Re: What is an "ion pod?"
IIRC, in a discussion previously on this very BBS, it was posited that during an ion storm the ship might have to 'shut' all its ordinarily transparent sensor windows... and that the ion pod would essentially be the one 'crow's nest' that would still be allowed exposure to the storm, perhaps because the pod was independent from ship's systems and therefore could not allow an ionized charge in to fry the ship.
Works for me, anyway.
"If you can't take a little bloody nose, maybe you ought to go back home and crawl under your bed. It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross; but it's not for the timid." - Q