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Redshirt is a slang term for a minor stock character of an adventure drama who dies violently soon after being introduced in order to dramatize the dangerous situation experienced by the main characters. The term originated with fans of the science fiction television series Star Trek, from the red shirts worn by Starfleet security officers and engineers, who frequently meet their demise during the episodes.
In many episodes of the original Star Trek series (1966–1969), operations officers (such as security officers), who wear uniforms with red shirts, accompany the main characters on landing parties. The red-shirted characters usually meet their demise soon after the mission gets underway.
In the Pocket Books Star Trek novel Killing Time, a crew member says, "you don't want to wear a red shirt on landing-party duty." In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine book Legends of the Ferengi, an entry comparing the life-span of various beings with the shelf life of gold-pressed latinum includes the entry "Lifespan of a Federation hew-mon working for Starfleet security: Rarely survive beyond the second act break".
The eleventh Star Trek film features a red-uniformed character who joins Kirk and Sulu's landing party and, in homage to the original series, dies soon after the mission's start.
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