Starfleet uses a large number of security procedures and protocols to safeguard the lives of its personnel, and to prevent valuable Starfleet resources from falling into the wrong hands. 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 preparation for General Quarters are modified occasionally to take new technology and security procedures into consideration.
General Quarters Levels
- General Quarters 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.
- General Quarters Two - The level always occurs when the starship is on 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.
- General Quarters 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.
- General Quarters 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.
- General Quarters Five - All turbolifts 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.
- General Quarters 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.
- 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.
General Security Procedures
- Security Clearance - Occasionally Security Officers will come across information that exceeds their Clearance. In those instances, they must secure the data without further examination and deliver it to their Senior Officer. If field agents are ever forced to reveal classified information, they should reveal as little as possible and express it in the vaguest terms.
- Surrendering - Sometimes Officers are captured by enemy forces. If capture does not jeopardize the mission, an Officer may surrender. If the Officer has a particularly high Security Clearance, they should consider a more permanent method of keeping those secrets.
- Hostage Situations - 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.
- Taking Prisoners - In accordance with Starfleet ethics codes regarding the taking of life, Security Officers should always attempt to stun or otherwise non-permanently incapacitate hostile individuals irrespective of alleged crimes. Standard Starfleet phasers are equipped with sixteen beam settings to ensure that almost any life form can be safely stunned. The gratuitous taking of life, or taking perverse pleasure in the same, is unacceptable for any officer.
If working on a friendly or UFP member world, Starfleet personnel should turn any prisoners over to the local authorities and should not attempt to influence any trials or judgement of the accused. Starfleet officers are to be reminded that Federation law is not universal- much as the Federation expects visitors to its worlds to obey its laws, Starfleet Officers should respect the laws and customs of every world and society they visit. Possessing Romulan Ale may be illegal within the Federation, but a Romulan ambassador who possesses the same on Romulus has committed no crime and should not be punished.
- As one would expect, the Senior Officer should take great care not to place her starship, crew, equipment or data to undue risk to transport enemies unless there is little reasonable chance that the enemy can take over the ship. However, compassion and dedication to the preservation of life is paramount- even for openly hostile species, the best of medical care and sheltering should always be provided if at all possible.