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"Don't call it battle stations. Think of something less aggressive."
Enterprise NX Tactical Alert

Commander Tucker observing an Enterprise NX-01 monitor displaying tactical alert

Tactical alert was a security protocol instituted by Malcolm Reed in 2152 while under the influence of dangerous mind-affecting radiation aboard Enterprise NX-01, in response to the perceived number of threats that were being encountered by the starship in their deep space exploration mission. The protocol was kept due to its usefulness. It was a precursor to the color-coded alert system used on later Starfleet vessels.

The alert was designed to automatically bring the ship to battle-ready status when a pre-programmed set of circumstances occurred (for instance, an impact to the hull, or an order from the captain). When a tactical alert was initiated, the hull plating was polarized, the weapons were automatically charged, and critical systems such as the warp core were secured. In addition, all crewmembers would report to battle stations upon initiation of the alert. The tactical alert was initially accompanied by a loud, grating klaxon, which aggravated Captain Jonathan Archer and Commander Tucker, who felt it sounded like "a bag full of cats." The klaxon was not retained in future uses of the alert. While in the process of naming the new condition, the terms "security protocol" and "condition red" were suggested. The term "Reed alert" was sarcastically suggested by Commander Tucker as a name while Lieutenant Reed was working on it, but was later dismissed by Reed as being "a bit narcissistic," whereas security protocol was deemed "not very dynamic." (ENT: "Singularity")

By the 23rd century, tactical alert was replaced in Starfleet by the red, yellow, and blue alert conditions. (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, et al.)

This aside, the USS Voyager utilized a form of tactical alert during its time in the Delta Quadrant in the 2370s. (VOY: "Scorpion", et al.)

It was also an alert status aboard Klingon Defense Force ships to indicate approaching hostile vessels. It was used on the IKS Rotarran during their mission to find and rescue the IKS B'Moth battle cruiser when the Rotarran's sensors detected a Jem'Hadar warship approaching their position near the Cardassian border. (DS9: "Soldiers of the Empire")

The Pralor Automated Personnel Units utilized a tactical alert status aboard their vessels during the 2370s. (VOY: "Prototype")

In an alternate timeline where Chakotay and Harry Kim attempted to alter history in 2390, the Delta Flyer's computer signaled a tactical alert when the USS Challenger approached to apprehend them. (VOY: "Timeless")

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