Operating modes are utilized by Starfleet to indicate the readiness level of the crew and the facility during a mission. These are also known as Conditions in some situations.
Condition: Green, or Cruise Mode, is the basic level of readiness for any Starfleet facility. During this mode off duty crew are able to pursue R&R activities and all shipboard activities are permitted, provided they do not conflict with another approved activity.
Condition: Blue – also known as Blue Alert – is a status level called when an installation is facing an increased level of readiness. Typically a Blue Alert is called when an uncommon incident has occurred such as a critical failure in the life support or energy generation systems, separated flight mode is being engaged, a ship is landing on a planet, or a vessel is preparing to dock at an outpost.
Condition: Yellow, or Yellow Alert as it is also called, is a stage of elevated alert aboard a Starfleet installation and signifies an increased level of readiness amongst the crew. In addition, Defense screens and Shields are brought to full power should they be needed, but offensive systems are not engaged in order to prevent the escalation of a dangerous situation. When in this level of readiness some nonessential activities are automatically cancelled and R&R time could, potentially, be cancelled. The Captain or Duty Officer normally call for this alert level; however, the Main Computer could also call for Yellow Alert depending on the situation (such as a perimeter alert from an unknown vessel, a spaceborne hazard having been detected by sensors, or a system malfunction).
Condition: Red – also known as Red Alert or General Quarters – is the highest level of readiness onboard a Starfleet installation. Traditionally this level of readiness is engaged when a station or vessel is facing an emergency situation including the possibility of engaging in combat. When called all crew aboard will report to their duty station, armed security teams are deployed on all decks, medical teams are prepared, system diagnostics begin on essential systems, shields are brought to full power, and offensive systems are readied for use. All secondary and nonessential tasks are cancelled during a Red Alert, as well as all crew R&R. Normally called by the Commanding Officer or the Officer of the Watch, the Main Computer could also automatically engage this Condition depending on certain events being detected (such as a critical systems failure, an intruder being detected, a perimeter alert by a known threat force vessel, or a severe spaceborne hazard having been detected by sensors).
Condition: Gray is an emergency alert aboard a Federation installation designed to conserve power. It allows for maximum power conservation by carefully budgeting a starship’s energy resources during a time of crisis, while still maintaining an operating status. As part of this situation a vessel will enter into reserve power during this mode and cutting power to non-essential decks and ship systems is discontinued. While more commonly used to conserve energy, Condition: Gray may also be used by a Starship in order to “Play Dead” while conducting espionage missions or to lull an opponent into a false sense of security.
Condition: Black is an uncommon state of readiness found aboard Federation affiliated vessels. Black Alert is an alert signal used on Starfleet vessels to signify that the ship was operating a experimental Propulsion System.
For a more comprehensive discussion of many of these processes please visit Emergency Procedures for more information.
Condition: Auto Destruct
Condition: Auto Destruct is an alert mode signifying that the Commanding Officer has initiated the process to destroy the station/vessel in order to prevent it from falling under hostile control or the structure has become a danger to others within the galaxy. During Condition: Auto Destruct staff will initiate the process to evacuate the vessel by whatever means are available. Any installation entering into Condition: Auto Destruct will also have, by default, Condition: Red initialized. In the event that Condition: Auto Destruct being initialized may make a hostile power aware that the station/ship is facing immediate destruction, the Captain may give the order to silence warnings.
Condition: Collision is an order issued by the captain or first officer indicating that a possible collision with an interstellar object was imminent. During this alert all personnel are advised to secure their stations and prepare for impact.
Condition: External Support
Condition: External Support indicates that an installation – typically a Starship – has docked with another structure. During this mode shipboard systems are typically subservient to the power distribution systems of the structure which it has docked with. In addition, in most instances, a skeleton crew may remain aboard the vessel due to the reduced demand upon the vessel.
Condition: Evacuation is an evacuation alert used to signal a mandatory evacuation of a certain deck, ship, planet, or starbase and is normally only used during a catastrophic event.
Condition: Fire is a specialized alert status aboard Federation starships that prepares the crew for possible fires aboard the installation, usually caused by damage to ship combat or contact with unexplained phenomenon.
Condition: Fortress is an alert status, used in conjunction with Red Alert, to increase the tactical capability of a Starship or Station. During this mode all available power is transferred to Defensive and Offensive Systems to provide maximum survivability in combat. All shipboard functions are rerouted to tactical purposes with a focus on maximum sustainability to for the installation. While any installation may enter into this mode, it is more commonly found on Battleships, Carriers, and Starbases.
Condition: Intruder is an automated alert warning indicating that an unauthorized person had been detected aboard a starship or space station. During these alerts nonessential personnel are ordered to remain at their stations or in their quarters while security searches for the intruder.
Condition: Separated Flight
Condition: Separated Flight is a feature developed by Starfleet designed to allow vessels consisting of a Primary and Secondary Hull to disconnect those sections from one another in order to accomplish an objective or to escape a dangerous situation. While some vessels have been designed to reintegrate on their own, for others this scenario may require outside support to accomplish.