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In Star Trek, whenever a ship is hit with something — whether it be weapons, an energy wave, or some large and massive object — it shakes. Sometimes, the crew is just rocked back and forth on their feet (or in their seats if they're on the bridge — the stabilized GIFs look hilarious!). However, the motion is sometimes powerful enough to throw the crew off their feet and out of their seats in a dramatic and unnatural fashion (at least Discovery makes it look believable and painful).

We know from earthquakes that horizontal motion in the ground makes it really hard to stand up straight, let alone walk or run properly. It could be easy to lose your balance on a starship when it is hit by something.

But when a ship is under attack, and dozens of people are sprinting through any given corridor segment under low-light red-alert conditions, someone is bound to lose their balance and slam sideways or even face-first into a wall or the floor. Anyone could be seriously injured.

And yet, I've never seen any safety features in the corridors. No handles, no soft and shock-absorbing padding of any kind, no fold-down seats with seatbelts, no straps to hold on to. When something big is coming and a massive impact is imminent, someone on the bridge often declares to the crew, "Brace for impact!" What will everybody on the lower decks (wink wink) do?

Am I missing something? Have I just not seen some hidden safety features? Or are they truly missing from ships? Why haven't I seen them before?

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    This looks more like a rant or an invitation to a discussion rather than a question. Perhaps it could be trimmed down to the question itself?
    – Hans Olo
    Oct 23, 2022 at 18:57
  • I trimmed it down, so I hope it's more concise now. Oct 23, 2022 at 22:27
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    The corridors need to be wide and uncluttered to allow cameras on wheels to follow actors
    – Valorum
    Oct 24, 2022 at 9:45
  • This is another case where people quickly voted to close the question without explanation. Oct 28, 2022 at 17:19
  • That's what the red things are for. i.stack.imgur.com/PPPwD.jpg
    – Pete
    Oct 29, 2022 at 19:41

2 Answers 2

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Although Gene Roddenberry served in the Air Force during WWII and not the Navy, he (and/or the show production designers) nevertheless drew inspiration for The Enterprise from naval architecture, specifically battleships and aircraft carriers. These vessels don't have seat belts and it would seem, they also don't have handrails in the corridors. Presumably, when a starship captain alerts the crew to "brace for impact", the crew is already at some form of action stations so ought to be near some sort of fixture they can grab on to.

In-universe, we might assume that the ship is equipped with features (e.g. inertial dampers) that eliminate the need for crew to either "buckle up" or "hang on" under most circumstances, so when they do get tossed around, the situation is rather exceptional (which seems to happen in most episodes). Consider that impulse drive (which does not warp space) can fairly rapidly accelerate a vessel to a substantial fraction of the speed of light in a very short time. If we make a few assumptions and do some "back-of-the-envelope" math, let's say 0 to 0.5c in one hour... that's 1.5x108 m/s in 3,600 sec which is about 42,000 m/s2 or about 4,200g of acceleration. Without something like inertial dampers, everything in the ship would become a puddle on the back wall, assuming the structure of the ship could even take that stress. If such inertial dampers can be so finely tuned that maneuvers in normal operation would be essentially imperceptible, there ought to be no need for any sort of restraint system.

Out-of-universe, tossing the crew around (and exploding consoles, for that matter) is an effective way to ratchet up the drama and inject action into a scene that would otherwise lack it as crewmembers stand/sit at their stations giving orders and/or operating controls.

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  • But naval ships also aren't zooming around in a zero-gravity vacuum at a quarter the speed of light and up. Also, there have been far too many cases when intertial dampeners and/or artificial gravity have failed. I can easily think of one case in Voyager and another prominent case in Discovery. Oct 23, 2022 at 17:52
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    @SovereignInquiry There is no good in-universe explanation for this sort of thing. A lot of the ideas thought up in TOS were created just to move a plot forward within tight time and/or budget constraints, and weren't thought through with any real rigor. The legacy of all that is riddled with scientific inaccuracies and logical inconsistencies. We just suspend our disbelief and go with it.
    – Anthony X
    Oct 23, 2022 at 17:59
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    I think the main thing is nobody is supposed to be in the hallways when they're getting shot at. When Red Alert happens, you're supposed to be at your duty station or in your quarters.
    – Cadence
    Oct 23, 2022 at 20:20
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    related: what the hell is wrong with starship designers in the Star Trek universe such that they build critical equipment on the bridge so that it explodes with a giant expanding cloud of sparks, injuring watchstanders, going out of service and requiring urgent maintenance, whenever the ship shakes a bit?
    – davidbak
    Oct 24, 2022 at 1:24
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    @davidbak Why do consoles explode in "Star Trek"?
    – PM 2Ring
    Oct 24, 2022 at 5:59
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Starfleets primary mission is deep space exploration, science and the general advancement of knowledge. The federation is largly at peace and missions consist of looking at boring stars and negotiate with boring diplomats about boring topics such as the supply of boring unobtainum in exchange for even more boring doobtanium.

But once in a while one out of the 10.000 starships gets in real trouble - for some reason it's always the Enterprise, the captain should be fired - and than we get a TV show about it.

After the Borg attacked, starfleet actually build some warships. And if you look at the Defiant, it's much more fit for taking hits. The tactial officer even got a seat to sit in!

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