Protomatter in _Star Trek_

In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, it destroyed everything within a 4000+ kilometer radius.

In “Second Sight” (ST:DS9, season 2), it transformed all the carbon and oxygen in an entire dead star into hydrogen, reigniting it in a matter of seconds – and some even feared that it might accidentally cause the dead star to go supernova.

In “By Inferno’s Light” (ST:DS9, season 5), in combination with tritanium and tekasite, it threatened to make a main-sequence star go supernova deliberately.
So, given its unbelievable destructive potential, combined with the threats posed to the Federation by the Borg and the Dominion over the years … why haven’t we seen Star Fleet deploy any protomatter-based weapons? Surely, a “Genesis Torpedo,” even if it couldn’t create a habitable planet, would still be more than enough to wipe out an invading fleet of Borg cubes – and would be a hell of a lot more effective than shooting “quantum torpedoes” at them!

Dang smiley codes.

Those should read: ST:DS9 (i.e. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), of course.

Obviously the scientific whoozitzes that were gabbling about protomatter bomb design accidentally keflipped the gnorzenbobbers and fritzed the bejeezus.

Either that, or it’s a more delicate matter of finding a safe place to make and test such a bomb—a place sufficiently well-stocked and close enough to your main trading routes that it is well-protected but not so critical that you’d mind losing it if the experiment went bad. Dr. Marcus’s science station (which used protomatter to make Genesis) was way out near uninhabited worlds on a minor space station, and hell, a frozen 20th-century barbarian-sicle in a leather loincloth stole it at wormpoint. Hardly the height of security—but you wouldn’t dare experiment on it in the Sol system.

And if you’re taking about a sun-buster bomb, it’s not as if you can take it out in the Nevada desert and use the same blast site for multiple tests: once a sun’s gone, it’s gone. And, um, you can’t really test it in secret.

Ah, to heck with it. It’s just a convenient mytho-substance that the screenwriters can use to ratchet up tension and drive the plot. I don’t know, maybe they’re worried about the creamy nougat center. :slight_smile:

It’s probably like with the cloaking device. They must have signed a treaty with the Borg, Dominion, et al, in which the Federation promised not to use protomatter in any weapons technology. Which was pretty stupid of them.

Even if that were the case – the moment the Federation learned about the existence of the Borg, they should have thrown that treaty away and started cranking out Genesis Torpedoes like there was no tomorrow. Let’s see the Borg “adapt” to total rearrangement at the subatomic level!

Why use protomatter to destroy a star when we already know that trilythium(sp?) does the job just fine?

Here’s something I’ve always wondered about: When the Genesis Device went off, did it destroy the space station and the planet that the station was orbiting? I would think so, since the station and the nebula seemed to be very close to each other, but I don’t recall anything ever being said about it. It would be interesting to see if there was anything left of the stration or the planet, like stray hunks of rock or whatever, or if they were totally gone.

It’s never made clear how big the Mutara Nebula is, or how far away Regula One was from it. Scotty said that he’d restored “partial main power” by the time Kirk & company beamed up from the Genesis Cave, so the Enterprise could have travelled to the Nebula at low warp speed. The Nebula might’ve been on the outskirts of Regula One’s solar system, which would make it way too far away for the Genesis Effect to reach the research station or the planet it was orbiting.

Of course, the “sunrise” over the newly-formed Genesis Planet implies that the Genesis Planet was created very close to a star (i.e. around 1 A.U. away from a star). The star could’ve been the same sun that the Regula One planet was orbiting. Either that, or the Genesis Device created not only the Genesis Planet out of the material in the Mutara Nebula, but the star as well! :eek:

If the Federation ever figures out how to reroute protomatter through the deflector dish, LOOK OUT! Me, I think they should use the Jefferies tubes to reroute it and then run a Level 1 diagnostic.

The trilithium device in Star Trek: Generations merely caused the Veridian sun to “go out,” resulting in a shockwave that ravaged the inner solar system.

The protomatter-trilithium-tekasite device in ST:TNG “By Inferno’s Light” threatened to make the Bajoran sun go supernova. This would have annihilated everything in the inner solar system, would have more than sterilized the planets in the outer solar system, and would have made conditions miserable in all the neighboring star systems within a couple hundred light-years.

Besides, destroying a star isn’t the objective. Destroying the enemy (a Borg or Dominion fleet, for example) is. A Genesis-like protomatter device could disintegrate everything within a 4000+ kilometer radius, whether or not there’s a star anywhere in the vicinity.

Don’t worry – even if they do figure this out, they’ll forget how to do it by the next episode. :rolleyes:

Protomatter for the Federation is kind of like nerve gas for the US. They denounce its use by others while (conjecture only) stockpiling it for future possible use.

In Trek canon, protomatter was denounced as too dangerous to use. Not realy like having a law passed or even a Prime Directive, but it takes protomatter out of the equation for writing plot points about it.

Except for bad guys, of couse. Two different criminals used (or tried to use) protomatter in their weapons. See DS9 eps The Maquis, Part I and * By Inferno’s Light*.

The noncanoninity of fed use of protomatter is the major reason why you don’t see more of it. Stay to ENT Season IV, though…

Mutually assured destruction is my guess.

It’s one thing to carve Florida a new canal from orbit a la the Xindi or leave Paris in ruins like the Breen but it’s a different matter entirely to cause a star to go nova and destroy an entire solar system. If Sol were ever the target of an action like that, the Federation’s response to its planners would make the US’ response to 9/11 look like child’s play.

You don’t think the confrontation at Wolf 359 was enough to get the Federation to haul out its protomatter weapons?

No more than knocking the World Trade Center deserved nuclear retaliation, no.

They didn’t have time, I’m guessing. And… the lizards were still in control? Or… Bergama forgot about it in their rush to create DS9?

What? Your post totally lost me.

i was replying to trace

I know… you posted only seconds after I did. I’m still not understanding what you’re saying in your post though.

As a minor side note, David Marcus told Saavik that he and some of the other Genesis scientists had used protomatter and that his mother knew nothing about it. Since all the other scientists were dead (and David Marcus would soon join them) and the Regula One databanks had been wiped clean and the computer storage module destroyed when the Reliant blew up, does that mean Saavik is the only person in the universe who knows exactly why the Genesis Project failed? I don’t remember her passing on this information to anyone else, but there may have been a post NextGen scene somewhere in which someone says “Genesis Project? Yeah, that protomatter screwed it up real good”, which would imply Saavik spilled the beans at some point.