Trek Treason #1 – Why The Hell?
Welcome back! I’m making the assumption that you also took some time off. I’m sure the two of you that actually read this horrible blog thought that I was gone for good (or at least a year), but no. I’m here. And as my first post back, I’m going to do what I seem to be fairly good at, shitting on something that I love.
No, I’m not German, I’m talking about pointing out flaws in my favorite thing of all time, Star Trek.
I’ve done it before, though, in fairness, Generations is a terrible movie (which I have seen 72 times). Now, however, I’m going to hammer myself in the head with a series I call ‘Trek Treason’.
On Reddit, there is a sub called /r/DaystromInstitute where they find all sorts of issues in, what amounts to, the production of Star Trek and give these issues in-universe answers. It’s actually a quite fascinating sub and there are a lot of people on it who know WAY more about Star Trek than anyone should know. They can quote obscure episodes, bring up background stuff, and do ridiculously complicated mathematics. They’re insane, but they’re awesome.
In my first series, I am going to mention some things that find me saying “Why the hell?”. Some of these have been tackled by the Reddit community, some not (that I could find). These are things that do not have an in-universe explanation that doesn’t take a lot of (and I mean a lot) of suspension of disbelief and logic twisting to explain.
1 – Why the hell is there always a turbolift on the bridge?
If you’re unfamiliar with Star Trek, then you’re probably not reading this. However, just in case I will clarify by explaining that a turbolift is essentially an elevator. In Trek lore, it can also move horizontally, which is a huge benefit when dealing with a ship the size of the Enterprise-D.
Like an elevator, you get into a turbolift car, tell the computer where you want to go, and it will follow the turbolift shafts to get you as close to where you want to go as it can.
The problem arises with the fact that there is ALWAYS a turbolift car queued at the bridge. Never once in the history of NextGen has anyone had to push a button and wait for a turbolift when departing the bridge.
If there is always a car stationed there for someone leaving the bridge (which if you think about it, likely didn’t happen that often during the course of a non-emergency-of-the-week situation) then how would a car bringing someone up to the bridge manage to get to the bridge.
The above image shows the master situation display (MSD) on the Enterprise-D, which shows two turbolift shafts going up to the bridge. This matches the show as there are one fore and one aft on the port side of the bridge.
This image from the NextGen episode ‘Disaster’ shows the turboshaft only being wide enough for one car to fit at a time. One could argue that there is room on deck one, and deck one only, for a car to move horizontally enough for an incoming car to drop off its passengers on the bridge, then move back into a holding position once that car leaves. However, this illustration of the Enterprise-D’s bridge seems to contradict that notion.
As well, this more official bridge blueprint also seems to indicate a shaft only large enough for one lift.
So why the hell? Also speaking of turbolifts…
1a – Why the hell is there gravity in the turbolift shaft?
In the aforementioned episode ‘Disaster’, Captain Jean Luc Picard and a trio of children (that’s another why the hell for another day…) have to escape a turbolift before it plummets to the bottom of the shaft and murders the whole lot of them.
They do, and climb up a ladder, and make it to safety just SECONDS before death gobbles them up and spits them into the endless black hole that is the afterlife. But why did they have to do that?
If you believe Enterprise (the show, not the ship – well, I guess the ship too…) artificial gravity is generated by something in the floors. So it would make sense that there would be gravity in the turbolift car, but why in the shaft? Seems like that would waste energy having to create gravity in the shaft only to have to force the car to work against gravity in order to go up.
2 – Why the hell do the computers always explode?
If there is a single unifying fact that ties all of the Star Treks together, regardless of what time or timeline the ships are in, it’s that they all have a problem with the computers exploding on the slightest impact. Why the hell does this happen?
I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a car fire but often when a car is on fire you will have small non-gasoline explosions as the fire burns the magnesium in the electronics, speakers, etc. But that only occurs after a heavy fire. You’re very unlikely to actually have your stereo explode spontaneously.
Could you imagine if the electronics in your car exploded upon hitting a pothole or rear-ending a Toyota? Pulling into the garage and booping the front bumper to the wall and the center console LCD sends fire and fury out at you?!
Perhaps it’s power feedback. I mentioned in my other article how a shot to the port side of the drive section of the Enterprise resulted in a panel on the starboard side of the bridge exploding. I refuse to believe that in the awesome super-advanced 24th century the concept of circuit breakers and surge protectors has been disregarded.
If I had more give a fuck, I would go through every Star Trek episode and movie and count how many innocent Starfleet officers have been MURDERED by these panels exploding; something that surely occurs either due to the carelessness of the starship designers, or worse yet, a result of the malevolence.
3 – Why the hell is security so terrible?
Another one of those constants in the Star Trek universe is that security officers will die. They will die horribly, and they will die often. And yes, I understand that in a television show you can’t kill off your main characters, unless you’re Game of Thrones, but if you look at this from a Star Trek nerd’s perspective, you have to question a few things.
First off, why is the command staff allowed to transport down into dangerous situations? Always Kirk, Spock, & McCoy in the OG Trek, and while Riker always threw a fit and wouldn’t let Picard beam down, he would take down some of the top-tier ship command officers with him.
It’s one thing if it’s a prearranged diplomatic meeting but down into hostile areas? Seems like that’s something that a swarm of security officers should beam down, secure, then allow the non-combatant types like Picard, Troi, and medical folks to come down.
Secondly, the security shipboard is terrible. A Federation starship is easier to get into than a community college. This shit drove me nuts in First Contact. The Borg were not only able to board the Enterprise, but they managed to stay there unnoticed for hours.
In general, the technology and crew Starfleet have makes it so that there is no reason whatsoever for the ship and officers to be as exposed to danger that they are on a seemingly weekly basis.
Join me next time when I ask “Why the hell do I do this!”