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"... she, or someone like her, will always be with us, waiting for the right climate in which to flourish; spreading fear in the name of righteousness."

Rear Admiral Norah Satie was a female Human Starfleet officer of the 24th century. She was the daughter of renowned Starfleet judge and civil liberties advocate Aaron Satie. She was also a renowned investigator.

Early life

When she was a child, her father would pose a question for her and her elder brothers to debate at every dinner. Her father loved it when she outsmarted them with a subtle point of logic, which she did many times.

Nothing was ever stated about Aaron Satie's wife, Norah's mother, in the episode. Whether she was sympathetic to her husband's civil libertarian philosophies or diametrically opposed to them has thus never been canonically revealed.

Satie's father instilled in her over her lifetime a deep devotion to the Federation, teaching her that it was the "most remarkable union ever conceived." She would devote her life to protecting it from forces outside and within. (TNG: "The Drumhead")

Starfleet career

She worked closely with Vice Admiral Thomas Henry for a period of time. (TNG: "The Drumhead")

In 2363, Satie issued Captain Jean-Luc Picard's orders to take command of the USS Enterprise-D. (TNG: "All Good Things...")

In the period from 2363 to 2367, Satie was stationed at multiple planetary and starbase locations. Deeply devoted to her work, she did not see family or have friends.

In 2364, she played a principal role in uncovering a conspiracy by parasitic beings to invade and conquer the Federation. 

These events occurred in TNG: "Conspiracy" – though she was neither present nor mentioned in that episode.

By 2367, she had retired with the rank of rear admiral. (TNG: "The Drumhead")

Investigation aboard the USS Enterprise-D

Early successes

In 2367, she was a member of an ad hoc Starfleet panel established to investigate an explosion near the Enterprise-D's warp core. She was able to get a full confession from the treacherous J'Dan, a Klingon scientist who was on the ship as part of the Officer Exchange Program – but whose true purpose was spying for the Romulans, though he had actually done nothing to cause the explosion. With the help of her Betazoid aide, she also discovered that young crewman and medical technician Simon Tarses had lied on his application to Starfleet to hide his partial Romulan ancestry.

Growing paranoia

Convinced there were more spies and saboteurs on board and growing increasingly suspicious about myriad unrelated events, Satie began to manifest symptoms of monomania; her determined ambition to rein in a "grand conspiracy" clouded her ability to make sound judgments and caused her to connect past occurrences to a non-existent, complex subterfuge scheme. Her zealousness did not diminish even after Lieutenant Commanders Geordi La Forge and Data presented evidence that the explosion near the warp core was actually an accident caused by neutron fatigue along an undetectable defect in a hatch cover that was installed during the ship's last refit at Earth Station McKinley. In fact, she went so far as to falsely claim that the warp core explosion had evidence of sabotage caused by corrosive chemicals in an interrogation of Tarses that proved excessively aggressive. In that regard, when Tarses' acting counsel, Commander William T. Riker, advised him to invoke his right in the Seventh Guarantee of the Constitution of the United Federation of Planets to avoid self-incrimination, Satie twisted its intent into an insinuation of insubordination against the technician that validated her accusations. She later went to expand her accusations, deriding the starship's operations, its perceived lax security, and in particular, the "non-vigilant" command style – eventually going as far as questioning the loyalty to the Federation of the very same Picard whose orders to take command of the Enterprise-D she herself had issued.

With Picard in the dock, she recounted the tragic tale of the recent Borg invasion, with its outcome of eleven thousand people killed and thirty-nine starships destroyed at Wolf 359. Because this had happened when the Borg had assimilated Picard into Locutus, she subtly insinuated that he had been somewhat culpable or complicit. This, along with her persecution of Tarses, prompted the captain to remind Satie of her father's legacy and what he had taught and written in support of free speech and thought, ideals the Federation sought to uphold, which Picard believed she was now – ironically and perhaps unwittingly – undermining.


Picard's invocation of her father's teachings as a defense incensed and enraged her, and in reaction, Satie began ranting with near-hysteria about her perception that Picard had insulted both her and her father, and she proclaimed that she now intended to destroy Picard personally, saying she had "brought down bigger men than [he]!" Satie's furious retort and by-now obvious witch hunting caused Admiral Thomas Henry, who came to observe the questioning, to become so irritated with this over-the-top behavior that he, without a word and a disgusted look on his face, abruptly walked out during the session. He then suspended the inquiry and disbanded the investigation panel, which ended Satie's disruptive visit to the Enterprise-D.

Picard likened the ordeal to a "drumhead trial", as he explained to a disconsolate Lieutenant Worf about the dangers of such "trials", as well as the ease for well-intentioned people to let conspiracy investigations to degenerate into them. (TNG: "The Drumhead")


Background information

Norah Satie was played by acclaimed actress Jean Simmons.

According to the script pronunciation guide for "The Drumhead", Satie's surname was pronounced as "sah-TEE". [1]

The final draft script of "The Drumhead" directed her to remain steadfastly composed and statuesque, even during the confusion surrounding her downfall, indicating an unrepentant attitude. This largely plays out in the episode, as she admits no wrongdoing or apology and keeps her haughty, indeed arrogant, composure. [2]


In the novel A Time for War, A Time for Peace, Scotty speaks to Admiral Ross about the group being assigned to evaluate the USS Enterprise-E and he mentions to Ross that Sabin Genestra worked for Norah Satie when Captain Picard disgraced her.

In the short story Meet With Triumph and Disaster, which appears in the anthology The Sky's the Limit, Satie is one of the flag officers given a tour of the newly commissioned USS Enterprise-D by its appointed captain, Thomas Halloway.

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