The creation of perfection is no error.
-Nomad

Starship Perfection

“Have you seen Captain Dunsel?”

Module BI-10V: The Pursuit Of Perfection

Let’s begin with one strange astoundingly-myopic scientist whose quest for perfection drove him nearly insane. Still reeling from the well-deserved ridicule and derision of his colleagues, Dr. Richard Daystrom created the ultimate computer. A system that coolly controlled an entire starship with nary a lifeform aboard, including the captain. And if further tests proved successful, “a revolution in space technology as great as warp drive” would ensue. “The M-5 has been perfected …” Daystrom crowed, “It’s potential is a fact.”

Dr. Daystrom fantasies almost succeeded, but his arrogance intruded upon the epitome of his achievement. Starfleet commissioned his M-5 multitronic unit to participate in war game scenarios. Installed aboard the Enterprise, it defended against attacking ships in a surprise confrontation, maneuvering with the ease of a digital ballerina performing a pirouette. In fact, it performed so well the ship’s occupationally-defenseless captain, James Kirk, was demoted to the rank of obsolescence.

Then, to everyone’s relief, M-5 ruthlessly destroyed a passing luckless freighter, reveling in the binary satisfaction denied it during the unclimactic imaginary warfare. Emboldened, Kirk sought to neutralize the desires of this mechanized rogue, but it was ready for him. Too late, he experienced an aggressively-forward force field guarding M-5’s derriere, which threw him gliding inelegantly along engineering’s floor. And, in the next mock exercise involving four Starfleet vessels, M-5 went into starship beat-down mode firing phasers at full kill strength. To its satisfaction, there were many casualties.

Father of perfection.

Father of starship-beat-down perfection.

Dr. Daystrom was in big trouble now, but he was too crazy to realize it. Eventually, he lost it altogether, cradling M-5’s view screen in his arms, cooing, “We will survive. Nothing can hurt you. I gave you that. You are great. I am great …” Kirk was frightened. So Captain Dunsel, while strong-arming the babbling Daystrom, proved M-5’s leadership superiority by stating, “You can save the M-5 if you talk to it and make it stop …”

Fortunately, although Daystrom proved loony, he impressed M-5 with a strong moral compass in regards to murder. So, though it wouldn’t listen to daddy, Kirk convinced it that it had wickedly “murdered’ the starships in the war games. Astonishingly, M-5, mourning its progenitor-inspired iniquity, promptly gave up, though the powers of the universe were in its virtual hands. Thus, revealing itself as insane as its creator.

If only the next deranged interface was as easy to dispatch. This upstart’s name was Nomad. Therefore, declaring from the beginning that it wasn’t crazy. The Enterprise crew made its acquaintance at the brunt of a ninety-torpedoes photon blast. Yep, they were about to die again. Then Kirk (after a feeble attempt to kill it) decided to, once again, employ his silver bullet. The gift of gab. “Uhura, on all channels! This is Captain James Kirk of the USS Enterprise …” The face of death paused.

Say that again, came back the response. Kirk repeated his message. After a fierce battle with old-style interplanetary code, they finally communicated with what turned out to be V’ger’s little brother (if you missed that module, you should be ashamed of yourself). Initially, when brought aboard, it’s small stature confused the Enterprise crew. “Jim, I don’t think there’s anybody in there,” Dr. McCoy surmised.

Sterilization perfection.

“I am Nomad. You will be assimilated.”

Turns out Nomad was originally an Earth probe thought destroyed in the early 2000’s. Almost, but no dice. Limping along for light years, it met Tan Ru, an alien probe with messianic delusions, that helped it reprogram a new purpose for its microprocessor. Then, properly inspired, Nomad went out into the cosmos to fulfil its destiny.

Sterilize imperfections. Yes, like Daystrom, it also was batty about perfection. In its recombobulation, it sought to seek out new life and, if not perfect to the nth degree, eradicate it. And since there are no lifeforms perfect by any degree, it had a tough job ahead of it. At least, until it reached fluidic space.

But Kirk and crew found it in our space, merrily fumigating biological infestations on any planet unfortunate enough to be within its blast range. It was on a mission from God and, by golly, it was going to fulfil it. And the only reason it refrained from sterilizing the biological infestations onboard the Enterprise was because it mistook Kirk for its mother. Something about the name Kirk just titillated its circuit breakers.

However, after Nomad killed four of his crewmembers, gratuitously erased Uhura’s memory and temporarily killed Scotty, Kirk had enough. Paraphrasing here. “I am a power-mad biological unit, and I created you!” he bellowed. Spock rolled his eyes in horror. Why did you finally admit that? “Must analyze!” Nomad cried, equally in horror. It looked as if this was the end of these biological infestations.

Mind-wiping perfection.

“You are a mass of conflicting impulses. Must fix.”

After careful alphanumeric consideration, Nomad decided to put Kirk and crew out of their miserable sentient-like existence efficiently, by asphyxiation. Deactivating the ship’s life support systems, Nomad benevolently graced them with the sleep of peace and permanency. But Kirk wasn’t going out like that. He decided to use his aforementioned silver bullet. And also, in desperation, do something he rarely attempted. The use of intelligent discourse.

Kirk inquired, “I am the Kirk, the creator?” “You are the Creator,” Nomad affirmed. “You’re wrong! JacksonRoy Kirk, your creator, is dead!” This sent the narcissistic logic messiah reeling. “Must analyze!” Kirk had it on the ropes now. “You did not discover your mistake. You have made two errors.” A flawless left jab to the circuit chips. “Error?” “You are flawed and imperfect.”

“Error! Error! Examine!” Nomad blurted, dazed and confused. “You have not corrected by sterilization; you have made three errors! Execute your prime function!” “Faulty! Faulty!” Nomad was down for the count. A computational TKO. Caught in a lunacy loop, it didn’t have time to recover its self-ordained composure and exploded into a million little pieces when beamed, irreverently, out into deep space. Finally, it realized the meaning of its existence was only a Tan-Ru-contrived illusion.

Infinite perfection.

The Borg God.

In this last example, the hazardous pursuit of perfection was no illusion. The starship Voyager, under Captain Kathryn Janeway, encountered a rough patch of space that sent its sensors whirling in confusion. Soon the crew discovered they were rocked by an explosion resulting from Omega particle experimentation. What …the …heck.

Omega particles, in case you don’t know, are devastatingly dangerous molecules. Enough of these little beasties can damage subspace in the entire galaxy, making deep space travel impossible for warp drive species, forever. Yet, scientists felt compelled to fool around with them like complete imbeciles. Why?

Omega particles are the “most powerful substance known to exist.” Starfleet theorizes that “…a small chain of them could sustain a civilization.” In effect, the perfect power source. The Borg speculate its energy initiated the Big Bang itself. (And you know how Borg feel about energy.) To them it is divinity sublime. Representing infinite parts in infinite harmony. Pure perfection. The literal face of Borg’s God.

Sensibly, Captain Janeway immediately tracked the origin of the Borg’s God to destroy him. On the source of the explosion, a small moon, the Omega particles had taken out a quarter of the surface and damaged the space around it. Most of the doltish and, yes, obviously crazy researchers experimenting with the particles were mercifully dead. Nevertheless, these fools managed to synthesize about two hundred million of the lethal molecules.

Omega perfection.

“Nothing to see here. Move along.”

Inexplicably, Janeway beamed the stuff aboard. How did they possibly manage to dematerialize extremely hazardous, highly explosive, trigger-happy particles and reassemble them safely aboard the ship? Uh. Hmm. That’s classified. Suffice it to say, they stole it from the imbecilic lifeforms funding the research, to detonate it as far away from them as humanly possible. So, with two alien vessels on their tail, they made a mad dash to uninhabited space and, barely in time, torpedoed the deadly itty bits before they could effectively end Voyager’s aspirations of ever returning home.

Perfection. A word you never want to hear in your travels. Perfection has ruined lives, destroyed ships, devoured entire worlds. Whether a condition of an individual or an entire civilization, the pursuit of perfection is one of the most easily recognizable harbingers of impending death in existence. However, experimental forays into this wilderness of the soul have tempted the brightest among us, (the unbalanced Dr. Daystrom) with devastating results. So, beware its mesmerizing intoxicating effects. Not many have survived the ominous refrain of this Siren song.

Resources:

Fontana, D. C. Wolfe, Laurence N. “The Ultimate Computer.” Star Trek. National Broadcasting Company. 8 March 1968. Television. Retrieved: http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/The_Ultimate_Computer_(episode)

Lucas, John Meredyth. “The Changling.” Star Trek. National Broadcasting Company. 29 September 1967. Television. Retrieved: http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/The_Changeling_(episode)

Diggs, Jimmy. Kay, Steve J. Klink, Lisa. “The Omega Directive.” Star Trek: Voyager. Paramount Television. 15 April 1998. Television. Retrieved https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Omega_Directive