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Old September 16 2009, 09:01 AM   #121
Mytran
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Re: 1701 warp core?

I'd like to propose an alternative solution to the Ion Pod debate: What if the pod was designed not just to analyse but in fact to disperse an ion storm (or at least clear a path wide enough for the ship)? It might almost be called an anti-ion pod.

The dialogue from the episode suggests that jettisoning the pod was not unusual, perhaps even standard procedure during an ion storm. I imagine that the pod would have to be configured for the unique conditions of each storm (requiring a specialist to do the analysis and adjustments to the pod) and then ejected forward, clearing the path for the ship. The more readings you can take of the storm, the better the clearance abilities. Naturally this would need to be done in the launching bay, in order to continue taking readings up to the last possible minute. Once Red Alert sounds the officer leaves the bay and the pod is ejected.

Kirk's opening log entry mentions the "considerable" damage to the ship. If this was a likely risk, why would they have gone through it at all? The conversation on the bridge suggests that traversing the storm is certainly a delicate manoeuvre, but one for which the ship is quite capable. If my ion pod theory is correct, the reason why the ship took so much damage is that Finney failed to configure the pod correctly - he may not even have been there!

Anyway, that's my thoughts - feedback, anyone?
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Old September 16 2009, 09:40 AM   #122
Timo
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Re: 1701 warp core?

Good catch! I agree that the pod was always intended to be ejected.

However, I want to propose a different mission and course of events. Namely, the pod would be a device intended for sampling the ion storm, but it could not do so while attached to the ship. It would need to be configured for launch, by a qualified officer, and then ejected, unmanned, to do its job.

This is what the records show happening when Finney is in the pod:

Uhura: "Call from the pod, Sir."
KIRK: "Tie in."
Finney: "Finney here, Captain. Ion readings in progress."
Kirk: "Make it fast, Ben. I may have to go to Red Alert."
Finney: "Affirmative."
Kirk: "Hold our course, Mr Hanson."
Hanson: "Aye aye, Sir. Natural vibrations, force two, Captain. Force three."
Kirk: "Engineering, then ion pod."
Uhura: "Aye aye, Sir."
Engineer: "Engineering."
Kirk: "One third more thrust."
Engineer: "Working."
Finney: "Ion pod."
Kirk: "Stand by to get out of there, Ben."
Finney: "Aye aye, Sir."
Now, IMHO this would be perfectly consistent with Finney struggling to prepare the pod for launch, gradually bringing instruments on line (and reporting on success in activating the first major experiment, the ion readings), but still not being quite ready when events forced the launching of the pod.

Now, what events were those? An accumulating danger to the ship, one that could be alleviated by launching the pod? Perhaps. But it's also possible that the pod had to be launched at the very center of the storm, and that this launch only coincidentally happened when the ship was also at the greatest risk. However, the latter option doesn't jibe all that well with the spirit of the episode - that launching the pod was a matter of life and death for others besides Finney. Kirk emphatically says:

Kirk: "The storm got worse. I had to jettison the pod."
Theoretically possible that Kirk had to jettison the pod at a specific, opportune moment; dramatically more probable that Kirk had to jettison the pod before harm was done.

Whatever the reason for the timing of the launch, the pod could have been intended for free-flying studies, after proper preparation. And never mind Spock's funny wording when sending Finney to do his job:

Spock: "Attention, Commander Finney, report to pod for reading on ion plates."
Perhaps "reading on the plates" is a technical term for initializing the experiment, undecipherable to the layman much like "formatting the hard drive" would be to our grandfathers or "investing the redoubt by sapping" is to us?

This is my secondary theory, mind you: I prefer the idea of the pod being a throwaway balloonlike structure that is first deployed, then entered by a skilled operator who primes the experiments, and then utilized until worsening storm forces a jettison.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old September 16 2009, 07:45 PM   #123
Mytran
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Re: 1701 warp core?

I like your amendments - in fact both could be viable within the same TOS reality without any contradiction (different mission profiles etc).

I'm afraid I'm still not convinced by your deployable balloon pod - chiefly because jettisoning it doesn't really present as much of a "life or death" setup. But maybe I just demand too much drama.

However, I agree about the "plates" thing entirely. Unless we interpret it to mean some futuristic term of technology, it appears that the human race are going to regress to using X-ray and photographic plates within the next 200 years! Actually, this is not the only time that an implication of 1960s tech shows up in the first season - McCoy also mentions getting "plates back from the lab" in "Operation:Annihilate!"
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Old September 16 2009, 07:52 PM   #124
aridas sofia
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Re: 1701 warp core?

The closest real life, contemporary example that reminded me of what was going on with the ion pod in "Court Martial" was NASA's Genesis probe (ironic, huh?) If you will recall, that probe deployed silicon plates to collect samples of the solar wind -- an ion pod if ever there was one.

Maybe there is more to learn from that example. If only it had had a finicky M/AM engine that tended to lose containment in a storm...

Hey! That isn't a bad idea.
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Old September 16 2009, 08:09 PM   #125
Mysterion
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Re: 1701 warp core?

aridas sofia wrote: View Post
That light switch, to scale, would make for a mighty small pod to be climbing into.
I don't know, you ever taken a look at the belly turret on a B-17?

http://freepages.military.rootsweb.a...all_turret.htm
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Old September 16 2009, 08:12 PM   #126
Timo
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Re: 1701 warp core?

...Of course, it's always a good theory that the ion pod acted as a lightning rod of some sort for the storm, and that the ship would have been subjected to increased bombardment when the pod was activated but not yet jettisoned. Variants of that idea work whether we believe in an attached mode of operations (such as aridas' antennas or my balloon) or a tethered mode (several variants already offered), or even a detached mode that still had to be primed when attached, and presented a constant risk during that priming.

Deriving from McCoy's use of the word "plates" in "Operation: Annihilate!", we could say that it's a slang expression for those flat data cartridges of the day. Sure, there'd be nonphysical methods of data transfer - but much like today, people would vastly prefer the physical data packages, for security as well as capacity. So McCoy would wait for his Igors to deliver a few memory plates with a diagnosis of Spock's condition in them; Finney would be sent to "read on" the memory plates containing ion data as part of the preparations for deploying/launching the pod, or alternately as part of conducting in situ studies within the pod - whatever "reading on" means in future computer jargon...

Timo Saloniemi
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Old September 16 2009, 10:15 PM   #127
Captain Robert April
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Re: 1701 warp core?

Timo wrote: View Post
So, I took a page from "In a Mirror, Darkly..." and made the ring around the "homing beacon" the aft phaser array (I think makes more sense to make that glowing dome the aft sensor array), in the same manner as the ring around the lower sensor dome on the primary hull is the forward phaser array.
Much nodding and general hear-hearing... Although I'd still want to believe in ENT-style retractable point emitters, as in "In a Mirror, Darkly", rather than in rings. Incidentally, the top sensor dome would then be likely to have an emitter or two adjoining it, right? Like the beam we see in TAS "One of Our Planets Is Missing"?

Timo Saloniemi
The structure isn't there for the same sort of arrangement as the main phasers or the aft phasers we saw on the Defiant, but I suppose those two round assumed-to-be-portholes could be point defense phasers, to defend the bridge against direct hits. At the least, it would help accommodate "One of Our Planets Is Missing".
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Old September 17 2009, 01:24 AM   #128
T'Girl
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Re: 1701 warp core?

New Question:

Thought just came to me, how was Ben Finney eventual going to get off the ship? It can't be all that easy. No matter how good he was with records a shuttle would be missed, transporter use shows on the bridge simultaneously. He would of had to of been off before the ship left starbase. Finney could only hide so long.

Years ago, during fleet week, I went aboard the USS Higgins DDG 76, there were tiny cameras everywhere, part of damage control. Did Finney monkey with those as well or they just nonexsistant?
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Old September 17 2009, 03:39 AM   #129
Mysterion
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Re: 1701 warp core?

T'Girl wrote: View Post
New Question:

Thought just came to me, how was Ben Finney eventual going to get off the ship? It can't be all that easy. No matter how good he was with records a shuttle would be missed, transporter use shows on the bridge simultaneously. He would of had to of been off before the ship left starbase. Finney could only hide so long.
He was sort of crazy. He might just not have thought things through that far. Or he had some sort of cunning plan...


Years ago, during fleet week, I went aboard the USS Higgins DDG 76, there were tiny cameras everywhere, part of damage control. Did Finney monkey with those as well or they just nonexsistant?
This is a good point. We do know there are cameras placed well enough to cath conversation in the engine room (STIII). Reasonable to think there had to be some sort of surveillance/security system throughout the ship in the TOS period.
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Old September 17 2009, 04:51 AM   #130
T'Girl
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Re: 1701 warp core?

Or he had some sort of cunning plan...
Ah, just like the "Black Adder".
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Old September 17 2009, 05:13 AM   #131
Captain Robert April
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Re: 1701 warp core?

I think Finney was only counting on the fallout over his "death." He didn't care what happened to himself, he was only interested in bringing down Kirk.
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Old September 17 2009, 08:48 AM   #132
Mytran
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Re: 1701 warp core?

Perhaps he was planning to go down with the ship, when he killed the engines? That seemed to be his intent at the end of the episode, although that was after Kirk had messed with his plan a bit. Plus I agree with Mysterion; he was a bit crazy.
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Old September 17 2009, 09:05 AM   #133
Mytran
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Re: 1701 warp core?

aridas sofia wrote: View Post
The closest real life, contemporary example that reminded me of what was going on with the ion pod in "Court Martial" was NASA's Genesis probe (ironic, huh?) If you will recall, that probe deployed silicon plates to collect samples of the solar wind -- an ion pod if ever there was one.
I love what comes up on this board - there's always something new to be learned! As has been mentioned elsewhere, the more we can bring 1960s contemporary thinking into the reasoning, the more likely we are to derive a "true" picture of the writers' intentions. (I say"true" because there's always going to be more than one theory )
Timo wrote: View Post
...Of course, it's always a good theory that the ion pod acted as a lightning rod of some sort for the storm, and that the ship would have been subjected to increased bombardment when the pod was activated but not yet jettisoned...
The difficulty is that the pod has to be deployed far enough away to be more attractive to ions than any other part of the ship, whilst simultaneously allowing the officer to have safe transit between the pod and the ship. Yes there are solutions, but they all seem kinda messy, not in line with the rest of the tech as seen on the show. If only they hadn't said that Finney was inside the pod...
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Old September 17 2009, 02:01 PM   #134
Timo
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Re: 1701 warp core?

He would of had to of been off before the ship left starbase.
I'd rather argue that Finney wouldn't want to be left anywhere on the planet that contained the starbase. Too many people there would know that the person with that particular face shouldn't be alive. People on other planets would not be that well informed.

If there was a way to get to the SB11 planet undiscovered (say, amidst a great mass of shore leave personnel), I'd think Finney would have gone already. Staying with the ship would be a fairly good bet: Starfleet wouldn't keep the Enterprise idle even if her captain was rotting away in some holding cell, and there might be items on the ship's schedule that Finney was well aware of and that fit his escape plans.

...Of course, the next time we meet our heroes, they are still in the vicinity of SB11, in "The Menagerie". That was unscheduled, though. And then comes "Shore Leave", again seemingly spontaneously. Then "Arena" and "Alternative Factor", both of which take place out in the sticks - perhaps a good place for Finney to disembark, perhaps not.

In the end, then, I'd tend to argue that Finney was mad but had at least some method to his madness. He'd probably be prepared to stay hidden for months if need be. And yes, he'd put greater value on Kirk's downfall than on his own fate. His Starfleet career was already screwed (as he saw it), and like Sam Cogley sez, his actual crime wasn't that big a deal and facing its consequences wouldn't hurt Finney nearly as badly as getting wrongly convicted (and then perhaps rehabilitated) would hurt Kirk.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old September 17 2009, 02:42 PM   #135
Irishman
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Re: 1701 warp core?

USS Jack Riley wrote: View Post
What's going on in TAS?

I'm voting on it being a distillery. Its hard to get good Scotch whiskey in deep space you know.
Well, it was the 70's.....

Wait, I thought JJ was the first one to interpret engineering areas as distilleries! and that it was TERRIBLE because it broke precedent.

Dammit! One less thing to be pissed about.

But now I'm pissed about not having something to be pissed about...

grrr.....;P
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