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Old January 24 2013, 05:45 PM   #8
Robert Comsol
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Location: shore leave in La Baule, France
Re: Dilithium Crystals and Nuclear Fusion - A Star Trek Reunion Story?

@ blssdwlf

Flawless summary! However, I do believe that at one point in "The Naked Time" their orbit had deteriorated to a point where impulse engines would not have helped anymore and warp drive had become imperative.

I had already written Part III of the treatise yesterday and the comments thus far suggest I've not yet gone completely crazy and that there wasn't an urging necessity to rewrite (on the contrary), so here it is:

References to “energizers (US) / energisers (UK)” as a vital part in the power infrastructure of a starship of the 23rd Century are scarce at best (another Star Trek underdog?). Apparently, the only references made are in “The Alternative Factor”, “The Doomsday-Machine” and rather prominently in “The Wrath of Khan” (Star Trek II) according to Memory Alpha and my own research.

The biggest problem is that “energizer” is an outrageous general description of any device that creates / supplies energy for another device to work with. In the case of Star Trek that description would equally apply for a battery, a nuclear fusion reactor and a matter-antimatter reactor.

We can exclude that the producers of TOS had the battery brand name “Energizer” in mind when they came up with this term, because that brand name did not exist prior to 1980 (however, we cannot exclude the possibility that Energizer Holdings will have become an interstellar operating business by the 23rd Century...).

Apparently, energizers are a vital component to supply rather large amounts of energy to the Enterprise’s systems. They can either (momentarily) cease to function by mechanical shock / damage (ST II, possibly “Doomsday-Machine”) or as a result of stress / overheating (possibly “Doomsday-Machine”). In the two events visualized, they ceased to function during the heat of battle.

As the events and dialogue in “The Doomsday-Machine” suggest, failure of the main energizers results in the loss of
a) shield power,
b) instant (opposite to “charged”) phaser power and last but not least
c) warp power.
However, it does not affect impulse power, which again implies a clear distinction between “battery power” and “energizer power”:

Spock: Sir, deflector shields are gone.
Palmer (to Spock): Sir, Deck seven reports power failure in main energizers. Implementing emergency procedures. (another hit) Severe casualties reported on decks three and four. Damage control party sealing off inner hull rupture.
Spock: It has ceased fire. We're being held in a tractor beam. We're being pulled inside, Commodore. You must veer off.
Decker: Maintain phaser fire, helmsman.
Spock: We have lost warp power. If we don't break the tractor beam within sixty seconds, we never will.
Decker: Veer off.
Spock: Emergency impulse power.

This dialogue segment tells us that there are several “main energizers”.
Where there are "main" energizers there also have to be secondary energizers, and there is a high probability that the “batteries” would qualify as the secondary energizers Scotty used to “by-pass the main energizer” in ST II to have improved phaser power (thanks to batteries they had impulse power and because of the Mutara Nebula’s properties shields would have been useless anyway).

Additionally, it tells us that the main energizers are located on Deck 7, apparently a reference to Main Deck 7 (“Engineering Control Room”) in the saucer hull.

The first use of the term “energizers” in ST II merits a comment:

According to the ST II (DVD extended version) original on-set dialogue William Shatner said “stop engines” before delivering his speech to Captain Spock’s cadets.
Curiously, most Star Trek fans would have properly understood that in naval parlance of the 23rd Century the order was to be interpreted as “bring ship to a halt”.
The producers didn’t and during postproduction made Shatner redub his line to “stop energizers” which makes even lesser sense: You don’t switch of your vessel’s systems unless you’re a submarine that goes for silent running.

We could regard this slip-of-the-tongue as what it is – a production error (unless there was so much energizer noise throughout the ship that Kirk felt it necessary to switch the energizers off so the cadets were able to hear his speech over the intercom...).

Anyway, during its sneak attack on the Enterprise the Reliant fires at the port side of the engineering section (and the location of “Spock’s death chamber”) and one side effect, reported by Scotty is “main energizers out” or “main energizer is out” which forces the Enterprise to rely on battery power exclusively and deprives her of warp power (“We cannot escape on impulse!”).

Later on, Spock goes into his “death chamber” to do repairs which re-enable the Enterprise to make use of its warp drive.

As to how interprete the function of this (retro-fitted) room aboard the movie Enterprise has been the subject of this Trek BBS discussion. The conclusion to this thread with the decisive illustration, in a manner of speaking, happened here.

Considering that both in “The Doomsday-Machine” and ST II the Enterprise lost its warp drive cabapility because of failure and/or damage to the “main energizer/s” it’s a safe conclusion that Spock did repair the “main energizer” to give the ship its warp drive capability back.

And the original screenplay of ST II (revealed in Vonda McIntyre’s novelization of the film) is very specific on that, as originally, Kirk gave Scotty a clear order:

"What's the damage, Scotty?" - "Admiral, I canna put the mains back on-line! The energizer's burst; if I try to gi' it to ye, 'twill go critical!" - "Scotty, we've got to have main power! Get in there and fix it!"
(Apparently, in the final version of the film, Scotty was made to conveniently pass out, rather than being insubordinate – again, I should add).

So it is the main energizer and its dilithium crystals that enable the Enterprise of the 23rd Century to have warp power.

And while its therefore the “main energizer room” in ST II it also is the “dilithium crystal room” (Shane Johnson) or the “reactor room” (Mike Okuda), though the open question for now is “which” reactor...

Haven’t we forgotten one “energizer” reference? Yes, there was this enigmatic room aboard the Enterprise in “The Alternative Factor” were dilithium crystals were “re-amplified” which is the issue of an ongoing debate, specifically how to correctly interpret the actual dialogue and draw conclusions from it.

One school of thought (strongest advocate blssdwlf) suggests this room to be the original TOS main energizer before the main energizers with their dilithium crystal converter assemblies became an apparent feature on the engine room floors from the second season of TOS on. The author of the Memory Alpha article, mentioned at the beginning, has apparently adopted this interpretation.

The other school of thought (strongest advocate Timo) suggests this room to be merely a regeneration place (rather the complete opposite) to restore the crystals and their capabilities. Timo said:

“Lt. Masters was ordered to "reamplify" the "drained" crystals. She then proceeded to do something to them in a piece of machinery we had never seen before, and after she was finished, she ordered an "experimentation chamber" prepared. At that point, one of the Lazari stole two of the crystals being processed by the machinery; later, another Lazarus sabotaged this machinery, and Masters shouted that the "energizer" had shorted, and that there was fire in the "energizing circuit". And still the ship wasn't deprived of power!

I would like to interpret this as Masters (not a regular engineer, but a never before seen blueshirt specialist!) performing an exceptional remedial operation on four of the crystals (or crystal arrays), one that requires taking them off the actual power loop, and using an "energizer" for that remedy. Other crystals held the ship's power system together in the meantime.”

Possibly, using the same word (“energizer”) for a general power supply to regenerate an element that is part of a specific power supply with the same name (“main energizer”), invites unnecessary confusion (notice that no “main energizer” had been established prior to “The Alternative Factor” and “The Doomsday-Machine”. The term “energizer” at this production stage of TOS was as innocent and unclaimed and as general as possibly could be).

On the other hand, the inevitable question then would be, where on Main Deck 7 (first season engineering control room) were these energizers and/or the dilithium crystals? The first season engine room was devoid of a floor structure suggesting a second or third season energizer casing.

As we’ve seen in Part II of this treatise, battery power can supply energy to the transporter system, the phaser banks and the shield generators. The exotic energy output of the dilithium crystals not only powers the warp drive but also any of the three aforementioned. Do the batteries and the crystal energy output share the same power lines?

If the answer is yes, then the (first season) crystals may have been in these power lines’ and/or conduits’ bigger segments that apparently provide energy to the transporter system in “The Enemy Within” or the (lower sensor dome) phaser in “Balance of Terror” (obscured by Angela Lisa).

The engine room of the USS Constellation has the same GNDN power conduit in close proximity to the energizer casing and the retractable articulation frame with the crystal converter assembly seems the final step in this evolution towards easily accessible converter assemblies, where you can remove and replace dilithium crystals whenever necessary.

Although we have seen, what the energizers do in the ship’s energy infrastructure and what happens when they fail, there apparently is a distinction between the source of the energy (“energizer”) and the amplification of this energy (“dilithium crystals”).

A matter-antimatter reactor is a “reactor” and there are several TOS references to “reactors” which clearly suggests “energizer” to be something else. Previously, we’ve seen the distinction between “batteries” and “energizers”. It appears we are looking at one “engine power source” that’s neither the batteries nor the ship’s matter-antimatter reactors.

"The first duty of every Starfleet officer is to the truth" Jean-Luc Picard
"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."
Albert Einstein
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