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Trek Tech Pass me the quantum flux regulator, will you?

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Old December 10 2012, 04:02 AM   #1
Tribble puncher
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"What we got back, didn't live long.....Fortunately."

Was watching Star Trek:TMP today and wondered why the transporter could not have been used to save the two crew members after being scrambled by the enterprise's own malfunctioning one...why didn't starfleet simply dump them back into the buffer, and rematerialize them using the last (good) scan of them? Why not take it further and use a transporter for surgery, to reverse aging? bring back the dead? all these things are possible within the context of the show
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Old December 10 2012, 04:41 AM   #2
FKnight
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Re: "What we got back, didn't live long.....Fortunately."

A number of unpredictable things can happen when someone removes the part of the transporter responsible for scanning what's there and neglects to tell the transporter chief not to use the transporter while it's removed.

The TMP crew was among the most incompetent in Starfleet.

I think it's kind of amusing that Kirk was in command of the Enterprise for not even one minute before the first two crewmembers died -- the transporter failed almost on cue.
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Old December 10 2012, 05:02 AM   #3
Avon
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Re: "What we got back, didn't live long.....Fortunately."

because its the only good scene in the film
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Old December 10 2012, 05:28 AM   #4
Crazy Eddie
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Re: "What we got back, didn't live long.....Fortunately."

Tribble puncher wrote: View Post
Was watching Star Trek:TMP today and wondered why the transporter could not have been used to save the two crew members after being scrambled by the enterprise's own malfunctioning one...why didn't starfleet simply dump them back into the buffer, and rematerialize them using the last (good) scan of them?
In universe? Because there was a phase variance in the pattern amplification subroutine that prevented the original pattern from reconstituting in time. Or something.

The realistic reason (as in "If Star Trek worked anything like the real world") is that pulling complicated-sounding technobabble out of your ass doesn't usually work. If you're trying to get a piece of complex machinery to do something new, you're going to spend at least three to five weeks either redesigning or reprogramming it and testing it first to make sure it really does what you think it's going to do without exploding or killing people. IOW, "dump them back into the buffer and rematerialzie them using the last good scan" is not a viable option unless there's a button on your console that makes your transporter do exactly that. If the pressing of the "reload original pattern" button doesn't work, you're boned.

FKnight wrote: View Post
A number of unpredictable things can happen when someone removes the part of the transporter responsible for scanning what's there and neglects to tell the transporter chief not to use the transporter while it's removed.

The TMP crew was among the most incompetent in Starfleet.
At least they didn't accidentally beam them down to a planet without bothering to check if the planet was even still there.
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Old December 10 2012, 06:20 AM   #5
Trekky0623
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Re: "What we got back, didn't live long.....Fortunately."

Tribble puncher wrote: View Post
Was watching Star Trek:TMP today and wondered why the transporter could not have been used to save the two crew members after being scrambled by the enterprise's own malfunctioning one...why didn't starfleet simply dump them back into the buffer, and rematerialize them using the last (good) scan of them? Why not take it further and use a transporter for surgery, to reverse aging? bring back the dead? all these things are possible within the context of the show
According to the tech manual, the transporter, at least when everything is working as intended, cannot replicate working organs or people. That's why a matter stream accompanies the data stream when someone is transported. The matter stream is not copied, it is sent, and it degrades rapidly if kept in the buffer. That's why Scotty's method of remaining in the pattern buffer was so extraordinary.

Concerning replicators and their relation to the transporter, the replicators do not create the matter with any degree of precision comparable to the transporter. That's why people often complain about the taste of replicated food. Obviously the limits of the replicator include not being able to replicate "living" matter.

Now, it has been established that the transporters do store certain data about the transport that can be accessed later, but not the raw data of the position, velocity, and composition of all the particles in the person, something which, according to Lawrence Krauss, would take approximately 10 million yottabytes, or about 100 trillion times more information than the entire World Wide Web. Presumably this amount of information is not stored for long periods of time in the transporter system. And even if it were, you would have to resort to creating an imperfect copy.

Presumably in Star Trek I, either the matter stream or data was corrupted. When this happens, it isn't like a computer, where a copy is stored somewhere that we can resort to. The data may be stored for a short time, but not the matter, and replicating a person doesn't work. That's why those people died.

Last edited by Trekky0623; December 10 2012 at 06:32 AM.
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Old December 10 2012, 10:33 AM   #6
Timo
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Re: "What we got back, didn't live long.....Fortunately."

At least they didn't accidentally beam them down to a planet without bothering to check if the planet was even still there.
Well, there were no paranormally powerful children ordering them to do so this time around...

A number of unpredictable things can happen when someone removes the part of the transporter responsible for scanning what's there and neglects to tell the transporter chief not to use the transporter while it's removed.
One might note that this was basically the first time, and the only time for a while, when two active ends were involved in a transporting process. That is, there was a "signal" coming from Earth that the sending end was expected to "boost", but nevertheless the machinery at the Enterprise end was also messing with the process.

Presumably, the process would have gone without a hitch had Rand not activated the Enterprise machinery at all. Which may be why nobody bothered to tell her that her machinery was down for repairs.

Although that's exaggerating quite a bit: the machinery wasn't really "down". Another piece of machinery somehow relating to it suddenly blew a fuse just seconds before the transport. At which point our heroes immediately informed the transporter room. A tad too late, of course, but c'est la vie. I don't really see the supposed incompetence here.

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Old December 10 2012, 11:10 AM   #7
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Re: "What we got back, didn't live long.....Fortunately."

[QUOTE=Timo;7375084]
Another piece of machinery somehow relating to it suddenly blew a fuse just seconds before the transport. At which point our heroes immediately informed the transporter room. A tad too late, of course, but c'est la vie. I don't really see the supposed incompetence here.

Timo Saloniemi
My impression is that the "bad luck" wasn´t that they had already started beaming, but actually that the materialisation process had already begun when "the fuse blew". If the materialisation had not been started at that point, then the matter stream would still have been in the buffer and could have just been sent back to the platform on earth. But once the materialisation had started, there was no way to "just send them back safely"....
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Old December 10 2012, 11:23 AM   #8
Timo
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Re: "What we got back, didn't live long.....Fortunately."

The fancy thing about matter streams is that once they are out of the sending machine, they seem to be quite survivable. In DS9 "Dramatis Personae", a Klingon pattern starts to rematerialize, some seconds after the sending machinery is destroyed in an explosion. It does materialize on a receiving platform, and the receiving machinery then takes over, so that what was originally a red Klingon pattern is turned into an amber Cardassian one before becoming solid matter. But it still seems that the matter streams are fire-and-forget things.

In light of that, it seems the stream was sent into the buffers or other innards of the Enterprise, rather than simply being sent into the middle of the transporter room and allowed to rematerialize there on its own. Which was a bad choice when the receiving machinery wasn't working properly, but might have been an advantageous idea otherwise, because from "Realm of Fear" we know that locking two transporters together (and essentially sharing their pattern buffer contents) gives better range and/or penetration in difficult circumstances.

If what we're seeing is "Realm of Fear" type sharing, then the pattern might be in one of the machines, or partially in both, and moved like a hot potato - but since one machine was out of order, the pattern would be suffering whenever it was in the bowels of that broken machine. With two well-working machines, the two transporter operators could have played tennis with pattern basically forever...

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Old December 10 2012, 11:43 AM   #9
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Re: "What we got back, didn't live long.....Fortunately."

If matter streams are "fire-and-forget"..wouldn´t they be more like "they are either completely there or they are NOT there"? Then how would all the "boosting the signal" stuff we have had heard numerous times and the comment about "more gain" fit into this? I got the script snipped here for deeper analysis:

Decker EXITS. Kirk waits, collecting his composure as he watches him go. Then Kirk turns to glare at Scott. Interrupted by a flare as something shorts out at the mechanism where Scott and Decker had been working. Technician (Clearly) reacts, hits an inter- com button fast: TECHNICIAN (CLEARY) Transporter room, come in! Urgent! (to Scott) Redline on the transporters, Mister Scott! Scott whirls to a console fast, speaks urgently! SCOTT Transporter room, do not engage! Do not.... TECHNICIAN (CLEARY) (reacting to the reading; interruption) Too late; they're beaming now! Kirk is exiting on a run, followed by Scott. 76 INT. TRANSPORTER ROOM - INCLUDING TRANSPORTER CHAMBER 76 (O) An unusually defective looking TRANSPORTER EFFECT in progress, alternately flashing and glowing -- even the Transporter SOUND seems wrong, as if struggling to overcome some problem. At the console, CHIEF RAND and ASSISTANT are reacting in surprised, near-horror as they attempt vainly to save the situation. RAND (into intercom) Starfleet, override us! OVERRIDE...! Yank them back! Suddenly, from Rand's console,a VIOLENT GLARE -- a PROTESTING SOUND from the circuitry. And on the con- sole a red-warning light now begins flashing. STARFLEET VOICE Unable to retrieve their pattern, Enterprise....! Rand reacts in real horror now as human forms begin to FAINTLY MATERIALIZE, then FADE AWAY, then REAPPEAR IN FAINTLY MISSHAPEN FORM as she frantically works con- trols. Kirk ENTERS fast, steps to the console to assist Rand; Scott has also come in and moves to the console, brushes aside the Asst. Chief, and begins manipulating the additional controls himself. SCOTT We're losing the pattern...! KIRK (into intercom) Starfleet, boost your matter gain; we need more signal! RAND Oh, no! They're forming! 77 CLOSER ON THE TRANSPORTER CHAMBER (O) 77 with the human forms FLUTTERING INTO FULLER AND FULLER MATERIALIZATION, FRIGHTENINGLY, HORRIBLY MISSHAPEN. We RECOGNIZE one form as the Vulcan, Sonak -- the other a human WOMAN. They MATERIALIZE; we HEAR A MOAN form from the Vulcan -- the Woman's SCREAM OF PAIN. Then, all at once, the half-materialized bodies are gone; the transporter chamber is empty. KIRK Oh, my God...! 78 KIRK, SCOTT AND RAND 78 gazing, horrified, at the empty chamber. KIRK (into intercom) Starfleet, do you have them? A mutter of utter, vacant silence -- and Kirk and Scott look at each other again, their pained faces presaging the answer they already know: STARFLEET VOICE (shaken) Enterprise... what we got back didn't live long. Fortunately.
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Old December 10 2012, 12:21 PM   #10
Timo
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Re: "What we got back, didn't live long.....Fortunately."

If matter streams are "fire-and-forget"..wouldn´t they be more like "they are either completely there or they are NOT there"?
Well, it's a "stream" rather than a "package", suggesting that it takes some time to get the entire thing underway. Once that's done, it can survive on its own, and apparently will "bob up" back to realspace at a set distance in the direction it was sent, unless being told otherwise by another piece of machinery. That is, a receiving transporter can take the entire stream or snippets thereof and, among other things, send it back.

"Boosting of signal" is more or less appropriate jargon in this context, I guess: with a weak signal, the stream being sent might "fade", might fail to contain all the bits, just like a wireless datastream or analog audio signal or whatever today. Perhaps some separate "carrier wave" is required to keep the matter stream going from A to B even after it has left A? In that case, the signal (the phased matter stream) could be boosted by ramping up this "carrier wave" even if all of the signal has left A and much of it is already inside B.

But with "Dramatis Personae" in mind, it sounds more likely that this boosting only happens when the stream is inside the machinery, as it survives on its own outside the machinery. In which case it seems some of the stream was inside the SF HQ machine and Kirk wanted all of it safely delivered to the Enterprise machine, until realizing this was never gonna happen and instead attempting the reverse, that is, pushing everything the Enterprise already had back to SF HQ. There'd be very little of the signal "in between" A and B, with just a split-second time delay between A and B even if we assume transporters to be limited to lightspeed.

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Old December 11 2012, 12:14 AM   #11
jayrath
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Re: "What we got back, didn't live long.....Fortunately."

I don't have any real problems with what happened, but I do have a lot of problems with the cited line of dialogue. Thanks, snot-nosed ground crew, for rubbing salt on the wound. Hardly scientific, hardly military. And they say that to an admiral?
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Old December 11 2012, 09:25 AM   #12
Timo
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Re: "What we got back, didn't live long.....Fortunately."

I don't see the problem. There's definitely a wound there, no reason to hide it, or make it sound pretty.

And it appears somebody fucked up; the Admiral ought to know, either so that he can chop off the necessary heads, or so that he can go throw himself in his own sword. This is the right time to go on the record on issues of responsibility, lest it be dumped on the SF HQ transporter team exclusively.

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Old December 11 2012, 06:55 PM   #13
SicOne
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Re: "What we got back, didn't live long.....Fortunately."

Regarding transporting, wasn't there a TNG episode involving Barclay in which we learned that you are aware of the passage of time while beaming? Wouldn't, then, have Scotty and the hapless redshirt in "Relics" also have been aware of the passage of time while in the transporter buffer and, therefore, gone fracking insane over 75 years?
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Old December 11 2012, 07:37 PM   #14
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Re: "What we got back, didn't live long.....Fortunately."

Well, Scotty DID pop out thinking Kirk had come to rescue him personally, despite the fact he'd BEEN there when Kirk went MIA, and nevermind the freaky-colorful uniforms his rescuers were wearing. He was almost certainly a little scrambled.

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Old December 11 2012, 09:22 PM   #15
Timo
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Re: "What we got back, didn't live long.....Fortunately."

...But the writers took great care to establish that Scotty's survival method had little to do with normal transporting. The diagnostics mode apparently doesn't involve the usual interaction between the constituent particles of the transportee, but puts them to a stasis of some sort. So Scotty isn't awake, doesn't suffocate and doesn't starve.

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