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What makes people actually notice that they've been transported

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I know that in TOS, the transporter beam has a "suspended subject" effect--i.e., the people going through are "frozen", and thus presumably could have no idea that they've been transported, except for the transporter sound effect which begins slightly before the actual "freeze" takes place, or of course once they notice that their surroundings have changed. This is somewhat evidenced in TOS: "A Piece of the Action" when Tepo is beamed to Oxmyx's office and is none the wiser for at least three or four seconds after the transport.

However, from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan onwards, the "suspended subject" effect no longer took place, with people being able to move around and talk while in the transporter beam (probably due to some movement-compensation technology apparently developed somewhere around the late 2270's). Which begs the question: due to this, do people actually see some sort of noticeable effect while being transported? This would be somewhat consistent with what we've seen (such as in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, when Kirk beams Dr. Taylor aboard the HMS Bounty, and she screams the whole way due to the presumably strange feeling of being beamed for the first time--if this was a "suspended subject" model of transporter, that presumably wouldn't have happened). Another example would be TNG: "Realm of Fear", where the screen capture shown at the top of the episode summary shows a definite blue-sparkle effect that is presumably encountered by transporter subjects.

But, with that in mind, all of this begs the question: in episodes such as TNG: "Homeward", where a bunch of people, who would never have experienced a transporter before, are transported from the surface of a planet to a holodeck--yet they presumably didn't notice anything had happened. (One could imagine the chaos that would ensue if a whole village was suddenly experienced a visible, bright blue effect in front of their eyes.) Possibly the movement-compensation effect can be switched off so that the old "suspended subject" effect remains? Or maybe all the villagers in "Homeward" were asleep at the time of transport? (I don't know, I didn't actually see the episode yet, though I have read the summary here.)

Just curious, has this subject ever been addressed either in Star Trek canon, or in some sort of "pseudo-canon" reference material? – 74.37.226.253 23:07, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

Well, If I recall correctly the people in Homeward were transported while sleeping. Given that in canon we saw the transporter from a First person perspective that you can see yourself being transported. However As you pointed out Piece of the Action someone didn't know - but that was older transporter technology. I'm going to speculate that the reason you now see the transporter effect is because of concerns about unauthorized transport. If you can see it then you'd know...as for Film 4 - I would say that a Klingon transporter doesn't care about safety and you can feel it - and is different from a Federation transporter. — Morder 23:23, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
In "The Schizoid Man", Troi is aware at least before rematerialization is complete. I dunno about during the rest of the matterstream. Compared to people who have experienced it many times, maybe people who aren't experienced with being transported are less aware that something is happening or what it is that's happening. --TribbleFurSuit 01:56, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Ah, I get it now--yeah, if the people in "Homeward" were transported while sleeping, that would definitely make sense. As for the older transporter technology though--I don't think it would have to do at all with the fact that the transporter used in Film 4 was Klingon or because of concerns about unauthorized transport. It would simply seem logical that without a "suspended subject" effect, the subject would actively be able to notice that something is happening to them (whereas with a suspended subject, the person would effectively be in stasis for the duration of the transport and thus wouldn't even be aware of what's going on in the meantime). Thus, the difference in perception would be directly tied to whether or not the transporter in use contains the partiular technological advancement that compensates for motion while in transport. – 74.37.226.253 20:14, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
But then in Star Trek Insurrection, the crew of an entire ship are beamed to a holoship without noticing. The preceding unsigned comment was added by 76.71.65.65 (talk).
That's why Data, Picard, and Gallatin created the little light show on the bridge to cover it. Also, consider that the ship they were using to do the transporting was purposely designed for mass transport of pre-warp peoples; I would surmise that it was designed with "suspended subject" transporters to facilitate this. That would in fact line up with what we saw in the scene where the Son'a were transported (which was shown from their perspective): the lights got really bright, then suddenly they went back to normal, and boom, they're on the holoship. That would be consistent with a "suspended subject" transporter. And since the Federation has used "suspended subject" transporters for years (ENT, TOS, TMP), we definitely know they have the ability to put those on the ship, even if it means just using an old TOS transporter (though more likely they would have just designed a special version of the latest Mark VII transporter). -Mdettweiler 10:53, March 20, 2010 (UTC)

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