Gaping Hole of Troiyus

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Captain Shatner, Sep 6, 2012.

  1. Captain Shatner

    Captain Shatner Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    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....
     
  2. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    The crew of the original Enterprise didn't have replicators.
     
  3. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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

    :)
     
  4. Rulius

    Rulius Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    No by the time of the TNG they recrystallize it in the chamber.
     
  5. nightwind1

    nightwind1 Commodore Commodore

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    "Fascinating..."
    [​IMG]
    "...What are these 'replicators' of which you speak?"
     
  6. Wingsley

    Wingsley Commodore Commodore

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    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.
     
  7. Indysolo

    Indysolo Commodore Commodore

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    Stop talking about Elaan's gaping hole!

    Neil
     
  8. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And now let's see if the OP ever acknowledges their error.
     
  9. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    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.
     
  10. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    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.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  11. Doug Otte

    Doug Otte Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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.
     
  12. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
    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.
    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. ...
     
  13. Wingsley

    Wingsley Commodore Commodore

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    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.
     
  14. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    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.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  15. Captain Shatner

    Captain Shatner Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    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?
     
  16. Captain Shatner

    Captain Shatner Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    You're right! Sorry mate.
     
  17. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    I think the main problem is going to be that dilithium just can't be replicated. It's a magic rock with magical properties, and replicating it is going to require too much something or other. The ability to replicate dilithium from scratch would ruin too many Star Trek stories.

    If dilithium is transuranic, then perhaps the in-universe explanation is a result of some issues from replicating the nucleus, and perhaps the problem is in common with many or all transuranics, including latinum (assuming latinum is transuranic, too).
     
  18. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    You mean like "ice cream maker" can make more than ice cream, or "potato peeler" can do more than peel potatoes?

    Or into another Scotty? That way, they both could beam up rocks, and turn them into two lumps of dilithium. Which they could then beam down and back up again and turn them into starships. And now the Klingons would be facing two functional starships (plus the crippled original one), and would have to beam up rocks of their own that they could turn into Death Stars. Which would be dishonorable, so they'd just go home.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  19. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    According to TMOST:
    So starships in the TOS era don't have replicators or even "food synthesizers" -- just enormous food storage pantries and walk-in refrigerators and a dumbwaiter system. Rather primitive thinking, really.

    And in "Tomorrow is Yesterday," why did the transporter room have a food slot in the wall?

    This. Dilithium crystals are a valuable and easily portable item that can be bought, sold, bargained for, smuggled or stolen. They're Star Trek's McGuffin.
     
  20. Gary7

    Gary7 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Speaking of dilithium crystals, the technology as depicted always annoyed me.

    So, it's described as a power source and yet also a regulator of matter/antimatter reaction in the ship's warp core. This seems ambiguous to me. As I see it, one thing serves as a power source and another regulates the power consumption/reaction; never both with one thing. But in TOS, the concept doesn't ever seem to be very clearly defined, or ends up being contradicted by later episodes.

    I always felt it should be that the dilithium crystals amplify and control the matter/antimatter reaction and that some radioactive material is used as the fuel. In fact, several episodes have quotes referring to "fuel". For instance in "The Doomsday Machine", Spock says "We can maintain this speed for only seven hours before we exhaust our fuel, but it can refuel itself indefinitely." Fuel implies a consumable substance, so where crystals are concerned I'd expect him to say "before we exhaust our power."


    Anyway... I'll bet the crystals are too complex to replicate, which is why they couldn't be "manufactured" at will.