Star Trek Voyager: Lower Decks

archive premise

This archive was inspired by the episodes Lower Decks of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Learning Curve, which is in many ways its Star Trek: Voyager counterpart, and the more recent Good Shepherd.

By no means would a story with a protagonist from the crew of Voyager have to revolve solely around that crewman's views of and interactions with the senior staff. Rather, try to aim to tell a story about that crewman's interactions with his or her peers as well as the senior staff, his or her life aboard Voyager, and create a well-rounded, believable character that adds to the tapestry created by the Trek universe. Think of a story you want to tell about someone who we may not even have met for more than a few seconds, and look at the series from his or her point of view. Open your imagination and develop a existing lower decks character, or create a new character to show a different side of Voyager.

Sample canonical characters that fit this mould are:

    TOS: Kevin Riley, Janice Rand
    TNG: Sonya Gomez, Reg Barclay, Alyssa Ogawa, Miles O'Brien
    DS9*: Rom, Leeta, Garak, Kasidy Yates-Sisko
    VOY: Joe Carey, Vorik, Sam Wildman
*Deep Space Nine developed its supporting and recurring cast in ways no Trek series to date has matched, although Voyager comes closest, with recurring character Sam Wildman and her daughter Naomi.

To see what kind of stories that can be told from a lower decks perspective, the archivist suggests watching the following episodes:

Star Trek: The Next Generation Lower Decks written by Ronald Wilkerson & Jean Louise Matthias

order the epsidoe on vide from! With crew evaluations underway, tension runs high among four junior officers, Alyssa Ogawa, Sam Lavelle, Sito Jaxa and Taurik. Things get worse when a waiter friend, Ben, approaches the group and tells them Sito and Lavelle are up for the same position. This seems to rattle Sito, who later performs poorly during a drill. Over in Engineering, Taurik shows Geordi a new computer simulation he developed, but Geordi seems annoyed rather than impressed with the young Vulcan's skills. Only Ogawa seems to be breezing through the process, as Beverly tells her she will be recommended for promotion. The friends gather to talk about their progress, and Lavelle speculates that Riker dislikes him. Ben suggests that Lavelle try to talk to the officer like a person, but his attempts to make small talk fail miserably.

Suddenly, Worf detects an escape pod just within Cardassian space, and Picard orders the crew to attempt to transport the passenger to the Enterprise. Geordi and Taurik get to work, and finally, the passenger is transported aboard, but only the senior officers are allowed to see the traveler, prompting speculation among the junior group. In the midst of this, Picard summons Sito, and interrogates her about her involvement in a Starfleet Academy cover-up three years earlier - an incident she has been trying desperately to live down. Sito is unable to defend herself, and the captain dismisses her.

Meanwhile, Beverly summons Ogawa to Sickbay, where she reveals that the pod's injured passenger is a Cardassian male. She swears Ogawa to secrecy about what she has seen, and Ogawa manages to keep the secret that night when she joins her fellow junior officers for a poker game. Soon, the group's speculation about their mission changes to speculation about their own chances for promotion. Meanwhile, the senior staff also discusses the candidates, and Riker reveals his misgivings about both Sito and Lavelle.

Later, Worf puts Sito to a martial arts test where he promptly blindfolds her and attacks her. Sito immediately rips off her blindfold and tells him this test is unfair, and a pleased Worf reveals that this was actually a way to encourage Sito to stand up for herself when she is unfairly judged. Empowered, she meets with Picard and expresses her feeling that it is unfair that he judge her on something she did three years ago. Picard reveals that the real purpose of the difficult meeting was to test Sito's readiness for a secret mission, and he asks her to join the senior staff at a briefing, where she meets Joret Dal, the injured Cardassian. Picard reveals that they must get Joret, who is a Federation operative, back to Cardassia. The plan is to have Joret pretend to "hijack" a shuttlecraft and have Sito, a Bajoran, pose as his prisoner to get past the border. After Joret is safe, Sito will return to Federation space in an escape pod. Picard tells Sito that she can turn down the dangerous mission, but she agrees to participate.

Sito and Joret set off on the shuttlecraft, and the other junior officers, knowing only the small bits of information that they do, worry intensely about their friend. On the bridge, Lavelle assists in a search for Sito's missing escape pod. He is shocked and saddened when the remains of the vessel are found, and Picard announces that the brave young ensign was lost in the line of duty. His competition removed, Lavelle wins his promotion, but does so with the sad realization of the price that has been paid.

Synopsis from © 1987-1999 Paramount Pictures

Star Trek: Voyager Learning Curve written by Ronald Wilkerson & Jean Louise Matthias

When a Maquis engineer named Dalby disrupts power to the ship's energy grid by making an unauthorized repair, Janeway realizes that she can't expect Starfleet behavior from people who never went to the Academy. To bring the Maquis officers up to speed on Starfleet protocol, Janeway asks Tuvok to train a group of four recruits, including Dalby. Predictably, the Maquis recruits balk at Tuvok's by-the-book discipline until Chakotay forcefully gets the point across that this is not a voluntary exercise.

Like any good drill sergeant, Tuvok comes down hard on his Maquis charges, demanding regulation attire and behavior. Dalby complains to Torres about Tuvok's tough tactics, but Torres suggests that Dalby is afraid he can't cut it. The conversation is abruptly halted, however, when one of the ship's bio-neural gel packs malfunctions, the second time in days. Torres takes the pack to Sickbay, and the Doctor notes that the partially biological component has an infection and must be "cured" before it spreads to the rest of the ship's systems.

Tuvok's rigorous training sessions seem to work at a superficial level, but the Maquis are easily discouraged. Tuvok confesses to Neelix that he doesn't understand why his techniques, honed through years of instructing cadets at the Academy, aren't working. Neelix advises Tuvok to be more flexible in his approach.

While pondering the Talaxian's advice in the mess hall, Tuvok wonders if bacterial spores from Neelix's newly made homemade cheese is being absorbed by the ship's ventilation ducts, serving as the source of the gel pack's infection. The Doctor inspects the cheese, and Tuvok's hunch turns out to be correct.

Not long after, Tuvok and his students find themselves trapped in a cargo bay when another system falls victim to the virus. When the Voyager crew infuses the gel-packs with a plasma burst of heat to kill the infection, noxious vapors leak into the cargo bay where Tuvok and his recruits are stranded. Nearly overcome by the fumes, Tuvok helps three of the four cadets escape, then goes back for the incapacitated fourth. As the toxic gas ultimately overcomes him, his three black sheep finally band together to become an effective team, forcing open the door and rescuing both men. Later, Dalby notes that if Tuvok can break the rules sometimes, then maybe they could learn to follow protocol under his tutelage after all.

Synopsis from © 1987-1999 Paramount Pictures

Star Trek: Voyager Ashes to Ashes written by Ronald Wilkerson & Robert Doherty

As a tiny Delta Quadrant shuttle outruns a larger vessel, the shuttle's pilot tries to radio the U.S.S. Voyager. When she does contact Voyager, she claims she is Lyndsay Ballard, a former shipmate who has been dead for three years. Nobody on Voyager believes her story because she no longer looks human. She tells Captain Janeway and the crew that a Delta Quadrant race known as the Kobali had found her body drifting in space and reanimated it. The Kobali procreate by altering the DNA of the dead they salvage from other races. Her former best friend Harry Kim was with her when she died and believes her story based on the facts she gives about her death. The Doctor finds traces of human DNA in her, which convinces Janeway she is telling the truth.

Seven of Nine has been placed in charge of four Borg children that are onboard Voyager. She plans every hour of their day, including an hour for fun, and does not understand why the children are so rowdy. When the children do not play games according to the rules she makes them stand in a corner.

The Doctor creates a hypospray that can make Ballard look human again. She does begin to look more human, but the hypospray makes her feel sick. When she eats her former favorite meal, she claims that it tastes funny. As she returns to her post in engineering she begins to speak in Kobali.

Seven asks Chakotay if she can be relieved of her duty as guardian of the Borg children. Chakotay tells her that she is treating the children like they are on a Borg cube, while she should be treating each child as an individual. He denies her request.

The Kobali vessel that had been chasing Ballard makes contact with Voyager. The vessel's commander, Q'ret, asks to speak with Ballard. Q'ret asks Ballard to return to their planet. He tries to confuse her emotions by accusing the Voyager crew of setting her adrift like trash and telling her that her Kobali sister misses her. She refuses to go back.

As Kim talks with Ballard later, she admits that she does feel more at home with the Kobali now. Q'ret begins to fire on Voyager and insists he will not stop until Ballard comes back. When Kim attempts to return fire, Ballard tells him that she wants to go. Kim is sad, but lets her go.

Synopsis from © 1987-2000 Paramount Pictures

Star Trek: Voyager Good Shepherd written by Dianna Gitto & Joe Menosky

Upon completing a routine shipwide efficiency analysis, Seven of Nine determines that three of Voyager's young crewmembers are unable to perform at acceptable levels. Normally after six months or a year, a crewmember that has been assigned to a Starship will simply be reassigned to a less challenging Federation vessel if their limitations cannot be corrected. However, this is not an option since the three crewmembers are stranded in the Delta Quadrant on Voyager.

When Captain Janeway becomes aware of the situation, she decides to take the three young crewmembers on an away mission with her aboard the Delta Flyer. The first of the trio is Celes, an Astrometrics assistant who constantly has to have all of her work double-checked. Crewman Mortimer Harren has five advanced degrees in Theoretical Cosmology, but would rather spend his time down on Deck 15 and figure out the origin of the universe. Finally there is William Telfer, a Security Officer [ed. Telfer is wearing a blue sciences uniform, therefore he is not Security] and hypochondriac who visits Sickbay weekly and is afraid of medication.

First and foremost, Janeway briefs the trio on their duties. Celes will be running an on-going sensor analysis and Harren will be looking for subspace particle decay which may offer new information about star formation. Meanwhile, Telfer will be on the lookout for any signs of life. Before they leave, Seven of Nine warns Janeway that an experienced crew would better serve the mission.

Not long into the mission, an invisible force suddenly strikes the Delta Flyer. Its propulsion has been knocked off-line and 90 percent of its antimatter has been neutralized. Harren suggests to Janeway that a comet-like assemblage of dark matter is responsible for the neutralization. Furthermore, he proposes that they eject their remaining antimatter in order to avoid another impact. However, according to Janeway, his theory is still an unproven hypothesis and she needs more convincing evidence.

Returning once again, Janeway decides to fire a photon torpedo at the force. Suddenly, the three crewmembers hear a humming sound and look on as Telfer begins to unexpectedly dematerialize and then disappear. Suddenly, he reappears and collapses to the floor and it appears as if something is writhing beneath his skin.

Janeway has no choice except to fire a phaser at Telfer when he reveals that the phenomenon is activating his motor neurons. As he struggles to stay on his feet, a stick-like, segmented entity extends out of an incision wound on his neck. The entity flings itself onto a console and attaches itself to the surface. Harren immediately aims the phaser, but Janeway instructs him to hold his fire. Ignoring the Captain's order, Harren fires and vaporizes the entity. Frustrated with Harren, Janeway suggests that the entity was simply trying to communicate with the crew.

Janeway decides to lead the Delta Flyer to a nearby planet where she hopes to reinitialize its warp core. Suddenly, a slow-moving swath begins to open up in the glowing particles of the planet's radiogenic ring. An unknown force is heading toward the vessel.

Janeway instructs her crew to get into the escape pods and to plot a course away from the planet. However, Celes tells Janeway that a crew never abandons its captain. Suddenly, Harren releases one of the escape pods and heads toward the swath while inside. Over the com, he tells Janeway that it will allow the Delta Flyer some extra time to make an escape. Janeway decides to go after the pod instead. Just a split second before it collides with the swath, the Delta Flyer's transporters lock onto the pod. The Delta Flyer then begins to fire phaser volleys at the glowing ring behind it, igniting a chain reaction of blazing, exploding light.

Suddenly, the Flyer begins to shake as bright light pours in the windows. The vessel is rocked hard and a blinding white light flashes outside the windows.

Next, a confused Janeway wakes up in Sickbay. Chakotay reports that Voyager received her initial distress call and found the Flyer drifting above a gas giant with everyone unconscious inside. Janeway tells Chakotay that the Good Shepherd went looking for a few lost members of her flock and ended up running into a wolf. However, in the end, the Good Shepherd did find them.

Synopsis from © 1987-2000 Paramount Pictures

Attention European fans! PAL videos and Region 2 encoded DVDs are available from BlackStar's Star Trek Zone

index | updates | cast news | archive | recent additions | index by author | archive premise
archivist's challenge | archivist's bookshelf | crew manifest | character/actor bios | life on board
ranks and insignia | science | stardates | the maquis | stellar cartography | reader reviews
submission guidelines | fanfic FAQ | links | message board | guestbook | webring
search | feedback | banners | awards | acknowledgements | site survey