23

On the question about the transporters in Star Trek on whether the original person dies in the transporter, I provided this answer based on the text of the Writer's Guide for the series Star Trek: The Next Generation. Much of the material in the Writer's Guide and Writer's Technical Manual from the series was later published as a technical guide to the Enterprise (NCC-1701-D).

One point I reference is that the episode Realm of Fear shows us the transport process from the point of view of a person being transported, in this case, Lt. Barclay. During the entire process, Barclay stays conscious and sees other people trapped in the pattern buffer. These people in the buffer approach Barclay, again showing that someone in the beaming process is aware and able to think and act.

In the episode Relics the crew of the Enterprise (1701-D) rescues Scotty after he has been trapped in a pattern buffer for 75 years. From what we see in Realm of Fear, people are conscious during that process, meaning Scotty was in a buffer, with nothing to do, and nobody to talk to for 75 years.

(While Scotty had also placed another person in the pattern buffer, he wasn't aware if that person survived or not, indicating there was either no interaction or that Scotty had no way to be aware when that person was no longer conscious.)

Seventy five years is a long time to be alone and with no other human interaction.

How did he survive this without losing his sanity or showing other serious ill effects mentally?

  • 1
    Its worrying when the resident Trek-pert asks a technical question. Its like someone else asking about Harry Potter. – Xantec Mar 21 '12 at 19:42
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    Time is all wibbly wobbly. Maybe it works differently in the transporter stream and only seemed like a few days to Scotty. – BBlake Mar 21 '12 at 21:23
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    I think the obvious answer is that he DID go insane. You just didn't notice it. – Andrew Lewis Mar 22 '12 at 12:23
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    Or he was drunk when he entered the stream and since you don't change in the stream, he remained drunk for 75 years and just didn't remember any of it. – BBlake Mar 22 '12 at 13:34
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    I'll tell ya somethin' laddie... it takes a lot more than 75 years in a pattern buffer to make a Scot go mad. – Omegacron Mar 17 '15 at 17:50
20

Another explanation is that Scotty (being a genius engineer!) knew this would happen and modified the transporter so he would not be concious until freed. He did not anticipate for himself to be in there for 75 years, but he expected it to be a while (I think at least days, if not even weeks).

  • Two answers? Didn't want to append your first one? – Xantec Mar 21 '12 at 19:36
  • @Xantec: Actually, originally it was just one, but it's such a different explanation, that I felt I should try out individual posts and I separated it. – bitmask Mar 21 '12 at 19:47
  • Does this make Scotty a wizard? – Brian Ortiz Mar 22 '12 at 3:27
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    No, but a Timelord! – bitmask Mar 22 '12 at 10:12
41

While within the pattern buffer, time is not perceived. Barclay was experiencing the glowy part when dematerializing/rematerializing. Since Scotty was fully within the pattern buffer the entire time, he did not perceive any passage of time.

I give you ENT 2x10, Vanishing Point, as a reference. Hoshi was trapped within the pattern buffer for about 8.3 seconds, and according to Malcom, her consciousness was only active for final couple of seconds while it was being fixed. And at neither end of the transport was her experience interrupted significantly enough to suspect something went wrong while being put in/taken out of the pattern buffer, which explains why Barclay experienced one continuous event.

  • 2
    This answer seems to fit the various episodes best. – Allen Gould Mar 22 '12 at 15:52
  • +1 for the 'glowy part' - correct use of the technical term ;-) – EleventhDoctor Jun 16 '15 at 17:02
  • To play the devil's advocate, there was a lot of time and technological improvement between Hoshi Sato's time and Reginald Barclay's. Subtle changes in the tech might have changed the relevant factors. – pleurocoelus Jun 25 '16 at 12:41
11

Another factor to keep in mind: Scotty had rigged the transporter to repeatedly cycle his pattern through the buffer, to keep his pattern intact - i.e unchanged - while he was suspended in transport. The state of his mind as a brain-state was part of that pattern. Therefore the transporter would have continually reset his mind to its state from the moment transport began. He would have been unable to perceive the passage of time because his thought processes would have been unable to progress.

  • 2
    That's actually quite logical. – iMerchant Jun 25 '16 at 7:16
8

In addition to the other answers, keep in mind that the transporter used on the Jenolen is at least 75 years older than the one on the Enterprise. Perhaps remaining conscious during transport is an improvement that was made at some point between the two time periods.

We know from Scotty's confusion when he comes out of the transporter that he has no idea how much time has passed. He believes that Kirk may pulled the Enterprise out of mothballs to rescue him. This alone should indicate that Scotty wasn't aware of the passage of time while trapped in the buffer.

  • 1
    Or at the very least the perception of the passage of time wasn't 1:1. Just as we perceive time differently when doing something we love vs doing something we hate, so too might it have seemed shorter/longer to Scotty. – Xantec Mar 21 '12 at 20:51
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    Of course, Scotty could have been having post-transport memory problems, what with the fact he actually saw Kirk die in Generations. – fluffy Mar 22 '12 at 4:37
  • @fluffy just to point out, Relics was aired two years before Generations. RDM just liked Scotty, so he added him in, regardless of the continuity issue. The novelization of the movie has Guinen tell the TOS crew that Kirk is still alive. – user16696 Aug 15 '13 at 5:03
7

The most likely cause I can think of is that while the transport process seems contiguous from the perspective of the person being transported, it is very likely that during at least one stage of the transport process the person is suspended and unaware. It is most probably this stage that Scotty locked the transporter system in when he attempted to save himself in Relics.

7

It seems highly likely that Scotty activated the tranporter's 'Neural Paralyzer Control'. This would have the effect of rendering him unconscious during the transport process and preventing him from going doolally while waiting around to get untransported.

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  • I like this answer too. – iMerchant Jun 25 '16 at 7:19
1

I see two possible explanations: One possible explanation is that what we see in Realm of Fear is exaggerated or changed for dramatic effect in the episode and a human does in fact not experience the transportation process in the way Barclay did. Note that they actually stated that his experience differs from normal beams due to the special conditions the transporter system was exposed to. This allows room to interpret the fact that he seems concious to be one of the side effects.

0

Perhaps Mr. Scott just has amazing mental constitution. After all that time, he still remembered the English language -- assuming he was in fact conscious, which I doubt.

  • @Slytherincess: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dash See also "1.4 En dash versus em dash") Didn't know you were British :) – bitmask Apr 28 '14 at 16:27
  • @bitmask: Actually, the US is pretty alone in the em dash thing. German and French also prefer the spaced en dash. ;) – DevSolar May 28 '15 at 14:33
-2

I don't know if he went insane as such, but he was a bit mixed up. He knew Kirk had been lost on the Enterprise B,he'd been there with Chekov, but said " I bet it was Jim Kirk himself who got the old girl outta mothballs to rescue me!" Realistically, he'd have known that was impossible, wouldn't he?

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