The transporter is a device that allows an object to move instantaneously from one point to another by breaking down the subjects molecules into energy and transporting that energy to another point, where it is reassembled into matter. The novel Spock Must Die! states that the Transporter analyzes the energy state of each particle in the body and then produces a Dirac jump to an equivalent state somewhere else. The act of transportation is often referred to as transporting or beaming.
History and specifics
On Earth, the first developments towards matter transportation were being made by Colin Blakeney. By 2052, Blakeney had constructed a prototype transporter and was ready to conduct the first experiments in transporting. Instead of using an inanimate object, Blakeney decided to use himself as a test subject and stepped into the transporter. Blakeney dematerialized safely, but the transporter's pattern buffer had been sabotaged and Blakeney did not rematerialize. Following Blakeney's supposed death, his prototype was likely destroyed and his research ignored. (TNG comic: "Forgiveness")
During the early years of the development of the transporter, many debates were made on Earth against the technology which consisted of health reasons as well as metaphysical arguments, such as whether the person who was transported was the very same person or a transporter duplicate with the original having died in the process. (ENT episode: "Daedalus")
The Hester Project successfully reintegrated a single-celled protozoan at the Deneva Research Station on Deneva. Project director Janet Hester requested an expansion of their research to include more complex organisms, in hopes of eventually transporting humans, but the Federation Council denied her request and shut down the project. (TOS reference: Spaceflight Chronology, TOS comic: "Experiment in Vengeance!")
- According to the Player's Guide to the Star Trek Roleplaying Game, the "first practical transporter" was invented in 2149.
In 2151, the Enterprise (NX-01) was one of the first Earth Starfleet ships to be equipped with a transporter approved for transporting living beings. The crew initially distrusted the device, but over time they its use became more common. (ENT episode: "Broken Bow")
In the mid-2150s, the Vulcan Skon was recruited by the Cochrane Institute of Alpha Centauri to participate in the testing of a prototype transporter. (DS9 - The Lives of Dax short story: "Dead Man's Hand")
In 2162 it was discovered that frequent usage of transporters in use by the Federation were detrimental to living beings. While infrequent use was perfectly safe, using the transporters introduced single bit errors that over time could cause physiological damage. Admiral Jonathan Archer, for example, suffered neurological damage to such an extent that it became impossible for him to continue front line service. Captain Malcolm Reed was another individual that suffered damage from continual transporter use - his reproductive organs were damaged to the point that he was unable to have children. In the wake of these and other injuries being discovered the Federation decided that the transporter should not be used for living beings except in an emergency until transporters could be made safe. (ENT - Rise of the Federation novel: A Choice of Futures)
Further experiments were made in 2195 in an attempt to increase the safety factor of the transporter significantly. Doctor Janet Hester was in charge of a team of scientists on Deneva who were trying to improve the use of the technology on biological beings. However, her experiments in teleportation were considered dangerous and in 2199, she along with the rest of Deneva Research Team 4 were lost when they were en-route from Deneva to Starbase 14. Despite her presumed death, Janet Hester had relocated to a secret laboratory on Mycena where she continued her experiments for the next fifty years. She became the only survivor of her research expedition when a severe teleportation accident occurred which turned her test subjects into disembodied intelligence's that sought revenge against Hester. (TOS comic: "Experiment in Vengeance!")
In 2209, the first recorded case of transporter psychosis was diagnosed on Delinia II. (TNG episode: "Realm of Fear") By 2211, Grahd's improved emitter arrays allowed shipboard transporters the same margin for error as ground based transporters. (Last Unicorn RPG module: All Our Yesterdays: The Time Travel Sourcebook) This generation of transporters were known to be only 99.9992% accurate when transporting living subjects. At some point prior to 2238, Vulcan scientists led by Sunok were responsible for refining the technology even further. The introduction of Vulcan uncertainty physics increased the accuracy of the transporter to the point that it was virtually impossible for the device to malfunction except due to operator error. (TOS novel: Crisis on Vulcan)
In 2269, inhabitants of Gideon copied a Constitution-class starship's transporter technology. Their transporter was designed specifically to give them access to James T. Kirk, who materialized with no memory of receiving a bruise caused by their attempt to extract Vegan choriomeningitis from him. This attempt was intended to introduce the disease as a contagion among the Gideonite people. (TOS episode & Star Trek 6 novelization: The Mark of Gideon)
In the same year, Stlur and T'Vann of the Vulcan Science Academy had pioneered a new field of transporter based surgery that made them a possible nomination for the Nobel Prize. (TOS novel: Memory Prime)
Transporter technology was a vital component in the 2280s when it was used to cure the Romulan Star Empire from a deadly pathogen that infected their starships. Doctor Leonard McCoy used it as a treatment by having the transporter purge the pathogen from the infected bodies. (TOS comic: "The Apocalypse Scenario!")
Later sources noted that the transporters of this era were fundamentally more powerful than the transporters that were in use almost a century later, but also less sophisticated, unaware of how certain spatial anomalies may affect the systems and essentially relying on raw power to overcome any such issues (TNG novel: Dark Mirror).
23rd century (alternate reality)
During this time, the Klingons, after studying the Romulan mining ship Narada, were able to enhance their transporters aboard their new ships to beam through shields on Starfleet vessels. (TOS - The Khitomer Conflict comic: "Part 2").
Starfleet's black-ops division, Section 31, were then able to have their agent, "John Harrison" create a personal transporter that could traverse great distances. They tested when Admiral Alexander Marcus authorized Harrison's mission to destroy Praxis, which was a success.(TOS - Khan comic: "Issue 4").
In the year 2373, Dr. Hisharo Noguri on the Nydaris colony was conducting research in creating planetary scale transporter devices with the capacity to transport entire populations from worlds from one planet to another. It was believed that such a technique would be incredibly useful in case of an attack by the Borg Collective. Unfortunately, Dr Noguri was killed by the assassins of the Bodai Shin order. (TNG - The Killing Shadows comic:) By 2381, Starfleet Medical was experimenting in the usage of a new form of drug delivery system that involved non-invasive means such as those employed by transporter technology. (TOS novel: Captain's Blood)
- Annular confinement beam
- Heisenberg compensator
- Molecular imaging scanner
- Pattern buffer
- Phase transition coil
- Primary energizing coils
- Site-to-site transport interlock
- Targeting scanner
- Transporter pad
Applications of the transporter
One notable development during the continued use of the transporter were various techniques as well as new concepts that were introduced that were not part of the original purpose of the technology.
The transporter was also used by archaeological expeditions during digs as they were used to beam away as much rock as feasibly possible. This allowed a team to excavate locations at a fast rate without any damage to dig site itself as the matter was documented on a subatomic level even while it was removed. The data from the pattern buffer was routinely downloaded into the computer systems for later analysis. The resolution was too low for a precise re-materialization but it was sufficient for gross analysis of rock composition and structure. Typically, the ships AI was sophisticated enough to identify artifacts and ecofacts after which it was capable of alerting the expedition members of the findings and beam away only the matrix upon request. The items were left embedded in such a state that were handily unearthed. (TNG - The Lost Era novel: The Buried Age)
Another example of this was accomplished by Captain Montgomery Scott who, when marooned along with a colleague on a Dyson sphere, used the transporter to store their pattern in the buffer until someone could rescue them. (TNG episode: "Relics") This would be duplicated by his granddaughter, Katarina Scott, onboard the USS Dallas after life support was rendered inactive and the crew used the technique to survive until a rescue team arrived to recover them. (TNG video game: Elite Force II) This procedure was very dangerous as the patterns could degrade and the person would be lost.
The USS Voyager's Hazard team made use of portable transporter buffers to serve as a storage mechanism to allow them to keep equipment which could be materialized and dematerialized when needed. (VOY video game: Elite Force)
- Heglenian shift
- Near-warp transport
- Phoenix Process
- Skeletal lock
- Transwarp beaming
- Transporter Code 14
The Old Culture made use of a highly advanced form of frequency based transporter based on the planet Faramond which allowed them to transport their civilization from one part of the galaxy to another. Also touched was the subject as to why only cargo and personnel masses can be adequately beamed. Young James Kirk was taught the universal matter/energy constant is displaced. This imbalance increases exponentially, as many transporters are used throughout Starfleet and other organizations. When too much matter at once (such as equivalent to a full-sized shuttlecraft) is beamed, the energy needed approaches infinity, with dangerous side effects. (TOS novel: Best Destiny)
Subspace pulse transporter
The Grigari were noted to have developed this form of transporter in another alternate future timeline during the War of the Prophets. This advanced form of transporter was capable of piercing shield technology before Starfleet discovered a means of fluctuating the shield deflector grid to prevent the pulse transporter from breaching the field. (DS9 novel: The War of the Prophets)
Developed by the Borg Collective which used a transporter beam to use Transwarp as a medium making it virtually unlimited in its potential. A target was capable of being swept up by the transporter beam and deposited from the Delta Quadrant and into the galactic core. The Borg used this as a means of capturing Borg drones as well as technology and dumping them into a reclamation world in the centre of the galaxy where the parts were scavenged. In 2371, James T. Kirk was swept away by an emergency transporter from the Central Node on the Borg homeworld and deposited on the reclamation world in the core. (TOS novel: Avenger)
Types of transporters
- Combat transporter
- Cargo transporter
- Folded-space transporter
- Long distance transporter
- Multidimensional transporter
- Spatial trajector
- Sub-quantum transporter
- Subspace transporter
- Temporal transporter
- Trans-shield anode
- Vanity transporter