From time to time Outright Geekery brings you a slanted and biased opinion on some trivially specific topic of geekery. We call it Outright Geekery’s Top o’ the Lot.
One of the great things Star Trek was able to do in all its many incarnations was to give a certain aspect of character to the many ships and structures that were every bit as much stars of the show as the uniformed Starfleet Graduates tooling around inside. The Enterprise with its rugged frontier feel, the air of home and family that surrounded Voyager, the bustling city that was DS9, and the Defiant just felt like a powerful war machine, but there was nothing quite like the Enterprise-D. It was a posh departure from the original Enterprise, and not only set up the new and different tone of this series but took the entire franchise into new and interesting ways to tell stories. But a Starship is really nothing more than a collection of rooms, and the Enterprise-D had some of the coolest ones in all of the series. So, without further ado, we open the *swish*ing doors on the obvious, throw in a bit of the obscure, but always make it fun, in Outright Geekery’s Top o’ the Lot: Rooms on the Enterprise-D.
Honorable Mention: The Holodeck
Near the end of the 24th century, starships were equipped with Holographic Environment Simulators, rooms with hologrids of omnidirectional holographic diodes capable of creating holographic projections by manipulating photons within force fields. It’s all quite complex, but basically it’s turning a single room on the Enterprise into just about anything you want. All kinds of greatness came out of this ingeniously creative room. It’s where we met Data, it saw the creation of Moriarty, it’s where Geordi fell in love, and Lt. Barclay took the ship truly where no one had gone before. The holodeck quickly became a part of pop culture, and the only reason it’s not higher on the list is because it’s the obvious choice for best room, but it’s really not a fair pick. If I have the option to go everywhere, what’s the point of going anywhere? And the Enterprise-D is just as much about the people as it is the places.
5. The Transporter Room
The Star Trek: TNG Technical Manual describes the transporter system the same way I assume first year cadets memorize and write the answers for their Academy entrance exams. But despite the complexity of the transporter, the room used to hold the high-tech gizmos and hardware used to turn people into molecules and reassemble them across space was always a fun pit-stop on the way to…well, pretty much on the way to everywhere. Besides the coolness of this room – that was first conceived as an inexpensive way to get folks off the ship – no trip through a transporter pad on the Enterprise-D was complete without a visit with one of my favorite crewmen, Mile O’Brien. He may have moved up in the world, and started out as a bridge ensign, but he’ll always be my favorite transporter chief.
4. Commander Riker’s Quarters
Despite having a few semi-famous scenes in a couple of episodes, Commander Riker’s Quarters are famous for one very special thing: The weekly senior staff poker game. These get-togethers helped signify the fraternal relationship of the crew, kept Captain Picard a safe distance away as was his way, and really helped make the moment in the final episode of the series when Jean-Luc finally joins his bridge-mates for a hand or two. Above all else, the very idea of individual crew quarters was never-before-seen in Trek, and it really highlighted the sheer size and scope of Enterprise and her mission. It’s one of my favorite rooms on the ship because I so want in on one of those poker games, and I wouldn’t mind a sax solo or two once the synth-ohol really gets flowing. It’s a party most of the time, but it’s not a bar. But there IS a bar.
Located conveniently enough on deck 10 in section 1, the social hub of the ship, the lounge known as Ten-Forward was a messhall for the 24th century starship. Not seen on screen until the first episode of season 2, it was retroactively added to Trek continuity in the series finally, but the real perks of Ten-Forward was all the excitement. A great view, the best barkeep in the galaxy Guinan, and happenings like multiple weddings, all kinds of parties, funerals for phased engineers and ensigns, and way too many games of Three-Dimensional Chess to count. Yes the Enterprise has all kinds of entertainment venues, sports gyms, and science stations to keep anyone busy for a lifetime, but give me a replicator, a menu, and a limitless supply of everything, oh yeah, I’m happy. And it’s the best view in the galaxy. They never show the view from Ten-Forward when a Borg Cube, for example, is opening fire, but I bet it’s a great one.
The term “Warp Engines” have become so synonymous with Star Trek that it’s hard to imagine a series that doesn’t stress an emphasis on the Engineering set, but prior to TNG, that’s pretty much exactly what we got. Almost an afterthought of the The Original Series, the Engine Room became a Trek mainstay due in great part to the amazingly well-done creation of the Enterprise-D’s Main Engineering room. This updated reactor pit featured the same computer panels and high-tech look of the original, but added that oh so cool looking incandescent light bulb powered behemoth of a warp core, which really distinguished the Enterprise-D’s Engineering section, and every warp core and Main Engineering room to follow would be based on this effort. Although way too many cool things happened in Engineering to list here, the biggest appeal of this room on the Enterprise-D was its Chief Engineer, Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge. Despite being a great engineer, and an even better character, Geordi, with his seemingly out of place visual disability, bridged the gap between a high-tech, problem-solving future and the imperfect humanity that was at the heart of Star Trek storytelling. The “pool table” in the center of the room made the cooperation of the team of engineers on-board the Enterprise feel like that much more of a team, and where else can you control every single aspect of running a Galaxy Class starship? Oh, yeah, the Main Bridge.
1. Main Bridge
By all measure, the Main Bridge is THE room on the Enterprise-D. It’s where all the coolest characters hang out, it’s where all the big decisions are made, and it’s where just about everything worth happening to a starship first happens. While previous starships’ Bridges put the Captain in the lone center of the bustling heart of the ship, the Enterprise-D gave a lot of attention to the left and right hand of the captain, with the 1st Officer and Ship’s Counselor seats given front and center attention. Science and Navigation stations were new and different, but still reminiscent of the TOS Bridge. The Operations Station with its arcing front took the curves of the ship’s exteriors and moved them inside. One of the coolest things about the Main Bridge on the Enterprise-D, however, was the periphery. Science, Engineering, and all sorts of other station lined the back wall, and it was at these stations where a lot of the detective work that was most of the Enterprise crew’s mission was done. But that periphery also included the Captain’s Ready Room, the Bridge Conference Room (two places that quickly became popular meeting areas), as well as the now famous dedication plague that has been seen in so many other ships of the fleet. On my visit to the Enterprise-D, the Main Bridge is the final stop of the tour, but it’s by far the coolest.
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