I feel the need to rethink the opening in my last post. Again, the original dialogue:
"Somehow the antimatter in the warp drive pods has been deactivated."
Washburn's report clearly suggests that the assumed shut-down of the warp nacelles' M/AM reactors and the venting of antimatter supplies was "somehow" initiated by the planet killer.
We all remember the scene where the planet killer apparently
wants to suck the Enterprise
inside (to risk it blowing up?!?) which may be a misinterpretation of what would have actually happened in the next scene:
A beam from the maw of the planet killer, disrupting the M/AM reactors at the front of the nacelles, thus initiating an emergency venting of antimatter which the planet killer then takes in to replenish its own antimatter ("anti-proton") supplies...
What a clever way of the planet killer to disable an attacking ship: by stealing its source of power and - worse - adding it to its own power supplies.
Of course warp drive and dilithium crystals look like "magic" as well. The amount of power the TOS Enterprise puts out is quite large (push a moon, go for it!) and her range is so great (Andromeda galaxy, no problem with fuel
) that she has effectively an unlimited, regenerating supply of antimatter. How she regenerates antimatter that's the magic. We've discussed this before in other threads whether it's dilithium tapping into an alternate antimatter universe, a variation of the zero point energy, etc. It just "works".
I'm more and more inclined to believe that matter-antimatter annihilation and dilithium crystals are somewhat combined to enable the ship to tap into the enigmatic (but "real") dark energy which is the actual element that enables the warping of space (unless I'm mistaken that's the only property of dark energy that has been observed, it warps space).
It never ceases to amaze me, that this idea apparently had already been brought forward to Franz Joseph Schnaubelt in 1976:
"But in theory you would need only a very, very tiny antimatter-starting chamber to start the whole mechanism pulling in energy. Dilithium crystals are very unstable, so with a starting chamber full of dilithium, a few added atoms of antimatter will provide the driving force to get the whole system charged up and sucking in space energy. Now beyond that..."