Star Trek: Lower Decks Creates An Incredible Connection With A Beloved Deep Space Nine Character

This article contains spoilers for "Star Trek: Lower Decks" season 3, episode six. 

The U.S.S. Cerritos docks at Deep Space Nine in the latest episode of "Star Trek: Lower Decks," where the crew encounters a few familiar faces, including Morn, Quark (Armin Shimerman), and Colonel Kira (Nana Visitor). While most of the crew of the Cerritos are eager to see the space station and meet some of the famous crew, two are excited to see old friends: Ensign Mariner (Tawny Newsome) and Lieutenant Shaxs (Fred Tatasciore). Mariner had previously mentioned that she had been stationed on DS9 in the "Lower Decks" episode "We'll Always Have Tom Paris," and Newsome went on the record that she had the writers change the ending of this new episode so she could experience her character being on the station. But what about Shaxs?

It turns out that Shaxs was a Resistance fighter alongside Colonel Kira back during the Cardassian occupation. The two of them have a close bond that's only outweighed by their need to one-up one another through selfless acts. That sounds about right for these two foolhardy and deeply traumatized Bajorans, whose friendship makes more sense than a self-cleaning unit on the holodeck

Freedom fighters and fierce friends

When Shaxs arrives on Deep Space Nine, he and Kira greet one another with a big hug and a lot of warmth, then immediately start arguing over which of them is indebted to the other for saving their life. Kira starts it all off with, "He saved my life during the raid on the Haru Outposts, I still owe you for that one!" and it devolves from there, with the two of them bringing up the many times in which they saved one another's lives. Apparently, she saved him during an ambush, someone saved someone from a plasma storm in the badlands, and the two of them just seem to need to give glory to the other. It's kind of sweet, really, showing the self-sacrificing nature of both characters. Kira took her fair share of tough losses during both the occupation and the Dominion War, while Shaxs actually died (he got better) saving Rutherford and the rest of the crew, so their willingness to risk it all for the sake of others is well-documented. 

Both Shaxs and Kira are pretty decent at making friends despite their sometimes gruff exteriors, but they don't often get a chance to reminisce with other Bajoran rebels, and it's a joy to see them so relaxed together. Kira runs into plenty of her former comrades during "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," but those reunions are often far too brief (and sometimes tragic). These two veterans deserve a chance to sit and drink some Bajoran ale (or Raktajino!) and trade war stories. They've been through enough! 

A personal hero makes a perfect reappearance

I have written before about how much "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" shaped me as a human being, but it took a recent rewatch to realize just how much I had imprinted on then-Major Kira Nerys. Like my other childhood hero, Princess Leia from "Star Wars," she was a rebel fighter, but her arc on "Deep Space Nine" happened after that part of her battle was over. Kira had some pretty serious PTSD, both from her childhood and her later years, but she never let those experiences make her bitter or jaded. She held onto hope against all odds, and held onto her faith in both the Prophets and her comrades. While I didn't grow up under Cardassian rule, I do have my own brand of PTSD, and have tried to tackle it with my own version of her "against-all-odds" attitude. 

I would love to see some of the other surviving cast members of "Deep Space Nine" make cartoon appearances in some way if they can, but seeing Kira again was truly special. Seeing her get to display her humor and incredible spirit in cartoon form was even better. 

New episodes of "Star Trek: Lower Decks" premiere Thursdays on Paramount+.