Salt Creature's Appetite

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by LMFAOschwarz, Dec 10, 2019.

  1. LMFAOschwarz

    LMFAOschwarz Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    They could have gone the Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea route: if the gun has no effect, try fists. Works every time! :lol:
     
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  2. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Well, the creature had just survived the full fury of Spock's two-fisted master blows, about half a dozen times...

    (It's a chilling scene. And perhaps a daring one, too, Spock toiling to really hurt "Nancy", who just smugly smiles at him. I wonder how much of that was supposed to be the Vampire's physical resilience, and how much was due to the paralyzing powers of its illusions. Perhaps Spock's blows were not connecting at all?)

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  3. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Commodore Commodore

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    In my aforementioned short story (framed as an interview, in "Federation Today"), the question of "was the salt vampire a true shapeshifter or simply able to project telepathic illusions?", is answered with "Yes."
     
  4. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    A very simple life form could survive on one plentiful ingredient, as well as do things more complex critters can't. But the more complex the critter, the less mutable it is. Bacterium and other microscopic squirmy things aside, aren't there certain species of panda that live solely off of bamboo shoots, or at least the ones facing extinction?

    But being 1966 and all, the story was still oversimplifying things - even to the point of creating the melodrama around salt, which was borderline silly despite some of the interesting concepts afoot... but a near-comparative example might be cats, partly because I already mentioned the panda and they're as boring as they are cute. Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they can only get the nutrients they need from animal tissue. They're not going to eat corn on the cob, much less understand what a corn on the cob is, though that leads to a funny Photoshop idea nonetheless... that and "animal guts" are still an array of buffet items, never mind the same tender innards can come from any number of creatures - either from a can or, if they're feral :(, the middle of the road.

    If nothing else, if anyone really wanted a crossover, they missed the perfect opportunity: Just have the Craters haul the thing to planet Crait. Not that there's much of a buffet there with only a couple dozen resistance/rebel/tom-ay-to/tom-ah-to/giraffe people there and all...
     
  5. MAGolding

    MAGolding Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I point out that on Earth normal animals eat a great variety of foods. Some species have very specialized diets and others have very generalized diets.

    But "all" species seem to need some salt in their diet. And some animals sometimes need additional salt not found in their normal diet.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salt_lick_(disambiguation)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mineral_lick

    So I can imagine that planet M-113 had a ecosystem that was slowly destroying itself by scattering and un concentrating salt. Possibly plant life didn't concentrate salt, and herbivores couldn't get enough salt from their plant diets, even though carnivores possibly could get enough salt from their diets. So animals would get additional salt from natural salt licks.

    But possibly the ecology and geology of planet M-113 didn't form new salt licks as fast as animals used them up. But the intelligent beings of planet M-113 could easily find or make sufficient salt for themselves, their livestock, and any wildlife they chose to help survive.

    But when the M-113 civilization fell, the M-113 people, their livestock, and any remaining wildlife couldn't find salt that was concentrated enough in the environment, except from within the bodies of animals.

    The situation is complicated by the question of whether the Salt Vampire was an M-113 native or a being that preyed upon them for salt. Possibly an enemy introduced the Salt Vampires to planet M-113 to attack the natives and cause their civilization to fall.

    Considering how much salt the Salt Vampire sucks in the short episode, it might be a being with a diet largely, but not entirely, restricted to salt. In that way it would be somewhat similar to a vampire bat that lives on blood. Since vampire bats are tiny, a single one won't take enough blood from the large animals they drink from to harm them. Being many times larger than a vampire bat, the Salt Vampire would need to drink a lot of salt, enough to kill an animals the same size as it.

    The Salt Vampire would probably also need to eat other foods for balanced nutrition. Most animals need only a little pure or extra salt in their diet, while the Salt Vampire seems to somehow eat mostly salt in large amounts and apparently needs only a little extra food - which it is not seen eating so we don't know about that part of its biology.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2019
  6. LMFAOschwarz

    LMFAOschwarz Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Lots of interesting points about the creature needing real food as well. :)
    It's entirely possible, I suppose, that Bob Crater could come home from digging one day and find that the creature had eaten the last slice of lemon meringue pie that he was looking forward to, things like that. But as was mentioned above, we just don't get to see that kind of stuff covered in these stories. But that need for salt, and the suction cup-like fingers that seem to have evolved specifically to drain all traces of salt from a body, might speak to a different function altogether for the salt other than nutrition. The creature was acting a bit like a junkie that just had to have a fix, to the point of killing Crater even. Maybe the salt's electrically conductive properties were needed to maintain its brain function/power of illusion, or something like that?
     
  7. johnnybear

    johnnybear Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well we never heard any smack sounds or the like so maybe!
    Also, the Salt Vampire being the last of it's kind on the planet may have panicked due to the lack of salt and taken whatever it could get to survive, that or the effects of the salt may have acted like a narcotic to the creature due to the properties of the human body unlike that found on it's world or in that of the herd beasts they initially fed upon in the long ago past! :crazy:
    JB
     
  8. Mytran

    Mytran Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    An comedy podcast series I follow put forward the idea that the M113 creatures found salt incredibly addictive. I am going to borrow @johnnybear 's suggestion about them only finding human salt addictive (due to the mixed in enzymes, hormones or whatever) and nail that firmly into my headcanon, I think! :techman:

    In that vein the salt tablets are like methadone to the creature - controlling the addiction without making it any worse, and it was wise enough not to kill Crater when he was the only source of any future supplies.
    But when that young, Darnell strolled by it just couldn't resist...:devil:

    As for the suckers on its hands, that may be the way it absorbs other nutrients too - a method it evolved to sustain itself off other living creatures without having to kill them first.
    Maybe M113 was once home to great herds of roving bovine creatures?
     
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  9. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The Jem'Hadar actually never eat or drink. Virak'kara in "TO THE DEATH" said this to Dax, and from a season 3 episode, "THE ABANDONED", the young Jem'Hadar can't metabolize food. He also grows very quickly on his own, and Virak'kara said they are able to fight within 3 days of emerging from their stasis pod. Ketracel White is literally the only thing they need. However, comparing them to the Salt Vampire may not be fair, since they are genetically created.

    But... it may be possible salt is literally the only thing it can eat. Perhaps something about its physiology allows the salt it ingests to create other nutrients within, but only with salt.
     
  10. johnnybear

    johnnybear Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I've mentioned the herd creatures that the Salt Vampires fed on many times on this forum! The survivor could probably smell the difference in the salt produced by the Enterprise crew to the tablets and even Crater himself who was old and worn out by the planet's heat! Like a newly addicted user it just probably couldn't resist feeding on them one by one!:techman:
    JB
     
  11. Mytran

    Mytran Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The baby Jem'Hadar growing into a young child without eating (although it does eventually say that it is hungry) raises the big question; where did all the mass come from which allowed the baby to grow prior to this? Of course, the Founders do this as a matter of course so there is an obvious getout clause here, since they were ones that engineered the Jem'Hadar.

    I don't think there's any such excuse for the salt creature.
     
  12. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    He did say he was hungry, but once he got the White, it never occured again. Often we are hungry for the very foods our bodies need... like if you suddenly crave a steak, you really need a lot of protein. His body was just craving the White, which was starting to feel the effects of the lack of it.

    And they are completely a genetic creation, not natural. It's part of why I said it may be a bad comparison.
     
  13. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Umm, there is nothing at all in "The Abandoned" to suggest the Jem'Hadar kid would not eat generic food all the time while growing up. Bashir repeatedly tells us he is "metabolizing" something, and if this is not explicit enough, then the kid himself tells Odo "I feel sick when I eat".

    Also, the episode makes no suggestion that the boy would stop eating once gaining access to ketracel white. (Another misconception there is that making kw is somehow difficult or even beyond the abilities of our heroes... A belief that would cause problems, say, at the conclusion of "One Little Ship" where some Jem'Hadar are jailed, if actually true. No episode has dialogue to this effect, though.)

    Whether the Jem'Hadar do stop eating at some point is mostly up to speculation. In "To the Death", they uniquely say the white is "the only thing [they] need". For all we know, this only applies to the situation at hand, just like Sisko could be asked if he requires food and would reply "Just a bit of chewing gum for the nerves, please", without any implications on his appetite for Cajun cooking.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  14. Kor

    Kor Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, the salt monster showed that it had a tremendous appetite for the sodium found in the human body, looking at humans as giant salt popsicles and not being able to hold itself back from fatally assaulting them for all that bio-salty goodness, even when supplies of sterile salts were readily available. After years of subsisting on Crater's salt tablets, maybe the creature was sick of the gritty texture and plain flavor and just couldn't resist all the biological salts that were suddenly available from the Enterprise crew.

    Imagine having an endless supply of protein pills that you live off of, but then coming across a shipment of steaks.

    Kor
     
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  15. Neopeius

    Neopeius Admiral Admiral

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    LOL. God, that show is awful.

    I'm watching it because it's December 1964 where I am, so it's on, but... bleah.

    It's funny -- I saw the picture of the 11" Enterprise miniature (snapped Dec. 29, 1964) and my first thought was that (in the mindset of someone who hadn't yet seen Trek) "Man, I hope it isn't some cheesey space version of Voyage".
     
  16. johnnybear

    johnnybear Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You've got a lot of good stuff to watch, Neopeius! :techman:
    JB
     
  17. johnnybear

    johnnybear Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Ambrose??? Ambrose...:crazy:
    JB
     
  18. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Commodore Commodore

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    Various drafts of the script (including the one Blish worked from) had the Craters as the Bierces, and I vaguely recall reading something non-canonical giving Nancy's maiden name as Bierce . . . so my naming their son "Ambrose" was a play on Ambrose Bierce (of "The Devil's Dictionary" fame).
     
  19. johnnybear

    johnnybear Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Blish did do The Man Trap or The Unreal McCoy as the Bierce expedition instead of Crater! That I noticed after looking up the novels last year! :techman:
    JB