Redshirt Academy

By: Mike Richardson-Bryan

Okay, cadets, welcome back to the Starfleet Security Specialist Workshop. In Module I, we studied basic drill, chain of command, and tricorder etiquette. In Module II, you’ll learn how to recognize common dangers and how to deal with them.

Assisting me this session will be Ensign Kenner. He’s the fellow in the back with the large-bore phaser rifle and the nervous tic. Are you ready back there, Ensign? Is it set to you-know-what? Then we’re ready to begin.

Before we do, though, I’d like to address some of the comments I heard during the break.

Some of you expressed misgivings about a career in the Security Division. Now, it’s true that the life of a security specialist — or “redshirt,” as we’re popularly known — is a dangerous one, but space exploration is dangerous no matter what color your shirt is. Besides, a career in the Security Division offers all kinds of fringe benefits that you won’t find anywhere else.

For one thing, the Security Division has the best teams in Starfleet, including the defending parrises squares champions — go, Fightin’ Sand Bats! — so if you’re into sports, then this is the place for you.

For another thing, redshirts get more meal credits than other specialists. While the goldshirts and blueshirts are picking over their synthloaf for the third day in a row, the redshirts are eating like kings. Indeed, a typical redshirt eats so well that you’d think every meal was his last.

Finally, redshirts have the best opportunities for advancement in the fleet. Other specialists often spend years in the same position, but there are always openings for ambitious redshirts, sometimes two or three at a time. Heck, pass my course and you could find yourself serving aboard a starship next week.

So, to sum up, the life of a redshirt has its dangers, but it also has its own unique rewards, so keep an open mind.

Now, before we continue, let’s observe a minute of silence for the cadets who died during Module I, especially that guy from Spokane who was turned into a cube and stepped on.

Was that a minute? Who has a watch? Okay, let’s get started on Module II.

As redshirts, it will be your duty to protect the ship, the crew, and to a much lesser extent yourselves. That means knowing how to recognize danger and how to react accordingly. Of course, danger can be hard to spot on strange alien worlds, but you can always fall back on the tried-and-true techniques that have made the Security Division the respected institution that it is today. Let’s look at a few examples now. Ensign, start the film.

Here we see a landing party exploring a crash site. What’s the first thing they should do? That’s right, Ledbetter, they should split up, and pay close attention to how they do it: the captain, the science officer, and the doctor go off together in one direction, while the redshirt goes off in another direction by himself. That’s textbook splitting up. And now that the redshirt is all alone, the energy cloud that’s been waiting to pick the landing party off one by one can come out of hiding and attack him, like so. Ooh, that had to hurt. The redshirt is dead, but when he fails to check in later, his teammates will know that there’s danger afoot.

Let’s look at another film. Here we see a redshirt exploring alien ruins when suddenly he comes across a strange alien artifact throbbing with some strange alien power. What should he do? No, Birch, he should NOT report in and request instructions. Haven’t you been paying attention? I don’t care if he has TEN communicators and an Aldis lamp, that’s not how we do it. Anyone else? Right again, Ledbetter, he should walk right up to it and touch it, and there he goes. Ooh, that wasn’t pretty, was it? Again, the redshirt is dead, but when his teammates find what’s left of him, they’ll know to keep their hands to themselves.

Let’s look at one more. Here we see a redshirt exploring an abandoned settlement when suddenly a bunch of creepy children come out of nowhere and surround him. What should he do? Right again, Ledbetter, he should assume they’re perfectly harmless no matter how crazy or feral they look. Even as they inch closer and closer, picking up rocks and makeshift clubs as they do so, he should just stand there asking them where their mommies and daddies are until WHAM! Ooh, what a way to go. Once again, the redshirt is dead, but when his teammates see the children frolicking in his blood, they’ll know that those children are trouble.

Okay, enough films for now, it’s time for the real thing. Ensign, release the M113 creature. Isn’t she a beauty? Now, the M113 creature — or “salt vampire,” as it’s better known — feeds exclusively on sodium chloride, something the human body has in abundance. Don’t worry, though, the creature is perfectly harmless as long as OH MY GOD! BLAST IT, ENSIGN, BLAST IT! AGAIN!

Whew. Okay, how many did we lose? Three? That’s not so bad. Remember that Horta sensitivity training seminar we had last year? Now that was brutal. Shame about Ledbetter, though.

We may as well take another break. Everyone go get some coffee while we clean this up. When you come back, we’ll tackle Module III: Introduction to Zero Gravity Hygiene.


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