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In the Star Trek universe, alien species are frequently seen working alongside humans, both aboard starships and Federation outposts. Memory Alpha lists close to 50 species that have been established as Federation crew on at least one of the series or movies. Realistically, one would expect some of these species to come from planets with climates, atmospheres or gravities at least somewhat different than Earth.

Yet I can't remember ever seeing a case where a crew member is ever shown needing any special accommodation for their particular physiologies. Have we ever seen a crew member with a special breathing apparatus, for example, or quarters kept at a significantly higher or lower temperature or humidity than normal? Can artificial gravity be adjusted for specific quarters?

I know we've seen these kinds of accommodations for guests on the Enterprise, such as traveling dignitaries, but is there any indication that Star Fleet ever makes these kinds of adjustments for their own staff?

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    Two examples (too tired to make this an answer right mow): Mordock the Benzite in TNG, and Melora in DS9. – Z. Cochrane Aug 27 '18 at 2:07
  • If interested in not quite canon answers - the Titan novels delve into this diversity heavily and have many accommodation needs for the various alien crew – NKCampbell Aug 27 '18 at 2:57
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    Given the large number of correct answers to this question, it might make a candidate for community wiki. – Mark Beadles Feb 22 at 20:49
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In the DS9 episode Melora (episode 2x06), we're introduced to Ensign Melora Pazlar, an Elaysian.

enter image description here

Her species evolved on a planet with extremely low gravity compared to Earth's and thus she would be unable to serve in Star Fleet without the use of a special exoskeleton or wheel chair.

Star Fleet accommodates her unique circumstances by installing a low gravity system in her quarters so that she can move about freely when she's not on duty.

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    Spoilers for the episode. The plot involves her coming to DS9 because Bashir has developed a treatment to permanently alter her physiology to allow her to withstand "standard" gravity. This change would mean she could never be in a low gravity environment again because it would disrupt the change. In the end, she declines the treatment because she felt it would cause her to lose what it meant to be Elaysian. – Alarion Aug 27 '18 at 3:21
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    "Her species evolved on a planet with extremely low gravity compared to Earth's" - given the human-like proportions of their bodies, that is a highly questionable claim. It is just safe to say her species now lives on such a world. – O. R. Mapper Aug 27 '18 at 6:50
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    @O.R.Mapper In fairness, all (or at least the very great majority) of the aliens in Star Trek are improbably similar to humans. Also, recall that there is an in-universe reason for that similarity. – Steve-O Aug 27 '18 at 13:39
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    @Steve-O: I'm not complaining about Elaysians being aliens but looking almost human (that's indeed addressed by the in-universe reason and holds for the many species from roughly Earth-like planets), just about Elaysians being specifically from environmental conditions very different from Earth's, yet having human-like proportions. – O. R. Mapper Aug 27 '18 at 16:28
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Since you've mentioned breathing devices, we should probably give a shout out to Ensign Mendon from TNG: A Matter of Honor and cadet trainee Mordock from TNG: Coming of Age. Both Benzites use a chest-mounted breather to increase the levels of available oxygen.


You might also be interested to learn that Cadet Tilly (a human) has both special bedding and individual accommodation that her rank doesn't justify because of her allergies and snoring.

Michael: Why are you nervous?

Tilly: I'm trying to decide if I should tell you that you took my bed.

Michael: Seriously?

Tilly: I know, they look the same. But, um, I'm allergic to polyester, and viscoelastic polyurethane foam. It results in chronic snoring. This is why I wasn't supposed to have a roommate.

STD: Context is for Kings

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    Interestingly, by the time of the Dominion war, there appears to be a less visible solution for Benzites. – O. R. Mapper Aug 27 '18 at 16:31
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    @O.R.Mapper - Out of universe they couldn't find the respirator in storage. In-universe, the producers are quoted on MA as saying that technology had simply moved on. – Valorum Aug 27 '18 at 16:39
  • Tangent - there were many online theories that Tilly might be on the autism spectrum, based on her behavior in that first episode. I haven't watched the show yet - did anything come along to address that theory? – VBartilucci Feb 22 at 21:42
  • @VBartilucci - In short, no. They're happy to enjoy the benefits of having a character perceived as autistic while at the same time refusing to denying that she is/isn't actually autistic; youtube.com/watch?v=2tXOQcqrZ0A. It's the same switcheroo that they pulled on Big Bang Theory – Valorum Feb 22 at 21:52
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A minor one: Starfleet uniforms normally include footwear. However, crewman Dax from Star Trek VI did not have to wear boots, because of his oversize webbed feet.

Dax's Feet

2

in Star Trek: The Original Series "The Deadly Years", several cast members are suffering from hyper rapid aging. In the sickbay:

SPOCK: I have a question for the doctor. (Kirk leaves) Doctor, the ship's temperature is increasingly uncomfortable for me. I've adjusted the environment in my quarters to one hundred twenty five degrees, which is at least tolerable. However, I

MCCOY: Well, I see I'm not going to be making any house calls on you.

SPOCK: I wondered if perhaps there was something which could lower my sensitivity to cold.

MCCOY: I'm not a magician, Spock, just an old country doctor.

SPOCK: Yes. As I always suspected. (leaves)

So Spock apparently functions in air that is over 50 degrees F cooler than he prefers, and more or less ignores the temperature difference, but when weakened by old age he turns the temperature in his cabin up at least 50 degrees higher than humans would prefer, and wishes he could turn it up higher.

When beaming down to a planet in an ice age in "Spock's Brain", Kirk orders:

KIRK: Suit temperatures to seventy two. Life-form readings, Mister Spock? (gets a look) Mister Scott?

That indicates that TOS era Starfleet uniforms have built in heaters (and maybe coolers) that can be set to produce different temperatures.

This indicates that in the era of TOS crew members can adjust the temperatures of their uniforms up (and maybe also down) to make themselves more comfortable, and crew members belonging to a species that is a minority among the crew may do so all the time.

And "The Deadly Years" shows that crew members can adjust the temperature in their cabins significantly higher (and possibly also lower) than that in the public areas of the ship.

In "Amok Time" Kirk has difficulty fighting in the thin air and high heat of Vulcan.

MCCOY: Is this Vulcan chivalry? The air's too hot and thin for Kirk. He's not used to it.

T'PAU: The air is the air. What can be done?

MCCOY: (holding up a hypo) I can compensate for the atmosphere and the temperature with this. At least it'll give Kirk a fighting chance.

T'PAU: Thee may proceed.

MCCOY: You're going to have to kill him, Jim.

KIRK: Kill Spock? That's not what I came to Vulcan for, is it? What's that?

MCCOY: It's a tri-ox compound. It'll help you breathe. Now be careful!

So if a crew member finds the air on the Enterprise too thin compared to what he is used to, he may get regular injections of tri-ox or other compounds to boost his oxygen levels.

And I once read that there are machines that can raise or lower the oxygen content of the air in a room or building. I believe that they are used to help people from high altitudes function in low altitudes, and vice versa, and used by athletes to train for competitions.

I think that I haven even seen advertisements for a wearable breathing device to increase oxygen concentrations.

Breathing masks were worn once in TOS, on Gothos in "The Squire of Gothos", and the extremely small size of the air tank or air synthesizing machinery was very impressive.

Even though crew members are not seen wearing such devices aboard a starship, if they can be made small enough to wear they can be made small enough to install in the ventilation ducts leading to a cabin - if the cabin doesn't come with such devices already as standard equipment.

So in the era of Star Trek it should be possible to adjust the atmospheric contents of crew members' cabins.

So it seems probable that crew members who are a minority species on their ship can do a lot to make themselves more comfortable despite the differing requirements of the majority species in the crew. But the precise details of what is available are not specified.

  • The use of Fahrenheit instead of Celsius is interesting, especially considering that TNG and later were all fully metricated. – Kevin Aug 28 '18 at 20:35
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In addition to the many answers given, there are others:

  1. the Zaranite officers from ST:TMP who wore breathing masks:

enter image description here

  1. Lt Arex needed shirts with 3 armholes and pants with 3 legs:

enter image description here

  1. Lt Vilix'pran of DS9 needed larger quarters with a pond due to having budded off a large litter of offspring:

    enter image description here

  2. Denobulans like Dr Phlox need to hibernate for 5-6 days each year: enter image description here

  3. It's suggested that Bolians have unique lavatory requirements:

NEELIX: We've only got four functioning lavatories for a ship of a hundred and fifty people....Needless to say, lines are beginning to form. If we don't get unstuck soon we may have a serious problem on our hands. Especially with the Bolians.

  1. Barzans such as Commander Nhan needed breathing devices. enter image description here
0

There appear to be cases where Starfleet does not, although our information (more so non-apocryphical information) is limited:

In ST I (maybe only in the production notes or in those for the canceled Phase II series), Deltans were said to have a "highly developed sexuality". Rather than somehow integrating that part of Lt. Ilia's culture (or even biology?), she immediately announced her "oath of celibacy" as being on record. There is no explicit mention that she is required to give such an oath, but if it is not, the necessity of the public announcement on the bridge is not clear, either.

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    “My oath of celibacy is on record, Captain.” Ilia kept her tone respectful. “May I assume my duties now?” “By all means.” Kirk nodded. He was sorry her oath of celibacy had come up this way, but it was a Starfleet requirement wherever Deltans served with human crews. - Star Trek: The Motion Picture - Official Novelisation. – Valorum Aug 27 '18 at 20:37
  • IIRC, while it was never explicitly made clear in the film, Sulu's reaction to Ilia sitting next to him was that he was getting an erection. imdb.com/title/tt0079945/trivia?item=tr2222627 – VBartilucci Feb 22 at 21:48
  • @VBartilucci: "because no human could survive a sexual encounter with a Deltan" - that sounds a bit over the top (especially in light of Decker apparently being an exception). Being distractive to other crewmembers, as I've read in other behind-the-scenes materials, would completely suffice as a justification. – O. R. Mapper Feb 23 at 16:40
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In the Star Trek: New Frontier series of books, Brikars wore Gravity Assist devices to help them move around environments (ref on Memory Beta - They must wear gravity compensators in normal gravity, otherwise they'd be unable to move)

In Star Trek: Titan series of books:

Lieutenant Melora Pazlar is an Elaysian wore her usual gravity assist device when moving around the ship. She was allowed to adjust the environment within her Stellar Cartography lab to allow her to move freely. Her quarters were also designed to have the same environment as her home planet.

Ensign Aili Lavena is a Pacifican that had an environmental suit for moving around the ship and had her quarters converted to be a water base like her home planet.

The basic environmental conditions (humidity, temperature, light levels) can be adjusted to suit personal taste/requirements for individual quarters.

Conversation quote between Spock and Dr McCoy in ST:TOS - The Deadly Years

Spock: Doctor, ship's temperature is increasingly uncomfortable for me. I've adjusted the environment in my quarters to 125 degrees, which is at least tolerable. However, I...

McCoy: Well, I see I'm not gonna be making any house calls on YOU!


For other rooms on the ship.

In ST:TNG - Genesis episode Deanna Troi asks the computer to increase the temperature and humidity

(Troi is the Bridge Officer, and is shivering)

TROI: Computer, increase ambient temperature by two degrees Centigrade and increase relative humidity by ten percent.

WORF: Computer, reset environmental controls to standard.

TROI: Worf, it's freezing in here.

WORF: You have already raised the temperature three times. It is too hot.

TROI: Live with it. Computer, execute my original command. (she finally can't stand it)

TROI: I need a bath. You have the Bridge.

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I offer a particularly large example of accommodating non-humans in Star Fleet: the Intrepid ("The Immunity Syndrome")(ST:TOS) and the T'Kumbra ("Take Me Out to the Holosuite")(ST:DS9). Both of these ships had all-Vulcan crews. Starships with an environment of extreme dry heat and logic thick enough to slice.

I can only suspect that these two vessels weren't 100% Vulcan, but like all Star Fleet ships, had minority of other species mixed in the crew that need special arrangements.

And would there be a sufficient number of recruits from other Federation species to fully crew a starship? Something to imagine...

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