Useful Facts About Dilithium
from How Much for Just the Planet? by John M. Ford
This amazing mineral, as beautiful as any jewel, harder than any diamond, is vital to civilization as we know it today. It is no exaggeration to say that the Federation in which we live could not exist if not for dilithium, the wonder mineral.
But just what is it that make dilithium so amazing? Scientists here, in the laboratories of the Deneva Mining Consortium, the Federation's largest producer of dilithium crystals for government and industry, have spent many years and huge amounts of money unlocking the secrets of this unique substance. We'd like to point out that it's the United Federation of Planets' wise and forward-looking policy of tax deductions for research expenditures that have made the wonders you're about to see possible.
MOUNTAINS FALL AND DILITHIUM IS REVEALED!
Don't be afraid-what you're seeing is not some alien war machine, but the chariot of progress! This is a Tagra-X Planetary Excavator. These mighty machines, capable of swallowing whole mountains at a gulp, unearth dilithium ore wherever it may hide. Itself powered by a dilithium-focused antimatter generator, the Tagra-X allows the mining of planets that before would have been left untouched and useless.
FIRE ONE--IT DIDN'T BREAK!
Bullets just bounce off crystals of dilithium, the hardest known substance in the universe. Dilithium is in fact so hard that it exceeds the theoretical physical laws for materials. This paradox baffled scientists for decades, until researchers for the Deneva Mining Consortium discovered the amazing truth: the crystal structure of dilithium extends not just in the usual three dimensions, but in FOUR!
DID YOU SAY...four?
That's right! As illustrated in this computer animation, the internal structure of dilithium extends both into the past and the future. The Deneva Mining Consortium named this phenomenon "Gonionchronicity(TM)." The extreme difficulty of cutting dilithium into usable shapes, requiring high-output lasers over a long period of time, became suddenly understandable. Here's Dr. Wallace Thaumazein, star of everyone's favorite popular science show, "Dr. Wally's Kitchen of Wonders," with the explanation.
"Scientists like me always thought it was net energy absorption by the crystals that made them finally give up under pressure, since as you probably know that's how most of the stuff we live with in our everyday lives acts. If I hit this pane of glass with this hammer, see, it's gonna break."
IT SURE DID, DR. WALLY!
"Right. Are you guys all right down there, with the glass...? Anyway, what we scientists figured out was that you don't have to hit dilithium crystal hard, you have to hit it hard last month, now, and a week from Tuesday, so to speak. Now, here's a dilithium crystal that we hit two days ago. And I've made a note in my appointment calendar--you can see it here, on the wristwatch display--to hit it again two days from now. Now, some of you are probably wondering, 'what if you don't hit it two days from now?' and that's an interesting question. What I always say to that is, 'I'm a scientist, not a philosopher.' Now I'll hit it, well, now."
THAT'S AMAZING, DR. WALLY!
"It sure is, and it also shows why you kids watching shouldn't try this experiment at home with any dilithium you might have around the house. That man will recover, because he got prompt medical attention, which we always have on call here at the Kitchen of Wonders. You might not be so lucky."
That's an important safety tip, Dr. Wally. Yes, dilithium, the wonder mineral, can be dangerous. But isn't a certain level of risk always present in our everyday lives? Think of thermonuclear fusion, our mighty but mischievous friend. Or the dome over the city where you live; think how easily it could crack and decompress your whole town. Even this ordinary wood pencil is potentially explosive, if it should touch antimatter. But there's another risk we haven't mentioned yet, perhaps the most important one of all. Can you guess what it is?
YELLOW ALERT! YELLOW ALERT!
Yes, it's the Klingons. These warlike beings are always on the prowl for dilithium, to drive their war machines, power their warships, and do many other war things. Here's Dr. Wallace Thaumazein again.
"Before dilithium-enhanced warp drives and weaponry, there was no interstellar war. Well, not exactly no interstellar war, but not very much of it, because with ships flying at Warp Three or Four, and these little laser guns that only shot at lightspeed so even at Warp Two you flew faster than the stuff coming after you, it really wasn't very interesting, and nobody much did it, except for the Romulans, who you have to admit try real hard in everything they do, even if we can't always figure out why, and the Klingons, for whom it was sort of a hobby anyway."
A simple hobby that threatens millions. This is the result of the Klingon Empire's ruthless hunger for dilithium, the wonder mineral. Is there an answer? Yes. The answer is in each one of us. We must all vote for continued tax deductions for dilithium research and fight to preserve the Dilithium Depletion Allowance from those who cannot see that today's innocent, unexplored frontier world is tomorrow's Klingon slave outpost. This, then, is the choice that faces each of us in a free society.
THIS...IS DILITHIUM...AND YOU!