Individuals aboard starships may be assigned to separate areas of the ship for Battle Stations, Vessel Evacuation Stations, Damage Control Stations, Intruder Alert Stations, Assembly and Inspection Stations, General Quarters or other degrees of vessel readiness.
There are different levels of General Quarters, a term describing the crew's readiness for combat aboard the ship. On Star Fleet vessels, the degree of readiness ranges from General Quarters One through Six, sometimes called Security One through Six. Each level has its own tactics to protect the ship and its personnel from capture or destruction.
As with other procedures, the preparations for General Quarters are modified occasionally to take new technology and security procedures into consideration. The procedures listed below are complete but can be modified depending on personnel and equipment aboard each vessel.
Security Procedure Levels
Security Procedure Level One:
This level occurs when the starship is on Yellow Alert. There is no obvious change in ship's routine, though one Security Officer may be stationed on the bridge. All Security Officers are issued phasers from the ship's armory. Sidearms are locked on stun.
Security Procedure Level Two:
This level always occurs when the starship is at Red Alert. One or two Security Officers are stationed on the bridge, and one to four Security Officers take up stand-by positions on each non-engineering deck. Fully equipped detachments of four or more Security Officers each may be sent to the transporter rooms and hangar bays.
Security Procedure Level Three:
This level is most often used during an Intruder Alert. Pairs of armed Security Officers patrol every corridor on every deck. Two Security Officers are stationed on the bridge, and the Chief of Security routinely checks corridors via audio-visual and/or infrared sensor monitors. If the ship is so equipped, its Automatic Bridge Defense System is activated. Phaser sidearms are locked on heavy stun.
Security Procedure Level Four:
This level and above are reserved for major boarding attacks or hijackings. Pairs of armed Security Officers wearing Security armor patrol every corridor on every deck. Security Officers are dispatched to guard sensitive areas, including the bridge, auxiliary bridge, engineering, hangar bay, and life support. The hangar bay doors are usually locked shut, and some security bulkheads may be closed, isolating selected areas of the ship. Phaser sidearms may be set to kill.
Security Procedure Level Five:
All turbo-lifts are shut down, and all security bulkheads and hangar bay doors are closed. Security Officers are issued personal breathing apparatus, and some or all decks may be flooded with neural gas, a powerful, fast-acting tranquilizer.
Security Procedure Level Six:
Vents from the engineering fusion chambers are opened, releasing fatal quantities of radioactive gas throughout most decks of the ship. Total crew casualties may run as high as 70 percent. Star Fleet Regulation 2005 is sometimes called General Quarters Seven. This regulation outlines some of the criteria used to determine when a starship's senior officers should implement the vessel's self-destruct sequence.
Innocent bystanders will sometimes become involved in conflicts between Security Officers and their opposition. In hostage or extortion/demand situations, Security must work to safeguard the lives of hostages to whatever extent possible. However, one person or even a large number of people is not more important than the plans for a weapon that could kill millions or billions.
Security Officers will rarely have the opportunity to take prisoners. If working on a friendly or UFP member world, Star Fleet personnel should turn the prisoners over to the local authorities. If they are operating on a neutral or hostile world where such criminals may not be prosecuted for their actions, the Officers should transfer them to the nearest Federation installation or world. Because of diplomatic relations, they may need to do this in secret. Under no circumstances should the Senior Officer risk his starship, crew, equipment or data to transport enemies unless there is absolutely no chance that the enemy can take over the ship.