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Trek Tech Pass me the quantum flux regulator, will you?

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Old May 19 2012, 08:40 PM   #1
kirk55555
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Shuttlecraft question

I have a question which is a little weird, but I can't find any answer online, so I decided to ask what people here think. Several times in TNG and other ST series we've seen shuttlecraft and shuttlepods carry crewmen on trips that take days (Worf in Parallels was returning to the Enterprise from the Bat'leth torunament and I think the trip took a few days, and I think Geordi took a shuttlepod to Risa and then back to the enterprise in the episode where the Romulans captured him, and that probably took some time) so, how do they keep sanitary and, you know, expel waste? Its a weird thought, but come on. They are spending hours/days on a small craft, there has to be a restroom/toilet of some kind. but, the Type 6 shuttle doesn't have on obvious one, neither does the Type 7 (or the type 9 from Voyager) and the shuttle pods are even worse.

The only thing I can think of is that the bench seats in the back of the Type 6/7 lift up into sometype of waste disposel system, but that would make any trips with multiple people akward. I know that the real answer is that the people who designed the shuttles for the TV shows probably didn't want to deal with it, but realistically, unless its standard operating prcedure that all off ship travel requires crew to take medication to cause constipation, its a very important system for personal comfort, not to mention health reasons.

I could see the shuttlepods in ENT not having them because they are very short range craft, but any vehicle were the person could be spending a large amount of time in must have some kind of system in place, especially by the 24th centry.
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Old May 19 2012, 08:49 PM   #2
Bry_Sinclair
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Re: Shuttlecraft question

This is something I've pondered about as well.

Maybe they beam it straight out of themselves
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Old May 19 2012, 09:10 PM   #3
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Shuttlecraft question

^I've seen fan-made TOS shuttle blueprints where they do just that!
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Old May 20 2012, 09:42 AM   #4
The Green Mushroom
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Re: Shuttlecraft question

Just as they have evolved beyond greed and fighting amongst themselves, 24th century humanity has evolved beyond the need to poop. The toilets on the Enterprise blueprints are merely there for the convenience of alien races that are less enlightened than humanity so that they can obtain temporary enlightening--those same races are generally not sent on long range shuttle missions.
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Old May 20 2012, 12:45 PM   #5
Tiberius
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Re: Shuttlecraft question

+1 for the beam poop out idea.
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Old May 20 2012, 01:01 PM   #6
C.E. Evans
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Re: Shuttlecraft question

Shuttles may not make direct flights to their destinations when away for several days. They may make pit stops at a starbase or Federation member worlds along the way. In the rare event a shuttle is a long way from a ship without a Federation rest stop, it may be necessary to land on the nearest M-class planet.

All else fails, the fall back on ye old baggies or some other form of waste container (forget modesty, you do what you have to when there's no alternative).
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Old May 20 2012, 01:32 PM   #7
Verteron
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Re: Shuttlecraft question

Maybe the uniforms feature a device that extracts, absorbs and compacts solid waste for convenient storage and/or sanitary handling
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Old May 20 2012, 02:15 PM   #8
SchwEnt
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Re: Shuttlecraft question

No seriously, maybe there is something like that.

Like spacewalking astronauts who go out for eight hours without a bathroom break, maybe Starfleeters have some sort of undergarment device (very advanced future tech) that takes care of the problem.

Or some medicine or pill they can take. Not necessarily a constipation thing, but some stuff they can take that puts bodily waste functions on-hold for 48+ hours without ill effect. Hey, it's the future. If they can take brains in and out of skulls, why not poop management?
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Old May 20 2012, 03:46 PM   #9
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Re: Shuttlecraft question

SchwEnt wrote: View Post
Or some medicine or pill they can take. Not necessarily a constipation thing, but some stuff they can take that puts bodily waste functions on-hold for 48+ hours without ill effect. Hey, it's the future. If they can take brains in and out of skulls, why not poop management?
Given they can inject magic called "tri-ox" with a hypospray to magically oxygenate a patient who isn't breathing, perhaps an equivalent exists for nutrition that doesn't generate any solid waste? A quick injection provides your glucose and vitamin needs for the next 24 hours, and all you need to do is pee (or perhaps this can be suppressed too!).
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Old May 21 2012, 02:36 AM   #10
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Re: Shuttlecraft question

Or just assume that there is a toilet.
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Old May 21 2012, 08:12 AM   #11
Captain Rob
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Re: Shuttlecraft question

Maybe the seats have built-in poopers. Stand up, lift cushion to expose toilet.
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Old May 21 2012, 08:37 AM   #12
Bry_Sinclair
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Re: Shuttlecraft question

kirk55555 wrote: View Post
Geordi took a shuttlepod to Risa and then back to the enterprise in the episode where the Romulans captured him
That is a point about that episode I never quite got. It's been established that shuttlepods aren't warp capable, so unless the E-D dropped him off in the Risa System, travelling there would take weeks/months at impulse.
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Old May 21 2012, 09:24 AM   #13
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Re: Shuttlecraft question

...Then again, dropping him off at the edge of the solar system would make a great deal of sense.

After all, we have heard a couple of times that warping into or out of a star system is "risky". This seems to only affect a select few systems at a select few times, but when it does affect them, it's a hugely important consideration. In "BoBW", our heroes slow down to impulse at the edge of the Sol system even if doing so may spell the end of the human civilization. In "By Inferno's Light", Kira and Dax worry about going to warp inside the Bajor system even though not doing so would mean letting the star go nova. In other episodes, warping inside Sol or Bajor is perfectly okay, though.

We could speculate that warping only becomes a hazard during certain periods of "bad subspace weather". And at such times, it doesn't make sense to have your starship putter all the way down to Earth and back at safe impulse, wasting hours or days, when the passengers can be dropped off to do their own traveling at impulse aboard a small and inexpensive shuttle.

Regarding the original question, most shuttle types appear to feature at least one solid bench-type seat that could be argued to contain a fairly conventional porta-pot. The TNG shuttlepods have those. The TNG Type 6 and 7 both have those in the back compartment, although Type 7 also has a further aft door that may lead to a separate aft compartment featuring the head. And/or an airlock. And/or mere machinery spaces. But the TOS shuttle also has this aft compartment, with one unfilmed corner that could very well contain the toilet, compensating for the fact that the forward cabin has only the slim Tulip-style chairs that are unlikely to have complex built-in functionalities.

The VOY shuttles have the benches, too: Type 6 and 8 use the same interior set, after all. The "speedboat" type, which some call Type 9 and others Type 12, appears to be the only one to lack a good solid bench - but it features numerous fold-out thingamabobs on the lower walls of the aft part of the cabin. One might be the porta-pot.

Whether our hardened 24th century military types need privacy to urinate and defecate, we don't know. But holographic walls should solve that problem easily enough, and indeed may be a preferred civilian technology of the era as well. The TNG Type 6 shuttle might feature a more physical partition, considering the interior shapes. And the TOS shuttle has a solid old-fashioned door...

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Old May 21 2012, 01:23 PM   #14
Bry_Sinclair
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Re: Shuttlecraft question

Timo wrote: View Post
After all, we have heard a couple of times that warping into or out of a star system is "risky".
It never bothered them in ENT, in "Broken Bow", the ship goes to warp pretty much straight out of dry-dock.

As for dropping La Forge off at the edge of the system, I can see why they'd do that, but would the Romulans really risk venturing that far into Federation space?
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Old May 21 2012, 02:03 PM   #15
Timo
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Re: Shuttlecraft question

It never bothered them in ENT, in "Broken Bow", the ship goes to warp pretty much straight out of dry-dock.
It's not just an inconsistency between series, it's something they flip-flopped on within TNG and DS9, too. Clearly, it is very, very seldom that this thing becomes a risk, and it appears to have nothing to do with whether the system is charted or not, or whether it has many planets or none. Sometimes our heroes just opt for impulse, sometimes for warp. And the interesting thing is that they decide against warp in three cases where time is of absolute essence - the two episodes mentioned, above, and ST:TMP. Although in the movie, the risk probably comes solely from the new and untested engines, as at the end of the movie Kirk is quite willing to go to warp on Earth orbit.

...would the Romulans really risk venturing that far into Federation space?
Probably. After all, while Romulans in general like to do things behind the scenes and under a cloak of invisibility, the very scheme launched by this intrusion is audacious beyond belief. Plus, it appears to be the pet project of Sela, who would take great risks to gain the respect of the Romulan leadership, and would have little or nothing to lose.

For all we know, Romulans regularly operate deep within the UFP. We have seen Klingons deliver special operatives all the way to the Romulan homeworld - I trust the Romulans have at least equal arrogance.

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