exterior surface markings of Kirk's Enterprise

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Robert Comsol, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    The problem is that the claim meets none of the criteria set forth by the episode. I doubt the mission was to launch the pod. If it was the dialogue would've at least mentioned prepping it for launch. Instead we have from the dialogue:

    That there is a list of crewmen that take turns to go into the ion pod:
    KIRK: Weather scan indicated an ion storm dead ahead. I sent Finney into the pod.
    STONE: Why Finney?
    KIRK: His name was at the top of the duty roster.
    STONE: If he blamed you
    KIRK: He may have blamed me that he never rose to command a ship, but I don't assign jobs on the basis of who blames me. It was Finney's turn, and I assigned him. He had just checked in with me from the pod when we hit the leading edge of the storm.
    And inside the pod they take readings
    FINNEY [OC]: Finney here, Captain. Ion readings in progress.
    And the ion pod must be jettisoned in an emergency:
    KIRK: Given the same circumstances I would do the same thing without hesitation, because the steps I took in the order I took them were absolutely necessary if I were to save my ship. And nothing is more important than my ship.
    KIRK: I agree. I waited until the last possible moment. We were on Red Alert. The storm got worse. I had to jettison the pod.
    Are you also claiming "Yellow Alert" and "Red Alert" was also the mission? It's pretty obvious that the jettison button there is because only the Captain has the authority to eject the pod. Plus if the emergency created by the pod in a force 7 ion storm was that great, it would make sense to cut out the middle guy when hitting the eject button. That also conveniently makes Kirk on the hook if something went wrong - thus the episode ;)
     
  2. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    I think it's somewhat telling that the word "jettison" is used, rather than the word "launch."

    In fact I just checked, and the word "jettison" (or "jettisoned") is said exactly ten times in the episode. The word "launch" is said exactly zero times in the episode.

    "Launch" would suggest a planned operation with maybe a countdown and all the sundry ceremony that a preplanned operation would include. It's a controlled and coordinated process.

    "Jettison," OTOH, at least to my thinking, is more in the family of words like "abort" and "eject" and such emergency contingency words.

    Here's some synonyms from thefreedictionary.com:

    The word comes from the Old English to throw burdensome weight over the side of a ship to lighten it. It's the same root for the word "jetsam" which is essentially ocean-going garbage. If the ion pod was being "launched" then why not use the word "launch" instead of the word for "oh-crap, get-this-thing-the-hell-off-my-ship-and-I-mean-right-now!"

    --Alex
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2012
  3. Mytran

    Mytran Commodore Commodore

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    For those who haven't read it, this thread and specifically this post shed light on the original thinking behind why jettisoning an Ion Pod might be neccessary.
     
  4. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Thanks for the back threads, Mytran. Yeah, the episode supports that the ion pod could become a danger to the ship requiring an emergency "jettison" but it is not meant to be "launched".
     
  5. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    ...To prepare it for each sortie into an ion storm - a sortie that never lasts long enough to involve multiple crew.

    The task falls on a qualified person who isn't tasked with something else at the time; the duty roster exists for that very reason. The alternative would be to have a dedicated pod-preparing person, which would be really silly if the task calls for the expertise of a Lieutenant Commander or even a Lieutenant. You don't tie down somebody of that caliber with a single duty; you rotate your personnel resources.

    ...They prep the pod so that as the end result, readings are in progress, and will continue to do so throughout the flight of the pod.

    ...It must be jettisoned before an emergency. If there's an emergency, then it's almost too late, and there's no time to ensure that the preparations guy gets out - the skipper has to trust that he follows the procedure relating to Red Alert.

    Certainly. The crew knows exactly what to do when Red Alert is sounded in these circumstances, and it's a procedure specific to the circumstances. For Finney, it means "get out of the pod, we're launching regardless of whether you're ready or not", a meaning it will not have in any other circumstances.

    For Kirk, the special mission involves configuring his console in a very specific manner, with just three functionalities out of five keyed in. These are in a specific order dictated by the nature of the mission: fly in, press Yellow Alert, fly deeper in, press Red Alert, press Jettison Pod, get the hell out of Dodge.

    Indeed. So, solid proof that the mission is all about firing the pod into the storm.

    If the emergency were that great, there would be no pod in the first place.

    It's not as if the pod is detrimental by default. Nor is it likely that it becomes detrimental at any specific point, because the person in charge of the jettison button has no access to data specifying the point.

    Kirk says they began encountering "difficulties": "variant stress, Force 7, the works". Extremely vaguely put if he's discussing the approaching of a preset cutoff point. Then he adds that "finally" he had to signal Red Alert. It's fuzzy logic through and through, not a preset point of any sort.

    In contrast, if we assume that Kirk's mission was to deliver the pod, he'd do that exactly when Finney was ready, storm status be damned. Only if the storm got worse would he cut and run, launching a semi-prepared pod for at least partial scientific return (because at the very least the readings on the ion plates were in progress) and then saving the ship in a completely separate maneuver that might still utterly fail despite the pod having been jettisoned.

    Nothing in the dialogue explicitly indicates that the pod would be a danger to the ship. So that silly idea is best dropped regardless of what interpretation we choose.

    Because the pod would be an unpropelled rather than a propelled device, simply dumped overboard to begin its mission. You just "let it loose" and allow the storm to carry it away.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  6. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    So you're saying it's disposable? As in disposable as an assumed role for it's mission? That would mean that Enterprise is only capable of studying one, or at most two (assuming another pod in the symmetrical location on the other side of the ship), ion storms ever without a base layover. We know they can't load another one from the inside because in TOSr we see the device in question being installed from the outside of the ship.

    To me this brings up some odd assumptions. Why would Starfleet require it's ships to be carrying bulky disposable single use items to cover the measurement of one fairly isolated phenomenon? If ion storms are common enough for their regular measurement and study to be a standard mission of Starfleet ships, then why equip ship's with the goods to only ever study two? If they are more rare, then why equip ships with big bulky elements that only have one, occasionally called upon use?

    It seems most likely to me that the ion pod(s) are there to study ion storms and other ion-related phenomena but they aren't disposable. I posit that the ship has its shields up during the fly-through (and Yellow alert is standard practice) but for the pod to work, it must be extended on some kind of boom to outside the shield envelope, where, if things get bad, it can function in an analogous way to a sea anchor and can put the ship in extreme danger. If something goes wrong enough, then the ship goes to Red alert and the offending pod is jettisoned -- that is, cut off from the ship and ejected away in order to prevent whatever greater damage would be caused by allowing it to drag. This is an emergency procedure. If things go by the book, then after the readings are taken on the ion plates, then the whole shebang is reeled back in and the hapless crew member hops out none-the-worse-for-wear.

    Why can't this whole operation be automated, sparing the risk and exposure of a crewman? Perhaps the nature of the ion storm causes interference to make computers unreliable or even non-functional. The process can only be carried out manually. This might explain how Finney got out in time without there being any record of it: since automation is unreliable, there is an emergency line which is on a spring loaded pulley system which can yank the crewman back if he tugs the cord. This is a totally mechanical system and when Finney got back aboard, he released the lock and let the line roll back into space, making it appear that he was lost and then stashed his space suit and proceeded to monkey around with the log records.

    Now, for my money, this is the only scenario that makes a lick of sense. Your mileage may vary, of course. But that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

    --Alex
     
  7. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Nothing in the dialogue mentions or even suggests "preparation". Got a quote? :)

    Also, what was the pod going to do once jettisoned? We know that ion storms wreak havoc with equipment making them unreliable or inoperative. That's probably why they need a guy in the pod just to "take readings" as said in the episode and not a guy remotely connected to it via a long control circuit/cable.

    Jettisoning the ion pod would gain them no additional sensor information or scientific purpose. But, the episode made it clear that keeping the pod attached during an emergency would've destroyed the ship.

    Whoa Timo, if that was true, then there would be no trial! :wtf:

    The very reason that Kirk is on trial is because he is being blamed for jettisoning the ion pod before an emergency.
    SHAW: Freeze that! If the court will notice, the log plainly shows the defendant's finger pressing the jettison button. The condition signal reads Yellow Alert. Not red alert, but simply Yellow Alert. When the pod containing Lieutenant Commander Finney was jettisoned, the emergency did not as yet exist.
    If the pod was no danger to the ship then why do they need to eject it only in an emergency?
    KIRK: I agree. I waited until the last possible moment. We were on Red Alert. The storm got worse. I had to jettison the pod.

    SPOCK: It reports that the jettison button was pressed before the Red Alert.
    SHAW: In other words, it reports that Captain Kirk was reacting to an extreme emergency that did not then exist.

    KIRK: Given the same circumstances I would do the same thing without hesitation, because the steps I took in the order I took them were absolutely necessary if I were to save my ship. And nothing is more important than my ship.​
     
  8. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Judging by the shape the ship was in after its one known encounter, I think this is not a bad assumption...

    The phenomenon was also encountered only once by our heroes, or by any other set of onscreen Trek heroes for that matter (indeed, most sets never met this specific phenomenon, only comparable ones by different names). Everything fits with it being rare indeed - thus warranting these near-suicidal sorties into the belly of the beast by a random starship in the name of science, even though starships might have much better things to do, and even though the Federation might be capable of building special ships or craft better equipped to deal with the storm studies. It just wouldn't do to send dedicated ships on a hunt: every vessel has to stand ready in case she is the one to get lucky and meet a storm.

    Really, the only in-story element that calls for the storms not to be super-rare is the fact that Finney was counting on encountering one. But he had obviously spent years if not decades preparing for his revenge, and most of it might have been spent waiting for the perfect storm.

    This goes against a command chair button being dedicated to the very act of disposing, though.

    Kirk should really have control over the deploying and retracting of this supposed recoverable pod, too, if he has control over its emergency scuttling...

    Good question, and the idea of uncrewed deployment answers it. And since an ion storm study is a highly time-critical operation, such uncrewed deployment would rightfully call for priming of the system after probable years of dormancy, in a great hurry, and inside a storm.

    I'm not sure this should be an issue for the Records Officer, though.

    Also, the more elaborate we make the ion pod, the more "accountable" it becomes. Something forgotten in a lone corner of the ship for years at an end would call for assorted precautions if its very operation jeopardized lives. If it's just an automated piece of equipment to be jettisoned to do its job after an expert has checked that it still works and primed its experiments, then nobody is required to anxiously await for said expert to return, ready to offer assistance. After all, the expert has not really left the ship.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  9. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    I just choose to interpret the applicable bits the right way.

    "We'll need somebody in the pod for readings."

    Not for taking the readings, but to facilitate the getting of readings by priming the system.

    "Report to pod for reading on ion plates."

    Clearly, the futuristic act of "reading on" primes the plates. ;)

    "Finney here, Captain. Ion readings in progress."

    But other systems still need priming.

    "Make it fast, Ben. I may have to go to Red Alert."

    And that marks the point where we deploy and run, ready or not. Note that Kirk does not say anything even remotely like "I may have to jettison the pod".

    Study the storm, autonomously, with better odds of survival than a starship (and less at stake in case of failure) - while it lasts. Kirk was in a great hurry to get into the storm, suggesting it would evaporate or move away in a moment. Once that happens, they can go and look for the pod and get the results, physically or via telemetry. Standard tornado hunting stuff, that.

    Nothing of the sort was ever stated. Instead, Kirk made clear that the storm was a threat to his ship, quite regardless of pods or other factors. And then he said that when the storm got worse still, he had to jettison the pod. Which is fully consistent with jettisoning being the climax of the mission, something Kirk was anxious to do because it would allow him to save his ship by sailing out of the storm.

    Nope, he's on trial because Finney is dead, and evidence suggests both that Kirk didn't give Finney a warning necessary for his survival, and that Kirk had a motive to hold back the warning and cause Finney's death.

    There was a full-blown emergency underway all the time, with various alert statuses to indicate it. That Kirk jettisoned before pressing Red Alert would be a poor handling of the emergencies at hand, and could be interpreted variously as incompetence or malice - but everybody knew he would jettison sooner or later. That was assumed, inevitable, and no doubt the aim of the whole process.

    Shaw is of course speaking out of her pretty ass: the ship was in danger already, per all witness statements. The ship suffered heavy damage, none of it ever attributed to the presence of the ion pod. But the prosecution would be motivated to use provocative expressions: Kirk looks more incompetent (or more damnably suspect) if he panics when there "is no emergency".

    But of course it does not report that. It only reports that Captain Kirk did not believe in an extreme emergency yet, and thus didn't press the Red Alert button to express such belief.

    Button pushes are the thing being judged in the trial. But button pushes do not relate to emergencies. Button pushes only relate to Kirk's assessment on whether there exists an emergency or not. If Kirk doesn't press Red Alert in time, Shaw can only accuse him of failing to notice or express that there is an emergency there; the emergency itself cannot be talked away by the silly woman.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  10. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Yes your interpretation, but no dialogue. I'd buy into your interpretation if there was just a shred of dialogue support into the episode. However, there doesn't appear to be any.

    He should've of said, "We'll need somebody to prep the pod for readings."

    He should've said, "Report to pod for readying the plates for launching."

    He should've said, "Finney here, Captain. Ion readings in progress. Ready to launch as soon as I get clear."

    Kirk should've said, "Finney, where's my damn ion pod!?" :)

    And that is where Kirk is forced to jettison the pod, not deploy and run. If they could've fired an automated ion probe into the storm they would've. But since they have a guy manually taking readings indicate that they are unable to automate the process. And with that, there would be no way a jettisoned ion pod could've gathered and saved any data for later retrieval or even send telemetry to the ship.

    That's not true. If the storm did not get worse, they would've kept the pod and sailed out of it. Would the ship have been damaged, probably. Would the ship have been destroyed? No.

    But with the storm worsening, the pod was the danger and it had to be jettisoned. That was the emergency as stated in the episode. Jettisoning it saved the ship. Was the ship still damaged? Yes, but that was to be expected.


    That's not what the episode dialogue states. He's on trial because Kirk perjured himself and jettisoned the pod in a non-emergency situation, which caused Finney's death.
    STONE: Then, Captain, I must presume you've committed willful perjury.This extract from your computer log says you jettisoned the pod before going to Red Alert. Consider yourself confined to the base. Official inquiry will determine whether a general court martial is in order.

     
  11. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    Sorry, my friend. Everyone in the courtroom agrees the jettisoning the pod would have been the acceptable reaction to an "extreme emergency" and the argument is that Kirk jettisoned the pod without there having yet been such a justifiable emergency. In any case, the jettisoning was assumed to be an emergency measure.

    It makes some sense for Kirk to have the jettison button on his own control board. As it is such a dangerous post and the safety of the entire ship depends on the status of this pod, it seems reasonable that the captain has the eject/abort button at his sole use. After all a crewman's life is on the line and the decision to push the button would have to be made quickly. How does Kirk know when to push it? We never see the main bridge viewscreen. Presumably the required data was on display there. The dialogue suggests that Finney was in the pod while it was taking its readings and remained there when it was jettisoned, only really he did get out in those precious few seconds and made it look otherwise.

    I really just can't see it any other way.

    --Alex
     
  12. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    To the contrary, I'd think that since a life is on the line, everybody else should keep their dirty fingers off the button, and Finney and Finney alone should have the authority to jettison the pod. Kirk would have the complementary authority to abort the mission, simply by flying out of the storm. Clearly, flying and ion pods are perfectly compatible things: Kirk e.g. orders a speed change while Finney is fiddling with the pod, and tells helm to hold course as if there were alternatives.

    All evidence for the pod itself being dangerous or harmful to the ship, or even an inconvenience, is circumstantial at best. Evidence of pod jettison being harmful to Finney is more solid, as nobody really expects him to have survived the event - but Kirk does order a search in or around the ship, which would be consistent if Finney were stuck in a chute accessing a pod that is about to be launched, the same way Scotty accesses instrumentation in that angled tube in many episodes, and might have been sucked out with the pod and blown into space. If Finney were in the pod in the sense of sitting inside at the observer's seat, one would expect that whatever emergency pressure door system saved the mothership from losing its air at jettison would also save Finney's life, and he would be searched for, not in or around the ship, but at the current location of the ion pod.

    Fundamentally, of course, we have the problem here that the writer was most probably thinking about a crow's nest in the mast of a ship, or an observation balloon/kite, and then adding this jettison thing without thinking through the implications - whereas modern audiences can more comfortably think in terms of tornado hunters, and appreciate the idea of deploying and dropping monitoring devices in the middle of a non-survivable phenomenon in a hair-raising maneuver. And vice versa, modern audiences would be appalled to think in terms of sending a person to die in an observation balloon.

    The writing, regardless of intent, caters for both interpretations. But it's not particularly formulated to support the crow's nest approach. Finney is never indicated to be in any danger before Kirk supposedly murders him - the ion pod is not a dangerous assignment in any other sense than as a possible tool for a sinister plot. The ship in turn is indicated to be in constant danger, which Kirk constantly judges through his own expertise. We lack information on what happens when Kirk declares the danger unbearable: the computer tells the lie that he ejects the pod, while dialogue vaguely suggests Kirk actually first calls Red Alert and then fires the pod, then somehow saves the ship.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  13. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    For me, it's sufficient that there's not a shred of actual opposition to the interpretation.

    The plot as written is full of absurdities, such as parts of the ship being harmful to the ship as a whole but not to the person inside, or devices that cannot be automated despite posing a high risk. But the dialogue doesn't set these absurdities in stone - only certain interpretations do.

    We have no idea what really happened because all we ever saw was a dirty lie, truncating the story just when it got interesting. We are never told how Kirk and the ship survived the storm, and what role the jettisoning of the pod played in all that.

    That's another thing we can't know, because the recounting of events is truncated. Nobody ever said they were going to keep the pod. There was a dedicated button for jettisoning it, installed specifically for this mission. And Kirk's finger was hovering over that button.

    Except that it wasn't. The pod was never indicated to be a danger of any sort. It just had to be jettisoned, sooner or later. And Kirk had buttons for jettisoning and for defining "sooner" and "later".

    Perjury is a false charge based on the computer being rigged, and irrelevant here. The separate relevant charge is on Kirk jettisoning the pod before telling Finney he was gonna do it - that's what Red Alert is, a signal of intent. Emergencies are not mentioned when the seasoned skipper Stone discusses the issue. Only the hack lawyer Shaw speaks of them, but in a nonsensical manner we can ignore.

    What are we to believe? That Kirk would only jettison this deadly threat after an emergency has arisen? Makes no sense. If the threat is the emergency, there is no "after" (well, except in the religious sense) - jettison is a way to prevent the emergency. But if the threat is not the emergency, then there is no chance that the pod is the threat.

    Stone expected Kirk to warn Finney before jettison, and never questioned that jettison would take place. Shaw expected Kirk to jettison only if there was an emergency, and the (silly) definition of emergency for her was declaration of Red Alert. It was all about warning and declaring, no matter how one looks at it - not about jettison being an exceptional measure.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  14. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Well since it is a "jettison" and not a "launch" then Kirk makes more sense because he knows whats going on with the ship's flight where as Finney only has ion pod readings. Finney might wait too long due to misjudgement or injury and get the ship blown up.

    Nah, you're just convinced of your interpretation despite the contrary evidence in the episode.

    Jettisoning the pod saved the ship. That was repeated in the episode and never challenged.

    Which again, doesn't indicate that "launching" it was part of the mission since none of the dialogue goes there. The dialogue does support dumping or jettisoning it in case of emergency. Just because the Galileo 7 has a "Fuel Jettison" button doesn't mean it's mission is to go out and dump its fuel everytime she goes out.

    Also, the other comparable example to the Enterprise "launching" something inside a large body was in "The Immunity Syndrome" and they took the time to spell out that they were "launching" it at point-blank range. Not "jettisoning".

    Just like Kirk would fire the phasers of the Enterprise after an emergency has arisen like being attacked by an enemy ship.

    It's pretty obvious we're not gonna agree, so I'm going to agree to disagree. But it would interesting to see your re-write of the script to make it work to your interpretation one day. :)
     
  15. SonicRanger

    SonicRanger Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The idea that the ion pod resides there dates back (at least) to 1978, published in StarFleet Assembly Manual Number 3:

    http://www.trekbbs.com/showpost.php?p=3818898&postcount=21

    I dare say that consistency with a fan publication from 1978 shows a great familiarity with this issue and Trek publications.
     
  16. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Do you believe what you can actually see or do you rather believe what others tell you?

    Admittedly, authors back in the 70's mostly had no VCRs or means to playback video, therefore I can understand that a few details escaped their attention (like that visible thingy sticking out from the Enterprise model in the NASM was a light bulb).

    In the meantime there have been VHS tapes, LaserDiscs and DVDs to notice that it actually is a running light (e.g. "Galileo Seven", "Alternative Factor" etc.) and plenty of time to fix this erroneous mistake.

    Familiarity with fan fiction does not equal familiarity with the original source materials (how I'd wish this were the case...)

    Bob
     
  17. SonicRanger

    SonicRanger Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    So you want one to have familiarity with nearly five decades of Trekdom but also to make the one decision that agrees with your interpretation?
     
  18. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    KIRK: We'll need somebody in the pod for readings.

    http://tos.trekcore.com/hd/albums/1x20hd/courtmartialhd003.jpg

    http://tos.trekcore.com/hd/albums/1x20hd/courtmartialhd049.jpg

    How exactly would Finney fit into the ion pod as depicted in TOS-R? He'd get half his body inside easily, but would then get into in a fetal position? to cram the rest of his body in? And still take readings from the sensing devices (aka ion plates). You can see in the 2nd screenshot the two spaceguys moving the bulb in place for size comparison.

    Picking that blinking light bulb as the ion pod doesn't show any familiarity with the episode's dialogue, IMO. Which is a shame since they had a CG model and could've really depicted a larger pod or opt to not show it at all.
     
  19. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    That's the beauty of it - there is no need for Finney to comfortably fit inside the pod if it is an ejectable automated device.

    Basically, the pod would be a glorified spacesuit, a "hardsuit" typical of 1950s science fiction and fact. Only, this particular pod would be a modification, a probe to be launched from the hardsuit deployment chute. One would still access it the very same way, by crawling into the horizontal chute and into the stem part of the mushroom-shaped device. No room for helping hands there - the perfect vehicle for Finney's nefarious plan...

    That the TOS-R folks didn't opt to alter the shape or dimensions of the starship or its random surface featurettes strikes me as particularly elegant.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  20. BK613

    BK613 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    So the location in TOS-R could be an Okuda Homage() then? Interesting.

    @Timo - Sorry, but Finney was sent to take readings from the pod, was taking readings before the pod was jettisoned, and supposedly was in the pod when it was jettisoned:

    To me, an important thing to remember is the presence of four starship commanders in the courtroom, none of which seem to have any issue with the specifics of this fake record, other than the timing of the jettison. Which, to me, means that Ben "I know this ship too" Finney's facsimile can be viewed as authentic in regards to procedure.