In this episode of Trekking Through Compliance, we consider the episode The Immunity Syndrome which aired on January 19, 1968, Star Date 4307.1.

Story Synopsis

On its way to a much-needed rest stop at Starbase 6, the Enterprise is diverted to investigate the mysterious cessation of communication with the Gamma 7A star system. While on its way, Spock telepathically senses the destruction of the Intrepid, a starship manned by Vulcans, and claims that all 400 Vulcans aboard have been killed. Starbase 6 then orders the Enterprise to Sector 39J to investigate the loss of communications with the Intrepid.

The Enterprise encounters a strange field which drains all energy, whether mechanical or biologically generated. Spock reports that he has never encountered a phenomenon like this before, and it shows up on the viewing screen as a dark hole in space. The Enterprise launches a probe into it, but it returns only a high-pitched whine which causes half the Enterprise’s crew to faint. When the Enterprise prepares to fire again, the whine returns, and the Enterprise experiences a 5% power drain. The stars vanish from the viewing screen, and Spock reports that they have entered a zone of darkness. This boundary layer proceeds to drain the ship and its crew of energy.

Spock finds that the zone of darkness is a negative energy field. Scott prepares to use full power to yank the Enterprise out of the zone, but the best he can do is slow the pull towards the center of the zone. As they approach, they see a giant one-celled organism which is 11,000 miles long and 2,000-3,000 miles wide. They send a probe which penetrates the organism and discovers it to be living and to be filled with protoplasm.

Kirk decides to send a shuttlecraft and must decide between sending Spock or McCoy. Spock sets out in the shuttlecraft Galileo II and heads for the nucleus. He also reduces life support systems to the bare minimum, causing Chekov and Kirk to become concerned. Spock establishes that the organism has stored enough energy to reproduce and that the 40 chromosomes in the nucleus are ready to come together. Kirk shuts off the Enterprise’s engines and switches all power to the shields, causing the Enterprise to be sucked into the organism.

Kirk then fills a probe full of antimatter and prepares to plant it in the nucleus. Chekov successfully lodges it in the nucleus.

Meanwhile, aboard the shuttlecraft, Spock makes a log tape in preparation for his own death. As the Enterprise backs out of the organism before it blows up, it detects Spock’s shuttlecraft and locks on a tractor beam. The Enterprise run out of energy near the edge of the organism, and the crew waits for the detonation and their own deaths.

The explosion rocks the ship, but it survives, and the stars appear in the viewing screen again. Somehow, the shuttlecraft survives as well, and Spock reports he has some fascinating data on the organism. However, McCoy is furious that he has botched the acetylcholine test.

 Fun Fact

Spock explains in this episode that Vulcan was never conquered. However, in “The Conscience of the King” McCoy says “Now I know why they were conquered” in response to Spock’s refusal to drink alcohol. This might be explained by Vulcan never having been conquered but one or more of their colonies having been annexed by another power at some point.

Compliance Takeaways:

  1. For export control compliance; screen, screen and then screen again.
  2. How do you choose your project team?
  3. What is your innovation strategy?


Excruciatingly Detailed Plot Summary by Eric W. Weisstein for The Immunity Syndrome Immunity Syndrome

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to work in a compliance program where you are also trying help those in most need all over the world?  Where your first concern in an investigation is to ensure the safety of the investigator and witnesses?  In this episode of Great Women in Compliance, Lisa talked with Lauren Camilli, the Vice President, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary, and Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer at Blumont, which is an international relief organization which supports infrastructure development and provides humanitarian aid globally.  Part of Blumont’s role is also to support and protect women in countries where women are most vulnerable.  Lauren talks about her transition from compliance in the defense industry to her current role, her “paradigm shift,” and the difference between most compliance roles and the non-profits.  She also provides some information about how those of us in traditional corporate compliance programs can support non-profit and other programs.

JULY 17, 2019 BY TOM FOX

In today’s edition of Daily Compliance News:

  • What happens when you have an innovation and no one trusts you? Facebook is about to find out. (NYT)
  • How complex are whistleblower awards? (WSJ)
  • Why did Austrailian MOD give contract to US firm blacklisted for bribery and corruption. (The Guardian)
  • Peru ex-President faces corruption charges after arrest in US. (The Guardian)

We are back with fan favorite Sherlock Holmes week. In this week’s blog posts, I will focus on the first five stories from The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes, mining each story for themes and lessons related to the compliance professional, leadership and business ethics. In today’s offering, I consider The Adventure of the Marazin Stone and how it informs storytelling in compliance.

Watson arrives at 221B Baker Street where the page boy Billy shows him a wax effigy of Holmes placed near a curtained window in the sitting room. The effigy produces a shadow on the curtain that, when viewed from outside, is the unmistakable profile of Sherlock Holmes. Using this visual trick, Holmes aims to give a perfect target to a would-be murderer with a rifle. Holmes names his murderer as Count Sylvius, the diamond thief he has been following in disguise. He gives the criminal’s address to Watson, then sends the doctor out the back for the police. As the Count arrives, Holmes has Billy invite him inside, then takes him by surprise when he attempts an assault on the effigy. Holmes then offers the Count and his helper, boxer Sam Merton, freedom if they give up the jewel, or jail if not.

He invites them to discuss the deal while he plays violin in the next room. When the Count decides to double-cross Holmes and takes the stone from his secret pocket to show Sam in window light, the detective springs from the chair in place of his replica and grabs the £100K jewel. His bedroom has a gramophone and secret passage to behind the curtain.

After the police take away the villains, Lord Cantlemere sweeps in. Unlike the Prime Minister and Home Secretary, he did not want Holmes involved in the matter. When tricked into insisting on arrest for whoever is found possessing the diamond, he finds the jewel in his pocket – where Holmes has placed it – and apologizes.

Most interestingly, The Adventure of the Mazarin Stoneis the only other Sherlock Holmes adventure written from a third-person perspective. Holmes has been tasked with locating a crown diamond and has zeroed in on the criminal responsible for stealing it. Unable to deduce exactly where it has been hidden, Holmes invites the culprit himself to Baker Street, for a dangerous meeting in which he intends to coax out the information to complete the case.

This particular adventure is most interesting because it is one of only two stories in the canon written in the third person. Holmes biographer Watson has little more than a cameo in the tale. Helmrich in his blog post The Play’s Afoot, wrote that it was this is the story was in fact not originally conceived of as a short story. Instead, this is an adaptation of a stage play called “The Crown Diamond.”

Helmrich went on to note that this explained the oddness of Holmes moving through a heretofore unknown passage in his own residence, “There’s an elaborate ruse involving “off-stage sound effects” and a secret passage. That Holmes would have built such a passage in his house is bizarre to contemplate, but it certainly would have made for a tricky finale to a night at the theater. Indeed, much of Holmes’ behavior in this tale seems even more dramatic than usual — though very much in the spirit of a staged melodrama.”

I want to use this Holmes’ adventure to consider the use of storytelling in compliance and reference the article “The Power of Consumer Stories in Digital Marketing”. In it, the authors consider a broader use and begin with the basic premise that “When consumers prepare to make purchase decisions, stories can deliver important information and shape the decision and the overall brand experience. With the advent of consumer-to-consumer social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, stories can be powerful tools for shaping cognitive processing, recall, brand image, and choice.” The authors found a statistically significant increase of product purchases, “when consumer-based storytelling was employed.” So why not use those same techniques around internal marketing of your compliance function and training on your compliance program?

Every corporate compliance program should have the employees trust and they should feel connected to the notion of doing business ethically and in compliance, if not the compliance function should fold up the tent and go home. The power of telling stories that resonate with the experiences of employees in the real world is also a well-known and used standard in compliance training.

The authors proposed four steps which they advised a company to engage in to implement such a strategy, which I have adapted the authors’ consumer approach for the compliance practitioner and their employee base.

1.Work with consumers to generate believable and compelling stories. For the CCO or compliance profession you should mine your data sources to find stories. Even if you are not as tech savvy as the compliance team at D&B, there should be a wealth of other compliance information and data available to you. You can consider hotline reports, remembering that not all hotline reports are of illegal, unethical or fraudulent conduct. It may only be the perception of unfairness or favoritism. Dispelling such faulty acuities can go a long way towards directly improving employee morale. This can be a powerful story and useful to utilize when marketing your hotline.

2.Convert stories into high-quality presentations. A great example here is a video CenterPoint Energy released after the Volkswagen emissions-testing scandal became public. The video featured Scott Prochazka, CenterPoint Energy President and Chief Executive Officer who used the VW scandal to proactively address culture and values at the company and used the entire scenario as an opportunity to promote integrity in the workplace. But more than simply a one-time video, the company followed up with a with an additional resource, entitled “Manager’s Toolkit – “What does Integrity mean to you?””, that managers used to facilitate discussions and ongoing communications with employees around the company’s ethics and compliance programs.

3.Embed stories in your social media mix. Another way to consider this concept is that short videos are good videos. You can have a series of short videos communicating different aspects of your compliance program. It can range from short messages from your CEO, to videos of your CCO to videos of employees. Employees always tune in when senior management speaks to them internally through a video. Employees want to hear from the President and a message of commitment to the culture values of doing business ethically and in compliance is always a message that will resonate with employees. Finally, employees want to hear stories from and about their co-workers who faced compliance challenges.

4.Integrate paid media strategies with voluntary sharing of stories on social media. For the compliance practitioner, this translates into an opportunity around training. You can use traditional methods of compliance training, interspersed with videos and other social media uses of your employee base with real world examples of how compliance not only helped them do business ethically and in compliance but also how it made your organization more efficient together with being more profitable.

The authors conclude by noting, “Throughout history, storytelling has been an integral way to convey attitudes and values, and it will remain a key source of information and influence in the digital world. As new technologies such as virtual reality evolve and improve, brands can expect to continue to have new opportunities to use consumer storytelling in their communication strategy.” You should incorporate these concepts and employee-told stories into your compliance message as well.

Join us tomorrow as we continue our week of stories from The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes by looking at the The Adventure of the Three Gables and institutional justice.

This publication contains general information only and is based on the experiences and research of the author. The author is not, by means of this publication, rendering business, legal advice, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such legal advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified legal advisor. The author, his affiliates, and related entities shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person or entity that relies on this publication. The Author gives his permission to link, post, distribute, or reference this article for any lawful purpose, provided attribution is made to the author. The author can be reached at

© Thomas R. Fox, 2019

In this episode of Trekking Through Compliance, we consider the episode A Piece of the Action which aired on January 12, 1968, Star Date 4798.0.

Story Synopsis

The crew of the Enterprise attempts to make contact with the inhabitants of planet Sigma Iotia II, and Uhura puts Kirk in communication with Boss Oxmyx. The intelligent and imitative inhabitants of Sigma Iotia II have built a culture around the book Chicago Mobs of the Twenties, which was published in 1992 and  which was accidentally left behind a hundred years ago by the S.S. Horizon. The Horizon was subsequently lost in space, and its report only reached the Federation one month previously because it was sent by conventional radio instead of sub-space communication. At the time of the Horizon’s visit, the noninterference directive was not in effect, so Kirk, McCoy, and Spock wonder what sort of “contamination” they will encounter when they beam down to the agreed upon rendezvous point: a street intersection next to a yellow fire hydrant. Upon arriving, they are held at gunpoint by Oxmyx’s men, but are taken safely to the Boss after a machine gun attack by rival boss Krako.

Oxmyx reports that there are a dozen or so Bosses across the planet, each controlling his own territory. He asks Kirk to supply him with weapons so that he can take over the planet and becomes upset when Kirk tells him that this is impossible. Oxmyx has his men escort Kirk and his party to a warehouse and hold them prisoner, then uses Kirk’s communicator to demand that Scott beam down a supply of phasers within 8 hours or he will “burn” the landing party. Kirk wrangles his way out of imprisonment by pretending to teach the Ioshans the card game “Fizzbin.” Having thus distracted the guards, Kirk and Spock overpower them. Kirk instructs Spock and McCoy to use the radio station to contact Scotty and beam back to the Enterprise. Unfortunately, as soon as Kirk leaves the warehouse, he is kidnapped by some of Krako’s men.

Jojo Krako, who is Boss of the southside territory, also wants heaters and instruction on how to use them and offers Kirk one third of the proceeds of their use. He is not amused when Kirk suggests a sit-down conference to discuss planet-wide unification, and has his men notify Serl the Knife that he may have a job. Oxmyx learns about Kirk’s capture and contacts the Enterprise. By promising a truce, he gets McCoy and Spock to agree to beam down to discuss how Kirk can be freed. Before beaming down, however, Spock instructs Scotty to set the ship’s phasers on wide dispersion stun for the region surrounding their beam-down point. As Spock suspected, he and McCoy are immediately taken prisoner. However, Kirk has been able to escape from his prison cell by pretending to be hurt, then subduing his guards. He makes his way back to Oxmyx’s office and frees Spock and McCoy. He also forces two of Oxmyx’s men to exchange clothes with himself and Spock, and the two make their jerky way to Krako by stealing a manual-transmission auto.

While staking out Krako’s place, Spock and Kirk are accosted by a young hoodlum who offers to help them with the “hit” in exchange for a piece of the action. He distracts the men guarding the door by pretending to be hurt. Kirk and Spock pretend to be his family, and then overpower the unsuspecting guards. Once inside, however, they find that they have been expected and are being covered by machine-gun wielding gangsters.

Kirk convinces Krako that the Federation is moving in and tells Krako that he will be cut in for a piece of the action if he cooperates. He then has Scotty beam Krako up to the Enterprise, although Scott is initially perplexed by Kirk’s gangster lingo. Kirk then gives the same story to Oxmyx and has him call the other Bosses. Scott locates the people on the other end of the phone line and transports them all to Oxmyx’s chamber. They seem to agree to unification under the Federation, which will receive a but then demand to see proof that Kirk and Company actually have some muscle backing them up.

At this point, a hit begins on Oxmyx’s men, and Krako used the opportunity to again take Kirk, McCoy, and Spock hostage. He does grant Kirk a last transmission to the Enterprise, which Kirk uses to tell Scott to stun the battling gang members using the ship’s phasers. The Bosses are impressed by this display, and agree to Kirk’s original proposal, with Oxmyx as head Boss and Krako as his Lieutenant. Spock has reservations about the idea of leaving a criminal organization in charge, and also wonders how Kirk plans to collect a 40% cut every year, but Kirk pooh-poohs his objections.

As the Enterprise is leaving, however, McCoy realizes that he has left his communicator behind in Bella’s office. The communicator contains a transtator, the integral part found in all machinery found of the Enterprise, so it is very likely that the imitative Iotians will have made impressive technological progress the next time they are visited by the Federation.

 Fun Fact

This episode had two actions unique to all of TOS. First this episode marks the only time in the entire Star Trek franchise that Kirk calls McCoy by his full nickname: “Sawbones.” Second, this is also the only episode in which the ship’s phasers are set to stun.

Compliance Takeaways:

  1. The written word still holds power.
  2. Can you communicate in local vernacular?
  3. How do you select your Board of Directors?


Excruciatingly Detailed Plot Summary by Eric W. Weisstein for A Piece of the Action Piece of the Action