'Star Trek' Character Spotlight
The Starfleet Starship Transporter Chief
Star Trek fills the sly sci-fi bill for assembling a colorful, iconic cast of Trekkers. Gene Roddenberry’s entertainment legacy is chock full of memorable characters. Household names like Mister Spock, Uhura, or Captain Kirk prompt a friendly smile and fun reaction from most everybody around. We all know the bad boy and girl Klingons. It’s even been said some of the most primitive world cultures recognize actors such as William Shatner as a global science fiction icon. Data and Captain Jean-Luc Picard hailing from Next Generation remain well known by even the most casual Trekkie.
But there are so many more in Trek's multi-faceted universe.
How about the numerous rest of the space ace pack? For example: What of Lieutenant Kyle or Chief O’Brien? Wait a few parsecs. You ask: Who are they? See, there may be a problem, indeed.
A Starfleet Starship relies on many professional men and women—and more than a few species of exotic alien—to run departments efficiently. Everyone working in Starfleet can’t operate as the Science Officer, Chief Engineer or Security Chief. Fact is, the Transporter Chief remains one of the most important positions central on any starship. From the beginning, beaming our crew out into space and down to hostile planets required somebody responsible in charge of it all.
Nope, I’m not talking about those great Jason Statham action movies. It’s a simple fact that James T. Kirk’s Enterprise or Captain Picard’s wouldn’t be the same without their main Transporter guys—Kyle and O’Brien.
These detail oriented men rip apart the atoms of their fellow crew members—and assorted VIP visitors or strange other lifeforms—and reassemble them a few seconds later.
Can just anyone take charge of a transporter console and smoothly do the flashy job? The high tech of the 23rd and 24th century certainly seem easy enough for anyone to give it a go. But honestly, wouldn’t you want someone dedicated to such a delicate and potentially dangerous task?
Over the years, we’ve seen more than a few manning the Transporter. In the Original Series, Lieutenant Kyle mostly took care of beaming duties. Although Chief Engineer Scotty was also often scene scrambling folk’s atoms.
And let’s not forget how much Doctor McCoy loathed getting into the transporter. Did Bones hate the process, or was he simply a bit chicken shit about the whole thing? Or perhaps, as a renowned Starfleet physician, he knows more than anyone else the nasty, even unspeakable things transporting does to our human body over time.
By the time the massive Galaxy Class Enterprise 1701-D warped into our lives, Chief Miles O’Brien became the main point man for beaming in and out of things. Ultimately, O’Brien was so good at his job, Commander Sisko recruited him to become Chief Engineer at his new post of Deep Space Nine—the massive Cardassian designed space station orbiting planet Bajor.
One of the most delightful and historic turns at the Transporter was when real life NASA astronaut Mae Jemison appeared in a Next Generation episode, as Lieutenant Palmer, working Enterprise D's Transporter. It’s a certain bet she’d have loved access to magical Transporter technology on the real life Space Shuttle during her tenure at NASA.
Leave It To 'Beamer'
Above all, try not to piss off those in charge of matter/energy transportation by scrambling your atoms and bringing you back to solidity by re-materialization. One of the most important things to remember when transporting in Star Trek is it’s more than logical to be polite to the man or woman who’s manning the station. After all, once you’re in the chamber, preparing to be beamed most anywhere at all in the galaxy, agitating the individual who’s in charge of the complex process isn’t the best idea.
Watch out while utilizing the Transporter, my friends. You could always end up like these fishy guys.