Intelligent Listening For Beginners

Star CopsSpring and Theroux are summoned to Moonbase 9, a high-security-clearance facility whose chief scientist, Michael Chandri, claims to have invented a means of nearly foolproof intelligence-gathering. His invention could come in particularly handy in the investigation of recent incidents of computer failures that have had tragic results: the computer controlling the automatic functions at a chemical plant fails, causing a massive explosion, and the traffic computer governing the subway tunnel under the English Channel allows a tragic collision. In the meantime, Spring finds himself having to clean house as he begins a purge of Star Cops with questionable associations leaving them open to corruption. Some of them are happy to make their exit, but headstrong Pal Kenzy fights Spring every step of the way and even promises retribution. Theroux gets a promotion – and his new stripe comes with the responsibility of personally handling the rest of the dismissals – while Colin Devis, the detective Spring recruited from Earth, is assigned the task of procuring new weapons for the Star Cops, a job which seems to lead to Kenzy once again. Fearing that he’s losing his touch, Spring is vexed by the computer failures, and by the apparent inability of Chandri to find the cause of the problem with the vast intelligence-gathering apparatus at his disposal.

written by Chris Boucher
directed by Christopher Baker
music by Justin Hayward & Tony Visconti

Cast: David Calder (Nathan Spring), Erick Ray Evans (David Theroux), Trevor Cooper (Colin Devis), Linda Newton (Pal Kenzy), David John Pope (Michael Chandri), Trevor Butler (Leo), Thomas Coulthard (Ben), Tara Ward (Shuttle Hostess), Peter Quince (Shift Foreman), Peter Glancy (Process Operator)

Notes: This episode anticipates computer viruses and worms by several years, though the concept was already in circulation in 1987, even if it wasn’t necessarily the real day-to-day issue that it is now. Writer Chris Boucher also incorporated the element of widespread computer control causing catastrophes into his 1979 Blake’s 7 season finale, Star One.

LogBook entry by Earl Green