Forum icon  ForumsReference Desk → What do they all do? (replywatch)
This forum discussion has been archived
This forum discussion has been archived and should not be added to. Please visit the Forums to begin a new topic in the relevant location.

I saw the basis for this somewhere else but can't remember where. I apologize if I'm stepping on toes.

The USS Enterprise-D had a crew of 1000+. What do they all do? You only ever see a couple of dozen bridge officers, maybe two or three dozen engineers and technicians, and maybe another dozen medical and science types. And of course, another dozen or two security officers. (That's food for another thread.) I'm being generous in these estimates. That's like 100. Where's the rest? What are the other 900 people under Picard's command doing with their days? There's replicators so you don't need cooks or tailors or ship's store. If you need your hair cut or your nails done, you just go to the holodeck and run the barbershop or beauty salon program. Even if you didn't, what's that? Five more jobs? There's a lot about ST that I like, but things like this just don't make sense.-– StarFire209 21:56, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

We've never even scratched the surface of what is on that ship. For example, there are dolphins we never saw, and crew that needs to tend to them. We did not see the stellar cartography department until later in the show. Who knows how much they have for general maintenance, and countless departments and sections we have never seen. Then there is the fact that the crew includes spouses and children, we don't know how many have those. In addition, we know that they DIDN'T just go to the holodeck for haircuts, Mot was not a hologram. As a comparison, remember that a modern US aircraft carrier has 5000+ people, but you don't see them on TV. --OuroborosCobra talk 22:25, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, but we know what at least 4500 of ~them~ do - they fly planes. The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk).
Actually no, less than half of them fly planes, less than 2500. --OuroborosCobra talk 22:32, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

You're actually making my point. ;) But I really wasn't expecting a definitive answer. (I did include Mot as part of the "five extra jobs" remark. Civilian spouses and children aren't crew. If the dolphins (2? 20?) are full crew members, they tend to their own needs. If they're crew the way police dogs are police officers, then one humanoid per dolphin seems like a decent estimate. If you add 50 cartographers and navigators, that's still only about 15% of the crew.) This is one of those things the writers have done quite often, throw a number or phrase out there without thinking it through. Something to wonder about the next time you see the executive officer go on an away mission and take half the senior command structure with him. – StarFire209 20:23, 24 August 2007 (UTC)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the 1000+ include all the families and spouses on board? They aren't crew, but they are included in the 1000+ number you cited. Therefore you're probably only talking about ~700 crewmen. You've also got to think about all of the teachers for the kids and also the Ten Forward staff. There's another 25 or so. Then there's all of those lowly engineers who tend to the nacelles and other systems and we're down to about half of the people on board unaccounted for. I do understand your issues with this because how many times have we seen a starship do everything it can normally under computer control! If it can do this without the crew, then why do you need the crew under normal conditions? -Topher 23:38, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
I think it's important to keep in mind that the entire crew is not on duty at any given time. Up until Captain Picard was relived of duty by Captain Jellico in the episode "Chain of Command", the ship was operating on a 3-shift rotation. Captain Jellico changed it to a 4-shift rotation. Given those two bits of information, it's reasonable to conclude that at any given time, you would really only see 1/3 or 1/4 of the crew on duty at stations or in hallways, 1/3 or 1/4 off duty (these may be in Ten Forward or other common areas, and possibly 1/3 to 1/4 asleep in quarters. - Davisn456 00:57, 17 September 2007 (UTC)
One thing to keep in mind is that on any ship of the line is that between 1/3 to 1/2 of the ship is made up of crewmen [or enlisted personel. the franchise has done very little to show this side of Starfleet; with the few exceptions of a couple Voyager episodes and [if im not mistaken] Chief Miles O'Brien was enlisted for a time. These folks are in the duct work, in the bowels of the ship, doing the dirty work; general maintenance. Take a look at the Enterprise's engineering dept at full capasity, then remember that that is, at best, only 1/3 or 1/4 or the entire Eng division. Now while that deptartment is one of the largest, all others are compareable. oh btw; the dolphins are apart of the Cetacean Ops, and are crewmen. Got that from Mem-Alpha, i did ;) – Farfallen 10:11, 22 September 2007 (UTC)
Just my two cents, but but there's an absurd amount of specialist scientists on starships. We've seen that when needed, they are capable of producing, chemists, anthropologists, Sociologists, volcanologists, entomologists and even historians, amongst others. Certainly with such narrow specialization it seems that often they would not see action for months. So my theory is that these are just academics, signing on on starships so they can occasionaly get extraordinary research opportunities (and in return obviously collect data for their colegues at home as much as possible as well as lending a hand whenever their expertise is needed in a crisis situation). On the other hand, while between missions they would work in their personal working spaces and a variety of specialy made-available labs and research facilities on the same long-term projects they would have worked on if they had stayed at home. There's no direct evidence for this theory, but it seems to fit with what we've seen about such specialists very well, and I feel it could account for a large percentage of the crew. -- Capricorn 02:38, 23 September 2007 (UTC)
I think the implication was that specialists probably had other duties -- Marla might have filled the role as historian in her office hours, but she might've had duties to the ship that took up the rest of the time -- remember, even medical specialists sometimes served bridge command shifts or occupied bridge stations as part of their rotations.
You're right though, civilian specialists who seem to have been awarded the opportunity to be aboard and work -- TNG depicted many :
  • having no relatives aboard but filling a service job (Guinan)
  • to earn school credit (Amanda Rogers)
  • just because they 'wanted' to live there (Wesley Crusher after Mommy left -- he prob'ly also got school credit though)
  • just because they want to look at the ship (Leah Brahms)
  • test crazy theories on the ship (Kosinski)
  • and, non-science-wise, guys whose job-it-seems-to-be to put the ship in danger or give bad advice (Kosinski, Timicin, Tam Elbrun, Sirna Kolrami -- I wonder if these guys are well paid for their efforts, as they all seem to be employed by the Federation in some way
Remember also the civilians of TOS -- Daystrom who was hired by the Federation to test a device that killed over a thousand, various UFP officials came aboard to make sure the ship was ordered into danger properly, many many of Kirk's ladies who were 'offered rides' (Lenore in exchange for a theater performance, after he purposely stranded her, Janet because she was going to Starbase 10 but ended up working in the radiation lab -- apparently there's no law against starship captains bringing ex-or-current girlfriends along, and having them be "on-the-job" (!) in exchange for transportation)
Janeway had Neelix, Kes, and Seven, and Icheb all aboard filling various roles aboard -- she paid Neelix in water and in exchange, he occasionally let her borrow his shuttle for a mission -- and then there was Seven who Janeway just decided to keep her and mold her into a proper lady (!) -- but also put her in charge of many of the crew.
It was never revealed the TNG ratio of crew to family to civilians either -- while its possible a lot of the civilians seen filling professional roles aboard ship were family to someone aboard, this wasn't the case for all -- imagine taking a job as a bartender aboard -- remember that 10 Forward hit the ground first when the ship crashed. Was Mot someone's husband or did he just wake up on day and decide the he wanted to cut people's hair while going warp 6 through the Borg frontier aboard 1701-D?
The bigger question are to how the other few hundred jobs in Starfleet were divided up -- did they really have an appropriate security force? (the role that Marines normally fill in today's vessels, possibly taking up a double-digit percentage of those onboard) -- they also never revealed a lot about the doctor/nurse/technician ratio, or the officer/enlisted ratio -- although if the noncom ratio was like today's averages, a lot of those we don't see would in fact be performing functionary jobs in the lower decks -- remember VOY's Lower Decks episode showing some of the bottom rung of the crew's ranks manning stations in obscure parts of the ship Janeway has never been to, submitting reports to unforgiving superiors and never leaving the ship... -- Captain MKB 07:37, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure if I can add much, but this had puzzled me for some time as well. I don't know if this helps, but I've created a general list of division for the crew of the Ent-D, based on the ship's size, condition, etc. Just as a reminder, it has, I think, about 42 decks, with an average daily crew complement of 1012-1014, not including visitors and short-term passengers. Also, some of the data here cites episodes, to support the numbers I'm providing. I've created this as a list, so pardon me if I missed any formatting.
  • Picard, Riker, Dr. Crusher, La Forge, Data, Worf, Troi (senior staff for the most part of TNG)
  • Wesley Crusher, Mot, O'Brien family (3), Worf's son. (other personell seen often i.e. long-term members)
  • Seen one school with aprox. 20 children. Give at least one parent or guardian, maybe two, accounts for about 50 adults)
  • Engineering. Aprox. 20 on duty at any one time. In Best of Both Worlds, about 12 run out of engineering, and La Forge says they lost "a lot of good people".
  • Bridge. About 5 stations always have backups on standbye, for about 20 people on the bridge at any one time.
  • Ten Forward. Never less than 30 people on a regular basis, at one time, and about 5 bartenders.
  • Transporter room. Know of 5, with at least one man in each.
  • Nacells, 4 people per nacelle, for a combined 8 together.
  • with about 40 decks, at least 40 officers moving around actively per deck, average, for a total of 160 men.
  • Sickbay, at least 5 people on duty, with several other presumably on standby for house calls.
  • security on the ready, I guess maybe 25 people per shift.
That's all about, counting shift calculations thrice, 930 people. Now, I know some numbers might be on the high side, and I probably missed some stations, but it all adds up neatly. Some numbers may crossover, ie two people counted once, but, in any case, you get somewhere from 900 to 1000 if you consider it all out. Just thought it'd help to see an actual list count. Any ideas on it? --Nmajmani 20:55, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.