One stage above a yellow alert, this status had weapons systems and shields brought to full power, essentially preparing the ship for combat. (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock) The Klingon equivalent of this status was defense condition one. (DS9: "Once More Unto the Breach")
Red alert could also be ordered during various other emergency situations, such as a ship being boarded, radiation exposure, a security alert, massive systems failure, an imminent warp core breach, and an evacuation order, among others. (TNG: "Descent", "Final Mission", "True Q"; VOY: "Threshold", "Day of Honor"; DS9: "The Changing Face of Evil"; Star Trek Generations; Star Trek Beyond)
A red alert could either be activated manually by the commanding officer or the officer in charge, or automatically, as when a ship was attacked, or entered a dangerous area, etc. (TOS: "The Corbomite Maneuver", "Arena") The raising of shields automatically triggered a red alert. (TNG: "Justice", "Contagion") The ability to activate red alert could apparently also be granted even to non-ranking crewmen at discretion, as Seven of Nine had clearance to place the USS Voyager on red alert. (VOY: "Nothing Human", "Virtuoso")
Sections of a starship could be placed on red alert while other sections remained at a lower alert status. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)
During a red alert, lights were dimmed, computer terminals showed constant red graphics, and alarms would sound.
|USS Enterprise and USS Enterprise-D||file info|
|Deep Space 9||file info|
|A Runabout||file info|
|USS Defiant||file info|
|USS Voyager and USS Enterprise-E||file info|
In 2152, "condition red" was among several possible names that Lieutenant Malcolm Reed considered for a security protocol that was eventually dubbed "tactical alert". Because of Reed having an obsession with the security protocol, Trip Tucker suggested "Reed Alert", which was also rejected by Reed. (ENT: "Singularity")
In 2293, while the USS Enterprise-A was returning from Rura Penthe, an intercom message by Commander Uhura informed the crew that only certain decks should remain on red alert while in Klingon space. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)
In 2369, Commander Benjamin Sisko ordered red alert for Deep Space 9 when an alien ship from the Gamma Quadrant fired a radiation burst onto the shields, which depolarized them. (DS9: "Captive Pursuit")
In 2372, Captain Sisko ordered red alert on the USS Defiant, shortly before the cloaking device was deactivated and the shields raised, to prepare for battle with three Klingon Birds-of-Prey. (DS9: "The Way of the Warrior")
|Colored alerts:||Red • Double Red • Yellow • Blue • Gray|
|General alerts:||Battle stations • "Brace for impact" • General quarters|
|Battle • Evacuation • Fire • Intruder • Perimeter • Proximity • Security • Standby • Tactical|
"Red alert" comes from the naval tradition of general quarters, and, in fact, the command "general quarters" may be used interchangeably to bring the ship into red alert. In TOS: "The Corbomite Maneuver", red alert is referred to as both "condition alert" and "general alert". In TNG: "Where No One Has Gone Before", Captain Jean-Luc Picard issues both commands.
The uses of red alert were preceded by double red alert being mentioned in "The Conscience of the King". The first produced episode to mention red alert was "Court Martial", which, in airing order, was preceded by a reference to it in "The Squire of Gothos". In the final draft script of "Court Martial", double red alert was used extensively instead of red alert, indicating that double red alert developed into this alert status. Scripted references to red alert in the same final draft teleplay were evidently later changed to yellow alert.
In Star Trek: The Next Generation, the red alert lights change during the show's run. The first time red alert is heard is in "Encounter at Farpoint", but the lights aren't flashing red. The first time the lights are seen flashing red is in "The Naked Now", which have only the top and bottom part of the lights flashing. However, beginning in "Where Silence Has Lease", the whole part of the lights flash. The next change the lights have is seen in "Man of the People", where there is a longer period between when it flashes and when the sound is heard.