Monday, October 6, 2008

Trust the force (field), Kirk

I've been rewatching the old Star Trek series. (How did we live without Netflix? Those were primitive times.)

As much as I enjoy these old shows -- woohoo! a new way in almost every episode to rationalize breaking the Prime Directive -- one thing bugs me.

These ships use force-field technology everywhere. The shuttle bays are shirtsleeve environments with huge openings to space, so force fields hold in the air. Force fields also reinforce the hull (so-called structural-integrity fields) and retain the air after the frequent hull breaches. Force fields rather than metal bars keep miscreants in the brig. Force fields provide biohazard containment. And the Star Trek ships also project force fields: tractor beams pull in (overcoming strong and straining engines) enemy ships that would flee.

So why aren't there force fields to keep people in their seats? Instead, the bridge crew is thrown about like leaves. Every $%^#!! episode. All they need is a little force-field generator (triggered and calibrated by an accelerometer, if you want to get technical) in every seat.

Or, failing per-chair force fields, why can't the 24th century master seat-belt technology?


Unknown said...

Well, I'm not sure about trusting force fields. Lose power, lose field, lose air, lose life. :)

But you have a point. Anybody ever heard of a $%^#!! seat belt? Or better, a five-point harness so you can still hit the right button by reflex in the midst of a firefight?

Edward M. Lerner said...

Or airbags. Of course that's very advanced technology. :-)

Anonymous said...

The end of Insurrection put Picard in charge of a new ship, which had a seatbelt on the captain's chair. He made some comment about how it had taken long enough...

Edward M. Lerner said...

I guess only Star Trek *movies* had a seat-belt budget :-)