In the Star Trek TNG Episode "Disaster" why can the cargo bay door be opened, the force field dropped depressurizing the bay, the force field enabled and the door closed all from the same console, but the bay has to be re-pressurized from a console at the other end of the cargo bay?

1 Answer 1


Because otherwise they wouldn't have had an episode. Seriously.

Realistically speaking, there is absolutely NO reason for this. The whole point of the interface system used by the Federation at this point was that any console could be reconfigured to perform any function. This was a major feature of the computers on the Enterprise.

If need be Captain Picard could've flown the entire ship from those little panels on the arms of his command chair. There were mentions in numerous places (episodes, tech manuals, etc.) about how even a PADD could've been reconfigured to allow flying the ship from any hallway or location on the ship (considerations of ease-of-use on such a small screen aside, obviously).

So there is literally NO reason they couldn't have been able to close the doors from the same console. Realistically, I would think that wouldn't even need reconfiguring... I would fully expect OPEN and CLOSE to be commands on the same console under standard configurations.

It simply would've negated all the drama of the scene, and thus was not used that way.

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    Unless whoever had configured that console last had not included a "Re-pressurize" button in their setup, and the damage to the computer prevented LaForge or Crusher from changing that.
    – Xantec
    Commented Mar 2, 2012 at 20:48
  • Possibility. Though I'd kind of expect consoles would revert periodically. Consoles that get heavy use switching to the configuration of the normal user on each duty shift, ... and consoles that get light use or lots of random users reverting back to "default" after x minutes of inactivity.
    – eidylon
    Commented Mar 2, 2012 at 20:52
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    Interface systems can be reconfigured, yes, but there are security-related safeguards. Because depressurization and repressurization are potentially dangerous activities only certain consoles were normally authorized to perform each function. Of course security can be bypassed or overridden - e.g. for Picard to fly the ship from the Bridge - but that takes an extra authorization step. Source: I just made it up but it sounds great. Commented Mar 2, 2012 at 22:00
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    True, but I would expect senior staff would be able to do this... and certainly the chief engineer.
    – eidylon
    Commented Mar 2, 2012 at 22:04
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    If Microsoft still carried any influence into programming (obviously the corporation would have been extinct at this point) someone may have been genius enough to use the protect cells function to configure the screen which would lock anyone without the password from adding back in critical functions to the screen layout.
    – erdiede
    Commented Mar 3, 2012 at 4:20

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