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

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Old July 23 2010, 12:25 AM   #91
Gary7
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Re: What is an "ion pod?"

scotpens wrote: View Post
With the range, sophistication and accuracy of the Enterprise's onboard sensors, I'm sure they could investigated and taken readings of the ion storm without a crew member having to climb into a "pod" (presumably a bathysphere-or gondola-like device affixed to the ship's hull). It was just a cheap, poorly conceived writer's device to propel the story.

And Kirk's command chair has only what, a dozen buttons on it? Why would one of them control a relatively minor operation like jettisoning a pod?
I agree. At the very least, if you're going to need such a device manned for some reason, wouldn't they be suited up to be protected from space in case of pod breach? But most of all, wouldn't one of the over 430 crewmen be stationed nearby monitoring the whole thing and handle the jettison? No reason to have the Captain doing this...

Yeah, I think they could have come up with something more believable. Oh well...
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Old July 23 2010, 07:01 AM   #92
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Re: What is an "ion pod?"

...wouldn't they be suited up to be protected from space in case of pod breach?
It's quite possible that Finney was suited. Assuming he ever went into the pod in the first place, that is (he could have faked it all, to better facilitate his escape).

Kirk did order a thorough search for Finney in and around the ship, even though clearly the ship had changed location after Finney disappeared. Sort of suggests that Finney might have had a chance of surviving, in a jettisoned pod or in a spacesuit of some sort; even if the search was just for his corpse, only some sort of a survival aid would allow that corpse to stay close to the ship through those maneuvers and make the search justifiable.

OTOH, seeing how the ion pod was presented in the TOS-R episode, I find it easy to think that the pod was a spacesuit. That is, it was a rarely used device mounted in a standard (small) docking adapter for very small craft, including hardsuits. It would be accessed from the hangar deck below the shuttlecraft landing deck, with crewmen crawling into the pods or suits which would then launch for inspection tours or whatnot, without the need to open the shuttlebay doors.

We already know nobody is anywhere near the shuttle facilities during alerts: an alert always makes it easier, not harder, to steal a shuttle... Having Finney almost alone in this part of the ship would be a logical plot element, then. And it would also facilitate his escape to the engineering compartments, as these lie nearby and may well be directly connected to a facility that launches repair pods.

No reason to have the Captain doing this...
To the contrary, if these people really are tornado hunting, they have a very narrow time window for delivering their research device - a window that coincides with the greatest risk from the storm. Authority to act should not be divided in such a situation: Kirk should indeed have everything in his fingertips, so that he and he alone could choose the exact moment where scientific return and ship safety would be in optimal balance. Of course, he'd have help from his crew: Hanson told him how the ship was faring, Finney prepared the pod or at least pretended to, Uhura coordinated, no doubt Spock would have pointed out the optimum moment for launching, and so forth. But the decision to launch and escape would have been Kirk's.

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Old July 23 2010, 08:26 AM   #93
Captain Robert April
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Re: What is an "ion pod?"

The problem with going with the implication from TOS-R is that the blown out bit isn't big enough for a human male to fit through. And besides, nowhere is it stated that that was where the pod was located (plus, throughout the rest of the series, we see it flashing on and off like all the other running lights, so for all we really get from the episode, the storm blew out one of the running lights...and Denise Okuda looks cute in a Starfleet uniform).
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Old July 23 2010, 10:05 AM   #94
Timo
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Re: What is an "ion pod?"

Why wouldn't it be big enough?

http://img.trekmovie.com/images/Ep15_pod_install.jpg

The hole is easily 70-80 cm across there - no obstacle for horizontal entry at all. Scotty had plenty of elbow room in tighter spots.

Labeling this as a running light would call to question why this location of the ship would be marked by one. It's not an extremity, and it wouldn't be naval tradition for a white light to be used so that it can only be seen from the starboard side of the ship anyway. For all we know, the ship's secondary power grid just suffers some fluctuation, because the centermost of the three round window things at the bow is also sometimes seen flashing - yet established to be a window in TOS-R/ENT.

Also, while auteur intent plus an empty socket is worth the socket, it's pretty clear that those four symmetrically placed scorch marks were created by the ion pod jettisoning system...

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Old July 24 2010, 12:45 AM   #95
Captain Robert April
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Re: What is an "ion pod?"

No, it's clear that an explosion took place. Maybe something was jettisoned, maybe the light blew up.

You have a deeply ingrained habit of assuming facts not in evidence.
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Old July 24 2010, 04:44 AM   #96
number6
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Re: What is an "ion pod?"

The ion pod is simply the mcguffin to propel the story. What it is and what it does and how it fits in with this that or the other thing is unimportant and arbitrary. It works because it works. The whole point of the episode was to see what would happen if Kirk was in real hot water over the death of a crewman. It is supposed to be a court drama in space.

I'm not getting the hate on this episode. This has always been one of my favourites. And you can mask a heartbeat with a Shure SM58-S.
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Old July 24 2010, 05:36 AM   #97
StarryEyed
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Re: What is an "ion pod?"

number6 wrote: View Post
The ion pod is simply the mcguffin to propel the story. What it is and what it does and how it fits in with this that or the other thing is unimportant and arbitrary.
No it isn't!

I'm with you in that this is a decent episode. Almost all of them have flaws of some kind and the one in this episode is fairly mild but it stands out like a sore thumb to anyone with a technical background. It simply doesn't make sense that there should need to be someone in the pod. A little explanation would have been nice. As several of us have noted, it wouldn't take much.

I know we're nitpicking here but this is a forum of geeks, lots of us who have technical backgrounds. We notice stuff like this.
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Old July 24 2010, 05:43 AM   #98
number6
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Re: What is an "ion pod?"

I have a technical background, too.

We have no idea what tech exists in the 23rd century.

Again.. what the ion pod is or does is irrelevant. The story is whether or not Kirk jettisoned the pod too soon, thus killing the crewman. This show was made in an era where that kind of stuff didn't need to be so elaborately spoonfed to an audience, and audiences weren't too cynical about everything under the sun to suspend disbelief long enough to enjoy the story being told.
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Old July 24 2010, 05:54 AM   #99
A beaker full of death
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Re: What is an "ion pod?"

^bingo.
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Old July 24 2010, 06:06 AM   #100
StarryEyed
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Re: What is an "ion pod?"

number6 wrote: View Post
I have a technical background, too.

We have no idea what tech exists in the 23rd century.
We know this: If data can be displayed on a panel inside the pod, it can be remotely displayed on a panel outside the pod. If a living operator can manipulate controls inside the pod, external signals can accomplish the same thing.

How many different ways could signals be sent remotely with today's tech? Electrical, optical, acoustical, chemical. Now add in Trek tech. Is an ion storm magic?
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Old July 24 2010, 06:23 AM   #101
number6
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Re: What is an "ion pod?"

It doesn't matter. It is simply a plot device.
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Old July 24 2010, 08:09 AM   #102
Captain Robert April
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Re: What is an "ion pod?"

^ There ya go, being all sensible and logical and shit...
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Old July 25 2010, 01:58 AM   #103
number6
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Re: What is an "ion pod?"

It's what I do.
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Old July 26 2010, 09:48 AM   #104
Timo
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Re: What is an "ion pod?"

No, it's clear that an explosion took place. Maybe something was jettisoned, maybe the light blew up.
Why is this "clear"? From the four-compass-point scorch marks that "always are characteristic of explosions"? If that's enough to make it "clear" that this was an explosion (rather than a set of four rockets firing, say), then we can easily come up with other equally "clear" things.

Anything could have happened at that location, including a space dragon breathing on the latch bolts. The odds of four built-in devices undergoing something exothermic by design are the highest of all, though. It would be pretty unlikely for them to explode against design intent: one accidental explosion would be possible, perhaps two, but not four simultaneous and symmetric ones. Explosion according to design intent, but perhaps at an unfortunate time, is likelier. What possible explanation would cover those four marks if the thing being replaced were just a running light? Four symmetrically placed power leads blowing simultaneously? As said, low odds - why the symmetry, why the simultaneity, why four?

Four latches for something intended to be unlatched at command is a higher-odds hypothesis, because intent explains symmetry and simultaneity, and the need to latch explains the quadruplicity.

You have a deeply ingrained habit of assuming facts not in evidence.
Is that intended as an insult?

It's certainly better than ignoring facts in evidence, or lying about them. Such as falsely claiming that the hole is too small...

Yeah, I assume facts not in evidence - when I'm constructing a fictional chain of events or some other fictional whole as an interpretation for onscreen oddities. I may ignore a few "facts not in evidence" in the process, too. But once I'm done, I'll be certain to note (to my best ability) if there are facts actually in evidence that weaken the model, and I'll then try to come up with something better if I can.

Is an ion storm magic?
Well, it would almost have to be, now wouldn't it? I mean, the starship we're shown should be capable of easily dealing with anything non-magical we might call an "ion storm". Kirk's ship nearly flounders, though. And our heroes seem to display a scientific interest in the storm, while they are already deadened to may a thing we must consider magical. Spatial storms elsewhere in Trek have displayed magical properties, such as the ability to move FTL or sweep ships lightyears off course.

Magical qualities would certainly make sense here. Subspace magic, for example. Perhaps the storm messes up with the futuro-electronics of the ship big time, much like the electronics of a modern ship might become suspect or useless in a hostile EM environment, and communications with certain outer extremities become difficult. Perhaps backup communications means are not worth the effort when the easiest backup of them all, manpower, can be made to substitute for the futuro-electronics? Manpower is established elsewhere to be rather resistant to subspace magic (which is only logical, because if it were susceptible to that, we'd have observed subspace already here in the 21st century and it wouldn't be magic to us).

So, yeah, I'm all for giving ion storms enough magical qualities to make them maximally analogous to an Earthly storm and its effects on an old sailing vessel. Whatever magic works as the howl of wind that makes the yells of the lookout in the crow's nest to go unheard is appropriate for the plot.

...Not that all interpretations of the ion pod would require those exact qualities of magic. But appealing to magic in this case is certainly perfectly valid.

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Old July 26 2010, 03:15 PM   #105
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Re: What is an "ion pod?"

I opened a can of ionic worms with this topic.
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