A Lot Of Red In The Ledger.

Granted…to Cap, the red shirts are pretty much MADE of tissue paper.

Obviously, this is a core trope of the Star Trek series. Beam down to the planet in a red shirt, and most probably, some random alien is going to make short work of you. Scotty wears a red shirt, and takes a ton of abuse, including being killed by the Nomad probe and resurrected…so even Scotty is killed off in his red shirt at least once. It’s a tragic tale that plays out countless times every day on re-runs of classic Star Trek. Captain Kirk and his cronies beam down to an alien planet. They come under attack by some malevolent energy being or dudes in rubber suits. Security crewmen wearing red shirts get vaporized, stabbed and poisoned by booby-trapped flowers, or even reduced to small geometric shapes and then crushed.

Being a “Red Shirt” on the USS Enterprise is one of the most dangerous jobs IMAGINABLE. Don’t believe me? SiteLogic founder Matt Bailey crunched the numbers: 13.7% of Kirk’s crew died during their three-year televised mission. 73% of the deaths were Red Shirts.

Obviously…if you don’t beam down to the planet, the color of your shirt is far less lethal. The thing is though…it’s pretty much your job to beam down to the planet when told to, so they can’t really avoid danger in that way. However…besides not beaming down, another factor that showed to increase the survival rate of the Red Shirts was the nature of the relationship between the alien life on the planet and Captain Kirk himself. When Captain Kirk meets an alien woman and “makes contact” the survival rate of the red-shirted crewmen increases by 84%. In fact, out of Captain Kirk’s 24 “relationships” there were only three instances of Red-Shirt vaporization.

So really…as much as Kirk’s constant romancing of alien women is lampooned by fans, in a statistical sense he was taking one for the team, to save the lives of valuable men and women in red shirts. So…that’s a thing.

Why did I do this panel? Well…even though it is summer time, school has reached out a little bit into my summer world. Staff members at my school are dropping like Red Shirts, suddenly and sometimes without obvious cause, other times with painfully visible causes. The most recent one to fall (to a fairly obvious cause, actually) was the High Evolutionary herself, our principal at the Edu-Mountain.

Proof that everyone can be a red shirt to SOMEONE.

She sent out her farewell e-mail to the staff of Saturday Morning, and I can only imagine that some of the staff had Wizard of Oz like celebrations. She was actually a pretty good principal, but supremely rough around the edges, and as a result, not beloved by staff or students. I thought that she did make sure that things ran well, and kept everyone doing their jobs…plus, if you actually did your job, she tended to stay away from you. Regardless, she was removed and reassigned.

Possibly, this made her more like a Gold Shirt…that sort of thing happens often to them, removal and reassignment. I was just drawing one image for the whole slew of people leaving or moving onward, and decided to go with the Red Shirt trope, given the Star Trek theme of the past few days.

Bones pronounces Red Shirts dead so often with that salt and pepper shaker of his that he’s pretty blase about the whole thing. Sometimes, he’s more like the ship’s coroner than the Chief medical Officer…although I suppose that they are basically the same thing.

Drawing this, I actually gave the Red Shirt laying face down a tricorder (you can see the strap), but not Cap. For those of you who are not Trekkies, the tricorder is the computerized man-purse that does everything, which Bones and Spock wear. I figured Cap doesn’t have that much use for it, being impulsive and generally solving problems without much thought about it. Arguably, that Red Shirt didn’t need it too much either…but sometimes they have them.

I have no idea what their mission is on that planet, or what’s in that weird building in the background, so please don’t ask.


3 thoughts on “A Lot Of Red In The Ledger.

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