I never saw this as Scotty discovering the phaser burns totally on his own, is if no one told him there was a problem there and he stumbled over it. I had always assumed that, off-camera, Spock told him "We've captured the intruder on the Engineering deck and there was some phaser fire. Check out the damage," and it happened that the shot had hit the transporter gizmos, so Scotty reports it.
In any case, I really like GSchnitzer
's appraisal of the whole situation. That makes the most sense to me.
So it seems as though this column probably has a number of high energy systems attached to it, as TIN_MAN
has suggested. I suppose it's reasonable that the transporter draws power from the same circuit as the engines and the regulatory hardware would be there for all transporter stations. It is a single point of failure, true, but I suppose the engineers who designed it never counted on a high-powered phaser shot coming at it. After all, what sort of stresses would that particular room be subject to, normally? If there was an explosion, there might be risk of shrapnel, but then the materials of the column may be rated to withstand that sort of thing. If there's a a big, bad explosion, like one of the anti-matter reactors going up, then who cares if the transporter still works, since basically your whole ship is done.
I'm working on my own Enterprise
deckplans and I've been trying to reckon where this column ought to go. So far, I've placed it so it's actually a long structure running from the doohicky on top of the back of the saucer over the impulse deck and running down the neck and into the engineering hull to the main power generation areas.
What I'm still vascilating on is what deck this particular length of this column lies on. Part of me thinks the creator's were still thinking of the engineering room set being on the aft end of the saucer, but there was dialogue that established that Evil-Kirk was going to the lower levels. This column as I have it passes through a bunch of decks, there could be the required Engineering room anywhere...