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Life-support-belt

Life support belts used in space.

A Life support belt was a type of portable protective technology in use experimentally within the Federation Starfleet in the mid-23rd century.

SpecificsEdit

A gray, metallic belt worn at the waist generated a glowing personal force field. Within the field, pressure, heat and atmosphere remained at class M conditions, allowing the wearer to travel in space, underwater, or in other hostile climates without needing an environmental suit. A charged belt would last for four hours. They were disallowed in combat situations, as a phaser beam could potentially collapse the force field. Starfleet distributed belts on an experimental basis aboard various Constitution-class vessels. (FASA RPG modules: Cadet's Orientation Sourcebook, Star Fleet Intelligence Manual)

An internal belt radio transmitted speech through the force field or between users, allowing conversation without the need of a communicator even in space. However, the field blocked any sense of touch. There was a known upper limit to its pressure tolerance: it could not withstand crushing pressures in a deep ocean. (TAS - Log One novelization: Beyond the Farthest Star, TAS episode: "The Ambergris Element")

Engineering and medical personnel trained in life support technology could repair a damaged belt. (FASA RPG module: Game Operations Manual)

In practical use, the force fields not only withstood prolonged phaser fire for several seconds, but they also endured crushing pressure that would kill a Human. Significantly, they were unaffected by energy absorbers that disabled lights and deactivated equipment aboard spacecraft. They were also versatile enough to be worn over early 2270s security officer uniforms. (TAS episodes: "Beyond the Farthest Star", "The Ambergris Element", "The Slaver Weapon", FASA RPG module: Star Fleet Intelligence Manual)

The normally greenish-yellow glow would flare brighter to signal an impending failure of the force field. (TAS - Log One novelization: Beyond the Farthest Star)

The belts were not available commercially. (FASA RPG module: Trader Captains and Merchant Princes (1st edition))

Service historyEdit

In the late 2250s, the USS Aeolus was attacked by Orion pirates. The ship was nearly lost, and afterwards second officer James T. Kirk discovered a life support belt hidden in the luggage of Cecilia Simons, a visitor he then suspected of being a saboteur. (TOS novel: Enemy Unseen)

In 2269, life support belts were worn by a landing party to explore an insectoid pod ship exposed to open space. They were also worn by the crew after life support was partially shut down by the magnetic organism. It saved the life of Montgomery Scott, who was wearing one when the organism slammed the engineering core hatch on him. Both James T. Kirk and Spock wore belts during their final confrontation with the entity, which protected them from some of the effects of sustained phaser fire from the automatic bridge defense system. (TAS episode & Log One novelization: Beyond the Farthest Star)

A Vendorian impersonating Carter Winston beamed aboard the USS Enterprise from his disabled transport while wearing an activated belt. (TAS - Log Two novelization: The Survivor)

Before a landing party from the Enterprise beamed down to Taurus II in the Taurean system, life support belts were discussed but deemed unneeded. (TAS - Log Two novelization: The Lorelei Signal)

Kirk felt that trying to swim underwater with a belt was too awkward. It was one reason Kirk preferred to use an aquashuttle while exploring the water world Argo in 2269. (TAS - Log Five novelization: The Ambergris Element)

When Kirk and Spock were mutated into water breathers on Argo, Scott wore a belt to talk with them underwater. To treat Kirk and Spock aboard the Enterprise within an aquarium tank, Christine Chapel and Leonard McCoy wore belts. (TAS episode & Log Five novelization: The Ambergris Element)

In 2270, Kirk beamed to a planetoid without an atmosphere to receive a container of stolen strobolin from an Orion privateer ship's captain. Both wore life support belts during the encounter. (TAS episode: "The Pirates of Orion")

In 2270, Nyota Uhura, Hikaru Sulu and Spock wore life support belts while searching for a Slaver weapon on a Beta Lyrae planetoid in the Beta Lyrae star system. Kzinti type-2 phasers were able to penetrate the force fields and stun the wearers. Although a Slaver energy absorber shut down a police web and lights aboard the Kzinti's Traitor's Claw, it failed to deactivate the belts. (TAS episode & Log Ten novelization: The Slaver Weapon)

In 2273 of the Phase II continuity, life support belts would have been used when stepping outside the Enterprise to explore V'Ger, but they became unnecessary after an oxygen atmosphere formed around both vessels. (Phase II episode: "In Thy Image")

Eventually the belts were discontinued on the notion that any belt failure could kill its wearer, whereas a puncture to an environmental suit would give the wearer time to repair it or retreat to safety. (DTI novel: Forgotten History)

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