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In 2139, Emory Erickson, inventor of the transporter, utilized the Barrens as a testing ground for a sub-quantum transporter, which he hoped would revolutionize the exploration of space. Emory's son, Quinn, was the first test subject for the transporter, but his signal was lost, and he never rematerialized. Further research by Emory revealed that Quinn had not actually died, but that his transporter signal had become trapped in the subspace node, and that, at certain intervals, fluctuations in the node caused Quinn's signal to reappear. Over the course of the next fifteen years, Emory carried out attempts to retrieve his son's signal, under the pretense of continuing tests on the new transporter design.
In 2154, Emory boarded Enterprise NX-01 on another mission to the Barrens. While Enterprise was in the area, Quinn's signal manifested itself as a spatial distortion, resulting in the death of a crewman, who suffered massive cellular disruption upon coming in contact with the distortion. Emory later told Captain Archer the truth about his intentions, and received permission to continue his attempts. Locking on to Quinn's signal, Emory attempted to beam him aboard, but, due to massive cellular deterioration, Quinn died moments after materializing. (ENT: "Daedalus")