9

I am watching ENT for the first time. I have watched most of TOS, TNG, and all of Voyager. I am wondering if anyone can tell me why the crew didn't use the transporters more often? It would seem to me that quite a few of the plots in some of the episodes at the end of season 1 and early season 2 could have been easily resolved using teleporters.

For example, when Archer is in the Suliban detention camp they use the teleporter to send him a communicator from orbit. But, in the episode “communicator” when a communicator is lost on a pre-warp planet they can locate it using scanners but they don't transport it back to the ship. They never discuss it or bring it up at all. They also don't transport the crew out of the hostile situation.

Did I miss something? Is their transporter not working properly or did I miss some dialogue that fixes this issue?

  • 2
    Because the budget finally allowed for continual use of actual shuttles? – DisturbedNeo Nov 17 '16 at 11:24
  • Uhhmm... Energy budget? While these things seemed to be efficient enough to be usable during on-board power crises, there are more than enough hints on these not exactly being Energy Star A+++ rated. ALSO, any transporter that used less energy to lift someone into orbit against planet gravity than physically lifting them... would make a perpetuum mobile possible. And we really don't want ST to go more soft sci-fi than it already is :) – rackandboneman Apr 2 '18 at 0:15
  • They may have beaten transporter thermodynamics the same way they beat the light barrier. Perhaps the transporter little more than a directed, laser like warp field. – Wayfaring Stranger Oct 12 '18 at 4:40
12

"The Communicator" in particular

Early dialogue indicates that the sensors on the ship simply aren't accurate enough to lock onto Malcolm's communicator; they only get a definite position when they use hand-scanners while on the planet itself:

Hoshi: I've isolated the signal to within three city blocks. That's the best I can do, sir.

Star Trek Enterprise Season 2 Episode 8: "The Communicator"

In general

Generally speaking, it's mistrust of the technology. Malcolm and Travis discuss this in the first episode:

Travis: I heard this platform's been approved for bio-transport.

Malcolm: I presume you mean fruits and vegetables.

Travis: I mean Armoury Officers and Helmsmen.

Malcolm: I don't think I'm quite ready to have my molecules compressed into a data stream.

Travis: They claim it's safe.

Malcolm: Do they indeed. Well, I certainly hope the Captain doesn't plan on making us use it.

Travis: Don't worry, from what I'm told, he wouldn't even put his dog through this thing.

Star Trek Enterprise Season 1 Episode 1: "Broken Bow"

Later in the episode, Archer reveals just how little faith he has in the machine:

Malcolm: We could always try the transporting device.

Archer: We've risked too much to bring him back inside out.

Star Trek Enterprise Season 1 Episode 1: "Broken Bow"

And, in a later episode, Phlox discusses human apprehensions towards new technology after Hoshi reports feelings of unease following her first transport:

Phlox: Transporter technology is very new. I'm sure humans were equally frightened when the automobile was introduced, or the airplane. New forms of transport take a while to get used to. I'm not at all surprised at your reaction. You wouldn't catch me using that apparatus. But I can promise you one thing. You're in perfect health.

Star Trek Enterprise Season 2 Episode 10: "Vanishing Point"

It's worth noting that Phlox is absolutely correct in his assessment: when steam-powered trains were first introduced, there was a widespread belief that travelling at that speed would cause womens' uteruses to fly out of their bodies; humanity's irrational fear of the unknown is nothing new.

  • Thanks, they do discuss it in the first episode. But they use it in subsequent episodes and the communicator being lost on the planet would not put a human in danger for transporting it back. I guess I am just so used to them using transporters all over the place in the later series. – Mona Wheeler Nov 17 '16 at 3:56
  • @MonaWheeler Fair enough. I've added a bit about Malcolm's communicator; it seems like the ship's sensors simply aren't powerful enough to lock onto it. They probably could have beamed themselves back up once they'd grabbed it, but they try to avoid the transporter whenever possible for the reasons I discussed in the first version of my answer – Jason Baker Nov 17 '16 at 4:04
  • you're right, they do use the hand scanners to find the communicator on the planet. I forgot that little detail. That changes everything on initial retrieval. – Mona Wheeler Nov 17 '16 at 4:08
  • i checked it. thanks for answering. I am new here and this was my first question asked. :) – Mona Wheeler Nov 17 '16 at 4:15
  • 1
    @WayfaringStranger You mean the TNG episode Relics? Scotty didn't really get "stuck" in a transporter. At least it wasn't an accident; he purposefully put himself into a sort of transporter infinite loop in order to avoid dying. Without the transporter he would have just died. – Brandin Nov 5 '18 at 14:42
-1

Because any crew who would use the transporter would run the risk of contracting transporter psychosis, a medical condition that would be eliminated in the early twenty-fourth century by the invention of the multiplex pattern buffer. Well, at least this is one possibility.

  • 1
    I don't think they would have known this in the Enterprise timeframe though, as in the first episode its stated they only recently approved it for biological use. I presume it would take some time between approval and the connection of transports to the psychosis, just like it takes time today to link medical issues with some environmental cause. – Andy Apr 19 '17 at 20:36

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.