What is an "ion pod?"

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by Jeri, Feb 5, 2010.

  1. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2009
    Location:
    T'Girl
    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.
     
  2. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    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.
     
  3. StarryEyed

    StarryEyed Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2008
    Location:
    Florida Keys
    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.
     
  4. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    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
     
  5. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    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?
     
  6. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    ...Wouldn't allow for Finney to get out of there under any circumstances, though.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  7. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    Hmm that would account for having someone go in and prep it for launching.
     
  8. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    We don't know that.
     
  9. kkozoriz1

    kkozoriz1 Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2006
    Location:
    Centrelea, Nova Scotia
    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.
     
  10. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    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
     
  11. Gary7

    Gary7 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    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...
     
  12. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    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.

    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.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  13. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    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).
     
  14. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    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...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  15. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    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.
     
  16. number6

    number6 Vice Admiral

    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.
     
  17. StarryEyed

    StarryEyed Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2008
    Location:
    Florida Keys
    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.
     
  18. number6

    number6 Vice Admiral

    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.
     
  19. A beaker full of death

    A beaker full of death Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2002
  20. StarryEyed

    StarryEyed Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2008
    Location:
    Florida Keys
    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?