Arena: Cestus III Fortress Set

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Scott Kellogg, Apr 13, 2021.

  1. publiusr

    publiusr Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Or there could have been some off screen issues that just botched things up that one day...repairs, etc
     
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  2. Phaser Two

    Phaser Two Commodore Premium Member

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    Yes, of course - good examples. I can't get enough of the Enterprise firing its main phasers. I was just trying to explain why the Enterprise might not have fired on the Gorn positions on Cestus III. "Starfleet didn't yet have that capability in S1 by the time of Arena," either for Doylist or Watsonian reasons, was the (far) weaker of the two explanations I proffered to suggest the Enterprise's failure to act.

    The other explanation (it was too dangerous to fire on the Gorn with the ship's weapons when the landing party was only 1200-1500 yards away) is more plausible. And really, there's a third possibility that may be even more likely: by the time the Gorn launched their surface-to-surface bombardment against Kirk and company - after waiting an unaccountably long time, by the way, given that they knew that Kirk was coming and probably had the smarts and technology to guess at or intercept the beamdown coordinates - the Enterprise was occupied with the Gorn ship** and couldn't initiate any space-to-surface action for the usual reasons discussed elsewhere in this thread about phaser/shield interaction, etc. - which indeed, is a thing. :techman: Didn't take long for you engineers to show up, did it? :beer:


    **In fact, maybe the Gorn waited to attack Kirk and company until their ship was in position to confront the Enterprise. That jibes with the episode's depiction of the Gorn as incredibly clever military opponents.
     
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  3. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    If the Gorn wanted Kirk dead, they'd simply order him to beam into a death trap that wouldn't be obvious to scanners.

    We could argue that the only way to fool Kirk's scanners was to get the death trap in place only after the heroes arrived, so the sniper and the supposed mortar squad only beamed down after Kirk did, explaining the delay. But that's not really plausible: Kirk was unable to sense that the Cestus III outpost had been burned down, so he couldn't plausibly sense a bunch of cold-blooded assassins surrounding the landing site from every direction, at twenty paces or so. Hiding the destruction of the outpost would probably require active measures, a doodad that not only transmitted the fake welcome of the Commodore, but also projected the image of an intact base.

    Timing might still be important, but it becomes more important if the attack moves from crude assassination to more refined intel gathering. Then again, they already had a lot of intel, being able to fake the Travers message and all.

    The other option is that the Gorn wanted to destroy the intruding starship first and foremost, but didn't have a ship capable of the job, so they trapped a landing party on the planet and tried to get Sulu to lower shields to save them, thus giving the Gorn ship a fighting chance. Prolonged torture of Kirk and pals would be a means to an end only.

    As for shields and phasers, it's quite likely that shields are one-way, but realistic that they aren't 100% good at that. Getting stuff out may become exceedingly difficult as power is ramped up, and getting stuff in must always be allowed to a degree lest the ship go blind. Which is why some enemies can exploit the inward transparency - but also why skippers in general desperately attempt to keep their shields down even in war zones, because they really, really dislike being blind.

    Pretty much everything else here is explicit or then grounded in uncontested cases in point even if not explicated. The mysterious reason for why shields stay down in combat until they no longer can is never really covered, and the idea that it would be a power allocation issue gets quite a few contrary cases. But if keeping shields down allows the heroes to see, and raised shields is like wearing shades at night, it's good: when the combat starts in earnest, the muzzle flashes make the enemy visible anyway, despite the shades...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  4. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    SInce when do I argue canon? You forget who you're talking to....often.
     
  5. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I work in a Data Center facility (well, work from home, for the past year now), and that is an extremely realistic thought. Hardware fails, or its replacement is installed with some procedural mistake, or an update is made to the software that inadvertently fouls up some functionality. And fixing it takes time. It happens a lot in real life.
     
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  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I often think the whole idea of starships in orbit firing phasers at the surface is problematical. After all, there's a hundred kilometers or more of atmosphere in between. An atmosphere is a natural deflector shield around a planet, protecting its surface from cosmic radiation and meteoroids.

    From Atomic Rockets:
    http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/planetaryattack.php#id--Orbital_Bombardment
    (SPS = solar power satellite)

    Per Sternbach/Okuda, phasers are particle beams, specifically "nadion" beams. So they shouldn't realistically be capable of orbital bombardment at all. Clearly canon has ignored that many times, of course. But if nothing else, we can surmise that whatever method starships use to fire through planetary atmospheres is not trivial or effortless, that it requires some sort of special tuning of the beam to a transparency window in the atmosphere or some such handwave. So that could explain why the Enterprise couldn't immediately open fire on Gorn ground emplacements, since they'd need time to compute how to retune the phasers for Cestus III's atmosphere.
     
  7. Scott Kellogg

    Scott Kellogg Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Hey, Cool! Another fan of Atomic Rockets!
    I've been using Nyrath's "Rocketcat" character in my comic for a while now (with his permission of course.)
    I was using his thoughts on Meson Guns, so I thought it only polite to give him a role in the story as "Dr. Nyrath."

    Anyway, I'm more inclined to think that Kirk's one line sums up why they didn't even try orbital bombardment.
    "Nevermind about me! Protect My Ship!"

    Clearly, he didn't want a junior officer to be distracted by telling him to fight a battle on two fronts.

    (Besides which, once the Enterprise opened fire on the Gorn Landing Party, the Gorns would open fire on the Enterprise's.)

    Scott
     
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  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    You're probably right. The ship was busy with its opposite number in orbit, so the ground forces focused on one another.
     
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  9. hofner

    hofner Commodore Commodore

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    Another thing I find curious about 'Armageddon' is some time after Scotty's remark about not being able to fire full phasers with their deflectors up, one of the Eminiarans says the Enterprise has moved out of range of their disruptors. This seems to be an explanation as to how Scotty can execute General Order 24 and fire on the planet.

    If not, I wonder what the purpose was to say the ship has moved out of range.

    Robert
     
  10. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    That's it. Giving fire support to a small area on the surface would no doubt restrict the ship's movements. To defend themselves from another vessel, they'd need to be free to maneuver.
     
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  11. publiusr

    publiusr Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Atomic Rockets is one of the best websites ever, with Starship Modeler.

    I even like the wider look to the phasers in Arena
     
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  12. Mres_was_framed!

    Mres_was_framed! Commander Red Shirt

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    I think that it is possible Starfleet is conservative with resources where possible and might just use a metal sign or door with a knob when it get the job done well enough, since it must take a lot of resources to get established on a planet far from home (or at least this rationale would allow for stories that have vaguely Western-inspired elements).

    However, you make a great point in the sense that this is the direction fans like me were hoping the newer series and movies would do with the look of TOS: adding detail that could be seen on larger, sharper screens without actually changing the details that were visible in TOS. Sadly, for a while now, things have not been going in that direction.

    It seems like there are details to this story that have been cut, possibly for time. Fox suddenly beams down, after a cut from an unrelated part of the story; beaming down through screens happens without explanation in contrast so other episodes (so much so that when B'lanna does this in Voyager, it is shown as a big deal); phasers are claimed to not reach full power with shields up. (It's hard to accept that in most space battles we might be never seeing full phasers??) Can anyone speak to development of that script or filming on whether parts were cut? It would make a lot of sense, if one of the explanations given by the commenters I've quoted was in originally the story and just did not make it onscreen.
     
  13. publiusr

    publiusr Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I’m still at a loss as to what weapons were used by the Gorn. We see shelling, yet there is a vaporization with no beam giving away its source. Nifty
     
  14. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ...You really don't want to snipe with a phaser that draws a glowing line to your firing position for anybody to see. (Unless you are Admiral Cornell West and want everybody to see you killed the President while wearing the gorilla mask, and would have gotten away with it, too, if not for those meddling retirees.)

    But the heroes call the Gorn weapons "disruptors". Is Spock referring to the so far harmless shelling, or to the deadly sniping beam that already produced one casualty? The latter would be more consistent treknologically, and more appropriate dramatically. Yes, Spock laments that they have hand phasers and the enemy has better guns. But logically, it's not the artillery that is the superior threat, it's the sniping. Indeed, the only purpose of the shelling may be to distract and unnerve, much as in DS9 "The Ship".

    Disruptors in later Trek fire at bolt rather than beam mode a bit more often than their phaser counterparts do, so the Gorn sniper could be wielding one. OTOH, Spock may be determining the enemy weapon type with his trusted tricorder (before it goes all traitorous on him), and need to be limited to visual cues.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  15. publiusr

    publiusr Vice Admiral Admiral

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    There is a part of me that thinks the blasts are disruptor strikes on pavement. Vaporization only on “bags of water”

    Dry hits burst.
     
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  16. johnnybear

    johnnybear Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It could be argued that the Gorn knew a bit too much about the humans that were encroaching upon their space! Their faked message to Kirk personally on the Ship proves that. How did they know the name of the Captain of the enemy vessel coming into orbit or the friendship between Commodore Travers and Kirk? They may have deciphered the Cestus Three computer files but how could they have known of their relationship and later we discover it's the Metrons that actually allow each Captain to understand each other's language on the surface of the asteroid? :biggrin:
    JB
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    We get basically two main options:

    1) The Gorn are nasty pieces of work and, in addition to nearly pulling off this competent ambush and previously managing to overrun a UFP outpost, were also good at torturing lots of information out of Travers. Our heroes really got off easy here!
    2) The Gorn under their scaly skins are a highly sensitive species and can't help but pick up the deepest secrets and worries and friendships of any people they meet. This is also why they kill Feds left and right: they are threatened and overwhelmed by these insensitive brutes who don't respond even to the kindest pseudo-telepathic shoulder rubs.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. Scott Kellogg

    Scott Kellogg Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Since the Gorns seem to have waltzed in, using the outpost's normal approach round to avoid raising suspicions that they did a long duration intelligence reconnaissance of the outpost, and got to know all about it, the relationships with other commands etc before they attacked.

    They didn't have to fool the Enterprise crew that much, from McCoy's behavior, they were already fooling themselves, all ready to walk in and get a fresh non-reconstituted meal. The messages didn't have to contain any personal details to bring them down.
     
  19. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Well, we didn't hear the messages.

    That is, Kirk already has his tactical people with him when "Travers" makes the "Be sure to bring' em" call we hear, so this is not the first time the subject is brought up. There must have been previous communications, and time to mull them over, and they still didn't raise any flags.

    So yes, the Gorn did their homework, but we still don't know what exact grades they got for it, and how exactly they cheated.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  20. Roundabout

    Roundabout Commander Red Shirt

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    Compared to most other sets that were used in TOS, the ruined outpost of Cestus Three had an impressive look to it. To my eyes, it didn't look cheap (relatively speaking). It didn't look like the standard studio backlot set.

    I would have to say that the production people did a good job. Because, with the craters and ruined appearance, it was visually believable that a battle took place there. And what added to the luster of the set was that it was actually outdoors.

    For me, it wasn't just the set that was impressive. The whole Cestus Three scene may have been the most exciting and dramatic scene in the entire series. With explosions going off all over the place and Kirk zigging and zagging and tumbling through the danger zone, it was exciting. Kirk won the style points compared to Spock, who moved like a lumbering oaf.

    By the way, I read that Shatner said that he began having tinnitus while filming "Arena". I guess he paid a price for all that explosive excitement from the episode.