(written from a Production point of view)
Lieutenant Barclay faces his fear of transporting, but now he thinks that he's being attacked by a creature inside the transporter beam.
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- "Captain's Log, Stardate 46041.1. We have located the USS Yosemite, a Starfleet science vessel sent to the Igo sector to observe a remote plasma streamer. The ship has not been heard from in several days."
The USS Enterprise-D responds to the stricken vessel USS Yosemite. The crew of the Yosemite seems to have disappeared. As the away team prepares to beam over, Transporter Chief O'Brien informs them that due to disturbances in the plasma field, they may be experiencing problems during transportation. When Lieutenant Barclay hears this, he becomes very nervous and refuses to transport over, rushing out of the transporter room soon after Worf, Riker and Crusher beam over one by one to the Yosemite.
Barclay, who is experiencing some form of transporter phobia, speaks to Counselor Troi about his troubles and she introduces him to a Betazoid relaxation technique known as plexing. However, completely unconvinced and still tapping himself on the neck as he walks out the door he returns to the transporter room, preparing himself for the ride. He's comforted a little by O'Brien, who tells him about his fear of spiders, which he conquered by crawling through a jefferies tube past twenty Talarian hook spiders, to repair a damaged emitter array on Zayra IV.
When Barclay finally materializes on the Yosemite, La Forge asks him to download the ship's science logs. After collecting fragments from a broken container for further analysis, Lieutenant Commander La Forge and Lieutenant Barclay beam back to the Enterprise. During transport, Barclay has an awful vision of a worm-like creature swimming around in the matter stream and touching his arm. He steps off of the transporter pad nervous and shaking. O'Brien tells him that using the transporter really is not all that bad. Plagued by what he saw, he asks La Forge in engineering if he had ever seen anything unusual while he was being transported. La Forge says he hasn't. Barclay then tells La Forge of his recent experience and La Forge has the transporter examined thoroughly. Despite La Forge and O'Brien's insistence that "transporting really is the safest way to travel", Barclay is constantly analyzing himself by drinking lots of water and even going so far as to diagnose himself with transporter psychosis after asking the computer in his quarters for causes and symptoms.
Barclay is suffering from pain, with affected areas of his body lighting up spontaneously in blue flashes as if they were in the transporter. Barclay ascribes this to his transporter psychosis and keeps quiet about it. Meanwhile, in engineering, La Forge and Data run tests on the plasma, discovering that it contains quasi-energy microbes. They attempt to recreate conditions on the Yosemite. They first take the precaution of setting up a force field around the container. Once a sample of the plasma streamer is beamed aboard the Enterprise it explodes, though the explosion is contained within the force field. Barclay collapses, and is taken to sickbay. Dr. Crusher discovers that some of the quasi-energy microbes from the Yosemite have gotten into Barclay's bloodstream during transport back to the Enterprise and this is what has been causing him pain, and all the other symptoms.
La Forge and O'Brien decide that the transporter could be used, once proper adjustments were made, to remove the microbes from Barclay's body. Once Barclay is inside the beam, he sees the creepy creatures again. In a spontaneous act of bravery, the lieutenant appears to catch one of the creatures in his arms and doesn't let go. When he rematerializes, we see that he has another person in his grasp, one of the Yosemite crew members. Barclay tells the others that there are three more crew members caught in the matter stream. He sends a security team led by Worf and Kellogg in to save the rest of the Yosemite crew from the transporter. Barclay explains to La Forge and the chief that while the crew of the USS Yosemite was trying to cleanse themselves of the quasi-energy microbes, Human patterns got trapped in the transporter which didn't allow them to escape. Worf and the away team return with the other three members of the Yosemite crew.
- "Captain's Log, Stardate 46043.6. The reprogrammed biofilter was effective in removing the alien microbes from Mister Barclay and the four crewmembers. The microbes have been returned to the plasma streamer."
O'Brien meets Barclay at Ten Forward, and shows him his pet Lycosa tarantula, whom he adopted after getting over his arachnophobia. The chief remarks that he almost stepped on her when he discovered her on Titus IV.
He gets up to grab some drinks, while the tarantula crawls up Barclay's arm, who is nervously waiting for O'Brien to return...
"I'm sorry, I just can't do this!"
- - Barclay refuses to use the transporter to beam over to the Yosemite
"I know, it sounds crazy, but..."
"It's not crazy at all. You are being taken apart molecule by molecule."
- - Barclay discusses his phobia of the transporter with Troi
"I'm going to beam over there. I can do it!"
- - Barclay, after Troi teaches him plexing
"See, sir? That wasn't so bad, was it?"
- - O'Brien, after Barclay has his first encounter with a quasi-energy microbe in the matter stream
"Reg, transporting really is the safest way to travel."
- - La Forge
"Commander La Forge said you seemed a little nervous this morning."
"I'm always nervous. Everybody knows that."
- - Troi and Barclay
(Gentle ocean and bird noises playing)
"Mmm... computer, more birds."
(More frustrated) "End stress reduction program. Water."
"I don't care! Just give me water!"
- - Barclay to the computer
"Lieutenant. Glad you could make it. You know, I think this is the first time we've ever spoken outside of the transporter room."
"Well, to be honest, I've always avoided you."
"Because you run the transporters, and I hate the transporters. At least, I used to."
- - Barclay and O'Brien
- - Barclay gets nervous when O'Brien's pet tarantula crawls on his hand
Background information Edit
Story and production Edit
- Brannon Braga enjoyed writing this episode. "Certainly, it was one of my most personal episodes. People around here say I am Barclay. I hate flying and that's where the idea came from. If I lived in the 24th century, I'd be afraid to transport, so I enjoyed exploring some of the deeper neuroses that Barclay had." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
- Michael Piller remarked, "I always like the Barclay shows. I think it's a perfectly valid fear to explore, whether you have a phobia about spiders or about being molecularly taken apart and put back together. As Star Trek viewers we have come to take it for granted, but why shouldn't somebody be afraid to get into a transporter? I had always felt that there were too many similarities to the Twilight Zone where Shatner looks out and sees the creature on the wing of the plane. I felt very strongly we needed to get the episode away from that, and I think we succeeded." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
- Zayra IV was named for production staff associate Zayra Cabot. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
- The creatures were designed by Dan Curry and built by modelmaker Carey Howe. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, Profiles in History auction) Curry, covered in a green suit, later puppeteered the creatures. ("Departmental Briefing Year Six - Profile: Dan Curry", TNG Season 6 DVD special feature)
- First UK airdate: 19 July 1995
Props and settingsEdit
- The red giant and white dwarf in the Igo sector seen in this episode were originally from "Evolution" and later re-used as a similar stellar phenomenon in the Topin system in "Preemptive Strike".
- The multi-level Jefferies tube set, directly attached to main engineering appears for the first time in this episode.
- This episode marks the first appearance of the Admiral's uniform which would be used for the rest of the series and much of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, although inexplicably Admiral Hayes is seen here without the standard combadge.
- O'Brien's collar insignia changes from lieutenant (two pips) to chief (one black pip) in this episode. According to the Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, this was done to reinforce the plot point that lieutenant J.G. Barclay outranks O'Brien. See also: Miles O'Brien - Rank Inconsistencies.
- A brief insert shot of Barclay getting a glass of water from his replicator is a stock shot from TNG: "The Vengeance Factor", as Riker's red Starfleet uniform can be seen reflected from inside the replicator.
- Barclay mentions in this episode that spiders never bothered him. Later, in "Genesis" (also written by Brannon Braga), Barclay would de-evolve into a spider-like creature.
- This is the first and only time O'Brien's pet tarantula, Christina, is ever seen or mentioned.
- This episode is the first to show a first-person perspective of the transport process; the only other time this was done is in "Prototype".
- While expressing his fear of transporting, Barclay asks La Forge, "Commander, has anything strange ever happened to you during transport... anything out of the ordinary?" La Forge answered dismissively, "No, not really." However, in an episode during the previous season, La Forge himself was involved in a transporter malfunction that transported him and Ensign Ro out of phase with the rest of reality. They were reported missing, and presumed dead. They ultimately rematerialized in the midst of their own memorial service. (TNG: "The Next Phase")
- Jeri Taylor observed, "This was an episode that a lot of people just didn't respond to and I don't know why. I thought it was a wonderful idea. I thought Brannon wrote a terrific script. It just seemed so perfect, Barclay with a transporter phobia just seemed like a marvelous marriage of something people can relate to today and in the future: technology. I just thought everything worked with the exception of the visual effects. The explanation by the end really got painfully detailed. And it's that fine line you try to draw, if we don't say this, is the audience going to be fairly confused and cheated because they don't understand it? But if we do say it, are they going to be overwhelmed by the words? We went one way in "Time's Arrow II," and maybe we tried too hard to explain things in "Realm of Fear," but it's hard to strike that back." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
- Braga recalled, "I envisioned a scarier episode where the creatures in the transporter were a little more frightening, but then again what a tall order to the effects guys, 'Make it amorphous, but terrifying.' What does that mean? It's easy to write that, but difficult to visualize. I just wanted you to feel scared with this guy and you never really did." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
Video and DVD releasesEdit
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 64, 26 April 1993
- As part of the TNG Season 6 DVD collection
Links and references Edit
Also starring Edit
- LeVar Burton as Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge
- Michael Dorn as Lieutenant Worf
- Gates McFadden as Dr. Beverly Crusher
- Marina Sirtis as Counselor Deanna Troi
- Brent Spiner as Lt. Commander Data
Guest stars Edit
Uncredited co-stars Edit
- K.C. Amos as operations division officer
- David Keith Anderson as Armstrong
- Lena Banks as operations division ensign
- Steven Boz as operations division ensign
- Michael Braveheart as Martinez
- Cameron as Kellogg
- Cullen Chambers as civilian
- Tracee Lee Cocco as Jae
- John Copage as science division officer
- Debra Dilley as operations division ensign
- Hal Donahue as command division lieutenant
- Elliot Durant III as civilian
- Gunnel Eriksson as science division officer
- Holiday Freeman as a command division officer
- Gina Gallante as science division ensign
- Goldie Ann Gareza as civilian
- Christie Haydon as command division ensign
- Kerry Hoyt as operations division ensign
- Gary Hunter as science division officer
- Arvo Katajisto as Torigan
- Mark Lentry as civilian
- Debbie Marsh as command division ensign
- Brandy Pickett as science division officer
- Keith Rayve as command division ensign
- Richard Sarstedt as command division ensign
- Victor Sein as command division officer
- Talbot as Ten Forward waitress
- Curt Truman as command division officer
- Christina Wegler Miles as command division ensign
- Bradley Weinholtz as Joshua Kelly
- Unknown performers as
- David Keith Anderson - stand-in for LeVar Burton
- Carl David Burks - stand-in for Brent Spiner
- Michael Echols - stand-in for Michael Dorn
- Nora Leonhardt - stand-in for Marina Sirtis
- Lorine Mendell - stand-in for Gates McFadden
- Richard Sarstedt - stand-in for Jonathan Frakes
- Dennis Tracy - stand-in for Patrick Stewart
- Guy Vardaman - stand-in for Dwight Schultz
2209; autonomic system; away team; biofilter; Cardassian; cardiostimulator; carotid artery; Celsius; cerebral cortex; Christina; Counselor's office; Delinia II; distortion field; DNA; Ferengi; Ferengi freighter; Heisenberg compensator; ignorance; Igo sector; imaging scanner; ionic interference; Jefferies tube; kiloquad; Lycosa tarantula; medical tricorder; multi-infarct dementia; neurochemistry; Olafson; pattern buffer; phased matter; plasma streamer; plexing; quasi-energy microbe; resonance frequency scan; sample container; Starfleet Medical Database; stellar cartography; systems engineer; Talarian hook spider; tissue sample; Titus IV; transporter; transporter psychosis; Transporter Theory; VISOR; Yosemite, USS; Zayra IV
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