|“||You are still under my direct orders not to talk about what you know, and I expect you to follow those orders to the letter! I made you, Mister, and I can break you just as easily! Do you understand me, Commander?||„|
|~ Pressman to Riker|
Erik Pressman was a treacherous Starfleet Rear Admiral who violated a treaty with the Romulans the Federation made in good faith. He's the main antagonist in Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Pegasus." He was portrayed by Terry O'Quinn.
In 2358, as captain of the USS Pegasus, Pressman was placed in charge of testing an experimental phasing cloaking device, which had been developed by a secret group at Starfleet Security in direct violation of the Treaty of Algeron, which banned the use of cloaking technology aboard Federation starships. In response to this illegal activity, the crew of the Pegasus mutinied against Pressman and attempted to gain control of the ship. Pressman and a small group of officers, including a young Ensign William T. Riker, were able to escape the ship, and observed what appeared to be the destruction of the ship from an escape pod.
Pressman swore the survivors to secrecy. After they were recovered the Judge Advocate General wrote a report stating there had been a mutiny on the Pegasus, and that Pressman and the other survivors were not being cooperative. The JAG recommended further investigation, but Pressman's connections arranged for the report to be quietly buried.
Attempt to retrieve the Pegasus
Twelve years later, Pressman, now an admiral with Starfleet Intelligence, boarded the USS Enterprise-D to mount a mission to salvage the Pegasus. Having learned from a highly-placed operative in the Romulan High Command that the Romulans had become aware of the Pegasus's experiment, Pressman was determined to find it before the Romulans. Reuniting with Commander William Riker, who by this point was first officer of the Enterprise-D, Pressman expressed his desire to continue the illegal experiments. Pressman ordered Riker not to reveal what he knew to anyone.
Quickly becoming suspicious about what was going on, Captain Picard called in a lot of favors at Starfleet, and obtained a copy of the JAG's earlier report. Picard confronted Riker about his role in the conspiracy. Riker told Picard that he was under orders not to talk. Picard told Riker that while he couldn't make him violate an Admiral's orders, if Pressman endangered the Enterprise Picard would reevaluate the command structure on the Enterprise.
After the cloaking device was discovered and the Enterprise became trapped in an asteriod, Riker felt unable to continue his role in the conspiracy. Riker revealed the true nature of Pressman's mission to Captain Picard. He told Picard they could use the phasing cloak to free the Enterprise from the asteroid. After escaping and revealing to the Romulans the existence of the illegal phasing cloak, Picard promptly ordered Pressman placed under arrest. At Riker's insistence Riker was also placed under arrest. Although facing a court martial for his role in the illegal activities, Pressman informed Picard that he had "a lot of friends" at Starfleet Command.
Picard released Riker from custody, feeling that Riker had demonstrated that he could still make the right choice regardless of the consequences. Learning what had happened, Fleet Admiral Shanthi ordered an inquiry that led to a court martial for Pressman and several others at Starfleet Command.
Pressman was drummed out of the service after his court martial. By 2374 Section 31 had recruited Pressman to work for them, and sent him and Dr. Julian Bashir on a mission to the planet Angosia III to recruit Roga Danar for a mission to the Guardian of Forever.