TNG uniform question.

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Mrs Q, Oct 5, 2012.

  1. Mrs Q

    Mrs Q Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Blue is for medical/science, gold is for opperations/security so what's red for?
    I always thought it was for Admirals Captains and First Officers, but watching the repeats on PickTV, the first time I've seen TNG in years, I've noticed lot's of other people wearing the red uniform and, thinking about it, when Wesley got his uniform it was red and so was Ro Laren's and they were Ensigns.
    What's the red uniform for. :confused:
     
  2. grabthars hammer

    grabthars hammer Captain Captain

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    TNG-era red is for command-ladder personnel
     
  3. Mrs Q

    Mrs Q Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Thank you.
    I can stop wracking my brains now!
     
  4. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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  5. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I take red to include personnel in: Command, Flight Control, Shuttlebay, Administration, and Services (stewards and the like, especially on larger ships).
     
  6. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    The division is called "command" but that is kind of misleading. It seems to be centered on helm and weapons functions, and has people who are a long way from actually taking command (Wesley Crusher). This was addressed in the TOS movies, where pretty much only the captain, first officer and admirals wore white.

    One thing seems pretty sure, the lines between the TOS and TNG division colors are fairly loose. They don't indicate who can take command; Scotty and Data were not "command division" but were fully qualified to take the center seat. Likewise they don't seem to indicate a "career track": Sulu started out in sciences but rose to captain a ship, Troi was science/medical but qualified as officer of the watch.

    Justin
     
  7. Dream

    Dream Admiral Admiral

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  8. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    He should've worn a skant:p

    "This is all the uniform I need."
     
  9. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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  10. Mrs Q

    Mrs Q Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Data is a Lieutenant Commander, so if the red uniform is for command personell he should have really worne a red one then instead of gold?
     
  11. Mrs Q

    Mrs Q Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    What were those skants about?
    I noticed them a lot in the first series then, thankfully, they seemed to get rid of them.
     
  12. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Command Division, for people on the command track. ie. Not scientists and not engineers/security. Lieutenant Commander is a rank. There are lieutenant commanders in command division (wine), medical/science division (teal) and ship's operations division (gold).
     
  13. A beaker full of death

    A beaker full of death Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It was a lot of politically correct nonsense that said all clothing will be unisex.
    Early TNG had a lot of dumb ideas, like no one having a specific position, and a "counselor" on the bridge. They had no idea what she was supposed to do.
     
  14. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    And then some of those stupid ideas stuck. Just like in TOS, where they had this Communications Officer character of no particular function, or the Engineer who left Engineering to occasionally command the ship.

    We know the uniform colors are generally associated with "divisions", "specialties" or "lines of work", but this is not completely consistent; in TOS, it actually seemed closer to being completely random in that respect. Moreover, nobody in the Trek universe actually outright comes and says that the colors denote divisions. It just so happens that a character in a certain line of work wears a certain color, and may mention wearing that color because of being what he is. But "is engineer -> wears mustard" is not the logical equivalent of "wearing mustard -> being engineer", or even of "being engineer -> wearing mustard"...

    It might be that the colors are fundamentally unrelated to lines of work. Rather, to put it in today's military terms, one color (gold in TOS, red in TNG, blue in the 2230s of the latest movie) is associated with line officers who have an unlimited mandate to command people of lower rank, and also to boss over staff officers of basically any rank. And another color (blue in TOS and TNG) is for staff officers who are specialists with "civilian" training (doctors, astronomers, geologists, entomologists) and only carry high rank to denote their academic education and associated pay rate. This tells the casual TNG Starfleeter that a Commander wearing red is to be obeyed, but a Commander wearing blue is to be argued with - and OTOH that somebody in red is likely to be in a "soldier" line of work and can tell about the tactical aims of the mission, while somebody in blue is likely to have an answer to his "civilian" question about dibronium ore or Catullan wedding habits or the nagging pain on the left side, just below the ribs.

    The in-between color might then apply to so-called restricted line officers, with skills that make them more useful in their specific tasks and unlikely to be mere markers and keystones in the hierarchy structure (unit commanders and decisionmakers of various sorts).

    Naturally, certain types of "profession" would get to predominantly wear staff colors, then - doctors, scientists, support personnel. Other "professions" would get line colors - the leaders of the various hierarchy levels, the people studying up for leadership positions in relevant lines of work such as helm or gunnery. And there'd be a great pool of personnel in restricted line colors, with potential to "ascend" to line colors but with current duties in "middle management" of various specialties - calling for more authority in group interaction than staff has. A lone astronomer doesn't really need the authority of his LtCmdr rank in his line of work, and can wear staff colors to indicate this, but an engineer would need to hold higher rank than her team of engineers in order to efficiently manage them, and would wear restricted line colors to highlight her hierarchical status.

    Three colors is a perfect fit for the system of line vs. restricted line vs. staff. On the other hand, it's a piss-poor fit for a system of divisions, because Starfleet clearly has far more than three divisions, and uniform color never tells apart a useless cosmologist from a vitally important surgeon.

    Granted, Star Trek is a TV show where simplification is important to prevent the audience from getting hopelessly confused by all the alien and futuristic things... But it never seemed the makers of the show thought in terms of division colors as such. In TOS and its pilots, uniform colors existed from the very start - but separate "line of work" identifiers did, too, in the form of symbols worn in the middle of the arrowhead insignia on the uniform chest. At various times in the history of Star Trek the phenomenon, this duality may have been forgotten, and indeed in the first movie there was a conscious effort to use color for divisions; this was done by introducing lots and lots of new colors, now only worn on the epaulets or chest badges, while uniform color itself became pseudo-random (that is, with some method to the madness, but none the audience could figure out). The following TOS movies continued the use of division colors on epaulets and shirt collars. But then TNG went back to simple three uniform colors, this time without separate division markers anywhere. And there we have it: a confusing and almost information-free "system" of colors that the modern writers probably do not understand themselves. But the concept of the colors denoting line vs. staff still fits the evidence, and allows us to think that our characters at least have some sort of order and sense in their lives, even if this isn't exactly due to the efforts of the writers or the costumers.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  15. timmy84

    timmy84 Commodore Commodore

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    I had always assumed it was gold was security or engineering, blue was the sciences and red was operations. It just always made sense to me.

    :borg:
     
  16. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    That implies that we know something about how the divisions are divided, but we don't. Three broad shipboard divisions of red (command, flight control, weapons), blue (science and medical) and gold (engineering, services and catch-all) seems to offer no more objections than line/staff/restricted. Indeed it may be a better fit: Data is qualified to command and slides right into being captain of a starship, why not just assume he's a line officer who happens to work in the gold division, rather than his status switching back and forth between restricted and unrestricted?

    Justin
     
  17. tighr

    tighr Commodore Commodore

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    When Data is appointed First Officer in Chain of Command, he switched away from the yellow Operations uniform to a Red Command uniform for the remainder of that episode.

    Likewise, the Doctor switched from blue to red when he activated the ECH subroutine.

    LaForge switched to yellow from red when he went to engineering from helm control.

    Worf switched from yellow to red when he went from tactical operations to command division at DS9.
     
  18. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    In TOS they also used the ship's emblem to define the divisions. The definitions pretty much carried over to TNG. Though there were the occasional slips where the emblem didn't match the shirt or the shirt and emblem didn't match the job.
     
  19. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    The small emblems would be both informative and in line with classic military practices (except in high-confusion, low-visibility environments calling for instant recognition, such as pre-20th century battlefields or modern carrier decks, where prominent color coding indeed serves an important purpose).

    The uniform colors don't seem to have any information content that would match their extreme prominence, though. In a crisis situation, seeing red tells you exactly nothing: you may see somebody skilled in defending you from the charging Klingon warriors, or somebody who knows how to stop the deadly radiation leak under your console, or somebody who knows how many left foot boots size 6 there are in the inventory. Seeing blue in the battlefield may mean that a medic is approaching you to get your arm reattached, or that an expert in dilithium energizing is coming to ask you for fire cover so that she can return to the beam-up site, or that a herpetologist mistakes your severed arm for an exotic space amphibian. That's not just confusion, that's deadly confusion.

    ...Perhaps that's the very intent? The enemy is led to believe that a certain color denotes a certain skill set for his opponent - and if he learns to see through the subterfuge, the color scheme is rotated or otherwise shuffled to ensure continuing confusion.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  20. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    IIRC, in the DS9 episode "Trials and Tribblations", O'Brien explains this very concept to Bashir when he was confused about him wearing red instead of gold after the Defiant had gone back in time to Kirk's era.
     

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