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In the movie Galaxy Quest, the alien Thermians base their entire culture on human television shows, which they mistakenly believe are real. In particular, they build a complete replica of the show Galaxy Quest's ship. In this ship, they build the Omega 13 device.

However, the Omega 13 is never actually seen as the show was cancelled before it was set to appear. It's also explicably stated that not even die-hard fans have any idea what it really does.

Near the end of the film, the Omega 13 is used.

How were the Thermians able to create a working Omega 13 without ever seeing it used?

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    You seem to be forgetting it was a comedy.. The fact that the Thermians managed to build a (fictional!) device that they had never seen and did not know the function of, just makes it funnier. – Andrew Thompson Mar 28 '16 at 21:56
  • And is somehow related to how the auto-destruct mechanism works... – James McLeod Mar 28 '16 at 22:06
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    This site needs more Galaxy Quest questions... – Valorum Mar 29 '16 at 0:16
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    It might be more interesting to know how the creators of the show knew of the berillium substance, that it could power the ship, and that the thermians found it and put it to use as concocted in a hollywood production. If you ask me, I'd say that it was all true, and guided by aliens. One of the best documentaries ever filmed in my opinion – Kai Qing Mar 29 '16 at 1:16
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    @KaiQing Well, beryllium is an element, so that's the easiest part. I'm just imagining how the Thermian scientists are trying to wrap their head around how to make it an important part in the ship's power generation system when there's so many great alternatives that you can't really use just because they don't use beryllium like the GSC Protector. "Can't we just use proton-proton fusion or something?" "Shut up, that has no beryllium spheres!" – Luaan Mar 29 '16 at 14:13
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The main conceit of the film is that the Thermians, with their own brand of hyper-advanced technology were able to replicate a very considerable number of the (treknobabble) technologies mentioned in the show. Some they've clearly been able to work out from the descriptions, others they've cobbled together after traveling to Earth. It's not immediately apparent within the film, but it would seem that the aliens have had access to more than just the historical documents. They've also had access to the Internet and 'Galaxy Quest' fan chatrooms where fans seem to have been sharing blueprints and concept art.

The original script (p.45) had an additional line that was removed

enter image description here

But which did make it into the official novelisation

“But,” Mathesar went on, “Sarris found out about our plans just as we had completed construction of the Protector II. He heard about the device—the Omega Thirteen.” Guy, who was listening, looked puzzled. “The Omega Thirteen. Why does that sound familiar?”
“The lost footage,” Gwen whispered. “At the convention. The mysterious device in our last episo—I mean, historical document.” “What is it?” Tommy asked Mathesar. “What does it do?”
The Thermian held his hands out, and up. “We don’t know.”
“But—you built one, right?” Gwen asked.
“We built something,” broke in Teb, “from the blueprints and what references we could find on your Internet. Our computer neural nets made educated guesses in areas where we were uncertain. So there is actually much about the device that we don’t even understand. We were hoping you could enlighten us.” Jason tried to appear knowledgeable. “Well, it’s a device that we, uh…”
He looked to his shipmates for help. All he got were blank stares.
“… discovered on an alien planet. We don’t know what it does, either.”

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    Leave it to you to find an official novelization for Galaxy Quest... I honestly think the movie is hilarious but I'd never be tempted to read a book of it. – Ryan Mar 29 '16 at 16:01
  • @ryan - I only acquired it a few days ago. I've not read it yet. I'll let you know how it is... – Valorum Mar 29 '16 at 22:09
  • @ryan - The novelisation wasn't awful. It lacked the humour of the film, but it was competently executed as a scifi novel. I rate it a 6/10. – Valorum May 13 '16 at 18:36

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