Quark is ordered to relinquish command of his ship to Dr. Evans’ new Vanessa 38-24-36 computer, which, according to Evans, can make all the decisions that a starship captain would encounter correctly and more quickly than any human. Unknown to either Quark or his superiors, however, Vanessa has been programmed with utter contempt for the human crew she is intended to replace. But since Quark’s crew has already forsaken him for the easy luxury of serving on a ship run entirely by Vanessa, the computer faces little opposition. She begins creating incidents designed to prove Quark’s inferiority, but this simply emboldens him to take action and remove Vanessa from the ship. Then Quark discovers that Vanessa is also programmed to defend herself…
Cast: Richard Benjamin (Adam Quark), Timothy Thomerson (Gene/Jean), Richard Kelton (Ficus), Tricia Barnstable (Betty), Cyb Barnstable (Betty), Conrad Janis (Otto Palindrome), Alan Caillou (The Head), Marianne Bunch (Dr. Evans), Bobby Porter (Andy)
Notes: An episode which spoofed the Star Trek episode The Ultimate Computer and Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: a space odyssey in equal measure, this was the final episode of Quark to air on NBC. Even if the series had been picked up for a second season, that season would have seen at least one major casting change: actor Richard “Ficus” Kelton passed away in November 1978, mere months after this episode aired.
Quark’s pet Ergo puts in his first and only appearance since the pilot episode; while watching the episodes in rapid succession on DVD doesn’t make this seem very odd, it had been over a year since the creature’s previous appearance and audiences in the pre-VCR/DVR age had likely forgotten it.
LogBook entry by Earl Green