10 Nagging Star Trek Questions

Here’s a few that always bothered me:

  1. Where the hell are all the enlisted men and women in Star Fleet? What kind of military only has officers?

  2. Star Fleet Acadamy is shown as a pretty average-sized college and there is never any other branches of it mentioned. How does it train the millions of Star Fleet personnel?

  3. Hi, Opal! (sorry, had to keep up old traditions)

  4. What kind of government continually sends its flagship to uncharted, unexplored and potentially dangerous territory?

  5. What the hell is that string of lights that moves in sequence below the viewscreen on the bridge of every single Star Trek ship in every Star Trek series in existence?

  6. What happened to the original series aliens in the Next Generation? You know the ones I’m talking about… the blue guys with white hair that had little satellite dish antennae on their heads and the guys who looked like anthropomorphic pigs and… most of all… the green women. Rrrrowr.

  7. Isn’t there a baldness cure by the 24th century? (Re: Picard)

  8. Why does a French man speak with an English accent? (Also re: Picard)

  9. What the hell was that thing that Mr. Spock always looked in that shined a bright light on his face?

  10. How do the Next Generation communicators work? Someone taps it, says a name, and that person INSTANTLY replies. No one else hears it unless they’re in the room with that person. Does the computer travel back in time for a couple of seconds in order to deliver the private message?

Okay, so it was really only 9 questions.

http://www.stardestroyer.net/Empire.html

This is a SW vs ST site, but he goes in the ‘possible’ technology used in the show and possible explanations as to how they ‘work’.

Quite an interesting site. (He actually used teh Scientific Meathod to come to this conclusions.)

Gene Roddenberry explained once that he felt everyone who served on a starship would be a fully qualified astronaut and therefore an officer. But even in TOS, Janice Rand was always listed as a Yeoman, which is an enlisted rank, and in TNG, O’Brien was called Chief – as in Chief Petty Officer, also an enlisted rank.

I’ll do my best.

  1. Where the hell are all the enlisted men and women in Star Fleet? What kind of military only has officers?

According to a Star Trek magazine, you cannot make direct comparisons between Starfleet and a military. Starfleet takes care of scientific research, exploration and peace keeping and is in a category all it’s own.

  1. Star Fleet Acadamy is shown as a pretty average-sized college and there is never any other branches of it mentioned. How does it train the millions of Star Fleet personnel?

One would have to assume that there are other branches, or that one in San Francisco is bigger than it looks.

  1. Hi, Opal! (sorry, had to keep up old traditions)

Opal is a high ranking member of Starfleet Intelligence and cannot be commented on at this time.

  1. What kind of government continually sends its flagship to uncharted, unexplored and potentially dangerous territory?

The same kind of government whose purpose is to explore uncharted territory. Haven’t you heard the opening to the original series?

  1. What the hell is that string of lights that moves in sequence below the viewscreen on the bridge of every single Star Trek ship in every Star Trek series in existence?

You’d have to ask someone from visual effects.

  1. What happened to the original series aliens in the Next Generation? You know the ones I’m talking about… the blue guys with white hair that had little satellite dish antennae on their heads and the guys who looked like anthropomorphic pigs and… most of all… the green women. Rrrrowr.

The budget got bigger, and the new series didn’t want to be associated with cheesy effects. Note the improvements made to the Klingons between series (and movies) as well.

  1. Isn’t there a baldness cure by the 24th century? (Re: Picard)

I believe there is, but Picard is confident as a man, and gets all the babes anyway, so he doesn’t feel a need to avail himself of the treatment.

  1. Why does a French man speak with an English accent? (Also re: Picard)

Apparently there have been a lot of changes on Earth during the passing centuries. Some people born in France now develop english accents spontaneously.

  1. What the hell was that thing that Mr. Spock always looked in that shined a bright light on his face?

I have no idea. A light of some sort? Scanning device?

  1. How do the Next Generation communicators work? Someone taps it, says a name, and that person INSTANTLY replies. No one else hears it unless they’re in the room with that person. Does the computer travel back in time for a couple of seconds in order to deliver the private message?

It is a true technological miracle. If I told you how it works, I’d have to kill you.

*Originally posted by Arken *
Here’s a few that always bothered me:

>>1) Where the hell are all the enlisted men and women in Star Fleet? What kind of military only has officers?

There have been some enlisted men and women shown in the various shows, including Chief Miles O’Brien, who was a major character on DS9. However, not nearly the correct proportion of enlisteds have ever been shown.

>>2) Star Fleet Acadamy is shown as a pretty average-sized college and there is never any other branches of it mentioned. How does it train the millions of Star Fleet personnel?

A damned good question. My guess is that it’s bigger than you think.

>>4) What kind of government continually sends its flagship to uncharted, unexplored and potentially dangerous territory?

The kind of government run by television show producers. :smiley:

>>5) What the hell is that string of lights that moves in sequence below the viewscreen on the bridge of every single Star Trek ship in every Star Trek series in existence?

I think it’s just a random decoration.

>>6) What happened to the original series aliens in the Next Generation? You know the ones I’m talking about… the blue guys with white hair that had little satellite dish antennae on their heads and the guys who looked like anthropomorphic pigs and… most of all… the green women. Rrrrowr.

The first (Andorians) appeared in two TNG episodes as well as Star Trek IV, though they’ve never had an important part. The second (Tellarites) also appeared in STIV (both races appeared in Council chambers at the end of the movie). We’ve no idea where they’ve hidden the Orion animal women, though it’s likely buying them from Orion pirates was outlawed.

>>7) Isn’t there a baldness cure by the 24th century? (Re: Picard)

Hey, maybe he likes being bald. :slight_smile:

>>8) Why does a French man speak with an English accent? (Also re: Picard)

Actually… most people, except those from America, speak English with a relatively British accent. I think we can assume he was schooled by an English headmaster as a boy.

>>9) What the hell was that thing that Mr. Spock always looked in that shined a bright light on his face?

That was a computer screen. It was a primitive version of the sensors used on ships in the TNG timeline.

>>10) How do the Next Generation communicators work? Someone taps it, says a name, and that person INSTANTLY replies. No one else hears it unless they’re in the room with that person. Does the computer travel back in time for a couple of seconds in order to deliver the private message?

See the answer to question 4. That same answer also explains how doors that should open when someone’s within a certain distance can stay closed until the script says someone’s supposed to go through them.

For an “explanation” of how communicators work, I refer you to the ST:TNG Tech Manual. This has no relation to how they work on the television, though. :slight_smile:

LL <-- showing his geekiness in full form.

By the 24th century, lots of people will have accents that don’t match their surnames, due to increased mobility and a lack of meaningful borders. With a single, world government, people won’t need visas, passports, etc. to visit or move to other countries.

Naturally, baldness will be avoidable, if one chooses to avoid it. When the cure is developed, you’ll have a few decades when no one is bald, then baldness will return, for some, as an optional fashion statement; a “natural look” if you will.

I think there are enlisted personnel on the Enterprises; you just seldom see them because the show focuses on the officers. I think the Transporter Chief is a probably a Chief Petty Officer (which is an enlisted rank; basically a sargent who is above the regular sargents). I think the security guards are enlisted people.

Also, I remember an episode in the original series that invoved an alien who could change his apperance. He’s made himself look human and is wearing a Starfleet uniform, walking down a hall in the Enterprise, and meets Uhura. She says something like, “What’s your name, Crewman; I don’t think I know you.” Crewman = enlisted guy.

Re the Academy, maybe we’re supposed to think it’s huge, or maby there are other branches, but no one happens to mention them. The one on earth might well have more prestige then the newer branches.

Re “sending the flagship to uncharted, unexplored and potentially dangerous territory,” I can think of two explanations.

  1. In the orginal series, the Enterprise was just one of a number of whatever-class starships that had been sent out on 5-year missions. It wasn’t “the flagship”. But in the movies and later series, it probably was.

  2. When the Enterprise became the flagship, why did it still get sent out on dangerous missions to unknown territory? Also, why did the captain and other high-ranking officers go on dangerous missions, instead of staying on the ship and sending junior officers and enlisted people?

The explanation is (ta-dah!) a change in philosophy. In the Star Trek future, neither flagships nor senior officers are kept out of harm’s way. They’re the best, so they’re given the most important jobs. Which, in Starfleet, are usually dangerous jobs. Plus, in Starfleet, it’s considered an important principle that everyone works and everyone faces danger; no one gets a safe job on the basis of seniority, no person and no ship is considered too valuable to put at risk.

This is such an obvious explantion, I don’t know why the Star Trek creators and writers never seemed to think of it. In the Next Gen series, they kept having Riker try to get Pickard to stay on the ship instead of going on missions. And in some of the movies, they give Kirk the problem of having been promoted to an unwelcom desk job. Why not just say that, in the Star Trek future, Starfleet would not stick an officer in a desk job if he didn’t have the personality for it, as Kirk plainly did not.

I agree about the various aliens of the original series. They should have showed up occasionally in Next Gen and DS9. Parenthetically, I loved it when they acknowledged (but did not explain) the difference in appearence of the Klingons in the original series and the Klingons of all the later series.

Re the Next Gen communicators (and anything else that seems impossible), they’re too advanced for us to understand.

Who is Opal, anyway?

**

  1. Where the hell are all the enlisted men and women in Star Fleet? What kind of military only has officers?
    Do you mean all the ensigns that regularly appear?

  2. Star Fleet Acadamy is shown as a pretty average-sized college and there is never any other branches of it mentioned. How does it train the millions of Star Fleet personnel?
    The Next Generation shows Wesley becoming Ensign onboard the Enterprise-they can’t teach you everything in college i guess.

  3. What kind of government continually sends its flagship to uncharted, unexplored and potentially dangerous territory?
    You mean the starship Enterprise, with its ongoing mission to seek out new life and new civilisations, to explore strange new worlds, to boldy go where noone has gone before? You understand now?

  4. What the hell is that string of lights that moves in sequence below the viewscreen on the bridge of every single Star Trek ship in every Star Trek series in existence?
    To show its turned on?

  5. What happened to the original series aliens in the Next Generation? You know the ones I’m talking about… the blue guys with white hair that had little satellite dish antennae on their heads and the guys who looked like anthropomorphic pigs and… most of all… the green women. Rrrrowr.
    Can’t remember them all but the blue guys are Andorans (sp?) and they are Federation members. Check out ST IV where the Klingon ambassador argues for the extradition of James Kirk. The others can probably be found at http://www.startrek.com

  6. Isn’t there a baldness cure by the 24th century? (Re: Picard)
    Because he makes it look so good :smiley:

  7. Why does a French man speak with an English accent? (Also re: Picard)
    Brought up in England?

  8. What the hell was that thing that Mr. Spock always looked in that shined a bright light on his face?
    Just a VDU of some sort.

  9. How do the Next Generation communicators work? Someone taps it, says a name, and that person INSTANTLY replies. No one else hears it unless they’re in the room with that person. Does the computer travel back in time for a couple of seconds in order to deliver the private message?
    I don’t get this one, sorry.

Although they are not seen in the new series, Orion slave girls do apparently still exist.

In “Waltz” from season 6 of DS9, Sisko asks Dukat if he’d like anything while he is transported for trial for war crimes. He replied “A bottle of kanaar and an Orion slave girl would be nice.” So, apparently even the Cardassians had heard of them. :smiley:

Each badge has a unique ID code.

Someone taps com-badge & says name. Computer recognizes name, matches it to the ID code, & quickly searches ship for that ID code. Message is quickly sent to that ONE person. Person responds right away because (a) they’re conveniently wearing the badge and (b) they’re on-duty and are expected to answer.

Easy enough. The only things special here are fast computers and good voice recognition software.

Then the show’s director speeds things up to keep the story moving.

Aren’t ensigns officers? (entry-level officers)

The enlisted crewmen are the ones in the red shirts that keep getting killed.

Green women?

Wherever the screenwriters put them. In the original series, they mostly wore red and died.

There are not millions of Star Fleet personnel. There are only characters in a fictional series.

I’ll pass that along.

A fictional one.

Something that the set designers looked cool.

Production budgets went up, so they didn’t have to steal from the set next door and the local halloween shop.

If they decide there is one, they’ll find a way to explain why Picard is bald.

Because the actor is actually English.

Something the set designers looked appropriately compteristic. IIRC, Roddenberry swiped the idea off of something he saw in the Navy.

The director cues the actor, and s/he speaks.