Nerdy me: You, sir, are a paragon of wit.
Normal me: Thank you, I try.
Apathetic me: Must only be putting in 50% effort. You’re stuck at half-wit.
Sports Fanatic me: Ouch.
Normal me: Touche, sir.
Artistic me: Can’t we all just get along?
Apathetic me: You of all of us should realize that conflict breeds interest.
Artistic me: Good point, but if we’re fighting with ourselves and we’re just components of James’ personality…
Normal me: …doesn’t that leave him in a state of schizophrenia?
Nerdy me: More like multiple personality disorder. Schizophrenia is something completely different.
Normal me: Okay, John Cleese Freud.
Normal me: How do we always start that way?
Sports Fanatic me: I don’t know, can’t we start off with the Pittsburgh sports report?
Normal me: I don’t know, what is the Pittsburgh sports report?
Sports Fanatic me: The Pens are tied at 1 with the Carolina Hurricanes through one and a half periods. Geno scored the Pens goal to share the lead in NHL scorers with Sedin at 52 points.
Normal me: Fascinating.
Nerdy me: Yes, sure, but aren’t we here to talk about phasers?
Normal me: Oh, yeah, of course. Go right ahead.
Nerdy me: Thank you. Anyway, as we were just saying, today’s topic is James’ new phaser design, if you couldn’t tell from the title.
Normal me: I came up with that one.
Nerdy me: That you did. Moving on, good sir. So for almost as long as James has been designing starships, he’s also been trying to come up with a decent phaser design. Now, he’s gone through plenty of iterations, dating back to his days in MS Paint.
Artistic me: That design was rather unique as I recall. Had a hook-like grip and was essentially a half-circle with an emitter at one end.
Apathetic me: Quite impractical, and I’d imagine it would be incredibly cumbersome, inconvenient, and uncomfortable.
Nerdy me: For once I can agree with you. In high school, he tried something a bit more practical, but it ended up along the lines of the “dustbuster” phaser of early TNG fame.
Normal me: Side note – James almost typed phame. This whole phaser business must be getting to him. Either that or the head cold.
Nerdy me: Now back to me. Unfortunately – or thankfully, if you prefer – no images remain of his earliest phaser designs. As for the dustbuster…well…there is one remaining imagine. Quite possibly the only image ever, since James doesn’t seem to have it on his current computer at all.
Artistic me: It’s not a terrible design, just clunky. Kinda like a heavy duty assault phaser.
Nerdy me: I agree. He also used this as a derivative point for a Type III phaser (and for those unfamiliar, the hand phaser is typically the Type II).
Nerdy me: The curved stock comes back in all of his designs, but he’s still working on coming up with a good Type III design. It’ll have to be based on his new hand phaser, which we shall get to shortly.
Apathetic me: Please, can we get to it now? All this old junk is bothersome to look at.
Sports Fanatic me: Rude.
Apathetic me: Meh.
Nerdy me: Well, as it stands, there were some random attempts to come up with better designs here and there, but nothing particularly intensive. Case in point, James didn’t produce any images. Now it’s time for a phaser history lesson. For images, see Phasers.net.
- First Phaser: the first phaser (or phasers, depending on how you look at it) appeared, obviously, in The Original Series. A relatively standard futuristic gun design, it was technically a two-part design. Atop the Type II assembly was the small Type I unit which could be taken off and used separately. Distinctive features include the glowy rod at the front, the top-mounted Type I, and the fact that the grip was forward of center (which would be the convention for phasers for quite some time).
- TMP-TWOK Phaser: Appearing in the first two Trek movies, this was a smooth design with a very forward grip. Almost detail-less, it was a simple phaser that emitted four parallel beams from a wide front emitter. Apparently the entire front upper section could be removed for use as the Type I (a feature which is mimicked in James’ current design)
- TSFS-TVH Phaser: Returning to its TOS origins, this phaser was an update of the original design with more details and a greater sense of practicality and realism. It was also bulkier and sturdier than the TOS phaser.
- TFF-TUC Phaser: The final phaser of the Original Cast movies was also known as the “Assault Phaser.” Looking more like a real gun, it was heavy duty, brutish, and all-in-all, more military and cool looking.
- TNG Dustbuster and Cricket: Seen early in Next Generation, the first phaser was derisively labeled due to its similarities to the hand-held vacuum. Unwieldy, clunky, and almost peacefully smooth, it was not well liked as a prop or futuristic weapon. TNG also reintroduced the small Type I phaser not seen since the original show, nicknamed the Cricket phaser for its diminutive size. It would remain for a few years before disappearing, not being seen in DS9 and used only once covertly in Voyager.
- TNG Cobra: A more angular and ergonomically sound development of the dustbuster, it was still fairly large and not the easiest to weild.
- FC Boomerang: Featured prominently from First Contact onward, this phaser was the most well designed of its TNG-era bretheren. It’s similar to the Cobra in layout, but smaller and also softer (particularly in the grip) and much easier to wield. James happens to have one which he’s owned since Christmas 1996, I believe.
- NEM Dolphin: Even smaller than the Boomerang and more sleek, it’s also showing a return to a more gun-like profile in that the curvature leaves the grip closer to vertical than any of its predecessors. Good thing, too, because the previous phasers made actors cock their hands at unnatural angles to point it at the target.
- 29th Century phaser: Seen in the episodes “Future’s End” and “Relativity,” this phaser is more gun-like than any of the TNG-era phasers. Possibly because it’s a vacuum handle with a blade-leaf-arrowhead-thing on the top. Yeah.
Nerdy me: I hope that was enlightening. Now then, here’s James’ take on the future of phasers, re-introducing the modularity of early designs with a forward-mounted Type I.
Normal me: I rather like it.
Artistic me: Yeah, it’s got sharp angles and curves all at the same time, almost like the New Edge ethic Ford introduced for its cars about a decade ago. It works for a phaser.
Apathetic me: You always say you like it at first, then you think it’s crap later.
Normal me: Yeah yeah yeah…
Nerdy me: Anyway, at the rear of the phaser is a removable power pack. In the middle you have two access hatches where you can work on the phaser’s innards…which haven’t been modeled yet… and of course you have the removable Type I unit on the front.
Normal me: I like the screens and holographic displays in particular.
Sports Fanatic me: Yeah, it really lends it a more futuristic feel, and should make it easier to shoot than the old models.
Nerdy me: Yes, one always had to wonder how you could aim the old phasers.
Sports Fanatic me: Well, you don’t always have to explicitly have reticles, but at least some sort of sights would have been useful. Shooting’s a lot harder when you have to guess where your barrel is pointing.
Apathetic me: How do you know? Have you ever fired a gun without sights?
Sports Fanatic me: I can make a pretty good assumption.
Apathetic me: Eh.
Nerdy me: Well, at any rate, that’s it for that design for now. Finally a phaser that fits with the design ethic of his ships and shuttles. Oh, and if you’re wondering how you put it in a holster, it’s not like in the movies where you put it in upside down or cross-draw it. There’s a mag-clip in the bottom of the body and you put it in the holster backwards relative to regular guns. The holster faces downward so you just have to grab the grip, pull forward and down, and there you go, ready to fire.
Normal me: Is James going to use this as a basis for a Type III?
Nerdy me: He wants to, but he’ll have to sketch it out first.
Normal me: Gotcha. Well, guess that’s it for now.
Sports Fanatic me: Yeah, the game’s still in progress with no more scoring yet, so I can’t exactly say much about that right now.
Normal me: Put it in an update.
Sports Fanatic me: Will do.
Normal me: Ta ta for now.
Sports Fanatic me: Update one, the game’s gone to overtime. This means that the Pens will get one point at least, win or loss.
Normal me: That’s good, what does that mean for the standings?
Sports Fanatic me: The Pens will wind up in the 7th playoff spot for the Eastern Conference with either 51 or 52 points. They’ll pull one or two ahead of the Washington Capitals who lost 3-0 tonight to the NY Islanders. The New Jersey Devils are at sixth with 52 points but would stay above the Pens due to the season record. I hate the Devils…
Artistic me: Don’t tell Cadet Magnusson.
Sports Fanatic me: Oh, she knows. She hates the Pens even more. Shame, that.
Apathetic me: We’re just typing for the sake of typing until the game ends, aren’t we?
Sports Fanatic me: Yes, we are. Seeing as how the OT period is only five minutes, we might as well. Either way, the Pens are dominating in the offensive zone. I don’t think the Canes have registered more than a single shot on goal so far. I take that back, Fleury just made a great save against Eric Staal. I’m going to be quiet now and watch.
Nerdy me: Probably a good idea. The less you type, the more time the Penguins spend on the safe side of the rink.
Normal me: It’s only safe for them, not the Canes.
Sports Fanatic me: It’s hockey. Nowhere is safe. Carolina Timeout with 1:56 to go. Malkin wins the faceoff and Neal is denied on a good save by Ward. Great hard shot by Malkin, also denied.
Normal me: Make sure you keep typing Ward. It’s Cam Ward in net, not Cameron Heyward. He’s a Steeler.
Sports Fanatic me: You think I don’t know that? Lots of action in front of the Canes net, no dice. Skinner shoots it over Fleury who deflects it into the back netting. Great block by Malkin who steals the puck and takes it into the offensive zone for Dupuis, but still no dice. Now we’ve got the first shootout in about 30 games for the Pens.
Artistic me: Craziness.
Sports Fanatic me: Oh yes. The sad thing is that even if Geno scores again in the shootout, it doesn’t count toward his total, so he won’t move past Sedin. Funny I should say that, though, as Geno puts the Pens up on the first shot. Jokinen evens it up. Kunitz denied by Ward. Skinner, still dizzy from an earlier hit, also denied by Fleury. Neal comes up to try and get things in the Pens’ favor again, and he succeeds. It’s up to Eric Staal to keep things going, and he is denied convincingly by Fleury. Penguins win their first home game of the 2012 calendar year on great performances by Marc-Andre Fleury, Evgeni Malkin, and James Neal.
Normal me: Now you can sleep well?
Sports Fanatic me: But of course. G’night all. Let’s go Pens.