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Lower Decks - A little less than a happy high
komos
komos
Lower Decks
Amongst the Star Trek Fandom, there's a lurking question about what life is like for junior officers in Starfleet. Under Kirk's command, it seems like the only time a junior officer or other crew-member appeared, it was because they were about to die an inglorious death, would be seduced by genetic supermen, or were Magel Barrett. In TNG, the nature of the Enterprise-D contingent expanded the concept to include non-essential personnel. The makers did make several attempts to answer what it is like for the ship's barbers in major engagements, but none so elegant as Lower Decks, an entire episode dedicated to a group of junior officers and the waiter who plays poker with them. (This is probably my favorite episode outside of Tapestry, but the "Lt. Picard" episode hurts my head.)

This underlying fascination with minor and largely unseen characters is likely owed to the same impulse that makes Wedge Antilles from the Star Wars universe so compelling. These are characters we can identify with, not because of their archetypal nature, but because it is easiest to imagine that if we were somehow transported into these universes, we would find ourselves on the lower decks (or, if you prefer, flying support to Skywalker's grandstanding). Moreover, these characters reflect our level of involvement with the ongoing stories. Most decisions made may end up affecting them, but ultimately, they are precisely like us - observers of an unfolding narrative.

This is on my mind this morning because I received a letter this morning that confirmed my real world status on the Lower Decks. Today, this junior officer was told:

The purpose of this letter is to inform you that the position you currently occupy has been included in the [Department]'s Emergency Personnel Plan as non-emergency. This means whenever the Governor declares that the Commonwealth is in a state of emergency or when adverse weather situations are declared by the [Department], you will not be required to report to work.

Perhaps that Lt. Picard thing isn't all that far off. I'll be in 10 Forward if anyone needs me.
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Comments
cook_ting From: cook_ting Date: February 9th, 2007 07:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Honestly, let the others sweat and grumble and climb. Life is about peace & quiet, good food, a comfortable bed, solid entertainment and companionship. Everything else is just meaningless time filler on the way to the grave.
komos From: komos Date: February 9th, 2007 10:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Shouldn't I have ambition, though? Or at least a calling?

Meh. I'm feelin' sorry for me'self again. Too little sleep this week has made me unfocused and cranky.
teddywookie From: teddywookie Date: February 9th, 2007 08:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Can you imagine if you (and me, for that matter) were emergency personnel? DAMMIT I NEED THE DATA IN XLS OR CSV FIVE MINUTES AGO!
komos From: komos Date: February 9th, 2007 10:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
You've just described a typical day for me.
mudguts From: mudguts Date: February 9th, 2007 10:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
at least youre not on the away team. you never know when a light bright might actually 'splode.
komos From: komos Date: February 9th, 2007 10:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
superbgirl From: superbgirl Date: February 12th, 2007 07:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
like one of Marty's stink ('tinct) bombs?
pipibluestockin From: pipibluestockin Date: February 10th, 2007 02:33 am (UTC) (Link)
One get out of work free card.

Remember to frame it and put it on the wall where you can glance at it as you roll over and go back to sleep on those sort of days - but don't forget to unplug the phone and switch off the mobile (just in case someone finally works out that you are not that indespensible).

komos From: komos Date: February 15th, 2007 03:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Took a mental health day yesterday. Granted, it was partly so I could let a workman into my basement to fix the furnace, but it was a day off nonetheless. Not having to venture into the storm did wonders for my psyche.

And, I had Thai food delivered. I am a king amongst men.
pipibluestockin From: pipibluestockin Date: February 16th, 2007 10:23 am (UTC) (Link)
I read your post while suffering the aftermath of a double-shift 2pm to 5am the next morning.

Technically I was awake after only three hours sleep. A mental health day sounded like a bloody wonderful suggestion so I put it into action and fell back into bed for another 8 hours.

bootsvalentine From: bootsvalentine Date: February 10th, 2007 08:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh my goodness, I can't believe I've never seen that episode!
komos From: komos Date: February 15th, 2007 03:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's good, and it has black ops.
From: uruz Date: February 10th, 2007 12:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Peter, you are my hero.

Everyone needs a little more Trek allegory in their lives.

Speaking of which... wanna play in a Star Trek tabletop game?
komos From: komos Date: February 19th, 2007 04:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Temba, his arms wide!

Not sure? What night are you thinking?
From: uruz Date: February 19th, 2007 05:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Gilgamesh and Enkidu at Uruk.

Undecided. It'd be once every two weeks to a month. I'd like to keep it smallish (5 players tops). It would give me an excuse to hang out with some of the YMG "old guard".
From: uruz Date: February 10th, 2007 12:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
And incidentally, did anyone from my agency contact you? I passed your contact info along.
komos From: komos Date: February 19th, 2007 04:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
I got info from you, but not from them. To be fair, though, I've been dragging my feet about contacting them, too.
schizohedron From: schizohedron Date: February 10th, 2007 07:05 pm (UTC) (Link)

"A View From the Gallery"

Were you ever a Babylon 5 viewer? The conceit behind the episode "A View From the Gallery" is similar to that in "Lower Decks." The focus is a pair of station crewmen, who intersect at various points with the struggles of the main characters to repel an attack on B5.

The Star Wars Tales series from Dark Horse Comics often featured very imaginative takes on the lives and struggles of minor canon/Extended Universe characters, or beneath-the-radar new ones, in its stories.

Personally, I think my ideal job in that universe has me seated next to a certain Wookiee copilot.
faux_eonix From: faux_eonix Date: February 13th, 2007 12:11 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: "A View From the Gallery"

I loved that episode. Mack & Bo.
Plus, who doesn't love Spoo?


komos From: komos Date: February 19th, 2007 05:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Uh...
faux_eonix From: faux_eonix Date: February 19th, 2007 06:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
komos From: komos Date: February 19th, 2007 05:01 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: "A View From the Gallery"

I tried to watch Babylon 5. Liked the concept, loved the overarching story/themes... and was driven batty by lame dialog and mediocre acting. Actually, that wasn't entirely it. I tolerated much the same from the early episodes of ST:tNG, but I continued with that series. The big difference was that I could actually find ST, whereas with B5, every time I started getting invested in the story, they moved it to another time and/or channel. Eventually I just gave up chasing it.

There are worse places to be than on the bridge of the Falcon. Sure beats Tube duty.
schizohedron From: schizohedron Date: February 19th, 2007 05:34 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: "A View From the Gallery"

2 p.m. on Saturdays was particularly brutal. Who the hell is gonna be in front of a TV at that time? I watched the episodes in that misbegotten time slot on tape delay. No wonder TiVO was adopted so swiftly.
superbgirl From: superbgirl Date: February 12th, 2007 07:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
My hospital ID states that I am essential and can go through check points etc if there was a state of emergency, but I too was told once that I was "not essential". It became a joke for me to say that I wasn't essential. It was soon after 9/11 and the hospital received a bomb threat (we received them a lot- I think because of the Jewish affiliation) and I was working and one of the directors came through my department & asked me what I was doing there & said I should just go home because I wasn't essential personnel.

I didn't like her either.
komos From: komos Date: February 19th, 2007 05:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
On the upside, I never have to carry a beeper, and I never have to give up a weekend to man "the Bunker."

I have no idea what "the Bunker" is, but it exists and we man it.
why_style From: why_style Date: February 13th, 2007 03:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
if it makes you feel any better, where i work emergency personnel basically includes only the security officers and the people who work in our gift shops because aparently even during an emergency the gift shop must remain open! or maybe it's the looting. i do like your metaphor though, and i'll try to remember it the next time i stay home in bed during an emergency (hopefully tomorrow).
komos From: komos Date: February 19th, 2007 05:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Gift shop personnel play an essential part in maintaining the global economy. Think about it.
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