I rather like the idea of that being the ion pod, still. I mean, the rest of that dome is accepted as being sensor-oriented, right? Now, I noticed in the TOS-R version of "Court Martial" that they showed a missing element that they assumed was the ion pod. It was one of the protruding lamps on the side of the secondary hull, adjacent to the hangar deck. The only thing that bothers me about that was that there are TWO of those "bumps" (one on each side... shown when they "flipped" the ship shots on a few occasions... even if it wasn't on the physical model!). Apart from the "duplication" minor snafu, though, it does work pretty well... if you assume that this is what I've recently started thinking of this as. Why would you need to eject the ion pod? Other than for script reasons, there's no logical justification if it's mounted into the hull like that. Is there? But suppose that the pod is actually deployed... and is operating outside of the deflector shield boundary. Maybe it's on a telescoping "stalk" or maybe it's on a tether, being dragged behind the ship... but in both cases it's operating outside of the protective shield boundary and requires a "window" in the shields for that reason. My point... they can't completely protect the ship with it deployed. So it comes down to "dump the deployed pod" or "allow the radiation to flood through the window in the shields and damage the ship (presumably the radiation from an ion storm is relatively harmless to tissue, or else you wouldn't put a person out there in it!) From that standpoint, the "dome nipple" doesn't make sense as the ion pod. Ideally, the pod would trail from the aft end of the secondary hull. But I can live with it deploying from the side... provided that there's a "crane" element that deploys along with it that trails a line to which the pod is attached. Thoughts? Comments?