Plasma To The Face

Traditional failure mode of all StarTrek hardware.

A cynic might say that this form of eating one's own DogFood is the ultimate inducement to Starfleet engineers to get it right the first time. -- AlistairYoung

Why? It's not the Starfleet engineer (the one who designed the ship; as opposed to folks like Scotty who keep it running) who gets PlasmaToTheFace when attacked. It's the poor bastard in the RedShirt who gets it.

However.. Even if the engineer gets it right the first time, a ship attacking the ship he or she is working on will often make a panel or five blow up in someone's face. is fun... "If I had a dollar for every time the Enterprise nearly blew up, I'd be a rich man. Two of the most obvious problems are described in the dialogue above: emergency measures are unreliable, and the entire system, as conceptualized by the show's writers and tech advisors, is inherently unsafe. Not only do the fictional engineers of Star Trek ignore the sensible and time-tested engineering risk management principles of redundancy, diversity, isolation, and failure actuation, but whenever possible, they actually do the exact opposite!" (Emphasis original.)

From The Things I Will do if I am Ever the Hero ( Section II: Vows Every Starfleet Captain Should Take

2. I will put surge suppressors in the circuitry of my ship, so that a shot striking some distant portion does not cause a control panel on the bridge to explode.

It brings to mind that often FailuresAreInvisibleAtFirst?.


Next door to me a house is empty and for sale. Something had happened inside to release water. ( I guess it was a frozen water pipe ). It only became apparent when I notices water accumulating in the street when the temperature was in the 20's. I suspected a water main problem. I traced where the water was coming from and discovered water flowing from under the garage door. I called the Real-Estate Representative and got an answering machine, to which I passed on a message. I tried again in the few minutes and the agent answered. He thanked me for alerting him and came out to shut the water off.

This is the way many failures occur. At first the are not noticed. They only become apparent when they impinge upon things we are doing, or things we can sense.

There are no red-shirts. They're just animated holo-icons indicating peril. Plasma blowing up in the face of a hologram is an adequately dramatic hint to the real humans that taking immediate action is advisable.

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