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On Galaxy class vessels such as the Enterprise-D, the dilithium chamber/center of the warp core is located conveniently on the deck that matches the ground floor of main engineering. We can see on a few occasions how Starfleet personnel check or do something to the dilithium crystals by simply walking up to the warp core and extending a drawer with the crystals inside.

On the Sovereign class Enterprise-E, on the other hand, the dilithium chamber is located one deck above the ground level of main engineering, apparently quite far away from any of the walkways on the upper decks.

Enterprise-E engineering snapshot

A schematic drawing of the same room can be found on Ex Astris Scientia.

How can maintenance staff access it in-universe?

Is there any extensible bridge or lift hidden somewhere (at least mentioned in behind-the-scenes notes, even if the actual set doesn't feature the mechanism), or do they actually have to bring a plain old portable ladder?

  • 1
    I've added a photo to make it clearer what you're driving at. – Valorum Feb 10 at 22:12
  • @Valorum: Yes, thanks. I've added a link that contains a drawing (unfortunately, individual images on EAS cannot be linked to (not even within some kind of frame that indicates where the image is taken from)). Unfortunately, Memory Alpha didn't contain a still of the extended dilithium crystal drawer, contrary to my expectations (based upon other topics on MA that typically contain the relevant images). – O. R. Mapper Feb 10 at 22:32
  • Spock's rocket boots of course – NKCampbell Feb 10 at 22:35
  • It's likely that by the time the Sovereign class was built there is no reason to access the dilithium chamber while the ship is normally deployed. We see later in TNG several upgrades and processes mentioned that imply that the maintenance procedures shown earlier in the series with the chamber open are no longer required (e.g. in Relics). – Xantec Mar 9 at 1:45
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It's accessible from behind.

This "okudagram" taken from the set of Star Trek Insurrection

enter image description here

And this panel from the Star Trek Fact Files

enter image description here

show that there's a deck-level access to the warp core assembly (and the injectors) from behind main engineering. What you're looking at when you look at the warp core from Geordi's workstation is the rear of the dilithium chambers, not the front.

  • Interesting hypothesis. So the hatch-like thing visible from the pool table isn't actually a hatch/drawer (at least not one that would normally be used), but just looks like one. I'm not yet too convinced I see the rear access to the dilithium chamber in the images, however. In the okudagram, the yellow area looks like the plasma conduits (that actually run towards the sides diagonally), and in the Fact Files panel, the arrow looks like it is pointing to the ground floor of engineering. More importantly (because it is the most explicit on-screen evidence I could find), we can see the ... – O. R. Mapper Feb 10 at 22:43
  • ... area between the two diagonally running plasma conduits in ST:FC when the first crewmembers fall victim to the Borg. When Lt. Eiger climbs up the ladder to find out what has happened to her colleague Lt. Porter, there appears to be nothing blocking our sight to the opposite wall behind the far plasma conduit - meaning there is no catwalk leading up to the dilithium chamber. For what it's worth, this would match with what is depicted in the schematic view from EAS (which is also taken from Fact Files). where the wall behind the warp reaction assembly ... – O. R. Mapper Feb 10 at 22:48
  • ... appears to consist of five vertical tubes - although our view is obstructed, they do not look like they were purely decorative and could be interrupted by a maintenance hatch or door of any sort. – O. R. Mapper Feb 10 at 22:49
  • @O.R.Mapper - Over Eiger's right shoulder is a lit panel. This, presumably, is at eye level to the access gantry. – Valorum Feb 10 at 23:16
  • Right as seen from her point of view (I don't see any lit panel there?) or from ours? In the latter case, that's the (normally unreachable) panel facing the pool table. – O. R. Mapper Feb 10 at 23:23

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