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Old January 28 2013, 03:56 PM   #36
Re: Dilithium Crystals and Nuclear Fusion - A Star Trek Reunion Story?


The crystals were fully re-amped before Lazarus 1 stole the first pair.
Which crystals? Not the whole lot, necessarily.

After Masters confirms that her underling has re-amped "the" crystals, they go for coffee. Kirk wanted "immediate" re-amplification, and Masters doesn't even report to the bridge when finished? This would make sense in three sets of circumstances:

1) Kirk gave new orders (but we heard of none, and saw no motivation for such a thing).
2) Some other part of the process is the bottleneck, so Masters knows there's no hurry, either with delivery or even with report.
3) The underling only finished the first batch and inserted the second one, so it's time for coffee again - and Kirk will hear of the completion of the entire set only. Perhaps the first batch was already fed back into the main power system and is doing good work there, but just like Kirk says, the full set is needed for normal operations.

I don't see any difference between "drained crystals" and these never been used before crystals. They still would be starting at a zero or low charge.
Why? Why can't crystals be "born" at high energization level? Supposedly, these things can be spotted across significant distances, sort of suggesting they are very energetic in their natural state. Only weird anomalies or lots of hard use will reduce the natural level of energization and require a remedy.

But if we believe that the energizer in "The Alternative Factor" is the only way to "re-amp" the crystals then the crystals would be constantly carried back and forth between rooms on the slightest drain leaving them vulnerable during critical moments.
The special machine (seen in the episode) is needed to combat an anomalous drain equalling fifteen thousand years of hard use. An online energizer (discussed in ST2) deals with normal, minimal drain from use. Simple enough.

In TOS, the crystals are not necessary for the operation of the ship's engines as long as they have working bypass circuits.

In ENT and TNG they are critical to the operation of the ship's engines as they regulate the matter-antimatter reaction.
Nothing particularly fundamental about that. It's just like an electric appliance today that can work with a fuze in place, or with a piece of thinfoil, and doesn't have the wits to tell the difference, vs. a more refined appliance that demands a proper fuze or the advanced automation makes it sulk and refuse to work.

The crystals are off to the side on top of the energizer that happens to be bypassed and therefore not part of the matter-antimatter chain at all.
Or then this is no different from the crystals being atop the cylinders on Scotty's control room floor - until physically moved by the system into the very heart of the reactor.

@ Throwback:

If I take into account that the Republic was powered by nuclear reactions
Well, it had an atomic matter pile aboard. We don't know the purpose of this system any more than we know its exact nature. Considering Kirk's career path, it might rather be a weapons system - a munitions pile of some sort.

As regards the ENT continuity thing, we could easily argue that the 2150s experiments with dilithium-regulated antimatter power generation of TNG style (painstakingly described in ENT"Bound") were ultimately fruitless ones - just like fission power for commercial ships has flopped big time, yet may return in the future. In the meantime, other types of power generation (quite possibly involving antimatter, but perhaps not dilithium regulation) would be in common use.

As for FTL vs. STL arguments, both the TOS pilot and "Balance of Terror" offer evidence and counterevidence in the same package. Scotty's claim that the Romulans had "simple impulse power" must be reconciled with the ship outrunning the hero ship at warp three, and covering distances on the map only slightly more slowly than the dot that marked the progress of the hero ship at maximum warp. OTOH, no witnessed movement in "Where No Man" explicitly takes place at FTL speeds, save for Kirk's arrival at the barrier ("Neutralize warp!") and his sally into it ("Ahead warp factor one!"), leaving us speculating about all the rest.

However, I consider "the time to reach a base went from "days away were now years in the distance" but not decades or more" to be very weak evidence. Surely decades are still years, just a few more of them? OTOH, certainly TOS often depicted star-to-star journeys in the timescale of days, whereas star-to-star distances could well be in the order of 5-10 ly rather than 10+.

Timo Saloniemi
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