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Star Trek Discovery season 3 introduces combadges with integrated personal transporters, both for Starfleet and various bad guys. Is it ever explained how the user of such a device sets the target location?

Usually the user is shown to just tap the badge and then he/she is immediately beamed away, without any (holo-)interaction to select a target location.

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  • I've yet to watch Disco S3, but is it perhaps pre-programmed? It is programmed with a base location that it returns the user to? Jan 18, 2021 at 7:31
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    @GeoffAtkins A nice suggestion, but in various episodes they beam in quick succession to another location while fleeing from an attack, which does not seem to indicate pre-programming. The real reason obviously is the out-of-universe fact that 'it looks cool on tv' :)
    – dennis_vok
    Jan 18, 2021 at 10:39

1 Answer 1

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The only explanation is that the device can, to a certain degree, read minds. See the clip from ST:DIS, S03E06:

Linus appears

Linus: Oops, didn't expect to... this isn't the mess hall. Hmm. Bye.

Linus disappears

Linus appears

Paul Stamets: Linus, don't do that.

Linus: Sorry, new badge.

Linus taps badge and disappears.

Linus appears

Linus: This is not the science lab.

Linus taps badge and disappears.

I think, specially interesting is the second appearance of Linus. In both others, he mentions where he wanted to go before transporting again. It can certainly be assumed that the voice recognition in the 30th century is good enough to recognise that This is not X by an immediate transport request is the desire to go to location X.

However, in the second scene, Linus appears and mentions with no word where he wanted to go. If he'd entered the correct location in the first place, it is safe to assume the transporter is good enough for him to arrive there. So, control with your mind would explain how he could've transport in and out without mentioning where he wants to go. That would also explain his initial problems. Wanting to go to a location A but having location B in mind (for whatever reason). The transporter would have issues identifying the correct location and send him to the wrong one.

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  • Good point, that might be a plausible in-universe explanation
    – dennis_vok
    Jan 18, 2021 at 11:25
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    @dennis_vok: Plausible as long as you do not start asking why other technology in the setting is not purely mind-controlled. Jan 18, 2021 at 23:08
  • @O.R.Mapper Absolutely... but it is the only logical explanation I could find for the device. There is no other possibility!
    – Shade
    Jan 18, 2021 at 23:26
  • I'll be that guy. If the comm badge responds to mind control, why do you need to tap it?
    – Peter M
    Jan 19, 2021 at 20:13
  • @PeterM Cause, at least human, minds are not disciplined enough for the device to be able to distinguish when you really want to travel and when you really want to travel and when you're only thinking about being at another place. How to distinguish between "I really want to be there" and "I'd really prefer to be at location X right now".
    – Shade
    Jan 19, 2021 at 20:55

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