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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old February 7 2010, 03:02 PM   #16
Jeri
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Re: What is an "ion pod?"

Interesting discussion; thanks. I also wondered how Finney set up some little nest somewhere in engineering with food and water and ahem facilities without being noticed.
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Old February 7 2010, 03:51 PM   #17
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Re: What is an "ion pod?"

Jeri wrote: View Post
Interesting discussion; thanks. I also wondered how Finney set up some little nest somewhere in engineering with food and water and ahem facilities without being noticed.
Simple.

He recycled.

Everything.
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Old February 7 2010, 04:34 PM   #18
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Re: What is an "ion pod?"

Engineering has consistently been described as a gigantic maze where people may get lost for weeks at an end if they forget their compass or breadcrumbs. Curiously STXI was the first piece of Trek to actually show this reality... But TOS did its valiant best, showing a different corner of Engineering in basically every episode. Sure, they tried to claim it was the same set only minimally modified, but we aren't that easily fooled!

On the general issue of Finney preparing... Now that's an odd one, too. Supposedly, Finney's plan could only see action if his name came up in the ion pod duty roster. The list may not have been particularly long, if only high-ranking officers or computer experts were included. But it can't have been too short, either, as it was plausibly argued that Finney's turn during the fateful mission was a completely random one. So, Finney kept his little plan on hot standby through a dozen ion storms? I hope he managed to get fresh water and bisquits to his hideout every now and then...

Perhaps Finney had several plans where he could plausibly blame Kirk for his "death"? Not too many of those, of course, or he'd have risked having his preparations on one or two of them getting uncovered. No wonder he kept his hatred going for years upon years!

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Old February 7 2010, 08:08 PM   #19
scotpens
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Re: What is an "ion pod?"

plynch wrote: View Post
Minor McGuffin
Mayor McMuffin.
It's Finney I'm luvin
Or should I say leavin'
Reivin' thievin' Jamie don't be grievin'
Yo, his heart's still beatin'
Cuz Bennie - he be cheatin'
Hidin' in engineering
(Tho' white noise hurts your hearing)
Coolin' his jets
Cuz you know Areel never forgets
But Shaw nuff, 'nuf of Shaw
It's Samuel T 'n his books of law
So James T. will go Scott free
Cuz he did nothin to Ben Finney
Saw it on my TV
Yo
Clever rap, but it's actually Mayor McCheese.

(Yeah, I know, it doesn't rhyme.)
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Old February 7 2010, 09:16 PM   #20
Jeri
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Re: What is an "ion pod?"

I was under the impression that, as records officer and the only other person besides the captain and Spock to have that capability with the ship's computer, Finney could put his name at the top of the list when it suited him.
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Old February 7 2010, 11:14 PM   #21
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Re: What is an "ion pod?"

Jeri wrote: View Post
GSchnitzer, thanks; that would have been a nice inclusion.

nx1701g, thanks; I notice Memory Alpha has the same location for the pod as the remastered effects (which showed the gaping port from which the pod was jettisoned). Would be curious where they got that info.
The earliest reference--well, conjecture--I can find that the ship's "ion pod" is way back on the engineering hull, back by the shuttlecraft hangar/hanger deck near the 1837 Frame Reference marker is in the book StarFleet Assembly Manual Number 3 by Paul M. Newitt. (This is copyright 1978.) This ion pod location coincides with a small little button/knob thing that's present on the eleven-foot Enterprise model which has a little rapidly flashing strobe light.

Here are a couple of shots of some diagrams from the book:





It looks like for the Star Trek Remastered project, the team decided to locate the ion pod where Mr. Newitt had located it back in '78.
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Old February 7 2010, 11:22 PM   #22
Timo
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Re: What is an "ion pod?"

I was under the impression that, as records officer and the only other person besides the captain and Spock to have that capability with the ship's computer, Finney could put his name at the top of the list when it suited him.
I guess so. I mean, I doubt anybody would remember what that list looked like if ion storms were only rarely encountered.

That would definitely cinch this as a carefully preplanned crime, then, and not a spur-of-the-moment action that Finney then perfected by "posthumously" faking the visual records of Kirk's finger movements during his "demise". The former makes so much more sense anyway.

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Old February 8 2010, 12:04 AM   #23
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Re: What is an "ion pod?"

My idea was that the ion pod is similar to a travel pod. The Enterprise's mission was to do surveys of ion storms and was carrying several ion pods on the flight deck. The pod was docked to a docking port on the side of the secondary hull. The pod carries new, special instruments and sensors that the Enterprise doesn't possess. In order for the sensor to work to full effect the Enterprise had to have her shields down when she entered the storm. If the shields conform to the shape of hull of the ship, the pod protruding out the side would prevent the shield from being fully raised, so the pod would have to be jettisoned to raise the shields. The diagram seems to show the dock being just off the shuttle maintenance shop, my idea was that the docking port was in the same position as in TMP on the side of the secondary hull, but usually covered with an armored hatch.

The Enterprise was in an area of space known for intense ion storms, perhaps diving into stronger storms each time. Much like the Air Force flying into hurricanes. Finney did manipulate the duty roster to his own needs, he avoided the first pod duty because he needed a record of Kirk pushing the button on a pod jettison. When he was ready he placed his name at the top of the duty roster, probably altered any sensor logs showing the docking port hatch to show himself still in the pod when the hatchs closes prior to jettison.

I still can't work out how Finney would eventual ever get off the ship.

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Old February 8 2010, 12:04 AM   #24
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Re: What is an "ion pod?"

A reference that may go over the heads of the US posters, perhaps even most of those from the UK, but it always reminded me of the poor sod in the Zepplin observation pod in a Charley's War story.
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Old February 8 2010, 12:07 AM   #25
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Re: What is an "ion pod?"

GSchnitzer wrote: View Post
Jeri wrote: View Post
...and why would Kirk need to jettison it in (the excellent episode) "Court Martial?"

As many times as I've seen this, while I was watching the blu ray today at lunch, it occurred to me that I don't really know what one does or why Finney would get caught in it.
The September 26, 1966 Final Draft script for "Court Martial" has a brief comment that explains this a bit--a comment which never made it into the final cut of the episode:

KIRK
Weatherscan indicated an ion
storm, dead ahead. I sent
Finney into the pod.

STONE
That's outside the ship.

KIRK
It's attached to the skin. One
of our missions is to get
electron readings in abnormal
conditions, such as ion storms.
This can only be done by direct
exposure on ion-sensitive plates.
For what it's worth, there is slightly more exposition in the old novelization for "Court Martial" by James Blish in the book Star Trek 2. Blish worked from slightly earlier versions of the scripts, so his adaptations sometimes have some content that differs a bit from the final episode. In this case, there's a tiny bit more explanation about ion pods--although I don't know if it was from an earlier version of the script or if it was just Blish's fertile imagination:

"The pod is outside the ship, attached to the skin. One of our missions is to get radiation readings in abnormal
conditions, including ion storms. This can only be done by direct exposure of the necessary instruments in a plastic pod. However, in a major storm, the pod rapidly picks up a charge of its own that becomes a danger to the rest of the ship, and we have to get rid of it."
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Old February 8 2010, 04:34 AM   #26
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Re: What is an "ion pod?"

Huh, well that is interesting; thanks. And T'Girl, I also had the escape-pod notion; when I saw the remastered configuration, it recalled the port where Jim's pod was jettisoned by Spock from the STXI Enterprise. I'm wondering which of those came first.

Thinking of how Finney planned to get off the ship, I am reminded of Dr. Simon Van Gelder beaming aboard in the shipping crate with a breathing mask. Both Finney and Van Gelder were mentally unbalanced, and Van Gelder still came up with that. And I don't think Van Gelder had anyone to help him either, as Finney wouldn't.

GSchnitzer wrote: View Post
...However, in a major storm, the pod rapidly picks up a charge of its own that becomes a danger to the rest of the ship, and we have to get rid of it."
Edit: Just want to mention this kind of clears up a question I entertained about Memory Alpha's page; I didn't understand how the pod would be a danger to the ship. It said: ...The pod's exposed position was a potential vulnerability to the ship...
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Old February 8 2010, 07:38 AM   #27
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Re: What is an "ion pod?"

The Squire of Gothos wrote: View Post
A reference that may go over the heads of the US posters, perhaps even most of those from the UK, but it always reminded me of the poor sod in the Zepplin observation pod in a Charley's War story.
Or in Howard Hughes' 1930 World War I epic Hell's Angels.
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Old February 8 2010, 09:01 AM   #28
Timo
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Re: What is an "ion pod?"

Or, for that matter, the free-flyable observation gondola in Miyazaki's Laputa.

In order for the sensor to work to full effect the Enterprise had to have her shields down when she entered the storm. If the shields conform to the shape of hull of the ship, the pod protruding out the side would prevent the shield from being fully raised, so the pod would have to be jettisoned to raise the shields.
I'd like to disagree on this, on two grounds.

First, the episode never mentions an issue with the ship's shields. And second, if the ship really were that vulnerable going in, I'd think Kirk would never even attempt the ion pod study...

Rather, if the pod really were a launchable device (and I undersign all of your speculation there), the necessity of launching the pod would come from Kirk wanting to get the hell out of there, which he naturally couldn't do until the pod was successfully launched. That's IMHO the simplest explanation...

That the pod itself would present a technobabble risk to the ship is often speculated, but that sounds like a needless complication, and isn't directly supported by the episode. The dialogue at least is fully compatible with the idea that Finney would have to prepare the pod for launch from the inside, then get out, and Kirk would fire the pod as soon as he possibly could - preferably so that Finney would have finished setting up the "readings on ion plates", but sooner if necessary, based on his personal judgement on the severity of the storm. Shields would be up the whole time, assuming they are of any use against ion storms.

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Old February 8 2010, 12:51 PM   #29
Timo
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Re: What is an "ion pod?"

Oh, and:

I still can't work out how Finney would eventual ever get off the ship
It seems that the transporter can be operated so that a single person first sets a destination, then sets a delay, and then climbs onto the platform. Didn't Lazarus do that a lot? Finney could transport down whenever he wanted, since transporter rooms are apparently rather seldom crewed yet still always at hot standby. He could skulk to one of the cargo units on the lower decks (say, the one that allowed van Gelder to infiltrate Deck 14) when the ship is visiting a planet where Finney's face isn't too well known. And he could program the computer to forget all about the transport...

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Old February 8 2010, 03:44 PM   #30
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Re: What is an "ion pod?"

Regarding the location of the Ion Pod itself again; assuming that ejecting it is part of the standard procedure, wouldn't it make more sense to place it at the front of the ship, not the side rear? After all, there are those three tempting little circles at the leading edge of the saucer...
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