Warning: SPOILERS for Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 3, Episode 5 – “Reflections”

The mysterious origins of Ensign Samathan Rutherford’s (Eugene Cordero) implant allowed Star Trek: Lower Decks to bring back two of the coolest ships in Starfleet, the Delta Flyer and the Captain’s Yacht. Rutherford’s implant has malfunctioned since Star Trek: Lower Decks season 1, and the Ensign’s body was taken over by his previous, more aggressive and rebellious personality, which was eliminated when Rutherford received his implant. The sides of Rutherfords’ psychic battle for dominance led to a spectacular race across the Romulan Neutral Zone, and the return of Star Trek: Voyager‘s Delta Flyer as well as the USS Cerritos’ Captain’s Yacht.

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The Delta Flyer was a new shuttlecraft-sized starship unique to Star Trek: Voyager that became a signature vehicle of the series alongside the USS Voyager itself. Designed by Lt Tom Paris (Robert Duncan McNeil), the Delta Flyer was built as a more versatile and powerful support ship that was more maneuverable and effective than Voyager’s class 2 shuttles in the increasingly hostile Delta Quadrant. Thanks to Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan), the Delta Flyer was also equipped with Borg weaponry including photonic missiles. The original Delta Flyer was destroyed during an encounter with the Borg, but Voyager’s crew constructed a second Delta Flyer with even more bells and whistles. Meanwhile, the Captain’s Yacht was a warp-capable support craft for the use of starship Captains that was first seen in Star Trek: Insurrection, although the USS Enterprise-D also had a Captain’s Yacht.

In Star Trek: Lower Decks season 3, episode 5, “Reflections,” the original Rutherford tried to escape capture by Lt. Shax (Fred Tatasciore) by beaming into the USS Cerritos’ Captain’s Yacht. However, he was still apprehended and brought to Dr. T’Ana’s (Gillian Vigman) Sickbay. In their shared psyche, the original Rutherford persona challenged Ensign Rutherford to a dangerous race across the Romulan Neutral Zone, with the winner gaining ownership of their body. Ensign Rutherford built himself a Delta Flyer for himself and simulations of his fellow Lower Deckers to pilot while the original Rutherford built a sleek, Star Trek equivalent of a Star Wars-like podracer. In the end, Ensign Rutherford’s Delta Flyer won the race. It’s also curious that Samanthan claimed he “always wanted” a Delta Flyer; the USS Voyager only returned to Earth a couple of years before Star Trek: Lower Decks began, but Rutherford must have quickly learned about the Delta Flyer and craved building one of his own.

Why Star Trek Rarely Uses The Captain’s Yacht

The Captain’s Yacht is a rarely seen vessel even though one is equipped in the USS Enterprise-E and other starships. Surprisingly, support-level starships like the California-class USS Cerritos also have a Captain’s Yacht. Star Trek: The Next Generation had a Captain’s Yacht docked beneath the saucer of the USS Enterprise-D all throughout the series, but it was never utilized. In truth, the Captain’s Yacht has to serve a story purpose in a given Star Trek TV series or movie, and it wasn’t until Star Trek: Insurrection that they could justify using the Captain’s Yacht. Ultimately, the ship was destroyed when Lt. Commander Data (Brent Spiner) piloted it in a battle against the Son’a.

Star Trek: Voyager‘s Delta Flyer is a welcome sight in Star Trek: Lower Decks, and it continues the animated comedy’s many shout-outs to the beloved 1990s Star Trek series. Lt. Tom Paris himself appeared in Star Trek: Lower Decks season 2, and the season 3 premiere updated Trekkers on the whereabouts of Commander Tuvok (Tim Russ). In the future, perhaps Ensign Rutherford will be able to build his own Delta Flyer in real life the way he did in his mindscape, and Star Trek: Lower Decks will show the USS Cerritos’ Captain’s Yacht in action as well.

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Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 3 streams Thursdays on Paramount+.