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Discussion: The schematics of Atlantis

I think this is my first discussion post about SGA. It does contain several oblique references to things in season 4, but nothing that will truly spoil you if you haven't seen the episodes.

I have been trying to work on an SGA fic that has long been sitting dormant and I realized that the biggest sticking point for me is still the same thing I was running into before I put it down...

I don't know where things in Atlantis are!

I am trying to write a scene where the boys are going from the armoury to the ZPM room to one of the labs. Atlantis has been attacked; there are Wraith in the city. Only... I don't know where the freakin' armoury IS! And if the transporters are inoperable, I need to detail the journey. But I can't!

Are there City schematics somewhere that show an actual layout of where things are in relation to each other?

I mean, okay, we *know* that the command center and gateroom are at the top of the central tower, the Puddlejumper bay right above that; I think most of the fandom assumes (and this may be canonical) that the living quarters are near by. Judging by the view out the windows of the commissary, it appear to be located near the top of the central spire since you look down on most of the city and you can see several of the piers in the distance.

What I want to know:

Is the ZPM room in the central tower? (and hello, does it have a name other than ZPM room? Power room? Something?) I am assuming it is in the tower of course, but where? Same level as the command center? That doesn't seem to make sense, it feels too vulnerable. So...

Where is the Chair room in relation to the ZPM room? Again I am assuming that it is in the tower, because that seems logical, but again, what level? Now, this begs the question...

Auxiliary Control is somewhere deep in the tower, presumably in case the command centre is rendered inoperable. Is this or is this not the same location as the chair? That *would* make sense to me. It seems like a good idea, since I am assuming the chair location must be heavily shielded and a back up command center would be shielded as well. kinda like Auxiliary control on the Enterprise - buried safe and secure, and god help us all if Riley gets himself locked in there and start singing "I'll take you home again, Kathleen!"

So, okay, maybe I'm kinda of a geek. Shut up! Anyway...

ZPM aside, there are also 5 naquadah generators. Are they in the tower? Or are they off in outlying sections of the city at the end of various piers? It would seem to make sense that they were distributed around the City, bu again, this is never made clear. And how exactly did they wire them in? I mean, you can't just rip a panel off and plug a generator into the electrical system. Were there pre-existing back up power rooms of some sort?

Cuz again, I am thinking that would make sense that each outlying section would have some sort of self contained back up generator in case there was some sort of catastrophic failure and the ZPM machine (Power Core? Main Generator? What the hell is that thing called, anyway?) needed to be taken offline for repairs or whatever. And it would mean that there were hand dandy location in which to plonk down the naquadah generators and plug em in. Logical, yes?

Another things that bugs me... where exactly are the grounding stations? I was assuming that these were actually out at the edges of 4 of the piers, but then I thought that was weird, wouldn't they have made a grounding station for each section?

Where is Sheppard's office? I'm trying to remember - have we ever seen it? is it *in* the armoury? Is that near the gate? Clearly they have an embarkation room (and wasn't it fun to watch Ronon pull a protesting Rodney from it) but is that next to the armoury? Do they have more than one? Perhaps scattered weapons lockers around the city - I know that I have read about that in more than one fic and I *highly* approve of the idea. But, has anything actually been established in canon and if so, is there any clue as to *where*?

Finally; where the hell is the main concentration of labs anyway? We see John scaling the freakin' tower in one episode, so clearly some of the lab are in the central spire. But we have also seen camera pans indicating that some things are places in completely disparate sections of the city. So, are they just scattered around randomly?

I know there are transporters and all, but this is an immense city. and we see that there is a lot of movement involved in just getting around in the tower. Not knowing where things are *bgs* me. A lot.

I suppose it's too much to ask, but I am kind of a geek when it comes to this kind of thing. I actually owned a set of blueprints for a Klingon D7 Battlecruiser once and still have my pre-Okuda out of print copy of Starfleet Command Line Officers Requirement manual. With complete schematics of every tricorder, Feinberger, cruiser and dreadnought in the Trekiverse.

So. Comments? Suggestions? Thoughts? Ideas? Bueller?

Help me out here, people.

Comments

( 30 comments — Leave a comment )
syble4
Aug. 10th, 2008 06:15 am (UTC)
In the second episode "Hide and Seek" they show the city outline with the generators highlighted. You can get a general idea where they are. Hope this helps.
shaddyr
Aug. 10th, 2008 06:18 am (UTC)
Ah! Thank you! That should help!

::frantically paws through S1 DVDs::

I do appreciate it!
aqualegia
Aug. 10th, 2008 08:03 am (UTC)
In The Storm/The Eye they show John getting stuff from the jumper, and later they show Ford/Carson/Teyla moving from the jumper to the armoury to pick up ammunition etc. Also, where the grounding stations are if that's any help.

In the Seige, when the ZPM is beamed down from the Daedalus, McKay and the two SF guys start out for the power room by going down the stairs into the Gateroom... plus some other parts of the journey.

shaddyr
Aug. 10th, 2008 08:09 am (UTC)
Yeah, that's right, I remember them heading down the stairs. I am assuming that it must have been a number of level down. Good that makes - thanks for the reminder.

For the purposes of this story, they are cut off from the command center, which means no access to th jumpers; I have assumed that there is a main armoury that is close to the embarkation room which would be just off the gateroom (all my assumptions)

The seems to be supported by what you're saying. I think I need to rewatch The Storm as well.

Does it actually show on screen where the grounding stations are on the city schematic?
(no subject) - aqualegia - Aug. 11th, 2008 06:33 am (UTC) - Expand
with_apostrophe
Aug. 10th, 2008 08:37 am (UTC)
If you're looking for canon answers to all these questions, then I think you're going to be sadly disappointed. Star Trek has always been very good in providing blue prints, and even before that, with the significantly smaller and definitely more functional design of the various Enterprises, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Dreadnoughts, battle cruisers and the Defiant it was somewhat easier to guess where things were even without the blue prints. Plus, some characters would usefully request the transporter to take them to "deck 4", thus we'd find out what was on deck 4 when they got there.

I don't think the writers of SGA have put so much thought into things. A great example of where Star Trek has is "Ten Forward" - the very name tells us it's on deck ten, the forward section. SGA has nothing like this. Another thing you must remember is that this is TV Land, and not eveything is going to make sense. If the writers see fit, things may even shift locations!

I have loads more to say on this subject, but what I've written (in Wordpad) already looks like a post, not a comment. Last year, I started a series of Fanon vs Canon (not done any this year) meta posts, and this would almost fit into that, and I'd like to post my findings as a post, not a comment.

But quickly I'll say this: In "Adrift" Rodney states that the ZPM Room is at the base of the Tower, and that the Chair Room is outside the mostly collapsed shield, so that (semi) answers two questions. The Chair Room not being in the Tower is also established in "The Siege - Part 2" with those swinging shots.

There are small nuggets of info in all the Atlantis based eps - I see people have mentioned "The Storm" and "The Eye", "Hide and Seek", but there's bits all over. You mentioned Rodney's lab being located in the Tower in "Quarantine".

I'd go with your assumption that the main armoury is off the Gateroom, and that the gearing up room is next to it. It make tactical sense to have other armouries.


Edited at 2008-08-10 08:39 am (UTC)
shaddyr
Aug. 10th, 2008 08:52 am (UTC)
If you're looking for canon answers to all these questions, then I think you're going to be sadly disappointed.

I think your right. Hope springs eternal. ::plots:: Maybe I'll just have to make up my own...

I'd like to post my findings as a post, not a comment.

I look forward to reading it!

In "Adrift" Rodney states that the ZPM Room is at the base of the Tower, and that the Chair Room is outside the mostly collapsed shield, so that (semi) answers two questions. The Chair Room not being in the Tower is also established in "The Siege - Part 2" with those swinging shots.

Oh, excellent! Thanks! See, it all starts to jumble up for me and I can't remember these important details. I have found some really great SG and SGA wikis and fan databases, but the piddly stuff I am looking for is never there. So - thanks!

I think the boys are going to be making there way from the commissary to a secondary weapons locker. The lab they are headed to has to by Rodney's, so that would place them in the tower for this whole scene.

I appreciate the help!
(no subject) - with_apostrophe - Aug. 10th, 2008 09:01 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - with_apostrophe - Aug. 10th, 2008 09:03 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - shaddyr - Aug. 10th, 2008 09:16 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - with_apostrophe - Aug. 10th, 2008 08:56 am (UTC) - Expand
toniabarone
Aug. 10th, 2008 12:57 pm (UTC)
Actually, I think the Mess Hall is on a the edge of a pier, if the outdoor balcony shots are anything to go by. Those shots show it relatively close to the water level and it's quite easy to see the outer edge of a pier in the background, so it's at least around where the flair of the pier starts, though which pier is unknown.
shaddyr
Aug. 10th, 2008 11:20 pm (UTC)
hmmm. I know there are a few episodes where we get a nice exterior view out the windows behind the team. Perhaps I've been reading it wrong, or assuming I was seeing something else at a glance.

Hmmm. I think I need to go rewatch all of Season 3 and 4. it's going to be such hardship.
the_cephalopod
Aug. 10th, 2008 02:42 pm (UTC)
I'm not going to be of any use at all with this I'm afraid as I always make stuff like this up... but, OMG ARE YOU WRITING WHAT I THINK YOU'RE WRITING?!?!?

*dances*

cep xxx
shaddyr
Aug. 10th, 2008 11:34 pm (UTC)
uhm. Yeah.

I printed the whole thing out and took it with me when I took the kids out to Trout Lake on Friday. Then I came home and ripped part two to shreds and rewrote the beginning of part three and am finally writing how AU-verse boys do what needs to be done before getting to the shifting device.

Also, I was unhappy with some inconsistencies about the self destruct and I didn't want to kill everybody off. So I tried to make it a little nicer than it was. I don't think I am going to go with my original idea on how to wrap things up for the AU-boys.

The meta-verse has some changes coming as well.

Hopefully I will get it done and there will be no more stalling out. Wish me luck!
(no subject) - the_cephalopod - Aug. 11th, 2008 09:26 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - shaddyr - Aug. 12th, 2008 06:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - the_cephalopod - Aug. 13th, 2008 09:27 am (UTC) - Expand
retro_rider55
Aug. 10th, 2008 05:44 pm (UTC)
Not all scripters do a continuity check. As David Gerrold said of the the automat food servers on the classic Enterprise, "And those damned wall-slots are everywhere!"

On Irwin Allen's Seaview, the sub woukd have to make a double right-angle bend at the missile room. Most of these places/vehicles/facilities would benefit vastly from some T.A.R.D.I.S. circuitry...
shaddyr
Aug. 10th, 2008 11:34 pm (UTC)
Not all scripters do a continuity check

Oh, baby, don't the fic writers know it! Half of what we do is retconning!
(no subject) - retro_rider55 - Aug. 11th, 2008 12:02 am (UTC) - Expand
psio03kx
Aug. 10th, 2008 05:53 pm (UTC)
I think the ZPM Room is at the base of the tower (I think) because of some references in "Adrift" in Season 4, and I don't think the chair room is in the tower, I think its in some tall-ish, rounded kinda building half way between the outer city and the central tower...that really doesn't help does it? It's in the episode where the camera zooms out alot and flies through certain parts of the city and into buildings...
shaddyr
Aug. 11th, 2008 04:45 am (UTC)
Can you remember which eppie that is in? I've been trying to recall... I remember the whooshing camera pans from one section of the city to the other, just can't remember which episode!
(no subject) - psio03kx - Aug. 11th, 2008 06:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
ferret_kitty
Aug. 10th, 2008 06:13 pm (UTC)
Here's an [on-screen schematic] from S1 The Eye. If I had to guess, I would say that it's showing power flow throughout the city.

I think most of the fandom assumes (and this may be canonical) that the living quarters are near by.

I don't know if it's cannonical or not, but after the discovery of the transporters, the location of the quarters wouldn't matter. They might still be centrally located, just to conserve power and all that, but I could see arguments for having them spread out more, too.

Is the ZPM room in the central tower?

If I had to guess, I would say that it's at the bottom of the central tower. Centrally located, but still less vulnerable. Having it anywhere else (one of the arms, for example) wouldn't make as much sense, tactically, because you wouldn't want to have it destroyed in a fight.

Not that the Ancients thought like that, because they had shields and presumably knew how to create more ZPMs, so they might not have designed it to be the most logical, but then, having at the base of the central tower still makes sense, so that's where I would put it, if it were me.

Where is the Chair room in relation to the ZPM room? Again I am assuming that it is in the tower, because that seems logical, but again, what level?

My guess would be not too far above the ZPM room, near the bottom of the tower. Like you say, defensible position. And I suspect that, if they thought to have an auxiliary control room, they probably would have put it in the same place as the chair, because the person in the chair has control over Atlantis, so the people supporting him/her would have to be nearby. Logically speaking.

ZPM aside, there are also 5 naquadah generators.

All of your power questions might be answered by re-watching S1.03 - Hide and Seek, where they have the energy sucking monster and they have to move it around. That being said, I haven't rewatched the episode (my Season One is with a friend), but I can tell you that the naquadah generators ARE dispersed throughout the city, and I would assume that some places are better than other to have them, but that they can be hooked up anywhere, given enough time.

Another things that bugs me... where exactly are the grounding stations? I was assuming that these were actually out at the edges of 4 of the piers, but then I thought that was weird, wouldn't they have made a grounding station for each section?

Isn't there a scene in The Storm where Rodney says "Here are the four grounding stations. [Gesturing to a map.] I'm going to take these two, and Sheppard, you take the other two. They're just a brisk walk from here. And by brisk, I mean far, and by walk, I mean run." Or something like that? (I love that line.) I don't think you'd need a grounding station for each section, but I don't know as much about electrical engineering as I'd like to.

Where is Sheppard's office?

That would be a question to pose to a military person, if one hasn't already responded. It would be in the most logical place, but I don't know where that is.

Finally; where the hell is the main concentration of labs anyway?

I suspect that each of the labs are scattered through the city where each group of scientists found a preponderance of things that they wanted to study. But that would just be my thought. *shrugs*





shaddyr
Aug. 11th, 2008 04:43 am (UTC)
I don't know if it's cannonical or not, but after the discovery of the transporters, the location of the quarters wouldn't matter. They might still be centrally located, just to conserve power and all that, but I could see arguments for having them spread out more, too.

I was rewatching bits of S1 episodes today, and in Hide and Seek Sheppard actually limited people to finding quarters within a proscribed distance of the command center - it was all that was certified as safe at the time. We got to see the areas highlighted in yellow on the city schematic.

I assume that since that time people have been able to spread out organically since more scientists and military personnel have come to Atlantis, but I am guessing that folks probably tend to stick to a certain area as residential housing just because it's more convenient to be around friends and colleagues.

Pure speculation on my part.

(no subject) - ferret_kitty - Aug. 11th, 2008 04:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
slybrarian
Aug. 10th, 2008 07:06 pm (UTC)
The others have touched on most of this, so there's not much for me to add. Originally the naquadah generators were spread out, but we recently saw a power room - it's possible that's the main center for power distribution but there could still be others for backups. I would assume the main armory is near the gate room, but there's probably at least one backup elsewhere. Living quarters are probably also spread out a little bit, so that there's not one target. On the other hand, in the S4 episode with the evil dream alien, Sheppard was called just to the 'living quarters atrium' so maybe they are in one place.

One thing to remember if you're having them run about without transporters is that Atlantis is inconveniently big. It's not so much the horizontal space, although it's about four miles wide. It's the vertical distance that's the problem. The control tower is something like a kilometer high, so getting up and down it or the other towers with no transporters is going to be a real pain in the ass. See here for more scaling comments.
shaddyr
Aug. 11th, 2008 04:36 am (UTC)
That was an awesome link! Thanks so much!

I realize that I really do far more research that the average reader really cares about. I could just make it up off the top of my head and it would probably sound fine. But I hate the vague unknown bits.

Atlantis is inconveniently big. It's not so much the horizontal space, although it's about four miles wide. It's the vertical distance that's the problem.

It *really* helps to know that the central spire is likely over a klick tall. If the city is 6.8 clicks across, it looks like comparatively the spire might be closer to two klicks, but I'll not quibble about that. Rockerfeller is 70 flights, about 850 feet. 800 feet = .2 klicks, making the tower over 4000 feet high, meaning in excess of 350 levels if they measure them the way we do.

That's a lot of stairs.

And it works into the scene perfectly because with the transporters offline, they only have enough time to do one thing, and Rodney has to make a choice.

Thanks for your comments! I really appreciate them!
sgafan33
Aug. 18th, 2008 05:37 am (UTC)
Where's that room?
Not that this is going to help you, but I think Rodney has changed quarters from his first one in Atlantis. In 01x15 "Before I Sleep", I got the impression that his room didn't have a balcony, because he told Sheppard he was "looking for a one-bedroom with a den, preferably with a balcony, but I'm not married to it" when Sheppard, Ford and Teyla were scouting the city.

In 05x03 "The Seed", when Teyla is consulting with Rodney in his quarters (because he was confined there), you can see some plants on a patio outside his curtained window. Personally, I think both the plants and curtains are courtesy of Katie Brown.

Anyway, you can see a schematic of McKay's room in Joe Mallozzi's June 25, 2007 blog, where we see the patio. And we know from 05x04 "Broken Ties" that McKay has a bathtub. The schematic for the tub is from Mallozzi's March 8, 2008 blog. Interestingly, they use a multipurpose room for the tub scene which you can see from the schematic is right next to the Gate Room.

More than you wanted to know, I'm sure.
( 30 comments — Leave a comment )

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