*** (3 stars out of 5)
It's been a lousy day for our crew. Battered by an ion storm, they've lost an observation pod and more relevantly, the poor records officer who was inside it. They put into beautiful Starbase 11 'The Court Martial-iest starbase in the quadrant" for repairs. The portmaster, Commander Stone, takes Kirk's sworn deposition on the death of Lt. Commander Benjamin Finney, when...
What the... Sailor Moon? No, it's Finney's daughter Jame, here to slap "The main who kailed my faw-ther!"
... when it turns out the computer log has Kirk pegged as a perjuring coward who ejected Finney into space without warning.
At the starbase lounge, Kirk's captain peers and former Academy classmates have all turned against him. Even old Captain Mike (no relation). 'Everybody Loves Finney' was their favorite show, and now all that's on anymore is 'Two & A Half Pieces of a Man'. Kirk refuses to accept a quiet ground assignment under the label of exhaustion, he swears he's innocent and now he's the first starship captain to face Court Martial.
Plus he had sex with his prosecutor, Lt. Areel Shaw, 4 years, 7 months earlier. Whoops. Over the dulcet strains of Alexander Courage's groovy Star Trek Theme muzak, she recommends Samuel T. Cogley for his defense.
"Books, young man, books!" declares Cogley. He hauls around a library of thousands of paper law books and never turns on that blasted synthesized, pasteurized, homogenized law computer!
"You have to be either an obsessive crackpot who's escaped from his keeper or Samuel T. Cogley, Attorney At Law!"
The court clerk has George Jetson's job: push one button and take a seat. Cushy.
Spock and McCoy support Kirk to the hilt as witnesses. Cogley doesn't let the court computer skimp on reading out Kirk's many achievements & valorous awards.
"I wouldn't want to slow the wheels of progress, but then on the other hand, I wouldn't want those wheels to run over my client in their unbridled haste."
The video record looks damning. Not just to Kirk, but to whoever designed a captain's console with the "Jettison Pod" button right next to the "Red Alert". It's like the Spitting Image puppet President Reagan in the "Land of Confusion" video with the identical buttons for "Nurse" and "Nuke". Not too bright.
Cogley argues for human rights- for a man's right to face his accuser: the computer. A machine with no rights has been elevated over a man, and Cogley must demand justice for "Humanity Fading in the Shadow of the Machine."
The scrappy lawyer's antics include a field trip to the empty Enterprise, and an auditory scanner (a machine, incidentally) that saves the day by detecting the hiding Finney's heartbeat. He's faked his death to frame an old friend: he's a jealous, paranoid fruitbat.
"I loved the service more than any man ever dared!" Finney screams.
In fact, it was daring to love a service transtator assembly that really got him passed over for command.
So of course, the Captain chases the renegade down alone. Beats him up... alone. Fixes his sabotage ALONE. While NINE people just sit there listening to the whole thing on the bridge. Cushy.
Nobody take Finney into custody or anything... just finish your lattes.
Kirk kisses Shaw, but never got to thank Sam- the dude is already building a case for Finney's defense.
Who was that crazy Luddite?