Spoilers [DIS] Solve Peak Dilithium with Genesis Device?

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Go-Captain, Dec 30, 2020.

  1. Go-Captain

    Go-Captain Captain Captain

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    Is there anything in canon stopping the Federation from using a protomatter (Genesis) device to turn a planet into a dilithium world? For that matter, a nebula or star into a system of dilithium planets?

    Discovery seems to believe nothing which worked in the TNG era can ever work, but assuming progress can be made, that small gains indicate future possibility, does it stand to reason a variant of Genesis technology was attempted to create Su'Kal's planet?
     
  2. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It depends on what Genesis is. If it's essentially an early, uncontained replicator, then presumably the same factors that make replication of dilithium unattractive would negate the value of Genesis.

    Mind you, nobody ever outright says that replicators couldn't replicate dilithium. Indeed, nobody ever says that X can't be replicated - we only hear that X can't be replicated under pertinent circumstances, which typically involve the ship losing power, the heroes only having access to a certain type of replicator, or there being a time limit. It's just that we never hear of anybody replicating dilithium, either. Presumably it would be doable, as far as we can tell - just like replicating live puppies ought to be doable. It's just not done, so there are likely to be hidden variables there. And, thus, perhaps with Genesis as well.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  3. Go-Captain

    Go-Captain Captain Captain

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    Good point, I can't remember if Genesis works on the subatomic level or not, and if it can't then it wouldn't be able to turn random rocks and gas into dilithium.

    On the other hand, dilithium does grow naturally. It should be possible to artificially grow dilithium, but there is no telling how long it would take naturally, or what materials are required. I think in Trek dilithium is an element, not a chemical, so there is that limitation too.

    If dilithium can be replicated, straight energy to matter, then it could be so energy intense it only works as a kind of battery, using up total energy, rather than proper fuel source, adding total energy.
     
  4. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I don't think Discovery thinks that it can't ever work but that it isn't as efficient as dilithium, or, in theory, as easy to use. There are multiple other ways to build an engine but that doesn't automatically translate in to sustain viability on a macro scale.

    If dilithium is an energy manager and can store energy then it likely has a benefit that it has no energy cost to maintain its ability, in addition to being plentiful. So, dilithium being replicated is really the main question. If it can't be replicated then why not? And, possibly, if dilithium can't be replicate then this principle may apply to other power sources.
     
  5. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Vice Admiral Admiral

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    SOT, but why can't 32d century recrystallize the Dilithium they still have?
    Not certain of Canon, but Genesis works on the subatomic level
     
  6. Go-Captain

    Go-Captain Captain Captain

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    What I find annoying is how every alternative we know was quickly dismissed by Book in episode 1, even trilithium, with no further explanation, and when we find out about transwarp it has a 50/50 chance of death slapped on it, again without explanation. I understand wanting to avoid infodumps, but we could really use explanations, especially since the crew is as ignorant as the audience up until they find Starfleet.

    I think the only outright statement we have had in regard to non-replicatability has been in regard to living things. There is a mineral water stated to be impossible to replicate, but if we go by the first rule then that means there is a living component to it, maybe like a pickle? Then again there have been medications too, though they could have a living component too.

    There is also Worf's replicated spine, which was made with a specialized replicator. If a normal replicator can't make dilithium then a specialized one should. Worst case, maybe the Federation has to build Dyson spheres or Dyson swarms to power dilithium manufacturing plants.
    I think everyone must be recrystallizing their dilithium, and it's one of the few things which should be taken for granted since it was perfectly common in TNG. But, recrystallizing dilithium only means their stockpile is not constantly diminishing through use, while fleet expansion would diminish the supplies. Every ship would be more expensive than the last if we assume a finite dilithium supply, and every loss would be ever more costly.

    A bigger deal should have been made about Discovery's dilithium supply since it looks like enough for a hundred ships. The 1701-D only ever had the one crystal, while the 1701 had less than a quarter as much as the Discovery. That spore drive must take a ton of power, but with a modern engine it wouldn't need the vast stockpile.
     
  7. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Eh...what about latinum? I thought part of that rarity was that it couldn't be replicated?
     
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  8. Go-Captain

    Go-Captain Captain Captain

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    In the DS9 Tech Manual it's stated latinum is non-replicatable, so the Ferengi are operating on a space gold/silver standard, but it's never said in the show. Personally I prefer to think latinum might actually be replicatable and derive its value from the amount of energy used to create it and the encasing gold.

    In Voyager, Janeway orders Chakotay to de-replicate a gold watch to recover the energy, so if latinum derives value from energy it stands to reason a person can pay for replicator use by de-replicating latinum.

    It could be taken to a ridiculous level where Ferengi don't power their ships with dilithium, they shovel latinum into super efficient de-replicators.
     
  9. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    But Book isn't, so him rattling off trivialities such as "fission-powered motorcycles just aren't a thing" sounds natural and satisfactory to me.

    And even that isn't categorical: the EMH replicated new neural tissue in "Emanations" with nary a comment, and Worf's new spine appears to have been replicated, too. Presumably Nog's leg or the real eyes Pulaski promised LaForge could emerge from a replicator as well, although other options abound.

    It's just that there's a big quantitative leap from the nerves to a live puppy. But not a qualitative one. So it could be a resources thing when replication in theory could defeat death. But also an ethical thing, as our heroes deliberately choose death often enough.

    Quite possibly it did, and the yield still doesn't meet the demand.

    Book does mention his own recrystallizing doodad, so the writers have that covered as well. We just don't know if recrystallizing means that crystals are forever, or only that a crystal that previously lasted for 0.75 missions under the command of a skipper more conservative than Kirk or Picard now lasts for 4.7 missions in the best of cases.

    We're still wondering about the role of the warp core in the spore drive - but not as much as earlier on, because the heroes in "People of Earth" jumped to said planet without their warp core! Most of the dilithium might be sitting idly in that chamber, reserved for the multiple weird experiments that the ship was conducting originally, while the warp drive itself only consumes a tiny fraction (and even less now that the engines have been modernized).

    Gotta wonder about that. Chakotay used up resources that might have been better spent creating a good pair of boots - but dereplicating the watch might never result in the creation of those boots, or the regaining of the resources. Rather, Janeway could have ordered that strictly as a punitive measure: "You now have to burn that nice dress because buying it for me means we can't afford an espresso machine, you bastard!".

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  10. Angry Fanboy

    Angry Fanboy Captain Captain

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    There doesn't seem to be much crossover between the warp engines and the spore drive - they appear to operate virtually independently of each other or at least that's my understanding.
     
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  11. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Commodore Commodore

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    I concur, all evidence points to them being largely independent systems.
     
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  12. Angry Fanboy

    Angry Fanboy Captain Captain

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    I suppose the Spore Drive operates using ordinary shipboard power to some extent just like the lights and the replicators do, and this power comes from the warp core ordinarily. But this power can probably come from the impulse engines of necessary or maybe even emergency batteries.

    What I'm saying is that even with the warp engines and/or core offline I think the spore drive can still operate.
     
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  13. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It makes little sense to have a currency standard which can be replicated.
    DSC might have lots of Dilithium because they cannot recrystallize it.
     
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  14. Angry Fanboy

    Angry Fanboy Captain Captain

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    Good point. If Spock 'invented' a way to re-crystalise dilithium in the 2280s I guess the 2250s Discovery wouldn't be capable of doing this.
     
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  15. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Spock didn't invent shit. He just decided not to mention the real inventor, no doubt for brevity.

    "A lie?"
    "An omission."

    All currency today can be replicated. That is, the methods used for producing it in the first place can be applied again and again. Oh, perhaps there's a theoretical limit on how many gold coins can be minted before we run out of gold, but gold isn't a currency standard in today's abstract world. And there's no way we would run out of the raw ingredients for dollar bills or bitcoins.

    Kirk's old ship didn't have lots, despite apparently also lacking the ability. (Or perhaps she did have a unique doodad, thanks to Spock's breach of Po's patent, and this is what we saw in action in "Alternative Factor"? But neither Kirk nor Scotty believe in the ability in ST4:TVH. Or is that merely in the context of only having Klingon gear?)

    Timo Saloniemi
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2021
  16. Angry Fanboy

    Angry Fanboy Captain Captain

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    No idea what you're on about here sorry.
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ...Spock was present in 2257 when Her Royal Highness Me Hani Ika Hali Ka Po, Queen of Xahea, inventor of the recrystallizing technology, shared her technological knowledge with a limited number of Starfleet officers. While we didn't learn of Po sharing this specific technology, we can easily surmise Spock gained access to it nevertheless. Either at that very juncture, or then a bit later on, when the dust had settled.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Or Spock had to take decades to apply the technique using Federation technology?
     
  19. dupersuper

    dupersuper Commodore Fleet Captain

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    Not wanting to create unstable planets that'll fall apart underneath them when they try to harvest said dilithium...?
     
  20. Angry Fanboy

    Angry Fanboy Captain Captain

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    The Genesis Planet fell apart because it wasn't a planet to begin with - it was created out of the Mutara Nebula and this is what made it unstable.

    When the device was used on or within an existing planetary body (like the Genesis Cave) the results would appear to remain viable indefinitely.
     
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