Balance of Terror - Are they phasers?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Scrambo, Jun 24, 2011.

  1. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    Personally, the modern addition of the beam doesn't bother me, what bothers me (then and now) is that they had to spend an eternity cutting around sensitive circuitry to get to the door opener in an emergency, when they could have just cut thru the goddamn door! :lol:
     
  2. Gary7

    Gary7 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I thought the whole issue was being able to sneak up on O'Reilly fast enough. Taking the time to blast through the door would have given him more lead time to prepare. Cutting into the wall and exposing the door override mechanism gave them the chance to storm in quickly. At least, that's how I see it.
     
  3. Duncan MacLeod

    Duncan MacLeod Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Or flak.

    Roddenberry was a bomber pilot after all. I'm sure he had to fly through the stuff more than once.
     
  4. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Or was it because the only thing behind where Scotty was cutting was just the other side of the wall so if the phaser spilled over, it would get stopped there. But cutting through the door means any spill over goes zipping around the engine room itself :)
     
  5. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    Engineering is a secure area, so it's possible that the doors are shielded or reinforced in some way that phasering through them wouldn't work, at least not within the specified time frame.
     
  6. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Then again, that early in the series, not a lot had been decided on. The concept of a beam that could detonate on its own without hitting anything might not have seemed so silly back then as it is now. :p

    I mean, obviously they'd use photon torpedoes if that same scene was being filmed now, but back then, they were making everything up. Like this. :shrug:
     
  7. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Even if the door were slightly weaker than the wall, it would still definitely make sense to cut the wall: Scotty only has to make an incision some 30-40 cm long there, but he'd have to cut through at least two meters to make a man-sized hole in the door. (And more than three if he wanted a hole through which he could perform an assault, or one that he could drag a resisting or unconscious Riley through.)

    If you're breaking into a house, let alone a safe, by using a cutting tool, you don't cut a hole for yourself or even for your hand: you only cut a tiny bit around the lock or the hinges.

    Nothing wrong with that - the only problem there is that they gave up the proximity blasts later on. Those might have been helpful against all sorts of hiding or dodging adversaries, such as the Orions of "Journey to Babel".

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  8. Duncan MacLeod

    Duncan MacLeod Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    And the concept of a cannonball that can detonate on its own 20,000 feet in the air would have been sheer fantasy to an artillerist in 1640. But guess what? That's exactly what they were doing three hundred years later in 1940.

    For that reason alone, I don't have any problems what-so-ever with the proximity blast phasers. For me to say that it's impossible or even silly would be the height of hubris on my part.
     
  9. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    It was probably because of this episode that the concept of the photon torpedo was cooked up in the first place.
     
  10. Vance

    Vance Vice Admiral In Memoriam

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    Photon Torpedoes had not yet been made for the show by this time (and actually NEVER appear in the writer's guides for TOS). The only weapons listed for the ship were 'phasers', and they weren't really well defined. Remember that Balance of Terror is a first-batch episode, where a lot of the technical details were still in flux.

    This is actually the episode that 'forced' the change to Photon Torpedoes since phasers were becoming too 'magical' for Gene's taste. This is why we never see 'proximity fuse' again, and any similar use of weapons to what's shown here would be Torps.

    In other words, it probably makes more sense to look at them as Photon Torpedoes, and ignore the dialog. But, hey, it's only been 40 years of bitching on this point... why stop now? :)
     
  11. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    The original version of the Writer's Guide may not mention photon torpedoes, but it had to have been revised because the photorps are mentioned in The Making of Star Trek.

    There's nothing wrong with the way it was originally done.
     
  12. Vance

    Vance Vice Admiral In Memoriam

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    By the time TMoST came out, Torps were mentioned in the 'tech guide', which was a series of notes really meant for Gene and Herb. (This is also where you'll find a lot of the ins-and-outs of the ship which get discussed for TMoST).

    I have all the TOS writer's guides, and the Torps are NEVER mentioned, anywhere. In fact, there are very very few technical details in them, and this was deliberate. The attitude was that the writer's should focus on the stories, and that Gene (or one of his boys) would rewrite the bits of the script that called for the 'guns' or 'tech' to make them fit.
     
  13. Gary7

    Gary7 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^ Thanks for that bit of inside information. Very interesting and it makes sense.


    One other thing very commonly overlooked is that although there were some far reaching concepts defined that stretched across the series (Starfleet, rank structure, ship design, etc), this was the first Star Trek series and people were concerned more about sticking to budgets and schedules than forging a foundation that would fuel more TV series to come, even movies. So, although it's interesting to speculate about details like phasers vs. photon torpedoes, I think it's only fair not to push too hard about intentions.
     
  14. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    Any idea where I might find these tech notes? They'd be very useful for the Concordance update.
     
  15. Vance

    Vance Vice Admiral In Memoriam

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    I've only seen them referenced in other works but never actually saw them. If they were in a printable form, I would imagine that Majel would have sold them through Lincoln Enterprises, and that didn't seem to be the case. (This is how I got my writer's guides.)

    If they still do exist in some form, and could be found, they would probably be the biggest boon to Star Trek history in quite a few years.
     
  16. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    Maybe Rod's got a copy.

    I'll ask Bjo about this...
     
  17. Kirk here

    Kirk here Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    IMnsHO, this is the most correct answer posted.

    Watch "The Enemy Below", which Balance of Terror was based on, and you'll see.
     
  18. Saturn0660

    Saturn0660 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Also, the ship isn't painted like a giant bird.. As described by Mr. Styles. It IS in my VHS copy.. Remaster Fail..
     
  19. Gary7

    Gary7 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Visually, the sight of the painted bird underneath the hull made a really strong impression. Although... in reality it wouldn't be very easy to see. The biggest problem with sci-fi productions is that light is diffused and from multiple directions, when in fact it would either be very dark or lit by a star from just one direction. In that case, detection would rely much more upon instruments than visual examination. ;)

    KIRK: "After a whole century, what will a Romulan ship look like, Mister Stiles? I doubt they'll radio and identify themselves."
    STILES: "You'll know, sir. They're painted like a giant bird-of-prey."

    I'd rather Stiles said something like "they're shaped like a giant bird-of-prey, the engine pylons like massive wings. I've heard suggestions that they're even painted to look like one."
     
  20. Hambone

    Hambone Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    That's interesting. In the remastered broadcast version I watched, and the one I own on DVD, the bird-of-prey painting is quite clear. :confused: