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Old October 14 2012, 08:27 PM   #28
Re: exterior surface markings of Kirk's Enterprise

That would mean that Enterprise is only capable of studying one, or at most two (assuming another pod in the symmetrical location on the other side of the ship), ion storms ever without a base layover.
Judging by the shape the ship was in after its one known encounter, I think this is not a bad assumption...

The phenomenon was also encountered only once by our heroes, or by any other set of onscreen Trek heroes for that matter (indeed, most sets never met this specific phenomenon, only comparable ones by different names). Everything fits with it being rare indeed - thus warranting these near-suicidal sorties into the belly of the beast by a random starship in the name of science, even though starships might have much better things to do, and even though the Federation might be capable of building special ships or craft better equipped to deal with the storm studies. It just wouldn't do to send dedicated ships on a hunt: every vessel has to stand ready in case she is the one to get lucky and meet a storm.

Really, the only in-story element that calls for the storms not to be super-rare is the fact that Finney was counting on encountering one. But he had obviously spent years if not decades preparing for his revenge, and most of it might have been spent waiting for the perfect storm.

It seems most likely to me that the ion pod(s) are there to study ion storms and other ion-related phenomena but they aren't disposable.
This goes against a command chair button being dedicated to the very act of disposing, though.

Kirk should really have control over the deploying and retracting of this supposed recoverable pod, too, if he has control over its emergency scuttling...

Why can't this whole operation be automated, sparing the risk and exposure of a crewman?
Good question, and the idea of uncrewed deployment answers it. And since an ion storm study is a highly time-critical operation, such uncrewed deployment would rightfully call for priming of the system after probable years of dormancy, in a great hurry, and inside a storm.

This might explain how Finney got out in time without there being any record of it
I'm not sure this should be an issue for the Records Officer, though.

Also, the more elaborate we make the ion pod, the more "accountable" it becomes. Something forgotten in a lone corner of the ship for years at an end would call for assorted precautions if its very operation jeopardized lives. If it's just an automated piece of equipment to be jettisoned to do its job after an expert has checked that it still works and primed its experiments, then nobody is required to anxiously await for said expert to return, ready to offer assistance. After all, the expert has not really left the ship.

Timo Saloniemi
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