This week’s episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks sees our own Ensign Boimler coming face to face with one of his heroes. It also means yet another opportunity to scroll through the Star Trek contacts list and pull up a character from one of the older series. In this case, viewers were treated to the return of Lieutenant Tom Paris, formerly of the U.S.S. Voyager.
Naturally, Boimler knows all about Paris and the exploits of his crewmates during Voyager’s seven-year transit of the Delta Quadrant following their accidental marooning 70,000 light years from home. He’s even a big fan of the holodeck programs Paris created during that journey such as the recreation of “Fair Haven,” a 19th century seaside Irish village, and the Captain Proton adventure serials. As with any fan, Boimler’s all about the memorabilia featuring his favorite celebrities, and that means collector plates of the entire Voyager crew. With the lieutenant visiting the Cerritos as part of a “handshake tour” to talk about his time in the Delta Quadrant, Boimler’s hoping he might get his Paris plate signed.
Of course, there is one tale from Voyager’s extensive list of adventures that Ensign Mariner remembers: When Tom Paris broke the transwarp barrier in a modified shuttlecraft and got turned into a salamander for his troubles.
Accelerating past Warp 10 had the effect of mutating his DNA, pushing him through millions of years of evolution in less than 24 hours and eventually transforming him into…well, a salamander. Along the way, Paris kidnapped Captain Janeway and took her with him on another transwarp jaunt, causing the same weird evolutionary thing to happen to her.
Translation? Janeway mutated into a salamander, too.
As for what happened afterward? Well, let’s just say what happens in the Delta Quadrant should probably stay in the Delta Quadrant. With all the incredible things Voyager’s crew encountered over the course of those seven years, what do you think Tom Paris gets asked about the most on these morale tour stops? The Borg? Traveling through time? What it’s like being married to a Klingon?
Oh, and signing collector plates.
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+, on Amazon Prime Video in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Japan, India and more, and in Canada, airs on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave.