Star Trek: Lower Decks is set in 2380, which means the status quo of the Federation is close to how we remembered the TNG, Voyager, and DS9 eras. 2380 is five years after the end of the Dominion War, two years after Voyager returned from the Delta Quadrant, and one year after Data died in Nemesis. All the big shakeups that happen in Picardare still several years in the future of the Lower Deckers. That means Lower Decks probably can’t mess up timeline stuff too much. Or so we thought.
Something happened in the final moments of Lower Decks episode 3, “Temporal Edict,” that could change everything. If this is canon, it could have big consequences for Picard Season 2 and Discovery Season 3. Here’s why.
In “Temporal Edict,” Captain Freeman briefly cracks down on the crew of the Cerritos when she learns about “buffer time,” the idea that a good portion of the crew slacks off a little bit after they’re done with their required tasks. The episode lampoons the idea that in previous Treks, it’s seemed like Starfleet Officers have a lot of free time, and that their actual jobs don’t take that long to do.
By the very end of the episode, after the ship nearly breaks down because of too many deadlines, Boimler convinces Captain Freeman that not everyone can be a workaholic like him. So Freeman introduces “The Boimler Effect,” which encourages Starfleet people to take however much time they need to finish tasks. (In other words, laziness is fine!) Boimler is horrified by having this policy named after him, since he so ardently behaves the exact opposite way. The other Lower Deckers assure him there’s no way anyone will remember him for this.