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DS9 "Time's Orphan":

DAX: It's some sort of time portal. From the chroniton signature, we think it sent Molly about three hundred years into the past.

KIRA: I wonder what this place was like three centuries ago.

DAX: Odo contacted the Bajoran Archaeological Institute to see what he could find out.

KIRA: How do we get Molly back?

DAX: Well, **first we have to find a way to reactivate the portal. It's been abandoned a long time and it was destabilised when Molly fell through. The problem is, we're not sure how this technology works. ** KIRA: Well, something tells me the Chief isn't going to stop until he figures it out.

Later:

[Portal chamber]

(Machinery is thrumming.)

O'BRIEN: Transporter interface link.

DAX: Synchronised.

O'BRIEN: DNA acquisition sensors.

BASHIR: Locked in.

DAX: We're as ready as we're ever going to be, Chief.

O'BRIEN: Okay, let's do it.

(The purple swirly appears in the now-upright portal.)

DAX: The field's destabilising.

O'BRIEN: We're losing power.

DAX: Temporal field established.

BASHIR: We've got a DNA lock. It's her.

(They beam in a ragged young woman wearing Molly's bracelet.)

Why don't they just do what happened at the end of the episode and walk through the time portal grab Molly and walk her back through?

2

You've highlighted part of the script, but not the next line from Dax. The portal is unstable and a largely misunderstood technology. Pushing a transporter beam through it allows them to transit Molly back through the portal without risking her life or the lives of others whereas blundering through it blindly could result in it becoming more unstable

Note that if they use a transport beam they can take their time until they've got a really secure lock on her before they need to do anything rather whereas walking through is a one time event:

DAX: First we have to find a way to reactivate the portal -- it's been abandoned for a long time and it destabilized when Molly fell through. The problem is, we're not sure how this technology works.

...

KIRA: Assuming you can get it back on-line, then what?

DAX: We punch a transport scanning beam through the portal and try to lock on to Molly's DNA signature.

  • I included it but did not highlight it because I didn't feel it was relevant. They did get it stabilized. They did figure it out. And at the end of the episode O'Brien felt comfortable enough to have his daughter walk right through the field. He did not use a transporter at the end of the episode. What changed from the beginning of the episode to the end of the episode? – JMFB Jun 27 '15 at 10:17
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    @JMFB - Well, the transporter plan proved bloody useless. Also, knowing that there's no time pressure, he's had substantially longer to work out how to do it – Valorum Jun 27 '15 at 10:24

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