A gross ton was a non-mass related, nonlinear Earth measurement of a vessel's overall internal volume as determined by a mathematical calculation.
Montgomery Scott expressed his frustration following the rescue of Harry Mudd's ship Stella, at the cost of several of the USS Enterprise's dilithium crystals, of how dire it was that "almost a million gross tons of vessel depending on a hunk of crystal the size of my fist." (TOS: "Mudd's Women")
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