The captain’s orders have changed at the last minute. She has been sent to Deep Space Nine to negotiate a trade deal with the Karemma from the Gamma Quadrant. A talk with Quark was meant to inspire their greed, but instead they throw a gizmo that disables the station, grab Quark, transport to their ship, and book it for the wormhole.
Unbeknownst to the bridge officers, Tendi’s heroics allow them to catch the Karemma before they escape. They say they weren’t kidnapping Quark, but arresting him for stealing their technology. Quark protests that his drink programs are the secret of his success. Freeman negotiates a trade deal that gets Quark out of jail, but it costs him 76% of franchise profits. “You’re happier being poor than in prison, aren’t you?” “Nooo!”
Lower Decks’ economical plotting is impressive. This story line is exactly what it needs to be, an excuse to get the Cerritos to DS9 for cameos from Kira and Quark, with modest but meaningful stakes to keep things interesting.
Jennifer invites Beckett to a “salon,” which turns out to be a pretentious sleepover. Trying to make a good impression on her girlfriend’s gal pals, Mariner suppresses her rude, bossy instincts. Then the techno-thingamajig shuts down the ship’s systems, trapping everyone in a room that’s running low on oxygen. Jennifer takes Beckett aside and confides that she wanted mean Mariner to tear her friends a new one. “Go destroy them!”
Challenge accepted. Mariner stuns everyone with a phaser, rendering them unconscious to conserve oxygen, including a selfie-stun with Jennifer.
At Quark’s, Rutherford and Tendi meet Mesk, one of the few other Orion officers in Starfleet. He’s a loudmouth who loves bragging about his people’s history of slave-trading and thievery. Tendi hates the Orions’ reputation, which makes her feel ashamed, but she can’t manage to ditch the dude.
While the trio is delivering gift cargo to the visitors’ ship, the Karemma grab Quark and make for the exit. Mesk has been talking a big game all day, but when Rutherford suggests he do some piracy to get them out of a jam, Mesk admits he is a fraud. He’s from Cincinnati, with adoptive human parents, and he don’t know jack about hijacking. But guess who does?
D’Vana comes from a family of real Orion pirates, “Syndicate and all.” She kept it secret for fear of stigma. In the current circumstances, those skills can save the day. It would be irresponsible not to do piracy!
I love Tendi’s rampage. It’s very efficient. She busts open the door using Mesk’s multitool, beats up two guards, overrides security with a pilfered comm badge, frightens away a Karemma engineer with her war cry, and disables the ship’s engines using an extracted latinum tooth. D’Vana is a badass.
The three main plot lines are resolved in satisfyingly Star Trek ways. Mariner and Tendi learned to accept parts of themselves they had suppressed, because even traits they’re ashamed of can be advantages when channeled toward a productive goal. Freeman settles the conflict between Quark and the Karemma with diplomacy.
- “The Vancouver has been rerouted to the Hasparga system to evacuate a colony being threatened by a brown hole.” “Wa-wait. That’s not even a thing.”
- “Tacky Cardassian fascist eyesore!”
- “Helm, just buy me some time to read up on the Karemma.” “Uh, sir, how do we do that?” “I dunno, just circle around and pretend we’re in awe of the pylons.” … “Just keep circling.”
- “I’m already not liking that they call their hangouts ‘salons.’ Like, what are you, Hemingway?”
- Kira tosses the baseball Sisko gave her when she says, “It’s not Starfleet Command unless they throw us a few curveballs.”
- Morn is still at the bar in Quark’s.
- “Cheating, at a Quark’s? You can’t rig a game here!”
- “I didn’t get the memo that this was, like, a sweats kind of party.” “Not a party, a salon. And we always set the wardrobe as Betazoid casual.”
- “Hey girl, can we talk Boimler?” “Oh, I know what you’re going to ask, and no, he’s actually not reverse-aging. He just doesn’t get enough vitamins.”
- “Wait right here. I gotta dangle my legs off the second story like in the holovids!” … “Rutherford, let’s go!” “But I wanted to have a heart-to-heart with a junior reporter up here!”
- “It was a dark and stormy 57162.3, a stardate just like this.”
- “I call this piece The Kobayashi Maroon. There’s no right way to dance it.”
- “Waitaminute, that thing has a tooth remover?” “Shh! I’m pirating. Let’s go!”