Star Trek: What is the Janeway Protocol?

The second episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks debuted on Thursday on CBS All Access, and like every episode of the animated comedy, it drew on Star Trek canon for many of its jokes. One moment stands out above the rest. One of the episode's plots sees Ensign Rutherford attempting a career change as he leaves engineering behind. His first move is to give the command track a try. Commander Ransom puts Rutherford into a series of simulations to test his command ability. These simulations do not go well for Rutherford, though Ransom seems to be having a good time watching the ensign fail in ways he'd never seen before. But at one point, Ransom encourages Rutherford to use "the Janeway protocol."

What is the Janeway protocol? Primarily, it is a reference to Kathryn Janeway, the Starfleet captain who led the USS Voyager home from the Delta Quadrant in Star Trek: Voyager. By the time Star Trek: Lower Decks takes place, Janeway has risen through the ranks to vice admiral.

The Janeway protocol, based on the context of the scene when Ransom mentions it, seems to refer to ramming a Starship through whatever obstacle lies in its path. This idea as it relates to Janeway goes back to the third episode of Star Trek: Voyager (second if you count its two-part pilot as a single episode), "Parallax," in which Janeway orders helmsman Tom Paris to "punch through" a time vortex. Here's the order as given:

"In command school, they taught us to always remember that maneuvering a starship is a very delicate process, but over the years, I've learned that, sometimes, you just have to punch your way through. Mr. Paris, full impulse power."

It seems that philosophy has made its way into Starfleet training. That won't be the last act named after Janeway. In the 29th Century, Starfleet officers tasked with monitoring the timeline will come to recognize "the Janeway factor" for the captain's willingness to meddle in time travel.


What do you think of the Janeway protocol? Let us know how you feel about it in the comments section.

The first two episodes of Star Trek: Lower Decks are streaming now on CBS All Access. You can watch the first episode for free for a limited time on YouTube. New episodes of Star Trek: Lower Decks premiere on CBS All Access on Thursdays. The second season of Star Trek: Lower Decks is already in the works. All of Star Trek: Voyager is also available to stream on CBS All Access.