The Catacombs The Continuity Guide
Technical Facilities
by Martin Willey

9 Technical Facilities

9.1 Computer

Thanks to Marcus Lindroos

The Moonbase Computer is identified by several terms which are used in different episodes.

Master Computer
Central Computer
Black Sun, Ring Around The Moon, The Metamorph, Seed Of Destruction
Main Computer
Alpha Child, Space Brain, The Testament Of Arkadia, The Metamorph, Brian The Brain, The Seance Spectre
X5 Computer
The designation seen on panels in Main Mission, Eagle sets and outside Command Centre.

The 1970s audience would assume that the "Main Computer", the computer wall in Main Mission/Command Center, and the Computer Room are massive mainframes. The modular panel designs suggest more modular networked components. The scenes where Alphans open panels to pull out circuit boards to replace them is equivalent to components on sliding rails in modern rack-mounts (the dimensions originally established by 1920s telephony equipment) or even blade enclosures; the moonbase computer 2 x 8 panel configuration is essentially a variation of a rack in modern data center.

Although Computer seems to be based on fairly primitive mid-1970s technology, it nonetheless provides some impressive services including speech recognition and rudimentary artificial intelligence/"expert system" applications (see below).

Other computing

Although the Alphans are very dependent on the Central Computer, there are many examples where they prefer to use something else.

The Testament Of Arkadia

Despite all the computing power available, Bergman uses a slide rule in The Testament Of Arkadia.

Dragon's Domain

Note the use of a typewriter in Dragon's Domain (and Koenig handwriting his log in The Testament Of Arkadia).

The Metamorph

Helena uses a large dedicated log recorder in Year 2 which sits on its own trolley. This seems to be a standalone computer (it should be possible to record directly into Main Computer via a commlock or normal X5 panel microphone, but perhaps for security reasons Helena prefers an unconnected dedicated system). More.

Copyright Martin Willey
Thanks to Marcus Lindroos