Red-Shirt Deaths on Starship Enterprise Reach 1,000

This article was originally published on Humorality, on July 5, 2010.

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The USS Enterprise, the United Federation of Planet’s flagship vessel, reached a grim milestone today as it announced the death of its 1,000th red-shirted security officer. The news came on what was an otherwise uneventful day in its ongoing mission, apart from simultaneous attacks by the Romulans, the Klingons, a cargo bay filled with Tribbles, and the cookie brigade from Girl Scout Troupe number 34923402.

“Our goal is to seek out new life, and regrettably that is going to involve new deaths,” said James Kirk, captain of the warp-capable starship. “The sacrifices of these brave crewmen will be remembered always, although their names have already slipped my mind, if they even had names to begin with.”

According to Federation sources, the 3,342,767,129,652-horsepower cruiser suffered its 1,000th security death five days ago when a red-clothed ensign, a recent graduate of the Space Security Program at the University of Phoenix, was instantly vaporized by malevolent, non-corporeal, trans-dimensional, energy-based life forms on a previously uncharted planet. The ship’s sensors had identified the planet as “one more in a long string of idyllic, lush, and safe Class M planets, with a less than one percent chance of harboring danger or peril.”

Amnesty Universal, a non-governmental group that likes to keep track of things like this, said that the death was certainly avoidable. “It’s not like these were casualties of the ongoing Below-Zero Cold War with the Romulans. This ship was on a mission of exploration and peace. ‘Pieces’ is more like it. Do they even have an exit strategy to get us out of the galaxy once and for all?”

Science officer Spock, the Enterprise’s second in command, called Amnesty Universal’s statements “illogical.” “We have no choice but to send these personnel into harm’s way. As every citizen of the Federation knows, our advanced firepower and minimal understanding of the cultures we encounter are sufficient to guard against needless tragedy. The people of Earth and other like-minded planets can sit back and relax, knowing that their comfort and lives of ease are supported by our efforts.”

But as the death toll continues to mount, ordinary people are standing up to moan and complain. “What happened to the Prime Directive?” asked Gertrude Stargazer, no one of any significant importance beyond this brief interview. “If other worlds want to rise up and kill us, why should we interfere with their internal affairs? It’s not like I wear red.”

Tim Patrick

Tim Patrick is an author, software developer, and the host of Japan Everyday. He has published a dozen books and hundreds of articles covering technology, current events, and life in Japan. Find his latest books at

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