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I have an image in my head of O'Brien operating the transporter, sliding a finger or two up a marked panel towards a round area while saying "Energize".

Which TNG Episode is this from? I know there were several TOS episodes which showed physical levers being slid upward to 'energize' the transporter, but is there on on-screen reference for this action in TNG?

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  • Short answer, loads. There's quite a nice view in DS9: Emissary
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 27, 2020 at 13:25
  • never thought about excessive manual controls, sliding switches -- could doing it wrong affect the process so that the human is incompletely transported??
    – releseabe
    Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 18:08
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    @releseabe - I assume if your sleeve gets caught, your transportee dies.
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 19:31
  • yeah, probably happened all the time. or if they are too fast on the slider, the transportee loses some grey matter or they're an inch or two shorter. but the Galileo looked so cramped. (This is but another example of Star Trek inventing reasons for humans being in space.)
    – releseabe
    Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 20:18

1 Answer 1

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Focusing purely on instances where we see the transporter slider controls being actuated, the first time we see them used on screen is Season 1, Episode 21, The Arsenal of Freedom. The three stripes are present, but button presses at the bottom of the stripes are sufficient to cause (two of them) to light up. They then remain lit for the entire transport cycle.

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Season 1 Episode 24, We'll Always Have Paris.
We hear three button presses and then we see the 'sliders' blinking. The third one remains lit throughout the cycle.

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From the same episode. This time the slider remains intermittently lit.

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Season 2, Episode 2, Where Silence Has Lease finds us with O'Brien in the transporter room where he will remain for most of the series. The sliders are now slid, but not individually.

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Season 2, Episode 5, Loud as a Whisper finally gets us a couple of good solid O'Brien signature transporter 'slides to energise'.

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Season 2, Episode 7, Unnatural Selection has this hand gesture repeated by one of O'Brien's flunkies with what can only be described as greater flamboyance.

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Season 2, Episode 12, The Royale has a couple of scenes where O'Brien uses the sliders. For some reason they also randomly light up while he's doing other things with the controls. This time he uses the far left and middle sliders, ignoring the one on the right.

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The second time, all three sliders light up, despite his hand only contacting the centre one.

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Season 2, Episode 17, Samaritan Snare is odd because the middle and right sliders light up, and then the transporter crewman slides her hands up them, not the other way around.

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Season 2, Episode 20, The Emissary has O'Brien back at his station. This time he operates the middle slider only.

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Season 3, Episode 3, The Survivors has a nice view of the transporter used to transport 5 officers. The sliders are all slid upwards and fade on their own as the cycle completes.

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Season 3, Episode 14, A Matter of Perspective has O'Brien using them in an emergency. We can't see which ones light up, but he's doing the 'slide' again. It appears that this is the second time he's operated them during this transport (the first time being ineffective).

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Season 3, Episode 23, Sarek finds O'Brien heading off in a new direction, slide up then down again with all three sliders.

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Season 3, Episode 26, The Best of Both Worlds, Part I has a brief side-on view of the sliders.

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Later in the same episode, we see the three sliders but they don't actually slide, just grow progressively brighter.

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Season 4, Episode 1, The Best of Both Worlds, Part II has the same up and down light effect as TNG: Sarek, again with three slides.

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Season 4, Episode 2, Family sees O'Brien with the up-and-down-slide-motion. All three lights are now synced to his hand movements.

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Season 4, Episode 6, Legacy is interesting because it has a nice close-up on the sliders.

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Season 4, Episode 8, Future Imperfect has another ND chief using the up-and-down-slide-motion with all three lights. For the record this is a simulation rather than reality.

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Season 5, Episode 24, The Next Phase has Transporter Chief Brossmer at the controls. The 'slide' starts normally with all three sliders but as the transport goes pear-shaped, they de-illuminate (in sequence) and then flash randomly up and down while she presses other buttons.

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Season 6, Episode 18, Starship Mine has Picard operating the transporters in automatic mode. The sliders (all three) are slid up and then hold themselves at the top before shutting down prematurely.

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Season 7, Episode 22, Bloodlines has La Forge using the transporters to intercept an attempt to beam a passenger off of the ship. All three slider are slid upward.

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And in the same episode, Data operates all three sliders in the classic up-and-down-slide-motion.

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  • 3
    Excellent answer Commented Apr 28, 2020 at 20:16
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    Given you are still working on this epic task - may I suggest you add one of Scotty in TOS using the physical sliders for contrast. (There may be alternate versions in the Cage or Where No Man has Gone before due to the set differences.) But mostly I suggest it in the sense that to the viewer in 2020 a touch screen is not futuristic. In 1989 this was quite a leap over TOS and demonstrated TNG was indeed in the future of TOS. Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 0:25
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    @JonClements - I'd have been done sooner if I hadn't kept stopping to watch entire episodes
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 11:45
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    @RobertF - I (ahem) acquired the entire series and then watched them all at hyper-speed, stopping wherever I saw the transporter room. I then used a tool called LICEcap to screen-capture the video into handy gifs. I'm using photoshop CS5 to edit them down to size where needed.
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 17:55
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    @Valorum: My only question is WHHHHYYYYY! Somehow this lockdown thing means you apparently have even more time than usual. Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 0:09

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