Star Trek: The Next Generation

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Question: The Impulse engine on the back of the Dorsal section is lit during orbits, which is normal. However, should that engine not be lit, like the ones on the back of the saucer, when it is in Warp?

Movie Nut

Chosen answer: There's no reason for the impulse engines to be active when the ship is at warp speed. Within the show, warp is an entirely different method of propulsion (i.e. Warping space around the ship) and doesn't require thrust, which is what the impulse engines provide.

Jason Hoffman

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Question: Is it me, or do the turbo-lifts lack the double-door, as our current-day elevators have?

Chosen answer: Whilst there does not appear to be a double door (one for the deck and one for the turbolift itself), the fact that we never see the door left behind in interior shots, or the door move away from the deck in exterior shots, we must assume there is a secondary door. Perhaps with the advanced technology it is just much thinner than we are used to.

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Question: What is this connection that Guinan and Picard have that goes "deeper than friendship or family"? I just don't understand where it has come from. Am I missing something?

tattoojunkie

Chosen answer: If you recall the episode with the traveller, who takes the Enterprise out of their galaxy to one neighbouring Triangulum, we are introduced to the concept that time and space are not the "separate things they appear to be" (see season 1 episode "where no one has gone before"). This theme runs rampant throughout the series, and novels. In particular, we learn of the El Aurian's sensitivity to shifts in the space time continuum: remember the movie with the Nexus? Anywho, Picard and Guinan are intertwined lifeforms in multiple realities and timelines. In a later season, he goes back in earth time to rescue Data, and ends up saving Guinan's life: she is uniquely aware of this in her past, and knows who he is before he knows that would save her life in the future. Also, because Picard travelled back in time to be the hero, his younger self fresh out of the academy on his first captain's assignment on the starship Stargazer comes into contact with Guinans in a novel from the Stargazer series that ties up even more lose ends; after her world was destroyed, her depression so deep, created a Guinan we would be hard pressed to recognize: but she recognizes Picard as a young man in trouble with the planet's law enforcement and comes to his aid. There are other links as well, but rest assured that their connection is one that does not hold description in any language we understand: it's one that is part of the fabric of the universe, of which they share a kind of common thread. Picard is also uniquely linked to Q, but that is another thread!

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Question: Was Picard really speaking French for the entire show's run and he only made sense thanks to the universal translator?

thestablefanatic

Chosen answer: No. There are small instances on "Star Trek: TNG" where Picard speaks French on board the Enterprise, without the Universal Translator altering it. Were he always speaking French, the Universal Translator would make no distinction when he was speaking French as a matter of course, or speaking French for a particular effect. In the episode "Code of Honor", Data refers to French as an "archaic language" on Earth, to which Picard takes umbrage. I suspect Data would have known if Picard were actually speaking French at the time.

Michael Albert

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Question: Are there more than three Star Fleet uniform colors? In the episode where Dr. Crusher is pulled into an alternate dimension aboard the Enterprise, there is an older science officer (not a recurring character) who is wearing a green uniform. When he is next to Dr. Crusher in her blue uniform, the difference is quite noticeable. Red is command, blue is sciences and medical, and gold is engineering, security, and ship services. What would green be for? I've only seen it in this one episode.

raywest

Chosen answer: The colors of the uniforms (like the models of the uniforms) change a lot. In the time frame of the original series for example the command color was gold/yellow and red was engineering. In TNG these colors are switched and altered. Also, the blue color for science has been more greenish in other periods of (Star Trek) time. And finally, uniform alterations are, to some extend, accepted (Troy often wears more casual clothing on duty and Worf adds cultural decorations to his uniform. To conclude: the green uniform might be a character's choice or an older type of uniform.

Cetan

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Question: Something that's bugged me ever since becoming a Star Trek fan: Why do none of the ships featured in this or any other Star Trek series have seat-belts or some futuristic equivalent for their bridge crews? Practically every time, for example, the Enterprise comes under heavy attack, consoles and panels start exploding and crew members are thrown from their chairs and shown flying through the air. To me this seems a very obvious oversight.

Chosen answer: The ships have inertial dampeners, they don't really need seatbelts. And consoles aren't really supposed to be exploding. When the do, would you really want to be lashed in place so your face and torso take the full force of it?

Phixius

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Question: I know that this is such a small detail, but it's been bugging me for a while and google has been no help. In the original series, the command uniforms were gold and security was red, but in Next Gen and everything thereafter, it has been reversed to command being red and security being gold. Anyone know why the change was made? I'm looking for a real world explanation, not a continuity one as I already found one of those. Thanks.

Chosen answer: When ST:TNG went into production, television had changed drastically from the time the original series aired in the 1960s. Not only were special effects far more advanced, but editing, camera angles, set design, lighting, color schemes, types of film used, and so on, were all very different. It was likely a decision of what looked best from an artistic-design point-of-view to give the series a fresh, updated look as well as to reflect how much Star Fleet had changed since Captain James T. Kirk's time. Red is also a very prominent color, and it draws the viewer's eye to it, and to the character wearing it. Therefore, that became the command color. Also of note is that the "old" uniforms, as of the Star Trek original series movies, had more or less universally switched to red uniforms with smaller department insignia. Thus, chronologically they removed colour coding in favour of pure red for everyone, and then decided to bring back colour coding - but retained the red for command instead of switching back to the old way.

raywest

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Question: This has been lingering on my mind since I saw "Conspiracy." What happens if a "Captain-eyes-only" message comes in and the captain is off the ship and not easily accessible? Is the message transfered, or does the captain give his first officer permission to view the message?

Chosen answer: It would depend on just how innaccesible the Captain was. If possible the message would be transferred. Otherwise, in the Captain's absence, the first officer would be the acting Captain and would be permitted to view the message.

Phixius

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Question: Does anyone know what is the order of replacement for the captain on the Bridge? All I know is that Riker is the first, but is it the captain's choice after that?

Chosen answer: According to rank and seniority, the chain of command is: Picard, Riker, Data, LaForge, Troi and Worf as of the series finale. Troi was added when she took command school, Tasha Yar would have been between Geordi and Worf, and Wesley or Ro Laren would have been after Worf had they not left the Enterprise.

Grumpy Scot

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Question: I have a question about the cloaking technology all through the Star Trek universe. Does the cloak actually turn the ship using it invisible, or does it just hide the ship from being "seen" by other ships sensors? In other words, if a ship was cloaked and invisible to the view screen on the bridge, could someone looking out of a porthole still see the ship?

Chosen answer: The cloaking device makes the ship invisible to other ships' sensors and to the naked eye. This was evidenced in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home where the Klingon vessel Kirk time travels back to the 20th C. in is hidden from humans while it is in Golden Gate Park and when it hovers over the whaling vessel.

raywest

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Question: At the end of one episode, Picard orders the helmsman to set course for "Archer 4." What TNG episode did Picard say this in?

Chosen answer: It's the beginning of "Yesterday's Enterprise".

Sierra1

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Question: Is there a reason why all planets (except earth) have a number attached to their names? Or is that never explained?

Matty Blast

Chosen answer: Planets that don't actually have a specific name tend to be referred to by the name of the star which they orbit and a number indicating how far out they are - so the planet Tau Ceti IV would be the fourth planet out from the star Tau Ceti. Under this system, our planet could be referred to as Sol III, but as it has a given name, that is used instead.

Tailkinker

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Question: All of the computer monitors on TNG are referred to as "LCARS." What does LCARS mean?

Chosen answer: It is short for "Library Computer Access and Retrieval System", the ship's computer system.

Twotall

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Question: This actually applies to every Star Trek series but it features most prominently here: Exactly what purpose do the little dots seen moving across the bottom of every bridge main viewer serve? There's no mention of them in any technical manual or website that I've seen yet they seem to be a fairly standard feature of Federation starships from any era.

Chosen answer: According to Micheal Okuda (technical supervisor of Trek) they are the future's version of a computer monitor's "refresh rate".

Grumpy Scot

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Question: Whenever anyone wants to contact someone else from another part of the ship, they hit their badge and say (for example), "Picard to Engineering." In no episode ever is there an instance where we hear somebody call someone else who is not involved in the current scene. We should assume, therefore, that when communication like this is initiated, it is only heard by the recipient of the page. So the question is, how can the ship's communication system know ahead of time who the person is paging? In other words, if Picard says, "Picard to Engineering," what keeps sickbay from hearing his call? There can't be a time-delay (i.e., the computer does not make the page until it hears the entire page, and then directs it only to the intended recipient) because in many episodes we hear the reply right away. Can anyone explain this? Are we simply "lucky," in that we only hear pages made by or sent to people in the scene we're watching?

Matty Blast

Chosen answer: Enterprise's computer directs the call to the aforementioned department. It is then answered by the ranking member of the department. For instance, if Engineering was contacted, and Geordi was in sickbay or off duty, the call would be answered by whoever was "officer of the watch" in Engineering. Mainly, it wouldn't do much for the show to say, "Picard to engineering", "This is engineering, go ahead." "Yes, I'd like to speak to Geordi about some more phaser power, please", "One moment, I'll transfer you."

Grumpy Scot

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Question: Who can use the holodecks at their discretion? I've never seen a holodeck numbered higher than five. Lieutenant Barclay can obviously use them whenever he likes, though he got in trouble for it. Are they just for officers? Does an ensign have to surrender a holodeck if a Commander want to use it?

Chosen answer: I'm sure there are more than 5 holodecks. Also, judging from DS9, you generally would schedule use on a holodeck. Finally, though incredibly cool to us, that's pretty routine for the TNG crew. They read, play instruments, take fighting classes, dance lessons, put on plays, do personal research projects, etc to fill their off-duty time. Getting in holodeck time might be pretty easy! We never see average crewmen using the holodecks as the stories just aren't about them. I'm sure they use them too. I imagine the only way someone has to surrender a holodeck is if the officers need it for research (like the episode where the subspace aliens were kidnapping them or Geordi turned into one of those glowing blue aliens) or when using it in conflict with accepted StarFleet conduct (as Barclay did by using the crew in his fantasies).

Grumpy Scot

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Quotes

Capt. Picard: Make it so.

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Mistakes

In the beginning of this episode, Riker orders Geordi (who was navigator at the time) to increase to Warp 6. In response, Geordi replies, "Aye sir, full impulse."

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Trivia

The cast really are very good friends. At LeVar Burton's wedding in 1992, the best man was Brent Spiner and the ushers were Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes and Michael Dorn. And when Brent Spiner recorded an album (Ol' Yellow Eyes is Back), the backing groups listed as The Sunspots are again the male members of the bridge crew.

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