How do you think the Tantalus Field functions & how to improve it?

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by KamenRiderBlade, May 3, 2019.

  1. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Captain Captain

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  2. Steven P Bastien

    Steven P Bastien Captain Captain

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    Not only don't I know how the field functions, but I don't know how the machine was able to view the target and how it knew which target should be shown.

    What I really don't understand is why the machine is even necessary. Kirk is the Captain. He can order any crew member anywhere. All he has to do is order an enemy to the transporter room where his henchmen club the guy on the head, and then he can beam the remains into space using a wide dispersal pattern. Why all this magical technology just to kill men, which men have been doing since the dawn of time?
     
  3. IMC Headquarters

    IMC Headquarters Captain Premium Member

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    The TF is an offshoot of transporter tech. It's lightning quick because it doesn't make a fuss about remembering the proper arrangement of one's molecules. It just breaks people down and converts them to photons.
     
  4. Boris Skrbic

    Boris Skrbic Captain Captain

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    A neuroscientist would have to watch the episode and make observations, but I imagine even they only express it as a partial hypothesis, with X, Y and Z left as mystery elements to be filled in.
     
  5. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Well, as said, Kirk commands resources. One of those would be CCTV feed of his own starship; the monitoring aspect is solved there and then. Surely that's more elegant and effective than the "all he has to do", needlessly complicated and labor-intensive alternative of ordering one of his underlings to spy on the victim?

    Another resource he commands is the transporter. Again, surely more elegant than going through the complications of first killing, then transporting, or relying on henchmen?

    Mirror Kirk's power lies in his ability to do things his competitors cannot. Those who employ henchmen and phasers in dark corridors are the hopeless underdogs, as shown when one of them makes a move against the Tantalus-protected Kirk. Push-button murders give Kirk an edge, both as sheer tactical expediency and as the ultimate in plausible deniability ("I was in my cabin, there's no blood in my hands or lingering charge on my phaser, and you can't even be sure he's dead since there's no body").

    The only mystery bit here is why it takes "an unknown alien scientist and a plundered lab" for Kirk to get to possess this ultimate assassination tool. Wouldn't the integration of ordinary starship assets into this death machine be a thing the least likely to be achieved by an outsider?

    But if we disregard the obvious line of speculation based on what we see and instead go by what is stated, then we accept that an alien machine fell on the lap of Kirk and Kirk only. Perhaps it indeed combines perfectly ordinary transporters and surveillance techniques, but does so without tapping into the corresponding starship resources, where Kirk's competitors could notice the tapping, interfere with it, or do their own? An alien machine could also work outside a starship, even if what we see never requires us to think the Tantalus Device actually can. Or perhaps its alien superpower is its ability to defeat all those security measures everybody in the Mirror Universe has in place already against surveillance and transporter assassination? Even then, it might merely be a better and more powerful type of transporter/camera combination, triumphing by taking a leap in the rat race.

    As for improvements, the obvious one would be making the device portable and easily concealed on Kirk's person, giving Kirk the ultimate smiting power. As matters currently stand, he's reliant on at least one henchman most of the time - and the more trustworthy that henchman, the more likely he or she is to ultimately backstab him, by the social rules of the Mirror Universe!

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  6. Steven P Bastien

    Steven P Bastien Captain Captain

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    Very good comments Timo.

    Another thing about Kirk having the Tantalus Field is that it makes him seem more lucky than talented in being able to stay on "top". Even though we are not supposed to like the ruthless Captain of that Universe, we want to be able to project some things about him on to the real Kirk of our universe. Kirk is supposed to be so amazing that he will command in any universe and he will do so by his talent and force of will. It's sad that this guy is not only treacherous but has depended on being lucky to plunder a lab and steal once again. The implication is that he would have been defeated long ago without that machine. It all seems to be for nothing because the machine, while quite amazing, only does things that could be done by other methods and have been done by other methods since the beginning of civilization. Yes, it does it more efficiently, neater and better, but it does not really provide a fundamentally new capability, and given the existing Star Trek technology (sensors, communicators, phasers, small cameras, microphones, transporters etc.) and given Kirk's advantage as commander to control the whole ship and the people in it, it seems (to me) not critical to the story and detrimental to the image of Kirk as a "force of nature"..
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
  7. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Moreau indeed accuses (who she thinks is Mirror) Kirk of relying on luck. Kirk (who really isn't the Mirror guy who plundered the lab) cannot defend himself from the accusation, so he goes with the flow and makes platitudes about grasping opportunities wherever they appear.

    But the actual Mirror Captain might have ruthlessly and intelligently homed in on the Tantalus inventor, sending spies everywhere and setting up a raid at the exact right moment - and merely making it look like mere serendipity, so that few would suspect the lab held any importance. And Moreau would be among those fooled, as even she didn't need to know about Kirk's clever planning and secret resources. So, character awesomeness preserved, even if it's another blow against his integrity...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  8. Steven P Bastien

    Steven P Bastien Captain Captain

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    A problem here is that "fooling" Moreau is not so "awesome". What Moreau thinks of his luck versus prowess, is not all that relevant, although it might serve him better if she thinks he is not successful by luck because then she would be more afraid to betray him, fearing that he will always be one step ahead of her.

    The problem is, he has revealed to her his secret weapon, even if he has hidden his ingenuity in attaining it. Now they are about to break up and she is going to go sleep in bed with another guy. How is that a tenable situation? Either Kirk has to kill her (with the Tantalus field) to preserve his secret (because she could reveal the secret to the other guy and they could steal it), or Moreau should kill him first, if she is smart, which apparently she isn't because she announces her intention to leave instead of just killing him. ... Well, she is either stupid or hopelessly in love and hoping that her announcement to leave (which amounts to suicide) will prove her love and make him keep her.

    There are two possible viewpoints from this. "Ruthless Kirk" is either a fool to put his fate in this woman's hands (or button pushing finger), or he is so charismatic and awesome that no woman would ever betray him, so there is no risk. But, it's clear that this Kirk has pushed Moreau away and made her question their relationship, which is proof that Kirk has really acted as a fool and his luck is about to run out.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
  9. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    But fooling Moreau would never be a Mirror Kirk goal. He'd be trying to fool Sulu and Chekov into thinking that the raid they participated in was a totally random job, and that the loot they got was insignificant. As the result, Moreau might still believe in the randomness even though she knew better about the loot.

    It's a Quantum Leap handicap for our Kirk here: his Mirror counterpart might have had elaborate plans in motion as regards the Captain's Woman, and our hero would miss every crucial step in those plans and place his own life in jeopardy as a result.

    About half the time, there would have been no quandary for Sam Beckett to solve had he not Leaped into a body at the exact wrong moment. God or Ziggy or whoever may have picked those moments for that exact reason, out of sheer sadism. Perhaps the Mirror thing works the same way? It is remarkably selective anyway. Not only does a visitor from our universe hit the exact flavor of Mirrorness where his counterpart is conveniently missing (sometimes due to direct switcharoo but often due to death/disappearance, too), but he also hits the exact moment where it hurts the most... Mirror Spock might never have been convinced of the Other Way at a time other than the Halkan mission, during which so many things were destined to happen: Mirror Kirk securing a key planet and getting ready to use Tantalus; Mirror Sulu making his move before it's too late; Mirror Moreau perhaps making hers.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  10. Ithekro

    Ithekro Vice Admiral Admiral

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    What if the Tantalus Field is a phase cloaking device. It doesn't kill people (directly) it instead shifts them out of phase so we can't see them. They then sometimes go and get themselves killed by phasing outside the ship, or into the warp drive. Others wonder the ship until they starve to death or dehydrate. Those that come in later sometimes space the bodies because they can smell the phased rot.
     
  11. Steven P Bastien

    Steven P Bastien Captain Captain

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    That's a good point. The one way I can make sense of it (for my own justification) is to say that Mirror Kirk was hours away from killing Moreau. He had gotten sick of her and (being awesome) knew he could strike her before she would have the guts to strike him.
     
  12. Steven P Bastien

    Steven P Bastien Captain Captain

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    But, the rules of putting people into a phase shift is to allow them to eat normal food, breath normal air and not fall through the floor, while still allowing them to walk through walls. So, they are probably not dead. They are all living in a community, happily ever after and unable to talk to the regular people, which isn't so bad because they are not a great bunch of people to be friends with anyway. And, they are waiting eagerly till someone finds Kirk's secret and Tantalize him, so they can beat the crap out of him.
     
  13. publiusr

    publiusr Vice Admiral Admiral

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    What puzzles me is why some of the tech we have seen in other episodes hasn't been incorporated into the Enterprise over the years.

    Maybe in the mirror universe, they have. If mirror Kirk had Scalosian water, the devices used by the Kelvin race, the arm bracelests from Spock's Brain--he'd be unstoppable.

    An idea. Timo--how about a list of all these super weapons that could have been picked up over the years.

    Al I ever saw on Refit blueprints was an anti-stasis field counter measure.

    TMP era ships should be immune from all the TOS stuff, the way I see it.
     
  14. Leathco

    Leathco Commander Red Shirt

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    As far as improving the Tantalus Field, my first idea would be to make it able to be used while the user is mobile instead of just in their quarters. I would think this could be done by linking a tricorder or communicator to an external device that would manipulate the controls on the Tantalus Field. Of course, range would still be limited to how far a tricorder or communicators range is, but seeing as how we see communicators used from the orbit of a planet to someone planetside, it should have at least a decent range. If subspace communications could be used, that would give it an insane range.
     
  15. NCC-73515

    NCC-73515 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    in the story concept for shatners return in ENT s4, it sent people to the prime universe in the past, and the nx-01 found mirror kirk...