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Below Deck with Lower Decks: Genesis? What’s That?

The Lower Decks Season 4 finale brings back a former disgraced Starfleet cadet and infamous piece of tech.

SPOILER WARNING: Discussion for Star Trek: Lower Decks - Season 4, Episode 10 "Old Friends, New Planets" to follow!

Illustration of the Ferengi Genesis device on a LCARS screen

How are we already at the fourth season finale of Star Trek: Lower Decks? How did that happen? Wasn’t it just last week we were talking about all those wacky holograms chasing our favorite Lower Deckers around the U.S.S. Voyager? No? Then where did that time go? Make it make sense!

:: ahem ::

Aboard his ship, Nick Locarno sits in his captain's chair with three Bynar at their stations and a concerned Mariner with her arms crossed behind him in 'Old Friends, New Planets'

"Old Friends, New Planets"

In the previous episode, our Cerritos heroes came face to face with one of the more troubled characters in Star Trek history, Nick Locarno, who may or may not bear a striking resemblance to legendary Voyager helm officer Tom Paris depending on whether you ask Lieutenant Boimler or literally any other living being and probably most of the dead ones. We provided the lowdown on Nick’s history as a disgraced former Starfleet Academy cadet in last week’s edition of Below Deck, so suffice it to say he hasn’t gotten any less diabolical in the week you were waiting for this big finale episode.

Nick Locarno's ships and the entire Nova Fleet in the Detrion System in 'Old Friends, New Planets'

"Old Friends, New Planets"

Indeed, it’s Locarno who’s behind all the mysterious attacks on various ships across the quadrant, but he wasn’t destroying them. Instead, he’s using them to build his own independent, unaligned fleet, and he’s inviting to join him anyone who feels overworked on their ship, unappreciated by their superior officers, or who just wants freedom from the bureaucracy of all the other fleets. He’s even taken over an entire star system and surrounded it with its own indestructible energy shield. To make sure nobody tries anything silly like trying to force their way through the shield, Locarno’s even bought himself some insurance — a Ferengi black market knock-off version of the infamous Genesis Device!

“Genesis?” I can hear Admiral Kirk asking. “What’s that?”

The Genesis device on a transporter pad mere moments before detonation in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Of course longtime fans know the Genesis Device was introduced in 1982’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Developed by Dr. Carol Marcus and a team of scientists — which included her and James Kirk’s son, David — the device was intended as a means of quickly terraforming otherwise lifeless planets or moons to make them inhabitable.

Unfortunately for Marcus and her people, Kirk’s arch nemesis, Khan Noonien Singh, seized the device after escaping Ceti Alpha V and the exile into which Kirk sent him and his crew of augmented superhumans years earlier (as chronicled in the original Star Trek episode “Space Seed”). Khan saw the device’s enormous destructive potential as a way to assert his will on a defenseless galaxy, and he might well have succeeded if not for Kirk and the Enterprise.

Hovering above a station's monitor, Kruge and a fellow Klingon warrior learn about the Project Genesis on-screen in 'Star Trek III: The Search for Spock'

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

(We pause here for Spock. “Remember.”)

Of course it didn’t take long for other parties — namely the Klingons — to learn of the Genesis Device and the power it represented (see Star Trek III: The Search for Spock for all the deets on that). Although it was generally understood Dr. Marcus and her people only built one Genesis torpedo, there’s no conclusive proof of that.

Mariner interrupts Nick Locarno's all channels broadcast shouting a wake-up call to those listening as a concerned Nick stands up with his Ferengi Genesis device beside him in 'Old Friends, New Planets'

"Old Friends, New Planets"

The bigger question is: How did a Ferengi black market dealer come to have one they could sell to Nick Locarno? Are there any more out there?

It’s a thought that’s gonna linger, isn’t it?