It's not about that. I don't know why people are having such a hard time understanding this. Collectors rely on something that doesn't exist. Not that can't be detected - it just does not exist. It is pure fantasy. There is no science in there whatsoever.define scifi (forget even hardness) with what is realistic today.
I understand your point I just disagree with you totally. You do know modern science doesn't know everything? Up until a couple of years ago there was no Higgs boson, just a theory. Then evidence was collected. Unlike dark energy and dark matter which are purely theoretic with no evidence whatsoever beyond solving a few equations. But I digress from my point. Earlier this year scientists were excited because a blip in the data suggested an unknown particle that would destroy the standard mode. Fortunately for the standard model the data proved to be just an aberration, but scientists conducting these experiments are open to the possibility that one day experimental evidence of a particle that breaks the standard model will be discovered. That is science.
Saying that something can not exist - I wonder if a caveman could contemplate the quark?
Note that I keep saying "as described". If Collectors are a thing, then fine, but they just need a better explanation that agrees with how they're supposed to work.
A bit of this could have been resolved if someone had stuck to this bit in the original adventure:
Required recharge time: 1 to 6 weeks
(ID), depending on the distance from
and spectral type of the star serving as
1) If we allow that they are collecting some kind of magic particle from stars, then the rate at which they do so must depend on the luminosity of the star and on the distance that they are from the star. That's just basic physics right there, and cannot be ignored.
I agree with you (see above quote from the adventure) and postulate either a type of particle that we have not detected yet in the real world or it is some kind of manipulation of the neutrino (which is an interesting particle in itself since it can change from one type to another by a mechanism we can not fully explain yet)
2) Alternatively, maybe they don't collect anything at all. Perhaps they just tap into 'zero point energy' or the quantum foam or something like that (again these are known to exist. Right now it's fantasy to say that they can be tapped for any energy, but one could imagine that by TL14 maybe someone's figured out a way). This wouldn't depend on distance from stars, it just requires that the ship exists in spacetime (and maybe it requires undisturbed spacetime so it can only be done away from large masses like planets).
Either of those options would address this issue.
That would work for me too.