Sunday, May 20, 2012

Some constructive criticism for Starfleet

I've just finished with the fantastic blu-ray set of Star Trek's original series and feel qualified enough to offer up a five-point plan toward the improvement of the space fleet of our bold explorers:-

1) The transporter. It beams people down from the transporter room to anywhere. It also beams them up into the room. So why not just beam people up from anywhere they happen to be, eliminate the transporter room in the middle, and on down to somewhere else; thus obviating the need for them to stand under those tubes while holding dramatic poses.

And why not beam security officers to the part of the ship where there is a security incident, rather than wait for them to run athletically down to the place with phasers in hand, only to stow said phasers away because they're a fraction too late to do anything, and it's up to Spock or Kirk to save the day at round about the 46th minute?

The applications, with a bit of thought, are endless. You could also re-beam landing parties down to exactly the spot of trouble, after they've beamed down and discovered that the spot they picked is rather a picnic place and miles away from all the excitement, rather than make them trek the distance, allowing hostile natives to pick off the security chaps at will.

2) Speaking of the security chaps, how come they die like flies while Dr McCoy, for instance, is alive and well after three rigorous seasons? Surely there's more to it than DeForest Kelley having third billing and guaranteed spot on the show? Training techniques need revising, perhaps?

3) After the first couple of weeks or so of its 5-year mission, it should've become painfully obvious to anyone with an IQ over room temperature that the chief threat to personnel after they've beamed down upon a strange planet is them losing their communication devices, rendering the ship helpless in transporting them back up. So, why not embed these devices in the landing party? How obvious is that? Before anyone points out that they did do this in Patterns of Force, well, that's just once. It should be standard procedure, is my point.

4) A giant star-ship, home to 430 people, drifting in an endlessly hostile universe. And yet, look at the security measures on board. Where are the id cards? Anyone (ok, any vaguely anthropomorphic biped) who buys a replica uniform in the nearest Federation gift shop is free to walk the passageways of the Enterprise virtually unchallenged. And what's more, every single door opens no matter who approaches it. Tourist, wandering about unsupervised, wonders what happens when the lever below the sign that says "matter / anti-matter reactor" is pushed to the red line? Boom. And those dilithium crystals, the almost-but-not-quite bringer of catastrophe on so many episodes, are just a jaunt into the engine room and a button press away from rising majestically out of their enclosures and offering themselves up to the nearest jabber. Access cards and retina scanners were used to restrict unauthorised access, as late as the second decade of the twenty first century. Where did these technologies disappear to?

5) Oh, and which one of you is going to tell Kirk that the non-interference thing is a Prime Directive, not a Prime Take-It-Or-Leave-It?


Thanatos said...

Sigh. Not sure why I know so much, but oh well...

1) Officially, it's because of energy requirements. Practically, it's because Roddenberry's budget did not allow him to go with his plan of using shuttles

2) Well, easier to kill and replace a redshirt than Bones, no?

3) Not sure what's canon here, but I'm guessing that in the Star Trek timeline, large parts of the galaxy (especially those under the Federation)are peace faring and the the Enterprise operates to gain more knowledge (and for Kirk to bone green skinned chicks). So when they beam down the first time, they don't forsee grievous threat? Better still, perhaps changing landing procedures permanently requires a metric ton of bureaucracy?

4) In the future, we're a very trusting species. That and the TSA doesn't exist.

5) Again, I see your prime directive and raise you a green skinned alien chick.

Rohan said...

A hat tip and a "live long and prosper" to you, sir.