World Wide Web Fights presents

WWWF Logo by Dan Willis

The Setting

It's just past midnight in the industrial section of Los Angeles. The sounds of a window being shattered roll across the mostly empty streets, adding a burglar alarm to the several car alarms already going off. Steam rises from a manhole cover as Ensign Jackson, Ensign Johnson, and Ensign Smith walk down a dark alleyway. A cat scurries away from them, momentarily masking an eerie humming noise coming from behind them. Ensign Jackson turns to stare directly into a hovercraft full of stormtroopers!! "Monochromes!" The others turn, but it's too late for Ensign Johnson, who takes a laser shot right in the chest. Ensign Smith gets one in the leg but is O.K. They dive behind some garbage cans (which guard them from the laser fire) and fire back. After one stormtrooper is wounded, they drive off, considering their drive-by shooting a success. But it's only the beginning...`

An all out turf war between the "Reds" and the "Monochromes" breaks out. Considering their propensity for dying, not to mention their bad aim, who comes out on top in this gang war to end all gang wars? (No back up from the Empire or the Federation is allowed.)

Red-Shirted Ensigns, Star Trek Stormtroopers, Star Wars

Red-Shirted Ensigns



The Commentary

STEVE: This is a difficult one to call, Brian. After all, neither of these expendable gang members ever lasts more than a few moments before being killed. However, I'm going to have to say that the Stormtroopers are going to win this one (with heavy losses of course). There are a few resaons for this. First of all, the stormtroopers are always killed by the rebels. Against Wookies, Jedis and smugglers, who wouldn't lose? The bad guys always lose. However, the "Reds" are good guys, and they STILL get killed. Pathetic.

Second, look at all the motivation in their lives: if they screw up, Vader is right there to punish them (we're not talkin 'bout no wimpy caning here, either!). They also spend all day on the dreary Death Star, which as far as I can tell, doesn't even have any women on it -- therefore they have projected all of their built-up sexual tension into rage. Stand back, ensigns!

Finally, there's the all-important coolness factor. Everyone knows that the being in a gang is all about being cool. The troopers have armor (who cares if it never works), helmets, and real blaster guns. They just look cool. The ensigns have tacky 70's skin-tight polyester shirts. Their phasers look like toys. Boy, are they cool. NOT!

BRIAN: Steve, you are so far off on so many levels, I don't know where to begin. I guess I'll just take it one at a time:

1.) The "Good Guy"/"Bad Guy" is pure "Ewok Bung" (I refer you and our readers to my scintillating discourse on the subject on Grudge Match IV: Vader v. Kenobi).

2.) When you're worried about dying, you ain't worried about Vader. Also, the Ensigns will be even more sexually uptight because they are constantly surrounded by women but can't touch them (because Kirk has downs on all of 'em). The Stormtroopers don't have the constant temptations, so they won't be as stressed. In fact, I think a lot of them are gay. Did you ever see one of them even check out the Princess?

3.) Stormtroopers may look impressive in that armor, but it's all a facade. The armor (as you mentioned) does no good. The Ensigns, long ago accepting their fragile state, shed any armor and donned the polyester outfits that are good enough for Kirk (and look how he scored). The Stormtroopers are living in denial, something that will only hurt them in this fight.

Now that I have successfully shot down all of your arguments, CONSIDER THIS: Yes, Ensigns die very easily. But it's always in the first 5 minutes of the program! After that they become indestructable!! This first casualty (in the opening scene) will be the only one for the Ensigns. The Stormtroopers, as demonstrated in several movies, are capable of dying throughout.

Let's just say, for the sake of argument, that the only reason the Ensigns die in the first 5 minutes is because that is the only time that they are around. Let's say Ensigns die as easily as Stormtroopers. How many different ways can a Stormtrooper kill an Ensign? Laser blast, neck snap, blow to the head with a blunt object, and that's about it. The thing about Ensigns is that no two of them can die the same way. If one is shot with a laser, then another must be turned to minerals, while the next has the salt sucked out of him, while the next is asphyxiated by a mysterious alien cloud, while the next is stoned to death by hostile natives, and so on (ad nauseum). The Stormtroopers can't do that! They could kill 3, maybe 5 TOPS!! Stormtroopers, who fall easily enough to amateurish Jedi laser blasts, will be as lemmings over the cliff as they approach the vaporizing death of the phasers. Ensigns rule the city by dawn.

STEVE: I thought you talked too much in person, but this is ridiculous. What is this, a novel? It's supposed to be commentary, not ranting & raving. Anyway, you need to brush up on your Star Trek facts. Two counterexamples: 1) In at least two cases ("death by exploding rocks," "death by crystallization"), the deaths occurred well into the episode (at least 15 min, maybe more). 2) In the "death by silicon creature" (AKA "Moving Shag Rug with Pizza Stains") episode, several ensigns died in the same manner. Therefore, by the power vested in me by the State of New York, I declare your points null and void.

BRIAN: Sigh. Why is it that when someone is intellectually whipped they resort to insults and half-truths. Really, Steve, you're sounding more like Richard Gephardt every day. First of all, your "counterexamples" to the 5-minute rule only help me: I'll admit the Ensigns don't become indestructable, but they definitely get stronger throughout the program. Your exceptions only prove the rule. Second, why don't YOU get your Star Trek facts straight!! In "The Devil in the Dark" (the episode you so vaguely refer to) the silicon-based creature in question (which, by the way, is called a "Horta") lays waste to several miners on the mining planet in which it lives - NOT ENSIGNS! One Ensign, of course, is killed as required. (Side note: Space miners, along with Stormtroopers, Ensigns, and mayflies, are the most easily killed beings in the known universe.)

The Results

Stormtroopers (596)


Ensigns (308)

They're dead, Jim

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Voter Comments

I'm afraid I gotta go with Stormtroopers here...the deciding point? Lucas is still alive, Roddenbery is not. Although the loss of Jim Henson does in fact hurt the Troopers...I still think that that frown on their helmets remains quite menacing. And the ensigns...their track record really doesn't make me quivver in fear..Hell they don't even have their own theme music!!! Is there a Federation March when they assemble? NOPE!! But the Empire has forboding music. change my deciding factor in this grudge match to the existence of forboding music..this is the key to striking fear in the hearts of all men.

- radiogai

Since this war rages on for years with minimal results for either side, eventually private citizens get fed up. The constant random shooting in the streets has kept the "good" people of LA confined within their homes. As a result, the ever expanding sale of girl scout cookies has ground to a screaching halt. Fearing that their annual field trip may be cancelled for lack of funds, the Cookie Dozen is assembled by a renegade troop master. Within two weeks, the ten year olds have trained and completed their mission.

Since troopers are never seen out of their armor, the girls are scared by them. They are therefore the ones chosen for elimination. It is decided the Ensigns will be kept as pets and forced to wander the hood peddling cheap snacks. Due to this, the decision of who won is a matter of personal choice.


What you have both failed to realize is that despite the fact that both breeds, ensigns and stormtroopers, have rather little intelligence, ensigns are more likely to take a defensive stance against the stormtroopers, hiding behind rocks as their starfleet academy training has so eagerly taught them. When the Stormtroopers attack, the ensigns will all find places to hide. The initial onslaught will, of course, be horrendous, but in the end, I think that the ensigns, by taking this defensive initiative, will easily outlast the stormtroopers, who have been trained to just shoot blindly and charge inward without regard to personal safety. Ensigns, on the other hand, have seen a great many of their kind get phasered, crystalized, turned to dust, strangled by tribbles, etc, and so they know when to get back. Stormtroopers are always wearing those dark helmets, so they can't see a thing. (hence the "they never once checked Princess Leia out" because they couldn't see the guy in front of them, much less the Princess locked in a dark room.) Face it, the ensigns will fall behind, but in the end, they will overcome the empire's forces. Q.E.D.


On a more serious and anylitical aside. Stormtroopers could sometimes manage to prevail over stick wielding natives (Jawas, for instance). Red shirts are just plain victory impaired.

- Don

It should be noted: several factors you failed to notice.

1.) The coolness factor of the weapons. Stormtroopers have really cool rifles that go "freeeeeow". Ensigns have dinky little pistols that look like Rocket Rayguns that go "zeeeeeeee". No contest.

(It should also be noted that somehwat more futuristic Ensigns have phasers that look like Chiclet boxes.)

2.) The Vader factor. Come on, like Kirk can really inspire dread. That's what important here.

3.) Readiness. There are many different types of stormtroopers. There's the Snowtroopers (who fight in snow) and Sandtroopers (who ride giant lizards) and Spacetroopers (who would have made it into the movies were it not for their scene being cut). However, there is only one type of Red Shirt. Clearly, stormtroopers are far more adaptable than anything else going.

4.) Codenames. Stormtroopers may have names but they don't use them. They call each other TK-42 and stuff. But Ensigns have names, which gives them individuality and bonding, and in a war to the death like this one, that's bad, because it leads to mistakes. "OHMIGOD! Jackson's trapped by enemy fire behind that wreckage! C'mon guys, let's go save...(ZAP!) (ZAP!) (ZAP)! (Thud!)" Whereas with the stormtroopers: "TK-24 is trapped by enemy fire behind that wreckage. His tough luck, I suppose." And then they kill a whole ton of ensigns.

- Christopher Bird

The history of war has been the history of weapons. Let's consider the primary weapons of the two sides. The Stormtroopers carry blasters that fire sizzling laser blasts (high cost movie effects). The ensigns, at best, carry a phaser which fires a phaser beam (low-budget TV hokie). A considerable portion won't even be armed with that, they'll have tricorders or some crazy vibrator gadget. The Stormtroopers'll have a field day; hell, even the Ghostbusters could whup the Ensigns.

- Owen Hsia, Cornell University

Lets analyze this one briefly: 1. Stormtroopers have better weapons and real neat looking armor. Red shirts have ... well, red shirts ... +1 point for the stormtroopers. 2. Stormtroopers come in large bunches, and there is always another bunch tromping up the corridor behind them. The most Red Shirts I've ever seen is two or three. +1 point for the Stormtroopers. 3. People seem to care if the Red Shirts die (shocked gasp, grim determination, etc.). Stormtroopers die & stack up like firewood and nobody notices. +1 point for Red Shirts. 4. Stormtrooprs are motivated by the dreaded Lord Vader. Red Shirts are motivated by that paralysing "non-interference" directive crap. +1 point for the Stormtroopers. 5. Good guys always win in the end. +1 point for the Red Shirts. 6. Both Stormtroopers and Red Shirts traditionally die in droves. -1 point for each. 7. LA is a TOUGH town. Plenty of "natural hazards" to play through. -1 point for each. 8. Star Trek has an overwhelming number of fanboys, which will whine, complain, pout, and generally make pests of themselves. +1 point for the Red Shirts. 9. In their first encounter, the Stormtroopers inflicted more damage then the Red Shirts. I think that this is indicative of things to come. Plus thay had a hovercar - very cool. +1 point for the Stormtroopers.

OK - after careful consideration (Red Shirts 1, Stormtroopers 2), I predict the following: A day-long battle will ensue. Hordes of Stormtroopers will ... storm ... er .. troop ... around, shooting everything in sight. Red Shirts will die, Stormtroopers will die, the rest of the Red Shirts will die. The Stormtroopers will continue their rampage, for the most part shooting each other and spectularly perforating the local citizenry, who will generally defend themselves with vigor. Eventually, the sun will rise and reveal that the Red Shirts are all dead, the city is destroyed (but nobody will notice), and the stormtroopers are nowhere to be found (they mistook the normal LA morning noise and smoke to be a continuation of the battle, and trooped ... er ... stormed .. off to look for it, the surviving stormtroopers eventually wandering out onto the freeway and getting run over).

As there is no duly appointed judge for this event (real shame as his death would have been most spectacular), both the Emperor and the Federation high command declare victory.

While one might reasonably argue that both contestants lost, I'm going to have to call this a victory for the Stormtroopers, by a nose.

- Chris

This is the first time I've been swayed by the arguments. But Brian is correct to note that no two Redshirts can die in the same manner. And, as for the Stormtroopers, well, they got clobbered by Ewoks!!

The real conclusion to this fight will happen when 2 Crips and 3 Bloods notice the rumble and decide to join in. Temporarily putting aside their differences, they rally to slaughter the stormtroopers and Redshirts (the gang-bangers have never lacked for imagination in thinking up new ways for Redshirts to die). Final casualty counts: 500 dead stormtroopers 400 dead Redshirts (50 escape and 50 are sold into slavery) One Blood gets a first-degree burn from a laser burst.

- Rick

Take the Good v. Evil angle. Red shirt Ensign actually means, literally translated, sacrifice to evil. Therefore, they exist only to die. Storm Troopers exist as a puppet of evil forces, they are brainwashed and mindless. They are the helpless victims of the Empire's tyranny. The victim never dies.

Really, this one is only slightly more exciting than watching the old NCC1701 being blown to smithereens by the Death Star. All in all I have only one more thing to say:

He's Dead Jim.

- Love always, El Guardo

There is an important factor that will decide this turf war. Stormtroopers always die in droves. They die no matter what the ratios, whether they be outnumbering their opponents by 2, 20, 100 or whatever. They always lose.

Ensigns only lose just one or two token no-names per show just so viewers will realize that the writers aren't completely one-sided.

This said, I see the fight lasting only as long as it takes to find all of the Stormtroopers, they'll take care of the dying part.

- R. Lee

I quote from a discussion between an LAPD officer and a Korean store owner defending his property during the LA riots:

"Oh and make sure to wear black, It makes you a harder target to hit."

I admit Red is a pretty obvious target, but its still pretty effective at night. (Ask the bloods) The storm troopers in their brighter than whites will be akin to Jimmy Dean's breakfast sausage, fried, lifeless, with a heavy pork aroma.

- tmogi

For years the Stormtroopers have been manipulated quite against their wills into being the foot soldiers for the most horrific totalitarian regime since Reagan. Lets face it: They're on the wrong side, and they know it. Now, given the opportunity to do some real good for a change, ridding the galaxy of legions of two-bit second rate actors, they'd be unstoppable.

- N. Smith

I think that Steve missed a vital point in your arguments. Military Training. Stormtroopers are specifically trained to fight. They have the same type of unit loyalty like modern day special forces units. Ensigns on the other hand must choose a major while they are at Starfleet Academy. And I seriously doubt wether Urban Combat Tactics is a course offered by those wonderful professors at Starfleet Academy. Stormtroopers in 5 hours. After all there is a whole city of them.

- Jonathan Wyse

In many scenes of the StarWars trilogy we see the ST's blasting their way throught the generic rebels and forcing retreats. Ensigns, on the other hand, just wander around, get killed, and call for help. Ensigns are fodder and plot advancement for the bridge crew. Stormtroopers are soldiers that only get blasted by the Lead Characters.


Your assessment of Dick Gephart convinced me.

- Phil

STORMTROOPERS. Wow, what a great, threatening, imposing name for a ruthless horde. Evokative of the Blitzkrieg, V-2, Luftwaffe, weinershnitzel, Jaegermeister, and other horrible Teutonic contributions to civilization.

ENSIGNS. What the hell is an ensign? Stick your thumb between your middle and ring fingers and make a fist. In American sign language, that's an N-sign. Punch someone like that and you'll break your thumb.

Semantics aside, let's look at weaponry. Ensigns are definitely more skilled at hand-to-hand combat (have you ever seen a Stormtrooper throw a punch?) but what are they armed with? Phasers which, like all Federation equipment, can be rendered useless by something as simple as a really big solar flare. Stormtroopers, on the other hand, are armed with laser cannons which, granted, don't have quite as many wacky settings (just STUN and KILL), but they never seem to malfunction and they never 'wig out' in the presence of natural phenomenon (other when being mentally flung toward Darth Vader's hand). The Los Angeles smog will certainly cause some kind of refraction or phase interference which will render the ensigns' phasers useless (or at least change their setting to "mildly irritating rash").

Gang warfare will also be dominated by vehicular combat. Look at what the Stormtroopers get to drive to cruise their turf: the air-cycle thingies, the huge walking elephant-type machines, the Tie fighters, just to name a few. Ensigns do get a handful of slow-moving lightly-armed shuttlecraft, and the ability to transport, but I don't believe any of the ensigns are schooled in transporter operation. The cycles are perfectly designed for drive-bys on the streets of L.A. You can drive and shoot at the same time. Shuttlecrafts are designed for little journeys in a vacuum, and as far as I know, you can't roll down the window and stick out a shotgun.

- David Hyatt

  Ensigns, Ensigns 
  Our brave boys in red
  A few brief moments,
  Then they're dead.

The Ensigns would of course win.

- DReykov

I think it would be more like a mass suicide. The stormtroopers would trip over their own blasters and discharge them in the pants, while the red-shirted ensigns would accidently hold the phasers the wrong way and disintegrate themselves..Oh never mind the stormtroopers would win, they can't hit ANYTHING!

- Chaodyn

Ok, let`s review the typical situation of out beloved Stormtroopers: In combat they are unable to hit the broad side of a planet, but are welcome targets in a firefight. On the other hand, the infamous Redshirt Gang gets killed in a firefight within the first 10 seconds, without even a scratch to their enemy. As these are mutually exclusive abilities, I think, that the universe would come to a crushing halt.

- Ulf Bahrenfuss

Reasons for a stormtrooper victory:

1. They have actually won battles in the past (defeated the jawas and captured Princess Leia). These may not be the most difficult of oponents, but who have Ensigns ever defeated?

2. If the fight lasts long enough, the phasers and laser rifles will eventually run out of power, making the stormtrooper armor of great value in hand to hand combat.

3. Stormtroopers are trained to do only one thing: fight. Ensigns learn other things like navigation, botony, folk dancing. The training edge goes to the stormtroopers.

4. There are more stormtroopers than Ensigns.

5. Finanally, the musical scores to Star Trek suck.

- sll

Well, this time I voted for the "Reds" and the next time I'll vote for the Stormtroopers. Why the schizophrenia? Ben Galanti is my son, and I don't know if he is a red or a white. (The former if he follows me, but then again this is Indiana where even "Hoosier Democrats" are republicans, and real Democrats are suspects.) Oh well, as long as his mom doesn't find out what he does with his spare time. GET TO WORK.

- Paul J. Galanti, Professor of Law, Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis

Hey, what is going on? I vote for the reds and then for the whites, and the second vote isn't tallied because I am thought to be stuffing the ballot box. As a Democrat who lived in Chicago when the REAL Mayor Daley was alive and insulting liberals I take umbrage at the shot about Chicago voting. (Yea, I know the Republicans still say that Daley stole the 1960 presidential election for JFK. But that is only sour grapes because they didn't steal enough votes for Tricky Dick downstate as DAley did in Chicago.) Anyway, I just wanted to vote for the whites because Ben Galanti is my kid. (See last message.) Hell, I wasn't stuffing the ballot box - I just canceled my own vote. Jeesh, what a dummy.

Oh well, you people are probably too young to remember HIZONADAMAYOR Daley (One word). Hell, if you were born after 1970 September 27 my shoes are older than you are.

- Paul J. Galanti

[Yes, your shoes are older than both of us]

Are you kidding? Polyester will stop anything! Them redshirts will take a few losses at first, but that stuff is a miracle substance! Not like any wimpy old white armor them stromtroopers are wearing. Its Agincourt all over again (remember: 500 plucky brits, 10,000 frogs and Harry wins one for the gipper).

- Kramer

The Stormtroopers would easily win. Because of the fact that no major charcters are involved, Good or Bad. StormTroopers can only Kick Ass off camera. On-Camera, there cannon-fodder. Ben Kenobe illustrated this principle in the first Star Wars. When He and Luke find all the dead Jawas, Ben said it could only be Stormtroopers because of the precise shooting and well executed assault and all whatnot. But It happened OFFCAMERA!!!!

Obviously Stormtroopers Are camera Shy(the real reason for the Armor) and Ensigns are just glorified Cameos. Since this won't be filmed, Th Stormtroopers lose all their inhibitions and lay waste to those stinking reds.

- Cliff

This was a tough one -- like the UN, neither Red Shirts nor Stormtroopers are well known for winning battles. On trying to evaluate based on relative intelligence, it came up a wash -- no neural activity detected on either side. (Since the Red Shirts are officers, we might guess that Starfleet Academy has 'special' graduation criteria for the security division.) After careful consideration, it seems clear that, even though the Stormtroopers have the strategic advantages of mobility and experience in urban combat, the Red Shirts will get the upper hand due to tactical advantages offered them by superior equipment -- phasors and tricorders.

Taking stock of their equipment, we know that the Stormtrooper's 'armor' is both clumsy and remarkably useless -- since we know that the typical LA garbage can provides effective cover from a blaster but the armor doesn't, we know just how ineffective it really is. (By the way, was that garbage can made of tin or was it a Rubber Maid [tm]?) We also know, from watching them conduct a search of the Millennium Falcon, that the Stormtroopers remote scanning ability is about at the same level as a beach comber.

On the other hand, since we know that a hand held phasor can blast through solid rocks, we then know that a phasor is more powerful than a blaster, and therefore will cut through Stormtrooper armor like a lightsaber in bantha-butter! Additionally the tricorder is a very effective tool for keeping track of Stormtrooper movements (and even a Red Shirt knows how to use a tricorder).

It seems clear. Certainly after heavy losses, perhaps after leveling the city with phasor fire, the Red Shirt Ensigns will win.

- Stan Kegel

Posit: The Stormtroopers have armor. The armor is 100% useless. Posit: The Stromtroopers are more numerous, and have blaster rifles. Have you ever seen a Stormtrooper hit _anything_? Nope. At least our faithful redshirts with hit one of the bad guys before they die. (It has been proven in a laboratory environment that, left to their own devices, a redshirt will die of no known cause. Probably cancer, since every mouse that enters a laboratory gets cancer. Anyways.) What was I saying? I can't remember. I forgot who I voted for. Oh, that's right, the ensigns, but it will be a phyrric victory, as each and every ensign will die, but the Stormtroopers will wake up from being wounded (ever seen one die? Nope. They just sort of fall down, and get up later. There's actually only 23 Stormtroopers in the Empire, they just all dress alike. Even Vader gets them confused.) I've again forgotten what I was saying. Ah well.

Jack Dracula

Well, it starts out even, with the Reds and the Monochromes taking even losses, but then one of the slightly characterized ensigns loses some friend or lover, and an episode is spent looking into his/her feelings and another follows a supernatural being's quest to rectify the situation. Meanwhile, the Stormtroopers go on the advance and infiltrate the ensign hideout, attacking at dawn of the next episode and forcing the ensigns out of the compound. The ensigns load everything onto a large flatbed truck and take off.

What follows is a long high speed chase down the Santa Monica, with the Stormtroopers sending a small contingent in two choppers and a bus. The troopers in the bus jump over onto the flatbed and engage the ensigns in a rather comical hand to hand fight, and things go on like this, punctuated by occasional collisions with other cars and the two vehicles, untill a new variable is introduced into the situation. The O.J. trial.

You see, earlier in the gang war, on of the phaser blasts sets off a rupture in the space-time continuum, and O.J. is dropped out of Wapner's courtroom as if it had never happened, and the trial is still on. The courthouse, now on wheels, pulls onto the freeway and heads for the two combating factions. The ensigns board, and disperse, some being recruited to back up the lagging jurors, some prosecuting, some defending, the rest just spectating. The stormtroopers, however, just walk in and blow everyone away, starting with the lead attorneys on both sides and working their way back. Ito sits with a very annoyed look on his face, until he finally says, "Finally, what took you so long?" The ensigns are wiped out in minutes.

- Rosalind M. King, Univeristy of Michigan

Of course the ensigns will win, and for two reasons.

a) The stormtroopers are anonymous drones hiding behind masks, and b) This is the '90s!

Being the nineties of course, every government body has experienced budget cuts. The Death Star has been reduced to three troopers on double shifts. (It looks as if there's more because nobody can tell who's behind those masks anyway.) Kirk, on the other hand, has an inexhaustible supply of ensigns (and shirts, but that's another matter). After all, every Federation starship is full of replicators, right? Anyway, when the three tired (overworked) stormtroopers face those ensigns who keep on keeping on... well, I'll draw a veil over the sorry slaughter.

- Christine Hawkins.

The Red Ensigns are at a _major_ disadvantage here. They're good guys, and they're not allowed to slaughter other human beings. Even if the Stormtroopers are trying to kill them, the Ensigns have to stay on the defensive and wait for Kirk and co. to find out _why_ the Stormtroopers want to kill them. And Kirk's not here to help them this time.

The Stormtroopers may not be high-level villains, and so they're not allowed to kill off anyone important, but they have no problems with wiping out fellow cannon-fodder races. In fact, it's atrocities like these that justify a good story. The Forces of Good _have_ to be overwhelmed and expendables slaughtered, otherwise the heroes wouldn't have anybody to avenge. If the Red Ensigns can take care of themselves against the Storm Troopers, who the hell needs Luke or Kirk to take immense risks to strike at the one weak point of an otherwise unstoppable killing machine ?

The Red Ensigns must die. But this will serve as the inspiration for a small but talented group of misfits to destroy the very heart of the Empire.

- Geoffrey Brent

I have to side with Brian here. Ensigns will rule LA (until they meet up with the LAPD, where they will be obliterated in 15 seconds flat). There are several factors that point to the undeniable fact that the red-shirted Ensigns will win this turf war and they are inextricably linked to the uniforms each gang wears:

1) Evolution - 30 years ago, a yellow shirt represented power and command while a red shirt meant near-instantaneous death. Look at the latest incarnation of Star Trek: the Captain wears red while the sacrificial Ensigns wear yellow. If the LA Ensigns wear red, they must be bad-assed and able to survive just about anything. They have the red shirts that denote modern-day power and command. Darwin was right, sort of...

2) Climate - Stormtroopers look remarkably like hockey players. The only hockey players who wear full gear in LA play inside a refrigerated arena. NO WAY could anyone survive the LA heat in those "sauna-suits" (tm). The Ensigns are intelligent and wear a lighter and more breatheable (albeit more flammable) fabric: polyester.

3) Surprise - The Ensigns will only make a subtle wizzing sound (of man-made fabric rubbing against itself) as they run silently through Monochrome turf. Stormtroopers are about as quiet and subtle as a mariachi band at a funeral; even with their propensity for dying from a stubbed toe, the Ensigns will hear the Monochromes approaching from 10 blocks away and set up a counter-attack ambush.

4) Camouflage - Who among the two oddball expendable gangs would be able to hide in a crowd to draw fire away from themselves? You guessed it: the Ensigns. There is no way that a Stormtrooper can fit into any kind of crowd in LA (except maybe the S&M crowd, but they usually come out at night). Ensigns will be mocked by bystanders but at least they won't stick out like mannequins come to life.

5) Headgear - Ensigns intelligently choose not to wear headgear because they know it gets you into trouble in major urban areas. As Stormtroopers run through the city, many motorists will mistake them for bicycle couriers and run them over. The ensigns not only avoid car bumpers, the motorists do half the killing!

Why anyone would pick the Monochromes is beyond me. ENSIGNS RULE! (for once)

- HotBranch!

Here's how I see it: the Stormtroopers comb the city for the Ensigns. Of course, they're totally incapable of doing so successfully. However, during the chase, the Ensigns will be exposed to all the other threats of LA--earthquakes, fires, flood, smog creatures, cops, etc. Eventually the Stormtroopers will report that the planet shows no sign of Federation activity, get picked up by a Star Destroyer, and go home. The gang leader will get promoted to one of those guys who gets strangled by Vader, and a few more redshirts go on the Federation KIA roster.

- Cardinal Ximenez, University of Michigan

So here's how it goes: The Red-Shirts are immediately taken control of by The Good Looking Charismatic Red-Shirt Who Seems To Turn Up In Other Episodes But We Can Never Quite Place Him... He rallies his men into one section of the town where they immediately start building elaborate makeshift defenses out of the rubble, abandoned cars, etc...Once done they send out scouts to check for hostiles. Only 1 returns of course, the others having been killed by laser fire/falling off High Places, etc...

The Stormtroopers simply come blundering in full tilt firing wantonly in every direction, causing buildings to crumble, and blasting equal amounts of Red Shirts and each other. Notice that Red Shirts are the only beings in the galaxy that Stormtroopers can hit (Did you see even 1 Ewok die from a ST? Just 1?!).

Finally, once the dust settles it will come down to The Charismatic Familier Guy and one lone Stormtrooper. Having expended their ammo they'll duke it out Star Trek style until they get tired, whereby they'll just play marbles until a Meaningful Character from either universe comes in to finally settle the whole thing. End of war.

- Adrian

LONG, LONG AGO IN SPACE, THE FINAL FRONTIER (AP) -- As both sides see the need for a single, dramatic conflict with a full orchestra, the Stormtrooper team, led by Darth Vader, has agreed to take on the Nameless Ensigns, led by Commander Spock. Spock is filling in for Capt. James T. Kirk, who had a prior engagement with a green alien chick. But the contest is almost underway at a packed Coliseum, and John Williams is ready to start the musical score.

The first half is underway as Lord Vader instructs his troops to open fire on the Federation scum. Spock, on the other hand, orders the Ensigns to set phasers on stun and only fire warning shots into the air, in accordance with his pacifist nature. The ensigns find little cover on their half of the playing field, which is decked out in "desert with assorted foam rocks" motif, but the Stormtroopers' "EZ-miss" Imperial blasters never come close to the ensigns. The score is 1-1 at the end of the first half; one ensign wanders off the field into the Sarlacc pit, while a stormtrooper's body armor malfunctions and destroys the hapless Imperial.

The second half is where the action really picks up; one of the ensigns is a carrier of a lethal alien virus he contracted while on vacation at Risa, and a debilitating epidemic spreads throughout the entire team. Without Dr. McCoy to whip up a cure, the disease rampages unchecked, but Spock (taking a cue from that Tribble fiasco) simply beams all the virii over to the Imperials' side of the field. The virus mutates and simply causes a degeneration of mental abilities, which doesn't affect the 'troopers too much, but they do start shooting each other for lack of a better target. Vader retaliates by bringing the styrofoam rocks crashing down on the second away team to beam down in the Ensigns' aid, bringing the scores up slightly in the Imperials' favor. At the end of the second half, the score is 395-360, with the Stormtroopers coming out ahead.

The third half (heck, why not?) is where the contest comes to a head. Vader tries to choke the Ensigns by using the Force, but as he's so used to choking Imperials, he kills off half of his forces before he realizes his error. Luckily, the reinforcements arrive quickly. Meanwhile, another ensign wandered off the field and encountered a large, furry, belligerent alien (who's really just misunderstood because of petty human biases and prejudice). The ensign is pursued onto the Imperial side of the field; a group of Stormtroopers, mistaking the alien for a Wookiee, run away in fear and fall down one of the horribly long maintenance shafts scattered about their side of the field. This diversion gives Spock time to sneak over and give Vader the Vulcan neck pinch, rendering the Stormtroopers leader-less. The troopers scatter and fire at the Ensigns from two sides, but they only succeed in killing each other, leaving the Starfleet officers untouched. At last the field is a mass of blaster smoke and dead bodies, but the carnage has ended, leaving a small group of cowering ensigns. The ensigns finally beam back to the Enterprise, and while most of them die in horrible transporter accidents, enough of them survive to take home the trophy. So, the Red-shirted ensigns win, with a score of 2,369-2,105. It was a good game, folks, and I'm sure it will be remembered for years to come.

- MacMan

It'll take a while, but eventually the ensigns will win. They know how to duck.

- ArchBishop, Univeristy of Indiana

Let's go back in time. Back to the Wesley vs. Barney - Grudge Match(tm?) As we recall, Luke Perry was the referee. Ever since that flying chain-saw "accidentally" hit him in the face, he has held a grudge against ensigns (and huge purple dinosaurs).

The Stormtroopers recruit Luke Perry who instantly breaks out into a rousing rendition of 'Mr. Tambourine Man' (taken from the 1968 album 'The Transformed Man' by a Mr. William Shatner).

The ensigns begin to surrender but the Stormtroopers nuke them anyway, in the process killing everyone but two Stormtroopers and Luke Perry (damn!!!).

Victory Stormtroopers.

- Shashi Suresh Malkani, Rice University

The storm troopers will win . Here's why.

One of the Ensigns (or stupid assholes in red , as the are commonly called) will develop a cunning plan, ( and one that has been used so often it is almost a cliche) he and about 100 other stupid assholes in red , will kill a stormtrooper each and then use the uniform to disguise themselves. There is a flaw in this plan however, they forgot to tell all of the other stupid assholes in red about it.

While the Stormtroopers (the ones who haven't shot themselves in the foot yet) will be touring the whore houses and ridding themselves of some pent up urges, one lot of ensigns will be blowing the crap out of the others all dressed as stormtroopers.

Ensigns will loose , because stupid people trying to be smart always loose.

- Anonymous

Stormtroopers have nothing to live for. Imperial rations, arbitrary strangulation by Vader, and drop-the-soap games in the shower is their lot. Ensigns, on the other hand, are sensitive human beings (you can hear them scream) with complicated inner lives. Unfortunately, we never get to see them, because they die too early.

It is a known fact that stormtroopers die when ever a blaster shot goes off within two parsecs of their position. Ensigns are not quite as fragile; usually they get wiped out because of an ambush by a Horta, for instance.

I say at least three stormtroopers die for each ensign. So unless you unload the entire Death Star ...

- Adam

There are ensigns who've actually moved on, and played prominent roles. I mean, Kirk and Spock started out as ensigns, right? See? I'll bet Darth Vader was never a stinkin' stormtrooper. And don't even try and argue for the officers of the Empire. They're a bunch of stinkin' pansies too. Eventually, one of the ensigns would be raised in rank and then would become immortal. I mean, in the actual tv shows, who's died? Tasha Yar. That's it. And anyway, she was a blond. Oops...did I say my name was Johnny? I meant...uh, Steve.

Thanks for reading,

- Johnny

Well as tough a battle as this would be to call, you guys forgot about the most important, nasty, infamous gangs of street thugs that roam the streets of L.A.- the Cylon Centurians (from 'ol Battlestar Gallactica).

Now, while the Stormtroopers and Redshirts never manage to do anything right, just look at the Cylons (sp?). In the first episode alone, they take out the 11 of the 12 Battlestars, kill the human leader, and exterminate all life on the human's planet, sending our main heroes running for the lives for the rest of the series. (OK, so they didn't really achieve much success after that point- maybe they weren't trying as hard.) Anyway, I figure that the Cylons could wipe out either of the aforementioned groups without working up too much of a sweat. (Besides, they had cool looking guns with bayonet-things on the end of them.) So, all one really has to do is determine which side the Cylons will take, and you have your winner. Here's how I think it will go.

Within the first hour of the turf war, 90% of both forces will be dead. Realizing that this thing is headed for mutually assured destruction, both groups petition the Cylons for help. Given the fact that the Cylons hate humans (and they kind-of look like the Stormtroopers...) they will wipe out the remaining red-shirts with no problem. (They probably think that the Stormtroopers are mechanical too.. and you said the armor wasn't good for anything.) Later on, when the Cylons realize that the Stormtroopers are human, too, they eliminate them. (Though this, being off-camera, is probably a tough fight. Stormtroopers do pretty well off-camera. Heck, they killed Uncle Ben, Aunt Veru, and the Jawas (all off camera.) It's only when they're the center of attention that they get killed.)

This sets up a huge match between the new lords of L.A. (the Cylons) and the A-team/Battlestar Gallactica crew. (Can you imagine an armor-plated starship/tractor thing? I envision Lorne Greene calling his animal friends to his aid and Mr. T mowing down rows of Cylons....) I think the public is dying for this one...

Thanks!! - Scott

Dude its obvious the stormtroopers would win. Not only do they look nastier but they have industrial strengeth underware.

- James

I am really sick of Kirk using me and then throwing me back onto the pile of poor used Kirkettes. Therefore, I am vowing that should the Ensign's win this grudge match, I will be the woman that Kirk cannot have and I will make the Ensign's a VERY happy group of men. I voted for them because I want to have sex with someone not old enough to be my father... and minus the beer belly too ; )

- Crisha

The Ensigns will win. Wanna know why? Glad you asked!

Considering all the factors, generally the two sides are evenly matched. Assuming both sides have equal numbers and the LAPD (or OJ Simpson) doesn't decide to just exterminate the both of them, it comes down to medical technology. From what I've seen, Federation medical technology is lots better than anything the Empire has come up with. I mean, Spock survived days without a brain. Have you seen any stormtropper brought back to health? I suspect that whenever one of them gets wounded, they just throw them down one of those bottomless shafts (so that's what they're for!) that seem to be the basis of Star Wars architecture. McCoy, on the other hand, either says "He's dead, Jim" or brings the person back to active duty. With ensigns being recycled by Federation doctors, it becomes only a matter of time before the stormtropper casulties start adding up and the "Reds" overwhelm them. "Monochromes" are no more within six months.

- Paul

I am somewhat surprised to see this particular grudge match, considering that it was fought to a conclusion some time ago in real life. Obviously, however, the story of the battle has failed to come out so I will recap:

During the suicide attack of the Enterprise Vs. the Death Star, a number of redshirts beamed into my division's section in a futile attempt to capture the super laser's control center. We were caught by surprise by the transporter, but with superior Imperial discipline the troops quickly regrouped and organized a resistance.

Right there you can see one of the Empire's big advantages over the feeble Federation; communication and command structure. While the redshirts fumbled around with their clumsy communicators and without clear leadership, we were in constant contact with tactical command and with each other through our helmet radios and displays.

Second, and of no less importance of course, Imperial Stormtroopers recieve the most intensive and advanced training available (sometimes from birth). Efficient, capable, and unquestioningly loyal, that's us! Those redshirts seemed to have no reflexes or motivation whatsoever. Add to that the fact that they were on our home ground and hopelessly outnumbered, and they would probably have surrendered (had we been ordered to take prisoners, of course).

Thirdly, we were better armed than the redshirts, who had only hand weapons. Their "phasers" had a slow rate of fire, and wasted vast amounts of energy vaporizing their targets instead of just punching holes in them. While the exact rate of fire and shot capacity of Imperial blasters are classified, they outstrip the Federationer's easily.

Clearly, the Federation has wimpy troops and a poor military budget. How could they have anything else, lacking a draft and strong control of it's planets to enforce taxation? We defeated them easily that day, as we will in any encounters we may have in the future.

P.S. My barrack-mates and I would like to request a recount of the votes in the "rematch" between Lord Vader and that rogue jedi, Obi-Wan.

- Bryan

I'm definitely going with the Stormtroopers on this one -- The cool armor definitely helps. Also, there has been no study conducted on the actual penetration of phaser vs. Plastic body armor -- I can tell what blasters will do poly / rayon blend though ... (think .357 vs. Kleenex). And look at the quality of the ensigns -- they were even going to let Wesley in !!!!

- Graham

They're all expendable! So kill all of them! Kill Kill Killl!!! Death Death Death. On second thoughts why don't we all invite them to a dinner party so they can sort out their differences?

- Mad Mick

It's a cute idea, but I don't think it's going to work:

STEVE: Woah! Nice move from Ensign Smith there, Brian.
BRIAN: Ensign who?
STEVE: Ensign Smith.
BRIAN: Which one is that?
STEVE: That one over there.
BRIAN: Hate to correct you, Steve, but that's Ensign Kelly.
STEVE: Ah, no it's not, Brian.
BRIAN: Ah, yes it is, Steve.
STEVE: Ah, no it's not, Brian. Ensign Kelly is that one over there.
BRIAN: No, Ensign Kelly is that one. The one in the red shirt.
STEVE: They've all got red shirts, Brian. And it doesn't matter any
more anyway, because Stormtrooper Wolon has just killed both of them
with one shot. Nice move on the part of Stormtrooper Wolon.
BRIAN: That's Stormtrooper Fedil, Steve.
STEVE: It's Stormtrooper Wolon, Brian.
BRIAN: It's Stormtrooper Fedil, Steve.
STEVE: It''s a goddamn walking Toyota Celica is what it is,
Brian, I need a drink. Where's the goddamn commmercial?
BRIAN: Cue the commercials! I'm buying.
STEVE: Look, another one of those ensigns has just killed another one
of those Stormtroopers.
BRIAN: I didn't see it.
STEVE: Neither did I. I'm outta here.
BRIAN: Right behind you, Steve.

[Several minutes of commercials]

STEVE: Well, we're back! Back--dammit--to WWWF Grudge Match, red-shirted ensigns Imperial
Stormtroopers. Ah. Well, this is an interesting development. Um. Well.
Ah, your analysis, Brian?
BRIAN: They're all dead, Steve.
STEVE: What, all of them?
BRIAN: Yes, Steve.
STEVE: What, Ensign Smith?
BRIAN: He's dead, Steve.
STEVE: Ensign Kelly?
BRIAN: He's dead, too, Steve.
STEVE: Stormtrooper Wolon? Stormtrooper Fedil?
BRIAN: They're dead, Steve, Steve, they're dead, they're all dead,
Steve, they're dead, they're all dead, Steve.

[A beat]

STEVE: Wait a minute. Are you trying to get me to do a "Red Dwarf"
reference on a Trek newsgroup again?
BRIAN: Already have done, Steve.
STEVE: Oh. Well. I think you're right, Brian. I think they're all
BRIAN: I think we should have stayed in the bar.
STEVE: Well. In a surprising conclusion, WWWF Grudge match ends and
the winner is...Um...
BRIAN: Um...
STEVE: Ah...
BRIAN: Um...A tie! That's it! Yeah, a tie!
STEVE: Right! a tie! Ends in a tie, and we
have...ah...forty-three minutes of air time left...Ah, what shall we
do now, Brian?
BRIAN: Update our resumes?

- Macduff

The stormtroopers can't hit a thing, but the redshirts must die. So the Stormtroopers will win when the redshirts are killed by a falling piano.


The Stormtroopers in a landslide. Here is the key fact to deciding the match: The Red Shirt Ensigns have never actually killed anything. They are honor-bound to a very strict code of passive aggression. The only way a Red Shirt can enter the afterlife is to be horribly mutilated by an aggressive alien or killed in pointless battle. For a Red Shirt to strike out against another organism is heresy. The only reason the Red Shirts were allowed on all those landing parties was because the Federation Supreme Court ruled that the Red Shirts had to be allowed to practice their religion and seek out slow, agonizing death.

Stormtroopers, on the other hand, are proven killers. O.K. Blasting an Ewok isn't much to brag about. Particularly when you lose the battle to the lice-ridden disease-carrying parasites. But still, in both the battle of Endor and in the Imperial Assault on the Rebel stronghold on Hoth, the Stormtroopers racked up a reasonable body count. Sure, they didn't kill any of the major characters. But that's O.K. These are the Red Shirts they're up against, not Kirk, Bones, and Spock.

And look at the weapons. Sure, those Star Trek pricing guns are neat if you're trapped on a planet and the temperature is below freezing and you want to warm up some rocks. But destructive power? Not even on the fabled "disintegrate" setting. The Imperial blaster is a real man's weapon. It looks cooler. It has a stronger recoil, which means it must be doing something. And nobody (except the aforementioned major characters) survives a hit from a blaster. So what if the stormtrooper armor is useless! The Red Shirts are still mowed down by the hundreds.

- Dr. Dave

Come on now, let's not get ridiculous! Seriously, I think you guys have lost it. Look at the facts. What is the mission on Star Trek? To bravely explore new wolrds, or some such nonsense. Ensigns are crewmen in training. They study science, philosophy, alien cultures, flower arranging ect. and occasionally get beamed down to planets for the purpose of dying. What do they know of combat!

The mission of The Empire is nothing short of total domination of the known universe! Stormtroopers are the genetically engineered jack-booted thugs designed for this mission. They are trained in marksmanship, Bantha riding, looting, pilaging, and busting heads! Plus they can pile into a hovercraft like clowns in a clown car. The heros in Star Wars are just that, heros. So of course they can cut down goons. But the stormtroopers are very good at pacifying the general population, fighting NORMAL rebel scum, enforcing facism and as stated before, busting heads. Like the ripe melons that rest on top of the shoulders of average Star Trek ensign. I tell you, when the Storm troopers are done with those scrubs, the street will look like the stage after a Gallagher show!

The sexual frustration point is bogus. Why do you think they have a holo-deck? The stormtroopers take out their sexual energy by smashing the puny rebellion, while ensigns release their tension by pulling the pud under the covers late at night while thinking about Whoopi Goldberg.

And those polyester suits?!? Have you seen how polyester burns? Like a roman candle, baby! Sure those funky styles can impress the babes, but they go up quick from blaster fire. Actually, a contest to see who could pick up more babes would have been more interesting. The Stormtroopers are clearly superior in combat and urban survival!


If you liked this match, check out these other past matches:

Death Star v. Enterprise
Other Star Wars based Grudge Matches
Other Star Trek based Grudge Matches

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