The TWOK Enterprise's torpedo bay revisited

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Robert Comsol, Dec 17, 2013.

  1. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    I think the tube interpretation makes the most sense.

    Actually, "all" tubes most likely means three or more; if there were only two tubes, then "both tubes" would have sufficed. You wouldn't say that you're going to shoot someone with "all barrels" of your double-barreled shotgun. No, the phrase that you'd use is "both barrels."

    You can watch the Enterprise fire a full spread of six torpedoes at about 1:55 of this compilation of the remastered FX:

    [yt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdKGl5Y141A[/yt]

    Also, the writer of "Journey to Babel" is a she.
     
  2. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Thanks for the correction. Interestingly, since that was Dorothy C. Fontana I would think that she knew what she was doing when numbering photon torpedoes and not tubes. ;)

    John M. Lucas started the numbering in "The Changeling", it would be interesting to see if we could learn what's the true story behind all this based on original production memos.

    Bob
     
  3. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    She probably didn't think that people would misunderstand that they were referring to tubes. As Workbee pointed out, using even numbers is the dead giveaway.
     
  4. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Sure, Kirk was specific which torpedoes he wanted but there isn't anything to preclude it from being shorthand for torpedo 2 in tube 2, torpedo 4 in tube 4 and torpedo 6 in tube 6.

    What is the ambiguity anyway? The numbering of torpedoes do not exceed the number of tubes used in "Elaan".

    It would have been more interesting if Kirk said, ready torpedo 21, 45 and 67.
     
  5. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    It's another thing where TOS' VFX have to be taken with a pinch of salt. If they could have shown 6 torpedo tubes firing, they would have. Unfortunately, they were limited to the same old stock footage, and the TOS-R crew were afraid to rock the boat by deviating from the one forward torpedo launcher fans had become accustomed to seeing.
     
  6. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    But this is where it's easy to get into trouble re "original intent". We can hypothesize about the intentions (if any) re the torpedo numbering, but, outside a production memo, we're still making guesses, and to change the effects based on such an unprovable idea might actually be to violate what was intended by the creators.
     
  7. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    ^^ Quite correct. That's why I contacted Harvey and asked for help. On such a short notice that's what he did find for "The Changeling":

    "The de Forest Research memo for "The Changeling" (dated June 6, 1967) does comment on the script's usage of torpedoes several times:

    A bolt of extremely powerful energy, Captain. Not unlike a giant photon torpedo. - The meaning of this line is unclear. The implication has been that a photon torpedo is an “object” like a conventional torpedo – that it must be loaded into “tubes” and “armed” and fired. How this could resemble a “bolt of...energy” begs explanation.

    Photon torpedoes activated. - Suggest: photon torpedoes armed, to conform with previous usage.

    Has the target changed position...No sir... Fire a full spread of torpedoes... – A “spread” of torpedoes is meant to cover a moving target. Since Nomad has not changed position, a “spread” would not be used. Suggest: “salvo” as more accurate word.


    The de Forest Research memo (September 22, 1967) for "Journey to Babel" makes no mention of torpedoes, though."

    (Thanks a lot, Harvey!) :techman:

    What's interesting to read here, IMHO, is that the original screenplay draft apparently envisioned an "energy pod" (The Making of Star Trek) but de Forest research somehow "discouraged" that idea and advocated a solid or conventional torpedo (and terminology that goes along with that).

    Equally interesting is how the TOS producers went along with these suggestions for

    • "The Changeling" - KIRK: That's our target, Mister Sulu. Prepare photon torpedo. ... SULU: Photon torpedoes armed, sir. ... KIRK: Ready photon torpedo number two, Mister Sulu.
    • "Journey to Babel" - KIRK: Fire.
      CHEKOV: Full spread missed, sir. They're moving too fast for us.
    • "Elaan of Troyius" - KIRK: Chekov, arm photon torpedoes.
      CHEKOV: Photon torpedoes ready. ...
      KIRK: ... As he passes, I want to cut in warp drive. We'll pivot at warp two and bring all tubes to bear. ...
      KIRK: Mister Chekov, give him a full spread of photon torpedoes.
    In simpler language: The photon torpedo apparently transformed from an energy pod / a magnophoton shell into a solid, conventional object that has to be loaded into a tube, armed and fired.

    The original question here had been whether the numbering referred to solid torpedoes or to launch tubes.
    If you insist we are looking at energy pods instead, then six "launch tubes" would also require six (!) antimatter injectors in that small area (they couldn't even make the coolants for the phasers foolproof in "Balance of Terror" ;)).

    Bob
     
  8. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Why?
     
  9. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    We don't know what "arm" means in this context. Jargon gets reused all the time even if it's out of date or inaccurate. We still "dial" phone numbers, give "the cold shoulder" (minus the original mutton), etc. "Arm" could just mean "inject antimatter into magno photon bays" or some other rubbish.
     
  10. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't think so. Scotty keeps the more conventional usage in The Doomsday Machine with Constellation's impulse overload trigger. He flips the switch and says "It's armed now."

    "Armed" basically refers to the trigger mechanism for a detonator or some kind of electronically fired weapon. The "Master Arm" switch in fighter planes works in a similar way, activating the relays between the trigger and the cannons as well as the bomb/missile releases.
     
  11. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    In the energy projectile scenario the photon torpedo would have to be manufactured on the spot by creating a "magnophoton" containment shell into which matter and antimatter are being injected, therefore you'd need 6 AM injectors for 6 launch tubes.

    OTOH, if the torpedo were manufactured at a location ahead of the launch tubes, you'd need to explain why you need 6 tubes when one launch tube would be totally sufficient. ;)

    Bob
     
  12. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    No.

    If the tubes are really localized, I can just as easily imagine one injector, that injects matter/antimatter into each tube to arm it. Or, there could two injectors (one for the port tubes, one for the starboard), or three (each shared by a pair of tubes). Or, there could be four (two tubes have dedicated injectors, two tubes share one injector).

    There is nothing "required".

    Further, I could easily imagine that the purpose of the tubes is to keep a number of torpedoes at the ready, because arming the torpedoes is an operation that requires some time.
     
  13. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    I can imagine a set-up where one injector (perhaps no bigger than your average five-gallon bucket) feeding six chambers located hexagonally around it, like the chamber of a revolver. The actual tubes may or may not actually revolve.

    But, yeah, really any arrangement could work... It's a big enough area that, as long as we don't imagine the equipment being overly bulky, we can arrange however we feel like, really.

    However, Kirk's order to arm 2, 4, and 6 might suggest three injectors feeding two tubes, and calling out the even numbers could be Kirk ordering the arming of all the, say, left hand tubes...

    --Alex
     
  14. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Actually, although my TOS Enterprise deck plan thread has taken a temorary hiatus, a revolver mechanism with probes and/or torpedoes is exactly what I imagine in the stern part of the phaser control room from "Balance of Terror" behind the grated window.

    However, "to keep a number of [non-solid, energy ball] torpedoes at the ready, because arming the torpedoes is an operation that requires some time" is a concept which - IMHO - is too sophisticated and out of sync with the TOS context featured in the series.

    "Obsession" featured a good example how they'd transport antimatter: in a solid pod.

    I think that's what a TOS photon torpedo warhead would have looked like, spearheading a missile that would have consisted of Nomad and other recycled parts.

    And then there's the "Errand of Mercy" dialogue to be considered:

    SPOCK: Minor, Captain. We were most fortunate. Blast damage in decks ten and eleven, minor buckling in the antimatter pods, casualties very light.

    I think there is good reason to have antimatter storage "down there" for the photon torpedoes, but the way I see it these antimatter pods are either warheads for a photon torpedo or spheres that can be used as mines or the like.

    Bob
     
  15. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    "Antimatter pods" could just mean "nacelles".
     
  16. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Yes, because that term was often used to refer to the antimatter stored in the nacelles.

    However, the VFX footage shows several Klingon projectiles hitting exclusively the ventral side of the saucer and Spock's damage report refers to corresponding "blast damage" in that area.

    Bob