Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: M 113 Salt Vampire (Man Trap, TOS)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    fringes of civillization
    Posts
    903

    M 113 Salt Vampire (Man Trap, TOS)

    So, I only got to watch one episode of BBCA's Star Trek Marathon: Man Trap, the first episode aired (but not the SECOND pilot).
    I forgot how much I loved this episode, even if it's a little rough at times. For a sixties tv show, the did try something new: they used 3 actresses to portray the 3 ways each member of the landing party saw Nancy Crater. I just read some bits on Memory Alpha, and if they had had CGI back then, this episode would have been really trippy, with the girl changing as the camera moved around the room. Gene and company had big dreams back then.

    I still imagine that first crewman/victim hoping the female scientist on the planet was a hottie, and that's what got him killed. Well that and having salt in his blood.

    There are some bits that don't make sense though: it looks like the creature didn't so much transform into a form to get it near prey, but used a form of mental screen to tell your mind it was something else. Whovians would call it a Perception Filter. That's all well and good, but the alien gets transported up with Kirk and McCoy. It didn't really have equipment, like a communicator, and it certainly isn't human. And it's psychic camo can't be good enough to fool a transporter chief miles above the surface. So either they just lock onto whatever lifeforms are near the captain when he says "energize", or we need to just give the writers a pass on it

    It's inferred the creature's race was the one that had the civilization that the Craters were exploring, unless they ATE the people that lived there. I mean, if they were the dominant lifeform, why the need for psychic disguises? Maybe a carryover from their evolutionary ancestors? Unless they did EAT the people of M 113.

    I do have some evidence to dispute that idea: When the creature was luring Uhura , and it went as far to speak Swahili to her, and she smiled and replied in kind, the faux crewman looked pained, almost like it was regretting it's actions. That's not the behavior of a coldblooded killer. Maybe living with Crater softened it up, or knowing it was the last of it's kind and feeling Uhura's loneliness spoke to it. But maybe it wasn't a "monster", but a being with very hard to meet needs. It also seemed to like that McCoy had very strong feelings about the real Nancy Crater, almost seeming to relish them. The sad thing is, if it hadn't eaten so many crewmen and acted, well monsterly, the creature might have been able to get the Enterprise crew to help it.

    Another interesting tidbit about the Salt-Vampire was they almost took it the other way; there was some interest in making it beautiful and exotic instead of shambling and terrifying. But, they had just done beautiful and exotic with Vina as an Orion slave girl, so they went spooky. Plus, it looks better for Kirk and Spock to beat up a horrible monster instead of some alien babe.

    Oh, I looked for some information about the creature in my Decipher game books, but didn't find it in either the Aliens or Creatures book, despite it being featured prominently on the cover of Creatures. Did I miss it?

    Sorry this was long and rambly, I like to share thoughts I have about episodes, and I REALLY wanted to get away from the family for a bit!
    Happy Thanksgiving!
    _________________
    "Yes, it's the Apocalypse alright. I always thought I'd have a hand in it"
    Professor Farnsworth

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
    Posts
    408
    We've had a Salt Vampire character on our game for a long time. She lives as a spy on a Starbase. So... naturally, our GM at the time worked up a set of stats for the race. I know that The Man Trap says "Nancy" what the last of her kind, but... well... maybe not.

    alien_M113.pdf

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    fringes of civillization
    Posts
    903
    Nice write-up. Stargate SG-1 had an episode called "The Fifth Man" that introduced a race that did similar things as the M 113 creature: The Reol excreted a chemical that caused you to perceive them as something that is not a threat. Apparently, they can push that ability a bit to where you will perceive and remember them as a friend of ally. In that episode, after an attack separated the team, they were shocked to learn that their newest member didn't exist. The big flaw of that episode was that everyone who came into contact with that chemical perceived and remembered the Reol as the same young man; I guess maybe the team members that made it back to base did a REALLY good job of describing him, but it would have been interesting to see everyone "remember" a young man of the same basic description but with a different face.
    The Stargate RPG offered Reols as a pc race, and much of the base stats and flavor text are similar to the Fotiallan write up. If I had gotten an SG:1 game off the ground and used Reols, I planned on doing an introduction scene similar to the Nancy Crater introduction scene, with each team member seeing the Reol as what they imagined the character would look like. I also toyed around with the idea of the creature watching lots of old movies/tv shows for inspiration for new faces to sport (something an old shapeshifting character I played used to do).
    _________________
    "Yes, it's the Apocalypse alright. I always thought I'd have a hand in it"
    Professor Farnsworth

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 1999
    Location
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    3,454
    I was just converting the Salt Vampire template to ICON and wondered how much salt an M113 creature must have to survive. According to information I googled, "The human body contains many salts, of which sodium chloride (AKA common table salt) is the major one, making up around 0.4 per cent of the body's weight at a concentration pretty well equivalent to that in seawater. So a 50kg person would contain around 200g of sodium chloride - around 40 teaspoons. Since we lose salt whenever we sweat, it has to be continually replaced." If we assume an average adult Human masses on average about 75kg, he or she would provide 300g of salt if completely drained, which is extremely unlikely (McCoy's exclamation notwithstanding—to quote Cdr. Spock, Dr. McCoy is most excitable). If we look at things scientifically, Salt Vampires must eat things other than salt to survive, but they do require massive amounts of salt to remain healthy. I'm going to assume that 100g per day is optimum, and 25g is starvation level. Split the difference and say the Salt Vampire requires 50-100g of salt per day. On the other hand, "Nancy" was on the verge of starvation, and had little or no control over her feeding. A healthy Salt Vampire could probably take only a bit of the required salt from a single victim and need not kill each victim, following the same logic as many use for true vampires. So, if a Salt Vampire restricts themself to taking only 25g (or 5/6 of an ounce) from a single victim, they would not kill them but would leave them with a sodium deficiency and a really bad hickey.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    fringes of civillization
    Posts
    903
    Your analysis of the Salt diet, and that "Nancy" was basically starving, actually makes sense with the creature's behavior in the episode: It was more "junkie looking for a fix" then "cagey predator selecting the next meal". Idiot crewman who saw her as a showgirl was her falling "off the wagon", so to speak. No more barely getting by on those salt tablets, she was going to get a meal! Knowing that these Starfleet guys meant business, she still killed another crewman and got access to the ship, where she walked around like a wino trying to score some booze. She ate another crewman, and tried for Uhura. And, as I mentioned above, seemed quite distressed at her warming up to her illusionary guise. If this was alcohol or prescription drugs, we'd have an episode of a Movie-of-the-Week.

    What's interesting is that once it was McCoy, it might have found a way to get all the salt tablets the Enterprise had in stock and tried to get away: Maybe beam back to the planet, kill and hide a crewman, or steal a shuttle craft. But by then it's behavior had gotten the best of her, and there was no hiding.

    Now I actually wonder if she was eating the salt tablets, or if Dr. Crater was taking them to replenish his salts after she fed? It would have been funny/sad/kinky If under his coveralls there were multiple sucker marks from years of playing house with "Nancy". And I wonder if she helped him with his work; if she was a member of the original inhabitants of the planet, she could have offered some insight; imagine how good an Egyptologist would be if he was living with a vampire that was created during the time of Ramses!
    _________________
    "Yes, it's the Apocalypse alright. I always thought I'd have a hand in it"
    Professor Farnsworth

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •