Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ensign Expendable and the red shirt of death...

Anyone who is a Star Trek fan knows what it means to be a redshirt.  If you were one of the unlucky ones to find yourself planetside, standing next to the Captain, and wearing a red shirt ... might as well make out your will and accept your inevitable fate.  You were a dead crewman walking.

I never quite understood how a whole army of aliens could be shooting at Captain Kirk and he doesn't get a scratch, but if some unnamed redshirt is unlucky enough to be sent down with him ... you can bet your last ten bucks he'll be felled in the first five minutes.  You'd think that after a while they'd work out the statistics and just send Kirk down on his own.  It would have saved the lives of a lot of innocent redshirts.

The statistics are very interesting though.  In this article someone has actually gone to the trouble of crunching the numbers.  In the original series there were 59 crew member deaths, which is approximately 13.7% of a total crew of 430.  With that mortality rate it makes you wonder why anyone signed up, doesn't it!

Of those deaths, six were yellowshirts, five were blueshirts, four wore engineering smocks, and a whopping 43 were redshirts.  That's 73% people!  Poor bastards didn't really stand a chance.

The redshirts deserve to be acknowledged for their sacrifices.  It might be long overdue, but finally this injustice has been righted.  Jonathan Coulton, the man who penned such classics as Tom Cruise Crazy and Code Monkey has written this song dedicated to the brave, noble redshirts who died in defence of The Federation.

Your sacrifices will never be forgotten, Ensign Expendable.  It's thanks to you The Federation continues to survive.


  1. A worthy, long overdue salute to the forgotten cannon fodder of the Enterprise. The crew had to notice themselves who were dying out there. I'd request a uniform change or throw it in the wash with some bleach.
    If they were sent out together to investigate a disturbance, who would die first, a redshirt or a black guy from a horror movie? Or would the paradox devour the space-time continuum?

  2. The only redshirt exception appears to have been Scotty.

  3. I did not know this! I used to watch Star Trek: The Next Generation every day after school with my dad. I thought the original Star Trek was beneath me. :-/

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