SPOILER WARNING: Discussion for Star Trek: Lower Decks — Season 3, Episode 3 "Mining the Mind’s Mines" to follow!
Another week means another brand spankin’ new episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks! For their latest mission, Captain Freeman and the crew of the U.S.S. Cerritos are dispatched to Jengus IV to rescue Federation scientists who’ve been turned into statues by local indigenous life forms. It’s always something, amirite?
With an agreement in place for the scientists to remain on the planet and continue their research, they prepare to relocate with help from the crews of the Cerritos and the U.S.S. Carlsbad. Part of the cleanup operation involves collecting “Psychic mines,” glowing green spheres which can read a person’s thoughts and bring your deepest fantasies to life. The effect doesn’t last too long...just enough to be...you know...awkward.
It’s while on this collection detail that Ensign Rutherford falls prey to the mines’ bizarre powers, when a vision of Dr. Leah Brahms appears before him. Despite being nothing but a projection of his own thoughts, she’s real enough to Rutherford as she invites him to help her design some new starship engines. Meeting the accomplished warp propulsion specialist has long been a dream of his, but based on his fantasy as realized by one of the psychic mines, we get the idea he might want something more from such a meeting.
Fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation can probably relate to this, as they almost certainly remember Leah Brahms. Her character first appeared in the third season episode “Booby Trap,” where she’s introduced as being a member of the team that designed the warp engines for the Enterprise-D and other Galaxy-class starships. When the Enterprise is trapped in an ancient energy-draining snare which threatens to disable the ship and kill the crew, Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge creates a holographic representation of Dr. Brahms to help him defeat the trap. In the midst of that crisis, La Forge finds himself attracted to Brahms...or, the Brahms hologram. How does this representation hold up against the actual person?
Funny you should ask, because we find out in the fourth season episode, “Galaxy’s Child.” When the real Dr. Brahms visits the Enterprise to inspect the engine modifications La Forge has made over the past few years, he learns her actual personality is very different from the one he encountered on the holodeck. Still, they get past an initial confrontational period and start to become friends... until Brahms finds La Forge’s holographic program of her and is understandably furious at what she considers an appalling violation of her privacy. She ultimately forgives him for the colossal faux-pas, but dang, dude.
(Hey, Rutherford? If you’re reading this and planning to meet the real Dr. Brahms, take down this note, “Don’t do this sort of thing. Really.”)
In addition to being referenced in the TNG finale episode, “All Good Things...,” Brahms has also appeared in a handful of Star Trek novels over the years. She’s set to return to the final frontier—after a fashion, at any rate—in Star Trek: Resurgence, a 4-issue comic miniseries from IDW Publishing that acts as a prequel to the upcoming video game of the same name and developed by Dramatic Labs. The first issue of the comic debuts in November, and you can read all about that by clicking on this link-type thing right here.
Please don’t let there be a hologram, please don’t let there be a hologram, please don’t let there be a hologram....
Star Trek: Lower Decks is now streaming!
Dayton Ward (he/him) is a New York Times bestselling author or co-author of numerous novels and short stories including a whole bunch of stuff set in the Star Trek universe, and often collaborating with friend and co-writer Kevin Dilmore. As he’s still a big ol' geek at heart, Dayton is known to wax nostalgic about all manner of Star Trek topics over on his own blog, The Fog of Ward.
Star Trek: Lower Decks streams exclusively in the United States and Latin America on Paramount+, and is distributed concurrently by Paramount Group Content Distribution on Amazon Prime Video in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Japan, India and more, and in Canada on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave.