actually the reason you can't interact with any of the crates is because so many people are trying to activate these crates at the same time. if you hang about eventually you get the option to activate and if you're quick you can nab it.
however, inspite of managing to activate, it won't let you 'take' or 'take all' so you still can't retrieve the rifle. i hung about for quite some time and tried several times and same story.
and the situation was the same for pretty much everyone as far as i could tell (apart from the poor buggers who complained in chat of appearing as their ship!)
Same issue - bascically in the last 30 minutes before the server was shutting down for the 7 pm PST patch, you could not finish the tutorial because you could not aquired a phaser rifle. It might evenutally spawn, but it was impossible to pick up.
I think I was able to get one, but I must have dropped it by mistake because it isn't letting me pick up any more from the crates, the NPC is unavailable to talk to, and I can't progress in the quest because those things have to happen.
What should I do here....start over completely with a new character? Surely not...