trelane the squire of gothos


1. Am I the only one who has noticed that whenever any antagonist wants to force Kirk to do something they ALWAYS THREATEN SPOCK.

2. Kirk’s savage head shake and death stare when Spock tries to speak up and object like: Spock. SPOCK. Shut the fuck up because you are literally the most important thing in my world and if you go and get yourself killed I will fucking kill you. Do you hear me? I WILL END YOU.

Spock: That remark makes absolutely no sense.

I’m gradually recovering the files on my stolen hard drive (to whomever took it from my luggage: I hope you’re a Trekkie), so let’s dive back into The Squire of Gothos.

This episode is really great. I love that they could have left us with the magic alien who does magic, but instead they slip in a (pseudo)scientific explanation, and also use the opportunity to explain how transporters work in this universe. And best of all, the explanation involves some neat 20th century physics.

Einstein’s equation E = mcis probably the most famous equation in physics. The E means energy, m is mass, and c is the speed of light (a constant), and the equation tells us that mass and energy are somehow linked.

Exactly what this means depends on whom you talk to. One interpretation is that ‘mass’ and ‘energy’ are the same thing, and we just perceive them as different because of the way we perceive space as being different to time. You can even think of matter as just being regions of space that contain a lot of energy (note that the conversion factor c - the speed of light - is a really big number, so matter contains a large amounts of energy).

Another interpretation is that mass and energy are different things, but you can convert one into the other. Looking at it this way, when a particle collides with its antiparticle, all the mass is destroyed and the equivalent amount of energy is created, and the Big Bang was lots of energy being converted into matter.

Star Trek seems to be leaning towards the latter interpretation, so when Trelane magics things into existence what he’s actually doing is taking vast amounts of energy and converting it into matter. Similarly, the transporter beam (a “crude example”, according to Trelane) takes matter, converts it into energy, and then reverses the process in another location.

Now, I’m not saying this is a thing that can actually be done in practice, but as scientific explanations for magic go, this one is pretty good. A+ for Trelane.