Warning: SPOILERS for Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 3, Episode 9 – “Trusted Sources”Starfleet’s Worst Place Has Finally Been Revealed By Star Trek: Lower Decks when Ensign Beckett Mariner (Tawny Newsome) is kicked out of the USS Cerritos. Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 3 Episode 9 features Captain Carol Freeman’s (Dawnn Lewis) new initiative: Project Swing By. Intended to herald a new wave of crucial Second Contact California-class starship missions, Freeman mistakenly believed that Mariner had jeopardized his project by telling derogatory stories about the Cerritos to a Federation News Network reporter.
Mariner is transferred to Starbase 80, the absolute worst place in Starfleet. Starbase 80 was previously referenced in Star Trek: Lower Decks like a deep space station in deep space where the dregs of Starfleet are sent, and it’s a place even Mariner feared. After Beckett’s transfer, a Starbase 80 shuttle docks in the Cerritos to look for her, and they’re as bad as expected, if not worse. Negligent and foolish, the two inhabitants of Starbase 80 are indicative of the entire station. Later, when Captain Freeman realizes that Mariner was innocent of slandering his ship and crew, we saw a bit of the crude interior of Starbase 80, which has very outdated technology and was infested with Pyrithian bats, which have been introduced in Star Trek: Enterprise. Unsurprisingly, Mariner left Starfleet instead of spending another minute in Starbase 80.
Starfleet has different penalties, including the death penalty
Starfleet is supposed to be made up of the best of the best, but sometimes there are disciplinary cases that need to be punished. Dismissal from Starfleet occasionally occurs for crimes such as lying or violating the Starfleet Honor Code. Sometimes a prison sentence is warranted for serious crimes against the United Federation of Planets. For example, Commander Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) was sent to a penal colony for mutiny at the beginning of Star Trek: Discovery. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 2 will reveal whether Lt. Commander Una Chin-Riley (Rebecca Romijn) will be sent to prison for lying about being a genetically engineered Illyrian.
In the middle of the 23rd century, Starfleet did indeed have the death penalty. General Order 7 has ruled that no one from Starfleet can come into contact with Talos IV and the alien psychics that inhabit the planet. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) was tried for mutiny and faced the death penalty for stealing the USS Enterprise to transport Captain Christopher Pike (Sean Kenney) to Talos IV in Star Trek: The Original Series. However, Star Trek: The Next Generation established that the death penalty no longer existed in the Federation by the mid-24th century.
Why Mariner left Starfleet instead of staying in Starbase 80
It’s no surprise that Mariner resigned her Starfleet commission rather than stay in Starbase 80. She may be headstrong and prone to reckless actions, but Mariner is also too talented to be wasted in a place like Starbase 80. Beckett truly believes in the principles of Starfleet as a force for good in the galaxy, and herself is too good an officer to banish. So it makes sense that Mariner would quit and accept the offer of archaeologist Petra Aberdeen (Georgia King), who’s a former lieutenant who’s also been disillusioned with Starfleet.
What is surprising is that a place like Starbase 80 exists and is maintained by Starfleet. Granted, a space station in the far reaches of the galaxy might not be well-stocked and state-of-the-art, but the kind of releases from Starbase 80 homes are hilariously irrelevant to Starfleet. But it makes sense that Starfleet occasionally employs people who aren’t up to the job and have to hide them somewhere. Starbase 80 is also a very fun idea as a punishment that Star Trek: Lower Decks was smart to highlight.
Next: Star Trek Confirms Picard Made Best First Contact
Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 3 airs Thursdays on Paramount+.