Episode

219

Realm of Fear

Reginald Barclay learns there’s nothing to fear about the transporter except when that fear is completely legitimized by the appearance of the giant quasi-energy microbes that attack him. It’s Realm of Fear on this week’s Mission Log.

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Discussion

  • Dave Steph Taylor

    Everything we have been taught about Transporters is that the person being broken down is completely disassembled and reassembled at the transport site.

    Yet in this episode it appears you are conscious during transport. 😉

    Also, I just love the interaction between O’Brien (enlisted man) and Barclay (officer). Having to take orders from a younger, somewhat disturbed superior, (even though he was right) reminds me sooo much of certain jobs.

    • Spencer K

      The glittery bits that you see as a transportee could a side effect of your brain getting dissembled then reassembled.

      • Dave Steph Taylor

        But if you are disassembled that moment between sites you should not be aware of anything

      • The thought occurred to me to say that the glittery effect is everyone’s midichlorians being sucked out; I really should know better than to say things like that on the internet. Wars have started over less. 😉

        • Wildride

          … Star Wars, to be specific.

        • Spencer K

          Lol

    • I had always assumed that people are completely conscious during transport. For example: as you fade OUT of the transporter room, and fade INTO being on a planet’s surface, you are watching yourself move from one place to another — you can see your surrounding environment change.
      So while one can’t physically move during this period, one is completely aware… as one is disassembled, one is SIMULTANEOUSLY being reassembled. That’s the impression I always had.

    • yes, the enlisted crew were never thoroughly developed in TNG…DS9 was better, but still not good enough. They should have established a rank structure, crewman, petty officer 3rd-1st class, chief petty officer, then a rare senior chief…lol, head canon….

    • Snap

      It wouldn’t be the first time someone would be depicted as being conscious during transport, as Saavik was in the middle of a conversation while being transported, even having her effects added to her voice, during transport in Star Trek II.

      It’s all that plotonium, I tell you.

  • “A young engineer named Barclay”…I’m guessing whoever wrote the summary sent to the affiliate stations …hadn’t actually seen the show before.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8bb4b405b0acb0cfa323c231e011dd8d57d806c3de3dec875d7d1c50a07c14ad.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d25b7b816f16cad545652b2f9530ca304b9c552523e3ce3c2d56f134c74744c8.jpg

  • Spencer K

    John, nice pick up on the box O’Brien uses for his tarantula, but you missed another odd prop moment.

    When Barclay is in his room doing meditations to calm himself down, he has the same green bottle of spirits (?) sitting on his table as Picard has in his quarters at the end of “Inner Light”.

    Is that stock accoutrement for all officers, a gift from Picard, or is Barclay secretly trying to emulate his captain? 🙂

    • Ooh good catch! “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Starfleet. Here’s your uniform, your commbadge and your green bottle.”

      • Spencer K

        “But I requested a blue bottle when I filled out my inboard ingredients questionnaire!”

  • Mark Rodriguez

    And the Children Shall Lead, would be the episode where Kirk beamed two Redshirt into space, thinking it was down to a planet.

    • Troy Brooks

      I was about to say the same thing

    • Was that w the creepy children? and the hologram old guy? I think the kids mental powers made the crew think they were in orbit of planet right?

  • gizmochimp

    Embarrassed to say I never made the connection between this ep and Nightmare at 20,000 feet until this podcast.

  • Wildride

    Transporters: They work however we need them to work, this week — Until they don’t.

    Weirdly, Barclay is actually a major genius who would be better at the rest of them at his job, if only he could keep his insecurities in check. He consistently makes great intuitive leaps, but he has to struggle with all the stuff in his head to get there.

    Everybody on the show has these weird freak out episodes, even Data, but the difference with Barclay is, at least on TNG, he only has freak out episodes. He never really gets to establish a baseline of normal behavior because he’s not on the show from week to week.

    O’Brien’s rank was officially off topic on the old Trek Echoes on Fidonet since it was unsolvable and generally devolved into bickering. He used to wear the insignia of a first lieutenant, and then he didn’t. He was sometimes called lieutenant, but mostly chief. Was chief a rank or part of a job description? Did Trek even have enlisted men? Eventually they settled on senior chief specialist.

    • Oh dear…Fidonet. “Now that’s a name I haven’t heard in a long time…a long time.” I was one of the moderators of the Voyager echo from when it started through the end of season 2…marginally more fun to simply be a participant than to be a traffic cop. A good friend of mine was one of the DS9 echo moderators, and I can indeed confirm that the endless nattering did get O’Brien’s rank put on the list of Things That Shall Not Be Mentioned. The show wasn’t going to resolve it at any finer resolution than simply having O’Brien flagged as an enlisted man, so really, what did it mater? (I think DS9 did finally put a pin in his exact enlisted rank two or three seasons in…didn’t matter, people still wanted to argue about it.)

      I used to make the joke that Colm Meaney was playing Miles’ twin brother Giles O’Brien in Farpoint and Lonely Among Us…until All Good Things put a harpoon in that one.

      Ah….the pre-internet-for-most-of-us ’90s. Good times.

  • CmdrR

    Can’t help but notice that this episode got 54:43, while The Inner Light got 1:13:40. (Shade of Gray got 51:18, and most of that was John sayin’, “Yeah, so… you goin’ to Yosemite next summer? We could bring the wives.”)

    • CmdrR
    • In all honesty, we had always had 45 minutes in our heads as the ideal length for any episode of Mission Log. The nice thing about podcasts is there’s no hard out.

      • CmdrR

        Mission Log never drags. When you get cookin’, the extra time just flies. I guess I’m wary, though, because there be dragons in the last two seasons of TNG, and again in the first season or so of DS9. I commend you on your commitment. I’m sure when you reach the end of all Treks, at age 107, you’ll be very proud.

        • Well our brains-in-jars will be very pleased.

        • lol. age 107….COUNT ME IN!! I do wonder about me in old age, watching ST and reviewing all these episodes…sigh…

        • John Anderton

          The nice thing is when you get old you can start at the beginning again and never know.

      • Roger Birks

        Spot on. It is nice to let things rest organically. Something that really can annoy me about tv episodes. A set 43 or 44 minutes and then, bump. Over.

        Hopefully the new Star Trek show will vary in terms of the length of the episodes, depending on when the story for that episode naturally ends.

  • wry observer of folly

    Loathed to be the nitpicker, but in what movie did the USS Grissom appear?

    Tut tut.

    • The Grissom was intact through the entirety of Star Trek II, we just didn’t see it there; it didn’t make it all the way through Star Trek III. So technically, even though it was off-screen the whole time, Star Trek II was the last time the Grissom was in one piece for the entire movie. 😉

    • Star Trek III TSFS…hmmmm

  • Durakken

    Depite what people say “The transporter takes you apart atom by atom” this is simply not according to how its explained and shown.

    The transporter puts up a containment field around the person which isolates them which causes them to “decoher” which is similar to being torn apart but not really. The person is still in one piece, they’re just in this weird state of flux where they, for lack of a better description, lack identty. The show calls this state matter-energy and this is then streamed to the the desired location where the containment field is deactivated and you naturally regain your “identity”.

    This means you are not dying ever in this process and you remain conscious. The whole transporter as copier thing was popularized by Lawrence Krauss who wrote “The science of Star Trek” where he proceded to ignore what was said and shown in show, putting forth his thoughts on how to accomplish the effect in the real world, not in the show world. He does the same with the Science of Superman. Both of which I find highly annoying as a fan science and the topics, because he doesn’t even try to reconcile with the in-universe statements which is the whole reason one is buying said books.

    • Matt Bell

      To quote Kirk, “that’s exactly what I was going to say” 😀
      There’s some wiggle room in the description you provided, but all in all it’s a far more likely explanation (and fits the onscreen examples perfectly) than the “completely disassemble into atoms and convert to energy” idea which is indeed the “kill and copy” theory proposed by Krauss and many others. That is a WHOLE LOT of energy being released there, people!

      I won’t derail the thread by getting into a full debate here, but if the transporter does indeed convert atoms into energy, why do starships need a dedicated warp core to produce energy? Why bother with antimatter at all? Just load a couple of deuterium canisters onto the Transporter Pad and off you go to Risa!

      • Durakken

        Well it doesn’t help that Star Trek itself often compiles 2 or 3 ideas into one due to writers or different advisors and different crew working on things. That’s why you have Warp being said to work one way and it being shown to work another and the same for Transporters.

        You can explain the speach away due to ignorance just simplification. The added tech bits that are in reference to other methods, for example, the heisenberg compensator you can explain by pointing out that the decoherence puts you in a state where you are isolated and non-measurable which normally you wouldn’t shift into without special preperations. The compensator just makes those preperations or perhaps allows the stream to be moved without turning back to matter since at that point it wouldn’t be isolated any more…Or to just make sure that you keep in the same quantum universe/existence which if that malfunctions you end up in different universes or you enter existing in multiple states thing which creates a duplicate… Or if the field messes up the matter streams cross and you get 1 person out of 2…

        Of course I do let some of this slide since some of the stuff to explain these thing are still fringe science now and weren’t even guessed at when the book was written, but I still find it annoying, especially cuz he still pushes those methods today.

  • Good catch, by the way, on the crew’s improved treatment of Barclay; it may fly in the face of his introductory story, but being not-a-jerk is a better look on Riker and Geordi than snickering behind somebody’s back. I appreciated that – I guess even in the future where we’re supposedly better than we are now, people can still evolve and improve.

    I’ve gotta give them mad props for the Transporter Space Worm Hand Puppet – when the thing turns and darts straight toward Barclay’s POV… that’s kinda freaky. Not sure you could get that from CGI, certainly not in ’92, but maybe not now either. I wonder if that prop ever went on auction at any point, I could totally freak my cats out with that.

    • I agree – I think the effect still holds up pretty well!

  • Derwood

    If Barkley is afraid to transport, Captain Hannibal should just put some knock out drugs in his milk then wake him up after they get there.

  • HeavyMetalSusan

    The interesting part of this episode was your brief discussion about how it could have/should have been another character besides Barclay. Which raises the topic of conquering fears versus “crying wolf.” If, say, Beverly had transported over, seen the worm things, and said, “hey! There are worm things in the transporter!” then we would have jumped right on it the episode would have been a technical mystery of worms in the transporter. But with Reg, we’re given the dilemma of whether or not to believe him, whether or not he believes himself, and we watch him navigate his fear. When he DOES speak up, even though the others are cordial and act on his assertions, they’re partly humoring him, even in a very small way, and react differently than if it were Beverly or any other trusted member of the senior staff who has not developed a reputation for “crying wolf.”

  • John Anderton

    LAFORGE: Reg, transporting really is the safest way to travel

    Yeah, right.