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Old August 18 2012, 01:36 PM   #8
C.E. Evans
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Re: How does that blasted transporter work anyhow?

When you beam up someone, are you beaming up the matter or the information about the matter (i.e. - The bits or the atoms?)
Why choose? By beaming slightly "de-matterized", slightly "informationalized" goo, you get the best of both worlds: the structure of the matter carries some of the information needed, and its halfway nature reduces the costs of disassembling and reassembling.

This is what the dialogue (and visual evidence!) suggests, too: matter is turned into "phased" form, which is invisible and goes through walls and moves at lightspeed and whatnot, but maintains internal coherence and carries information.
For what it's worth, the TNG Tech Manual also implies this by referring to dematerialization as a partial decoupling rather than a total scrambling of molecules as McCoy often called it.
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