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gomtuu20 August 30 2012 04:33 AM

Creepy Eyes
Sometimes I have to take a break from the orignal series. I've watched them all so many times that I kind of don't get the full impact any more. I watched Where No Man Has Gone Before last night with fresh eyes.

I had forgotten how creepy it really was, and how effective it really was. It was especially the glowing eyes in some of the scenes. There is a scene where Mitchel is in the brig on Delta Vega. By the way, why would there be a brig there when even the ore ships call there only once every 20 years? Anyway, Gary was in the background just staring at the camera with his glowing eyes. It was earily creepy in a way I hadn't really noticed before.

When Mitchell first gets "zapped" when they leave the galaxy and they show him on the floor, they linger on his eyes as they are fading to black. The whole episode was much better than I remember it being.

teacake August 30 2012 09:56 AM

Re: Creepy Eyes
I feel sorry for people who don't get the impact, who are blinded by being raised on CGI. It's a helluva episode.

Timo August 30 2012 02:00 PM

Re: Creepy Eyes

By the way, why would there be a brig there when even the ore ships call there only once every 20 years?
Well, it is (in) what the signage specifies as "RESTRICTED AREA". Kirk speaks of monitoring Gary from the "dispensary screen". We might argue that a place that has such extensive medical facilities that there exists a special "dispensary" would also have a quarantine room, which we would be seeing here.

Or a kitchen, a sauna, and a proper brig, for that matter. So interestingly, it's actually a wider issue than it seems at first, and the refinery indeed appears to cater for crewed operations.

Unless we assume Kirk wanted Mitchell to be monitored from the screen at Dr Piper's dispensary aboard the starship... Which makes some sense, at least tactically, but it's odd that this specific starshipboard screen would be used when Kirk's security department no doubt would have many screens available aboard the ship, too. (And no, "dispensary" isn't the name of Dr Piper's overall workplace in this episode - it's called "sickbay" just like in the other episodes.)

OTOH, if ships come all this way to the very edge of the galaxy, perhaps they want to spend a month or two recuperating before a return journey, and these facilities are absolutely needed for this reason. Which reminds me of another question: why is the place visited by "ore" ships?

I mean, ore is dead weight with tiny bits of useful stuff within it. Why should anybody haul ore either to this facility, or from it? Shouldn't the facility remove all the dead weight and allow just the useful stuff to be shipped?

If ships bring in ore which then gets refined, why do they bother to come all this way to the middle of nowhere? If ships just haul away ore that gets refined where civilization is, why does the distant mining site have this vast "automated dilithium cracking station" there?

Oh, well. In any case, I do dig the eyes. Especially as they don't glow or change color or otherwise draw more attention to themselves. They look surprisingly "real" for that reason...

Timo Saloniemi

Ssosmcin August 30 2012 02:23 PM

Re: Creepy Eyes

Timo wrote: (Post 6885161)
(And no, "dispensary" isn't the name of Dr Piper's overall workplace in this episode - it's called "sickbay" just like in the other episodes.)

:) Except for The Man Trap where, for whatever reason, sick bay is called "the dispensary."

Timo August 30 2012 03:13 PM

Re: Creepy Eyes
Good catch!

Perhaps we should declare that specific room of the sickbay, with the bio(psy)beds, "the dispensary", then? :vulcan: :p

Timo Saloniemi

Wingsley August 30 2012 08:08 PM

Re: Creepy Eyes
I went over to and looked up the transcription for this episode. The writing is as gripping on the page as it is watching the live-action. TOS had one clear advantage over so much that followed, even subsequent series and movies with superior budgets: the writing was tailored to tap into your imagination more. In this age of gee-whiz CGI FX and other gimmicks, we tend to dismiss or forget that way too easily.

As far as the one scene goes where they discuss Mitchell in the Briefing Room, making the "ore ships" comment, take a gander below. The writing is superb even without the actors...



KIRK: Mister Scott, would you repeat what you just told us?

SCOTT: About an hour ago, the Bridge controls started going crazy. Levers shifting by themselves, buttons being pushed, instrument readings changing.

SPOCK: And on my monitor screen I could see Mitchell smiling each time it happened, as if this ship and crew were almost a toy for his amusement.

KIRK: Are they right, Doctor? Has he shown abilities of such magnitude?

DEHNER: I saw some such indications.

KIRK: And you didn't think it worth mentioning?

DEHNER: No one's been hurt, have they?! Don't you understand?! A mutated superior man could also be a wonderful thing! The forerunner of a new and better kind of human being!

KIRK: Mister Sulu.

SULU: If you want the mathematics of this, Mitchell's ability is increasing geometrically. That is, like having a penny, doubling it every day. In a month, you'll be a millionaire.

SPOCK: In less time than that, he will have attained powers we can't understand and can't cope with. Soon we'll be not only useless to him, but actually an annoyance.

KIRK: There'll be no discussion of this with the crew. Thank you. (everyone but Kirk and Spock leaves)

SPOCK: We'll never reach an Earth base with him aboard, Jim. You heard the mathematics of it. In a month he'll have as much in common with us as we'd have with a ship full of white mice.

KIRK: I need a recommendation, Spock, not vague warnings.

SPOCK: Recommendation one. There's a planet a few light days away from here. Delta Vega. It has a lithium cracking station. We may be able to adapt some of its power packs to our engines.

KIRK: And if we can't? We'll be trapped in orbit there. We haven't enough power to blast back out.

SPOCK: It is the only possible way to get Mitchell off this ship.

KIRK: If you mean strand Mitchell there, I won't do it!!! That station is fully automated. There's not a soul on the whole planet. Even the ore ships call only once every twenty years!

SPOCK: Then you have one other choice. Kill Mitchell while you still can.

KIRK: Get out of here!

SPOCK: It is your only other choice, assuming you make it while you still have time.

KIRK: Will you try for one moment to feel, at least act like you've got a heart? We're talking about Gary!

SPOCK: The captain of the Valiant probably felt the same way, and he waited too long to make his decision. I think we've both guessed that.

KIRK: Set course for Delta Vega.


Star date 1313.1. We're now approaching Delta Vega. Course set for a standard orbit. This planet, completely uninhabited, is slightly smaller than Earth. Desolate, but rich in crystal and minerals. Kelso's task, transport down with a repair party, try to regenerate the main engines, save the ship. Our task, transport down a man I've known for fifteen years, and if we're successful, maroon him there.
I realize that final transcription of the live-action TV show is almost never identical to what we originally written, but what the actors portray is obviously an evolution of that. Gripping drama, to be sure.

As for the logic behind what Delta Vega appears to be, that's always been curious to me. We must remember that what Delta Vega represents to us is as much based on imagination as anything else in this wonderful story.

Kirk's statements about the planet, including the narrative, seem to strongly suggest that the planet supports some kind of mining operation, supposedly for extremely rare minerals. The presence of an automated station there strongly suggests a robotic mineral extraction operation of some kind.

Of course, in order to make the establishment of any kind of outpost make sense, whatever it produces would have to be unusually valuable. If this automated "lithium cracking station" produces useful dilithium crystals, often touted as the invaluable heart of starship technology, then a distant source such as this would likely be an important claim.

We are told the station is automated, but we never really see anything other than a reasonably clean facility that appears to be well-kept. On a lifeless planet, one that seems to have little or no consistent rainfall, it may be fairly easy to set up an automated system of computer server farms, robots, radio telemetry and backup systems to keep everything "ship shape". Obviously if "the ore ships" come for a pickup only once "every twenty years", the facility's robots must take that long to extract and purify enough dilithium (or whatever else) to make the trip worth it. Still, we are talking about sending starships into deep space-- the galaxy's edge --to retrieve some mineral content. That content would have to be mighty valuable.

Since a term like "Delta Vega" usually refers to a star or stellar system in TOS, we can assume that this planet is the only one with breathable atmosphere in this entire region. (Strange how a lifeless world would have such an atmosphere; oxygen would seem to suggest some kind of life, even if its just oceanic plankton or plant life on land. Stranger still that the planet would be chosen for a mining facility; if there are no other "class m" worlds in the region, it would seem ideal for colonization)

The notion of a full-featured facility, complete with a dispensory/sickbay and a brig, is interesting for an uninhabited world. I see two possibilities: (1: the "cracking station" is set-up as part of a prefab kit that was built many light-years away, hauled out to Delta Vega via warptug, and plopped down at a specified location that a geology/exploration operation designed it for... either that, or a much smaller robotic package was sent there, and the robots built the facility on-site out of locally mined materials, either from the planet or from nearby asteroids... or... (2: a colonization expedition was dispatched here shortly after the Valiant left Earth (maybe a probe discovered the planet and found it to be habitable), so the expedition started to build a colony, discovered minerals of extreme value, but found the planet to not be as attractive to live on as they hoped; maybe the disappearance of the Valiant or some other activity made them think it wasn't safe to live here, so they converted the colony to automation and left.

I prefer to think that either United Earth or some joint coalition of planets sent out a collapsed prefab robot facility on a warptug, and that facility just plopped itself down and started working. The facility contained full-featured living quarters in case a visiting starship's crew needed a little shore leave or repairs. Maybe the brig was included in case the Valiant was lost to local pirates. After all, if you catch a pirate, you gotta have some place to incarcerate him! :vulcan:

Gary Mitchell August 30 2012 10:11 PM

Re: Creepy Eyes
I wonder if the facility is still automated. Kelso and Scotty pilfered some of the equipment to repair Enterprise.

Wingsley August 30 2012 10:46 PM

Re: Creepy Eyes
Sure. The robots simply scraped up some more raw material, fabricated replacements for the pilfered components, and installed them. In fact, I've always scratched my head at the "talented thief" remark. Why would a mining/refining facility on a planet use starship control panels anyway?

SchwEnt August 31 2012 01:33 AM

Re: Creepy Eyes
When I saw the "Creepy Eyes" post, I thought it was gonna about Galt.

Gary Mitchell August 31 2012 04:20 AM

Re: Creepy Eyes
Galt's an amateur.

Wingsley August 31 2012 04:27 AM

Re: Creepy Eyes
Didn't you know that Gary Mitchell was Provider #4?

Timo August 31 2012 08:12 AM

Re: Creepy Eyes
The curious thing is that Kirk knows everything there is to be known about Delta Vega without looking it up. Add to this the fact that our heroes are within spitting distance of the facility after their misadventure. Coincidence? Perhaps not.

The mission to probe outside the galaxy might have involved some logistical preparation. Indeed, Kirk seems to be saying it won't be a one-shot, and may even not be concerned much with exploring what lies on the other side; Kirk's priority is to ascertain whether it's safe to go there, so that others can follow. Quite possibly, Delta Vega might have been established as part of a logistics chain that would allow for Kirk's mission, and for all the subsequent ones.

So, perhaps we should see Delta Vega as the fourth supply stash in Project Vega, akin to what polar explorers have used: a facility offering fuel (those giant tanks) and shelter (the buildings where a simple dusting and flipping of a few switches makes everything inhabitable), and having been established in advance (robotically or otherwise) and subsequently supplied with ore from which the starship fuel (potentially difficult to ship around, or to keep "fresh" for long periods of time) could be cracked, perhaps only as needed, perhaps in a slow and ongoing process.

Yes, the writing is captivating... Save perhaps for Sulu's meaningless and nonsensical contribution.

Timo Saloniemi

Gary Mitchell August 31 2012 09:34 PM

Re: Creepy Eyes
Another great thing about Delta Vega is that you can see Vulcan from your backyard. :D

Timo September 1 2012 10:12 AM

Re: Creepy Eyes
...The beauty of the idea that the name indeed refers to the fourth outpost in the Vega series is that two parallel universes could have their respective Deltas in different places. ;)

In any case, neither of the Deltas seems to have anything to do with the star named Vega. Unless there's a constellation named Vega in the Trek universe, with at least four stars in it? No such thing in our universe.

Timo Saloniemi

Wingsley September 1 2012 05:41 PM

Re: Creepy Eyes
There's another angle to consider. We don't know everything about the Delta Vega facility, since we only see one exterior view and a few limited interior views of it. I don't see anything to establish that it's just a planetside mining facility only. The facility looks large enough that it could support interplanetary robot ships that could mine asteroids for needed materials.

I like Timo's "Project Vega" logistical chain suggestion. Delta Vega could be an outpost to support future outward expansion, perhaps established at a time when starships capable of high-warp speeds was still a dream for Earth. Delta Vega itself represents one of those facets of the STAR TREK Universe, especially the TOS Universe, where we are left to our imagination. We don't see any robots, but we're told the facility is "completely automated; there's not a soul on the whole planet", and yet there's a fully featured, ready-made facility, obviously well-kept and built to accommodate people for an unknown duration on a planet that's described as "uninhabited" and "desolate". To me, this speaks volumes about what Roddenberry and company seemed to expect of the engineering and building capabilities of Earth and allies in the far future. They must have awe-inspiring abilities to be able to not just build faster-than-light starships but also to haul themselves thousands of light-years to build such an excellent station on an isolated frontier, where "even the ore ships call only once every twenty years".

The only things that make me scratch my head: (1: how did this uninhabited, apparently desert world get an oxygen atmosphere, (2: if the facility is totally automated, does that mean there are all these robots like Flint's M4 floating around, just out of sight of the show's characters, or maybe Robbie the Robot, or the Jupiter II Robot, and (3: how were the Delta Vega "power packs" adapted to "regenerate" the Enterprise's engines.

I do have another alternative theory about the Delta Vega station. It could be that Kelso and his crew actually whipped up much of what we saw (the brig, suggestions of a "dispensory", the control room where Kelso was killed) out of kits aboard the Enterprise, simply salvaging cruder, abandoned facilities that were left there by a previous ship. It could be that deep space craft carry "clean up the station and leave it better than you found it" kits for contingencies like this.

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