Again On The Turbolifts


O'Brien, Troi, and Data standing in a turbolift. Actually it's their bodies being manipulated by aliens but you really can't go fourteen days without your body being manipulated by aliens in the Trek universe.
From the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Power Play”, one of several episodes in which Troi beats up Worf.

O’Brien: Personal log. I’ll give them just three more hours and then I’m going to pick a floor.


(Why is everyone on the turbolifts all of a sudden? Why don’t they ever take the stairs, it’s healthier? I don’t know, I don’t take the stairs either if I have the choice. Let me know if you have any better ideas.)

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Author: Joseph Nebus

I was born 198 years to the day after Johnny Appleseed. The differences between us do not end there.

8 thoughts on “Again On The Turbolifts”

  1. Umm, I feel like I just walked in on an ongoing conversation right at the point when someone says something embarrassing or just odd. lol

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  2. I’ve never actually understood these things. Trek starships have an anomalous artificial gravity field, forcing their designers to then build elevators, where the artificial gravity obviously applies because people in them don’t float. I’ve always wondered if there might be a better way than (a) expending energy to drag everything to the floor of the ship, and (b) expending more energy to counteract the downwards drag, but one has never occurred to me (nor has a plausible method for generating artificial gravity, given what I know about Einsteinian 4-dimensional space-time, but I digress…)

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    1. Well, yeah, it’s true that they are putting in power to produce gravity and then putting in power in the turbolifts to move them up and down countering gravity. But … and I am feeling a little bad that I have this much thought to offer about this …

      First thing is that gravity generation in the Star Trek universe can’t take much power. When ships lose power, the gravity doesn’t go out. In like 700 hours of on-screen Star Trek there’ve been, like, two times the artificial gravity ever failed, and one of those (The Undiscovered Country) was when the artificial gravity was specifically targeted for failure. Near-dead ships like the Botany Bay or, in that awful first-season Next Generation one with the cryogenic-freeze satellite, have working gravity. However they do it, it can’t take too much power to produce.

      Moving the turbolifts around can’t be too much either. For one, it doesn’t take much power to move things for us today, never mind any high tech improvements. http://fatknowledge.blogspot.com/2007/02/how-much-energy-does-elevator-use.html estimates elevator use at somewhere around 800 Watt-hours per kilometer travelled. These are starships that can hurl themselves at many times the speed of light; 800 Watt-hours is not even petty change.

      And that’s before considering that they’ve obviously got nice portable antigravity mechanisms, as seen on the original show in “The Changeling” and “Obsession” and in The Motion Picture. Presumably that’s as energy-cheap as gravity to start with is (after all, wouldn’t it just be a gravity generator upside-down?) so that the turbolifts probably aren’t even 800 Watt-hours per kilometer.

      And if they are able to, ordinarily, control the direction of gravity so well that there’s normally none in the main turbolift shaft, just in the car, all the better. As far as I know the only times we’ve seen the turbolift shaft it had gravity, but that was also in unusual circumstances — Next Generation‘s “Disaster”, when the ship was basically without power, and The Final Frontier, in a turbolift shaft that was out of operation. Those circumstances might have left the fine control of gravity directions disabled.

      Please don’t feel bad about me for having thought about this so much.

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