The USS Cerritos arrives in the Portella System. Jack Ransom (Jerry O’Connell) asks Captain Carol Freeman (Dawnn Lewis) about the mission. She informs him that Starfleet has been unusually tight-lipped. Shaxs (Fred Tatasciore) and Migleemo (Paul F. Tompkins) are also on the bridge.
In the Beta Shift sleeping quarters, Ensign Beckett Mariner (Tawny Newsome) hopes the mission doesn’t involve the Neutral Zone. Ensign Bradward Boimler (Jack Quaid) laments that he’s been tasked with holodeck waste removal duty. Ensign D’Vana Tendi (Noël Wells) and Provisional Ensign T’Lyn (Gabrielle Ruiz) arrive after cataloging hydrogen samples. They make plans to meet for lunch.
In holodeck 3, Boimler cleans the filters. Ransom arrives and tells him not to get used to this kind of work as promotions are coming up. He hints that Boimler’s in line to become a Lieutenant Junior Grade. Ransom says Boimler would have to screw something up in a historically significant way to mess up his promotion. Boimler wonders what the odds of that are before he drops the canister he’s holding.
The Cerritos approaches its destination, a mysterious station. Freeman hopes it isn’t a Romulan thing. The curator appears on the viewscreen. He reveals the mission involves the USS Voyager. Mariner geeks out.
Freeman records a Captain’s Log for Stardate 58724.3. Over scenes of the Cerritos crew preparing Voyager, Freeman says being tasked with transporting the ship is a pleasant surprise. She explains that since the Voyager crew became Federation history during their seven-year return from the Delta Quadrant, Voyager has been decommissioned and transformed into a museum. Exhibits include “The Recipes of Chef Neelix” and a Harry Kim mannequin in a mission-worn uniform.
On the bridge, the curator says his legacy depends on the ship making it to Earth. Kayshon (Carl Tart) reassures him. The curator is further outraged by the tinkering of Ensign Samanthan Rutherford (Eugene Cordero). Rutherford explains he was intrigued by how a type of cheese Neelix brought on board affected Voyager’s bio-neural circuitry. The curator says he knows all about the cheese; there’s a display on deck seven. Kayshon is surprised the ship was damaged by cheese. Ransom explains it was Voyager, and things got freaky.
Elsewhere aboard the ship, T’Lyn observes that the ship is outdated and smells like Borg. The curator tells them the crates contain items for a rotating exhibit. They are to be stored aboard the Cerritos. Soon, the crates are loaded on a hovercart being pushed by Tendi. A container with the orchid from “Tuvix” is on top and opens. As Tendi and T’Lyn load the cart into the shuttlecraft Yosemite II, one of the orchid petals drifts out.
The petal is sucked through the Voyager air ducts. Cerritos Chief Engineer Andy Billups (Paul Scheer) has completed his work in the transporter bay. He asks Cerritos Chief Medical Officer Doctor T’Ana (Gillian Vigman) if she wants a ride, and she agrees. The petal drifts into the bay and lands on Billups’ boot. But Chief Lundy (Nolan North) only receives one pattern. An amalgam of Billups and T’Ana, T’Illups, beams in. They’ve been Tuvixed.
Freeman contacts the curator. She tells him not to panic. Voyager can continue to Earth. In the meantime, she will consult Janeway’s logs and duplicate her solution. Voyager jumps to warp. On the bridge, Mariner asks Boimler if Freeman realizes Janeway “straight-up murdered” Tuvix. Mariner tells Boimler to cheer up and says it’s a historically significant mission.
The curator says he won’t relax until they’re on the ground. Mariner says the walls were designed to withstand photon blasts and knocks on one. This causes it to fall away. She notices there’s something behind the neural gel. It turns out to be a macrovirus. The macrovirus attacks Boimler. The curator wants it alive so it can be included in an exhibit. Boimler survives the attack, but the macrovirus splits and begins squirting DNA everywhere. Ransom orders them to keep the macrovirus on the bridge. Boimler fails to block the door well enough to do so.
Mariner asks Boimler why he’s so distracted by an empty ship. Boimler says something about Chakotay. Mariner says this is nothing compared to “that Pike thing we aren’t supposed to talk about.” From the hallway, Ransom screams that the macrovirus is self-replicating again and orders Boimler to get out there.
Aboard the Cerritos, Nurse Westlake explains what it means to be Tuvixed. He explains that a certain flower caused two crewmembers to merge physically and mentally while traveling via transporter. Tendi recognizes the flower. T’Lyn urges Freeman to be cautious while socializing with the organism. Tendi points out that T’Illups didn’t ask to be created. T’Illups says he loves being alive. Shaxs asks T’Illups how many physical memories he has from before.
Aboard Voyager, the Cerritos crew and the curator run around and attempt to capture the myriad macrovirus organisms. They knock over a display featuring Janeway and Paris salamanders (see: “Threshold”). A macrovirus activates holograms of the Clown, Michael Sullivan and Chaotica; safety protocols: random. All three begin to attack. The curator explains shipwide holo-emitters are subtle updates that don’t affect historical accuracy. Meanwhile, one of the macroviruses has Kim’s clarinet. It knocks over a regeneration alcove. Ransom tells Boimler that the promotion seems less likely.
On the Cerritos, Freeman consults Janeway’s logs. Shaxs arrives in her quarters and asks if Janeway figured it out. Freeman says Janeway murdered him. Shaxs says Janeway didn’t mess around. Freeman says she doesn’t want to kill T’Illups. Shaxs points out that they aren’t stranded in the Delta Quadrant. He suggests heading to Earth and getting some help. Shaxs asks if T’Ana will be okay. Freeman says she hopes so but points out it didn’t take them long to look up Janeway’s solution. She hopes T’Illups didn’t do the same.
However, T’Illups has looked up Janeway’s log. T’Illups retrieves a tool from a crate. He summons Migleemo and begins to work on the wires behind a ceiling tile.
Aboard Voyager, a macrovirus has been assimilated by an overlooked Borg nanite. This creates a macronanite, which accesses Voyager’s computer. This results in more holographic clowns and Michaels. They drag everyone but Boimler away. Meanwhile, the nanite has assimilated a salamander robot.
On Cerritos, Freeman assures T’Illups they just want to talk. Shaxs opens the door, and they enter. Inside, T’Illups cowers in a corner. He gets Freeman to move closer. Then he stands and reveals a bound-up Migleemo. T’Illups says he knows how it goes down and needs allies. He places the flower in Migleemo’s jacket and shoves him at Freeman. Then, he activates the makeshift transporter. The pair beams out, and Captain Doctor Frigleeman beams back in. She orders them to bring her more “scrumptious senior staff.”
In the Cerritos bar, T’Lyn orders room-temperature water. Tendi asks if she’s really okay killing T’Illups. T’Lyn says she’s there to hydrate, not debate on the agency of an anomaly. Tendi says she doesn’t think killing someone to get their friends back is ethical. T’Lyn says she hardly knows anyone there at all and is impartial. Tendi asks if they’re friends. However, they’re interrupted by T’Illups and Sharnes. T’Illups orders Shaxs to Tuvix Honus the Bartender with Lundy.
On Voyager, Mariner is incapacitated using virus goo. Boimler arrives and attempts to free her. Mariner says he doesn’t need her to save the day. Boimler reveals Ransom was going to promote him. However, he says he doesn’t want it. He’s worried it will be like his Titan promotion. Mariner says this is different. Boimler says he should have believed Mariner when she was sent to Starbase 80. Mariner reveals she recommended Boimler for promotion. She tells him to save Voyager.
On the Cerritos, T’Lyn and Tendi observe T’Illups making more hybrids. T’Illups announces his plans to make the entire crew a Tuvix army. T’Lyn and Tendi run out into the hallway. T’Lyn begins circumventing systems to take control of the transporters. She beams all of them to the brig. However, this causes them to merge into “one big Tuvix-y meatball.” However, there are too many merged hybrids to isolate their genetic signatures.
Aboard Voyager, the salamander borg sets a course for Borg Cube 858779. In the astrometric lab, Boimler frees Rutherford. Soon, in a Jefferies tube, Rutherford comes up with a plan to break Voyager. In the Cerritos medical bay, T’Lyn says the method employed by Voyager’s EMH could only mark a single individual. But Tendi realizes the scanner built by T’Illups picks up personality traits. Tendi can identify the areas by personality, and T’Lyn can isolate the genetic codes. T’Lyn asks if Tendi has ethical problems with the solution. Tendi says she did, but this is a non-sentient blob of meat, so she’s willing to go outside her comfort zone for her friends. T’Lyn thanks her.
On Voyager, Boimler asks Rutherford if his plan will work. Rutherford says he isn’t, but since it seems like a kooky Voyager solution, it seems worth a try. He’s holding a caulking gun filled with the Neelix cheese. Boimler distracts the Chaotica hologram by acting ridiculous. Then, the holograms begin to flicker away. Rutherford used the Neelix cheese to gum up the hip’s bio-neural network. The curator says they must add another exhibit to the Voyager story.
Soon, Voyager is on a “Grand Opening” display at Starfleet Headquarters in San Francisco. Visitors enjoy the displays, including one featuring Rutherford, Boimler and the Neelix cheese. On the Cerritos, Freeman records a supplemental Captain’s Log. She says after an embarrassing day of being merged with her senior staff, they’re putting the awkwardness behind them with a promotions ceremony.
Freeman says the day’s bizarre Voyager-themed obstacles prove they’re all capable officers. This leads to promotions for Boimler, T’Lyn, Tendi and Mariner. Later, Mariner goes to Ransom’s quarters and says she doesn’t want the promotion. Ransom reveals he saw Mariner encouraging Boimler earlier in the day. He continues that he went through her records and found she’d had a lot of small-minded commanders who promoted her and then demoted her. He says he won’t fall into the same pattern. Ransom ignores her until she leaves.
In the bar, Mariner tells the story to the rest of Beta Shift. Tendi points out Rutherford wasn’t promoted. Rutherford says as an engineer, he can’t be promoted for breaking something. Boimler wants to celebrate, but Mariner says she can’t believe they aren’t lower decks anymore. Boimler says as Lt. Junior Grades, they’re the least important mid-level officers. All the gruntwork with none of the perks. They’re still lower decks. Mariner says he’s right and hopes their lives will be easier. They begin a “Lower Decks” chant, into which Tendi drags T’Lyn.
No Mysterious Threats?
Somewhere in Klingon Space is the IKS Che’Ta’, previously seen in Lower Decks season 2’s “wej Duj.” In the lower decks, two former peers of Captain Ma’ah (Jon Curry) say he has forgotten his true friends. One says he won’t be captain much longer. An alert sends them to the bridge.
The Che’Ta’ encounters an unknown vessel with one life sign abroad. Ma’ah orders the location to be marked and says to resume their progress toward Qo’nos. But the ship begins advancing.
The ship is charging weapons. Ma’ah orders the ship destroyed. However, the Che’Ta’s weapons are down. All systems are losing power. The ship emits a beam of blinding light. When the light subsides, what appears to be debris from the Che’Ta’ is left floating in space.
New episodes of Star Trek: Lower Decks are available for streaming on Paramount+ on Thursdays.
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