Published Sep 15, 2023
Below Deck with Lower Decks: Move Along...to the Isolinear Chip Junction
Allamalay, lemon meringue!
By Dayton Ward
SPOILER WARNING: Discussion for Star Trek: Lower Decks - Season 4, Episode 3 "In the Cradle of Vexilon" to follow!
It’s Boimler’s big day on this week’s all-new episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks, as he gets to lead his first away mission as a junior grade lieutenant. Time to put that extra pip to work, Boims!
When the Cerritos is dispatched the ring-world Corazonia to assist with repairs and upgrades to its central computer, Boimler leads a team of junior officers to retrofit a power relay station Starfleet installed during a previous visit. As you should already know after three seasons of Lower Decks, hijinks ensue in that special way which can only happen when Boimler is in the thick of things.
Meanwhile, Mariner, Tendi, and Rutherford discover that their own promotions to lieutenant grant them to a special section on the Cerritos — the Anomaly Storage Room!
It’s the place where artifacts and other strange items accumulated by the crew during its missions are stored if they require additional study. You know…the weird stuff. There’s your Nomad probes, Romulan cloaking devices, Betazoid gift boxes, and the Wadi’s infamous Chula game!
Now, we have no idea how the Cerritos came to have one of these (but we can guess it was probably for the usual reasons), but it was first scene in the first-season Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Move Along Home.” Created by a race called the Wadi, it looks at first like a tabletop game. In actuality, the Chula game generates a virtual world into which it pulls the players, who are trapped in this environment and unable to escape until they solve a series of puzzle and challenges.
I know what you’re thinking. “Sounds a lot like the DMV.” Nah. This game’s not that cruel.
Their fun’s interrupted by Lieutenant Dirk, who orders them to the Cerritos’ isolinear junction room to track down a single malfunctioning isolinear optical chip that’s giving the ship’s computer and the internal system fault sensor fits.
“That sounds easy,” they said. “I can do that. No problem,” they said.
Did we mention there are over 1,500 chips that require scanning, one at a time?
“I’m out,” they said. “I can feel a nap coming on,” they said.
It’s a slow, tedious process requiring each chip to be scanned individually to find the one that’s defective. Thinking they’re being hazed, Mariner, Tendi, and Rutherford hatch a scheme to trap Dirk in the Chula game as revenge.
Then, they find out when he was a kid, Dirk was once trapped inside the game for a month. The anomaly room reminds him of that experience, so he can’t go anywhere near it. As Rutherford runs back to Dirk’s quarters to deactivate their booby trap, he accidentally triggers it and becomes trapped inside the game.
Because of course he did. I’m sure he’ll be fine.
And while all of that’s going on, there’s still Boimler and that ring-world, super-computer thing. I wonder how that’ll work out?
Oh, and Lieutenant Dirk? Don’t believe a word he says.