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Old 04-04-2010, 08:56 PM   #1
paul1999
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Default Alpha crew M.I.A.

I am wondering what happened to Paul Morrow, David Kano, and Professor Victor Bergman. No explanation was given in year two.
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Old 04-04-2010, 09:10 PM   #2
john_trek
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In the script for "The Metamorph" there is a brief conversation between Sandra and Tony, where Tony expresses the wish that Victor was still here, but he had died in an accident involving a faulty space suit. It was not in the final version of the script.

No explanation for Paul or Kano dissapearance is made (either on paper or screen) that I know of. Nor, for that matter, explain the disappearance of Tanya or Mathias (who only appeared in the first two episodes of year 2). Fred Freeburger didn't seem to think anyone would notice that the cast had changed.

Zenia Merton almost quit about 4 episodes into year 2. She told a story about that at the only con I ever went to. Barbara Bain personally went to Zenia's home and asked her to return to the show. Barbara said something to the effect that she was worried that the audience wouldn't even think it was the same show if all the cast had left. Zenia agreed to return, but only for scripts where her character had some reason to be in the episode. So if you pay attention you will notice that Yasko shows up mostly in episodes where all she does is push buttons and put something up on the screen. Zenia shows up in episodes where her character says or does something that indicates that she actually knows the senior staff and contributes now and then.
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Old 04-04-2010, 09:35 PM   #3
Andrew Kearley
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Originally Posted by john_trek View Post
In the script for "The Metamorph" there is a brief conversation between Sandra and Tony, where Tony expresses the wish that Victor was still here, but he had died in an accident involving a faulty space suit. It was not in the final version of the script.
Which is ironic, given that Tony wasn't in series 1, so was never shown to have ever even met Victor! Come to think of it, they didn't explain where Tony had come from either.
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Old 04-04-2010, 09:48 PM   #4
DX-SFX
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Just one of the many unexplained aspects that robbed season two of its credibility. That sort of contempt for the audiences intelligence is what killed it for season one fans.
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Old 05-04-2010, 12:51 PM   #5
paul1999
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I also believe that Nick Tate left in the middle of season 2.
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Old 05-04-2010, 02:01 PM   #6
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I also believe that Nick Tate left in the middle of season 2.
No. He was present throughout Y2 missing only 6 of the 24 episodes. A quick review of the Catacombs finds he was in 7 of the last 8 episodes.
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Old 05-04-2010, 05:53 PM   #7
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Zenia Merton almost quit about 4 episodes into year 2.
No wonder - according to The Destination Moon Base Alpha book, she was not even given a contract in Year 2, and was paid less.
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Old 09-04-2010, 09:42 PM   #8
JMChladek
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The Space 1999 technical journal that Starlog put out in the early 1980s gave the explaination that Paul and David were lost in an Eagle incident, but it didn't go into too much detail. As I understand it, the line with Tony mentioning Victor in episode 1 of series 2 was filmed, but didn't make the final cut.

Concerning the sudden appearance of Tony and Yosko in the Command Center as high ranking members of the staff can have several explainations. A base as advanced as Moonbase Alpha with about 300 people on it would likely have multiple shifts running things. If you break down the main mission shifts along the lines of NASA's mission control, there are typically three shifts. One does the primary mission, one does the next shift, and then overnight there is a planning shift. Each shift does about eight hours with a 30 minute overlap to brief the next person at that console as to the goings on. Granted series 1 with episodes like Space Brain hinted that during the off hour shifts there weren't too many people on duty, but those were during times when nothing was expected. I imagine if the moon was in close proximity with a habitable planet, the control consoles would be manned 24-7 for as long as the mission demaned it.

Besides, Tony could have been off camera during series 1 working on the implimentation of the weapons section building of the laser batteries and the building of the underground command center. Apparently Victor was instrumental in the laser and shielding design work and liked to take a hands on approach (as I believe he did in Black Sun).

All things considered, I don't consider Tony and Yasko's appearance as any more shocking then the on screen appearance (and eventual death) of the various no name Eagle pilots and purple shirt security people who tended to drop like flies anyway. To me, it was weird that they kept assigning Alan Carter all the hard missions where he would crash an Eagle, exposed to radiation, get stunned, clonked on the head, get his co-pilots killed or in a few cases all of the above.
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Old 10-04-2010, 03:20 AM   #9
Steve Gerard
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JMChladek, brilliant analysis.
If only Fred Freiberger had allowed this to be explained in scripts upon season 2 changes.
I purchased STARLOG ALPHA MOONBASE TECHNICAL NOTEBOOK in 1978, at fourteen years old, and still own it here is a link to that page from the STARLOG publication:
http://www.space1999.net/~catacombs/.../matn7003.html
Check out days since leaving Earth orbit: 307(fate of Paul Morrow & David Kano) and 328(fate of Victor Bergman while installing the Laser Turrets Batteries ring that we see in season 2. It makes sense his genius would design such a defense ring of underground bunkered Laser Turrets.).

I remember thinking as a eleven year old boy in 1975 that ALPHA BASE should have about 1,000 people for it's immense size.
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Old 11-04-2010, 02:23 AM   #10
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But you have to feed and generate oxygen for al those extra bodies. Clearly all twenty eight Eagles aren't used at once now that they've left Earth orbit. It takes vey few people to service a fleet of hire cars or indeed a Formula 1 pit crew and it's not clear how much servicing an Eagle needs. Refueling may be automated and happen the moment an Eagle returns to the hangar not unlike how it's depicted in the season two episode where they refuel in space.
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Old 11-04-2010, 03:22 AM   #11
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DX-SFX, I agree with your statement due to resources. In 1975 when I first watched SPACE:1999 "Breakaway", as an eleven year old boy, my opinion was based upon the school that I was attending with one thousand students within and 311 people are a small group to occupy such as large ALPHA MOONBASE ...that was a small amount of my fellow students at the time.
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Old 11-04-2010, 09:36 AM   #12
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It really depends what Alpha's purpose is as to why it needs to be so large. Psychologically, it's better for humans to work in a (coloured) shirt sleeve non claustrophobic enviroment if they're going to be up there for months. Comfort is important long term. Other than the phenomenal cost of constructing such a large base and escavating such enormous volumes of material to build the hangars, size in itself costs little to maintain. The question is why so big and why so many? I've always felt that part of Alpha was available to rent. The base offered off Earth lab facilities that you could book for scientific research in the same way you might rent an industrial unit, or like a film studio where you could rent lab space but there were permanent on site departments there to offer support and equipment to aid your work. The Eagles were there essentially as taxi's. All of that would obviously be on top of dealing with the nuclear waste problem. Renting out would help offset the cost of maintaining the base. A similar system works on the ISS. Just a thought.
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Old 11-04-2010, 02:10 PM   #13
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I've always felt that part of Alpha was available to rent. The base offered off Earth lab facilities that you could book for scientific research in the same way you might rent an industrial unit, or like a film studio where you could rent lab space but there were permanent on site departments there to offer support and equipment to aid your work. The Eagles were there essentially as taxi's. All of that would obviously be on top of dealing with the nuclear waste problem. Renting out would help offset the cost of maintaining the base. A similar system works on the ISS. Just a thought.
DX-SFX, that is a good analysis that I am sure should have been touched on in a Season 1 episode of SPACE:1999, but unfortunately was not.
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Old 12-04-2010, 07:21 AM   #14
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Automatic equipment checkout and redundant systems can account for less crew maintenance on Eagles. Also, just because an Eagle has 24 exhaust nozzles doesn't mean it has 24 engines, just 24 rocket exhaust points. Valve switching can cut some of the complexity down and even in NASA craft, RCS thrusters are typically counted as one complete system. Avionics can be swapped in and out as plug in modules and sent back to a maintenance shop to tape care of the work rather then the repairs being done ON the Eagle.

It was already suggested that Eagles are rather advanced by human spacecraft standards, so we aren't talking the need for large manpower support for a short term mission ala Apollo CSM or a space shuttle. Granted there would likely be some systems that would have to be inspected periodically, but those would be at scheduled intervals or if the onboard diagnostics determine if something needs to be checked. Granted the lunar environment is a harsh one, but Eagles were designed to spend most of their time ON THE MOON and are protected to a certain extent from the effects of prolonged regolith exposure. Provided Alan Carter isn't flying them, they likely will encounter a rather normal operational lifespan. Plus, when they aren't flying, they are typically kept inside the hangar bay below Alpha or on launch pads.

I admit it does require a stretch of thinking, but we are already stretching things a bit as it is with a moon flying through interstellar space and encountering new planets each week. Even then, there is some real world basis as a station as complex as the ISS has already lasted over a decade in orbit supported on site by only three to six crewmembers at a time and up to seven people from a shuttle. Granted a bit of the systems work is monitored and handled by mission control Earthside, but it is mostly monitoring rather then active control. At one time early in what was once Space Station Freedom's development, NASA did look into automating the process and cutting the need for a fully staffed control room handling things 24-7. Many consider one of the reasons for the existance of ISS Mission control as being political and keeping people in Houston employed on the ground.

Last edited by JMChladek; 12-04-2010 at 07:35 AM.
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Old 12-04-2010, 09:20 AM   #15
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Yep. What JMC said. Any aspect of the base's operation that was labour intensive would be designed out of the system as far as possible. The on/off real world Moon/Mars missions is a classic example. The crew won't be expected to do mudane things like fiddle with the electronics or change the oil unless they absolutely have to or a fault elsewhere demands their attention. Space hardware generally is designed to be as near to perfect as possible from a reliability point of view because of the very lack of pit crew available to fix things where they are going. We've had two rovers trundling around Mars for years without a human hand touching them except to tell them where to go next.

Last edited by DX-SFX; 12-04-2010 at 09:23 AM.
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Old 12-04-2010, 01:45 PM   #16
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Space hardware generally is designed to be as near to perfect as possible from a reliability point of view because of the very lack of pit crew available to fix things where they are going. We've had two rovers trundling around Mars for years without a human hand touching them except to tell them where to go next.
JMChladek and DX-SFX good points of analysis.
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Old 20-04-2010, 09:54 AM   #17
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Yes, things are designed to be as reliable and safe as possible, but do you know how many things go wrong on a successful shuttle mission (Given NASA's 99%+ reliability) ?

six thousand

Yes, really six thousand components are expected to fail on a successful shuttle mission. This is purely down to the number of components in the craft including the boosters and fuel tank, and the reliability percentage.

Even though the vast majority, everything possible in fact, is designed for easy removal and replacement to facilitate swift turnaround and minimisation of down-time on craft such as the Eagles, but the more Carter flies, the greater the percentage of base personell will be required to work on the removed bits to get them back in service before he goes out again!

(Even then, there will come a time when the eagles are grounded for good. Alpha does not have the get-out that the scottish series used of matter replicators to produce spare parts, and would be unlikely to have the manufacturing facilities for complex circuit boards and the like. When the spares and whatever they can salvage from other craft have run out, they will have to make some difficult choices. I also do not see where they got these components from to build the extra things seen in S2 such as defence cannons, but there may have come a time when they have to decide whether to keep those cannons active, or convert some of the components to keep Eagles aloft.)

You also need such a large moonbase for a relatively small number of people to have enough space for Oxygen generation and food production to keep them alive. Whether the Oxygen comes from photosynthesis and hydroponics areas, or mining from rocks as now seems to be not such a wild idea, you will still need vast areas to keep even 300 people breathing for long.
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Old 21-04-2010, 04:10 AM   #18
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It's not canon, but the Moonbase Alpha Technical Manual mentions that Alpha's Eagle section includes spare parts storage and an assembly section for Eagle maintenance & repair. Realistically, a base the size of Alpha would have such a facility & spare parts, plus to some degree a way of making replacement parts. They might not be able to retool such facilities to make a fleet of Hawks, mind you, but they certainly should have the means to keep their own fleet of Eagles flight-ready. And I mean before Breakaway, incidentally.

As for crops & oxygen production, there was another thread around here that talked about how large a hydroponic section would have to be (using today's technology, mind you), including some graphics showing the size of such a facility. (It would be underground, with the few labs we saw on screen being in the surface structures.)

Basically, while a base like Alpha might not be economically feasible by today's standards, it isn't necessarily outside the realm of technical possibility to build & staff such a base. Well, OK... realistically, most of it would be underground to protect against meteorites, solar flares etc., but you get my point. Just because we didn't see every bit of support & infrastructure of Alpha on screen didn't mean it wouldn't be in place. (Just one example leaps to mind: in "War Games," Sandra mentions during a damage report that the water storage & recycling plants have been badly damaged. We didn't see them, but they are there, and I assume are fairly large. At least the writers mentioned things like this once in a while to acknowledge that the base has other facilities to ground it in the real world a bit.)

Back to Alpha's staff...

In one episode, Koenig mentions that Alpha needs most of its ~300 people to keep the base running, and so Operation Exodus needs to be an 'all or nothing' event. I suspect that even with a lot of automation in place, those 300 people represent the minimum needed to run Alpha, or else Koenig could afford to let a few score of them leave. On yet another thread, I remember someone mentioning that perhaps more personnel were on Alpha during important missions. This ties in with what has been discussed on this thread about renting out facilities on Alpha for research or what have you. (Some of the people caught on Alpha during the Breakaway were likely not part of the regular crew; Simmonds for one, and to some degree, Bergman, though Bergman seemed to be more of a 'permanent guest' than other transients.)

I hate to say it, but Fred Freiberger himself said something to the effect of Alpha being a big base was explanation enough to explain cast/character changes; at its most basic level, that's not an unfair notion. HOWEVER, the remark seems flippant, especially in light of Freiberger's notions that the audience likely wouldn't notice or care to question the changes, and given that at no time was the explanation actually used on screen. I'm not saying we needed someone introducing new characters each & every time they popped up, but a simple throwaway line or two every now & then--not unlike the 'faulty spacesuit' line to explain Bergman's disappearance--would have helped immeasurably! Heck, even the first Alpha Status Report given in "The Metamorph" almost--but doesn't quite--fill in this gap. A simple "Alpha and it's people have been through many changes during our journey through space..." immediately before the "...our population is stable at 297..." line would have done it.
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Old 21-04-2010, 12:46 PM   #19
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JMChladek and DX-SFX good points of analysis.
Not to mention in "The Last Sunset" Koenig yells at Bergman something about, "These technicians have been sitting on their backsides for months....." or something to that effect.

Seems to suggest there was ample personnel to handle the job.
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Old 21-04-2010, 05:52 PM   #20
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Heck, even the first Alpha Status Report given in "The Metamorph" almost--but doesn't quite--fill in this gap. A simple "Alpha and it's people have been through many changes during our journey through space..." immediately before the "...our population is stable at 297..." line would have done it.
CR, brilliant idea, that would have been a simple way.
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