Main Article Theories about
Periodic resupply drop
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Purpose of Drop

  • The drop is on time, having been left for the assumed member(s) of the Hatch. The entity(s) making the drop have no knowledge of the survivors.
  • DHARMA organizers may have been aware of the original inhabitants of the Island or even placed them there. Part of their experiment may have been observing how the DHARMA staff coexisted on the Island with the hostiles. Despite the Purge, they may still be observing those left on the Island as part of the experiment, thus the need to keep the supply drop coming.
  • The drop is conducted by an automated system, which still hasn't been shut off either because it is on the Island, or because no one on the mainland knows that the DHARMA researchers are dead (for whatever reason).

Cause of Drop

  • Assuming various theories suggested by the producers (as on the answers show before "Through the Looking Glass") and various members of the Lost community regarding the Island as a time machine are correct, the drops may occur not because someone regularly comes to the Island and delivers food, but because the DHARMA Initiative dropped the food in the future, which would instantly cause the food to appear on a regular basis from "nowhere." You would not hear a plane because it would only exist in the future, not the present, and the drops would still occur (even after the DHARMA Initiative has been destroyed) because DHARMA would have already made the drops to the future in the past (a little deep).
    • Daniel Faraday's Payload experiment demonstrated that objects traveling to the Island ballistically arrive much later than they appear and would be expected to arrive. It's possible this exact effect cause be utilized to one degree or another to distribute PRD.("The Economist")
    • Some of the foods in the PRD, such as the Apollo Bar, have expiration dates. This could be more than a little complicated for suppliers in the future to work out.
      • Time on the Island runs at 1/64th the rate of real world time. Assuming the D.I. knew about this dilation (it's a pretty hard thing to miss) they would have calculated out when the drops were going to reach the Island and set the expiration dates accordingly. even though it may have been dropped in the 80's, the foods still fresh because it has existed in the Island's time, its like in Asimov's "button, button" where even though the signature is from the 1700's, its technically brand new. This may also explain why the drops are still arriving, they may have been terminated long ago, but due to the dilation, they are still arriving.
      • The Orchid Orientation video clearly demonstrates the manifestation of two of the same object sharing the same time and space. During the Orchid video, through some yet unexplained operation, a second rabbit appeared with the same number as the original, indicating that they are in fact the same rabbit. The supply drops could work in very much the same manner. This would mean that there are no new supply drops besides the first original drop which, as a result of the manipulation of time, repeats periodically, as needed or perhaps on predetermined intervals. In essence you're opening a window in time to the first food drop. Because these drops would be originally from the past, all the expiration dates would be future dated. If the time dilation effect was well understood by the DI, then they would have been able to drop a number of PRDs ad infinitum with the knowledge that they would show up every 6-8 months and have each successive drop filled with food and supplies with the appropriate expiration date.
  • The nature of the drop requires the existence of a DHARMA Initiative warehouse and airplane or other ballistic delivery system somewhere in the outside world (or possibly on the Island). Since the Others clearly have a network in the outside world and haven taken over most other DHARMA facilities that were useful to them, they have people in the warehouse / running the delivery system as well, and take advantage of this system to get their food/technology without the bother and expense of using the submarine. They wanted to keep the 815 survivors alive to eventually convert them, or continue terrorizing them, so they called the warehouse and ordered a drop.
  • They may be related to the lockdown incident and if the PRD on the blast door map stands for Periodical Rations/Resupply Drop, then they would occur every 6-8 months.
  • Ben may have entered a different code in the Swan to initiate the drop, especially if Desmond's admission that the computer in the Swan had more than one purpose (in "The Cost of Living") is considered.
  • There may be another DHARMA team in charge of the supply drops who know only what their training video tells them. They may be based on another nearby Island or up in a mountain station. Just like the Swan's team, they could simply be "observing the following protocol" ever since the Incident.
    • The drop could have been delivered ballistically by this station, in which case it would have landed in the drop zone using the parachute.
  • Because Ben was originally a member of the DHARMA Initiative, he can contact those responsible for the food drops and give them the impression that DHARMA is still active and call for food. However, since the Discharge, he can no longer contact the outside world for food, hence the comment in his diary.

Source of Drop

  • DHARMA, the Others, nor the lockdown incident had anything to do with the supply drop. Instead the Magic Box theory has everything to do with it. Locke theoretically could have brought his father to the Island after he destroyed all the ways off of the Island, and once Hurley conquered his eating problem, the Island once again gave him food.
  • If nobody heard or saw a plane fly over, then maybe it was placed there, and the lockdown incident was there so anyone in the Hatch would not be able to see anyone place the supply drop out there, and the beacon and parachute is a cover up, so the survivors are led to believe that it came out of a plane, as whoever drew the map on the door would have thought the same.
    • The Others faked the supply drop.
    • Ben faked his first appearance to the Losties using a parachute. Therefore, the Others may have used the same pretext with the PRD for yet undisclosed reasons.
  • The supply drop could also have been made by balloon.
    • A balloon is not affected by the magnetic properties of the Island.
    • It would be silent as it made its approach and drop.
    • It could be deployed and retrieved by a small boat.
    • A balloon would make a poor resupply vehicle as it is heavily dependent on winds. Trying to line up to drop a parcel at an exact point (and at night no less) is very difficult. It would take several tries until you could get the balloon to pass over the right spot, while a helicopter or plane could easily make the drop in one go.
  • The supply drop had to have originated from nearby land since the size of the package would mean at least a medium sized cargo plane would be required. Of course unless there is a runway around the other side of the Island, it is highly likely this plane had to have taken off from either Australia, New Zealand or a Pacific island.
  • The time-differential theory explains its mysterious appearance. If there is a time differential between the Island and the outside world, then there is probably a sphere (think snowglobe) around the Island that is all Island-time. Assuming the plane flies over the sphere and drops the pallet, then the plane remains in normal-time. The pallet parachutes into the new time zone and voila, we get a pallet that seems to mysteriously appear without any plane to drop it. That's because the plane that dropped it--- from the Island perspective--- dropped it some other time!
  • The source of the supply drop is a facility located on, or near, the Island. The drop contains a kit with a case of vials, and in "One of Us", Juliet states that she has invented, or helped invent, the drug which requires a facility for producing such drugs nearby.
  • Somewhere in the real world, there is an enormous warehouse full of DHARMA Initiative supplies and a runway for a cargo plane. Every 6-8 months, the plane is loaded with a supply pallet, flies out to a specific point in the middle of the ocean, and (so far as they know) drop the pallet into the open sea from a high altitude. They don't ask questions, because they are paid a great deal of money to do this seemingly-pointless task. The reason it's still happening could very well be due to bureaucracy - even though the DHARMA Initiative is by all appearances defunct, and has been for nearly twenty years, nobody at the Hanso Foundation ever canceled the automatic payments to the pilots of the cargo plane or the warehouse workers. In other words, nobody ever told them to stop doing what they're doing. To the cargo plane pilots and the warehouse crew, it's just a very weird and apparently pointless, yet high-paying occasional job to do, once or twice a year.
    • You would think the Hanso Foundation would notice as it's basically shedding money for no reason. Unless they know people inhabit the Island still. And where is the food being packaged with the DHARMA logo from?
  • The PRD's were actually sent from the island itself, but from the past to future times (evenly spaced in periods of 6-8 months) - teleportation/time-travel is at least heavily insinuated as possible in 4x09: The Shape of Things to Come. Presuming that the teleportation into the future has a reasonably short turnaround time, many future PRD's could be sent in a reasonable amount of time (in the past). This would explain the consistency of the contents of the PRD's (small selections from one bulk store), and also some anachronisms such as the Apollo bars. The lock-downs are in effect because teleportation cannot specify the exact time/position (a la Heisenberg Uncertainty), so if the time is quite precise, the location will have unavoidable uncertainty associated with it - hence personnel must be kept clear from areas where the PRD's may appear.
  • The Lamp Post station is used to find spots to drop the food to appear on the Island at correct times.
  • Back in the 70's, Dharma was expecting to be on the Island for a long time, and they were sick of schlepping supplies to it periodically, so they decided to get it done with all at once. They used the Looking Glass station to calculate the Island's position at various times in the future, and then shot a series of rockets into space, into different orbits that would intersect the Earth and hit the Island at various specific times in the future. Then they all got killed.
  • The drops originate from the Flash Sideways. The DHARMA Initiative still exists in the flash sideways and continues to send food to an "alternate reality" where it lands on the Island. Hurley may be in charge of this in the flash sideways since he owns a box company and a temp agency that asks very Dharma recruitment like questions. He may be leader of the Island or involved with the DHARMA Initiative.
  • Hanso Foundation. Alvar said that resupply would be made in perpetuity. Even after the Purge, the Swan remained operational, so HF continued to send the drops to make sure Swan operators had supplies.

Frank Lapidus does the Dharma Drops

Other Theories

  • The drops could account for the newer technology on the Island.
  • As long as the button is pushed, a station will remain active in the DHARMA mainframe and will get supplies, but no other contact is allowed.
  • The Pneumatic tube injector that Charlie found for Claire had 8 vials of vaccine. If it is to be injected every 9 days, then there should be a drop every 72 days. Or, if it is intended for two, than every 36 days.
    • Close-ups of the vials reveal the text "multiple dose vial"; see the article titled "CR 4-81516-23 42".
    • It is possible that each vial contains enough for multiple treatments.
  • The fact that all the food was repackaged could mean it was reprocessed/repackaged for long term storage in a jungle (hostile) environment. It also shows that there is (or was) a very large scale industrial capacity backing up the activities on the Island.
  • Since Mittelwerk has stated the work on the DHARMA Initiative finished some time ago, the supply droppers may be a faction of the old Hanso Foundation continuing on their original mission, and the Others might be people involved with that faction. It could also be some offshoot of the foundation working with Paik or Widmore.
  • The supply drops mentioned in The Flame's computer are the drops that occur by The Swan, rather than being drops that take might place at The Flame or any other location. This is evidenced by the fact that Mikhail's alcohol had the Swan Station logo on it. [1]
  • The Others are partly reliant on the supply drops (as evidenced by supplies in the Flame bearing the Swan logo). The Losties arrival near the site of the drop has messed this up, forcing them to take risks to correct the situation (Ben getting caught?) and to clear ground in safe territory to grow more food (the project on the Hydra Island).
  • The food drops have stopped because of the implosion of The Swan and the explosion of the Flame. The Flame initiated the supply drop, while the Swan temporarily let down the 'cloak' of the Island allowing the drop to occur.
    • Mikhail may have been an original DHARMA member loyal to Ben and not killed in the purge. As the one communicating with the outside world, he could have kept up the drops, and perhaps even kept up a facade of a purge never happening to those not on the Island.
  • The Blast Door Map Notations say "P.R.D. every 6-8 months. Fatalities: 5." Five people have died in connection with the supply drop.
    • The real Henry Gale died in connection with a supply drop.
  • The supply drop was sent in past. Because of the strange time thingy on the Island it landed again.
  • The food drop was initiated manually by Mikhail from the Flame in order to allow Ben a chance to escape or contact the Others via the Swan computer when blast doors came down. The Others are now running out of food as when Locke destroyed the Flame computer he also destroyed the Others ability to call in a supply drop. This was the reason for the code 77 if the hostiles ever took over the station their food supply would be cut off.
  • Ben was captured just a few days before the P.R.D came. Then later he is seen writing in his journal about how they are low on supplies. He told Mikhail to order the Supply Drop, then was on his way to wait for/secure the drop (to keep it from the Survivors), but got snared by Rousseau first. Because he got captured, the survivors got to the supply drop that was meant for the Others first.
  • The reason the Swan logo is on the majority of the food is that it may have been the only station requiring supply drops. Considering that the Swan is the only confirmed station to have a bunking area, and all the other DHARMA Initiative members reside in the Barracks, which has its own chefs and cafeteria, the supply drops to the Swan may be to help maintain the Swan's independence by removing the need for Swan members to visit the Barracks to eat or sleep. Naturally the food would be branded with the Swan logo to indicate its purpose there. The Flame may have supply drops of its own due to the presence of living space there as well as the Hydra which would make sense to have supply drops since it is off the main island and submarine use seems sporadic. Stations like the Staff, Pearl, Tempest, Arrow, Orchid and Looking Glass would most likely not have supply drops of their own as it seems so far that the members of those stations are all hubbed to the Barracks which has its own chefs.
  • The supply drop arrived in 1989 during the eighth time shift ("This Place is Death"). This was before the purge but after the Swan was an active station needing supplies. Rose and Bernard (who were also time-shifting) stumbled on the supply drop at the same time that Jin encountered the French team's camp on another part of the Island. Rose and Bernard attempted to take some of the supplies and then the ninth time shift occurred. Because they were touching the palette, it shifted with them. It has never been revealed what time period the characters arrived in after the ninth time shift, so we can safely assume that it was 2004, during the episode "Lockdown." Rose and Bernard backed away from the palette after the shift and they shifted again almost immediately, leaving the palette behind in 2004 to be discovered by the castaways in "Lockdown."
    • Whoa! is this a spoiler? Annarboral 06:08, June 19, 2010 (UTC)
      • No.

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