Kirk is none too impressed when he's told that the Enterprise is to compete in simulated war games but under the control of a new computer. The M-5 computer is the latest invention of the brilliant Dr. Richard Daystrom, who is confidant that his unit can not only take control of the starship but do a better job than humans can. In its first simulated encounter, the Enterprise under M-5's control easily defeats two other starships. Soon, however, it begins to act independently of its human masters, tapping directly into the warp engines for its power and erecting a force field to protect itself. Daystrom has little interest in disconnecting the M-5 and treats it more like an errant child than a machine. For Kirk and the few crew members still aboard, it becomes a matter of life and death when Starfleet Command orders the Enterprise destroyed. Written by
Did You Know?
In addition to playing his regular role of Chief Engineer "Scotty" Scott, in this episode James Doohan
also provides the voice of the computer M-5, as well as that of the briefly heard and unnamed starbase officer who gives Commodore Wesley and the other starship commanders permission to destroy the Enterprise. See more
When M5 begins the attack on the Federation task force, it concentrates most of its attention on two ships, the Lexington and the Excalibur, with a single attack on a third ship, the Potemkin. The fourth ship of the task force, the Hood, is never attacked by the M5-controlled Enterprise. However, when Commodore Wesley contacts Starfleet and asks for permission to destroy the Enterprise, he states that all four ships have sustained damage. See more
M-5 is leaving itself open to attack. The machine is committing suicide, to atone for the sin of murder.