Food cards

An array of food cards being held by Christine Chapel

Data card

23rd century tape technology is introduced to the 22nd century mirror universe

Microtape, 2256

A microtape

Microtapes, also called library record tapes, library tapes, record tapes, or, more, simply tapes, were a type of computer memory storage medium used by Earth and Federation space exploration vessels from the 21st through the 23rd centuries.

In 2065, the disaster recorder of the SS Valiant was equipped with tapes. When the recorder was recovered by the USS Enterprise in 2265, both Captain Kirk and Science Officer Spock hoped that "its tapes were still intact" despite the age of the recorder and its distressed condition. Spock later commented that the tapes were burned out, but he was able to interpolate data stored in the memory banks. (TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before")

They were susceptible to being scanned and understood by advanced races. The Talosians did so in 2254, as well as Balok in 2266. (TOS: "The Cage", "The Corbomite Maneuver")

Constitution-class vessels routinely carried a large number of entertainment tapes – more than other class vessels, including the Antares. (TOS: "Charlie X")

In addition, the sensors aboard Constitution-class vessels maintained "microtape" records. In 2267, the USS Constellation's tapes were pulled and beamed to the Enterprise for analysis of the planet killer. (TOS: "The Doomsday Machine")

Some data cards held information on specific types of foods, such as various flavors of ice cream. These could be used in conjunction with the food synthesizer to create the food listed on the tapes. In 2268, Nurse Christine Chapel passed out several of these cards to the Starnes Exploration Party orphans so they could have whichever ice cream flavor they wanted. (TOS: "And the Children Shall Lead")

A version of these tapes resembled 20th century floppy discs but with far greater capacity. (TOS: "The Cage", "The Menagerie, Part I", "The Menagerie, Part II", "Tomorrow is Yesterday", "And the Children Shall Lead", "The Lights of Zetar", "Obsession"; TAS: "The Survivor"; ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II")

In the final draft script of TOS: "The Naked Time", examples of this type of device were referred to as "tape cassettes". However, the final draft script of the next installment to be produced, "Charlie X", referred to them as "microtapes".
A deleted scene from "The Menagerie, Part II" established that, to lock the Enterprise on a course to Talos IV, Spock had jammed "the series 'seven' tapes." Hence, cross-circuiting that series of tapes could enable the starship to be returned to manual control. [1]

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