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 his 1999 essay "Welcome Aboard the Enterprise," science fiction author Robert J. Sawyer
writes, "...the ship's computers, as seen in "The Ultimate Computer," were designed by a Nobel-prize-winning black cyberneticist, played with equal dignity by William Marshall
. During the era of Martin Luther King
and the Watts Riots, it was a powerful, important statement to have the white captain of the Enterprise deferring to black people; as Marshall observed thirty years later, the single most significant thing about his guest-starring role was that he, an African-American, was referred to as "Sir" throughout the episode." See more
When Lieutenant Uhura informs Captain Kirk that the M5 had already acknowledged a transmission from Commodore Wesley, her left hand is holding the earpiece in her left ear. As the camera cuts to Kirk for his reaction, her hand is at her side. See more
Captain James T. Kirk
The M-5 must be destroyed.
Dr. Richard Daystrom
Destroyed, Kirk? No. We're invincible. Look what we've done: your mighty starships - four toys to be crushed as we choose!