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Old September 19 2011, 04:50 PM   #1
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Dilithium crystals

Did Enterprise NX-01 use dilithium crystals in it's warp drive? I may well be wrong, but I don't recall it ever being mentioned.

In the original and animated Star Trek series' (as well as The Voyage Home) the Enterprise's Dilithium Crystals were often breaking down or having some sort of trouble, rendering the warp drive inoperative. Did the NX-01 predate Dilithium-powered warp drive, or did it simply have a more reliable system than that of 100 years' hence? (or perhaps the writers forgot about/ignored it)
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Old September 19 2011, 05:27 PM   #2
JiNX-01
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Re: Dilithium crystals

The energy source I recall being mentioned was plasma.
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Old September 19 2011, 11:40 PM   #3
Ultramann
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Re: Dilithium crystals

The dilithium crystals were for the "more advanced" warp drive that works up to warp 8 on a good day. Enterprise was a more "primitive" system that doesn't require the crystal system. Think f the first cars comapred to the more current variety.
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Old September 20 2011, 04:34 PM   #4
Mytran
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Re: Dilithium crystals

Ah yes, from back in the days before the "Time Barrier" was broken...
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Old September 20 2011, 05:11 PM   #5
xortex
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Re: Dilithium crystals

Berman played it so close to the cuff that that wasn't even breached yet. Another missed opportunity for plenty of good stories. Instead of course he went back to Data's creater because he wrote ' Brothers' and don't we all love our own shit? He was the showrunner for 18 years. Count 'em. Pushing boundries was not his thing. Conservation was and playing it safe and oh yea slick 1000 dollar suits and lighting his cigars with twenty dollar bills. He was highly overworked, the poor guy.
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Old September 20 2011, 06:27 PM   #6
SFRabid
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Re: Dilithium crystals

xortex wrote: View Post
Berman played it so close to the cuff that that wasn't even breached yet. Another missed opportunity for plenty of good stories. Instead of course he went back to Data's creater because he wrote ' Brothers' and don't we all love our own shit? He was the showrunner for 18 years. Count 'em. Pushing boundries was not his thing. Conservation was and playing it safe and oh yea slick 1000 dollar suits and lighting his cigars with twenty dollar bills. He was highly overworked, the poor guy.
What are you talking about and what does this have to do with plasma drives?
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Old September 21 2011, 02:12 AM   #7
xortex
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Re: Dilithium crystals

I would rather know what a time barrier is.
They should have included dylithium crystals as a powerful new energy source as a continuing story idea and technology that they slowly incorperated into the ship so as the NX-01 would be constantly changing sightly as they were being refit as new technologies developed. alien or not, but certainly collaborated on and and vied for used as the basis for building the so called Federation (i.e.0 the making of friends and enemies, etc.)
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Old September 21 2011, 02:47 AM   #8
Leroy
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Re: Dilithium crystals

The NX-01 was dilithium powered it was mentioned as far back as the first season episode 'Cold Front' can't remember if they mentioned crystals though.
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Old September 21 2011, 02:58 AM   #9
xortex
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Re: Dilithium crystals

They didn't know what the hell they were doing or not doing. Half in and out of canon. There and not there.
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Old September 21 2011, 04:08 AM   #10
Robert D. Robot
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Re: Dilithium crystals

xortex wrote: View Post
I would rather know what a time barrier is.
I am not sure if you recognized the reference or not, but in "The Cage"/"The Menagerie" Lt. Tyler tells the S.S. Columbia survivors in the encampment that "The Time Barrier has been broken. Our new ships can...." - and his voice then trails off as he sees Vina.

You may already know this and were asking just what the "Time Barrier" is that is being referred to. I guess it refers to an advance in warp engine technology sometime in the previous 18 years. This is what I had always assumed, although "breaking the Time Barrier" seems more like the unusual travel seen in "The Naked Time", and not a reference to normal cruising speed.
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Old September 21 2011, 04:14 AM   #11
xortex
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Re: Dilithium crystals

Yea, cause Pike refers to the time warp factor so I'm assuming that just means that warp speed had been invented (hence saving time travelling between systems) which I guess means that the speed of light has been broken, hence a light year and so forth.
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Old September 21 2011, 04:35 AM   #12
Bisz
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Re: Dilithium crystals

I just saw the whole series this past month and I do recall dilithium being mentioned in an earlier Enterprise episode, not sure which one though.

Dilithium is used to control the matter-antimatter reaction in the warp core, it has nothing to do with plasma, which is the standard way of electrical power distribution on all of the starships we've seen, from the NX-01 through to the Defiant, with the exception of Voyager, which used cheese...
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Old September 21 2011, 04:46 AM   #13
billcosby
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Re: Dilithium crystals

I don't know what to tell you guys. The thread needs pics.
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Old September 21 2011, 07:51 AM   #14
Timo
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Re: Dilithium crystals

There are three references to NX-01 being "dilithium-powered".

First, "Cold Front":

Tucker: "Oh. Well, I guess that covers the basics. Any questions?"
Annoying alien: "How do you regulate positron flow in your dilithium matrix?"
Tucker: "Good one. I'll bring up the schematic of the reactor assembly and you can see for yourself. If you'll just come with me. We use a series of magnetic constrictors to align the positron stream."
We could argue here that Tucker sidesteps the question (while secretly thinking "What the hell is dilithium?"): the ship has no dilithium matrix at all, but instead uses magnetic constrictors to align the positron stream. That's in keeping with the TNG backstage technobabble where dilithium indeed performs a focusing function for antimatter streams.

Second, "Two Days and Two Nights":

Risan official: "If you add a few days to your stay, you could give everyone a chance to enjoy themselves. The additional charge would be minimal."
Archer: "It's tempting, but we need to keep some dilithium to run our engines."
This is less ambiguous. Dilithium is said to be engine-related, and this is no ploy because Archer is soon shown handing over some actual dilithium (or at least a glowing jar that's suggested to contain dilithium) to the official as payment.

However, this dialogue and scene was ultimately edited out of the episode, and dilithium is not mentioned in any of the actually aired scenes.

Third, "Bound":

Kelby: "The injectors feed into the dilithium chamber."
D'Nesh the Orion: "That's where the matter and antimatter mix."
Kelby: "That's right."
D'Nesh: "The crystals let you control the reaction."
Kelby: "That's right."
That's directly from the TNG Tech Manual, no ambiguity left.

Whether Kelby is talking about a radical upgrade or the systems that were installed prior to "Broken Bow" is open to speculation. And we never actually see the dilithium. Is it big, natural crystals, like in TNG and some TOS episodes describing emergencies and nonregular use? Is it ping-pong paddle shapes, possibly containing matrices of microcrystals, as seen in TOS "Alternative Factor" supposedly describing regular dilithium? Is it something else altogether?

As for the Tyme Barrier, it could be

a) a set value for speed, a former record that has been broken
b) a physical barrier in space that stopped older ships from utilizing a shortcut route
c) a structure on Earth, completely unrelated to starship speed; Tyler only mentions it to the castaways because they will be mightily surprised otherwise when they return to Earth, fully expecting to see the Tyme Barrier still standing

Timo Saloniemi
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Old September 21 2011, 10:22 AM   #15
Mytran
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Re: Dilithium crystals

A year and a half ago this issue came up as well - but personally, I prefer Timo's expanded explanations from then:

On the "The Cage" claim of "the time barrier being broken", we can think up half a dozen explanations that try to belittle or negate this odd line. After all, the bulk of Star Trek pseudohistory doesn't seem to be suggesting that anything radically important happened to warp propulsion in the first half of the 23rd century.

-Perhaps the Time Barrier indeed was related to how fancy time-dilation effects plagued the early high-warp ships. When the engineers figured out a way to avoid that time dilation, high-warp flight became more practicable.

- Perhaps the Tyme Barrier was a barrier limiting the performance of antimatter powerplants - a technical obstacle, or a financial one. When the engineers figured a way around that one, the new ships could be equipped with better engines that could sustain warp six for longer than the previous ships. The ships didn't have a higher top speed, they just had a higher average speed, which made all the difference.

- Perhaps the Taym Barrier was a physical wall of some sort, blocking space travel in a certain region. Breaching it, with the help of the new, more heavily protected or armed ships, then allowed for shortcuts that would shorten the homeward trip of the Columbia survivors.

- Etc.
And while I like the new option (c), it does make Tyler appear a little unfocused when he's constantly changing the subject between engine speed, local architecture and cutting edge starship design!

My own interpretation is that Tyler is referring to Dr Richard Thymne's theoretical speed limit for FTL powered ships - rendered obselete these past 18 years.
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