and control the whole system, before mocking Boimler for trusting him. Boimler then reveals that he tricked AGIMUS into using his battery to transmitt a distress signal, and that AGIMUS was too busy scheming to notice. AGIMUS is flustered, and said that he was plugged into the navigation console, but Boimler clarifies that he was actually plugged into the dimmer for the ship's lights, and nowhere near the navigation console. Mariner is impressed with Boimler, saying that she thought he really was siding with AGIMUS. Boimler apologizes for lying, and stunning her, saying that he just needed to get AGIMUS to trust him so that he could access the battery. AGIMUS is enraged at this revelation, and tries to blind them by flicking the light on and off.

Back on the Cerritos, Billups confronts Paolana over trying to trick him once again by faking her own death, and declares that he loves his life in Starfleet, and doesn't want to live on Hysperia, even if it means he will be a virgin for the rest of his life. Paolana is unconvinced, but leaves, while the engineering crew cheer for Billups. Tendi apologizes to Rutherford for pushing him to work on the Monaveen, but Rutherford says he loved working on the Monaveen. Rutherford says that there will likely be times where his job will put him in danger, but that they can handle it, though Tendi is seemingly nervous about this aspect.

Meanwhile, Mariner and Boimler are rescued by a Starfleet runabout, along with AGIMUS. While enroute to Earth, AGIMUS tells Mariner and Boimler that they've shown him that trust and friendship are better than manipulation, and that he's ready to be good for a change. He claims to have deleted his manipulative subroutines, and asks to be taken to Starfleet Academy, so that he can apply to be a Starfleet officer.

Ultimately, AGIMUS was delivered to the Daystrom Institute as planned, and locked in the "Self-Aware Megalomaniacal Computer Storage" section alongside numerous other sentient computers. As he is locked up, he vows that he will conquer the lab, take over the Federation, and kill everyone. As AGIMUS proclaims this, another computer activates and says that he will annihilate the Federation before AGIMUS, causing another computer to activate and declare his own evil plans. As they continue to argue, more and more computer "inmates" activate and overlap each other as they all berate one another with their plans for conquering the Federation.

Memorable quotes

"Mother, if you're planning on tricking me into intercourse, think again. The only lady I love is two decks tall, and pumped full of dilithium."

- Billups


"You need to get outside your comfort zone."
"But I love my zone. It's so comfortable."

- Tendi and Rutherford


"Great. The least nutritious food that tastes the most like poison."

- Mariner, about black licorice


"We will just have to run a full diagnostic from the bottom up."
"You can run your full diagnostic along my bottom up, my liege."
"Nope, thank you."

- Billups and a Hysperian Royal Guard


"Ugh! It tastes like black licorice too?! Are you *bleep* kidding me?!"

- Mariner, as she and Boimler drink a fruit's juices


"You can't even handle mind games from a hundred-year-old router!"
"Rude!"

- Mariner and AGIMUS


"I've gotta stop Billups from doing the do!"
"You're too late! My royal guards are trained from birth to skip foreplay."

- Rutherford and Paolana


"Where's Billups?! Did his kingdom come?"

- Rutherford


"Faking your death? Blowing up your own ship? This is a new low, mother."
"A meager price to pay to get you on the throne."
"I love Starfleet. Okay, and I don't want to live in a castle with pet dragons and all the mutton I can eat. You need to accept the fact that I'll be a virgin for the rest of my life."
"Well, we'll see about that."

- Billups and Paolana

Background information

Title

Production

CBS logo shown (third column, third row) among the computer lights

  • One of the evil computers that is seen at the Daystrom Institute at the end of the episode bears the CBS logo.

Continuity

  • This episode introduces Andy Billups' mother, and explores more of Billups' backstory. It further explains Ensign Barnes' characterizing Billups in "Second Contact" as having weak interactions with women: "Knowing how to talk to women is kind of that guy's final frontier."
  • This is the first episode of Lower Decks to feature scenes on or near Earth. The Daystrom Institute was previously seen in PIC: "Remembrance".
  • Although there is no official stardate within the episode itself, a log by Rutherford on the "Star Trek Logs" Instagram account dated the episode to stardate 58109.3. [2]

Links and references

Starring

Special guest star

Guest cast

Background characters

References

2281; abdicate; access port; accident; acumen; adventure; AGIMUS of One; alien; anomaly; antics; antimatter; armor; arthropod; automatic controls; auxiliary power source; basking; bathroom; battery (power cell); Billups' pet dragons; birth; birthright; black; black licorice; black licorice-tasting fruit plant; blinding; blueberry muffins; Boim'ed; "Boims"; "Boimy"; "brace for impact"; Caitian; cake; captain; cargo; castle; cave; centipedes (Dansk giant centipedes); Cerritos, USS; chandelier; cheeseburger; chief blacksmith; chief engineer; class M; colonization; combadge; comfort zone; commander; comms; communication range; computer; control console; cord; crabs (burrowing crab); crash landing; crashed starships; crate; cruiser; crying; culture; curtsy; cybernetic implant; Dansk; Danube-class (unnamed); Data; Daystrom Institute; deceptions; decks; deletion; destroying; dilithium; dimmer switch; distress call (distress signal); doctor; dog; dragons (Hysperian dragon); dragonbreath engines; drinking; dry; Earth; eating; eggs; enemy; engine; engine trouble; engineer; engineering (applied science); engineering (location); engineering conduit; ensign; escort mission; ethics; evacuation corridor; evil computer; experience; explosion; feast (celebration feast); Federation; fire; fleet; food; fool; "for the rest of my life"; foreplay; fracture; friend; "from the bottom up"; *bleep* ing; full diagnostic; gamble; gargoyle; "going to town"; "good luck"; gowns; gravimetric shear; gravity well; gravity well planet; guacamole; hair; Haliian; hands; "have the guts"; head; hell; helmet; hiccup; homeworld; horse; hungry; Hysperia; Hysperian; Hysperian royal navy; Hysperian ship; iced tea; idiot; impulse engine; kicking; king; kingdom; knight; lady; law; leader; lemonade; liege; lieutenant; lieutenant commander; life; lime; liquid; lord; lute; luxury; magic; mainframe; majesty; mandibles; manipulative subroutines; manual control; master systems display; maverick; memory bank; Migleemo's species; mind games; mission; mister; Molmol's species; monarch; Monaveen; Monaveen-type; Monaveen-type decks; mother (mom); "Mr. Falls-Out-of-His-Bunk"; murder drone (drone); muscle; mustache ("'stache"); mutton; mythical; Napean; navigation console (nav console); navigation control; necklace; network; network port; Okinawa; Okinawa ramen; option; Orion; PADD; panel; partner; people; pet; phaser rifle; pieces; pincers; planet; planetary exploration skills; planetary review log; plasma; plasma injector; poison; Pon Darra's species; pounds; primary fusion reactor ("dragonsblood flame"); prince; programming; quadrant; queen; rations; ravenous animal; ready room; reassignment; recalibration; regular phaser; regulation; Ren faire types; replicator; resignation; resonance; resonator; roboticists; rock climbing; rock wall; router; Royal Copulation; royal engineer; royal guard; royal stud; royalty; scam; scepter; sconce; Section 8; Self-Aware Megalomaniacal Computer Storage; self-destructing; sentient life; Seven of Nine; sex (intercourse); shield; ship (spaceship); shuttlecraft computer; sir; skin; son; sonic shower; splash; squire; Starfleet; Starfleet Academy; Starfleet insignia; Starfleet officer; Starfleet uniform (2370s-early 2380s); Starfleet uniform (early 2380s); street food; stretching; study abroad; subspace field matrix ("elf matrix"); supercomputer; supernatural; sword; system; tap water; thing; throne; time-out; Titan, USS; transporting; triage; tricking; tricks; tricorder; Trill; trust; truth; "twiddling around"; Type 6A shuttlecraft; virgin; virginity; vitamins; war; warp core; water; week; "wet work"; year; Yosemite; zone

Meta references

bleep; fanfare

External links

Previous episode:
"The Spy Humongous"
Star Trek: Lower Decks
Season 2
Next episode:
"I, Excretus"
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