Landru was a mind controlling computer on the planet Beta III. According to multiple legends, Landru was named for its creator. In one telling of the story, Landru was given the same name as its creator, an ancient Betan who programmed the technology with an approximation of his personality and philosophy. Another story told of the machine being developed by a Federation Starfleet scientist, Cornelius Landru, as a population control experiment of a United Federation of Planets colony on Beta III. The machine Landru served as the guiding force for the planet's population for centuries, allowing all to work solely for the good of the many rather than for the self, with the exception being the Festival where, in celebration, the younger population's minds and base impulses were, for one night only, allowed to run wild without restraint.(TOS episode & Star Trek 9 novelization: The Return of the Archons; TOS - The Return of the Archons comics: "Part 1", "Part 2")
In 2167, the head of Starfleet's Advanced Research Division, Cornelius Landru used the machine to maintain population control. The USS Archon discovered this, but was destroyed in order to maintain the secret.(TOS - The Return of the Archons comic: "Part 2")
The Enterprise encounter
In the year 2267, a number of officers on a follow-up observation mission were absorbed into the Body, beginning with Hikaru Sulu and Lieutenant O'Neil of the Enterprise. After being identified as deviants, they were chased until cornered, at which point they asked for an emergency beam-out, with only Sulu being successfully recovered, but not before he was himself absorbed by lawgivers into the Body. Captain James T. Kirk sought to retrieve his lost crew, eventually uncovering the truth of the planet's "leader" and one of the legends around its creation. Apparently unable to free his crew any other way, Captain Kirk told Landru that the computer itself was a threat to the Body, as it had failed to successfully fulfill its programming of using the full potential of every member of the Body. Unable to process this contradiction, the computer shut down in the absence of guidance from its creators. Kirk defended his interpretation of the Prime Directive, stating that the computer was not part of the society's natural development. (TOS episode & Star Trek 9 novelization: The Return of the Archons; TOS novel: The Rift)
In 2376, Landru became active again when the Ferengi discovered it. Four years later, in 2380, the USS Cerritos' Captain Carol Freeman and her XO Commander Jack Ransom were able to convince the machine to relinquish its control over the Betans. (SCE eBook: Caveat Emptor; LD episode: "No Small Parts")
Landru was powerful enough to multi-task on a planetary scale, managing the lives of the unsuspecting population of Beta III. Landru achieved its goals with the ability to overwhelm the minds and control the conduct of individuals after they were absorbed by the lawgivers, who were specially selected members of the society who enforced the will of Landru. Absorbed individuals were identified as being "of the Body".
Landru was also able to use weapons, including a defense system comprised of heat beams that, when fired, would cause a starship's orbit around Beta III to decay. These beams were powerful, causing the loss of the 22nd century starship USS Archon. The weaponry was strong enough to prevent the Constitution-class starship USS Enterprise from leaving orbit and using its transporters.
Landru also possessed the ability to communicate with or contact the minds of all members of The Body, or specifically selected individuals.
To keep its true origin concealed, Landru was hidden by a concrete wall in the Hall of Audiences.
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