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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old September 6 2012, 10:37 PM   #1
Captain Shatner
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Gaping Hole of Troiyus

Apart from the weirdness of naming your leader "The Dolmen", there's quite a bigger problem with Elaan of Troiyus. In fact, this problem can in fact be applied to quite a number of Trek episodes. Here it is...

WHY CAN'T THE CREW USE THE REPLICATOR TO MAKE DILITHIUM CRYSTALS???

It appears that the replicator works on the same basis as the transporter, storing "pattern buffers" of different objects to reproduce different objects, mainly food. But you'd think that some enterprising (pun intended!) Starfleet engineer would figure out that you could store other patterns buffers, mainly, dilithium crystals, in the replicator Then you could conjure them up at will...instead of taking them off of a Dolmen's neck....
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Old September 6 2012, 10:48 PM   #2
Harvey
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Re: Gaping Hole of Troiyus

The crew of the original Enterprise didn't have replicators.
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Old September 7 2012, 12:23 AM   #3
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Re: Gaping Hole of Troiyus

Even in the 24th century I don't think replicators can make dilithium crystals.

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Old September 7 2012, 02:29 AM   #4
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Re: Gaping Hole of Troiyus

No by the time of the TNG they recrystallize it in the chamber.
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Old September 7 2012, 05:03 AM   #5
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Re: Gaping Hole of Troiyus

Captain Shatner wrote: View Post
Apart from the weirdness of naming your leader "The Dolmen", there's quite a bigger problem with Elaan of Troiyus. In fact, this problem can in fact be applied to quite a number of Trek episodes. Here it is...

WHY CAN'T THE CREW USE THE REPLICATOR TO MAKE DILITHIUM CRYSTALS???

It appears that the replicator works on the same basis as the transporter, storing "pattern buffers" of different objects to reproduce different objects, mainly food. But you'd think that some enterprising (pun intended!) Starfleet engineer would figure out that you could store other patterns buffers, mainly, dilithium crystals, in the replicator Then you could conjure them up at will...instead of taking them off of a Dolmen's neck....
"Fascinating..."

"...What are these 'replicators' of which you speak?"
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Old September 7 2012, 05:25 AM   #6
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Re: Gaping Hole of Troiyus

Judging by the bizarre nature of replication that took place due to Transporter malfunction in "The Enemy Witihin", it seems highly unlikely a Federation starship can just snap its fingers and "replicate" whatever it wants to perfection. OTOH, in "Catspaw" Korob and Silvia try to tempt Kirk's landing party with plates filled with gemstones, only for Kirk to claim "We could manufacture a ton of these on our ship. They mean nothing to us."

So it wasn't really clear how food, other supplies and spare parts are manufactured aboard space vessels. Did 23rd-century space vessels use replicators or something bulkier and more primitive? You could argue the food dispensers (like the one Kyle used to serve the Air Force security guard in "Tomorrow is Yesterday") were replicators, but there are people who say that TOS had no such technology. Even if the TOS era can be said to exhibit such abilities, it could be readily assumed that supposed replicators of that era would be much more limited than their TNG counterparts.
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Old September 7 2012, 06:07 AM   #7
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Re: Gaping Hole of Troiyus

Stop talking about Elaan's gaping hole!

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Old September 7 2012, 08:34 AM   #8
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Re: Gaping Hole of Troiyus

And now let's see if the OP ever acknowledges their error.
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Old September 7 2012, 02:26 PM   #9
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Re: Gaping Hole of Troiyus

There was this interchange with Korob in the episode "Catspaw:"

MCCOY: These look real [regarding the plate full of gemstones].
KOROB: They are, I assure you. Diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires. All the crystalline forms that you cherish above all things. A fortune of them for each of you--if you leave here without further inquiry.
KIRK: We could manufacture a ton of these on our ship. They mean nothing to us.

So, while they are capable of manufacturing diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires--all the crystalline forms that are cherished above all things, evidently (and perplexingly) dilithium is something that can't be manufactured shipboard.
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Old September 7 2012, 02:38 PM   #10
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Re: Gaping Hole of Troiyus

McCoy seems to honestly believe in a distinction between "real" and "unreal" rubies... And it doesn't seem as if he's pondering whether these things are figments of his imagination.

Does this mean that there still is value in "genuine" gemstones? Well, Kirk certainly seems to think so, when discovering the diamonds in "Arena"! Plus, "gem" is still synonymous with "valuable" for him in a certain episode with a suggestive title.

Why he would say otherwise in this episode is pretty obvious, too. He doesn't just want to indicate that he can't be bought - he wants to thoroughly humiliate his enemies for even suggesting such a thing. A little lie won't hurt him, but hopefully will hurt Korob.

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Old September 7 2012, 03:21 PM   #11
Doug Otte
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Re: Gaping Hole of Troiyus

I've been nitpicking all over the webz today cos I'm cranky, so let me just contribute:

1) It's "Troyius" not "Troiyus";
2) Dohlman is a title, not a name.
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Old September 7 2012, 06:35 PM   #12
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Re: Gaping Hole of Troiyus

GSchnitzer wrote: View Post
So, while they are capable of manufacturing diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires--all the crystalline forms that are cherished above all things, evidently (and perplexingly) dilithium is something that can't be manufactured shipboard.
We can manufacture synthetic diamonds today, so it no big surpries that the machinery aboard the Enteprise can do the same. They're spectroscopically different than diamonds that come out of the ground (light passes through them differently), and there is debate as too whether they are real.
perplexingly
I'm not sure where I got this, but supposedly dilithium is chemically the same as quartz and if you attempt to fabricate (or replicate) a synthetic dilithium crystal, all you'll get is a piece of quartz. Likely non-canon.
Timo wrote: View Post
Does this mean that there still is value in "genuine" gemstones? Well, Kirk certainly seems to think so, when discovering the diamonds in "Arena"!
The diamonds and other gems that Korob creates with a wave of his wand, and the ones manufactured aboard the Enterprise are "meaningless." Yet the diamonds Kirk discovers on the Arena planets are; An incredible fortune in stones.. Natural are valuable, and manufactured are not. ...
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Old September 7 2012, 09:46 PM   #13
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Re: Gaping Hole of Troiyus

Probably much larger and more obvious plot hols would be (1: how the Engine Room was left unmanned so Kryton could sabotage the ship's dilithium, and (2: who the Enterprise didn't carry some spare dilithium crystals as replacements in case of sabotage or breakdown.
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Old September 7 2012, 09:52 PM   #14
Timo
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Re: Gaping Hole of Troiyus

Lack of dilithium spares is good continuity. Apparently, the stuff is really rare and expensive - and Kirk consumes those crystals in several episodes, quite possibly running out of spares in the process.

FWIW, the last time Kirk was crippled by dilithium shortage, in "Mudd's Women", he had spent the previous episodes at the very edge of the known, in "Where No Man" and "Corbomite Maneuver" by production order (or just "Where No Man" by stardate order), having had no chance to visit a starbase, and was quite plausibly short on supplies. The episode preceding "Elaan of Troyius" in turn was "Immunity Syndrome" where the ship almost completely drained of energy. While the episode did end with our heroes sailing toward the safety of a starbase, "Elaan" opens with the remark that the mission is top secret, and may have diverted our heroes from their intended shore leave.

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Old September 8 2012, 06:57 PM   #15
Captain Shatner
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Re: Gaping Hole of Troiyus

Several people have pointed out that "replicators" did not exist in TOS. "Food synthesizer," if you will.
Which really doesn't explain:

A) Surely a "food synthesizer" can make more than food...

B) Even if it couldn't, the dilithium pattern buffer could be stored on the transporter, and then Scotty could beam up a rock from a planet's surface. Since the matter is converted into energy and then reconverted back into matter, why not reconvert the rock into dilithium?
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