In the TNG episode Pen Pals, the following exchange takes place:

Wesley: "Ensign Davies?"
Davies: "You got him."
Wesley: "Wesley Crusher. I've been put in charge of the planetary geological surveys, and I'd like you on my team."
Davies: "Sounds great. Who else is on it?"
Wesley: "I have Prixus and Alans and Hildebrant."
Davies: "Ah, It's a shame you didn't talk to me first. It's just personal opinion, but I like to break up married teams."
Wesley: "Oh, I hadn't thought of that."

Full episode transcript

I do not understand what Ensign Davies is trying to say here. What does “I like to break up married teams” mean here?


2 Answers 2


The most likely intepretation is that he's suggesting that he prefers for married people to not work with each other on a task. It can create command structure issues, and can introduce risk in that married couples sometimes prioritize each other over the overall team.

In actuality, of course, based on his other actions during the episode, such as convincing Wesley to not do additional scans, this is more likely simply a way to get Wesley to doubt himself, as a power play.

On a side note, the married couple probably is Hildebrant and Alans, both because they're listed together in the description of scientists and because, as noted in this Teknobabble discussion of the episode, they start to finish each others' sentences, something common in couples:

HILDEBRANDT: The ore is forming generator strata.
ALANS: Which creates a piezoelectric effect.
PICARD: In plain English, you're saying the dilithium is causing the geological catastrophe.
ALANS: Right, the crystals take the natural radiant heat of the planet
HILDEBRANDT: Focus it, and turn it into mechanical energy.
ALANS: Which increases tectonic stresses
HILDEBRANDT: That tear the planet apart.

It is possible that he was referring to "married teams" in a more abstract manner, breaking up teams that have worked extensively with each other without any actual matrimony, which is often invoked for much the same reason (tendency of said team members to prioritize each other over the mission, tendency to back each other up right or wrong).

  • Which of the characters could he be referring to? None of them are explicitly stated as being married.
    – Timwi
    Commented Jun 2, 2016 at 17:56
  • 1
    @Timwi: Honestly, I've found no indication that any of them are married to each other. It's possible that this was part of an earlier script.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Jun 2, 2016 at 17:57
  • 2
    Ah, and the guys at treknobabble.net/2011/03/next-generation-season-2-pen-pals.html point out that Hildebrant and Alans start finsihing each others' sentences in the Ready Room.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Jun 2, 2016 at 18:05
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    FWIW, my first impulse, without context of quotes, was that Davies was being established as the sort of person who likes to create romantic discord (or possibly as a challenge) and that he was lamenting that he wasn't going to get a chance to break anyones' relationships up with his love skills, but that doesn't fit at all. ^_^
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Jun 2, 2016 at 18:12
  • 3
    But do they finish each other's... sandwiches?
    – user11521
    Commented Jun 2, 2016 at 22:16

The implication is that Wesley has mentioned some people who're married to each other, either Hildebrant, Alans or Prixus (or heck, maybe all three of them, this is the future after all). Given that Hildebrant is the only female mentioned and that there are no gay characters in TNG, we can reasonably assume that she's one half of the married couple.

Hildebrant and Alans certainly seem to have a close relationship but it's notable that in the original script, this was described as being professional excitement.

Alans and Hildebrant are playing off each other. Finishing each other's sentences, interrupting. They're excited because they've discovered something new and fascinating, so they're teasing each other.


ALANS: Right, the crystals take the natural radiant heat of the planet

HILDEBRANT: Focus it, and turn it into mechanical energy.

ALANS: That increases tectonic stresses

HILDEBRANT: (tapping him on the shoulder) Excuse me, those plates are mine. Stick to your volcanos. Anyway the stress tears the planet apart.

The short answer is that we don't know. None of these characters appear again, nor are their relationships fleshed out in any detail.

  • 1
    You make allowances for polyamory in the future, but discount the possibility of a gay couple? Commented Jun 2, 2016 at 18:52
  • 7
    @Azor-Ahai - I was accounting for the fact that there are no gay characters in Star Trek TNG
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 2, 2016 at 18:57

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