Arlocks, the Unused Hero of Speculative Science Fiction

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ArcticFox
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Arlocks, the Unused Hero of Speculative Science Fiction

Postby ArcticFox » Thu Sep 25, 2014 4:02 pm

This is sort of a Star Trek rant, but can be applied quite well to many other Sci-fi/Fantasy settings.

Have you ever noticed how ridiculously rare it is for people to get sucked into space on Star Trek? Oh sure, there are some examples in more recent offerings, like some of the bridge crew going into space when the Enterprise too a direct hit to the bridge in Star Trek: Nemesis, or a few people get sucked out of the Kelvin and Enterprise in the JJ Abrams re-imagined Star Treks, but think about it. Name one time when someone got blown into space in any Trek TV episode.

Go ahead.

Ok I'll grant that we do see some personnel getting blown into space when the Enterprise took some hits in Star Trek: Enterprise and once or twice people on Deep Space Nine got stuffed in an airlock with the intention of spacing them, but I don't think it ever happened.

Dude, Star Trek is a show that takes place in SPACE. People take over the ship all the time, or retake it. Getting thrown out of an airlock as a security or punitive measure should be almost commonplace. Think about it.

"Captain, the Kazon are now in total control of decks five through twelve."
"Vent those decks to space."
"Aye, Captain."

SWOOOOSH

"Captain, all boarders have been ejected."
"Cool. Set a course for home and engage."

Done.

Ok wait... I do seem to recall one other instance in an early Next Generation episode where someone opened a hatch onto the ship's bridge and had vented it to space, but that introduces a new question: Who puts a simple hatch on the ship's bridge? Wouldn't you at least have an airlock there? But I digress.

Why does this matter?

Because having a TV show set in deep space provides lots of unique opportunities for plot tension and drama that you just can't achieve in any other setting. Most Star Trek episodes would be exactly the same if the Enterprise or Voyager were an ocean vessel and not a starship. Space is an environment that, by its very nature, ratchets up the tension and yet most speculative sci-fi shows don't really use it.

Granted, you wouldn't want it to get old by happening in every episode. That said, spacing does suggest itself as the default mechanism for in-space executions, or the threat of it would be a brutally effective way to force someone to give up information.

You could even get creative with it... Think Star Trek III... They destroyed the Enterprise to kill a Klingon boarding party. Wouldn't it have been better to just vent the entire deck to space, wait outside the transporter room wearing space suits, and let the games begin. What would the boarding party do, open up their communicators and call their Commander to warn him? Ain't no sound in a vacuum, Jack.

"Computer vent Deck 5."

*SWOOOSH*

"Klingon Commander, we're ready."

BZZZZZT

(bodies hit the floor, unable to give the order to beam them back.)

Done.

Meanwhile you've simultaneously beamed to the Klingon ship, because their shields had to have been down to beam their own party over.

By that time it had only 2 men aboard, Maltz and Kruge. Problem solved. Now beam the prisoners up from the Genesis planet in either ship and warp away.

Using the space around the ship would have really shortened several movies and episodes.

Star Trek: Nemesis
"Captain Picard, the Remans have sent a boarding party... they're on Deck twelve."
"Vent Deck 12 to space."

Star Trek TOS "The Day of the Dove"
"Captain Kirk, the Klingons control the Engineering section and we can't kill them because the alien is resurrecting everybody who dies."
"Vent Engineering to space. Plenty of airlocks on that deck. The alien can resurrect them all it wants but they'll be floating in space..."

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
"Sir! Hostiles pouring out of the shuttlecraft!"
"Open the hangar bay doors and lower the forcefield."
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Re: Arlocks, the Unused Hero of Speculative Science Fiction

Postby Deepfreeze32 » Thu Sep 25, 2014 4:23 pm

Didn't Voyager vent the cargo bay containing the Borg in Scorpion? If I recall correctly, Chakotay even threatened Seven, saying that if they tried anything he would decompress the entire deck.


That said, you are right: It's very underused. And when it is, it's unrealistic (Like TNG's Disaster, when Geordi and Dr. Crusher vent the cargo bay they're trapped in). Come to think of it, the last movie I saw where it was close to realistic was the horror movie Event Horizon, starring Laurence Fishburne and Sam Neill.


Although who could forget the spacing of Hugo Drax in Moonraker? (Well, ok. It was a forgettable film. But nyah. :P )

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Re: Arlocks, the Unused Hero of Speculative Science Fiction

Postby ArchAngel » Thu Sep 25, 2014 5:03 pm

I don't know, guys, I vented rooms like a mad man in FTL.
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Re: Arlocks, the Unused Hero of Speculative Science Fiction

Postby ArcticFox » Thu Sep 25, 2014 5:07 pm

Didn't Voyager vent the cargo bay containing the Borg in Scorpion? If I recall correctly, Chakotay even threatened Seven, saying that if they tried anything he would decompress the entire deck.
Hmmm that does sound familiar...
That said, you are right: It's very underused. And when it is, it's unrealistic (Like TNG's Disaster, when Geordi and Dr. Crusher vent the cargo bay they're trapped in). Come to think of it, the last movie I saw where it was close to realistic was the horror movie Event Horizon, starring Laurence Fishburne and Sam Neill.
I LOVE that movie.

And you're right about the Laforge/Crusher thing. It was a little bit realistic, but the biggest flaw was that Dr. Crusher tells Geordi to breathe deep and hold it... in reality, the best bet would be to blow out all the sir in your lungs to avoid massive explosive trauma. Just like in Event Horizon, actually...
I don't know, guys, I vented rooms like a mad man in FTL.
FTL?
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
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Re: Arlocks, the Unused Hero of Speculative Science Fiction

Postby ArchAngel » Thu Sep 25, 2014 5:15 pm

A rogue-like in space.

So many good crews lost to the bitterness of space... :(
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Re: Arlocks, the Unused Hero of Speculative Science Fiction

Postby JOJ650s » Thu Sep 25, 2014 6:06 pm

I don't know, guys, I vented rooms like a mad man in FTL.
Haha, so true. XD
So many good crews lost to the bitterness of space... :(
So true...
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Re: Arlocks, the Unused Hero of Speculative Science Fiction

Postby ChickenSoup » Thu Sep 25, 2014 6:34 pm

I don't know, guys, I vented rooms like a mad man in FTL.
I came here to say this. Arch, this is why we are brothers
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Re: Arlocks, the Unused Hero of Speculative Science Fiction

Postby ArchAngel » Thu Sep 25, 2014 7:51 pm

Indeed, brother.
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