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What was the capability of the transporter of a Danube-class runabout? I am aware there were only two pads, but on multiple occasions we see more than two people being being beamed onto one pad (ST: The Voyage Home, etc) and 'over-clocking' the transporter to beam larger objects (the shuttle in ST: Nemesis) and even whole crews of people (ST: Generations "El-Aurian rescue scene" and Voy: Prophecy).

So, why in DS9: The Homecoming do we see the following exchange?

KIRA: .. Is there any way of beaming up more than two at a time?

O'BRIEN: I'm afraid not...

But then how, in the episode DS9: The Alternate, can more than two crewmembers beam down from a Runabout and beam back up again in one go?

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    O'Brien is an expert in transporter ops. If he says it can't be done, it can't be done. – Valorum Jun 13 '15 at 9:14
  • @Richard thanks, but not really an answer – Pioneer Jun 13 '15 at 9:15
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    I didn't post it as an answer :-) – Valorum Jun 13 '15 at 9:41
  • @Richard appologies, fair enough – Pioneer Jun 13 '15 at 9:49
  • Difference is that most of those examples are for Starships, which have many teleporters available, in multiple sizes and designs. The run about likely only has two independent teleporter streams/systems due to size. – user16696 Jun 13 '15 at 22:25
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It Depends

Memory Alpha explains that:

The transporter was capable of transporting multiple persons simultaneously. (DS9: "Vortex")

Which is pretty vague!

However, an important aspect to remember is that one of the defining features of the Danube class ship is their modular design as acknowledged in the DS9 Technical Manual.

In this spirit, I've found the following information (emphasis mine):

TRANSPORTERS

Standard Personnel: 1

Max Objects Per Cycle: 2

Supplemental transporters: Varies with Modules

...

There is also a two person transporter stationed in either the rear of the front cabin, or in the "Mid-Section" in-between the Cockpit and "Module" section. Aft of the front cabin are the mission specific modules. Based on the nature of the modular design, the runabout can be converted to other mission-specific requirements such as personnel transporter, cargo transporter, scientific expeditions, tactical assignments, prison transports, medical transports, etc. There is also an optional photon torpedo module on the top of the Danube-Class runabout.

Source

Ordinarily it seems:

They are fitted with a two-person transporter and accommodation bunks for long missions

Source

So, it seems to me that the Danube class' transporter capability varies depending on which module they have. The standard transporter only has the capacity for transporting two people at a time, as explained in the quote in the question. However, if certain modules were attached, it seems likely that the transporter capability was extended to transport more people at a time.

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    To use the episode mentioned in the question, The Alternate, it must have been fitted with a cargo transporter module which allowed them to beam the pillar on board. The computer then had to "realign" the transporter, which presumably meant changing the targeting on the cargo transporter to not put people in the cargo hold. – Xantec Sep 22 '15 at 13:32
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Because in Homecoming they were beaming through a Cardassian Security field, and O'Brien was taking that into account. Otherwise you can generally (plot exceptions abound) transport as much people volume as can fit on the transporter pad. Also in The Alternate all 4 individuals were clumped together, making for more fudgable transport in a single beamout event.

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