I have recently been watching the odd episode of Star Trek (TOS) and it has occurred to me that, we may all joke about “Red Shirts” and how as soon as you see an unnamed character that they are going to die, but think about it for a minute.

These “Red Shirts” are the Security Members, the military part of the crew. They had training in combat, weapons, survival, etc.. Had to pass fitness tests that would probably be equivalent to the military ones today. And yet these trained soldiers, whose only role is security & combat get beaten up or killed by the simplest of things. In a landing party consisting of

  • The Captain (Ok, he is a hands on, fight them all kind of officer),
  • The Scientist (OK, he is an alien whose race is stronger and tougher than humans),
  • The Doctor (Who is older than the rest, spent years learning medical stuff so not much survival/combat),
  • The Engineer (OK he is a Scottish brawler type)

Now those four occupations Officer, Scientist, Doctor & Engineer normally need a high level of specialised knowledge. And to be the Head of that area means even more skill, knowledge & experience. SO not really much time for super fitness, weapon & combat training, or survival. Especially when compared to Soldiers whose only role is soldiering.

But there is more, They often take a female officer with them, Such as a Nurse, Captains Secretary, Lab Assistant,  And yet, when the bad stuff happens, these desk jockeys survive and the trained combat guys die.

Lets take 2 examples to look at this phenomenon.

Example 1: An armed security officer is escorting an old admiral (You know, takes a long time to get to that rank, and lots of sitting at desks) who has gone days without sleep, is hungry, tired, stressed to the medical station. The Admiral has other plans to decides to escape, and beats up the security guy who tries to stop him.

Example 2: (My Favourite so far) An away team beam down to a planet they describe as “Paradise” the team consists of, Captain, Scientist, Doctor, Secretary, Navigator (guy who plots course) and 3 Security guards. Now all three guards die, 1 gets shot by a flowers poison darts, 1 is struck by lightning, and the 3rd steps on an explosive rock and blows up. Bad luck right? but wait, the Scientist gets shot with more flower darts than security guy, gets hit by an identical lightning blast, and picks up a highly explosive rock, snaps it in two and throws it on ground, yet he lives.

So you have to ask yourselves, just why are the Security/Soldiers in the future so weak and pathetic?

Do they abhor violence so much, that to prevent any more wars they only let the weakest, most puny people join the military? and then give them no training at all?

Do they have strict moral rules on Suicide, so anyone who wishes to kill themselves is put in a red shirt? so those with incurable diseases sign up to be paper-clip fodder, and at least die in a none suicidal manner?

Did none of the writers ever ask these questions?

And why did Star Fleet not just fill its ships with old doctors & secretaries? That way they would not loose security personnel and basically be guaranteed to win every conflict they entered.

*Answers on a postcard please* or you could just leave your answer in a comment!