There is dialog that states that certain substances can not be replicated at all, and other substances require unusual amounts of power to produce.
OK, but which episodes? Which series? I'm completely open to the idea, but I'm not going to sit down and watch hundreds of hours of Trek again just to isolate one snippet of dialogue. If you know something, do share. On the other hand, are you sure you're not mis-remembering some details of some episode?
If latinum is a living organism (an old thought of mine) that would be another possible reason a replicator couldn't construct it.
Same question - when was it established the replicators couldn't handle "living tissue"? The genetronic replicator used to replace Worf's spinal cord in "Ethics" was perfectly capable of replicating living tissue? Are you thinking that replicators aren't normally
capable of replicating living things, but can do so with refinements or upgrades, or just more power?
Pavonis, you challanged others to produce dialog evidense that latinum and dilithium can't be replicated, can you provide anything from the show indicating that either of those CAN be replicated?
VOY, "Latent Image"
JANEWAY: ... A replicator operates through a series of electronic pathways that allow it to receive instructions and take appropriate action, and there you go. A cup of coffee, A bowl of soup, a plasma conduit, whatever we tell it to do.
"Whatever we tell it to do" - that's what a replicator is capable of producing, according to Janeway. If she tells it to replicate a crystal of dilithium, what's the problem? Why wouldn't it be able to do so? It might be limited to the size of the slot it would materialize in, but that's not a big deal. There are open-sided replicators, seen in the Enterprise
-D replication center in "Data's Day", for items too bulky to come out of a food-sized slot.
If dilithium and latinum were "unreplicatable", then there are a lot of questions about what a replicator can do, why it can work on some things but not others, and why these restrictions weren't plot points in some episodes. In "Night Terrors", the replicators were power-limited, but no one said it couldn't produce anything in particular if enough power were available
. Of course, the crew was searching for explosives to extricate themselves from a rift, but we learned that replicators were power-limited, but not necessarily limited in what they could produce when enough power is available.
The urgent need for dilithium was a plot point in some TOS episodes, but I believe that during the development of TNG the plot device was considered played out, so it was decided that dilithium would never be in short supply on the new Enterprise
. We know that dilithium is still mined, but it is also "recomposited" in the warp core while it is still being used. So apparently starships are more dilithium-efficient in the 24th century. Whether they can or can't replicate dilithium isn't addressed - but why shouldn't
it be replicated? What's special about dilithium that would make it impossible to assemble atoms into the correct crystal structure to produce it? Maybe it's more power intensive than mining it, but that's not the same as "impossible to replicate". It makes it foolish to do it, not impossible.
There are lots of valuable items on a starship - deuterium fuel, antimatter reactant, dilithium crystals, but also air and water. Without any one of them the whole system is a giant waste of resources. Would you argue that air and water can't be replicated either, just because a starship needs them as much as it needs dilithium and antimatter?
As for dilithium, so too for latinum - why is it impossible to replicate it? If it isn't produced in a replicator, where does it come from? Is it mined? Is it manufactured? If it's manufactured, what's so special about the manufacture of it that it can't be done with a replicator? If it is mined, then Ferengi latinum miners are the master of the Ferengi (and therefore galactic) economy. Grand Nagus Zek would have only as much power as the latinum miners would allow him, because they
would be the true power in the Ferengi Alliance - they would control the value of GPL by controlling the supply, and they would decide who gets rich and who doesn't. Yet I see no evidence in the show that Ferengi latinum miners are a powerful faction, nor any mention of latinum mining specifically. So what is it? Where does this latinum stuff come from?
The only reason people think latinum can't be replicated is because they think rare things are the basis for economic utility as currency. But our modern currency is a fiat one. We don't trade baubles of ore as money, or even use such to back up our currency. It's all based on faith. So why would we expect the Ferengi, who are supposed to be masters of the financial, to do something so crude as use mined baubles as currency? Why can't they use latinum as a fiat currency that is actually valueless, but useful as a system for tracking