Kid just loves him some cows (komos) wrote,
Kid just loves him some cows

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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