In "Realm of Fear," Barclay sees weird shapes as he transports. In actuality, the odd shapes are crewmembers of the Yosemite, which the crew of the Enterprise eventually come to rescue.

Why doesn't anyone else (especially, say, Geordi) see the weird shapes/fluctuations while transporting?

  • 1
    Miles tells Reg that the transport cycle will take longer than normal because of tenchnobabble and the tech-the-tech that they had to do to get the transporter to work. When Reg actually transports, Miles tells him a story of about a scary bug. Reg, already being neurotic and anxious to the point of 'what is he even doing in Starfleet' is pre-disposed to view any oddity as terrifying and unnatural, whereas somebody like Riker would ignore any weirdness, chalking it up to the known problems the transporter was facing
    – NKCampbell
    Jun 14, 2022 at 15:06
  • @NKCampbell If you have support for this, it should be an answer.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Jun 14, 2022 at 15:16
  • 1
    I assumed it was just because he went last. The 'shapes' had more time to home in on the transported people because others had gone before him.
    – Valorum
    Jun 14, 2022 at 15:26
  • 1
    @NKCampbell re: what is he even doing in Starfleet - Dude becomes an admiral later on. I still haven't figured out how that's even remotely likely. Of all the goofy stuff that occurred in Voyager, that's somehow still the least plausible... Jun 15, 2022 at 13:53
  • @DarrelHoffman At least in the British navy, the admiralty was more about seniority than anything else. Once you made captain, you would automatically be promoted to admiral once a position opened up due to retirement or death. Starfleet may work similarly.
    – chepner
    Jun 15, 2022 at 14:44

1 Answer 1


Barclay didn't see anything unusual during his initial transport to the USS Yosemite. The first time he saw one of the quasi-energy microbes in the matter stream was during his return trip back to the Enterprise.

He later checked the transporter logs and noticed that there were ionic fluctuations during his transport to the Yosemite. He ordered O'Brien to transport him from the Enterprise to the Yosemite and directly back again, intentionally recreating one of these fluctuations during the trip, and ended up seeing one of the microbes again.

BARCLAY: Chief, I've just, I've been reviewing the transport logs. What are these energy variations that keep appearing? There was one when I transported to the science ship, you see?

O'BRIEN: They're just ionic fluctuations, sir. A result of our interlock with the Yosemite's transporter system.

BARCLAY: A fluctuation occurred while I was inside the matter stream?

O'BRIEN: It's nothing to worry about, sir.

BARCLAY: I need you to transport me to the science ship and then directly back again. And while I'm in the beam, can you recreate one of those ionic fluctuations?

O'BRIEN: I guess so.

Star Trek: The Next Generation - S06E02 - "Realm of Fear"

Barclay later stated that he was the only member of the Enterprise crew to have experienced these fluctuations during transport, and suggested that this is why no one else saw the microbes.

BARCLAY: Then I saw it again, just twenty minutes ago. It was the same exact thing just moving around in the transporter beam.

RIKER: Let me get this straight. You think this thing was alive?

BARCLAY: It was dark and distorted, and it had what looked like a mouth.

WORF: A mouth.

CRUSHER: I don't see anything wrong with his arm.

TROI: Reg, why did you wait so long to tell anybody about your arm?

BARCLAY: Well, I thought I was hallucinating, that I had, that it was transporter psychosis. But now I know what I saw in there was real. I was the only one who experienced ionic fluctuations in the transport. Maybe that's why no one else saw it.

Star Trek: The Next Generation - S06E02 - "Realm of Fear"

  • 2
    You beat my similar answer by seconds.
    – Pete
    Jun 14, 2022 at 16:07
  • You answered much more thoroughly than I would have. Barclay actually answered it himself I was the only one who experienced ionic fluctuations in the transport. Maybe that's why no one else saw it.
    – TecBrat
    Jun 15, 2022 at 11:16
  • If the suggestion is that's just a happy coincidence, fine and otherwise, without wishing to throw spanners in anyone's works, how is Barclay being the only one who experienced fluctuations in the transport different from moving the Question down - or up; I wouldn't know - a level? What real difference is there between Reg being "the only one to see the weird shapes in the transporter" and that being because he was "the only one who experienced fluctuations"? Jun 17, 2022 at 20:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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