‘Wej Duj’ (Three Ships)

Part of the fun of Star Trek Lower Decks, besides the clever barrage of Star Trek references from the past, is the opportunity to see how those who are just starting in Starfleet spend their time on the ship. With that premise in mind, it opens the door to the question: What about other well known races in the Star Trek Universe? Do they also have their version of the “Lower Decks?” In Episode 9, “Wej Duj” (Three Ships), we find out

The Cerritos – Down Time

 

The Cerritos is making a long haul trip, on their way to a planetary survey in the Kataren System. With the flight at warp taking 12 hours, Captain Freeman has allowed her crew some much needed free time. This will allow the crew to enjoy some of their preferred pastimes. But for the Lower Deck posse, it means that most of them are spending time with a member of the Bridge Crew.

Mariner is spending some time with her Mother. A real Mother, Daughter bonding experience. Rutherford is splitting his time between tasting a new soup recipe with Commander Billups and sharing Lt. Shax’s passion for pottery. Ensign Tendi has agreed to go rock climbing with Dr. T’Ana, hoping to get on her good side. Only Boimler has no Bridge Buddy to spend time with. Which is disappointing to him, because sharing experiences with a Senior Officer can help to foster future possibilities of promotion. So while his friends enjoy their “Bridge Buddies,” Boimler is on the search for his own.

As he contemplates this, he ponders if he wouldn’t like the kind of social structures that ships with Binars or Klingons enjoyed. Mariner assured him that he would NOT like serving on a Klingon ship. Boimler wasn’t so sure. The Klingons had been exploring space for a long time. He kind of figured that life on the Lower Decks on a Klingon vessel would not be so different. Cue the first ship!

Klingon Bird of Prey Che’TA

We shift to the Lower Decks on the Che’TA, where we find young crew members discussing their duties for the day…when their not punching each other in the face. One has the responsibility scraping out the Gagh worm barrels and replenishing their blood supply. Another has combat training all day. He would meet his fellow crewmates for lunch. Unless he died honorably in battle, then he wouldn’t be able to make it. Klingon crewman Ma’ah has the great honor of serving on the bridge, filling in at the helm. Plus, if he plays his hand right, he might become the next first officer. The current one, Commander Togg, has openly challenged the Captain’s orders. That disrespect would mean that the Captain must kill him. If he does, then Ma’ah believes HE would be the logical choice to replace him.

The word “logic” opens the door for his fellow crewmates to mock him. Perhaps he should get his bangs cut and serve on a Vulcan Science vessel. The Klingons can’t imagine serving on a Vulcan ship. With their logic and avoidance of  honorable battle. “Avoid death and cower” mocks one of his crewmates, flashing the Vulcan hand greeting. And speaking of a Vulcan ship…

Vulcan Cruiser Sha’Val

On the Lower Decks of the Sha’Val, the Vulcan crewmembers are fulfilling their duties in a calm and logical fashion. One of the crew asks if anyone would be open to a game of chess after their shift. Only one of the three other crewmen express a willingness to play. The first is working on a lute musical piece after their shift. Meanwhile, crewman T’Lyn announces that her scans have revealed a surge of Tachyon particles. The sector she has scanned should be outside the ship’s range. She reveals that she has used a personal algorithm to extend their performance. Her crewmates question why she has done this when it was not her assignment. T’Lyn expresses that the anomalous readings feel off to her. Which to her fellow crewmates, is akin to her having an emotional outburst. T’Lyn leaves to report her findings to the Captain while her crewmates look on in disapproval.

Klingon Bird of Prey Che’TA – Wanted – First Officer

Back on the Che’TA, Ma’ah, the hopeful new first officer was correct. As he entered the bridge, Captain Dorg and his current first officer Togg were locked in battle. It was short lived (just like his first officer) with the Captain coming out victorious. He was now in need of a new first officer. One who was loyal and understood what it was to be Klingon. He would give the position to whomever impressed him the most that day. The position was available, all Ma’ah needed to do was to take it. To emphasize this, he volunteered to take (really drag was more like it) the former first officer’s body off of the Bridge.

Cerritos – The Search for a Bridge Buddy

As the Cerritos continued its 12 hour warp, Boimler was on the search for a “Bridge Buddy” of his very own. His first attempt was Lt. Kayshon bringing him a drink. Unfortunately, he mangled a phrase in Tamarian basically calling Kayshon fat. Swing and a miss. His next thought was to possible share one of Rutherford’s “Bridge Buddies,” joining Shax and him in Pottery. However, he made the mistake of asking Shax if he learned to make pottery on Bajor. Shax took that as questioning his commitment as a member of the resistance fighters against the Cardassians. He never had time to make pots on Bajor. Fighting fascists was a full time job he declared as he went after Boimler. Rutherford intervened telling Shax to bury his rage in the clay. Shax slowly calmed down, deciding to make an incense holder in the shape of a puppy. Another huge swing and a miss for Boimler.

Klingon Bird of Prey Che’TA – The Captain and his Targ

As Ma’ah returned from ex-first officer disposal, he noticed the Captain’s Targ and complimented him on such a fine animal. It reminded him of Kor’s hound in the battle of Klach D’kel Brakt. (I almost didn’t even attempt to name that battle, but I looked it up).  Anyways, Captain Dorg was impressed that the young officer even knew about the history of the battle. But before Ma’ah could speak further, an older Klingon head butted him and told him to bring them more Blood Wine. He followed the ranking officers orders.

Vulcan Cruiser Sha’Val – Called in on the Carpet

The Vulcan Captain asked T’Lyn why she felt the need to work on sensors that were performing adequately. Especially since it was not her assignment. She explained that she had a “gut feeling” that increasing their sensor range would prove to be “illuminating.” She believes she was right and requested that the Captain adjust their course to verify her findings. To not do so, she feels would be illogical. However, the Captain was reluctant to allow T’Lyn’s instincts to affect course decisions. Regardless, after a moments pause, he ordered the course adjustment. But he wanted her to know that by agreeing to the course correction, he was not condoning her actions. He ordered her to spend the next two days in meditation. T’Lyn resisted this as she had other projects she was working on. It was that kind of reaction that he wanted her to gain control of. “Work on Your Control.”

The Cerritos – Go Climb a Rock

Boimler was still trying to find a “Bridge Buddy.” Since he hadn’t found one of his own yet, he decided to join in on Dr. T’Ana and Tendi’s holodeck rock climbing adventure. In a pure homage to William Shatner’s Star Trek V, Boimler was wearing a “Go Climb a Rock” shirt like the one Kirk wore and the jet boots that Spock donned. However, as he tried to hover and talk to the pair, his boots mis-fired. He lost control and fell down a great ways (always a pleasure to hear Boimler scream), finally landing on a tree branch. Only then did his jets kick in again, knocking his head against the tree’s stump. He fouled out on that attempt. Well, there was always his wingman Mariner. However, Mariner and Captain Freeman were in a combat simulation, with Mariner grousing at her Mother for revealing personal things about her. Female things. Boimler couldn’t escape fast enough.

Upon entering the turbo lift, he ran into Commander Ransom and two other crewman talking about Hawaii. Apparently, all three of them were from there. Realizing an opportunity, Boimler told them that HE was from Hawaii too. Ransom invited him to join him and the other two crewman on the holodeck to enjoy that Hawaiian experience. He accepted, wanting a “Bridge Buddy” so bad that a small white lie wouldn’t be so bad. At least he hoped.

Klingon Bird of Prey Che’TA – This TOO shall Pass

Ma’ah entered the dining hall, dragging in the barrel of Blood Wine when the warrior who had asked for the wine fell over backward and fell on top of him. He was too intoxicated to move and too heavy for Ma’ah to push off of him. His fellow Klingons laughed at his predicament as they left. Soon only Captain Dorg remained, telling him to stop fooling around and to walk his Targ. He had eaten the ex-first officers leg and would need to walk about until it passed. Otherwise the Targ would have gas. Well we wouldn’t want THAT.

Vulcan Cruiser Sha’Val – Working on Meditation

T’Lyn sat in the Meditation Room,  trying to follow the Captain’s orders. But her projects called to her. Her fellow Lower Deck crewmen entered the room, catching her looking at her tablet instead of meditating. They warned her that continuing her rebellious nature would only serve to make matters worse for her. T’Lyn questioned why they should just blindly follow orders. This was just more proof to her colleagues that she was unstable and not herself. Everyone is starting to notice. T’Lyn countered that they should feel free to tell anyone who asks that she is not concerned about their assessment of her mental state.

The Cerritos – The Hawaiian Lie

Later, Boimler was talking to Rutherford, Tendi and Mariner about the situation with Commander Ransom. Rutherford didn’t understand why Boimler didn’t just come clean and tell them he wasn’t from Hawaii. Boimler told them he tried to  explain, but it happened so fast that he couldn’t find the words. But, if Ransom were to find out he lied, he might be demoted. Mariner would have liked to give Boimler some more advice but she was called back to her Mother for more Mother/Daughter fun. As for Rutherford and Tendi, they thought he should just fess up. What was more important? Having a “Bridge Buddy” or being true to himself? Boimler considered. They were probably right. He should come clean. After he enjoys some time with Ransom back “home” in Hawaii.

Klingon Bird of Prey Che’TA – Bonding with the Captain

Ma’ah returns from walking the Captain’s Targ, having passed the former first officer’s leg in a true warrior’s fashion. The Captain is lamenting how the Klingons have forgotten their glorious past. Serving on Federation ships, studying on Bajor? They have lost their way. Ma’ah agrees with that sentiment. Which has Dorg impressed. True, he may be smaller and weaker and slower than his other warriors, but he appears to have a warriors spirit. One day, Ma’ah might be Captain of his own ship. This pleases the young warrior. It would be his greatest honor…other than dying in glorious battle. THAT would be his GREATEST honor. (You have to hand it to the kid, he has brown nosing down to a science).

Using the Pakleds

At that time, a communication is received for the Captain. He tells them to patch it to his quarters. It is a Pakled Captain. Apparently, Captain Dorg has been working with the Pakleds. They are requesting more “presents’ from him. He tells the Pakled that they will discuss their transactions in person. He is beaming over with his NEW first officer. Ma’ha had done it. He was now the new first officer.

However, he was confused by the communication with the Pakleds. They had no honor. Were they going over to take over their ship? The Captain assured him that even “cowards and fools had their uses.” He explained that the Pakleds were hungry for power. By giving them the tools they needed, they had put the quadrant into disarray. With the Federation distracted with the Pakleds, the Klingons could claim the region for their own. Ma’ah still didn’t understand. Klingons didn’t allow or need others to fight their battles for them.  The Captain agreed. Which is why the Federation had no clue who was behind it. “Cry Havok, and let slip the Dogs of WAR!!” (Klingons LOVE that line!)

 

The Cerritos – Mother/Daughter Time

Captain Freeman and Mariner are immersed in a galactic version of CLUE! Mariner chose the Chef as the killer. Her mother questioned why every time they played, she ALWAYS picked the Chef. Mariner explained that on ship, they used food replicators. There WAS no Chef. It sounds shady. Fortunately for both of them, the bridge reported that they picked up an anomalous reading. They inquired if the Captain wanted to drop out of warp to investigate. YES!!!! Both were relieved to get back to work. But not before Captain Freeman told Mariner she had enjoyed spending time with her today. As reluctant as Mariner was to admit it, she had too.

Klingon Bird of Prey Cheta – Meeting with the Pakleds

Captain Dorg and his new first officer beamed over to the Pakled Ship. The Pakled Captain introduced himself as Rebner, much to the chagrin of Dorg who had met the Pakled before. Rebner cut straight to the chase and requested another “Boomer.” Dorg told him that he shouldn’t NEED another Peruvian Bomb. Rebner explained that they had already used the one they had received. Testing it on an asteroid. But, it only worked once. Exasperated, Dorg explained that bombs were only SUPPOSED to work once. He asked his ship to send over another explosive to the Pakled ship. After doing so, Ma’ah explained that the detonation of the Peruvian bomb would leave residue that could be tracked. Right on Cue, the Pakled ship went into “Red Alarm” mode. Why? The Cerritos had arrived, detecting the exploded bombs residue…just as First Officer Ma’ah had warned. Dorg told Rebner to block the Cerritos transmissions and to destroy it while he and Ma’ah beamed back to the Che’TA.

The Cerritos Arrives

Upon seeing the Pakled ship along with the Klingons, Captain Freeman’s first thoughts were that the Pakleds were threatening the Klingons. She tried to hail the Bird of Prey but it was unresponsive. Soon both ships armed weapons. Realizing the situation, Captain Freeman ordered shields up and went into Red Alert, just as both the Pakled and Klingon ships opened fire. With Red Alert sounded, the Cerritos crew scrambled to battle stations, still wearing whatever they had on at the time. And judging from the costumes, there was a lot of role playing going on. Impressively, the crew assumed their stations quickly. However, Ransom, Boimler and crew were blocked off from the Bridge by ship’s damage.

Boimler, realizing the danger they were in, decided to admit that he was NOT Hawaiian. He didn’t want to die with the last thing he said being a lie. He was actually from Modesto, CA. Seeing as how Boimler came clean, the other two crewman admitted they too, had lied. They weren’t from Hawaii either. They had just wanted to hang with Commander Ransom. Ransom was surprised they felt the need to lie to him. He would have liked them for just being themselves. Besides, in truth, he wasn’t from Hawaii either. He has made up that story as an Ensign to get in good with a previous superior officer. He was actually from Earth’s Moon. The female crewman said she was from Earth’s Moon too. The Benzite crewman said he was from the third moon of Benzar, B93. Ransom told him that B93 was a great Moon. Once again, Boimler was left trying to fit in. He lamely tried to call Modesto the Moon of San Francisco, but his now “Moon Buddies” weren’t having it.

Klingon Bird of Prey Che’TA –  Starting a War

Dorg was back on his Bridge and was excited about what was transpiring. They should let the Pakleds take the final shot. He was about to start a WAR!! Ma’ah stepped forward and expressed his disapproval. There was no honor in letting others fight their battles. Dorg backhanded him for his opinion. He didn’t need any lectures from his young first officer. He had been crushing baktags
under his boot since before he was born. Impressively, Ma’ha was not intimidated. He explained that other Klingons had tried to sabotage peace before and failed. Dorg knew he wouldn’t fail. In time, they would write songs about him and his victory.

Pakled Clumpship: Pakled – Lower Decks

As the battle rages on, we take a glimpse of the Lower Decks on the good ship Pakled. The Lower Deck crew are hard at work sitting on the floor, while the constant blare of “Red Alarm, Red Alarm” goes on. One of the crew complains about being hungry. Fortunately for him, he has a brilliant tactician at his side who recommends that he should get something to eat. The hungry crewman is impressed by his fellow crewman’s grasp of what he should do. He is smart. How exactly did the Pakleds become a threat? Other than the Klingon weapons? Who knows.

Enter the Vulcans

As for the Cerritos, it is gamely trying to defend itself but is taking damage from both the ships. The shields are being drained and they will not be able to take much more of a pounding. Just then, the Vulcan ship Sha’Val intervenes, following the course that the boisterous T’Lyn had supplied. Seeing the Vulcan ship, the Pakleds and the Klingon ship opens fire on it as well. The Vulcan helmsman reports that the Pakleds are using Klingon weapons. The Sha’Val’s shields are failing. (Already?!). T’Lyn approaches the Captain and offers a program she came up with which should boost the ship’s shields. It was the project she had been working on. The Captain is reluctant to use an untested program, but T’Lyn proclaims it would be illogical not to try it since they are without other options. Her ‘Instinct” tells her it will work. He gives the order to load the program. Once activated, the ship’s shields start to strengthen.

Klingon Bird of Prey Che’TA

Captain Dorg continues to exalt in his work. Destroying TWO enemy ships will bring him much glory. Ma’ha questions if the High Council is aware of what he is doing. These are not Klingon enemies. Dorg admits that the High Council did not give permission for his actions. However, the High Council lacks foresight. They will change their minds when the battle he has instigated begins.

Vulcan Cruiser Sha’Val – Shields UP!

The Shields for the Sha’Val raise up to 120% after implementing T’Lyn’s program. T’Lyn cannot help but he logically “pleased” by the results of her project. With the added protection, the Vulcan Captain orders the weapons officer to disable the Pakled ship. Between the combined efforts of the Cerritos and the Sha’Val, the Pakled ship is taking heavy damage.

Another Captain’s Challenge

Meanwhile, Dorg has ordered the Che’TA  to target the Cerritos. Courageously, Ma’ha belays that order. He exclaims that this is not their fight, openly challenging the Captain. Just before all hell breaks loose, two crewman enter with the Captain’s Targ. But the die has been cast. Being Klingons, the only response is a fight to the death. The younger and weaker Ma’ha is at a disadvantage, but he fights courageously.

However, just when it looks like Dorg is preparing for a killing stroke, his Targ attacks him, biting his arm. (Obviously, walking him around so that he could relieve himself earned Ma’ha some Targ “Street Cred”). Dorg kicks the animal away. He once again throws Ma’ha aside, looking to end the fight. But the young warrior springs to his feet and drives his dagger home, killing the Captain. Ma’ha is now Captain of the Che’TA. He takes the command chair as HIS Targ comes to his side. He orders the Helm to set course for the Klingon Home world. This is not their fight.

Victorious

With the Klingons leaving the area, it allows the Cerritos and the Sha’Val to concentrate their attention on the Pakled ship. After taking more damage, the Pakled ship warps off, leaving only the Cerritos and the Sha’Val. Captain Freeman hails the Vulcan ship to thank them for their intervention. Once it is established that the Cerritos needs no further assistance, the Vulcan Captain ends their transmission. Ending any chance for him to win the Miss Congeniality portion of our program. Regardless, though puzzled by the Klingon’s sudden departure, Captain Freeman knew she would need to talk to the Federation High Command. They would no doubt have some things to discuss with the Klingons.

Vulcan Cruiser Sha’Val: Reassignment

After the battle, the Vulcan Captain asked for T’Lyn to come to see him. While he considered themselves fortunate that her program worked, he admitted that if she had not been following her “instinct,” they might not have survived. Nonetheless, the fact that she relies on instinct and has shown an inability to control her emotions is a liability on the ship. Because of this, he is relieving her of duty and is transferring her to a Federation ship. Perhaps working with Humans would be a better fit for her. T’Lyn does not agree with this decision as she deems it as a punishment. However, she leaves to prepare for her new assignment.

Bridge Buddy Failure

Back in the ship’s lounge, Boimler is sitting with Mariner, Rutherford and Tendi lamenting about being so close to having a Bridge Buddy. Especially as he watches Ransom and his Moon posse sitting at a table talking. Mariner consoles him and tells him the next time they are on a long haul warp, they will plan something together, just the four of them. This makes Boimler feel a little better as he walks to the bar to get another drink. As he sits, a young ensign approaches him. He was having difficulty organizing his duty schedule. The young man tells him that Commander Ransom had told him that Boimler excelled at that kind of thing. He was the most organized officer he knew. Pleased that Ransom felt that way, Boimler invited the young man to sit down while he helped him. He explained that while the Bridge crew were the most recognized positions on the ship, the real action was down on the Lower Decks.

Borg Cube 90182

Finally, as to emphasize Boimler’s words, we come to the Borg Cube 90182. A trip down to the Lower Decks reveals…not much of anything really. The Borg Lower Deck drones are docked onto their stations doing absolutely nothing. So, don’t use THAT as an example. Nothing to see here, campers. Move along, move along.

Thoughts

This episode was unique from the start with the title being in the Klingon Language “Wej Duj” (Three Ships). But it excelled through its story structure. While their were some call backs to previous Star Trek lore (mainly Star Trek V), it was the examination of the other ships and cultures that set the table for a unique and satisfying episode. Part of the charm was providing a mirror into the Cerritos Lower Decks. Ma’ha, with his ambitions to rank up while embracing Klingons glorious past mirrors Boimler, who dreams of command while knowing everything about the history of the Federation. T’Lyn mirrors Mariner who wants to get the job done without being tangled up in rules and regulations. A much more sedate and logical version but as far as the Vulcans are concerned, she is a firecracker, just like Mariner. It will be interesting where we will see T’Lyn next. She would be a great addition to the Cerritos. As for Ma’ha, no doubt he too will make a return in the future. Provided he isn’t killed by the NEXT first officer. It seems to be a running pattern on the Che’TA.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention how funny it was to hear the Pakled’s Red Alert system. Excuse me, Red Alarm! It was a subtle but extremely funny gag and fit right in with the Pakled ship. Wej Duj (Three Ships) sparkled with it’s originality and earned a 5 out of 5 for its fresh look at some of Star Trek’s cultures. Star Trek Lower Decks can be found on Paramount+ with the season final coming Thursday, October 14th.

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