Kirk and a sub-skeleton crew are ordered to test out an advanced artificially intelligent control system - the M-5 Multitronic system, which could potentially render them all redundant. Star fleet is very optimistic, but, Kirk fears - even in a testing situation - removing humans from the equation is a very dangerous position to be left in. A position of life or death.

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Scott / M-5 / Starbase Officer
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Sean Morgan ...
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Storyline

Captain Kirk replies to an urgent (yet brief) message from Commodore Enright, which only tells him to report to the nearest space station. Once there, most of the crew is removed - held in a security area, leaving only a minimal skeleton crew on-board. Commodore Bob Wesley arrives, and informs the captain he's the unwitting 'fox in the hunt;' of simulated war games to be played. The purpose? To put the so far only-rumoured-to-exist M-5 Multitronic unit - through its paces. The M-5 computer is the latest invention of the brilliant Dr. Richard Daystrom, creator of the Duotronic computer systems, which power Enterprise, and many other high-end systems. Daystrom is confidant his unit can not only take control of the starship, but do a better job than humans can. At first, the Enterprise under M-5's control easily defeats two other starships, but, quickly begins to act independently of its human masters, Daystrom has little interest in disconnecting the M-5 and treats it more like an ... Written by garykmcd

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8 March 1968 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Daystrom Institute, mentioned prominently in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993), and Star Trek: Voyager (1995), is named for Dr. Richard Daystrom, the guest character in this episode. See more »

Goofs

After Kirk, Spock, and McCoy depart the turbolift to Engineering, McCoy says "If it could, they wouldn't have to replace me, I'd resign..." McCoy's lips do not match "If it could" See more »

Quotes

Captain James T. Kirk: [broadcasting on intership communications] This is the Captain speaking. In approximately one minute, we'll be attacked by Federation starships. The M-5 no longer controls the ship, but then neither we control it. The M-5 has left itself, and us, open for destruction. For whatever satisfaction we may get from the knowledge, our nineteen lives will buy the survival of over one thousand of our fellow starship crewmen.
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Connections

Referenced in Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

Finally, a counterpart for William Shatner
31 March 2006 | by (Goleta, CA) – See all my reviews

William Marshall (Daystrom) overacts with as much vigor as Shatner in this episode. Long impassioned monologues that leave me rolling on the floor laughing.

As usual, the writers didn't miss out on the chance for relevant social commentary. Back then, computers were so expensive, only corporations owned them. And it wasn't just the misinformed who gave computers more respect than they were due. Artificial Intelligence researchers believed that they would soon be matching human reasoning. Such power in the hands of a few was of course a frightening prospect.

Daystrom's best moments are at 29 and 42 minutes on the DVD.


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