Star Trek: Questions you always wanted answers to

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Riceball

Master Member
In the same vein as the Star Wars thread with the same/similar name, what questions about Star Trek (all incarnations) do you have questions about and would like answered? For me, it's what does an Ops officer actually do on a starship that requires them to have a station on the bridge of the starship and, in the case of the Enterprise D & E, in the front next to the helmsman? According to the Enterprise (TNG) Tech Manual the Ops officer's job is described as being what an operations officer should do, coordinating all of the operations on a ship, routing all requests for assets, time on sensors, in labs, and I'm guess duty shifts, etc. yet on TNG and Voyager we never see them doing any of that, they always seem to act as everything but ops, more often than not they seem to act as science officer, or comms officer, a duty they seem to share with the helmsman and security officer.

Another question I have about TNG & Voyager, where do all of those spare crewmembers come from and go to whenever the senior officers are summoned to the bridge or when they are tasked to leave the bridge for whatever reason before the end of their shift? Do they have a ready room of sorts just off of the bridge where they sit during their shift and wait until one of the senior bridge crew leaves when they have to go on an away mission or have to check out something elsewhere on the ship? Likewise, when the senior officers are off duty but are called up (something that seems to happen fairly often on Voyager) do these people go to the same ready room, or do their shift officially end whenever they're replaced by the senior officers, or do they actually have secondary stations or duties?
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Jeyl

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
As I was told in another thread by some people--it's not real, don't worry about it.
The show may not be real, but our fascination about how the mechanics of it work is definitely not something everyone simply writes off because it's not real. Normally when certain issues in how the mechanics are used, it's only because the show itself makes a big deal about it. How many times in Star Trek has the excuse "We're outside of transporter range." or "their shields are still up!" been used in order to not use the transporter? That kind of thing is a big deal in how the show works because it makes it a big deal. You kind of undermine that tension when you have people beaming through a ship's shields and/or beaming from one planet to another with nothing but a tote bag.

Some times these things happen as a result to bad writing or when the writers simply do not know the mechanics all that well. But the worst kind of hiccups are when these things happen due to indulgence. Take Commander Riker's reputation as a skilled pilot for example.

Geordi: You're going to need one heck of a pilot to pull that off.
Jellico: Is that you?
Geordi: I could do it, but truthfully, the man you want is Commander Riker. He's the best there is.

This is something that's been established since the Pilot episode when Riker was tasked to perform a manual docking. Yet in an episode titled "In Theory", we get this moment.

Picard: I'm going to pilot the shuttle.
Riker: Captain, it's my duty as First Officer to safeguard the lives on this ship, including yours. The Enterprise can't afford to lose you, sir. Certainly not in this situation.
Picard: I believe our best chance of escaping this situation is for me to pilot the shuttle. It's my ship, Will. I've got to do this.​

Why does this happen? If you're familiar with Patrick Stewart's influence during his time with Star Trek, you'll no doubt recognize that being a part of the action is something he really loves to do. "In Theory" just happened to be Patrick Stewart's first episode of TNG he had the opportunity to direct. What puzzles me is that there is no explanation as to why Picard has to do this other than it's his ship. He's had many opportunities to do this throughout the course of the show but never exercises it. There is no attempt on the writer's side to justify this kind of behavior.
 

Edraven99

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Ooooh... ooooh...

Why does a starship have to go under water to remain hidden from the local primitive inhabitants when all it has to do is remain in orbit and use its transporters?

For that matter, why does the Federation need starships if their transporter technology is so advanced that it can be used to teleport from one planet to another across parsecs of space?

Why does a guy named Khan Noonian Sing look like a skinny English dude?

:angel
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Riceball

Master Member
Ooooh... ooooh...

Why does a starship have to go under water to remain hidden from the local primitive inhabitants when all it has to do is remain in orbit and use its transporters?

For that matter, why does the Federation need starships if their transporter technology is so advanced that it can be used to teleport from one planet to another across parsecs of space?
Because it's kind of hard to explore other worlds or to engage a fleet of ships coming to invade your world(s) by transporting a few people. But super transporter technology would certainly eliminate the need for shuttles, and personnel transport ships, or using Starfleet ships to transport VIPs.

Regarding my original Ops question, why is the Ops position of gold shirt, shouldn't it be a red shirt position? If the Helmsman, who most definitely operates the ship, is a red shirt shouldn't the Ops officer be a red shirt too?
 

Edraven99

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Another question I have about TNG & Voyager, where do all of those spare crewmembers come from and go to whenever the senior officers are summoned to the bridge or when they are tasked to leave the bridge for whatever reason before the end of their shift? Do they have a ready room of sorts just off of the bridge where they sit during their shift and wait until one of the senior bridge crew leaves when they have to go on an away mission or have to check out something elsewhere on the ship? Likewise, when the senior officers are off duty but are called up (something that seems to happen fairly often on Voyager) do these people go to the same ready room, or do their shift officially end whenever they're replaced by the senior officers, or do they actually have secondary stations or duties?
I would assume that they have a rotating duty roster that's "on call". When a qualified crew member is on the duty roster, it's their responsibility to assume the bridge positions that they're assigned to whenever the corresponding regular bridge officer is tasked to an away mission or in times of crisis, to replace he or she if they are killed or injured.

When on call, they would simply be doing whatever their regular "job" is until they get summoned to the bridge - though you never hear the order/call and they just seem to instantaneously appear to relieve a bridge officer the moment they vacate a chair. (Although I seem to recall an episode where Riker actually does issue an order for the duty officers to report to the bridge.)
 

Riceball

Master Member
I would assume that they have a rotating duty roster that's "on call". When a qualified crew member is on the duty roster, it's their responsibility to assume the bridge positions that they're assigned to whenever the corresponding regular bridge officer is tasked to an away mission or in times of crisis, to replace he or she if they are killed or injured.

When on call, they would simply be doing whatever their regular "job" is until they get summoned to the bridge - though you never hear the order/call and they just seem to instantaneously appear to relieve a bridge officer the moment they vacate a chair. (Although I seem to recall an episode where Riker actually does issue an order for the duty officers to report to the bridge.)
That sounds reasonable enough except, who does the job of the relief officer when they're taking the place of someone else on the bridge? What if they're doing something that's time sensitive and then is (magically) notified that they're needed on the bridge? And for that matter, where are their normal duty stations that they can replace anybody on the bridge at a moment's notice and almost instantaneously? As you mentioned, as soon as a seat is vacated a replacement crew member appears almost instantly, no real delay like they would if they had to get their from another deck or even elsewhere on the same deck as the bridge.

The funny thing about the whole replacement crewmember thing, I just watched an episode of Voyager last night where Paris was called away for an away mission and nobody came in to replace him at the helm, instead Janeway had Chakotay take the helm instead. Makes you kind of wonder what happened there? No helm qualified replacements on duty at that time?
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Riceball

Master Member
I hate to say it, but I think actually serving on a starship would be mostly incredibly dull.
Probably no more so than serving any modern naval vessel. There would be your dull moments that would be punctuated by periodic drills that would make life a bit more exciting. But a Federation starship does have advantages that no warship (modern or old) has, fairly luxurious quarters for all ranks (apparently), a lounge/bar area to hang out in when off duty, and holodecks; life onboard can't be all that dull when you have access to holodecks during your off time.
 

Edraven99

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Because it's kind of hard to explore other worlds or to engage a fleet of ships coming to invade your world(s) by transporting a few people.
Tell that to over 10 years of Stargate SG1 :D

Mind you they did need ships near the end...
 

jarroth

Sr Member
in one episode Pickard enters the holodeck with a horse sadle. when he leaves he ends program.

where the feck did the sadle go? :)
 

Inquisitor Peregrinus

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Regarding bridge stuff on the E-D. First off, the bridge, conference lounge, Captain's ready room, and potty are only part of a larger "deck one" a half-level down. The exit from the bridge to the conference lounge includes a ramp down, as does the other exit from said lounge. The rest of deck one consists of some work rooms and control and maintenance areas for the bridge module ejection systems. All the folks on any given bridge shift are working there and at the bridge's aft stations. Part o their bridge duty, too, is being ready to step in as relief for the stations in the command area if/when the folks at those stations have to leave for whatever reason. Those that happen to be on the lower portion of deck one come up by ramp or turbolift.

The Operations Manager... Well, you pretty much called it. They oversee all the operational aspects of the vessel. They're not so much the Science Officer as allocating resources for the science department, including acting as intermediary to the Tactical Officer for the launching of science probes. They monitor how the engineering systems are functioning, monitor communications, monitor life-support, monitor the turbolifts and transporters, and so on. The Operations Manager is the Second Officer and reports directly to the First Officer, who is responsible for overall vessel preparedness. Ops pretty much handles the mechanical side of that. Hence, the gold shirt.

Meanwhile, helm is red because it's part of the Command division. Junior officers tend to sit at helm, you'll notice. They're also who tends to pilot shuttles. All those Ensigns and Lt., j.g.'s, spend time learning how small craft and larger vessels move so they can make appropriate tactical decisions should they come to be in command. Which reminds me... Things are a little weird on the Enterprise-D and Voyager. The Captain always has final say over duty shifts and who has what responsibilities. Normally Tactical is Command, while Internal Security is Ops. Hence Tasha wearing gold and Worf wearing red first season, and O'Brien wearing red from when he was the Rutledge's Tactical Officer prior to Battle Bridge Conn on the Enterprise, and prior to switching to Ops, getting promoted to Lt., j.g., and eventually full Lieutenant as Transporter Chief before a writer who couldn't distinguish job from rank made him enlisted. But Picard and Janeway had some exceptional department heads. Apparently, Ops trumps when it comes to uniform colors and doubling up. At least in that time period. Reference Tasha, Worf, and Tuvok doubling as Security Chief and Tactical Officer, and Data doubling as Operations Manager (and Second Officer) and Science Officer. But that won't be the norm.

As for duty shifts, three shifts seems standard, eight hours each. On the Enterprise-D, a typical ship "day" was Alpha Shift from 0700 to 1500, Beta Shift from 1500 to 2300, and Gamma Shift from 2300 to 0700. Riker commanded Alpha from 0700 til whenever Picard showed up, and often stays on all the way through Beta. We've seen the night shift commanded by -- variously -- Worf, Data, Crusher, and the ill-fated Monroe, with Data often standing watch round the clock because he doesn't need sleep or get bored/distracted. One thing that's less than clear is whether the Enterprise-D ever went back to three shifts after Captain Jellico ordered four shifts, and, if so, how long that took. Toward the end of the series, the times quoted were for a six-hour shift, rather than eight. And three shifts were standard when Sisko took command of DS9, as it was a story point a couple seasons in when he switched it to four -- which is less of a strain with a 26-hour day. And, in both cases, the shorter shifts make sense at times of heightened readiness as people will become fatigued faster.

--Jonah
 

YenChih Lin

Sr Member
Since the Holodeck relies on the Transporter technology, which converts energy into matter, for example you're buying a drink in a holodeck bar, the computer will actually generate drinks. Assuming that Picard forgot to take the saddle, the computer converted it into raw matter pattern and store it like an auto save function for Picard. If Picard wonders, where he left his saddle, he asks the computer and the computer would reply that the saddle has been last used on the horse back riding program and has been store savely in the pattern buffer to retrieve it.
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Riceball

Master Member
Regarding bridge stuff on the E-D. First off, the bridge, conference lounge, Captain's ready room, and potty are only part of a larger "deck one" a half-level down. The exit from the bridge to the conference lounge includes a ramp down, as does the other exit from said lounge. The rest of deck one consists of some work rooms and control and maintenance areas for the bridge module ejection systems. All the folks on any given bridge shift are working there and at the bridge's aft stations. Part o their bridge duty, too, is being ready to step in as relief for the stations in the command area if/when the folks at those stations have to leave for whatever reason. Those that happen to be on the lower portion of deck one come up by ramp or turbolift.

The Operations Manager... Well, you pretty much called it. They oversee all the operational aspects of the vessel. They're not so much the Science Officer as allocating resources for the science department, including acting as intermediary to the Tactical Officer for the launching of science probes. They monitor how the engineering systems are functioning, monitor communications, monitor life-support, monitor the turbolifts and transporters, and so on. The Operations Manager is the Second Officer and reports directly to the First Officer, who is responsible for overall vessel preparedness. Ops pretty much handles the mechanical side of that. Hence, the gold shirt.

Meanwhile, helm is red because it's part of the Command division. Junior officers tend to sit at helm, you'll notice. They're also who tends to pilot shuttles. All those Ensigns and Lt., j.g.'s, spend time learning how small craft and larger vessels move so they can make appropriate tactical decisions should they come to be in command. Which reminds me... Things are a little weird on the Enterprise-D and Voyager. The Captain always has final say over duty shifts and who has what responsibilities. Normally Tactical is Command, while Internal Security is Ops. Hence Tasha wearing gold and Worf wearing red first season, and O'Brien wearing red from when he was the Rutledge's Tactical Officer prior to Battle Bridge Conn on the Enterprise, and prior to switching to Ops, getting promoted to Lt., j.g., and eventually full Lieutenant as Transporter Chief before a writer who couldn't distinguish job from rank made him enlisted. But Picard and Janeway had some exceptional department heads. Apparently, Ops trumps when it comes to uniform colors and doubling up. At least in that time period. Reference Tasha, Worf, and Tuvok doubling as Security Chief and Tactical Officer, and Data doubling as Operations Manager (and Second Officer) and Science Officer. But that won't be the norm.

As for duty shifts, three shifts seems standard, eight hours each. On the Enterprise-D, a typical ship "day" was Alpha Shift from 0700 to 1500, Beta Shift from 1500 to 2300, and Gamma Shift from 2300 to 0700. Riker commanded Alpha from 0700 til whenever Picard showed up, and often stays on all the way through Beta. We've seen the night shift commanded by -- variously -- Worf, Data, Crusher, and the ill-fated Monroe, with Data often standing watch round the clock because he doesn't need sleep or get bored/distracted. One thing that's less than clear is whether the Enterprise-D ever went back to three shifts after Captain Jellico ordered four shifts, and, if so, how long that took. Toward the end of the series, the times quoted were for a six-hour shift, rather than eight. And three shifts were standard when Sisko took command of DS9, as it was a story point a couple seasons in when he switched it to four -- which is less of a strain with a 26-hour day. And, in both cases, the shorter shifts make sense at times of heightened readiness as people will become fatigued faster.

--Jonah
Now answer me this, why does Ops need a seat on the bridge, and in the case of the Enterprise D (maybe the E too) right in front next to the helm? If their job is to coordinate asset allocation, why do they need to be on the bridge? Wouldn't an office anywhere else work just fine. Also, if Ops is the 2nd officer, then did that make Harry Kim, a lowly ensign, the 2nd officer of Voyage when Tuvok, although only security chief, was senior?

On the subject of holodecks, on Voyager, it's been shown that they ration replicator usage because of energy/resource limitations yet they're always using the holodeck, if the holodeck is using replicator and transporter tech, then wouldn't that use up even more juice than the replicators? Sure, objects in the holodeck are recycled and reused constantly but it's still energy consumption and what about the crew's favorite holodeck sim, Tom Paris' French pool hall where they're seen sipping drinks, isn't the same as using replicators or are the foods and drinks created on the holodeck on the Voyager purely holographic and not 'real'?
 

Treadwell

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
On Voyager, they maintained that the holodeck used some different kind of power that was not used by vital systems, so there was plenty to burn.

Which is pure horsecrud, but it was their way of justifying holodeck stories.
 

Inquisitor Peregrinus

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Now answer me this, why does Ops need a seat on the bridge, and in the case of the Enterprise D (maybe the E too) right in front next to the helm? If their job is to coordinate asset allocation, why do they need to be on the bridge? Wouldn't an office anywhere else work just fine. Also, if Ops is the 2nd officer, then did that make Harry Kim, a lowly ensign, the 2nd officer of Voyage when Tuvok, although only security chief, was senior?
Well, it's the main connection on the bridge to the Science and Engineering departments. Unless things are quiet enough on the bridge the Chief Engineer decides to set up a repeater station at the back of the bridge rather than hang about down in his office in Main Engineering. It's also important for the Conn to be able to verify the sensors are working right for navigation purposes. And Ops is where sensor queries come up usually, though that can be rerouted to Tactical or one or more of the aft stations. I think Voyager should have had Ops over on the port forward wall where they put B'Elanna's Engineering station. The Captain shouldn't have to turn around every time Ops is consulted.

As for Voyager's command structure... *sigh* That show started out hobbled by a bad producer and never really recovered. It would have made more sense for Harry to have been recruited as a promising Operations officer, and ended up the Ops Manager after his senior was killed when they got dragged into the Delta Quadrant. Janeway also had all the authority she needed to promote him over the course of the series. It's moronic that he'd have remained an Ensign throughout. I can see Janeway promoting him to Lt, j.g., almost instantly as he rose to the challenge, full Lieutenant by season 2 or 3, and Lieutenant Commander before the end of the series. But yes, he was Second Officer. We saw partway through the show that he commanded Gamma Shift (the night watch) several times a week, for instance (even though he was still, stupidly, an Ensign).

On the subject of holodecks, on Voyager, it's been shown that they ration replicator usage because of energy/resource limitations yet they're always using the holodeck, if the holodeck is using replicator and transporter tech, then wouldn't that use up even more juice than the replicators? Sure, objects in the holodeck are recycled and reused constantly but it's still energy consumption and what about the crew's favorite holodeck sim, Tom Paris' French pool hall where they're seen sipping drinks, isn't the same as using replicators or are the foods and drinks created on the holodeck on the Voyager purely holographic and not 'real'?
On Voyager, they maintained that the holodeck used some different kind of power that was not used by vital systems, so there was plenty to burn.

Which is pure horsecrud, but it was their way of justifying holodeck stories.
What he said. *heh* Voyager, the show, came out of the gate with a flawed premise, executed it lamely for a couple years, then went downhill. There were high points, but I skip more episodes of Voyager -- by numbers and percentage of series -- than any other Trek offering. Bearing in mind Enterprise is an alternate timeline, finale notwithstanding. The whole energy-scarcity thing was handled poorly. The whole "Gilligan's Island in space" approach was not the one they should have taken. Janeway's speech from the end of the pilot promised something they didn't deliver -- they'd point for home, and look for any phenomena or tech that would shorten their journey, but in the meantime they'd joined Starfleet to boldly go, et cetera, so let's see what's out here! And then we got two years of "We wanna go hoooooooome..." whining.

I can massage most of the weaker writing in TOS, TNG, DSN, and the films. Nice, elegant rationalizations. But most of the Voyager-related stuff I just have to shrug and say "enh, bad writing -- next question".

--Jonah
 

Riceball

Master Member
On Voyager, they maintained that the holodeck used some different kind of power that was not used by vital systems, so there was plenty to burn.

Which is pure horsecrud, but it was their way of justifying holodeck stories.
Yeah, sounds hokey but I can buy it, but it still doesn't explain holodeck created food and drinks. Unless they're purely holographic wouldn't that be the same as using replicators, or was the issue with replicators power and not bio-matter because if it's matter then using the holodeck would seem like a great way around using replicator rations since they seem to regularly eat and drink on the holodeck, at least in Tom's pool hall program they do.
 

Riceball

Master Member
Well, it's the main connection on the bridge to the Science and Engineering departments. Unless things are quiet enough on the bridge the Chief Engineer decides to set up a repeater station at the back of the bridge rather than hang about down in his office in Main Engineering. It's also important for the Conn to be able to verify the sensors are working right for navigation purposes. And Ops is where sensor queries come up usually, though that can be rerouted to Tactical or one or more of the aft stations. I think Voyager should have had Ops over on the port forward wall where they put B'Elanna's Engineering station. The Captain shouldn't have to turn around every time Ops is consulted.

As for Voyager's command structure... *sigh* That show started out hobbled by a bad producer and never really recovered. It would have made more sense for Harry to have been recruited as a promising Operations officer, and ended up the Ops Manager after his senior was killed when they got dragged into the Delta Quadrant. Janeway also had all the authority she needed to promote him over the course of the series. It's moronic that he'd have remained an Ensign throughout. I can see Janeway promoting him to Lt, j.g., almost instantly as he rose to the challenge, full Lieutenant by season 2 or 3, and Lieutenant Commander before the end of the series. But yes, he was Second Officer. We saw partway through the show that he commanded Gamma Shift (the night watch) several times a week, for instance (even though he was still, stupidly, an Ensign).




What he said. *heh* Voyager, the show, came out of the gate with a flawed premise, executed it lamely for a couple years, then went downhill. There were high points, but I skip more episodes of Voyager -- by numbers and percentage of series -- than any other Trek offering. Bearing in mind Enterprise is an alternate timeline, finale notwithstanding. The whole energy-scarcity thing was handled poorly. The whole "Gilligan's Island in space" approach was not the one they should have taken. Janeway's speech from the end of the pilot promised something they didn't deliver -- they'd point for home, and look for any phenomena or tech that would shorten their journey, but in the meantime they'd joined Starfleet to boldly go, et cetera, so let's see what's out here! And then we got two years of "We wanna go hoooooooome..." whining.

I can massage most of the weaker writing in TOS, TNG, DSN, and the films. Nice, elegant rationalizations. But most of the Voyager-related stuff I just have to shrug and say "enh, bad writing -- next question".

--Jonah
The Ops station on Voyager made more sense than on the Enterprise, though I still think it's odd that it's on the bridge at all. It would have made more sense if they had simply called Ops the science station which it really functions as more often than not. Of course, on Voyage, it seemed to overlap with Tuvok's security duties a bit and in at least one episode I've seen Paris do sensor scans from his station. The writers never seemed to really get it straight as to what station does what, I'm just surprised that they never had anybody at security or ops try and actually helm the ship at any point, or have they?

As for your general assessment of Voyager, I agree. The premise wasn't so much flawed as compromised by not taking it far enough and taking enough risks, instead of making it more like TNG with the backdrop of being far from home. They really should have made it more serial and showing the Voyager looking more damaged as time goes on, systems not running optimally, and taking on a more hodge podge look as they adapt alien systems to the Voyager in order to keep it running. They also should have had more difficulty with communication since I'd imagine that not everybody in the Delta Quadrant utilized the same frequencies as the Alpha as their hailing frequencies. Then there's the matter of the universal translator always working perfectly even though you'd think that its algorithms would be based on Alpha Quadrant languages and would thus have to adapt, theoretically, Delta Quadrant languages that would, presumably, have evolved differently from the Alpha Quadrant.
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Top