RSS iconTwitter iconFacebook icon

The Trek BBS title image

The Trek BBS statistics

Threads: 138,930
Posts: 5,389,769
Members: 24,720
Currently online: 540
Newest member: MrSpock

TrekToday headlines

New Trek-themed Bobble Heads
By: T'Bonz on Aug 21

IDW Publishing November Trek Comic
By: T'Bonz on Aug 20

Pegg/Wright Trilogy In The Works
By: T'Bonz on Aug 20

Star Trek: The Compendium Rebate Details
By: T'Bonz on Aug 20

Gold Key Archives Volume 2
By: T'Bonz on Aug 19

Takei Documentary Wins Award
By: T'Bonz on Aug 19

Cumberbatch To Voice Khan
By: T'Bonz on Aug 19

Shaun And Ed On Phineas and Ferb
By: T'Bonz on Aug 18

New Ships Coming From Official Starships Collection
By: T'Bonz on Aug 18

Trek Stars Take On Ice Bucket Challenge
By: T'Bonz on Aug 18


Welcome! The Trek BBS is the number one place to chat about Star Trek with like-minded fans. Please login to see our full range of forums as well as the ability to send and receive private messages, track your favourite topics and of course join in the discussions.

If you are a new visitor, join us for free. If you are an existing member please login below. Note: for members who joined under our old messageboard system, please login with your display name not your login name.


Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > Star Trek - Original Series

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old July 21 2010, 05:20 AM   #76
StarryEyed
Commodore
 
StarryEyed's Avatar
 
Location: Florida Keys
Re: What is an "ion pod?"

A beaker full of death wrote: View Post
Green Shirt wrote: View Post
That was probably the most unexplained, therefore confusing plot points in all of TOS. But of course, nowhere near rivals the entire Alternative Factor episode.
Really? If ever there was something that didn't need explaining, it was the ion pod.
Only if all the fans are lawyers.

Nothing person Beaker, but you are obviously out of your element. If the pod contains sensors and the sensor output can be reduced to data capable of being read and understood by a human being inside the pod, than the same output can be fed to systems inside the ship so that nobody need be inside the pod. That discrepancy does need to be explained because it's very obvious to people with a technical background - as obvious as Cogley's incompetence is to a real lawyer.

There is a fairly easy explanation though: The pod the Enterprise was carrying was a prototype without an interface to the ship's systems. It was experimental. It wasn't considered a big deal to require a person inside it because it was easy enough to rig a simple red-alert signal through its communications interface that could warn a person to get out fast.
StarryEyed is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 21 2010, 06:00 AM   #77
Destructor
Commodore
 
Destructor's Avatar
 
Location: Melbourne, VIC
Re: What is an "ion pod?"

StarryEyed wrote: View Post
There is a fairly easy explanation though: The pod the Enterprise was carrying was a prototype without an interface to the ship's systems. It was experimental. It wasn't considered a big deal to require a person inside it because it was easy enough to rig a simple red-alert signal through its communications interface that could warn a person to get out fast.
Or perhaps the pod's instrumentation needed to be calibrated on-the-fly to compensate for the ion storm's effects, and a direct link from the ship to the pod could provide some kind of 'conduit' for the ion storm effects to leapfrog into the ship's systems, so it had some kind of non-networked system that couldn't be controlled remotely, in order to protect the ship. Although if that was the case... why would the pod EVER need to be jettisoned?
Destructor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 21 2010, 06:30 AM   #78
StarryEyed
Commodore
 
StarryEyed's Avatar
 
Location: Florida Keys
Re: What is an "ion pod?"

Destructor wrote: View Post
StarryEyed wrote: View Post
There is a fairly easy explanation though: The pod the Enterprise was carrying was a prototype without an interface to the ship's systems. It was experimental. It wasn't considered a big deal to require a person inside it because it was easy enough to rig a simple red-alert signal through its communications interface that could warn a person to get out fast.
Or perhaps the pod's instrumentation needed to be calibrated on-the-fly to compensate for the ion storm's effects, and a direct link from the ship to the pod could provide some kind of 'conduit' for the ion storm effects to leapfrog into the ship's systems, so it had some kind of non-networked system that couldn't be controlled remotely, in order to protect the ship. Although if that was the case... why would the pod EVER need to be jettisoned?
Your explanation works in conjunction with the explanation that the pod was a vulnerable extrusion that might even prevent raising shields in its area.

All they really needed to say was that it was an experimental pod. That gives enough wriggle room to suppose it needs to be manned.
StarryEyed is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 21 2010, 07:11 AM   #79
Captain Robert April
Vice Admiral
 
Location: In selfless service to fandom, on the road to becoming a Star Trek trivia god...
Re: What is an "ion pod?"

Basically, the pod was a small doohickey with a guy inside that's deployed to take readings of any conveniently passing ion storms. This is dangerous to the ship for two reasons: when it's deployed, the shields can't be raised, putting the ship in greater danger than it would be normally, and because the pod is physically attached to the ship, there is added stress at the point of connection. If that connection breaks, we could be talking severe damage to the ship, including having the pod slammed into the hull, hence why it has to be jettisoned when things get too hairy.

I suppose the 1960's equivalent would be a B-52 going up into a hurricane with some sort of sensor drone with a guy inside, hanging out of the bomb bay or attached to the wing, and the pilot having to dump it when the turbulence gets too heavy; the inherent drama being whether or not the guy in the drone can get back inside the plane before the drone gets cut loose.

As for why it has to be manned, as mentioned above, the nature of ion storms makes remote operation and monitoring of the pod problematic at best.

And why Finney and not Ensign Ricky? Nobody in the military has just one job. You've got your primary occupation (in my case while in the Air Force, Administration Specialist, in Finney's case, records officer), your "war skill" (what you do when the shooting starts; I worked in Rapid Runway Repair, and learned all kinds of nifty ways to patch up a torn up runway and about the various types of bombs that are used to tear up the aforementioned runway...who knows what Finney did when the order came to assume battle stations), and apparently in Starfleet, when you're on a ship on a scientific mission, you occasionally have scientific duties to perform, like manning the ion pod when it's your turn.

And don't worry, Ensign Ricky's name is somewhere on that duty roster, too. It was just Finney's turn.
Captain Robert April is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 21 2010, 08:26 AM   #80
Timo
Admiral
 
Re: What is an "ion pod?"

The above highlights the dramatic/logical problems of the story rather nicely. If Finney went to the pod completely at random, because he was part of a duty roster 430 names long, then we're watching a coincidence of cosmic scale unfold. How often would the ship face ion storms? Not another time in the three or five years we witnessed! Yet Finney based his whole plan, calling for careful preparation, on such an event...

Of course Finney could and probably would have manipulated the roster. Yet it would help if the list of names weren't that long - if indeed only certain top officers had the training or the authority to operate the pod.

Another dramatic/logical shortcoming is the idea that a tiny pod would endanger the mighty starship in any fashion. It just doesn't sound intuitively possible; nothing else did, at least not in TOS. Unless we count the magnetic containment pod in "That Which Survives"...

Which makes me wonder if the ion pod in fact was unrelated to the ion storm and was not an observation instrument at all. Perhaps it was a key component of the ship's engines (or perhaps some other system Finney was in charge of), and was in danger of exploding in an ion storm unless carefully monitored? Kirk would want to keep the pod aboard as long as possible, because the ship needed the pod - but would have to eject it if problems arose. And Finney would be sent to establish that the pod was safe; if he didn't confirm it was, by taking the required "readings of the plates", it would have to be jettisoned at red alert by default.

I'm still more partial to the idea that the pod was a delicate scientific instrument that posed no danger and was not intended to be crewed, but was to be prepared for launch by a member of the crew and then fired away uncrewed to study an ion storm. In this analogy to tornado hunting, the preparations would have to be performed on short notice, since ion storms were unpredictable, and would call for a trained specialist. And like StarryEyed suggested, it would be a rarely used and largely experimental piece of hardware, so the list of competent specialists would be short, but their workload high.

There'd be no scientific return if the pod were released prematurely (it would not be ideally positioned, and Finney would not have all the experiments running yet), but there'd be risk to the ship if she stayed in the storm too long - so Kirk would personally control the complicated joint action of the launch and the escape from the storm with a single button push. When red alert sounded, the crew would snap to desired action: Sulu would start saving the ship, as always in red alerts, while Finney would know that the alert was his signal to leave the pod prior to its launch.

Tornado hunting is a simple enough analogy here: it explains Kirk's seeming desire to sail into the storm and covers all the technicalities that follow with the same sort of accuracy we saw in Twister - that is, sufficient for carrying the drama. Alas, it's probably not what the writer had in mind, so he didn't insert cues that would make it more obvious that this is a logical motivation for our heroes and villains...

Timo Saloniemi
Timo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 21 2010, 05:55 PM   #81
T'Girl
Vice Admiral
 
T'Girl's Avatar
 
Re: What is an "ion pod?"

Captain Robert April wrote: View Post
And why Finney and not Ensign Ricky?
To be fair to the episode, the Enterprise has always been top heavy with senior officers, a near ridiculous number of Lt. Commanders and Commanders.
T'Girl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 22 2010, 04:18 AM   #82
blssdwlf
Commodore
 
Re: What is an "ion pod?"

Considering the ship was making way at Warp 1+ when the pod was ejected, I wonder if the reason that the ion pod threatened the safety of the ship was because it was an attachment? The ship could withstand the stress of the ion storm but with the pod attached it might have had a higher chance of ripping off and doing some major damage on its own.
blssdwlf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 22 2010, 06:02 AM   #83
StarryEyed
Commodore
 
StarryEyed's Avatar
 
Location: Florida Keys
Re: What is an "ion pod?"

blssdwlf wrote: View Post
Considering the ship was making way at Warp 1+ when the pod was ejected, I wonder if the reason that the ion pod threatened the safety of the ship was because it was an attachment? The ship could withstand the stress of the ion storm but with the pod attached it might have had a higher chance of ripping off and doing some major damage on its own.
The pod being a weak point that endangered the ship is pretty easy to understand. The fact that there needed to be a person in there to take readings is what is hard to swallow and takes a creative explanation.
StarryEyed is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 22 2010, 07:59 AM   #84
Timo
Admiral
 
Re: What is an "ion pod?"

I still have enough difficulty swallowing the idea that the pod would endanger the ship in any way. The storm was already tearing the ship apart, and Kirk wanted to get out to stop this from happening. Whatever problems the pod might have caused, surely those would also have ceased to matter if Kirk commanded the ship out of the storm?

It seems more as if the pod somehow prevented Kirk from leaving the storm. Yet it sure didn't stop the ship from maneuvering, flying at warp, adding one third more thrust and so forth. So the way the pod kept the ship in the dangerous storm was not a physical one - in physical terms, the ship could clearly have departed if Kirk ordered it to, with or without the pod being jettisoned, but the pod prevented Kirk from ordering such a maneuver.

Which is why I think the idea was that jettisoning the pod in the middle of the storm was the purpose of the whole exercise, and worth risking not just Finney's life, but all the 430 lives aboard. It's also strongly suggested that jettisoning the pod was always part of the plan: Kirk says "It has been suggested that I panicked on the bridge and jettisoned the ion pod prematurely", establishing the idea of a non-premature jettisoning.

There would have been a right time for jettisoning the pod, after Finney was done with whatever he was doing. That sounds to me like the pod was supposed to be launched, to a free-flying mission, even if the terminology sounds unusual. It's also possible the pod was supposed to be discarded after experiments were completed, but in that case there should have been no hurry: the ship was physically free to maneuver even with the pod attached.

Timo Saloniemi
Timo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 22 2010, 08:03 AM   #85
Captain Robert April
Vice Admiral
 
Location: In selfless service to fandom, on the road to becoming a Star Trek trivia god...
Re: What is an "ion pod?"

Picture the Enterprise flying through the ion storm, shields down, getting tossed around like a rubber ducky in a jacuzzi.

Now attach a shuttlecraft on the end of a long cable and imagine how that sucker is gonna whip around.

How long before that sucker gets slammed against the unshielded Enterprise?
Captain Robert April is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 22 2010, 11:35 AM   #86
Timo
Admiral
 
Re: What is an "ion pod?"

...Wouldn't allow for Finney to get out of there under any circumstances, though.

Timo Saloniemi
Timo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 22 2010, 02:31 PM   #87
blssdwlf
Commodore
 
Re: What is an "ion pod?"

Timo wrote: View Post
Which is why I think the idea was that jettisoning the pod in the middle of the storm was the purpose of the whole exercise, and worth risking not just Finney's life, but all the 430 lives aboard. It's also strongly suggested that jettisoning the pod was always part of the plan: Kirk says "It has been suggested that I panicked on the bridge and jettisoned the ion pod prematurely", establishing the idea of a non-premature jettisoning.

There would have been a right time for jettisoning the pod, after Finney was done with whatever he was doing. That sounds to me like the pod was supposed to be launched, to a free-flying mission, even if the terminology sounds unusual. It's also possible the pod was supposed to be discarded after experiments were completed, but in that case there should have been no hurry: the ship was physically free to maneuver even with the pod attached.
Hmm that would account for having someone go in and prep it for launching.
blssdwlf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 22 2010, 04:41 PM   #88
Captain Robert April
Vice Admiral
 
Location: In selfless service to fandom, on the road to becoming a Star Trek trivia god...
Re: What is an "ion pod?"

Timo wrote: View Post
...Wouldn't allow for Finney to get out of there under any circumstances, though.

Timo Saloniemi
We don't know that.
Captain Robert April is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 22 2010, 05:10 PM   #89
kkozoriz1
Fleet Captain
 
Location: Centrelea, Nova Scotia
Re: What is an "ion pod?"

Perhaps it's a situation much like investigating Murasaki objects? In order to research ion storms Starfleet vessels, at least some of them, are required to enter the storms. In order to get proper readings the pod must be a certain distance away from large metallic objects (like the ship) or sources of radiation (like the warp drive). Maybe there are actual physical test objects that must be retrieved, similar to the NASA LDEF satellite. Finney had to retrieve the samples and then get the pod back to the ship. Perhaps he had himself beamed back to the ship and was able to hide the evidence of that from the bridge and engineering. He was the records officer and we know he was able to alter the log.
kkozoriz1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 22 2010, 06:21 PM   #90
Timo
Admiral
 
Re: What is an "ion pod?"

We don't know that.
What would be the scenario wherein a pod hanging from a tether would provide a means for Finney to get out and get back into the ship without any witnesses assisting? Did he have a personal transporter that didn't mind ion storms?

If the pod were deployed, then retreived, and then jettisoned, we should be having lots and lots of dialogue on the reeling-out and reeling-in action. This would be far more crucial than possible jettison commands.

Timo Saloniemi
Timo is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 04:43 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
FireFox 2+ or Internet Explorer 7+ highly recommended.