Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The Arsenal of Freedom

TNG Season 1 Episode 21
Air Date: April 11th, 1988


While looking for the USS Drake, the Enterprise finds a world that specializes in the manufacturing and trading of weapons completely uninhabited. They beam down and investigate only to be attacked by one of the weapons. It is a flying machine that when it is destroyed it learns it's mistakes and figures out a way to improve. It is concluded that during a demonstration the weapon had destroyed all sentient life on the planet but the automated salesman was still in tact. They were able to stop the machines from attacking but agreeing to buy them from the salesman.


The idea of a machine that can adapt to tactics and even improve its own technology is an interesting premise. It is something that we worry about today, giving AI control of things like nuclear missiles ir or even self repairing technology. But I felt that the interesting story in this episode is what happened on the ship.

While Picard, Riker, Yar, Data and Doctor Crusher were stranded on the planet, Lt. LaForge was given command of the Enterprise. This was the second time we see him sit in the captains chair. The first time you see a smirk on his face but he wasn't tested. This time the machine that was attacking the away team was also attacking the Enterprise, only it would remain clocked until it was ready to attack.

During his command, the chief engineer engineer Lt. Logan who outranked Geordi (who was a Lt Junior Grade) and demanded to be placed in command. Geordi held his ground saying only Picard or Riker can take command of the ship back from him and orders him back to his post. After almost losing to the machine he splits the saucer section off and tells the Chief Engineer to take command of it and head to safety. He then returns to the planet, and uses the atmosphere to make the machine visible where he defeats it.


"Tell me about your ship, Riker. It's the Enterprise, isn't it?" - Rice
"No, the name of my ship is the Lollipop." - Riker
"I have no knowledge of that ship." - Rice
"It's just been commissioned. It's a good ship." - Riker

"In view of the present crisis, I believe you should relinquish command to me." - Logan
"No." - La Forge
"I outrank you." - Logan
"Mr. Logan, I'm in command." - La Forge
"The Captain did not anticipate the Enterprise would come under attack. If he had, would he have left the bridge to you?" - Logan
"If he had, he wouldn't have left the ship!" - La Forge

"Relinquishing command, Captain." - La Forge
"As you were, Lieutenant." - Picard
"Sir?" - La Forge
"Mr. La Forge, when I left this ship, it was in one piece. I would appreciate your returning it to me in the same condition." - Picard

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