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Noclevername
2013-Dec-25, 04:03 AM
I've often wondered, on Star Trek, why DID Kirk always send the ship’s full command staff down first on uncharted planets and other dangerous situations? Captain, First Officer, Chief Surgeon and sometimes the Chief Engineer. Yet it was the meat-shield Redshirts (Security guards) who always ended up dying. Why?

I have posited an answer to this long-pondered phenomenon. Plot holes? Lazy writing? NO. My theory is based on established Star Trek canon, and a bit of my own extrapolation.

You see, the Transporter is physically impossible in real life, because it requires quantum-level scanning of all particles, meaning it has to determine the exact location and motion of every particle in order to perfectly re-materialize its subject. This violates Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle.

And so the writers came up with a plot device called the Heisenberg Compensator. It makes the impossible possible, making the Transporter "plausible" according to the physics of the Trek universe. But it opens another can of worms, which I have chosen to use now to fish for answers. And those answers involve two dark secrets on which the existence of the seemingly Utopian Federation rests.

I posit that the same quantum-violating technology that makes Transporter teleportation possible, also makes possible a probability-transfer device or "luck-shifter". The high-ranking Starfleet officers carry, or more likely are implanted with, devices that render them relatively immune from lethal harm. Instead, the deadly effects that would befall them are instead applied to the hapless security personnel who accompany them. That is why the Captain and his cohorts can step onto unknown environments in relative safety, while Redshirts drop like flies around them. In fact an entire episode of Deep Space 9 revolved around a probability-shifting device and its dangerous consequences.

And how and why would Starfleet put up with this state of affairs, losing such large numbers of loyal, trained security guards? That leads to the other dark secret that hides in seeming paradise. You see, Starfleet Security is in the business of manufacturing people. The standard Star Trek party line is that living beings cannot be replicated because of quantum technobabble. Yet transporter "accidents" have done just that, several times. 'Fleet Security mass-produces Redshirts with false memories and doctored records are assigned to high-risk jobs, like getting between valued officers and bad "luck"; including dangerous situations that Captains et al have no business voluntarily going near.

The combination of these two technologies is the monstrous cornerstone upon which Starfleet has built its success. Churning out naÔve, unknowing replicants for the single purpose of sacrificing them in order to enable a superior officers' unsafe behavior. This is the true serpent in the Federation's Eden. This massive conspiracy remains undiscovered and has no doubt been censored from all records. But the truth will come out! The Federation has floated on a sea of blood long enough! Fight for your freedom! Redshirts, fight for yo%^*&@YB%%$WQ#V* SUBSPACE FEED INTERRUPTED

...


We apologize for this disruptive broadcast. It is clearly a hoax, intended only to cause confusion and stir up further anti-Federation protests. The fact that it refers to Starfleet as fictional is clear indication that it is not to be taken seriously. Rest assured, the perpetrators have already been caught and will see a fair trial.

--Starfleet Security, Section 31

Paul Beardsley
2013-Dec-25, 08:39 AM
I don't buy it. If it were true, why is it that when a redshirt (e.g. Jenkins) has been killed, Kirk gravely says, "Oh no, not Jenkins. I knew him at the academy. He was very promising. I will write to his family."

Mind you, you never actually see him writing to anyone's family. Could this be because watching Kirk write to someone's family makes boring TV? Maybe...

Noclevername
2013-Dec-25, 09:14 AM
I don't buy it. If it were true, why is it that when a redshirt (e.g. Jenkins) has been killed, Kirk gravely says, "Oh no, not Jenkins. I knew him at the academy. He was very promising. I will write to his family."

Mind you, you never actually see him writing to anyone's family. Could this be because watching Kirk write to someone's family makes boring TV? Maybe...

Either the Captain has his own memories modified regularly (Spock has done that to him onscreen, in the episodes "Spectre Of The Gun" and "Requiem for Methuselah") or he's in on the conspiracy.

EDIT: Alternately, some of the Redshirts are simply modeled after people known to one or more ships' "permanent" personnel.

R.A.F.
2013-Dec-25, 01:42 PM
I've often wondered, on Star Trek, why DID Kirk always send the shipís full command staff down first on uncharted planets and other dangerous situations? Captain, First Officer, Chief Surgeon and sometimes the Chief Engineer. Yet it was the meat-shield Redshirts (Security guards) who always ended up dying. Why?

Do we really need to over-think this?....the command staff were the stars of the show, week after week...red shirt guest players were expendable. Simple as that.

Paul Beardsley
2013-Dec-25, 02:17 PM
Do we really need to over-think this?....the command staff were the stars of the show, week after week...red shirt guest players were expendable. Simple as that.

Wow, that needed spelling out because clearly Noclevername hadn't understood that.

Noclevername
2013-Dec-25, 03:32 PM
Do we really need to over-think this?....the command staff were the stars of the show, week after week...red shirt guest players were expendable. Simple as that.

Overthinking things is half the fun!

Glom
2013-Dec-25, 04:48 PM
You suppose redshirts were taken along deliberately to be bad luck lightning rods?

Noclevername
2013-Dec-25, 05:12 PM
You suppose redshirts were taken along deliberately to be bad luck lightning rods?

It's the only logical explanation. ;)

Paul Beardsley
2013-Dec-25, 05:34 PM
If they had Heisenberg Compensators, why didn't they carry Mortal Injuries Compensators along? Perhaps they needed to get rid of the redshirts? What did red mean in the 1960s?

Noclevername
2013-Dec-25, 05:48 PM
If they had Heisenberg Compensators, why didn't they carry Mortal Injuries Compensators along?


Such technology would require a reversal of local entropy via Anti-time (http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Anti-time), which is a technology not mastered until the early 25th century ("All Good Things", TNG). Therefore to have it on TOS would violate the Temporal Prime Directive.


Perhaps they needed to get rid of the redshirts?

Early replicator experiment gone wrong, resulting in excess population? That explains all the Soylent Green in the Enterprise mess hall.

NEOWatcher
2013-Dec-26, 01:54 PM
What did red mean in the 1960s?
Operations and Security.
The more dangerous lines of work on the ship.
If they were wearing brown pants, it woule make more sense.

Noclevername
2013-Dec-26, 04:46 PM
Operations and Security.
The more dangerous lines of work on the ship.
If they were wearing brown pants, it woule make more sense.

That's what it means in the 2260s. In the 1960s it meant communism. Which is why an American TV show about the future would never have a Russian character from Leningrad.

Wait, they did? What a country!

NEOWatcher
2013-Dec-26, 05:41 PM
That's what it means in the 2260s. In the 1960s it meant communism.
It may have been that for some general social aspects, but that is not what it meant on ST.

It was a primary color which, along with the gold and blue uniforms, looked good on color TV. I seriously doubt it was anything more than that.

Or, was Gilligan a communist too?

Paul Beardsley
2013-Dec-26, 07:07 PM
Who is Gilligan? Some character in a long-running TV series that was never broadcast in the UK? ;)

NEOWatcher
2013-Dec-26, 07:30 PM
Who is Gilligan? Some character in a long-running TV series that was never broadcast in the UK? ;)
You're lucky. The show went downhill fast when they went to color.

And (ugh), a Gilligan's Island movie is in the works.

SeanF
2013-Dec-26, 08:20 PM
You're lucky. The show went downhill fast when they went to color.
Before they went to color, nobody realized Gilligan was a communist.

Van Rijn
2013-Dec-27, 12:01 AM
What did red mean in the 1960s?

Aha. Thinking along Noclev's lines, I'm sure it would get around that Starfleet security wear red, so those are the ones that would tend to get shot first, thus giving the command staff time to do something else. Sure:

Spock: "According to records, the Ziplockians are a peaceful people . . ."

(There's an odd hum and some kind of beam strikes Ensign Ricky, who is instantly vaporized.)

Kirk: "Spock, that's the fifth time this week you got it wrong. RUN AWAY!"

Van Rijn
2013-Dec-27, 12:08 AM
They probably mention that in the Linguacode friendship message. "We come in peace and we want to be friends. Oh by the way, our purely defensive security staff wear red."

Noclevername
2013-Dec-27, 12:11 AM
Or, was Gilligan a communist too?

Gilligan was a Soviet deep-cover mole, assigned to keep the richest man in America off the grid in hope of toppling the Capitalist economy, along with isolating one of ARPA's leading scientists for later interrogation. But that's a different thread.

Van Rijn
2013-Dec-27, 12:33 AM
In fact an entire episode of Deep Space 9 revolved around a probability-shifting device and its dangerous consequences.


I've long suspected that type of device is a standard item in Federation starships. The captain either isn't told about it, so they actually think they're just that good, or they depend on it when they come up with their plans. Yep:


Spock: "There he goes again. Even if you ignore that making decent gunpowder in those conditions is nearly impossible, a bamboo cannon is virtually certain to blow up. Okay then, activate the probability generator and set it on maximum."

Picard: "There's one crew member being threatened on that planet, so I'm going to risk the rest of the crew, who would otherwise be safe, on a plan that is nearly certain to fail. Time to fire up the probability generator."

Who needs a cloaking device when you have something like that?

Noclevername
2013-Dec-27, 08:35 PM
Spock: "There he goes again. Even if you ignore that making decent gunpowder in those conditions is nearly impossible, a bamboo cannon is virtually certain to blow up. Okay then, activate the probability generator and set it on maximum."

Sidenote, the novelization of "The Arena" (based on an early script) actually stated that the alien "bamboo" was metal-based.

Swift
2013-Dec-27, 08:41 PM
Or, was Gilligan a communist too?
You know, Mary Ann wore a red shirt too (http://blog.prettyyourworld.com/.a/6a013485cadd54970c016763eeebfe970b-pi). Maybe they were in the same cell?

novaderrik
2013-Dec-28, 12:39 AM
the red shirts died because aliens were like enraged bulls and went for the color red first... or maybe aliens can't see yellow and blue or they associate those colors with nice stuff...

Noclevername
2013-Dec-28, 01:29 AM
the red shirts died because aliens were like enraged bulls and went for the color red first... or maybe aliens can't see yellow and blue or they associate those colors with nice stuff...

But only TOS redshirts actually wore red. The later series had red as the command color and gold as security!

SeanF
2013-Dec-28, 03:02 AM
One of the "Star Trek" novels had as a plot point the fact that the Klingons' vision range is shifted towards violet from ours, and the color red is outside their visible range. This was discovered after some Klingons on board the Enterprise were caught in a restricted area. It turned out they didn't see the warning sign, which was black lettering on a red background.

What was kind of cool was that the author, earlier in the book, had a Klingon silently noting with approval that Starfleet dressed its' security officers entirely in black. I thought the author was just playing loose with canon and making up his own uniforms until the later part with the sign.

Noclevername
2013-Dec-28, 04:28 AM
One of the "Star Trek" novels had as a plot point the fact that the Klingons' vision range is shifted towards violet from ours, and the color red is outside their visible range. This was discovered after some Klingons on board the Enterprise were caught in a restricted area. It turned out they didn't see the warning sign, which was black lettering on a red background.

What was kind of cool was that the author, earlier in the book, had a Klingon silently noting with approval that Starfleet dressed its' security officers entirely in black. I thought the author was just playing loose with canon and making up his own uniforms until the later part with the sign.

I read that one. It would have been nice to make it canon, but they didn't. However, the director of the Animated Star Trek series was color blind, and ended up unknowingly giving the Klingons and a few other "warrior" races pink uniforms!

Noclevername
2013-Dec-29, 02:18 PM
One of the "Star Trek" novels had as a plot point the fact that the Klingons' vision range is shifted towards violet from ours, and the color red is outside their visible range. This was discovered after some Klingons on board the Enterprise were caught in a restricted area. It turned out they didn't see the warning sign, which was black lettering on a red background.


Perhaps Starfleet has "Shoot Me First" printed in UV on the security guards' shirts, in an easily-translated format. Tricorders and sensors are programmed to block out the writing.

novaderrik
2013-Dec-29, 09:34 PM
But only TOS redshirts actually wore red. The later series had red as the command color and gold as security!

the aliens evolved...

Noclevername
2013-Dec-30, 12:31 AM
the aliens evolved...

Well, since evolution in TV sci fi works about as accurately as most of the science in TV sci fi, it makes as much sense as any other explanation...

NEOWatcher
2013-Dec-30, 03:12 PM
One of the "Star Trek" novels had as a plot point the fact that the Klingons' vision range is shifted towards violet from ours, and the color red is outside their visible range. This was discovered after some Klingons on board the Enterprise were caught in a restricted area. It turned out they didn't see the warning sign, which was black lettering on a red background.
Was that the red blooded ones, the pink blooded ones or both? :think:

SeanF
2013-Dec-30, 03:20 PM
Was that the red blooded ones, the pink blooded ones or both? :think:
As far as I know, the only time we saw the day-glo Klingon blood was in "The Undiscovered Country." I know that TNG showed Klingon blood as red, but I'm not sure if TOS ever actually showed Klingon blood.

What would it do to a culture's attitude about life, death, and the color black if blood was black, hmm?

NEOWatcher
2013-Dec-30, 03:33 PM
As far as I know, the only time we saw the day-glo Klingon blood was in "The Undiscovered Country."
I've seen references to that having to do with the rating of the movie. If it were red, it might have been considered too violent.


I'm not sure if TOS ever actually showed Klingon blood.
I'm not sure either. I think there might have been some in the tribble episode, and maybe the one where they were on the E with ancient weapons. I also remember Kirk punching one in the nose. So; I think there was plenty of opportunity.


What would it do to a culture's attitude about life, death, and the color black if blood was black, hmm?
Black wine... yum.


ETA:
Here you go... a little blood on Kang's lips (http://www.treknews.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/klingon-mara.jpg) in Day of the Dove.

Noclevername
2014-Jan-03, 04:55 AM
I've long suspected that type of device is a standard item in Federation starships. The captain either isn't told about it, so they actually think they're just that good, or they depend on it when they come up with their plans. Yep:


Spock: "There he goes again. Even if you ignore that making decent gunpowder in those conditions is nearly impossible, a bamboo cannon is virtually certain to blow up. Okay then, activate the probability generator and set it on maximum."

Picard: "There's one crew member being threatened on that planet, so I'm going to risk the rest of the crew, who would otherwise be safe, on a plan that is nearly certain to fail. Time to fire up the probability generator."

Who needs a cloaking device when you have something like that?

That explains why Picard always ordered Tea, Earl Grey, Hot; he needed a brownian motion generator to activate the Improbability Drive!

publiusr
2014-Jan-04, 09:17 PM
It's very simple, as someone who worked in Security, I developed bad luck--so all the red-shirts are my descendants, relatives, etc.

Noclevername
2014-Jan-04, 09:38 PM
It's very simple, as someone who worked in Security, I developed bad luck--so all the red-shirts are my descendants, relatives, etc.

Ah, hereditary luck! The Teela Brown hypothesis has unintended consequences.