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Armus controls Data

The Away team on Vagra II.

An away team was a team of specialized starship or starbase crewmembers assembled to perform missions on planet surfaces and other starships.

These missions, deemed away missions, might include exploration, first contact, diplomacy, scientific research, or even combat. These missions are typically launched using a ship's transporter to send the crew to their destination, or by shuttlecraft, when use of the transporter was impossible or undesirable.

See also: List of away teams

22nd century usage

The Earth Starfleet of the 22nd century used the term "away team", most notably by the crew of Enterprise NX-01. Later, the term away team was replaced by "landing party." (ENT: "Observer Effect")

23rd and 24th century usage

The name fell out of favor in the 23rd century with Federation Starfleet personnel. Such a team was referred to as a "landing party" or "boarding party". (Star Trek: Discovery; Star Trek: The Original Series; Star Trek: The Animated Series) The term was also used by Starfleet personnel in an alternate reality in the 23rd century. (Star Trek; Star Trek Into Darkness; Star Trek Beyond)

The term was brought back in the 24th century. In this era, the first officer usually formed and led the away team (Star Trek: The Next Generation). It was standard procedure for the second officer to be part of such a team and for captains not to accompany. (TNG: "Time's Arrow") On the USS Enterprise-D it was custom for the leader of the away team to have total control over the mission, including the allocation of personnel to the team. (TNG: "Peak Performance")

Starfleet regulations, specifically Starfleet Code Section 12, Paragraph 4, recommended against the captain joining away missions. (Star Trek Nemesis) Data once reminded Commander Riker of the captain's place on the bridge, as did Counselor Troi. (TNG: "Gambit, Part I", "The Best of Both Worlds")

It was both the personal policy of Captain Kathryn Janeway and recommended Starfleet protocol that away teams should consist of more than one member. (VOY: "Hunters") Despite this, Captain Jean-Luc Picard specifically sent Data as an away team of one to Vandor IV due to the nature of the temporal distortions occurring there and his unique nature as an android, preventing him from feeling the disorientation that would be experienced by other crew members. (TNG: "We'll Always Have Paris")

Types of away teams

Background information

The type of team tasked with performing away missions was, during preproduction of Star Trek: The Next Generation, to be called an "away-mission team," before this was simplified to become "away team." (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission 1st ed., p. 17) The latter term entered common use at the beginning of The Next Generation, and continued its usage throughout the subsequent television series, up to and including the prequel Star Trek: Enterprise.

A recurring plot device throughout Star Trek: The Original Series was that a red shirted member of the landing party would be dead in the first ten minutes of the episode.

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