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Old May 8 2011, 09:13 PM   #12
Re: Beyond the Farthest Star vs. Once Upon A Planet

And the belts do have largish "fanny packs" on the rear. Some kind of very compact air tanks and CO2 scrubbers could be in there.
TOS already featured breathing masks packing their rebreathing gear or extra O2 in much smaller space - see "Squire of Gothos". The air supply doesn't seem to present a problem, really. Instead, the remaining bulk of the belts makes one wonder what other functionalities are hidden there!

It's a convenient plot point, having everyone in force-field belts so they won't be killed when the entity shoots phasers at people, but it's hard to reconcile with the rest of Trek, even the rest of TAS.
As you say, "Beyond" would be inconsistent with "Slaver Weapon" if we assume that the belts protect our heroes from hurt-level phasers in the former and then note that they don't even stop stun phasers in the latter. But why should we think the belts do protect Kirk from the disciplinary phasers in this episode? After putting on his belt (a necessary move because the entity has just turned off life support), he repeatedly gets hurt, by phasers that are fired so that he would obey the beast; they aren't set for kill, then. Subsequently, he surrenders to the beast; this is what makes the alien stop firing at him, not any protection offered by the belt! So there's no inconsistency there or elsewhere: portable forcefields manufactured by Starfleet are never shown to be capable of stopping kill or even stun phasers.

And why would it be necessary for the whole crew to immediately go to the belts just because life support got shut down on their decks? It's not like the air would go anywhere in a hurry.
Life support was deliberately shut down in order to hurt those people. Certainly they'd be within their rights to take exceptional, maximal protective measures!

If I had to go EVA I think I'd rather have a self-contained environment around me that didn't rely on some power source that just might cut out and then leave me totally exposed...and immediately dead.
(Such as a spacesuit?)

For all we know, forcefields are less prone to catastrophic failure than mechanical suits. It's inconceivable that a forcefield would get punctured, for example. Just install a failure-proof power pack there; Starfleet must have plenty of those in stock, or else its starships would go kaboom at random when antimatter containment hiccuped...

I sort of wish they had introduced the belts in TOS already; they are tech on par with the magical transporters and phasers, while the tinfoil suits and later rigid suits of armor look rather anachronistic in comparison.

Timo Saloniemi
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