36

In Star Trek: Voyager 2x07 "Maneuvers", Voyager beams several Kazon Majes off their ship. Tuvok and a complement of security officers are in the transporter room waiting for them, and the Majes draw their laser pistols.

TUVOK: Please stay where you are. You will find that our transporters have rendered your weapons useless.

This is the first time I'm aware of in which someone said that transporters could disable weapons. Was Tuvok bluffing*, given that the Kazon are unfamiliar with Federation technology? Or is this an actual capability that Voyager's transporters had?

* Tuvok indicated in "State of Flux" that he is very much capable of lying to complete a mission, as he did with joining the Maquis: "I was honest to my own convictions within the defined parameters of my mission."

  • 8
    Vulcans do not bluff. – Paul D. Waite Aug 20 at 9:04
  • 1
    And the possibility of having a weapon appear on the platform already firing is a safety hazard that would surely put some engineers in hot water as soon as the hazard was discovered. – WGroleau Aug 20 at 14:52
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    @PaulD.Waite Vulcans may bluff, but not by telling a direct lie. They may, however, let you make wrong assumptions without correcting you. – Holger Aug 21 at 8:26
73

This capability of the transporter was previously established in the TNG episode "The Most Toys". Data begins to fire a disruptor, but is caught in a transport beam as the weapon begins to fire:

O'BRIEN: I'm reading a weapon in transit with Commander Data. It seems to have discharged, sir.

RIKER: Discharged?

O'BRIEN: I'm deactivating it.

Data then materializes on the transporter pad, his weapon inactive.

And if memory serves, the Kazon immediately check their weapons after Tuvok makes his claim. If they were functional, I doubt they would have hesitated to fire.

  • 2
    It's a bit subjective. I just figured that it was unlikely that they'd stand down without testing Tuvok's claim. – ApproachingDarknessFish Aug 20 at 3:28
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    The transporters can also remove weapons from those being transported as well (DS9 - the episode with the Iconian Gateway) – SpacePhoenix Aug 20 at 8:56
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    It's odd the way O'Brien says that "I'm reading a weapon in transit with..." I mean, most away teams carry phasers on them, that's pretty much routine. The only unusual part is that it was firing at the time of transport. – Darrel Hoffman Aug 20 at 21:00
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    @DarrelHoffman The last time the Enterprise had contact with Data, he was piloting a shuttlecraft transporting materials, not on an away team. I don't recall him being armed. – ApproachingDarknessFish Aug 20 at 21:18
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    @DarrelHoffman Furthermore, the weapon in question was not starfleet-issued, and was in fact a highly illegal device. – ApproachingDarknessFish Aug 20 at 21:25
19

Let me quote from the Memory Alpha page on transporters, emphasis mine:

Disabling active weapons

By the 24th century, the transporter had the capability to disable any active weapon during transport. This could be accomplished by removing the discharged energy from the transporter signal, or by "deactivating" the weapon itself. The transporter system included weapons deactivation subroutines to control the process. (TNG: "The Most Toys", "The Hunted", "Rascals")

The transporter was also capable of removing weapons entirely during transport, a setting referred to by Starfleet as "Transport Protocol Five". When the Defiant beamed aboard survivors from a damaged Jem'Hadar ship, the transporter was programmed to remove the crew's disruptors and other weapons. (DS9: "To the Death")

So, yes, TNG-era federation transporters have the capability to deactivate weapons. It seems that this capability has to be explicitly enabled (and that it works with Ferengi weapons as well); let me quote the plot of the TNG "Rascals" episode:

[...] they start using combadges to beam the Ferengi behind the force field on the transporter pad and the weapons deactivation program to disable their sidearms.

The relevant bit of the script for that episode is...

83   INT. SCHOOL ROOM (OPTICAL)
     [...]
                YOUNG PICARD
        [...]
        The weapon deactivation program
        is in place... Transporter
        security field standing by...
        We're ready.

      [...]

84AB    FERENGI #1 (OPTICAL)

Looks down at the toy in surprise... then he suddenly
DEMATERIALIZES.

A beat and then he REMATERIALIZES on the Transporter
stage. Ferengi #1 is dazed for a moment... then tries
to leave the stage, but walks INTO A FORCEFIELD. He is
shocked and pulls his weapon, but it doesn't work.

...and you can see the LCARS interface they used in that episode to enable the "weapons deactivation subroutine" in this screenshot:

LCARS control of the transporters

And as for "protocol five", let me quote the script of the DS9 episode "To The Death":

13   INT. DEFIANT - TRANSPORTER BAY

[...]

The lights brighten. Sisko turns to the Transporter Chief.

                SISKO
        Transporter protocol five.
        Engage.

The chief complies and [...] six Jem'Hadar, led by 
FIRST OMET'IKLAN, and a single Vorta (WEYOUN) MATERIALIZE
on the transporter pad. The Jem'Hadars' hands are empty but
positioned as if they were carrying guns. (In fact we may see 
little sparklies linger where the guns were for a beat, then 
dissipate.) Weyoun is carrying a locked metal case.

[...]
                SISKO
        If you're looking for your 
        weapons, they were removed in 
        transport.

Why does transporter protocol five remove the weapons entirely when the deactivation subroutine would have been enough? I have no idea. Do these affect melee weapons (e.g. blades) as well? I also have no idea. In any case, the federation transporters in the TNG era have the capability to detect weapons and either deactivate or remove them.

Also note that the Enterprise-D was launched on year 2363 (stardate 40759.5), the USS Defiant was launched on year 2370 (stardate 47538.5) and the USS Voyager was launched on year 2371 (stardate 48038.5); we can safely assume that all the techonology available to the Enterprise-D and the Defiant was available to the Voyager, including the transporter safety protocols.

  • 2
    Whilst Memory Alpha is generally a good source it would be better if you could add the primary source to this answer i.e. a quote from the relevant episode. – TheLethalCarrot Aug 20 at 14:01
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    See for instance this Harry Potter answer for an example of how something on a wiki wound up being made up garbage that other sites started treating as fact. – Thunderforge Aug 20 at 17:18
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    I love how Picard's authorisation code isn't obfuscated! – CJ Dennis Aug 21 at 4:54
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    @CJDennis yet worse, "Delta Seven" was the name of his first pet, a fact well known to all Klingon script kiddies – Tom Goodfellow Aug 21 at 6:07
5

Starfleet transporters from the TNG era onward include a device that can detect and disable an active weapon. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transporter_(Star_Trek)#Capabilities_and_limitations

  • 6
    if you can flesh this out a little i think you've got a good answer here. – Himarm Aug 19 at 22:49

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