it is / What it does ][ History
and Development ][ Transporter Types ][ Components
[ Adjuncts ][ Normal Usage ][ Transporter Traces / Signatures ][ Non-standard Usage ][ Limitations ]
[ Transporter Malfunctions and Accidents ][ Transporter Operators ]
What it is / What it
Transporter - The Transporter is a Transposition device used primarily for the safe and almost
instantaneous transport of personnel and hardware.
The transporter was Gene Roddenberry's solution to the television
production problem of how to get his characters from the starship
down to a planet's surface. Landing a huge spaceship every week
would have cost far too much for a television budget, but the
transporter provided an ingenious means of getting the characters
quickly (and inexpensively) into the midst of the action.
The transporter is an energy-matter
scrambler. The molecules
in your body
are: converted into energy, then beamed into the transporter chamber
and reconverted back into their original pattern.
"The Savage Curtain" [TOS]
You are conscious during transport.
Further, while in
transport, you appear
whole to yourself.
"The Wrath of Khan" [ST2], "Realm of Fear" [TNG]
hypothesized that the
annular confinement beam
first locks onto,
then disassembles the subject into phased matter, via the phase transition coils, causing it to
take on a very energy-like state somewhat akin to plasma, called phased matter. This is why
it is often thought of as a matter to energy conversion. The matter stream is then fed into the
pattern buffer, piped through waveguide conduits to one of the beam emitters on the hull of the
starship, and then relayed (or "beamed") to a point on the ground where the ACB reconstructs
The transporter is a device that compresses the
molecular components of
an object into a
datastream and beams it to another location. It has only recently been approved for biotransport,
a fact that the crew members are uncomfortable with. It has been said that Captain Archer
wouldn't even put his dog, Porthos, through the transporter.
"Broken Bow" [ENT]
Ryan refers to rumors about transport of humans: that for a split
second, you can feel yourself in both
Travis implies this is why he's anxious to try it, although most of Enterprise's crew is afraid.
"Fortunate Son" [ENT]
22nd century Starfleet transporter
effect consists of a number of blue-tinged white
sparkles, with a vertical
sweep and a swirl at the center, moving to one center forming a small sphere that then disappears - as
though the matter were going down (or coming up from) a drain. The effect takes about 3 seconds.
The transporter can be recycled, from "receive" to "transmit", almost immediately -- about 3 seconds.
23rd century Federation
transporters during the 2260s showed a shower of golden "sparkles"
materialization and dematerialization. Klingon units during the same time emitted a solid golden "haze"
24th century Federation
transporters emitted a distinct blue/white "sparkle" when used. Klingon
displayed a red/orange sparkle and Romulan transporters a green sparkle. Cardassian and Ferengi
displayed red/orange "swirls" of energy. Borg displayed green "swirls" of energy.
Another difference was the speed by
which a transporter operates. Compared to transporters used by the
Hunters, a Gamma Quadrant species, in 2369, the Federation transporter was slow.
"Captive Pursuit" [DS9]
Furthermore, each type of transporter beam had a distinctive sound
pattern associated with it. Along with
differences in "tone," the volume of the sound also varied. Klingon transporters in the 2260s, for example,
were completely silent.
Development of the Transporter:
sometime before 2126: The first human transporter is
invented by Emory
Erickson. who becomes known
as "The Father of the Transporter". When he was 7 years old, a book with that title was given to
Trip Tucker. It inspired him to become an engineer. (Trip was 7 years old in 2126)
During the initial tests for the transporter,
some brave men and women were lost.
ca. 2139: Emory and his son Quinn were conducting first
trials... "Emory's greatest achievement"...
a subquantum transporter. Quinn wanted to be the first to go through. Emory lost his signal and
couldn't get it back. Quinn's transporter signal became trapped in a region known as the Barrens.
There were protests when the transporter was first approved for
bio-matter... People said it was
unsafe, that it caused brain cancer, psychosis... and even sleep disorders. And then there was
all that metaphysical chatter about whether or not the person who arrived after the transport
was the same person who left and not some weird copy.
The original transporter took a full minute and a half to cycle through. It felt like a year.
You could actually feel yourself being taken apart and put back together.
2209: Transporter psychosis is first diagnosed by
researchers on planet Delinia II.
"Realm of Fear" [TNG]
2319: The problem causing Transporter psychosis
was eliminated with the development of the
multiplex pattern buffer. "Realm of Fear" [TNG]
24th century: Safer site-to-site transport is developed.29th century: A temporal transporter is in use.
Types of Transporters:
[ Personnel ][ Cargo ][ Portable ][ Emergency ][ Micro-transporter
][ Temporal ][ Subquantum ]
[ Alien Transporters ]
Personnel Transporter:The most commonly used type of transporter was the personnel transporter, designed primarily for personnel.
Transporter platforms had a variable number of pads, arranged in
various layouts (by model and by
The transporters installed on Earth's NX-class starships featured
one large circular pad that took up
the entire platform. It was large enough to transport 2-3 people provided they stood close together.
By the 23rd century, Federation transporter platforms featured
multiple independent pads, typically six in
a hexagonal configuration. One- and two-pad platforms were also available.
This would become something of a standard layout for Federation
transporters well into the next century.
As an example, the platforms used on board Galaxy starships had the familiar six individual pads with
an oversized pad in the center of the platform that could handle small cargo.
The model of transporter installed on board Defiant starships
featured a circle platform and three
personnel pads in a triangular formation.
Some 23rd century Klingon platforms featured 6 hexagonal pads in a
straight line. Others, such as those
on Birds of Prey, featured a small number of platforms in a tight group.
"The Voyage Home" [ST4], Star trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)
Cardassian transporter pads in the 24th century featured three to
five triangular pads placed close together,
such as those installed on Deep Space 9.
The personnel transporter was a reliable but sometimes fragile piece
of equipment. The phase coils in
particular were vulnerable to feedback patterns and could be severely damaged as result of power
surges or low-level phaser fire.
Cargo transporters were larger scale versions of personnel
transporters and were optimized for the
transport of inanimate objects.
In case of an emergency, cargo transporters could be reset to
quantum-level mode, making lifeform
transport possible. These transporters were adapted to handle massive quantities of material.
(TNG|Up The Long Ladder)
Cargo transporters were also specialized for transporting hazardous
material and were mostly found
inside the cargo bay of a starship or space station. (TNG|Evolution)
Dedicated cargo transporter platforms used by Starfleet in the 24th
century typically featured one large
circular or oblong pad. Some had additional standard-size "personal" pads as well.
In older technical manuals and
other non-canon background
materials, these are sometimes
referred to as "evacuation" transporters or "combat" transporters. Typically, they are said
to be platforms with a dozen or more pads each. In addition to emergency evacuation, they
are used in any high-volume movement of personnel, such as in troop deployment.
Emergency transporters are a special type that can only beam someone
from a ship or space station,
not usually the other way around. Emergency transporters have a low power requirement; in case
of a shipwide power failure, the crew could use these transporters for emergency evacuation.
(TNG Technical Manual)
times Emergency Transporter were used:
captain braxton: leaves uss aeon "Future's End" [VOY]
chakotay: storm on sky spirit planet "Tattoo" [VOY]
emh & kes: falling off cliff "Darkling" [VOY]
icheb: disengages primary cortical node "Imperfection" [VOY]
Kim takes the ship into a low orbit in order to use the emergency transporter to get Janeway
and Chakotay from the Chronowerx office back to the ship.
"Future's End, Part 1" [VOY]
Mark v: cannot
compensate for unstable biomatter
Mark vii: can compensate for unstable biomatter "Family Business" [DS9]
Part of a specially outfitted TR-116 rifle used
by Chu'lak for murder.
"Field of Fire" [DS9]
Temporal Transporter (29th
chronoton flux: 0.003
seven relativity 2: temporal disruptor interferes, damages bionetic implants
SEE Also: Time Portals
molly: falls through galana time portal, o'brien: retrieves galana molly 10 years older
"Time's Orphan" [DS9]
temporal beacon (29th century): seven relativity 2: from utopia planetia shipyards - seven relativity 3: ducane recruits "Relativity" [VOY]
you step on to a transporter on Earth... a few seconds later, you're on Vulcan. That's over
16 light-years. That's just for starters. Theoretically, there's no limit to the distance.
The Vulcan Science Academy has been studying sub-quantum transporting for some time...
with little result.
In "Bloodlines" [TNG], Bok has a
subspace transporter, a technology which
was researched but later abandoned by the Federation. The range is at least 300 billion kilometers,
and at most several light years and the subject is put into a state of molecular flux. Doesn't sound
healthy. How is this different than normal transport? Probably just a deeper level of subspace.
Folded Space Transporter:
In "The High Ground" [TNG],
transporting through folded space using a
subspace field coil made for instant, untraceable transports. The only problem is that it causes slow,
irreversible genetic damage to the transport subject. It is a cumulative effect: one or two transports
would be harmless, but dozens or hundreds are fatal. The Federation experimented with such
technology in the 23rd Century, so this may be what Bok was using as well.
Autosequencer - A subsystem of a
starship's transporter that controls the actual transport process.
It must be brought online prior to the transporter's use.
"Broken Bow" [ENT]
A possible autosequencer malfunction was investigated following the apparent transporter-related
death of Ambassador T'Pel in 2367. It was later found that T'Pel was not dead and that her real name
was Subcommander Selok. She had faked the malfunction to cover her escape into Romulan hands.
"Data's Day" [TNG]
Beam: May be confused with ACB.
Borg scatter the transporter beam "Scorpion, part 1" [VOY]
The transporter beam ignites the proto-matter.
"Mortal Coil" [VOY]
Biofilters were uniformly used on all Federation transporters by the 24th century.
These filters functioned to decontaminate transported objects and prevent harmful substances,
pathogens, and even certain forms of radiation (including theta radiation), from contaminating the
rest of the ship. (VOY|Macrocosm|Night)
Though biofilters performed a general contaminate removal with each transport, some novel contaminate
removal required specific calibration in order for the filters to be effective. As such, biofilters were
incapable of filtering out certain types of substances and pathogens, most notably psychic energy.
(TNG|Lonely Among Us|Power Play)
Biofilters were also unable to detect and filter certain types of phased reality lifeforms without prior
calibration. Biofilters also functioned to detect and disable weapons and explosives (remat detonators).
(TNG|Realm of Fear|The Schizoid Man)
Bio-signature: seven: transports to delta flyer from ares iv "One Small Step" [VOY]
Pattern Buffer - the multiplex pattern
was developed around 2319 which eliminated the
problem of transporter psychosis. "Realm of Fear" [TNG]
A 29th century tricorder was used to overload the pattern buffer.
"Future's End, part 2" [VOY]
A macro-virus migrated into the pattern buffer.
Odo channeled an explosion into the pattern buffer on the USS Rio Grande.
"The Ascent" [DS9]
The main transporter buffer was damaged when Voyager went through the spatial rift so they
were unable to use the transporter at long range.
"Future's End, part 1" [VOY]
Hoshi became trapped in the pattern buffer for 8.3 seconds causing some trouble in reintegrating
her matter stream. It is likely the last couple of seconds as the matter stream was coelessing
is when she suffered her hallucinations.
"Vanishing Point" [ENT]
The pattern buffer is a key component of the transporter system. The buffer is used to temporarily store the matter stream, following dematerialization, but prior to sending the stream to its target. This is done because of the relative motion of transporter and target. By temporarily storing the matter stream, the Doppler compensators have the time to adjust the targeting scanners.
A matter stream cannot be stored indefinitely in the buffer; after 420 seconds, the stored pattern will degrade and the object will be lost. The only known record of a person surviving in a buffer longer than the expected figure was Captain Montgomery Scott on board the USS Jenolan. Following the Jenolan's crash-landing on a Dyson sphere, Scott, with the help of Matt Franklin, was able to store his pattern in the buffer for 75 years. This was achieved by disabling the rematerialization subroutine, connecting the phase inducers to the emitter array, bypassing the override, and locking the buffer into a continuous diagnostic cycle. Although Captain Scott's pattern suffered less than 0.003% degradation, and was successfully recovered by Geordi La Forge of the USS Enterprise-D in 2369, Franklin was irretrievable, as one of the inducers had failed, causing a 53% degradation in his pattern. (TNG: "Relics")
In 2152, diamagnetic storms saturated with polaric energy were encountered on a planet visited by the crew of the starship Enterprise. The storms interfered with the operation of the ship's transporter, resulting in Hoshi Sato being trapped in its pattern buffer for 8.3 seconds while Malcolm Reed worked to reintegrate the matter stream. (ENT: "Vanishing Point")
On Galaxy-class starships the pattern buffer is located immediately beneath the transporter pad.
When weapons were beamed to a rebel camp on Krios from a cargo transporter of the Enterprise-D in 2367, Miles O'Brien asked Geordi La Forge if he could check the reliability of the pattern buffers. (TNG: "The Mind's Eye")
When Jadzia Dax decided to stay on planet Meridian in 2371, the transporter buffer of the USS Defiant was used to bring her quantum matrix in sync with that of the Meridians. (DS9: "Meridian")
Starships can also transfer patterns from one pattern buffer to another by "locking on" to the target buffer and energizing. (VOY: "Future's End, Part II")
To eliminate the medical condition called transporter psychosis, Federation transporters are equipped with multiplex pattern buffers. (TNG: "Realm of Fear")
The transporter buffer of an Intrepid-class starship performs a version of a microcellular scan every time it is used. (VOY: "Favorite Son")
Cardassian transporter systems were still equipped with active feed pattern buffers in 2367, considered outdated by Starfleet. (TNG: "The Wounded")
In 2374, the crew of Voyager overloaded the ship's pattern buffers attempting to transport deuterium from beneath the surface of a Y-class planet. (VOY: "Demon")
Carrier wave - A subspace signal
through which a transporter beam is propagated.
Romulan transporters, with minor adjustments can be made to simulate the carrier wave
of a Starfleet transporter. "Data's Day" [TNG]
Coadjutor - This was engaged when the
transporter tried beaming up a crewman with a magnetic ore
contaminating his uniform. The transporter was acting like a burn-out.
"The Enemy Within" [TOS]
By the late 24th century, site-to-site
transport became more commonplace and did not require a
transporter console. Site-to-site transports could be activated by voice commands to the computer
fairly easily. A site-to-site transport from a starship to another starship could also be done, from any
console, such as a bridge station. The use of a bridge station to control transporter operations was
a feature of some starship bridges as early as the 23rd century
(VOY: "Bliss", Star Trek Nemesis, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)
By the 29th century the transporter pad
has been moved to the bridge of timeships such as Wells-class
and was operated from bridge stations. (VOY: "Relativity")
Transporter console, c.
Emitter Pad -
out during diagnostic. O'Brien reported that it was running
"Realm of Fear" [TNG]
- contains quantum resonance
oscillator. After they ram and board Voyager, the
steal a transporter module from Transporter room 2; Chakotay destroys the module after he beams aboard
the Kazon ship. "Manuevers" [VOY]
Targetting Scanners -
Adjuncts and Extra
Equipment to be used with the Transporter:
Emergency Transporter Armbands -
multi-spatial probe: reconfigure targetting
scanners; rescues emh, noss, paris & tuvok
from sinkhole "Gravity" [VOY]
omand beams seven's body to delta flyer "Timeless" [VOY]
Isolinear tag - Tiny transponder device permitting a tracking system
to locate an object to which a
tag has been attached.
Starfleet personnel under the command of Admiral Dougherty used isolinear tags to locate
and transport Ba'ku inhabitants in 2375, despite the fact that the Ba'ku had taken refuge in
areas of high kelbonite concentrations.
[ Transport Sequence ][ Codes
and Protocols ][ Testing and
Typical Transporter Sequence:1. Target Acquisition Scan / Coordinate Lock
A transporter lock
was usually maintained by tracing the homing signal of a communicator
When there was a risk that such devices would be lost in the field or are otherwise unavailable,
personnel could be implanted with a subcutaneous transponder before an away mission to provide
a means of maintaining a transporter lock. Alternatively, sensors could be used to scan for the biosign
or energy signature of a subject, which could then be fed into the transporter's targeting scanner for a lock.
Immobilization / Suspension of Target
From its earliest incarnations, with perhaps one or two exceptions (Kirk in the episode That Which
Survives), every instance of transporter use showed a "suspended subject". Transporters generally
immobilized the subject being beamed both during dematerialization and rematerialization. These
Old-style transporters always transported the subject under stasis. There appear to be two stages in
the beam-out process. First, a sparkly pattern appears over the chest of the subject, and spreads to
cover them. They are sometimes seen to move during this process. But then they start to have these
yellow blobs appear as they fade out. They don't move during this second stage. We can speculate
that there's a stasis field employed for some reason (technological limitations, safety, etc) during the
actual transport stage with old technology. This style of transporter was also present on the Jenolan
("Relics" [TNG]), but is now obsolete.
ENT, TOS, TAS, "The Motion Picture" [ST1]
the transporter operation process
included the use of the annular confinement beam, followed by
electromagnetic focusing, the use of a gravitational compensator. Then
the operator applied a temporal differential, after which he engaged a
particle lock. "Star Trek" [ST2009]
The information about the alternate reality transporter process comes from on-screen graphics of the transporter control panel in several scenes in the movie.
Transporter log -
Used to discover that Seven's borg nanoprobes have
"The Raven" [VOY]
Residual ionization traces
can be considered a transporter signature
although that type of technology
wasn't widespread in 2154. Starfleet Operations satellites normally would detect and make a record
of any transporter activity. "Affliction" [ENT]
Transporter Code 14
- Command for an object to be dematerialized,
then immediately rematerialized
in a dissociated condition, effectively destroying the object. Captain Picard used Transporter Code 14
to destroy the fabled Tox Uthat at Risa in 2366.
"Captain's Holiday" [TNG]
Because of an accident involving Hoshi Sato becoming trapped in the
pattern buffer, Malcolm
recommended some new transport protocols to Star Fleet. He suggested that they start
compressing the transport beam. "Vanishing Point" [ENT]
Before an away team beams down, a number of sites may be designated
for preferred transporter use
based on their availability and how much transport interference can be expected. For example, Chakotay
ordered all units on the surface to report immediately to Transporter Site A to prepare to beam back
to Voyager. "State of Flux" [VOY]
Additionally pattern buffers were used to compensate for relative motion during transport, ensuring that transported matter materialized in the correct location.
Except in cases of extreme emergency, protocols prohibited transporting objects while traveling at warp speed. (TNG|The Schizoid Man)
Transporter interference: see: transporter blocking
Transporter, internal nodes: One possesses internal transporter nodes. "Drone" [VOY]
Diagnostic / Maintennance Tools:
Magneton scanner -
deep space, wide angle: kirk fatally injures fear vampire in hengist's body "Wolf in the Fold" [TOS]
A.M.U.s: When they are about to transport the
proto-matter onto the shuttle, Neelix says to set
the transporter for 10,000 A.M.U.s. "Mortal Coil" [VOY]
Transporter, cosla ii: reconfigure from object setting to life form
Transporter, site to site -
kes 2: program kes 2 beta-six "Fury" [VOY]
kim 2 & paris: escape captain proton holoprogram "Bride of Chaotica!"[VOY]
seven: main engineering to escape bioplasmic wormhole alien "Bliss" [VOY]
Janeway finds a site-to-site transporter in the storage facility; she uses it to transport herself
and Da Vinci out of the building; "Concerning Flight" [VOY]
Site-to-Site transport -
Uses of the Transporter:
Downlink - Starling used the transporter beam as a downlink, using it to get over 20% of Voyager's
computer data files. "Future's End, part 1" [VOY]
Intraship Beaming - Method of transporting within the
a starship. This procedure required
pinpoint accuracy, running the risk of materializing the transport subjects inside a wall or deck.
Kirk and Klingon science officer Mara risked intraship beaming to carry an offer of peace to Kang
when the Enterprise was held captive by the Beta XII-A entity in 2268.
"Day of the Dove" [TOS]
The technique was perfected by the time of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Transporter stasis, also called Transporter suspension -
Technique which involves suspending the transporter patterns of people.
'Day of the Dove' (TOS), 'Relics' (TNG)
used by the crew of Voyager to hide telepaths from the Devore Imperium inspection teams
(the Devore are a race with a great disaffection of telepaths, banning them out of their society).
The patterns of the telepaths were suspended in tanks with contaminated antimatter, which
blocked the Devore sensors. Unfortunately, the suspension had a nasty side-effect:
cumulative cellular decay. This means that a person can survive only a few suspensions,
before dying of cellular decay "Counterpoint" [VOY]
Transport, foetal: naomi prime: exo-cranial ridge lodges in uterine wall, causes haemo-cythemic imbalance.
When Dr. Pulaski is afflicted with rapid aging, the transporter is
what cures her. The "science" half of science-
fiction comes into play here; by looking at how the transporter "works" (taking a molecular profile of an individual
and passing it through a transporter buffer) and applying that to a medical problem (using the transporter to restore
Pulaski to her last-known "saved" version), it brings up all kinds of questions.
"Unnatural Selection" [TNG]
Transporter, tachyon planet: gotana-retz: returns to uss voyager "Blink of an Eye" [VOY]
Transporter targetting - SEE: Transporter Lock.
Transporter theory - A class taught at Starfleet Academy.
Reginald Barclay studied this subject
under Dr. Olafson. "Realm of Fear" [TNG]
Transporter transponder: pah-wraith cult and vedek fala kidnap kira "Covenant" [DS9]
Transporter weapons: remote detonator: (checks) "Darkness and Light"
In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Dr. Gillian Taylor jumps
into Kirk's transporter beam during dematerialization, and
rematerializes without any apparent ill effects.
According to the TNG Technical Manual, the transporter
cannot move antimatter, but this rule has been broken a few times. Such
as in the Voyager episode "Dark Frontier", when Voyager
transported a live photon torpedo (which contains antimatter) onto a
The animated series episode "One of Our Planets is Missing" has the Enterprise beaming a chunk of antimatter into a stasis box.
Connecting two transporters
When necessary transporters could be bridged, Federation vessels could activate other Federation vessels' transporters remotely. This meant that two transporters could be connected to each other in the event beaming was not possible due to ionic or some other type of interference.The transport duration was twice as long and the sequence differed from a normal transport. First a remote link to the other transporter had to be established, then the system interlock needed to be engaged and the pattern buffers of both transporters were synchronized. When the phase transition coils were in stand-by mode energizing could commence. A side-effect of this form of transport might be that the person who was beamed might feel a slight tingling due to static. (TNG|Realm of Fear)Lock Out:
Emergency mass beaming
Near-Warp Transport - Term used to describe use of the transporter at relativistic speeds (near to
the speed of light). A somewhat disconcerting experience to those being transported.
The Enterprise-D used this technique to transport an away team to Gravesworld while
en route to an emergency rendezvous with the U.S.S. Constantinople.
"The Schizoid Man" [TNG]
Emergency Transporter Lock -
Torres invented a Skeletal lock. "Scorpion, part 1" [VOY]
isolinear tag (son'a): allows transporter lock "Insurrection"
Voyager has to be about 500 kilometers from the surface before they will be able to get a
emergency transporter lock on Da Vinci and Janeway. "Concerning Flight" [VOY]
Limitations & Interference:
Here is a compilation of things known to interfere with the Transport operation -
[ Time ][ Warp speeds and Above ][ Range ][ Substances ][ Radiation ][ Shields ]
[ Devices / Scramblers ]
The longest recorded instance of a
person remaining in transporter suspension was that of Captain
Montgomery Scott, who was also able to survive for a period of 75 years while suspended in an
extensively modified transporter buffer and setting it to loop diagnostic mode. (TNG: "Relics")
The pattern is probably highly complex. Pattern degradation occurs because the Annular Confinement Beams aren't perfect, even with the help of the Heisenberg Compensators. The matter stream comes out of alignment with the computer's pattern predictions for where things should be. Obviously, this is a bad thing.
According to the TNG Tech Manual, a subject can be suspended in transport for up to 420 seconds before the degradation is too severe to attempt to reform the transportee. They push close to this limit in "Realm of Fear".
In "Relics" [TNG], we see that by keeping the transport controller locked in a diagnostic loop, pattern degradation is kept to a minimum - even with an old-style transporter, only 0.003% of the pattern was lost after 75 years in stasis.
In "Realm of Fear" [TNG], the most extraordinary development is the reconstruction of the lost crew, and their appearance as the giant slugs while in transport. I suspect that the phased-matter "bugs" which reside in the plasma environment act as a natural ACB, maintaining the pattern of those "lost" in transport. The computer is able to use the Biofilter to rebuild the patterns and restore the individuals.
Transporters were not allowed to be used
while a ship was at warp speed because of the severe spatial
distortions caused by its warp field. (TNG: "The Schizoid
Man") Transport at warp was highly dangerous and had been
attempted safely only a handful of times. (TNG: "The
Best of Both Worlds", "The Emissary")
There were, however, ways to circumvent this limitation.
In 2374, Voyager personnel successfully used Intrepid-class transporters to beam stranded crewmembers from the USS Dauntless while both ships were traveling within a quantum slipstream. Voyager accelerated on a pursuit course during the transport, bypassing the velocity limitations imposed by warp field dynamics. (VOY: "Hope and Fear")
During the 22nd century, standard Earth transporter systems had a range of 10,000 kilometers; however, by the 24th century, standard transporter systems maximum range was about 40,000 kilometers, though a special type of transport, called subspace transport could beam over several light years. (ENT: "Rajiin"; TNG: "A Matter Of Honor", "Bloodlines") Many 24th century starships were equipped with an emergency transporter system, but these only had a range of at best ten kilometers. (VOY: "Future's End")
Although having a maximum range of about 40,000 kilometers, some conditions adversely affect the effective range. In at least one instance – due to missing components of Voyager's primary computer systems, – the starship Voyager had to be within 500 kilometers of a planet's surface to use transporters on Kathryn Janeway and the hologram character Leonardo da Vinci. (VOY: "Concerning Flight")
The maximum range of a transporter differs per species, depending on what kind of technologies they've used to build it. The transporter with the longest known range is that of the Sikarians, with a range of about 40,000 light years; however this was due to their planet's large quartz mantle which amplified their transporter signal. Because of this, Sikarian transporter technology works only on their planet. (VOY: "Prime Factors")
Gary Seven's mysterious sponsors possessed transporter technology with a range of at least a thousand light years according to Spock. Scotty later noted that Seven's beam was so powerful it fused all of recording circuits, and therefore he could not say exactly how far it transported Seven, or even whether it transported him through time. Exactly how they achieved this effect remains unknown, since there has been no subsequent contact with them, and they hide their entire homeworld in some fashion. There were, however, other indications that their technology was considerably advanced beyond that of the 23rd century Federation. (TOS: "Assignment: Earth")
Dominion transporter technology, enhanced with a homing transponder, was said to have a range of at least three light years. (DS9: "Covenant")
Ice: Twenty meters of ice are sufficient to interfere with transporter operations.
"Breaking the Ice" [ENT]
Geostratum density prevent
Dala, Mobar & Zar from being
transported off the storage planet
"Live Fast and Prosper" [VOY]
Kelbonite: A refractory mineral capable of deflecting or interfering with certain types of scans and
energy beams, including the transporter. It can be found naturally within caverns and tunnels on many
planets. "Silicon Avatar" [TNG]
The Ba'ku world had mountains containing kelbonite ore. These mountains were used as refuge in
order to prevent the Son'a from forcefully removing the Ba'ku from their home.
In general, transporters could not be used while the deflector shield of a ship was active, or a deflector shield was in place over the destination. However, it was possible to take advantage of EM "windows" that were created by the normal rotation of shield frequencies. During these periods, a hole opened through which a transporter beam could pass. To use this window, timing needed to be absolute and usually required substantial computer assistance. This technique was theorized and first practiced in 2367 by USS Enterprise-D transporter chief Miles O'Brien. (TNG|The Wounded)
Magnetic shields could also be used to prevent beaming. Rura Penthe was protected by such a shield to prevent prisoners from escaping. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)
There was a type of shielding that allowed transport, although it had the limitation of not allowing phasers to be fired through it. (TOS|The Return of the Archons)
The limitation of transporters versus shields was not universal, however. The Aldeans were able to pass through their own shielding using transporters, though the shielding was impenetrable to other forms of technology and weapons. Similarly, both the Borg and Dominion used transporter technology that was able to penetrate standard Federation shielding. Some adaptations, including rotating shield frequencies, could inhibit this ability but not eliminate it altogether. (TNG|Q Who; DS9|The Jem'Hadar)Transporters are unable to function when deflector shields are
Voyager is able to transport Starling to Voyager after they
disable his 29th century tricorder; Dunbar
uses a satellite and the timeship USS Aeon to transport Starling right through Voyager's shields like
they weren't there.
"Future's End, Part 2" [VOY]
Neo-natal borg cube shields prevent lock. "Collective" [VOY]
force fields - uss equinox use force fields to deflect targetting scanners
"Equinox, part II" [VOY]
uss voyager: level 10 force field to block temporal transmission & transport
multiphasic shields: alice prevents uss voyager recovery of paris
shielding: elba ii mental hospital "Whom Gods Destroy" [TOS]
Beaming with shields up It is
an important concept, that beaming is only possible when the shields
are down. Entering the shield bubble with a shuttle isn't possible
either, as we learned in "Star Trek V".
In some episodes like TNG: "The Wounded" and TNG: "Relics", however, the transporter is definitely used while the shields are in place.
In "The Wounded", O'Brien used a scan "window" in the shields of the U.S.S. Phoenix to beam over to the ship.
In "Relics" we may assume that Scotty and Geordi, who were on the Jenolan to keep the door to the Dyson sphere open with the ship's shields, transmitted the shield frequency to the Enterprise. On the Enterprise, the frequency of the transporter carrier wave could be matched to that of the Jenolan shields. In a similar fashion the Duras sisters managed to penetrate the shields of the Enterprise-D in "Star Trek: Generations", after they had seen the frequency through Geordi's modified VISOR. It seems that, under normal circumstances without knowledge of the shield parameters, only friendly transporter activities are possible, if any. Otherwise enemies would succeed in beaming over boarding parties more often during a battle.
But in DS9: "The Way of the Warrior", for instance, the Klingons can use only a short time during which the shields of the station are explicitly failing in certain areas.
in Star Trek III: The Search For Spock, Klingons transport while their Bird of Prey is cloaked, yet in "The Search, Part 1" [DS9] the Defiant has to decloak to transport.
the differences between the Klingon and Romulan cloaking devices may be responsible for the discrepancy; the Defiant cloak is on loan from the Romulans in return for information about the Gamma Quadrant.
in "The Die Is Cast" [DS9] a
Romulan ship decloaks on top of a runabout before it can beam the
occupants aboard. But in "The Way of the
Warrior" [DS9] an entire fleet of Klingon ships stays cloaked
until the battle warms up.
Inhibitors prevent a transporter beam from "locking on" to whatever
the device is attached.
Transporter Scramblers distort the pattern that is in transit,
literally scrambling the atoms upon rematerialization, resulting in the
destruction of inanimate objects and killing living beings by
perverting them into masses of random tissue; this was gruesomely
demonstrated in the DS9 episode "The Darkness and the Light".
Transporter Scramblers are electronic countermeasures that prohibit transporter activity in a given area. There are no known ways to overcome the scrambler, except through sabotage. Small scramblers can protect a few rooms of a ship or station, while larger arrays can block an entire planet. They are a standard part of Klingon ground assaults and are used in the protection of certain spaces of DS9."Nor the Battle to the Strong" [DS9] & "The Darkness and the Light" [DS9]
Remat Detonators are a Romulan weapon, probably invented by the Tal Shiar, that destroys a transporter pattern during rematerialization. They are very small, only 2 cubic millimeters, and are hidden on the person of the victim. Remat detonators are currently available on the black market as assassination weapons. They are also undetectable to most scans."The Darkness and the Light" [DS9]Transport inhibitor
Malfunctions & Damage:
Here is a compilation of times when something went wrong with normal transport -
Transporter phobia - Despite its frequent use,
express a reluctance to use the transporter.
" [TNG], "
expresses his outright fear of transporting. "Realm of Fear" [TNG].
Transporter psychosis - Rare medical disorder caused by a breakdown of neurochemical molecules
during transport. Transporter psychosis was first diagnosed in 2209 by researchers on planet
Delinia II. The condition affected the body's motor functions, as well as autonomic systems
and higher brain functions. Victims were found to suffer from paranoid delusions, multi-infarct
dementia, tactile and visual hallucinations, and psychogenic hysteria. Peripheral symptoms
included sleeplessness, accelerated heart rate, myopia, muscular spasms, and dehydration.
The problem was eliminated around 2319 with the development of the multiplex pattern
buffer. Lieutenant Reginald Barclay, suffering from acute fear of transporting, believed he
might have been suffering from transporter psychosis.
"Realm of Fear" [TNG]
Integration of environmental elements into the subject's body:
Reed beams up Novakovich from the midst of a windstorm. He reports "contaminants in the matter stream"
that the "phase discriminator can't isolate". Novakovich materializes with leaves and leaf-sized pebble-shaped
things embedded in his skin. "Strange New World" [ENT]
The transporter split Captain Kirk into two parts, the accident allowed for exploration of two elements
of the human psyche. The passive, "good" side of Kirk must subdue and reintegrate with the
aggressive or "evil" side of himself.
"The Enemy Within" [TOS]
Will Riker and Thomas Riker are split into two duplicates.
"Second Chances" [TNG]
To duplicate a living being, a hypothetical effect, which I call an Annular Confinement Beam-Splitter, would be needed. As the ACB was passed through it, along with a supply of raw phased matter, it would duplicate the ACB's contents in the raw stream.
"Hey! What about "The Enemy Within" and "Second Chances" ?"
For better or worse, no such device has been intentionally created by 24th century science. However, in "The Enemy Within" [TOS], Kirk's duplication may have been caused by some accidental effect which caused an ACBS to form in the normal transporter mechanism, with disastrous results. The Encyclopedia says that damage to the the transporter's ionizer was the cause of the split.
In "Second Chances" [TNG], the
mechanism by which Riker is duplicated is explained in detail. During
transport through severe atmospheric interference, the transporter
chief locked onto Riker's signal with a second ACB. When it turned out
not to be needed, the second signal was abandoned. The atmospheric
interference caused the second ACB to be reflected back to the planet,
and somehow the matter stream was duplicated, using phased matter from
the atmospheric interference effect to provide the duplicate mass.
"Rascals" [TNG] - Picard, Keiko, Guinan and Ro are turned into children in a freak transporter accident, and later restored. I won't even try. First off, the biology used in this episode is pure BS. Secondly, if a quick fix like this can alter the aging process, then by doing it intentionally, no-one will ever grow old and die again. Amusing episode, but it gets a thumbs down in the Treknology category.
"Unnatural Selection" [TNG] - The transporter magically rejuvenates Pulaski. While the mechanism by which her cure works is relatively sound, the fact that she recovers instantly is anomalous. (See "Man of The People" [TNG] for a similar insta-heal.) Better to just not ask.
"Tomorrow Is Yesterday" [TOS] - Somehow, the transporter is able to erase the memories of people by transporting a newer version of themselves over top of an older version. Talk about saving the day by transporter abuse!
"The Enemy Within" [TOS] - While I can buy the duplication effect, and maybe even the two disparate personas of the two Kirks, I think the recombination of the two was pushing the technology a little bit.
Materializing somewhere or somewhen else:
Bashir, jadzia & sisko: san francisco 2024 "Past Tense, part 1" [DS9]
Transporter, multi-dimensional: mirror bareil: escapes mirror
The ship's new Vulcan Science Officer, Sonak, as well as another crew member, are the victims of a
tragic transporter malfunction. Mercifully, we are told, they don't live long.
"The Motion Picture" [ST1]
confinement beam: destabilises: tachyon planet: temporal field "Blink of an Eye" [VOY]
fairhaven holoprogram: (stray photon excess) "Spirit Folk" [VOY]
interference: transwarp conduit; auxiliary power: insufficient to overcome "Child's Play" [DS9]
kes: cellular flux "The Gift" [VOY]
mark v: cannot compensate for unstable biomatter "Family Business" [DS9]
orinoco, uss: explosion: damage, eddington beams survivors into holosuite 3 "Our Man Bashir" [DS9]
pritt: anti-gravitons deflect beam "Attached" [TNG]
seven: nanoprobes assimilate mobile emitter "Drone" [VOY]
Neelix and Tuvok are fused into one being. "Tuvix" [VOY]
voyager, uss: local control function disablement "Fury" [VOY]
After the failed attempt to beam deuterium from beneath the
planet's surface, the transporter
is offline and it will take days to get it back online.
The Chakotay in the scenario orders Kim to shut down the
transporters and start a diagnostic;
when Tuvok accesses the narrative parameters file, power is lost in both transporter rooms.
"Worst Case Scenario" [VOY]
Transporter matter stream: remodulation: disrupts "Future's End" [VOY]
Transport, narrow beam: (pierces borg shields) "Dark Frontier" [VOY]
Food Replicators -
"What is Phasing?
Star Trek seems to have this notion of "phased" as a state or quality of matter and energy. Things can be offset slightly in a time-like dimension from our "phase" of the universe. The idea being that if you and I have different "phases" we can't interact with each other without using special particles or fields or the usual [TECH].
This is borne out in "The Mind's Eye" [TNG], where Geordi lists the five states in Sub-Quantum Transformational Relativity:
Phasers set on kill appear to work by violently phasing their target into one (or more) different phases. Ouch. This explains rather nicely why they just disappear and don't go "boom". Chronotons, which have been linked to time travel and associated effects, are also mentioned with regards to phasing a few times.
"The Tholian Web" [TOS] - The U.S.S. Defiant and Captain Kirk get trapped in an "interphase" rift, phasing in and out.
"The Next Phase" [TNG] - Geordi and Ro and a Romulan get accidentally phase-cloaked within the Enterprise. They can walk through walls and people. (They don't fall through the floor, though.) A high-intensity sweep with anyons return Geordi and Ro to normal phase.
"Time's Arrow" [TNG] - Phased creatures from Devidia Two are travelling through a portal to 19th Century Earth to steal neural energy. A subspace field can be used to align the phases of the Enterprise crew and the creatures.
"The Pegasus" [TNG] - The Enterprise uses a phase-cloak developed illegally many years ago by the Federation earlier to escape from an asteroid. The cloaking device phases the entire ship.
"Relics" [TNG] - Scotty couples the transporter phase inducers to the pattern buffer to create the suspension effect. Given that transporting involves conversion to a beam of matter and energy, and that you can transport through walls, that beam better be phased or there'll be some big nasty holes whenever people transport.
Gideonite - The Gideonites use the transporter to kidnap Kirk.
"The Mark of Gideon" [TOS]
The Enterprise-D transporter people tried to trace it, sir, but without effect. It reads similar to
Starfleet's early efforts but uses the Heglenian shift to convert matter and energy differently.
"Code of Honor" [TNG]
Nyrian Translocator -
The Nyrians used this transportation device to transport the Voyager crew to the compound and
replace them on Voyager with Nyrians; it has a range of 10 light years; its long range limits its
capacity and it may only be used to send one person at a time; Janeway and Tuvok take control
of the translocator system and transport Dammar and Rislan to the Argala compound; Janeway
says that after they will disable the translocator and contact the native worlds of the other prisoners,
the Nyrians will be free to go. "Displaced" [VOY]
Includes energy matrix dampener "Warhead" [VOY]
pirate race: The aliens steal some of Voyager's technology using
some kind of transporter beam;
Tuvok says that it was a high energy transport beam designed to locate objects of technological value
and remove them; "Concerning Flight" [VOY]
Rutian Inverter -
A device used by the Ansata terrorists of planet Rutia IV for folded-space transport. Using the
inverter, the Ansata were able to transport interdimensionally, without being detected by Rutian sensors.
The device, used by the Ansata in 2366, brought new life to the Ansata cause, despite the fact that
repeated use of the inverter caused cumulative, and eventually fatal, damage to the user's DNA. Because
the use of the device caused subspace pressure modulations, Commanders Data and La Forge and
Ensign Wesley Crusher were able to locate the power source of the device with adaptive subspace echograms.
See also: Elway Theorem "The High Ground" [TNG]
Sikarian Trajector matrix -
Transporter device used by the Sikarians, Its maximum range is 40,000 lightyears, giving the
opportunity for Voyager to get closer to home. However, the Sikarians didn't want to share the
technology. The trajector uses the principle of space folding (folding the space-time continuum
to make two places closer together), a technique that the Federation never has developed.
(SEE: Elway theorem) The concept was abandoned in the mid-23rd century. The folding
mechanism is not well known, but we do know that the neutrino field it generated was 10 times
bigger than any force- or particle field ever generated in Federation history. To create a field this
large, an amplifier the size of an entire planet is needed. The Sikarian planet's mantle of crystallized
quartz is used as an amplifier, making the trajector only usable near the Sikarian homeworld.
Janeway wants to exchange Voyager's stories for this technology of the Sikarians; Torres
discovers that it is not compatible with federation technology because of the anti-neutrinos
it generates. "Prime Factors" [VOY]
Used to kidnap Chekov, Kirk & Uhura.
"The Gamesters of Triskelion" [TOS]
City ship: beams uss voyager into hold "Distant Origen" [VOY]
Kyle, lieutenant -
O'Brien, Miles -
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