Second Contact

Star Trek: Short TreksStardate 57436.2: Ensign D’Vana Tendi, an Orion, is welcomed aboard the Starfleet ship U.S.S. Cerritos just before it goes to conduct second contact, formalizing Federation relations with the Galardonians, an agrarian species first contacted a year ago. Tendi meets fellow Ensigns Boimler, Mariner, and Rutherford, though Mariner at some point had made it to lieutenant before being busted down again. The eager-to-please Boimler is nervous when Captain Freeman herself summons him to her ready room…to ask him to report on any unauthorized activities engaged in by Mariner. When Commander Ransom and his away team return from meeting the Galardonians, Ransom has unwittingly brought a virus back with him, and he is the first to devolve into a zombie-like berzerker, spreading the infection by biting fellow crew members. The ensuing mayhem threatens to derail Rutherford’s date with Ensign Barnes, but doesn’t affect Mariner and Boimler at all since they’re also on away duty. Boimler misinterprets Mariner’s interactions with the Galardonians, leading to a diplomatic faux pas that makes things much worse for the away team…who still have no idea what to expect when they return to the Cerritos.

Download this episode via Amazonwritten by Mike McMahan
directed by Barry J. Kelly
music by Chris Westlake

Star Trek: Lower DecksCast: Tawny Newsome (Ensign Beckett Mariner), Jack Quaid (Ensign Brad Boimler), Noel Wells (Ensign D’Vana Tendi), Eugene Cordero (Ensign Rutherford), Dawnn Lewis (Captain Freeman), Jerry O’Connell (Commander Ransom), Fred Tatasciore (Lt. Shaxs), Gillian Vigman (Dr. T’Ana), Jessica McKenna (Ensign Barnes), Phil LaMarr (Admiral), Ben Rodgers (Lt. Commander Stevens), Paul Scheer (Lt. Commander Billups)

Notes: The first studio-produced animated Star Trek series since the animated extension of the original series left NBC’s airwaves in 1974, Lower Decks is the creation of writer Mike McMahan. While working as a production assistant and writers’ assistant on such animated Star Trek: Lower Decksshows as South Park, Out There, and Rick & Morty, McMahan started an irreverent Twitter account positing unlikely storylines for an “unmade eighth season” of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Material from that account was published in an officially licensed Star Trek book, Warped: An Engaging Guide to the Never-Aired 8th Season in 2015, by which point he had been promoted to writer and story editor on Rick & Morty. Another animated series created by McMahan, Solar Opposites, featured a strong sci-fi element and premiered on Hulu just a few months before Star Trek: Lower Decks; he also wrote a live-action Short Treks short centered around Harry Mudd, The Escape Artist. (Two other Short Treks, The Girl Who Made The Stars and Ephraim And DOT, reintroduced Star Trek viewers to the animated side of the franchise as one-offs.)

Star Trek: Lower DecksFamiliar Star Trek species spotted in this episode alone include a Benzite ensign boarding the Cerritos with Tendi, a Bajoran (Shaxs), a Caitian (Dr. T’Ana, a species not seen since Star Trek IV), and Rutherford’s date, Ensign Barnes, is a Trill. As the crew is recovering from the “rage virus”, an Andorian and a Vulcan are seen, the latter of whom may want to look in a mirror (mirror) before returning to duty. Rutherford himself has recently received a cybernetic enhancement, which hopefully has a better firewall than Lt. Airiam’s, and at least one crewmember on the Cerritos wears a VISOR similar to that worn by Geordi LaForge. Even Boimler knows who Spock is, but he’ll have to look Gary Mitchell (Where No Man Has Gone Before, 1966) up in the database. The Genesis Project was an unmentionable-in-public secret in the 23rd century, but is apparently public knowledge in the 24th. The Cerritos’ shuttles are named after American national parks: Redwood, Yosemite and Joshua Tree. Lower Decks takes place roughly a year after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis (2002).

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Envoys

Star Trek: Short TreksStardate not given: Ensign Boimler is terribly impressed (with himself) when he’s assigned to escort a Klingon named K’orin to a starbase via shuttlecraft. Ensign Mariner manages to get herself assigned to this mission as well, and to Boimler’s horror, Mariner and K’orin are not just old friends, but drinking buddies. When the shuttle lands, K’orin goes missing, going off to sample the local cuisine (and booze), and Boimler and Mariner must find him and deliver him to his intended destination before his absence becomes an interplanetary incident. Meanwhile, Rutherford explores his career options aboard the Cerritos, only to discover that engineering may be where he fits in best.

Download this episode via Amazonwritten by Chris Kula
directed by Kim Arndt
music by Chris Westlake

Star Trek: Lower DecksCast: Tawny Newsome (Ensign Beckett Mariner), Jack Quaid (Ensign Brad Boimler), Noel Wells (Ensign D’Vana Tendi), Eugene Cordero (Ensign Rutherford), Dawnn Lewis (Captain Freeman), Jerry O’Connell (Commander Ransom), Fred Tatasciore (Lt. Shaxs), Gillian Vigman (Dr. T’Ana), Jess Harnell (General K’Orin) Tom Kenny (Quimp), Kari Wahlgren (Anabaj), Jessica McKenna (Ensign Barnes), Ryan Ridley (Bajoran), Paul Scheer (Lt. Commander Billups)

Notes: The shapeshifting Vendorian species first appeared in The Survivor, an episode of the early ’70s animated Star Trek, and marks the first appearance of a Vendorian since then.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Temporal Edict

Star Trek: Short TreksStardate 57501.4: The Cerritos crew, particularly Commander Ransom, prepares to lay the groundwork for diplomatic relations with Gelrak V, whose people worship crystalline structures. As the all-important meeting draws near, Captain Freeman becomes aware that some junior officers are building “buffer time” into their estimates of how long it takes to accomplish certain tasks, and then goofing off when the tasks are finished quickly, leaving ample “buffer time”. The Captain’s next order eliminates buffer time, leaving an exhausted crew that’s capable of mixing up which containers will be taken to the planet as a gift to the Gelrakians. The resulting mix-up causes grave insult to the Gelrakians, angering them enough to attempt to board the Cerritos – whose crew is too exhausted to put up much of a fight.

Download this episode via Amazonwritten by Dave Ihlenfeld & David Wright
directed by Bob Suarez
music by Chris Westlake

Star Trek: Lower DecksCast: Tawny Newsome (Ensign Beckett Mariner), Jack Quaid (Ensign Brad Boimler), Noel Wells (Ensign D’Vana Tendi), Eugene Cordero (Ensign Rutherford), Dawnn Lewis (Captain Freeman), Jerry O’Connell (Commander Ransom), Fred Tatasciore (Lt. Shaxs), Gillian Vigman (Dr. T’Ana), Neil Casey (Crewman), Kevin Michael Richardson (Vindor / Gelrakian #2), Sam Richardson (Vendome), Jessica McKenna (Ensign Barnes / Cerritos Computer / Gelrakian #1), Michelle Wong (Admiral), Nolan North (Crewman), Paul Scheer (Lt. Commander Billups)

Notes: Baryon sweeps, once a task that required extended visits to specialized facilities (Starship Mine), can now apparently be performed in mid-flight by someone with as few qualifications as Ensign Brad Boimler. The distant future in which Chief O’Brien is revered as “perhaps the most important person in Starfleet history” appears peaceful and idyllic enough to be even later than the 32nd century in which the Discovery crew find themselves (That Hope Is You, Far From Home).

LogBook entry by Earl Green