Aug 1 2011 1:10pm

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: “Conspiracy”

Written by Robert Sabaroff and Tracey Tormé
Directed by Cliff Bole
Season 1, Episode 24
Production episode 40271-125
Original air date: May 9, 1988
Stardate: 41775.5

Captain’s Log: While en route to Pacifica, the Enterprise receives a Code 47 message, which is a highest priority, captain’s eyes only, emergency communication that has no computer record and is not to be discussed with anyone.

Riker wakes Picard from a sound sleep to find his old friend Captain Walker Keel of the Horatio on the other line. Keel plays on that friendship to convince Picard to come to a meeting on Dytalix B about something that’s horribly horribly wrong with Starfleet.

Picard orders a course change and emphasizes that there is to be no record of the diversion, nor is Pacifica to be contacted. Three other ships are in orbit: Renegade, Thomas Paine, and Horatio. The captains of those ships meet with Picard on the surface of Dytalix B — an abandoned mining complex — at gunpoint. They don’t lower the weapons until Picard passes a memory test — including knowing that Keel introduced Jack Crusher to Beverly.

Keel has noticed strange movements, odd orders, weird exercises, unexplained deaths, and high-ranking officers bluffing their way through talk of old times. Picard is, to say the least skeptical, especially given the lack of specifics. Keel again plays on Picard’s friendship and asks him to keep in touch — and also asks him to give his best to Crusher.

Picard takes Troi into his confidence about what’s happening, but keeps it from the rest of the crew. He sets the Enterprise back on course for Pacifica and assigns Data to examine all Starfleet records over the previous six months in search of abnormal patterns.

Crusher comes on the bridge asking if Picard saw Keel, and Picard lies through his teeth and says no, after Keel specifically asked him to say hello for him. Bastard.

Worf detects a disturbance, and after investigating, the Enterprise discovers that it’s the wreckage of the Horatio, which has been destroyed with no survivors.

Now Picard takes Riker into his confidence, remembering what Admiral Quinn told him about his concerns several episodes ago. To add fuel to the fire, Data does detect a pattern of activity that appears to be designed to clandestinely take control of key Federation sectors.

Not wanting to screw around, Picard decides to head straight to Earth to talk to Starfleet Command directly. Three admirals respond: Savar, Aaron, and Quinn. Savar and Aaron invite Picard and Riker to dinner, while Quinn asks to beam up and see the ship, and — while carrying a briefcase filled with a strange alien creature — is beamed aboard by his adjutant, Dexter Remmick.

Thinking that Quinn beaming aboard means he’s on their side, the admiral makes it clear that he has no recollection of his previous conversation with Picard about his concerns about Starfleet Command. Now Picard is convinced that something horrible is going on.

He beams down to meet with Savar, Aaron, and Remmick for dinner. They toast the Horatio, proclaiming the cause of its destruction to be due to negligence by her captain.

Meanwhile, Riker offers Quinn a tour, and Quinn offers to show him a new lifeform that he claims is superior. When Riker tries to summon a science officer to look at it, Quinn grabs his arm and beats the holy crap out of him. Riker summons security. For reasons passing understanding, La Forge joins Worf even though he’s not part of security. Quinn throws La Forge through a door and then beats Worf up before Crusher is able to stop him with multiple phaser blasts set on kill. Crusher examines Quinn and discovers a parasite attached to his brain stem which stimulates the adrenal gland, explaining Quinn’s strength.

Picard goes into dinner, only to find that what’s on the menu are grubs — live grubs! Who doesn’t love live grubs??? Riker arrives, seeming to be compromised by the creatures — as does one of the captains Picard met with, revealing that the bad guys knew about the clandestine meeting.

Riker was faking being compromised — he fires on the bad guys, Picard joins him, and they discover that the mother creature is inside Remmick. Claiming they only want peaceful coexistence, Picard and Riker respond to this line by shooting Remmick in the head. A few moments later, Remmick has no head, and a moment after, his torso explodes, too. A mother creature emerges from his stomach, which should probably evoke Alien but really does more to evoke Spaceballs. Picard and Riker look really disgusted at the mother creature that is inside Remmick’s gullet and then they shoot her, too.

(Fun party game: If you start singing “Hello My Baby” when the creature appears, you get to the line, “Baby my heart’s on fire” right when Picard and Riker’s phaser fire hits the creature. Thanks to Peter David for figuring that.)

The parasites all disintegrate. Quinn is okay, and Remmick is toast, and it’s unclear what the final fate of Aaron, Savar, and the others are. Data also informs Picard that Remmick sent out a signal before he was blown to smithereenies: a homing beacon.

Thank You, Counselor Obvious: “Someone is hiding something but I can’t tell who or what.” Well, that’s helpful....

If I Only had a Brain...: Data overanalyzes a joke, thus draining all the humor from it, and even attempts to laugh, a rather pathetic exercise that makes him sound eerily like Ned from South Park. Later, he starts talking to himself, which he explains in sufficient depth to the computer that it snarks at him to shut the hell up.

There is No Honor in Being Pummeled: Worf gets clobbered by a hyped-up-on-parasites Admiral Quinn, yet another case, as with Lore, where we see how tough the bad guy is by having him beat up on the Klingon.

Welcome Aboard: Ward Costello and Robert Schenkkan reprise their roles of Quinn and Remmick from “Coming of Age.” Jonathan Farwell and Michael Berryman are creepy as Captains Keel and Rixx (the latter the first Bolian we ever see, a species named after this episode’s director), while Ursaline Bryant, Henry Darrow, and Ray Reinhardt create absolutely no impression as the compromised command officers.

I Believe I Said That: “Swimming is too much like — bathing.”

The look of disgust on Worf’s face when he utters the final word of that line is just priceless.

Trivial Matters: While this episode was rife for a follow-up, it never happened on screen. However, the story of the alien parasites was picked up on in the Deep Space Nine novel series that took place after the show ended, establishing a link between these parasites and the Trill symbiotes. See in particular the novel Unity by S.D. Perry, though the storyline continued through several novels both before and after it.

This episode was censored in Great Britain and Canada, specifically the scene where Remmick has his head and torso blown open.

Make it So: “We only seek peaceful coexistence.” A rare Trek use of dark themes and horror, this is a nasty episode that doesn’t quite cohere into the level of nasty it could. The characters all talk about a threat to the very fabric of Starfleet and the Federation, but it never feels like a threat. The destruction of the Horatio comes close, as he’s someone close to both Picard and Crusher, but everything after that is more moving the plot along than being worried about the conspiracy.

The bland affect of the three head admirals doesn’t help, as they come across as either boring or comical rather than menacing.

Still, the unfolding of the conspiracy is fun to watch, it’s nice to see the crumbs dropped in “Coming of Age” are picked up on — if only the crumbs in this episode also were — and the solution refreshingly blunt. TNG doesn’t do horror/action all that often, and it serves as a good change of pace if nothing else.


Warp factor rating: 4.

Keith R.A. DeCandido has written a great deal of Star Trek fiction. His more recent novels are Unicorn Precinct, SCPD: The Case of the Claw, and the upcoming Guilt in Innocence, part of the Scattered Earth shared-world science fiction series. Go to Keith’s web site, which is a gateway to his blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Michael Poteet
1. MikePoteet
Isn't one of those compromised captains established as "the youngest captain in the fleet's history" or something, thereby dethroning Kirk from that status? (Although I'm unsure at the moment whether that was officially stated on screen, or was something in "fan canon" - 0r maybe in the prologue to Roddenberry's TMP novelization?)

I hated this episode when it aired, but friends who were into "dark and gritty" stuff at the time really liked it. I found the Remmick "Alien" moment really disturbing, although I suppose by today's standards it's pretty tame. I have to confess I have only gone back to watch it once in the years since, and probably won't do so again any time soon.

I do remember thinking it odd that Worf (?) or any Starflet personnel would be amused/skeptical at the claim that the paraiste in Quinn's briefcase is a "superior life form." Sure, he's possessed when he says it; but Starfleet has encountered all sorts of surprising life forms by this point. "Size matters not," as someone from another star-franchise once said.
Keith DeCandido
2. krad
Mike: It was never established anywhere onscreen that Kirk was the youngest person ever to attain a captaincy. For that matter, it was also never established anywhere onscreen that Spock was the first Vulcan in Starfleet. These are fan myths that sprung up over the years, and some tie-in material has run with it, but there's no onscreen evidence to support it.

Having said that -- yeah, having Captain Tryla Scott be the youngest person ever to attain a captaincy is a bit of a kick in the balls to the Kirk myth, if not necessarily to Kirk himself.....

It was Riker who was told that the lifeform was superior, and having just watched the episode, he wasn't amused or skeptical -- it was more, "Superior? Really? Huh!" and then he immediately wanted to get the science officer (whoever that is, since no such position was ever established on the Enterprise) in to have a gander.

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
DavidA (Still)
3. DavidA (Still)
I think the episode clearly owes a debt to Heinlein's "Puppet Masters."
DavidA (Still)
4. John R. Ellis
As I recall, the creepy, clicking "Get it? They're like the stories of Alien Abductors" type species was introduced a few seasons later, hints were given of a follow-up...then they never turned up nor were mentioned ever again. And it was another rare horror episode!

I'm sensing a pattern, here
DavidA (Still)
5. Geoff Trowbridge
Nicely done. Personally, I've always hated this episode, and would probably rate it even lower, despite the love that many fans seem to have for it. For me, the only "conspiracy" is among the writers, attempting to sell the idea that three lone Admirals acting like ridiculous B-movie villians can somehow undermine an organization as massive as Starfleet.
DavidA (Still)
6. Wrenn
This episode has always seemed to me to be something of a rehash of the original series 'Operation: Annihilate'. With the alien organism infiltrating the brain stem and controlling people.

Both episodes had a high cheese factor.
DavidA (Still)
7. Pendard
I remember loving this episode when it came out, but it has NOT aged well! I agree with KRAD's review completely about this episode's weaknesses. Still, it's interesting to see Star Trek: TNG playing around with different types of stories. This story has horror movie aspects, but it also has a dark, paranoid vibe that you don't get much on Star Trek. The first season isn't the best, but it's interesting to see what they got up to before the show's format was set in stone.
Ori Avtalion
8. salty-horse
I watched this as a kid and, for several years, could not eat scrambled eggs without wincing a little and thinking of the worms.
Kristoff Bergenholm
9. Magentawolf
The first thing I thought of, seeing that picture, was 'Which was this? Oh, right, the monkey-brains episode'.

Admittedly, it's grubs and not brains, but close enough! This was one of the episodes that always made me wonder as to the repercussions; I mean, Starfleet just lost a ship, and we have Picard / Riker gunning down an Admiral inside of Starfleet Command...
DavidA (Still)
10. don3comp
Wrenn: Good point about the similarities to "OA." I loved the flying pancakes! : )

I think that a problem this episode shares with season 5's "The Game" is a lack of explanation as to how our highly-evolved human (according to Roddenberry) Starfleet officers were so easily suckered into something so obviously dangerous. At least the Game offered instant pleasure, but if somebody offered me those moving worms, and I wasn't on a Klingon ship, I'd have the sense to say, "ugh! Too Ceti Alpha V, thanks!"
Keith DeCandido
11. krad
don: I always thought of the creatures in "O:A" as omelettes rather than pancakes. Whatever...

Also eating the grubs didn't have anything to do with assimilating them. That was just what they liked to eat after they were assimilated. They gave Picard the bowl of them to mess with him, is all.

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
DavidA (Still)
12. Lance Sibley
I don't recall the episode being censored in Canada - if it was, the censorship is so minor that I've never noticed anything missing. Mind you, it's been a while since I watched the DVD, and for all I know the DVD version that was sold in Canada was specially produced; I've never seen the episode in the US.
rob mcCathy
13. roblewmac
1. Yay finally one I remember kind of a good one too
2. They're admerals in Starfleet there's GOING to be a reason they are jerks
3. I Always assumed there were LOTS OF Vulcan in starfleet. Heck there are TWO in one upper class family and at least one all Vulcan ship.
4 seriously where did I hear kirk is related to Doc Savage?
Andrew Love
14. AndyLove
This episode had one major WTH moment for me - the old Admiral throws Geordi through a door: a metal door that could probably withstand a phasor. Geordi's one tough fellow.
Jay Hash
Ah yes, good ol' "Conspiracy". I rewatched this again after Keith did the "Coming of Age" rewatch to see how well it linked up, and was probably just as disappointed in how poorly it stood the test of time. I remember it being grander and far more frightening (granted I was 4 when it first aired), but alas tis not so.

The premise I think seems hackneyed here because there wasn't the ability to have such extravagance in the show's first season. Judging by the way some of the episodes have gone, I think that we should count ourselves lucky that they were able to hire on the extra actors to portray the infected top brass. Starfleet Command seemed far too quiet, and the asides that the Horatio was destroyed, seem to be directly linked to the lack of budget and stock footage. Just think, what if there were some good stock footage battle scenes, and what if they had the Starfleet Command exterior shots to make it look like more than a hallway and a static matte painting (Edit: Okay, looking at the Memory Alpha entry they used the STIV exteriors, but the place still seems VERY empty). I guess then we'd have "Paradise Lost" from DS9.

Another thing that bothers me (the same it does Keith, apparently) is the ways in which the parasites can be dealt with via phasers. They use a kill setting to take out Quinn, but his parasite stays intact, meanwhile when people at SFC get his, the parasite crawls out to go find the Remmick Spawnmother. And then he explodes like a potato in a microwave. I know Remmick is dead, but what about the Starfleet Brass? Did Picard and Riker Kill them? That'd be one hell of a courtmartial...

Lastly, I loved the stories relating them back to the Trill. That was also the same story that linked the Trill with the Kurlans, which gives the Kurlan Naiskos Picard receives from Galen in "The Chase" a wholly new and disturbing perspective. If you'd like to see what this episode could have been, with the parasites intact, read the relaunch novels.
DavidA (Still)
16. Mike S.

It took nearly a full season, but we have our first major disagreement on an episode (that's not a bad ratio, if I may say so myself). I loved this as much as anything first season (which, I admit, doesn't say much), with the possible exception of the Bynar show.

The best part about it's continuity with "Coming of Age", is that one need not have seen that episode to enjoy this one, and it's only explained in a few lines for those who did miss it, not endless dialouge about the previous story. For instance, those who didn't see "Coming of Age" (and in rerun land, I saw "Conspiracy" before the earlier one), we learn that the crew and Remmick met "under less then ideal circumstances." That's all we needed to know, and that's all we get.

The lack of follow-up to this is dissapointing, but, IMO, that's a critisim of the series as a whole, not of this episode (and I'll at least partially chalk this up to the writers' strike that was going on at the time - I'm sure it did this plot no favors). This is also, by far, the goriest episode of TNG, IMO. "Chain of Command 2" (which is a masterpiece, IMO) is the toughest to watch because of the torture scenes, but nothing made me lose my lunch more then the end of this show. It's something that, as long as it's not done TOO often on the series, is nice and different.
DavidA (Still)
17. Christopher L. Bennett
2: "It was never established anywhere onscreen that Kirk was the youngest person ever to attain a captaincy. For that matter, it was also never established anywhere onscreen that Spock was the first Vulcan in Starfleet. These are fan myths that sprung up over the years, and some tie-in material has run with it, but there's no onscreen evidence to support it."

Well, the claim about Kirk didn't originate with fandom, but with The Making of Star Trek (it's in Ch. 4, on p. 216 in my edition). While not canonical, TMoST was considered an authoritative reference for quite some time given the lack of anything to contradict it (the earliest contradiction I'm aware of is the extended cut of TWOK giving Scotty a nephew and a sister when TMoST said he was an only child). So it's not surprising that a lot of its assertions came to be regarded as accepted truths in fandom.

I'm not sure where the idea of Spock as the first Vulcan in Starfleet came from, though. TMoST just says he's the only Vulcan on the Enterprise, and does refer to Vulcans, plural, in the "Space Service." It does say, however, that Spock's decision to join Starfleet went against Vulcan tradition, so maybe some people assumed from that line that he was the first to do it.

Not much to say about "Conspiracy," except I wasn't fond of the violence. It seemed rather unenlightened that Picard and Riker's response to an alien claiming to want peaceful coexistence was to grimace in disgust and pre-emptively kill it. Granted, it had done some nasty things, but how many times have Trek aliens started out doing seemingly awful things only to turn out to have a good reason for it, like the Horta or the Gorn? At least some effort should've been made to communicate with the creature and study it rather than just blowing it away because it looked icky. Although at least they threw in that log entry with Picard expressing regret at being forced to kill.

Also I have some regret at the missed opportunity. The original idea was that there genuinely was a cabal of officers wanting to seize power, but Roddenberry didn't want Starfleet characters behaving that way, so it got rewritten as evil parasites, which was a lot more simplistic. We had to wait until DS9: "Homefront"/"Paradise Lost" to see the original concept realized.
DavidA (Still)
18. don3comp
Jyhash: Your comments about the production values are interesting. It would seem to be a given that the production quality (particulary the visual fx) on TNG are far better than those on TOS. However, now that TNG is as old (older, frankly) as TOS was when TNG premiered, I think it has to be argued that time has not been much kinder to TNG than it was to TOS. The fx by Industrial Light and Magic for TNG put the black drapes (?) for TOS to shame, but modern CGI makes the fx on TNG (particularly the early ones) look a bit laughable today.
DavidA (Still)
19. tigeraid
I don't recall it ever being censored in Canada either. I watched it when I was like 9 years old, terrified me. In a good way though. Not the gore, but the creepy ending.

I agree watching it as an adult though, the plot leaves a lot to be desired.
Jay Hash
@don3comp: I agree, and they did the best with what they could. But more of what I was getting at was for the premise to be pulled off a bit more realistically, that more effects shots really would have been needed to give it an all encompassing feel. Take for example in "Paradise Lost", if Starfleet Command hadn't felt occupied by officers, it would've been Sisko and Odo basically arguing with an old admiral about the merits of Martial Law vs. Freedom, but since SFCHQ had the extras roaming about, plus the added characters of Red Squad and others, the threat seemed real and more vast than a couple of people posessed by an alien entity.

We also only hear about the Horatio being destroyed and never even see the wreckage, so only hearing about it doesn't give us the gravity that in excess of 100 people lost their lives to keep the parasite infestation a secret. We also never see any extent of how far the infestation has gone, most likely with entire ships under the command of the Spawnmother, and if TNG had the budget to show other ships, especially in an extended firefight (which really wouldn't happen until season 3 or later, in order to keep costs down) it would've been akin to the Lakota fighting the Defiant en route to Earth, which is something that definitely raised the stakes in the "Paradise Lost" storyline and gives a sense of ugency.

The lack of budget unfortunately shows through on numerous occasions in the primary seasons of TNG, and whereas some good ingenuity takes its place, it might have been more compelling if the extras and effects shots were present. Not to say that Star Trek needs to be about effects (far from it, the new impostor released in 2009 shows that), but if the story isn't quite enough to support the drama, elements of action can enhance it so it isn't quite as boring/painful/lame.
Keith DeCandido
21. krad
JYHASH: Er, uh -- but we do see the wreckage of the Horatio. They fly through it and everything, and we see Crusher and Picard's reaction....

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Jay Hash
By gods, you're right. Missed that part. Nevermind then. :-)
DavidA (Still)
23. Nita999
I was terrified by Remmick's death scene when this first aired (I was 10) along with the thought of parasites sticking out of people's necks. I finally forced myself to rewatch this episode and still found it disturbing. I did appreciate the continuity with Coming of Age. It seems like this could have been a good ongoing plot had it not involved disgusting parasites. Were these supposed to be related to the earwig things from Wrath of Khan?
Alan Courchene
24. Majicou
A little late to the party, but I wanted to comment on the computer's reaction to Data's babble--"Thank you, sir. I comprehend." "I"? Seriously? This is unprecedented and unrepeated in TNG. That one little line, probably meant as a throwaway joke, implies a great deal: that the computer can conceive of itself as an entity to use the first person, that it can feel annoyance at Data's overly-detailed explanations, and that it feels perfectly okay interrupting user input. Where's the follow-up on the ship's computer spontaneously developing self-awareness? ("Emergence" doesn't really count, nor do other instances of alien interference.)

Okay, seriously, this bit is probably just for the lulz and probably they just didn't think about the implications, but still it threw me for a serious loop when I rewatched the episode.
DavidA (Still)
25. Anony
The villainous admirals had to be bland to fit in with their peers.

Starfleet must have turned up the emerging computer AI during their review of everything related to the conspiracy, then programmed it out of existence.

Remmick explodes because Riker planned ahead and turned his weapon past Kill to Excavate. Although the other admirals go down unusually quickly.

Remmick as the host for mother alien, and thus the whole conspiracy, implies that he was carrying her around long before the events of Coming of Age. Is this at all consistent with his behavior in that story?
Nicky Kay
26. NickyKV2
The truth is that the female, as Picard asks, was the fastest person to make Captain. He says: Are you that good? She replies, smugly: "Yes, I am". However, she obviously wasn't very good. She got taken over by an alien. Worse still, when the old bloke (Quin) beats the shit out of Riker (O JOY), showing that vitamins and aliens are good for the body, the girl is rubbish in the battle in the board room. They are supposed to be super-strong, yet Picard moves her arm away so that Will can shoot her.

It was banned in the UK. They edited out the bit with the exploding head. Even now, I think it is still banned here! Blimey.

The continuation has nothing to do with the Borg or the Trills. It was a one-off good idea which they never took further.
Justin Devlin
27. EnsignJayburd
Not much to say about this episode except that it hasn't aged well at all. I liked it when it aired, but I was supremely grossed out by the ending. I'm not a big fan of gore.

2 trivial things of note in the very beginning of the episode:

1 - Data's "laugh" was hysterical.

2 - This bit of dialoge really bugged me:

RIKER: Increase speed to warp 6.

LAFORGE: Aye, sir. Full impulse.
DavidA (Still)
28. Electone
Hmmm. This was definitely my favourite episode of the 1st season although it definitely hasn't aged well. The creepiness is still there. I think Dennis McCarthy did an excellent job on the soundtrack to help evoke the feeling of dread. The encoded message from Walker Keel and the subsequent meeting on Ditalix B fortify the message that Admiral Quinn was trying to explain to Picard in "Coming of Age". The episode seems to suffer from a lack of budget - Starfleet HQ looks cheap, the effects are rather primitive (the bugs use awful stop-motion photography).

A few notes:

- when Riker calls security for help after getting pummelled by Quinn, why do Worf and Georgi respond? Shouldn't it be Worf and a couple of yellow-shirts?
- shortly after the Horatio is destroyed, why is the bridge crew so slow to identify the wreckage? They say they are in close proximity to the system - of course they are, they just left Ditalix a few minutes ago...
- watch Crusher when she phasers Quinn. McFadden obviously didn't know how long to hold in "phaser" position because it looks like she is still firing long after the the special effect ended.
- for a species that has gone to great lengths to keep their infiltration of Starfleet a secret, they sure blow the lid open by having Quinn beat the hell out of half the officers on the ship and the Admirals & Remmick do little to convince Picard there is nothing wrong at Starfleet HQ.
- I've always dislike the set where Remmick meets his end. You have this gigantic room with one map and one chair - talk about a waste of space.
- watch when the bug enters Remmick - the bug crawls up his leg (via stop motion photography); the actor opens his mouth as someone off frame wiggles the bug towards his open mouth; next shot, the actor "swallows" the bug although you can clearly see it is still in his mouth; then the neck bulging.
29. jlpsquared
This is the ONE. This is my first episode of Star Trek ever. I was 7 and my parents let me stay up for the first time on a Friday night after they went to bed, and my goodness did it change my life. It is such a silly episode on reflection, filled with plot holes and and just overall bizarre feel, but you can never dislike the episode that is your first. I missed the first few minutes, I was flipping through stations and stopped when that weird bald guy beamed down to the planet and talked to the creepy captains. I thought it was weird even then, but I couldn't stop watching!!!

Once that aliens head exploded, I WAS IN LOVE with this show. It is so weird that my first episode was one so atypical of star trek, but who cares? All it takes is one. I also thought it was weird that the repeats a few weeks later all had that blond security chief who was beautiful. I didn't understand "repeats" at that time, I thought she was new, and then a couple months later, killed by Armus ("Skin of Evil" is the episode I remember most from the 1st season).

So this episode encapsulates everything about the 1st season for me, it is silly, lots of plot holes, but you know what? The first season is my first love, and to quote Scotty from relics: "Ah, it's like the first time you fall in love. You don't ever love a woman quite like that again."
DavidA (Still)
30. sacrosanct
This episode wasn't banned in Canada, at least not all of it. I watched it on premiere air date as a kid and I vividly remember the 'three-head' scene scaring my balls off.
DavidA (Still)
31. Don Rudolph
I just had a thought while thumbing through this review--given that Code 47 is sooooooooooooooper seeeeeeeeeeeeecret and nobody (and I mean NOBODY!!!!!!!!!) is supposed to know ANYTHING about it, would it not make more sense for a Code 47 message to be routed directly to the captain by the ship's computer rather than flashing on the bridge, where at least four or five people are going to end up thinking "Oh crap...THAT can't be good" and then having to keep to themselves the fact that they know something sooooooooooooooper seeeeeeeeeeeeecret (and probably not good) is going on??

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