Published Aug 17, 2022
Star Trek: Lower Decks | Who Are the Senior Command Crew of the U.S.S. Cerritos?
Everything you need to know about the First Officer, Chief of Security, Chief Medical Officer, and Chief Engineer!
By Christine Dinh
As we head into the Season 3 premiere of Star Trek: Lower Decks on August 25, we’ll be looking at those serving aboard the U.S.S. Cerritos, a California-class starship.
The Lower Deck of the Cerritos is comprised of the “cool, scrappy underdogs of the ship.” Through their adventures, we get a look at a side of Starfleet we’ve rarely seen before.
We’ve previously covered the Lower Deckers (Ensigns Beckett Mariner, Brad Boimler, D’Vana Tendi, and Sam Rutherford), as well as Captain Carol Freeman. Now we’re going to look at the command crew — Commander Jack Ransom, Lieutenant Shaxs, Dr. T’Ana, and Lt. Commander Andy Billups.
Commander Jack Ransom (voiced by Jerry O’Connell) serves aboard the Cerritos as the first officer under Captain Freeman. Despite his propensity for shamelessly flirting with women, sucking up to his superior officers, composing hours of songs on his guitar, and belief in the “classic Jack Ransom peace brokering,” Ransom is a strong Starfleet officer who adheres to regulations and procedures.
Ransom often clashes with Ensign Beckett Mariner due to her disregard for Starfleet protocols and direct orders from senior officers, especially Captain Freeman. Once, following a misunderstanding on Gelrak V, Ransom stabbed Mariner to prevent her from impulsively diving headfirst into a combat trial and risking her life and the lives of the entire away team. Despite the risk of being court-martialed, his actions on Gelrak V impressed her. However, it does disturb him that Captain Freeman often forgets when he’s around when she and her daughter Beckett Mariner are on good terms.
While Ransom can be hard on the junior crew, and according to Deanna Troi, “exaggerate [his] confidence in order to mask an ocean of insecurity,” he takes great pride in the work of the Bridge crew and has been known on occasion to commend the actions of Ensign Brad Boimler. He went as far as praising Boimler as one of the best officers aboard the Cerritos and recommending his promotion and transfer to the U.S.S. Titan’s Captain Will Riker.
Voiced by Fred Tatasciore, the BajoranLieutenant Shaxs is the ship’s chief of security. Following his time in the Bajoran Resistance during the Occupation of Bajor and its lingering trauma, Shaxs was protective of his crew, especially those who fell in his bear pack. While unaware of the junior staff’s living quarters, Shaxs believed they’re “all equals” aboard the Cerritos.
Shaxs created a holodeck simulation program to help the crew “learn how to deal with defeat,” and shielded Ensign Sam Rutherford from his return from death. He believed he was sparing the junior officer from the “dark truths about scientific depravity” that would haunt him for the rest of his days. Despite his love for shooting enemies’ warp cores and “full-throat screaming” in anyone’s face, Shaxs found comfort in the simple act of pottery where you can take your “never-ending bonfire of rage and bury it in the clay.”
Despite being dismissed by Ensign Fletcher as “just a cat in a coat,” Dr. T’Ana (voiced by Gillian Vigman) is the Cerritos’ Caitian chief medical officer. Don’t judge Dr. T’Ana for her rough exterior and blunt demeanor — Lieutenant Shaxs returns her affections, Captain Freeman calls upon her as a close confidante, and Ensign Tendi toughens up to impress the tough doctor.
While bluntly stating that she thought Ensign Tendi would give up and quit medical, Dr. T’Ana was impressed by Tendi’s tenacity, even after the junior officer broke her arm trying to trick the doctor into getting her physical exam. Not wanting to hold Tendi back in her Starfleet career, Dr. T’Ana transferred her to senior science officer training.
Lt. Commander Andy Billlups (voiced by Paul Scheer) is the Cerritos’ chief engineering officer. Ensign Sam Rutherford recognizes Billups as a “stone-cold badass” and one of the best engineers in all of Starfleet.
The crown prince of Hysperia, Billups rebuked the throne, as well as his pet dragons, to pursue a career in Starfleet. Despite the Queen’s attempt to pressure her son to take crown, which included faking her own death and blowing up their Monaveen starship, his work on the Cerritos was not a mere phase. According to Billups, the only lady he loves is “two decks tall and pumped full of dilithium.” After witnessing her son in action and in his element, Queen Paolana conceded and finally understood his love of Starfleet. While she won’t be proud until he takes her place on the throne, she admitted that she was satisfied.