In the TNG episode "Face of the Enemy", Deanna Troi is speaking with N'VEK, a Romulan, and they have the following conversation:

N'VEK: M'ret had questioned the repressive activities of the government and was in danger of being imprisoned. He is willing to take this risk in order to protest Romulan policy and support the dissident movement.

TROI: You're part of Ambassador Spock's underground movement.

N'VEK Yes. If we are able to deliver M'ret safely, Spock is hopeful that we can establish an escape route for the thousands of dissidents who live in fear of their lives. Now you realize why we are willing to go to such extraordinary lengths, even kidnapping you, to make sure we succeed.

TROI: You've given me the identity of a Tal Shiar officer. Is there a real Major Rakal?

N'VEK: There was. She was killed so that you could take her place. Only a member of the Tal Shiar would have the authority to alter a ship's mission.

Did Spock know the details of N'Vek's plan and that Major Rakal would have to be killed? Or did he give N'vek his mission and let him worry about the details?

I assumed that N'vek lied about Major Rakal being killed to avoid having to answer more questions, but Deanna being telepathic, would have detected if he was lying.

Spock is aware what he's doing is dangerous and people could die, but I find it disturbing that Spock would knowingly let someone die just so Deanna could take her place.

  • "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." Or something like that anyway.
    – Xantec
    Sep 4, 2021 at 8:04
  • "Spock would knowingly let someone die" In TOS Spock sent dozens of redshirts to their deaths (in a couple of cases for no reason at all), so this doesn't shock me. See for example: memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/The_Galileo_Seven_(episode)
    – Hans Olo
    Sep 4, 2021 at 8:06

1 Answer 1


There is, as far as can be told, no additional information about this mission in the shows, films or EU novels.

That being said, it seems highly likely, given the profile of the mission (a potential new route for defectors out of Romulan-controlled space) and the profiles of those involved (a Vice-Proconsul, a major in the Tal Shiar and a Starfleet officer from the flagship of the Federation), that Spock would have been kept closely apprised of the details of the operation.

As to whether Spock would have been willing to order the death of a Tal Shiar officer to achieve his ends, the simple answer is yes. The risk of the operation was clearly proportionate to the potential goal and the ends (e.g. killing someone) firmly justified the means from a logical perspective. On top of that, the Tal Shiar is the implacable enemy of the reunification movement, so the loss of one of their officers would be no great problem for the underground.

It's certainly possible that it all happened at arm's length from Spock, but that doesn't seem especially likely given that Spock is seen to concern himself directly with other missions, including meeting with potential defectors.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.