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Phaser operation: instead of heating the target and causing a chain reaction, the "Transporters, Replicators and Phasing FAQ" (here) says,

  • What is phasing? ...
  • Star Trek seems to have this notion of "phased" as a state or quality of matter and energy. Things can be offset slightly in a time-like dimension from our "phase" of the universe. The idea being that if you and I have different "phases" we can't interact with each other without using special particles or fields or the usual [TECH]. ...
  • Phasers set on kill appear to work by violently phasing their target into one (or more) different phases. Ouch. This explains rather nicely why they just disappear and don't go "boom".

and gives these examples:

  • "The Tholian Web" [TOS] - The U.S.S. Defiant and Captain Kirk get trapped in an "interphase" rift, phasing in and out.
  • "The Next Phase" [TNG] - Geordi and Ro and a Romulan get accidentally phase-cloaked within the Enterprise. They can walk through walls and people. (They don't fall through the floor, though.)

This explanation makes sense and is consistent with what's seen on the screen -- that's why there's no explosion when the redshirts get vaped. It would also explain the lower power requirements of the phaser. It doesn't seem to take much power to rotate a small mass out of phase, but phasers' limits are stretched to heat rocks or cut through walls. (How long did it take Scotty to cut through the bulkhead using the phaser as a torch? A lot longer than it took Qui-Gon's 2D Maglite to slag a big chunk of blast door.)

What do you think? -- DreadPirateRobert 18:33, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

  • In general, we avoid making up new laws of physics or new states of matter at SDN. Mike already developed a working model of how phasers make things disappear that requires fewer bizarre changes to the laws of physics. "The Next Phase" makes no sense whatsoever, since Geordi and Ro obviously are interacting with their environment in numerous ways (seeing, walking, and breathing, for examples), even though no one else can see or hear them. An "explanation" that does such a poor job of explaining multiple situations isn't worth repeating here. --Ted C 20:51, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Ah, so that's the ST version of "midichlorians" and "EU Hatred?"  :) DreadPirateRobert 13:49, 11 July 2008 (UTC)